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Curse Of The Del Garria Review!!

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  • Andrew
    Panini Comics(UK) Source: http://www.paninicomics.co.uk/WhatsNew.jsp# Curse of the Del Garria Review 27/05/2004 by Ian Hewerdine The Curse of The Del Garria
    Message 1 of 1 , May 27, 2004
      Panini Comics(UK)

      Curse of the Del Garria Review
      by Ian Hewerdine

      'The Curse of The Del Garria' is a short film made by Doctor Who
      fan, Andrew Merkelbach. Read our review of it here...

      The Curse of the Del Garria Review

      Last week a parcel dropped through my door, all the way from
      Australia. I think that was the first time I have received a package
      from Australia. So, gosh, it was a good day already. OK, so maybe I
      am easily pleased, but as I always say, that's got to be a good
      thing. Anyway, I digress. Said package's Australian origins were
      obvious, so there was no mystery that it would be the VHS tape from
      Andrew Merkelbach who I have been in correspondence with lately.
      He's been plugging his short Doctor Who-inspired film which he
      directed and starred in. So this was it, ready to watch and

      A break in my work appears and I find a suitable location equipped
      with a video player. Magnetic media is so 90's after all. At least
      that's a neat enough sounding excuse for not having one. I decide
      drag along another 'Who' fan who I figure might like the chance to
      experience the UK premiere of 'The Curse of the Del Garria' and may
      have some useful alternate points of view to offer when it comes to
      writing what you're reading now.

      So, settled in and with a couple of cups of tea and a plateful of
      biscuits at the ready, the credits roll. I briefly wonder if I will
      be behind the sofa at any point in the next 28 minutes.

      Its clear from the beginning that Andrew, who has assumed the mantle
      of the "Traveller" (to avoid any awkward copyright issues I assume),
      is a big 'Who' fan and we should take for granted that anything
      which isn't explained can be assumed to pretty much tie in with the
      usual Doctor Who lore. In truth you will need to do this since the
      script sets of at a trot with the main characters chatting in a
      manner that assumes we're already familiar with them. After a bit,
      the gist of the plot is revealed: The Traveller has been busy saving
      the Universe/World/Time-Space from naughty scamps who would use
      sneaky tricks to subvert the status quo to their advantage, but now
      he's having a bit of a weekend break in a sleepy seaside town, circa
      1996. All this is revealed in the Traveller's matter-of-fact yet
      tongue-in-cheek manner, working off the age-old script technique of
      the handy 'sidekick who needs things explained'. Things rapidly turn
      ominous and then go reassuringly wrong as the town is gripped in the
      thrall of 'obligatory malevolent baddie'.

      The Curse of the Del Garria shows promising production values.
      There's commendable attention to detail in the cinematography,
      incidentals, sound, music and credits. Even down to the rewind-
      worthy footnote, "Any similarity to persons living, dead or
      fantastically reanimated is purely coincidental", which went down
      well. There are even some special effects too! It's a well made
      outing which has sufficient humour to let the viewer not take the
      whole thing too seriously and it revels happily in its clichés.

      The most notable weaknesses are in the acting and the rather clunky
      script. Acting performances from the main characters are mostly
      passable for daytime TV, but we're certainly not talking Royal
      Shakespeare Company - some lines are a bit clipped and you don't get
      the feeling you're watching a character, rather that you're watching
      someone deliver lines - Willem Dafoe and Al Pacino aren't in any
      danger just yet. But the low budget nature of the episode is
      embraced and a bit of hamming it up and the tongue-in-cheek
      qualities help the general mood. As for the script, this does
      require a certain level of Doctor Who familiarity from the viewer
      which shouldn't necessarily be assumed, and it ends abruptly on
      something of an anti-climax. Other niggles are that some of the
      dialogue isn't picked up well by the microphones - but that's a
      budget limitation not a failing of the filmmakers. There are also
      scenes which are shot from a couple of angles to give the impression
      of there being more than one camera on set, but the break in the
      flow of the acting gives that away a bit, which is a shame. There
      are also a few scenes where characters with speaking parts have
      their back to the camera while they deliver their lines. Mostly
      these are minor issues that you can imagine being remedied if the
      makers had the luxury of the ability to re-shoot scenes.

      All in all it's a very 'Who' 28 minutes and the makers have worked
      hard to give it a polished look and feel. In a strange way I found
      myself thinking of `Lord of the Rings' director, Peter Jackson's
      early splatstick effort - `Bad Taste'. Not that I have seen it in at
      least 10 years and The Curse of the Del Garria doesn't compare
      really in any way to Bad Taste other than being shot on a very low
      budget with a lot of enthusiasm - but Andrew Merkelbach seems to
      have a good idea of how to string his production together. If Peter
      Jackson can go from Bad Taste to Lord of the Rings, it's not
      inconceivable to see Andrew Merkelbach going on to significantly
      greater things than 'Curse of the Del Garria'. As for my co-
      reviewer, well he gave the boots a big thumbs up. Hmm. Maybe that
      was a waste of a cup of tea.
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