Sunday, 1 December 2013

Wah-Who Dorey

In a week I can only described as "Mist-mas" -- that is, repeated slow-motion and still-frame shots of the infamous Zapruder footage in which a curtain of red mist sprays from John Fitzgerald Kennedy's head -- it was a mercy to be also assaulted with visions of the Doctor past, present and future, as the world also observed the other 50th anniversary.

For November 23rd this year was like a Christmas Day to millions of Whovians world-wide, ready to watch, re-watch, analyze and dissect the long-awaited episode The Day of the Doctor - both on television and in cinema.

We did both, of course, but there was a price to be paid and rather more than the twenty-two dollars each.  First off, we didn't manage to get tickets for the 2:10 pm (Eastern Standard Time) showing of TDotD, in spite of ordering tickets pretty well the second they became available online here in Hades on October 25, nearly a month before the airing date.  The only show for which tickets were shown being online were for 7 pm our time at the South Keys Cinema which is some distance from our house and more than halfway to the airport.  All other tickets were "encore" presentations the following Monday.  It was a couple of weeks before the Resident Fan Boy noticed that, not only were there shows available at local (-ish) Ottawa cinemas for the exact same time as the programme would be released in Britain (all sold out, of course), but that the show for which we held tickets did not appear at the Cineplex web-site. We fired off an email and a phone message and two anxious days passed, until we were re-assured that, although our show was a "programming error", it would take place anyway.

"We were a bit surprised that this is so popular," said the young fella on the phone.

Well, whew.  We comforted ourselves with the fact that Space Canada would be showing the episode commericial-free, for once, and that we would have the benefit of close-captioning for our first viewing, because, let's face it, David Tennant talks a mile a minute.

Who Day dawned with the first snow of the season, lending even more of a mock-Christmas cast to the afternoon, especially as the pub where we had a quick pre-television lunch was full of families just in from the morning's Santa Claus parade.  We scuttled back home and tuned into Space Canada with minutes to spare.

And the Resident Fan Boy and I had a fine time.  (Younger daughter vanished upstairs to listen to music - you might want to do the same thing if you're still avoiding spoilers.) We cheered and gasped in all the right places - so far as we knew - especially in those tingly few seconds when we thought we might see John Hurt regenerate into Christopher Eccleston.  We hooted with delight when John Hurt's Doctor gave an exasperated "Oh, for God's sake!" in response to Eleven's "Geronimo!" and Ten's "Allons-y!" (Quite right too!) I was particularly relieved that Billie Piper wasn't Rose, and I found this story easy to follow;  I usually have to see a Stephen Moffat story twice before I understand what is going on.

However, we were going to see this story twice and the RFB carefully planned our itinerary so that we would arrive at South Keys Cinema at 7 pm, enough time to find seats for the 7:30 screening.  The #9 bus was spot on time, so it took several minutes of waiting at the Hurdman Station before we realized something was amiss.  Bus after bus went by, none of them destined for South Keys.  When a #98 finally turned up, it was packed with early Christmas shoppers and the driver wouldn't let us board.  Finally a #97 had enough room and, forced to stand, I gazed in despair at the clock on the bus.  It was already 7:10. Yet another day spoiled by OC Transpo, I thought miserably.

By the time we entered the theatre, all seats were filled except the very front row.  About ten feet ahead, the screen towered above us, as we craned our heads to see the bottom half of the images.  Matt Smith's chin looked humongous from this angle, and though I could tell that the eye-stalks of the Daleks were supposed to seem to jut into the audience, I was not in the position to appreciate it.

Knowing that David Tennant would be making his appearance soon,  I ducked out of my seat and made my way to the back, where I stood behind the wheelchairs.  I learned later that the Resident Fan Boy made to follow me, but was sternly ordered back by younger daughter.

And there I remained for the next hour, moving unobtrusively to keep the blood from pooling into my ankles, and marvelling at the 3D effect on Joanna Page's breasts.  Crikey. 
Not in 3D, thank goodness

I had a sneaking suspicion that the cinema crowd had already seen this at home because there were few big laughs in an episode that was pretty funny. One particularly big silence followed one of my favourite gags when Queen Elizabeth I explains that although she had the body of a weak and feeble woman, so did her Zygon double. It was a youngish crowd; maybe they missed the historical reference.

Anyway, we emerged from the theatre feeling pleased, on the whole, that we had been able to see the episode on a large screen in 3D, but annoyed that, at $22 a pop, Cineplex couldn't be bothered to have reserved seating and had the nerve to sell seats that bloody close to the screen. The Resident Fan Boy found a manageable angle, even in the front row. Younger daughter, who was seeing it for the first time, seemed happy enough with the experience. I was, however, still hopping mad at OC Transpo and, feeling that my spitting at the next bus driver would be unproductive, we caught a taxi just outside. Well, someone else had ordered it, but they were nowhere to be seen, so the cabbie told us to hop in and as the wind chill was something like -14, we swallowed our guilt and hopped.

We don't have a red button in Canada, so we didn't see the following spoof by Peter Davison until nearly a week later. It is splendid and takes a few viewings to catch all the in-jokes. Not being a Classic Who fan, I've probably missed a few, but I particularly enjoyed Georgia Moffett-Tennant's method of scarfing ice cream and John Barrowman's darkest secret:

Oh, and non-North-Americans may not get the reference of the title. It's another combination of "Who" and Christmas:

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