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Classic Novels; Doctor Who and the Dinosaur Invasion

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Author Topic: Classic Novels; Doctor Who and the Dinosaur Invasion  (Read 298 times)
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« on: February 03, 2011, 03:58:33 pm »

As is usual with my reviews I shall cut to the chase and not bore you with my latest snack (Frazzles for those who are interested) and crack on with the blurb from the back of the box...

The Doctor walked slowly forward into the cul-de-sac. The giant dinosaur turned its head to focus on the midget now approaching...The Doctor aimed his gun to fire...suddenly from behind came a great roar of anger. He spun round - blocking the exit from the narrow street towered a Tyrannosaurus rex, its savage jaws dripping with blood...The Doctor and Sarah arrive back in the TARDIS to find London completely deserted - except for the dinosaurs. Has the return of these prehistoric creatures been deliberately planned and, if so, who can be behind it all? Martin Jarvis, who played Butler in the original TV serial Invasion of the Dinosaurs, reads Malcolm Hulke's complete and unabridged novelisation, first published by Target Books in 1976.

I really don't know why they decided to release these Classic Novels in the order that they did, but my heart skipped a beat when I saw this was available (I got it from my usual supplier online for 8.99 they are now banging them out for 5.49). This is one occasion where the book is actually better than the show. I am not alone in believing this. Even the late Barry Letts, in an interview will only refer to this story as 'That Dinosaur Show'. It was a story 40 years ahead of the technology and as such the model dinosaurs looked pretty rubbish, the effects were all out of synch (16mm film trying to marry up with 2 1/2" Studio based VT) and it was all just a bit naff. All of the money went on the effects which meant that the sets etc were of a pretty low standard and all things considered this was a story that most people wanted to forget.

And therein lies the real tragedy. When you take the time to listen to the audio incarnation of this novel you will find a truly wonderful tale, exactly of the type you would expect from Malcolm Hulke. It is an essay on corruption, idealism, and misguided paternalism. The novel takes you to places that the early 70s BBC could never do. The characterisations are rich and well rounded. We feel sympathy for those who are nominally 'badies'. Sarah Jane comes across almost pitch perfect and the tragedy and treachery of Yates is dealt with in a very moving and sympathetic way.

The production values on this novelisation are as good as ever and in Martin Jarvis we have a very accomplished actor who provides a wonderfully varied reading (very easy on the ears at bedtime). I cannot strongly recommend this novelisation enough, especially as I suspect we'll have a long wait for the 2Entertain CGI version!
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2011, 05:15:15 pm »

Again, this is one that I haven't listened to on audio, but I absolutely love it. There is something really cheesy and stupid about it that just clicks with me I guess. The visuals are totally stupid but I think in hindsight i probably wouldnt enjoy it so much if it were all polished to perfection
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2011, 05:36:30 pm »

I didnt even know there was a DW story with dinosaurs. I love dinosaurs. I'm going to dig it out!
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2011, 05:43:08 pm »

Im with TDD on this. Cheesily brilliant, and brilliantly cheesy. I have also heard the audio and its a little masterpiece all on its own. I'm not familiar with many fans of the story televised story, but this is well worth a listen to. Every part of it is delved into so much deeper and the story shines because it allows you to build your own images (usually stolen from Jurassic Park in my case) and just lets rip with the story.

Incedently, I went to school with someone called Martin Jarvis.
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2011, 07:04:47 pm »

I haven't read the novelisation, but I can imagine it's better than the TV version.  It was always a great story, but the dinos really let it down.  In the context of the 70s, they'd have needed Harryhausen on board to have done justice to it.
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