Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Epic, almost perfect.
Good evening, all of my movie friends, do I have a treat for you? If you aren’t a Whovian, you may promptly leave, because this will be all for you, my tardis-dwelling Time Lords. It has been a long time since the finale of the seventh series of Doctor Who, and we have been waiting ever so patiently for the biggest movie event of the century, the 50th Anniversary Special, Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor. No, I don’t normally review TV shows, and while this is a TV show, this special is being aired in the theater, therefore, it’s respectfully – kind of a movie.
Alright, so there are three plots going on seemingly simultaneously in this special, and I’ll try my best to explain it: 1.) Matt Smith’s Doctor is with Clara in modern England investigating a break-in at a museum where nothing seemingly is missing. However, the painting (done by Queen Elizabeth I), was of Time Lord magic, bigger on the inside…it looks 3D. So something is going on here. Meanwhile, 2.) David Tennant’s Doctor is going on a date with Queen Elizabeth I while trying take down the Zygon – who can take the form of any living human. All the while, 3.) John Hurt’s Doctor is in the Time War, about to wipe out all Time Lords and Daleks. All of these things are happening simultaneously when time portals open up in all three worlds. Needless to say, they all wind up on the same plain and they have two goals: Stop the Zygons in the present, and then figure out what to do with the Time War in the past.
It’s hard not to just spoil the whole thing, because it really is confusing to keep track of. It gets even more confusing when you try to explain it, which just tells me that Steven Moffat has been doing his duty. I don’t like multiple plots that you must keep track of, because I hate being confused…then again, I love Doctor Who, so I’m in a bind. So for the most part, I’m letting this slide. By the end, you more or less understand the story, and that’s really what is important here. We’ve been waiting for so long that the confusion is passable because we’re just happy that the Doctor is back, and we are more than happy at who tagged along.
David Tennant, of course, is one of Doctor Who fans’ favorite interpretation, including myself. It is an absolute joy to see him reprise his role. The same goes for Billie Piper, who plays Rose in the series, the first companion to the 2005 series. Her role in this special isn’t exactly the same as we remember, but it’s still good. You might have also expected something specific from Tennant, but what you get is Moffat’s neverending ability to surprise, and surprise he does. Seeing them together, and getting the answers we were waiting for with John Hurt is incredible, but the special is far from perfect. There are some disappointments.
This is a 50th Anniversary special, there are things you’d reasonably expect from it…like a regeneration. If you aren’t too familiar with Doctor Who, you probably shouldn’t be still reading this, but a regeneration is when the Doctor changes his appearance when he’s close to dying. He is given 13 lives total, and because John Hurt is technically his 9th life, that means he’s really the 12th Doctor, and only has one regeneration left…such a great plot device for a 50th anniversary. However, this may be a spoiler, maybe not depending on how you view the word, but it doesn’t happen here. The other disappointments have to do with characters that don’t show up that really should have – but I won’t go that far as to name them off.
If you would like a detailed, spoilery discussion on The Day of the Doctor, my brother Andy and I go through the entire premise in our Doctor Who podcast, Smaller on the Outside. Listen to the podcast below!