Because there still is no word about a Region 1 DVD release for this one, I decided to buy the Region 2 DVD off of eBay. (Spoilers obviously for no one who’s seen it yet)
I had read some fans’ comments about it before I even got it so I was a bit spoiled at least on the animation style. Some griped that only the Doctor resembled himself quite well, while Jamie and Victoria didn’t look much like themselves. Most mentioned the bizarrely long arms that all of the characters had. I believe a few also weren’t too happy with the creative license the animators took in general (I’ll get into that a bit).
After getting the DVD set, I went into the viewing with those comments in mind. I disagree as far as the resemblances go. I thought Jamie and Victoria’s likenesses were quite good (as was the Doctor’s). I did notice the long arms thing, and it did seem a bit odd at times (and at times it seemed their heads were a bit too small for their bodies) but I tried to chalk that up to the animation style. It wasn’t overly distracting.
As for the creative license, I did notice that in areas like the Impeller Room they had “Wanted” notices with the Master’s picture on them. It was a cute little in-joke, but I could see how purists might roll their eyes and think that it takes away from the experience. I believe they did the same in “The Faceless Ones” animated reconstruction (I will get around to reviewing that one; it’s been a while since I last watched it, so I’ll have to rewatch to refresh my memory).
This was one of the stories that I never really watched in entirety. I hate to admit it, but I find it a bit hard to watch the recons that are just made up of the stills (though I admit the Loose Cannon recons were very good), especially when they’re more than 4 or so episodes. Having said that, I’d only seen a little bit of this serial; namely the first and last episodes (I might have seen the second, but it’s been a few years). It was much easier to watch via the animation and I was able to enjoy it as if it was the first time I’d ever watched it. I had seen the last few scenes of the last episode with Victoria’s goodbye, and it was one of the things I regret about this story being missing. Jamie’s scene with her out on the patio at night was so heartfelt and sad, and it sounded as if he’d given her a kiss. I thought they did a very nice treatment of this scene for the animation. Jamie did give her a kiss on the head/forehead at the very end.
Overall I thought it was a nice treatment of the story and I did like the animation style. It’s available in both color and black & white, and there’s also the option of watching the recon version with the stills.
As for the extras, I haven’t explored all of them yet but I would like to touch upon a few: The surviving footage, scene trims from episode 6, and behind the scenes film (from the same episode) are the same ones found on the “Lost in Time” DVD set, although they stitch them together nicely to recreate the specific scene from the episode that they’re from; for example, they use the surviving soundtrack and overlay it on top of the surviving footage.
“The Cruel Sea – Surviving Fury from the Deep” is a very nice extra featuring cast (Frazer Hines, June Murphy (Maggie Harris), and Brian Cullingford (Perkins)) and crew returning to the locations used in filming. They take a boat out to the rigs at one point and explore. In between they share their memories of filming (at one point Frazer talks about how cold it was filming on the beach that his knees turned blue and his girlfriend had to massage them 😉 He also recalled how sad they were for Deborah Watling to be leaving and how sad Jamie was because he had feelings for Victoria). This was also interspersed with older segments of Deborah Watling and Victor Pemberton at a convention in 1988 talking about the story. At the end they all went from the sea to a comfortable restaurant/pub for a drink and a chat. It was a very enjoyable extra.
All in all, this was a nice treatment of the story and I enjoyed what I’d seen of the extras. I’m curious to see what they will be animating next.