I read in a book once that the reason that time feels as if it goes by faster the older you get is because of the routine of your day. The older you get the more predictable life becomes, and sometimes days run into one another and time feels like it goes by faster. As of writing this, I’m currently forty-four and Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary has come. Fifty years has gone by since it first aired in the UK.
Fifty years! I have been alive for forty-four of them and, man, did that time fly.
The Day Of The Doctor movie marks this anniversary with a hell of time-trippy tale. It manages to do the impossible: squeeze in cameos from every single Doctor in existence, even the up and coming one, while also making them integral to the whole story. It will be hard to write a proper review, basically because there is some nice “time twists” I don’t want to give away, but who knows, I might, I’ve been known to mention such spoilers in my reviews before.
John Hurt’s performance as the “War Doctor” is what kicks this whole movie into gear. The Time War, we’ve heard about it before in previous seasons, but now we get to see it; Gallifrey’s war with the Daleks, the war that destroyed the planet and made the Doctor the supposedly last Time Lord in existence. The Doctor (Hurt) believes he can stop this war, but he can only do it at a very serious price, not only will the Daleks be eradicated but so will Gallifrey, which he’s already done and we’ve seen the emotional ramifications of it in his following incarnations.
I’m not sure how to explain how things become “different” now, but the “War Doctor” steals a weapon from the Time Lords that was never meant to be used. It’s called The Moment (aka The Galaxy Eater), and it’s basically a doomsday device, but one that’s sentient. Why has it never been used? As one Time Lord puts it, “How do you use a doomsday device that can sit in judgment of you?”
And that’s exactly what it does when the Doctor takes with him to a shack in the middle of an alien desert. Spoiler coming . . . The Moment interacts with this incarnation of the Doctor by grabbing an image of someone that he’ll know from his future. Enter Billie Piper as Rose Tyler, but it’s not really Rose, just the device using her image. And this brings together two other Doctors, two of his future incarnations, to try to show him what he’s about to do with the device might be something he should re-think. But how does he rethink that event when it’s the only plausible way to stop the Daleks and save the rest of the Universe from their domination?
Ah, there in lies the rub.
Through breaks in reality/time streams, David Tennant’s and Matt Smith’s incarnations team up with his younger one (Hurt) to basically redesign the past and set the new season off into a new direction with a new purpose. It all worked for me.
I loved seeing Tennant and Smith interact. I loved seeing Hurt’s War Doctor incarnation (the one we first learned about in last season’s finale) interact with them, too. Brilliant acting all the way around here.
One more spoiler . . . Tom Baker makes a cameo at the very end!
I will say no more.
BBC America releases this event movie in a DVD and a 3D Blu-Ray/Blu-Ray/DVD combo. This review is of the 2D blu-ray included in the combo. Video/Audio/Subtitle: 1080p 1.78:1 high definition anamorphic widescreen—English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1—English, French, Spanish.
Aside from the San Diego Comic-Con trailer and the tribute teaser trailer you get 2 mini-episodes: “The Last Day” & “The Night Of The Doctor.” The former is an account of a Gallifreyan soldier done “found footage” style (seen through his eyes) just moments before the Daleks lay siege to Gallifrey, and the former, which is the best of the two, recounts how the eighth Doctor, Paul McGann, connects to his “War Doctor” incarnation. It’s a revelatory mini-episode, which explains a lot.
There are also two excellent featurettes included, as well: “The Day Of The Doctor: Behind The Lens” (13:42), which takes you behind-the-scenes of how this movie came about and “Doctor Who Explained” (46:45). If you’ve never seen a Doctor Who episode and only know there’s some show in existence called Doctor Who, but have always wondered what it’s all about, this is the perfect featurette for you. Gathering together as many actors as they could find that have played an integral part of the entire 50 years of episodes, the Doctor Who phenomenon is explained. And I mean basic things, like who he is, the actors (surviving ones) who have played him, why he travels with companions (not all of them were interviewed; I missed the two who played Romana during Baker’s era), why he regenerates, why he travels in a TARDIS, what is a TARDIS, and what does it stand for — basically, this is Doctor Who 101 and it’s a great featurette, mainly for the interviews.
My last word . . . if you’re a die-hard fan of this Time Lord you need to get this and you will not be disappointed.