An Adventure in Time and Space

There really is no genre better than the biopic to me. After I watch a good one, I go into a frenzy and quickly research the real facts of what transpired. Artistic license is used to dramatize events since usually a life is lived dully unless you embellish it. This film came in the 50th anniversary Doctor Who boxset I picked up. I thought it would be a cheap looking mediocre affair made on a dime to cash in on the anniversary. Nope. It was a gem of a biopic.

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An Adventure in Time and Space is a title that references the nature of Doctor Who. The Doctor every episode will take a trip through time: backward or forwards. This film captures the way Doctor Who came to be from the modest budgets to the famous regenerations. It does tend to gloss over a lot of these things quickly whereas I would love to see entire scenes devoted to these. However, it keeps a good pacing, and the real meaty part of this story is the man who plays the first doctor, William Hartnell. William is an old actor, who from the sounds of the film was typecasted and never really took off due to his relative stubbornness. All this changes when he becomes The Doctor. At first, the show is struggling to get afoot as the pilot episode doesn’t work and is reshot. Poor ratings on the eventual airing of the pilot are due to unfortunate timing as JFK is assassinated. After a few bad starts and almost cancelation Doctor Who takes off. William finally sees people clamoring for him, they want to see him, and the bitterness disperses like Scrooge on Christmas. The rest of the film tackles William’s failing health as he feels like the production and future of the franchise relies on his involvement.

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William Hartnell is played superbly by David Bradley, Argus Filch of Harry Potter fame. I never knew Bradley had this acting in him. The other star of this film rides on the producer, Verity Lambert, the first woman in the role of producer at the BBC. She was tasked with the purpose of getting Doctor Who together. It was her career riding on this. Doctor Who was initially a show for children to educate them about the past, yet this fulfillment of the show appears to have gone to the wayside in favor of spectacular science fiction. Verity succeeded in getting children to watch, but it was more to do with the horror they were experiencing as the terrifying Daleks take to the screen in the second episode. Verity’s character talks to the women of the sixties too. She was believed to have become a producer from sleeping with the senior boss. Therefore, we cheer when she triumphs, and everyone can see she progresses because of talent.

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This is a special movie for people that watch Doctor Who. It’s also a unique little biopic in its own right. An old typecasted actor and a newly appointed producer take on all odds to create a show that succeeds for generations, more than fifty years now. I recommend this one.

Robert Ring

Love and Mercy

There is a line from a Bon Jovi song that I listened to often that mentioned “in a Brian Wilson world” and I was always curious as to who this individual was and what a statement like that could mean. This biopic features the struggles Brian Wilson of Beach Boys fame dealt with when dealing with his demons. Brian is deafened in his right ear by his father and beaten periodically at a young age. These trials only worsen as he begins to hear voices while we see him transition from his young adult self played by Paul Dano to his older self played by John Cusack. In later life he contends with abuse from Dr. Eugene Landy played by Paul Giamatti, whom he gave over his legal rights to. Dr. Eugene is always watching and controlling every aspect of Brian’s life, including his love interest to Melinda Ledbetter played by Elizabeth Banks. The story revolves around his genius, his mental deterioration and his love interest. You don’t need to know who the Beach Boys are to enjoy this film, however it will further your enjoyment of it when you hear his songs played and videos recreated. Personally, I found his life to be quite prolific and will read his biography before I see this film again.


The film is brilliant. I have seen many films in theatres this year and this one currently takes the number one spot for the best film of the year thus far for me. Love and Mercy is fantastic.

4.5/5 – Stars

Robert Ring