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22 April 2009 @ 08:22 pm
Planet of the Dead  
I thought there were lots of individual elements to like about Planet of the Dead but the whole seemed, ultimately, insubstantial.

Take our bus full of passengers for instance. At first glance, as they stumbled out into the sunshine, you got the impression that there was going to be an interesting cross-section of characters. It never promised to be particularly complex but I was geared up for some "disparate group forced to band together" style rompery. Instead, the passengers turn out to be almost entirely surplus to requirements. Even the psychic passenger actually had no real role to play beyond providing some tension.

The actual plot seemed to involve the Doctor going on walk with Lady Christina (who I didn't object to as much as some), getting an info-dump, collecting some technobabble and then walking back to the bus.

This was all covered up with several nice ideas and set pieces - the time travelling bus may have been lifted from Paul Magrs' Iris Wildthyme books but that doesn't stop it being a great idea (the opposite in fact); the group of aliens who are not antagonistic; the aristocratic thief; so I was enjoying myself a lot as the story cantered along but, at the end, my feeling was "was that it?".

I could start digging around for plot holes and other mis-steps: although I didn't particularly object to Lady Christina, the characterisation seemed to be missing a few features needed to make aristocratic thieves work (a secret identity - for instance) but most of these are fairly minor compared to the fact that not much actually happened.
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louisedennislouisedennis on April 23rd, 2009 09:28 am (UTC)
I liked Lady Christina and certainly wasn't left fuming, as many people appear to have been, about why we are supposed to sympathise with her spoiled little rich girl lifestyle. Anyway I've seen several reviews that point out the script simply assumes we are going to sympathize with a rich girl who steals stuff for kicks, presumably because she has a nice arse and is an aristocrat. You can argue about the acting - I though Michelle Ryan did very well and her performance is actually one of the things that lifted the part out of being a spoiled brat we should all instinctively want to lock up.

You're right a secret identity shouldn't be a necessity but the trope generally revolves around the Police trying to uncover their identity while the aristocratic thief continues to live the high-life in their vast mansion. Since the police clearly were entirely aware of her identity - I guess she must have had a secret lair somewhere rather than a public mansion.

I thought Lee Evans was fine. I wasn't expecting a naturalistic performance and he rather charmed me. I preferred him in the Jackie Chan film I saw the other night but I don't actually think I've ever seen him in anything else.
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louisedennis: doctor wholouisedennis on April 23rd, 2009 11:24 am (UTC)
We had it established that daddy had invested in the Icelandic banks (contemporary topical reference hurr hurr), so I would expect that she's staying in a council flat,

Ah! I thought it was established that she was making that up. That's how I read that scene anyway - as a "I'm fine financially, but I'm bored, so I nick stuff."

When she snogged the Doctor B actually said "has this been written into David Tennant's contract now?"
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reggietate: thinkynickreggietate on April 22nd, 2009 10:57 pm (UTC)
It was fun - and given that I watched it between two viewings of Primeval 3.03, that was a definite bonus. Unfortunately, I was somewhat pissed by then, so I'd have to see it again to really comment properly on the plot such as it was. An entertaining romp, mostly, which I suppose is what it was meant to be, for an Easter weekend.
louisedennis: doctor wholouisedennis on April 23rd, 2009 10:52 am (UTC)
I don't think it aspired to be much more than an entertaining romp and I did enjoy it a lot while watching, I just wish that all the components (especially the bus passengers) had had more to do...