After my first watching of Dinosaurs on a Spaceship my review could be summed up as fun but shallow and crazily fast paced. I don’t think my opinion has actually changed very much with a second viewing. But perhaps I can go into a bit more detail.
Dinosaurs On A Spaceship is probably the best example of the mini-movies feel that Doctor Who seemed to be aiming for during season 7. I mean it’s an action packed blockbuster with… well… dinosaurs… on a spaceship. Oh, and robots! And missiles! And Egyptian Queens!
It’s absolutely stuffed to the gills with high concept ideas. None of which really get explored. They’re just thrown on screen for the wow factor. And then the whole thing is wrapped up in a layer of broad comedy. It’s funny, it’s exciting to watch, but there really aren’t any hidden depths to this one.
We don’t really get much in the way of motivations for the secondary characters. Or indeed backgrounds for some of them. And that certainly limits it’s re-watchability.
What saves it really is the performances from the actors.Mat Smith’s 11th Doctor is in an almost Tom Baker like mode here. And of course the Ponds act like we ant them to. The interaction between those three has always been a strong point as far as I’m concerned.
They’re given some solid backup here too from Rupert Graves (Sherlock), Riann Steele, Mark Williams (Harry Potter, The Fast Show) and David Bradley (Harry Potter, Broadchurch, An Adventure In Space And Time) all of whom take pretty shallow archetypes and do everything they can to give them life. It’s quite a cast actually. Even the robots are voiced by comedy duo Mitchell and Webb.
Writer Chris Chibnall’s contributions to Doctor Who have been mixed in quality but the lack of characterisation here is perhaps particularly noticeable to me given his writing of Broadchurch which showed a far greater subtlety.
I should probably say something about the special effects. The dinosaurs themselves are impressive. We’ve come a long way since the old series Doctor Who. We’ve even come a fair way since Primeval first aired on ITV.
So Dinosaurs on a Spaceship is never going to be ha.iled as a Doctor Who classic but it’s a perfectly acceptable episode