THE NERD GETS A THIRD DIMENSION
“What are you gonna do? Assemble a cabinet at them?”
– The War Doctor in “Day of the Doctor” grousing about Doctors 10 and 11 brandishing their sonic screwdrivers like guns.
– Me, at the 3D screening of “Day of the Doctor” last night.
(I think 10 might have said that once or twice too.)
WARNING! WARNING! CLOISTER BELL! SPOILER BELL! There be a goodly number of spoilers in the following crop of fresh words. If you haven’t seen “Day of Doctor” yet, bookmark this and come back. We’ll wait. We’ll just watch some DW or eat some cheesecake or something.
*Puts away dirty dishes, wipes faces, belches unabashedly”
I got to see “Day of the Doctor” last night. Again. This time, in 3D on the big screen. I’m still smiling.
Did “Day of the Doctor” need to be in 3D? Of course not. It’s a little bit like the war doctor complaining that 10 and 11 wave their sonics around like guns instead of the simple tools they are. So often, 3D movies create a movie around the 3D with scenes that are clearly there just to show off the 3D. Although “Day of the Doctor” didn’t need the 3D, they make great use of it. A lot of the time, you forget it’s even there. There’s a few times it jumps out: tree branches seem to poke you when the doctors walk through a forest. The TARDIS console in 3D is fun. And then there’s Queen Elizabeth’s cleavage. (I’m sorry, but it’s true.) Most of the time, though, the 3D enhances the experience without getting in the way.
The audience I was with at the theater was clearly into it, clapping and laughing appreciatively. The geekiness, though, was somewhat more subdued than I might have thought. Maybe because this was a weeknight show, the weekend anniversary already past. I saw a few dudes in tweed jackets and bowties. Half a dozen fezes. There was one woman with blue hair and a TARDIS dress. I did see one person in a STUNNING Doctor 10 costume. If she wasn’t a woman, I would have thought she was Ten. I don’t know how she made it or where she got it, but it was perfect.
That’s another thing. Say what you want about sci-fi being a boys’ club. But it seemed like the audience at the show I was at was mostly college aged twenty-somethings and mostly women, or at least fifty-fifty.
My favorite part of seeing the movie in the theater was the fact that I’d already seen the show on TV. I was able to just enjoy the geeky thrill of a TARDIS on a movie screen for the first time. Plus, there were a surprising number of people in the audience who clearly hadn’t seen “Day of the Doctor” yet. That was awesome. Whenever some cool little surprise came up – Capaldi’s cameo, Tom Baker’s scene – there would be this murmur and a gasp among the segment who didn’t know what was coming.
But I knew. It was my Time Lord moment.
By the way, how cool was that Tom Baker scene? Yeah, he’s gotten old, but, man, he’s still the Doctor. And that was the conceit of the scene, wasn’t it? It was beautifully written and performed. Clearly just a whimsical throw-away scene for the fans. But the door, that door of possibility, is wedged open just enough to let some future writer come up with a legit storyline (canon or fan fiction. Hell, it’s probably fan-fic already.) where, somehow, an older version of Doctor 4 lives on as curator of that museum.
No, Eccleston didn’t appear in the movie. Would have been great and there were enough surprises as the film went along that I started to think it possible he could show up. Moffat outright lied about past doctors being involved. When we got McGann in “Night of the Doctor” it seemed like all bets were off.
But it’s one thing for McGann, who has been actively involved with Who since the movie with public appearances and Big Finish plays to claim he isn’t involved with the 50th, then – SURPRISE! – show up. It’s quite another for Eccleston who is on record as only ever being committed to one series of Who, not particularly enjoying it, and actively avoiding anything related to it ever since. Who really thought he would do it? Really? Having the War Doctor start to regenerate into someone who could be 9th doctor and using old footage of 9 was enough for me.
By the way, one critique, if I may. The sudden regenration of the war doctor felt rushed, like it was only there because fans wanted to see it. The war doctor survives decades of war, then spontaneously regenerates when the war is over? That to me adds credence to the idea that he’s not a true incarnation of the Doctor, just a creature existing only in context of the war. I will never refer to him as the real 9th Doctor. I like the character and will happily watch more of him if offered, but he will always be, at most, The Doctor with an * by his name.
Hey, there’s an idea. A humble suggestion, I offer to the BBC (I’ll let you know where to send the check.) How about a new spinoff TV series or, even a series of films centered on these offshoots? You could explore this “alternate fourth doctor” if that’s what Baker’s appearance was. More of the War Doctor would be great. The public clearly craves more McGann as Eight. Comic books do alternate universe stories all the time. Why not Doctor Who?
It’s late. I need to go to bed with my Doctor Who shirt, sonic screwdriver and my 3D glasses.
May your spouse be as tolerant as me.