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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Adventure > Drama > Time Travel > Outer Space > British > Doctor Who: The Day Of The Doctor - 50th Anniversary Special (2013/BBC Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray 2D & DVD)

Doctor Who: The Day Of The Doctor - 50th Anniversary Special (2013/BBC Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray 2D & DVD)

3D Picture: B 2D Picture: B Sound: B Extras: A (Tele)film: A

Since the show's reboot in 2005, Doctor Who has done big, universe shattering events quite adroitly. The latest incarnation of the Doctor does not disappoint in this amazing special featuring current Doctor Matt Smith, his predecessor David Tenant, and screen legend John Hurt as a never before seen iteration of the Doctor. Flowing from the present, to 16th century England, to the very end of time and the time war of Gallifrey vs. Skarro, this story feels big, and manages to deliver the goods on a long held plot complication of the modern Doctor. Did the Doctor end the time war by committing planetary genocide? How does he live with that decision? Can it be undone?

In The Day Of The Doctor (2013), ex-companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) returns in this tale as the manifestation of a device that just might deliver the Doctor's greatest desire, or fulfill his destiny as a destroyer of his own people. Seeing her again in the role of Rose, if even as a Rose proxie, will bring back fond memories for most modern Who fans, and she seems to relish her chance to inhabit her old skin. Jenna Coleman returns as the impossible girl companion of Mr. Smith's 13th Doctor, and she plays beautifully off of Mr. Hurt, who looks every inch the war-haunted Time Lord: grizzled, hard, and weary, but also cool and steady under fire. Mr. Tenant resumes his role as the 12th Doctor with aplomb and his performance will make fans miss him all the more. His romance with a pudgy Queen Elizabeth (and her alien doppelganger) will bring laughs and surprises, a bit of that madcap Tenant magic that made so many fall in love with his Doctor.

Offered in three formats, the picture and sound on these discs stands up to the BBC's current high quality standards. The 1080p 1.85 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution digital High Definition image is fine and this was issued briefly in British theaters, but it is not always great, yet is just fine and thorough enough for the presentation offered, but the 1080p 1.78 X 1 2D digital High Definition image transfer looks as good for this all-digital shoot. Continuing the look of the show (slightly dark since its revival) and style, the cinematography is as consistent and impressive here, though the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the DVD is not as good as either. It is as good as it is going to be in that format.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes for both Blu-ray 3D & 2D presentations are the same, well recorded and offer soundfields as consistent as anything in the series' history, while the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD is weaker, is too as good as it will ever be in that format.

BBC Video does not skimp on extras for this set, and the box includes a featurette entitled Doctor Who Explained, exploring the nature of the Who phenomenon and how it has endured these past fifty years. They also include a thorough Behind the Scenes feature that will take fans deep into the making and execution of this series-changing special. Finally, two mini-episodes round out the extra offerings on this collection.

Packed wit thrills and surprises, The Day of the Doctor sets fans up beautifully for the Christmas Special where Mr. Smith makes his departure as the 13th Doctor and Peter Capaldi enters as the 14th man to inhabit the role. Well, counting Mr. Hurt, let's call him the 15th Doctor, at least unofficially!

- Scott Pyle


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