Pros:excellent acting, lots of fun moments, decent story
Cons:special effects & the alien leave something to be desired
The Bottom Line: This story wasn't given a fair chance for the most part. Give it another shot before deciding you don't like it.
Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.
Doctor Who is a British science fiction television series which has been around off and on since 1963. The main character is just known as "The Doctor" and is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. This means he travels through time to various places. One of his favorite places to visit is Earth. Typically, he has a companion traveling with him, usually female, sometimes male, sometimes one of each. He travels in a time machine known as a TARDIS which is disguised as a British Police booth.
A Time Lord can regenerate if fatally wounded, which has accounted for all the different actors who have played The Doctor throughout the years. In this story-arc, the Doctor is portrayed by Tom Baker. He is traveling with Lalla Ward as Romana. Romana is also a Time Lord. The robotic dog, K-9 is there too.
While trying to complete repairs to the TARDIS, the Doctor and Romana end up on a Skonnan battle cruiser where they learn of a plot to enslave the citizens of the planet Aneth by the Skonnans. All this is being done since the planet Skonnos is in the throes aof a Civil War and the Skonnans believe that offering up a sacrifice to the mysterious creature known as the Nimon will keep the weapons flowing and allow their side of the war to win. The Anethans are that sacrifice.
The plot sounds more complicated than it actually is. Following the story is rather simple and easy. It has much of what fans have loved and hated about the classic Doctor Who. There's the requisite rubber-suited monster (Nimon). The Doctor and his companion are conveniently separated for much of the story. Like many other Doctor Who stories, viewers will see similarities in this story to other legends and myths, in particular that of the minotaur.
The Horns of Nimon has been regarded as too silly in the past. Compared to other classic episodes of Doctor Who, this doesn't seem justified. I've seen plenty that were way sillier than this is. There are plenty of lighter moments and joking around, but these moments fit the story well. I didn't feel that the plot was made unrealistic with this going on.
Both Tom Baker and Lalla Ward are great here. Ward does perhaps her finest work since taking over the role of Romana, as I liked Mary Tamm much better. She nails the part, complete with some great facial expressions in response to what's going on around her. Baker hadn't become too bombastic in the role just yet and mixes just the right amount of dry humor into his portrayal of the Doctor.
The guest cast does quite well, especially two of the young Anethans. Seth (portrayed by Simon Gipps-Kent) is terrific as a kid who lied about who he is and now needs to deal with the consequences of perpetuating that lie. In the commentary it's stated that he was considered for the role of Adric, and it's easy to see why. Graham Crowden is great as the evil Soldeed. He reminded me enough of Anthony Ainley's portrayal of The Master that I thought he was going to be revealed as that.
On DVD we get the usual features. Of particular note is the commentary. No, Tom Baker's not here but Lalla Ward is. Series fans will probably know why already, but it's interesting to hear Janet Ellis actually bring up to Lalla her short-lived marriage to Baker. There are a couple of other featurettes which are interesting, but it was that moment in the commentary that made listening to it well worth it.
While I don't necessarily think The Horns of Nimon is the best the classic Doctor Who has to offer, I do think it's been unfairly maligned. Now that it's out on DVD, it's definitely worth a second look if you can open your mind beyond and pre-conceived notions you might have.
• Commentary with Lalla Ward, Janet Ellis, Graham Crowden, Writer Tony Reed
• Info Text
• Who Peter - Partners in Time
• Read the Writer
• Peter Howell Music Demos
• Photo Gallery
© 2011 Patti Aliventi
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Viewing Format: DVD