A long way to take a Rory


Enjoyable Romp ™, anyone?

The previous adventure was a harrowing one for both the Doctor and Amy, as well as the audience, and so a light run-around in 16th century Venice, with added Rory for comedy relief would seem like just the ticket.  The pre-credits sequence is possibly the funniest ever, showing that after 900 years the Doctor may never quite ‘get’ humans, an aspect which Matt Smith is using beautifully in his portrayal.

Taking Rory and Amy to Venice as a pre-wedding gift is a commendable gesture and it does ultimately repair the couple’s relationship, in unexpected ways. Personally, I’m uneasy with the concept of the Doctor as a galactic gooseberry, and the fact that even though Rory appears to be the most ineffectual of all TARDIS boys, he also seems least likely to fall into line.  Even the irrepressible Jack quickly learned his place in the space of one story.  But we all know that the essence of good drama is conflict, so I suppose I’ll just have to accept ‘Mickey 2’ and see how this plot strand plays out.  Perhaps I’m suffering Rory-resistance for the same reason that most of us disliked Adric – he seems a little too familiar for comfort.

As a life-long Hammer horror fan I loved the various nods to this genre – the vampire girls are wonderful, particularly in the ‘Jonathon Ross Show clip’ – but I do wonder if  revealing them to actually be ‘terileptils for the digital age’ really added anything.  It seems uncomfortably akin to the late and unlamented Van Helsing – only able to present Dracula as a ‘proper threat’ by transforming him into a CGI demon.  Taking a wider view, I don’t suppose debutantes with fangs would really cut it for younger viewers wanting their ‘monster fix’, and at least alien crustacean/fish appear at home in a Venetian canal?

Rosanna Calvierri is perfectly played by Helen McCrory, bringing the memorable RTD villainesses of the past to mind.  At the same time, she also manages to be a sympathetic character – one city in exchange for the continued survival of a race does seem perfectly understandable from a certain point of view.

There’s plenty to enjoy here, but nothing especially deep – at times it’s difficult to really care about the various predicaments the characters find themselves in.  Venice is going to get really wet?  Hardly a reality bomb.  The Doctor strolls through this one as if he’s untouchable – the climactic outcome of his first confrontation with the villains is the Time Lord being shown the door. Even Rory manages to fend off a skilled sword attack with a broom handle.

Perhaps it’s churlish to make criticisms like this when the story is so much fun, and so beautiful to look at (thanks to Trogir for being more like Venice than the real thing).  I suspect there may be angst ahead for our heroes so we should maybe try what most declined to do with Planet of the Dead – join in the spirit of fun and laughter while the option still exists for Amy and ‘her boys’.


One Response to “A long way to take a Rory”

  1. Peter A Says:

    Cheers Al! Trogir did indeed look good and I look forward to seeing how it comes across as Provence later on. I thought the visuals were on the whole pretty good – the costumes for Rosa and Vincenzo subtly foreshadowing the neck-spines of their aquatic forms, while the aliens’ front two teeth (deliberately?) recall the twin incisor fangs of Murnau’s Count Orlock – who later of course visited Venice in the form of Klaus Kinski’s version of the character in that Nosferatu sequel (now what was it called again?)

    A big thumbs up for the Confidential as well – Francesco has been a favourite of ours on the Living Channel with his tour through the Mediterranean from Venice to Istanbul, so his appearance on the behind the scenes was an unexpected treat. He din’t ‘alf look confused though!

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