When I first heard the breaking news that there was a Doctor Who movie planned for release in the next few years, my initial thoughts were, “here we go again,” and “what arsehole thought THAT was a good idea?”
As the story began to take hold, and it was starting to become a little more than a rumour, my initial sceptisicm turned to actual worry. On Twitter, the outpouring of negativity was rife, which is one of Twitter’s unfortunate side effects. I was incredibly annoyed by this too. But why? What was my problem?
The main issue that I had was that the director, David Yates (with many priding him on maintaining the “Britishness” of Harry Potter, films I have enjoyed) has claimed that he wants to start it all afresh. There was even the intimation that Russell T. Davies and Steven Moffat completely junked elements from the original series and made their own versions.
Well, this is true of some elements. But one thing that both Davies and Moffat have stayed true to is that this is the same man the first appeared in the Totter’s Lane junk yard in 1963. I’m probably being presumptuous here, but it seems – from the tiniest snippets of information we’ve had so far – that this is going to be a completely separate Doctor from our TV hero.
I think this is where my first niggle comes from. I see Doctor Who, and the things that happen in it, centric to the television incarnation. Whoever plays the Doctor on TV at that time IS the Doctor. But we know Hollywood is about playing it safe. I concede that Matt Smith is unlikely to be playing the Doctor when this film is rumoured to be released, but whoever the actor is, it’s doubtful that’s who producers will want.
So what will we have? There have been cries of “oh no, not an American Doctor!” but that’s not too much of a problem really. The US has a great deal of talented, charismatic actors who could do the part justice. There are also a lot of actors that’d get the role, possibly based on having “killer abs”. No, I’m being unfair. There’s plenty of time to shudder over casting choices.
I also see the bypassing of the proper, TV version of the Doctor a bit of an insult to the actors that would be currently in the principle cast. If all that time, money and effort is going into telling a Doctor Who story, why shouldn’t the ‘proper’ Doctor feature?
This is just a fan perspective of course. When you’re a fan, it feels like you’re on the inside looking out. I’m not speaking for all fans of course! From this angle, Doctor Who is fine as it is. It’s a cosy bubble of fun and adventure. What would you need to make a film for? From the outside looking in, the story is very different. Doctor Who is a product, and a very, very prosperous one.
With that in mind, it’s no wonder that someone outside of the BBC wants a slice of the pie. Ker-ching! It’s a testament to Doctor Who that there are people that might barely even get what it’s about, but still want to make some cash off it. That is what it’s all about, right? I always knew that if Doctor Who would be popular again, there would be elements I might not like. I’ve watched 6 years of this rejuvinated show, and aside from a handful of bum notes, it’s been a majestic run of stories. I probably can handle one more media outlet, right?
There’s also been a comparison between a prospective movie “reboot” (shudder) of Doctor Who and the recent Star Trek film. I can understand this comparison, and everyone loved this recasting of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, et al, right? Well sure. I really like the original Star Trek series, and while I enjoyed the portrayals of the new cast, they weren’t replacements for me. I enjoyed it in the same way as I’d enjoy a skit, with people playing the parts as pastiche. The experience wasn’t dissimilar to watching Family Guy’s Star Wars parodies. Not ideal, but fun nonetheless.
So with that in mind, I can probably watch a movie version of Doctor Who. Perhaps a completely distanced version from a TV counterpart would be preferable. Instead of worrying about a film franchise tugging at the televised adventures, it will stand alone as a curio. It could be remembered as an oddity, much like the 60′s dalek movies, and thought of just as fondly.
Perhaps it’ll be a hit, and spawn its own franchise. Maybe the films will continue when the series is not on the TV. This is all second guessing, and we hardly know anything at this stage. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t curious to see the design and execution of this project, if nothing else. Saying this, we’ve all heard this rumours before, and it should probably be taken with a pinch of salt, so not worth getting that worked up about yet.
And as a fan, I pick and choose the bits and pieces of Doctor Who I lend credence to. No, the Doctor’s not half-human, nor has he been to Albert Square. My Doctor works better on TV I’ll wager (he certainly comes off worse in big budget specials).
Of course, there might even be those that prefer this sexy, wise cracking, time travelling movie superhero over the Time Lord’s smaller scale adventures.
But they’d be wrong.
And don’t even get me started on whether or not it’ll be in 3D!