Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. (1966)

Article 1967 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-4-2006
Posting Date: 12-31-2006
Directed by Gordon Flemyng
Featuring Peter Cushing, Bernard Cribbins, Ray Brooks

A doctor, his granddaughter, and two fellow travelers end up in Earth’s future, where the world has been taken over by deadly robot-like creatures known as Daleks.

Much as I admire Cushing’s work, there are a small handful of his performances that don’t really work for me, and, coincidentally or not, they occur usually when he’s playing charming elderly eccentrics; this movie is one of them. Oddly enough, I think he would have made an excellent Doctor, had he been allowed to develop a character that could have been modified to play to his strengths, as is usually done for the actors who’ve portrayed him in the TV series (for those who don’t know what I”m talking about, this movie is an adaptation of a series of episodes from the British TV series “Doctor Who”), but with his performance here, I never really get the sense that Cushing “becomes” the character, but rather that he’s just “playing” the character.

Actually, this probably doesn’t matter much; I’ve heard that the movie adaptations of the series made during the sixties were not really designed for “Doctor Who” fans per se, but rather to fans of his arch nemeses, the Daleks. The fact that the movies are not really part of the canon (the character was never called “Dr. Who” in the TV series, though he is here, and the first movie establishes him as a resident of the earth, whereas he would turn out to be an alien in the series) probably didn’t make much of a difference to them. In fact, I would imagine that the movies were great fun for fans of the series; it must have been wonderful to see some of these early stories in full color (and the use of color here is excellent) and with a relatively high budget. Still, it does suffer somewhat from the fact that the story was written as a serial, and in the attempt to keep everything in the serial, it ends up rendering the story rushed and confusing at times. Still, the Daleks are always a lot of fun, and they’re portrayed just as they were in the TV series. All in all, it’s a mixed bag, but it could have been a lot worse.


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