An evacuated London, prehistoric monsters rampaging around, conspiracies, time travel, a ‘space mission’ and a mad plot to wipe out humanity and start over again… Invasion of the Dinosaurs throws everything but the kitchen sink into this six-part story, and it does so very successfully.
From the eerie set-up, to the first monstrous attack and through every twist of the plot, I was engaged and entertained. I honestly would not have expected Captain Yates to have been in on the conspiracy, but the UNIT side characters have never been particularly fleshed out before. The whole time-reversal concept was excellent and unexpected, the fake space mission even better. The different elements of the plot hang together really well.
The trouble is, frankly, the dinosaurs look awful. Yes, I know it was 1974, but I guess Jurassic Park has spoiled me, so whenever I hear a T-Rex that doesn’t sound like a cross between a lion, a cow and a foghorn, it’s just wrong. Particularly when it wobbles about like a little rubber puppet, and is voiced by someone going “rawrrr!!”. To be fair, some of the other dinos look pretty good, and they cleverly make use of a variety of techniques to integrate them into the scenes, including blue-screen compositing and miniature street sets. I would rather a story not try to outreach its technical grasp, but in this case I do appreciate the effort that went into it and it didn’t spoil the story for me.
Despite the wobbly dinosaurs, then, this was easily one of my favourite serials so far. One of those rare occasions where six episodes didn’t drag.