VOYAGE OF THE DAMNED
Okay a 3/5 or a 6/10 I'd say. I haven't returned to this since it first was viewed. The only thing I returned to time and again before season 4 started was the previews at the end. Still, having just watched it again, I must say the actors are all very good in it, the effects varied and well done, the music FANTASTIC, and the set pieces excellent. The characters are likable and the dialog logical and touching.
That said it's a very sad story with few if any survivors on board the Titanic...a spaceship in space with aliens who visit the Earth on Christmas Eve/Day. Many likable characters, including Mrs. Foon and her husband (the names elude me), a cyborg Baffakkallaffa or something or other and waitress Astrid Perth played by the pretty Kylie Montaquie or something or other. She's very good as are all the other actors and characters. The businessman, one of the few survivors, is not a nice man and makes fun of the chubby husband and wife, the wife who dies saving the Doctor. In fact, there's a quite a few nice people dying for the Doctor and in self sacrifice, Bakkaff and Astrid included.
Irwin Allen's first disaster movie THE POSIDEN ADVENTURE: this is what this is whole heartedly. The only other thing about this is that...well, it has THE ROBOTS OF DEATH mixed in as angel shaped android bots called the Host turn on their alien masters and start killing all survivors/witnesses. Only the Doctor seems to have a protocol to stop them...and even then not for long. SO this is not a very original special but it has a cinema feel to it.
Things I'm not sure about: Tennant's brave short speech about who he is, "A 903 Time Lord from the Planet Gallifrey and I"m the one wh's gonna save you and the 6 billion people below ..." somehow I liked it better when the Doctor just called himself "a noone, a nobody" as in BRAIN OF MORBIUS but somehow or other this stands as a stand out moment and also: it sort of brings the Doctor from that humble past to the present. Still, later on he tells Astrid and others that he's just a traveller.
RTD certainly likes to favor travelling over just staying at home living a life but then again in the end Mr. Copper is it? becomes a normal Earth citizen even if he is an alien.
Which brings me to...well, the aliens on the ship besides Baffa...are well, shaped like us, looks like us, normal life spans like us, businessmen like us, egos like us...they might as well be us! Which brings me to...why not do a Titanic story anyway? Well truth is it's been done a million times before A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, a 1970s story from Thames possibly and staring Nick Young leader of the TOMORROW PEOPLE, and again Irwin Allen in 1966 did it with the very first TIME TUNNEL-RENDEZVOUS WITH YESTERDAY. ANd not to mention Leonardo DiCaprio's TITANIC in the 1990s. SOooo, all this alien stuff is really just spacey enough to be somewhat okay but also very very familiar.
Still, this isn't boring or tedious and evokes the same kind of passion for life and sadness for death as the POSIDEN ADVENTURE (and it even features a song being sung like that movie and Allen's TOWERING INFERNO). The meteor storm also evokes LOST IN SPACE and the shaking VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA. Astrid's death (not to mention Foon and her husband--sad in that Foon won a contest by phoning in 5000 credits of calls only to end up dead and having her husband die before her) is very reminscent of the death of Gabriel in XENA WARRIOR PRINCESS as she drags her own evil daughter down to hell/Hades with her while looking up at Xena...
The businessman hugs the Doctor in the end and thanks him for saving him and tells him he's rich and the Doctor remains just plain non emotive. As Mr Copper notes, the Doctor can't pick who will live and who will die..that will make him a monster. And let's rremember the Doc helps Copper get off the ship before he will go to jail for ten years...just as he will later change his mind and help the thief girl in PLANET OF THE DrEAD. Dread cause it sucked for me. Anyway, there's that really strange scene where the Doc phones Buckingham Palance and the Queen waves up at the Titanic thanking the Doctor. It's very, I dunno, GAY. Yeah, it's very silly and goofy.
The whole thing ends up kind of sad and goofy at the same time. But this is not terrible, nor is it very very good either just kind of is. It's not a story I'm likely to return to in future either. Russ Tovey makes an impression as Alonzo Framer or something or other and the Doc's alonsy fetish is very annoying by now. It's not a catchphrase that grew on me and I hope it's almost over...oh yeah there's that stupidity in THE NEXT DOCTOR...but whatever. For now, after that awful MASTER two parter, this at least was an adventure that made some sense. Speaking of which, even though Max C had an impact pod or whatever to keep himself safe as it crashed...did he need to be on board at all? Did his plan really have any merit? Couldn't he just retire anyway and not get his revenge on the board? WTF?
Anyway, DW while darker than it was in 2005 - 2006 is now wholy sadder and wholly stupider and things just happen for a rise out of people or for gimmickry and Xmas specials and it seems diluted somehow. I must admit I was expecting Astrid to survive and it was a shock when she was lost for good. I even wondered what it would be like to have her as a companion and to me it seemed as if she's be another Rose/Martha type so I wasn't unhappy she wouldn't be coming. Of course the Doc wouldn't take an old man but he would have taken the blond bimbo. Also surprised they didn't use Kylie as the singer on board but whathaveyou. I do like that they focused on Astrid's life but isn't that the same thing RTD always does: makes you think that this person is a poor lost soul and they must just take off with the DOctor and make their lives better with the Doctor. Even after only 3 seasons that idea is old hat and kind of annoying now. What about having someone who like Ian and Barbara or even Tegan are whisked off from a good or fairlly good or startnig out life on Earth and who want to get back there...I'm frankly tried of RTD's "vision" of DW and of the Doctor and hope Moffat changes things significantly but to be honest, the leaks and rumors that are slipping out don't look hopeful. I'm thinking "more of the same" but with a new face Doctor...sad really that. All that said, David's again really good in this.
Oh and was there any reason for the Doctor to drag everyone with him toward the control room? He needed their help? And was there any reason to go to level 31 to confront Max? Did he have to do that to stop the ship from crashing? Not sure but it all seemed like a waste of time and Baffa, the Foons and Astrid all die from his delaying of getting to the control room alone.