DOOMWATCH

Dull watch

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased 20 June 1972 | 12 | Blu-ray Di­rec­tor Peter sasdy Cast Ian Ban­nen, Judy Gee­son, John Paul, si­mon Oates, Jean Trend

It’s been quite the an­nus mirabilis for fans of Doomwatch, the pre­scient ’70s TV se­ries about a gov­ern­ment de­part­ment in­ves­ti­gat­ing eco­log­i­cal dis­as­ters. Swift on the heels of April’s box set re­lease of ev­ery sur­viv­ing episode, here’s a be­lated HD re­lease for the movie spin-off made by Bri­tish studio Tigon.

Ian Ban­nen plays a sci­en­tist sent to a re­mote is­land to in­ves­ti­gate the pos­si­ble ef­fects of pol­lu­tion on ma­rine life. In­stead he dis­cov­ers a dis­turb­ing epi­demic, which is de­form­ing the residents of Balfe and leav­ing them prone to vi­o­lence.

Early on the signs are quite promis­ing, with the is­land set­ting, the un­co­op­er­a­tive lo­cals (who be­lieve the sick­ness is “the will of the Almighty”), the dogged Scot­tish lead, his re­la­tion­ship with a young fe­male teacher, and a soundtrack fea­tur­ing pas­toral flutes all com­ing to­gether to cre­ate a strong Wicker Man vibe. How­ever, the film be­comes in­creas­ingly frus­trat­ing.

For one thing, for fans of the se­ries it’s pretty galling to see the TV cast side­lined in favour of with ev­ery dreary, plod­ding de­tail of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion played out in front of us to pad the run­ning time – not only well be­yond the point where it be­comes blind­ingly ob­vi­ous what’s go­ing on, but past the point where you cease to care.

Extras None. Ian Ber­ri­man

The pac­ing is mer­ci­lessly, pun­ish­ingly slow

Fancy vis­it­ing the main lo­ca­tion? The is­land of Balfe is ac­tu­ally Cor­nish vil­lage Polk­er­ris, four miles from the Eden Project.

Karl al­ways over­dressed in the sum­mer.

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