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December 28th, 2009, 06:39 PM
So the BBC continues it's Sci-Fi Christmas with the new mini-series adaption of Day of the Triffids.

I’ve only read John Wyndham Day of the Triffids once and it was a long time ago. However, based on my vague memories, this new mini-series has taken major elements of the book, but added a modern twist to them (a shift from the Cold War themes with Global Warming). I’d also go as far to say the series is relatively faithful in Part One, but based on the trailer for Part Two, it looks to deviate from the book quite a bit.

This is a pretty big budget for the BBC, some spectacular effects and scenes. While the post event streets of London aren’t quite as impressive as they were in the Tiffids inspired opening of 28 Days Later, for a British TV show, I was quite impressed.

Also, and I don’t know what the difference is, but this is shot in the way the big US dramas are shot which adds to the atmosphere and the overall feeling of quality.

The Tiffids themselves and kept pretty much hidden away for the first 60 minutes or so, their presence only made know by POV shots, tentacles, the distinctively spooky sound, and foggy long distance shots. I cannot say if this was an artistic or a budgetary decision, either way it works out well, while man eating plants might have seemed scary in 50 and 60s, I think modern audiences are a little less easy to impress so not seeing them on screen all the time allow for tension to build up. However, when they do appear, the Tiffids look graphically impressive and suitably threatening.

As for the Human cast, it made up of mostly British actors who’ve all seen success on both sides of the pond in both film and TV – Dougray Scott plays the lead protagonist Bill Masen and Joely Richardson the lead female role. Other members of the cast include Brian Cox, Vanessa Redgrave, Eddie Izzard and the token American actor Jason Priestley. Eddie Izzard is outstanding and positivity oozes creepiness.

So… so far I am pretty impressed. I had been a bit worried as some of these big budget BBC adaptations can fall a little flat (see last years 39 Steps for example). I was also worried about the inclusion of Jason Priestley (who I always get confused with Luke Perry) after not-so-fondly recalling the use of Fred Ward in BBC’s Invasion: Earth, however he seems to suit the earnest character he plays. The trail for Part Two looks rather good so looking forward to tomorrow.

After the disappointment that was Doctor Who on Christmas Day, I am glad to see the BBC still producing good Sci-Fi for the season! Can’t help but wonder how good Doctor Who would look like with this budget though….

December 31st, 2009, 09:23 AM
At least they stuck much closer to the original book than the terrible film from the 60's.

However, why oh why couldn't they produce a film OF the actual book? The story line in the book is far, far better than this latest attempt. While enjoyable, it was contrived in places (the African mask?????) and by adding strong tendrils missed the original novels point... that the Triffids only really succeeded because the blindness removes the human races only survival advantage.

Eddie Izzard always does well though.

January 1st, 2010, 03:26 PM
While I enjoyed the first part, the second part was a bit of a let down. The African mask was always going to play so importance due to the number of flashbacks it was involved in. However, why it worked wasn't explained at all and made very little sense.

Still at least they kept the original ending. Overall a good effort, but I always tend to lose interest in these post-apocalyptic films once the status quo has been reached.

As for the strong and long reaching tenticles, I think it was necessary for a modern version to have an element like this - much the way modern zombies can run. The audience of today needs a more sustained threat than shuffling dead people or plants can offer.

January 1st, 2010, 03:33 PM
I quite liked it all told.

Though elsewhere folks have been calling it rubbish.

I must be a simple soul. I even enjoyed Dr Who, but then when I am full of turkey and gin I don't really want anything to tax my brain.

January 7th, 2010, 04:10 AM
I kept thinking - motorbike helmets and strimmers.

Half a dozen good men and women could easily strim their way through a whole forest of Triffids while wearing sturdy biker helmets and leathers.

Oh and the occasional buzz-saw.

So what do they use? Machine guns.

And that's one of the bigger problems of taking any old idea and bringing it up-to-date - technical progress means there are so many ways to deal with such a situation.