In 1966 Dalekmania was still in full swing. The unprecedented popularity of the Daleks had led to merchandising going into hyper drive. Toys, books, comics, lunchboxes and board games had been produced which all featured the Daleks. There was even a PVC Dalek dressing up costume.
Amicus Productions leapt at the chance to make a movie featuring the popular characters from the television series Doctor Who and the first movie, Doctor Who and the Daleks, was released in 1965. Due to the success of the first movie the second went into production almost straight away. Unfortunately, Roy Castle and Jennie Linden were unavailable for filming so their characters were replaced by Bernard Cribbens and Jill Curzon as Tom Campbell and cousin Louise. Peter Cushing insisted that he would only make the sequel if Roberta Tovey was again cast as Susan.
Watching the opening of Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 you could well be mistaken that you are watching the wrong film, until TARDIS turns up and police officer Tom Campbell mistakenly runs inside to find Doctor Who, Susan and Louise quite shocked at his entrance. The first quarter of the film is delivered at a breakneck speed; hurriedly trying to cram the storyline of two of the TV shows episodes into about 15 minutes of film. After that it all takes a rather leisurely stroll and plods along toward the final act wherein it gathers speed once again to deliver another two TV episodes storylines in a little time as possible.
You’ll also need to realize that this is an alternate version of the story that you already know. Doctor Who is a human scientist. His last name is Who. Most definitely not a Time Lord and not from Gallifrey.
At times the soundtrack seems totally out of place. The fight scene really could have done without the groovy funky 60 psychedelic sound that seems to accompany it which seems to conjure up images of Adam West era Batman. So much so you will be expecting a large POW to fill the screen.
The transfer of the film is slightly more grainy than its predecessor although some of the effects shots look amazing in the Blu-ray format. Just watch the scene where the Dalek spaceship takes off and count the wires that are holding it up! The Robo food can also be seen for what it really is – Dolly Mixtures. It can also be seen that the ears of the Daleks are, in fact, cheap plastic drinking beakers that were made for the Woolworths Company in the mid-sixties.
Overall the movie looks good but, again, tries hard to cram 135 minutes of the TV show storylines into just 80 minutes of the movie. It may well have worked better if the running time had been a little more extended.
Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 did not do as well as its predecessor Doctor Who and the Daleks. Maybe Dalekmania was dying down, maybe people were not prepared to pay to go to the cinema to see a reworking of what they had already seen on TV. Either way the planned third movie, The Chase, was scrapped.
Both Dalek movies are a great aside from the BBC’s Doctor Who universe and are definitely of their time but there is a lot of charm and heart in both movies. Dalek Invasion Earth 2150AD is a nice reminder of an era when TV was only black and white and seeing your favorite villains in colour and on the big screen was something that every 8 year old dreamed about.