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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Adventure > Time Travel > British TV > Computer Animation > Battles > Outer S > Doctor Who: The Greatest Show In The Galaxy (1988/Story No. 155/BBC DVD)/Starship Troopers: Invasion (2012/Animated/Sony Blu-ray)

Doctor Who: The Greatest Show In The Galaxy (1988/Story No. 155/BBC DVD)/Starship Troopers: Invasion (2012/Animated/Sony Blu-ray)


Picture: C+/B-     Sound: C+/B     Extras: C     Main Programs: C-/C+



When even good Science Fiction becomes franchised, it can wear thin quickly.  Here are two examples.



Doctor Who: The Greatest Show In The Galaxy (1988) is another weak Sylvester McCoy entry, this time facing an intergalactic variant of a touring circus, but this is a “psychic circus” up to no good and the Doctor needs to figure out what they are doing and stop them.  Though I like the idea and concept, it is done in a slap-dash, trivial way that helped slowly kill the series in its original form after Tom Baker left.  I was not impressed by much outside of some production design and was glad when it ended.  For diehard fans only, extras include a Music Video, Making Of featurette, PDF DVD-ROM materials, Photo Gallery, four clips, Audio Commentary by four of the supporting cast, Isolated Music Score and Deleted and Extended Scenes.



Following two poor liver action sequels to the 1997 Paul Verhoeven genre classic and the Roughnecks spin-off, Shinji Aramaki’s computer animated Starship Troopers: Invasion (2012) brings back Casper Van Dien as Johnny Rico as a promoted Rico as the new troops (and some of Rico’s old friends) fight and kill more bugs.  Without any political context that Verhoeven offered in the original film, that is mostly all you get here and the animation is not always state-of-the-art, but at least this is made in the spirit and with the attitude of the first film and has its interesting, amusing moments.


With animation that will remind one of the failed Final Fantasy CG feature Sony issued theatrically years ago, but this moves better.  Even if you are not a diehard fan but liked the original film, there are enough amusing moments to give this one a look, but don’t expect much beyond that.  It all just makes me sad that the first film was not the giant hit it should have been.


Extras include a Blu-ray exclusive Conceptual Art Gallery, plus Gag Reel, Deleted Scenes, In-Depth 11-Part Making Of Documentary and Filmmaker Commentary.


The 1.33 X 1 color image on Who was shot on professional, analog PAL videotape and looks good for its age, but also has the usual detail limits, yet I cannot imagine this looking better than it does here.  The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Troopers looks better, but not by as much as I expected with some detail limits on the animation and just a general sense of it all of it coming up short.  Though not cheap to make, it seems a bit behind the best CG out there and it not always as imaginative as it could be.


The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Who is just fine for its age, but don’t expect much more sonically, but the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Troopers is pretty good with a consistent soundfield and some interesting sound effects.  That does not mean it could compete with the original Verhoeven film for sound (the Blu-ray (unreviewed) does not do the best to capture the original mix either) but it is consistent, which is what we expect from all current Blu-ray titles.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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