Wednesday, October 21, 2009

4H2 - Planet of Evil 2

There's some great performances in this story, led by Frederick Jaeger as Professor Sorenson. Sorenson is driven, dedicated, focused, yet slightly aloof, and Jaeger pulls off all these facets simultaneously with remarkable ease.. Prentis Hancock plays his usual "jerk" character well enough for his portrayal of Salamar, and Ewen Solon is a very sympathetic Vishinsky.

Playing the part of Morelli, though, an entry level crewman who has a scant few lines and spends most of his time in this story pointing at screens so other, higher ranking and important, people can discuss what they see, is Michael Wisher. As in the man who brought Davros to life. It seems almost like an even greater insult than his tiny performance in Revenge of the Cybermen to see Wisher taking such a subordinate role in this, what would turn out to be his last role in Doctor Who. Didn't Wisher's agent at least mention that his client had created one of the great screen villains in recent times to any prospective employers?

There's a good action sequence, videotaped in the BBC studio, that sees a bunch of Morestran guards vainly attempt to fight off the antimatter beast. Several guards fall to their deaths during the course of what is an impressive set piece. It's rare that freefall stunts are attempted anywhere except on film, and the fact that all the guards are really waving at and shooting at nothing (the antimatter beast being CSO'd onto the main image) is never really apparent. Credit must go to director David Maloney for preparing his actors and camera crew for what was a very hectic scene to shoot.


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