Doctor Who Reviews: The Web Planet

Doctor Who Reviews: The Web Planet

This is actu­ally a really diffi­cult story to review. Because it’s so unique even for Doctor Who.

I mentioned in an earlier review just how tiny Doctor Who’s budget was in the early days. So the scale of this story is quite extra­or­di­nary.

Story­wise what we’ve got is a multi-race war with the TARDIS and it’s occu­pants dragged into the middle of it. Along the way we get elements of differ­ent cultures and of reli­gion. And with the excep­tion of the regu­lar cast there are no humanoids featured here either. Instead every­one is insec­toid (broadly speak­ing).

There’s even a full scale battle between the Zarbi (giant ants) and the Menop­tra (bees I assume) with the Menop­tra flying. You certainly can’t fault anyone for aiming too low here.

There’s also a lot to be impressed about in the sets and costumes. The visual look of the Zarbi is great and the masks the Menop­tra wear are great too.

But this is where that tiny budget really starts to hurt. Because the Zarbi’s mobil­ity is very obvi­ously limited (some of the other crea­tures are even more limited) and the Menoptra’s bodies look… well… look at the photo. It’s not good.

All the costumes are obvi­ously so cumber­some that move­ment becomes slow and awkward. So the battle I mentioned previ­ously feels like it’s happen­ing in slow motion.

The biggest fail­ure in the design depart­ment is the Animus which is described as a spider by the cast but looks more like a jelly­fish than anything else.

The curse of the six part story strikes here too and the already slow pace of 60s Doctor Who reduces to a painful crawl as people stand around talk­ing about things that are happen­ing else­where.

How exactly you can take a battle to over­thrown a tyrant and save a planet and turn it into some­thing quite this tedious I don’t know. But they managed.

Points for effort with the vase­line on the camera lens trick to make the atmos­phere on the planet look genuinely alien. Also I like what they were trying for with the way the vari­ous races talk, but in actu­al­ity it’s mainly annoy­ing and distract­ing.

So where does that leave us?

Well The Web Planet is a must see story. It’s not a good story, however. But it’s like noth­ing else you’ve ever seen.

Tags: #Doctor­Who   #Doctor­WhoRe­views   #WilliamHart­nell


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