Paul Isaacs' Blog

Autism from the inside


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Doctor Who – Series 5,6 & 7 – Blu-ray Review

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Note: This is the Full Blu-ray Boxset 

OVERVIEW

This is the the 11th Doctor’s Full Tenure as The Doctor from Series 5 to 7 which is three separate boxsets with extras.

PLOT

Matt Smith dons the mantle as the 11th Doctor thick and fast with a giddy and promising quirkiness that shows that “Who” is going into different direction and it certainly was. I have stated in the the review of the Series 8 the level of complex story arcing and dovetailing (in typical time bending fashions) comes thick and fast through the series tenure River Song’s timeline is expanded upon, and her origins revealed. Then Amy & Rory’s dynamic story and ultimately bittersweet storyarc as both a being married couple and travelling companions this certainly is a different tone.

I could use words like “mature” and “dark” however it is much more than that the serials come across more thriller-esque possibly due to the  drastic changes in production and overall direction, the humour is less apparent and that lends to more serious and times depressing impact. I feel the with each serial the stories and tone and overall atmosphere progressively change for example compare Matt Smith’s first series with his final and you will see what I mean.

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SPECIAL EFFECTS

I viewed this TV serial in HD (1080i 50fps) Doctor Who – Series 5, 6 & 7 The picture quality is top notch vivid colours, vast amounts of detail and a great leap in special effects making full use of the technology to make vastnand incredible worlds. The audio is mastered in HD with amazing bass and full dynamic range.

CONCLUSION

It really did grow on me and I am somewhat sad I missed out on Matt Smith’s outings as the infamous timelord the first time around, however viewing his full outing as the Doctor has made me appreciate that change is good, atmosphere and storytelling are fluid whichcan take you to the further reaches of space much like the traveller himself. Highly Recommended

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Doctor Who – Series 8 – Blu-ray Review

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OVERVIEW

This is the beginning of the 12th Doctor’s first series which in the order of the “new” series 8 which consists of the original TV run of episodes plus extras.

PLOT

Peter Capaldi is spearheaded into the London for his first adventure, the overall tone and quality is very dark in terms of content, plotlines and direction, atmospheric camerawork, lightening and for his first feature long series and tenure as the doctor he has a mysterious, gritty and sometimes quite frightening quality to him. The dynamic of his changing relationship with Clara is rather moving the overall story arc is not about obvious common theme in fact it much about people finding love, acceptance and a place in the world. The dots do however come into place in the final episode with the “mastermind” being the fellow timelord Missy who was The Master in previous incarnations the Doctor has always faced a moral agenda and paradox but I feel this is the first series to go beyond touching upon it and using it a spiritual link between the episodes.

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SPECIAL EFFECTS

I viewed this serial in HD (1080i 50fps) Doctor Who – Series 9  which has some rather striking photography and set pieces, one notable effect which is amazing the half-face man in the first episode a splendid achievement which has a true “movie quality”, colours are deep, full of contrast and crisp detailn. The audio is also mastered in HD with deep bass and dynamic range.

CONCLUSION

I really enjoyed this Series with its many twists and turns a surprisingly mature and gritty ambiance that runs through from the story to story which I would say are at times deeply philosophical, smatterings of humour are well placed but my only concern (if you can call it that) is the nature and maturity of the storylines may polarise some people nevertheless this is bold step and a well-executed one. Highly Recommended


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Dr Who – Revisiting The 11th Doctor

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I have recently gone back into the world of Dr Who the infamous and bold alien time traveler – after David Tennant left the show it was oddly difficult as he brought our family together on Saturday evenings in way that had only happened with game and talk shows. Matt Smith was for the moment hard to digest like a biscuit that had not been drenched in a  warm cup of tea.

I have since grown on his bizarre idiosyncrasies, neologisms and endless quirks through contrasting storytelling arching and swaying, moving me to tears and making me laugh this certainly is a darker doctor akin to what Sylvestor Mccoy was trying to do (but the BBC and the audience didn’t understand) I am thankful to re-visit oddball Matt in more objective widing lense.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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Dr Who – The Invasion – DVD Review

 

This DVD is a 2-Disc Edition of The Invasion with two missing episodes which have been animated 

PLOT

The is an “Earth Story” and this would become a staple of the 3rd Doctor Era the title suggests the main plot of the story aliens that are preparing for a global invasion starting with the United Kingdom.

The main plot is an expansion on themes used in the Troughton “cyberstories” which includes the dangers of technology and how this has an effect on people, communication devices such as video links are used throughout preempting such devices that we take for granted now, as well as the political dangers of single force wanting to control the world. The cast are colourful, deep and imaginative with enigmatic performances, tight dialogue and atmosphere.

PICTURE 

The picture is sharp, detailed with a good deal of contrast and saturation although at times the picture is a tab soft probably due to age . I viewed this in HD upscaled 1080p 60 frames per second. Overall there is  higher clearer definition of picture quality.

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ANIMATED EPISODES

The animated episodes are well done with excellent attention to detail, sharp background contrasts, faithful character design and animation lends to the atmosphere of the serial in turns of camera direction which feels less cinematic and more faithful to how it would have looked and excellent job by Cosgrove Hall.

AUDIO

The audio is clear with few hisses and artifactual noise this is something that I have noted in Hartnell and Troughton era that attention by the Restoration Team is paid not only to the image but also the quality of sound which is of course is restricted by technology at the time.

CONCLUSION

This is really classic Troughton at its best a tight another tight endearing story by  Kit Pedler about technology, fabulous direction with stunning visuals and atmosphere, great memorable and enigmatic performances. One of my favorites.  Highly Recommended.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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Dr Who – The Moonbase – DVD Review

 

 

This DVD is a The Moonbase with two missing episodes which have been animated 

PLOT

The plot revolves around the Doctor and his companions landing on the lunar surface were a complex weather station controls and maintains the weather of the entire world through gravitational pull. The cybermen are all but legend destroyed many years ago. However a mysterious illness is plaguing the base and eerie shadows reveal a familiar enemy.

The main plot deals with many interesting aspects of the future, a space station on the moon which is habitable, a weather station that controls and protects the people of earth and the jeopardy of this station failing mixed with whodunit esque subplot which brings both the Doctor and his companions into full and colourful characterisation.

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PICTURE 

The picture is sharp, detailed and well balanced with good colour saturation considering its age with. I viewed this in HD upscaled 1080p 60 frames per second. Overall there is  higher clearer definition of picture quality.

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ANIMATED EPISODES

The animated episodes are well done with good pathos and atmosphere which matches the feel of the other episodes, I would however say they went more for a cinematic feel in the terms of camera angles and shots which may divide fans. I enjoyed the visual renditions which do stay faithful to the overall character and set-pieces plus the cybermen look amazing and well detailed.

AUDIO

The audio is clear with a few artificial hisses and pops here and there overall a worthy and crisp audio considering its age dialogue is clear  as well as the nerve jangling and atmospheric score which is a treat to hear much like in in Tomb of the Cybermen.

CONCLUSION

With yet another gritty and ambitious story  and script by Kit Pedler about technology getting too advanced and going awry, fantastic set-pieces, sturdy characterisation of the main players and and interesting sub-plot this is Dr Who at its best. Highly Recommended.

Paul Isaacs 2017


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Dr Who – Tomb of the Cybermen – Revisitations DVD Review

 

This DVD is a 2-disc Special Edition of Tomb of the Cybermen with upgraded video and audio as well as new special features.

PLOT

The plot is a dark and brooding entry for the infamous cybermen instilling a sense of dread as an expedition has found a dormant tomb that holds creatures from a distant past who are slumbering. The characterisation is at times dated but the overall composition of technology gone awry is potent in this story, human greed, selfishness and sacrifice are themes as the doctor who in his sage wisdom warns them of the dangers of tampering with technology that they do not understand. A metaphor in itself.

  

PICTURE 

The Revisitations DVD is a worthy upgrade from the earlier edition with a sharper picture, deeper colour saturation, minor enhancements to the images when the the title are overlaid is a worthy mention too. I viewed this in HD upscaled 1080p 60 frames per second. Overall there is  higher clearer definition of picture quality.

AUDIO

The audio is clear with a few artificial hisses and pops here and there overall a worthy and crisp audio considering its age dialogue is clear as well as the nerve jangling and atmospheric score which is a treat to hear.

CONCLUSION

With polished and ambitious story  and script by Kit Pedler with high tension and plenty of bite to a worthy video and audio upgrade as well as a host of extras this a must see for fans of classic Who. Recommended

Paul Isaacs 2017


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Ultraman – Japanese TV Series (1966-1967)

Ultraman Series 1966The kaiju movies on the big screen at this point in time are in full stride the Godzilla franchise firmly in place and the Gamera franchise just starting up – but on the small screen there were hidden gems like “Ultraman”.

OVERVIEW

Ultraman is alien from outer-space that gives his unique powers to a human being who is apart of a special team called the Science Special Search Party who are in effect defenders of the earth – this is series is set in the future (I believe in the 1990s).

ULTRAMAN 

Ultraman the character comes to life when the kaiju have the ability to grow large – the added aspect of tension is the fact that when Shin Hayata uses the “beta capsule” to become “Ultraman” he has only a set amount of time before his energy runs out this is narrated during the fight scenes as a reminder adding a sense of urgency to the battle and added layer of intensity.

The series itself has many parallels to other shows such as Gerry Anderson’s Thunderbirds and the Super Sentai Series the plot revolved around the team in each episode and other characters within the story – the overall genre is sciences fiction but it delves into fantasy, crime, mild horror and action some of the episodes are noticeably dark in tone while others are lighter. The are constant elements of humour also throughout the series.

It is balanced mix of the all the things stated above which interesting plots, well crafted kaiju and special effects it certainly keeps you watching.

Ultraman JirassSPECIAL EFFECTS 

For 1966 special effects for at TV series are well crafted, ambitious and certainly creative for the small budget that was applied  – I viewed the series in HD (standard def) Upscaled to full HD the colours are bright and the grainy imperfect quality to the picture actually goes in the series favour adding a layer of atmospheric grittiness.

CONCLUSION

Ultraman is a diverse imaginatively constructed and realised kaiju TV series with an interesting plot and likable character to ambitious special effects I highly recommend this.

Paul Isaacs 2015