The Snowmen

This week Whovian Leap reacts to “The Snowmen”

I have had a quick peek at Gallifrey Base and read a couple of newspaper reviews of the 2012 Doctor Who Christmas Special. But I hope the opinions expressed here haven’t been tainted by those of others. I wouldn’t want to be accused of regurgitating at Christmas. 

Whoosh! What was that? Not a brussel sprout rushing up my esophagus, but the new opening credits! I love the colours, a mishmash of lights and shapes, quite literally a “trip” in the Tardis. Someone has been on the Gallifreyan mushrooms.

Facetime! And I’m not talking about Apple. The opening credits since 2005 truly have been “The Faceless Ones”. But no more! Wisps of time and vortex matter come together and at last form Matt Smith’s face! (It reminds me a little of how Douglas Adams appeared at the end of the “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” movie.)

The actual theme music doesn’t seem to have changed a great deal. There are a few quirky Zx Spectrum beeps peppered here and there and slightly more oomph. Overall there is a more alien feel and sound, just like the original Hartnell theme perhaps. What are the scores for the new Tardis doors? 5 out of 10, alas. Like the Doctor’s current headwear, they feel old hat and remind me of the classic DVD range. Maybe they are a deliberate clash with the hi-tech feel of the overall title sequence.

Shall I mention Jenna? In a word, wow! When the Doctor gave Clara the Tardis keys, I loved the subtle movements of her face and twitches of her lips. I call it my “Piper” test – if she can bring a tear to my eye, she’s in! Clara is instantly likeable and believable and the rapport with the Doctor is tangible. Mark my words, we have a “When Tom met Lalla situation” in the making!

As for the Snowmen monsters themselves, their design is genius. There is such malevolence in their simplicity. If only we had seen more of them. There are no complaints either about the CGI governess, what was her name? Mary Pop-Ice, perhaps?

Nasty Dr Simeon’s performance was a little too understated. Has Richard E. Grant been taking lessons in expressive thespianism from Roger Moore?

The new Tardis looks a little bare, a bit like McGann’s version, but once the removal van has been. The flashing lights around the console room ceiling wouldn’t look out of place in a cheesy eighties’ nightclub. Yet, the time machine interior doesn’t seem quite as cosy as before – now a cold and mysterious dark blue.  I wouldn’t want to be alone in there, doctor-less and in distress. 

The plot was straightforward and easy to follow. The argument that Moffat’s scripts are too complex is as solid as a Snowman popping round the Pyrovilles’ for a steaming hot cuppa, on a summer’s day, …on the planet from “Survival”!

Finally, a gripe or two. The Beeb had to go and shrink the closing credits, didn’t they? Just when we all wanted to scrutinise them again. What about the trailer for next year? Yes, it was pacy, scary and dramatic, but where were the Ice Warriors or Zygons in a climactic final reveal? 

The Snowmen was fun yet scary. Both moving and gripping. Great performances with a perfect new companion. Excellent CGI to boot. Reinvigorating the Doctor Who brand just in time for the 50th anniversary. Really. I mustn’t grumble. But then again…there’s snow pleasing some!
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