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      The Quatermass Experiment

      2005 List
      Reviews 49% 250+ Ratings Audience Score Read More Read Less

      Audience Reviews

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      DanTheMan 2 Before a few weeks ago, this had been my only exposure to the adventures of Quatermass over the years, my memory of this one was a little shakey at best, but upon a rewatch, it's a rather remarkable little experiment. Granted it would have probably worked a lot better as a straightforward TV drama than a live broadcast but as a way to experience Nigel Kneale's original teleplay, this will do you just fine even if the updated setting makes the story and many scenes feeling anachronistic. Sam Miller's direction is limited due to the live broadcast nature of the production but it's far from bad. At the same time, Richard Fell's streamlining of the original material isn't terrible. However, I would say that the guys at Hammer did a better job in adapting and condensing the material even if they negated some critical plot elements which Fell kept. Tim Atack's music is adequate and ultimately very of its time. Still, the best piece was the use of the original serial's opening credits and its patterned use of Gustav Holst's Mars before transitioning into an updated rendition of both. The performances from its central cast are all genuinely well rounded, with Adrian Dunbar being a personal highlight, although I feel that Jason Flemyng is miscast as Quatermass, he's not bad, however, when both David Tennant and especially Mark Gatiss are starring alongside, you ultimately wonder what could have been if either of them had taken the titular role. All in all, as the first live drama in over twenty years (although the DVD is slightly edited to remove any errors and imperfections) and to date, the last time we saw the good professor on our screens, The Quatermass Experiment was far from a misfire I've seen it called. It does Kneale's material justice and remains a solid final outing for good old Bernard. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 03/25/24 Full Review Matthew B In 1953, the future of British television sci-fi was changed forever by an exciting new series. Filmed over six episodes, the public faithfully tuned in to find out what would happen next, and the show was a great success. This show was The Quatermass Experiment, and it would provide the template for Dr Who – the kindly, paternalistic humanitarian who fights aliens using science in a series of episodic adventures. Indeed Professor Quatermass, the show's eponymous hero, reappeared in three more stories on television. Yet somehow this groundbreaking show was lost forever. At that time the BBC chose economy over long-term thought, and erased all but the first two episodes of The Quatermass Experiment. The unfortunate result of this oversight was that for 50 years the only full versions of the first Quatermass story were a book that contained a version of the original script, and Val Guest's 1955 movie adaptation, slightly renamed The Quatermass Xperiment. This finally changed in 2005 when the BBC's new cultural channel, BBC4 made a couple of one-off sci-fi dramas based on lost series from the 1950s. The first was The Quatermass Experiment, followed the next year by A for Andromeda. At last we had a version that was closer to the original concept of its writer, Nigel Kneale. This is not to say that the final production did not have considerable flaws. In an attempt to replicate the raw immediacy of the 1950s series, it was decided to record The Quatermass Experiment live.This was common practice in the 1950s, and all of the original Quatermass teleseries were recorded live. It is my saddest regret about the 2005 adaptation that they chose a live format, rather than taking the time to make a studio version where they could have smoothed out some of its flaws. This is not to say that the final result was bad or unprofessional – only that with more time it could have been even better. The faults of the live Quatermass showing are as follows. The studio was over-lit in a way that occasionally distorts the image and is a little painful on the eyes. There were one or two minor flubs in the delivery of lines from the main cast, though nothing serious, but a few of the minor supporting cast members performed poorly. The need to fill in between scenes led to dull longeurs, as we watched distorted camera shots of London. There are moments where camera crew are visible, and in one scene where the actors run from a press conference to a sick ward, the background looks like the TV studio that it is. Now that I have covered the production's greatest flaws, I can turn my attention to fully expressing my appreciation of the production and my gratitude that the BBC made it. This is a contrast to the usual ending of sci-fi stories – there are no explosions. Quatermass's only weapon is the power of rational persuasion. It is easy to see why this was changed in the film, as it risks closing on a note of anti-climax. How far it works in the 2005 adaptation is a matter of taste. Is it a stimulating or a disappointing end? I will leave that for you to decide. The Quatermass Experiment was a flawed remake, and this is frustrating since many of its wrinkles could have been ironed out with more work than a live low-budget production allowed. The weaker actors could have been coached, the lighting toned down, and special effects could have been added. The blurry transitional scenes allowing time for the crew to get ready for the next scene could have been dispensed with. What we do have is a decent and intelligent production that captures many of Nigel Kneale's original ideas. Some of those ideas may have been lost in the Cold War, but others remain universal – our fear of the unknown dangers that may face us, the worry that one day we will face mass extinction, the potential evolutionary threat posed by a creature that is more well-adapted than us, and the horrific prospect of possession – of losing one's control, identity and belonging, as we are taken over by something outside of us, and made to do its bidding. I wrote a longer appreciation of The Quatermass Experiment on my blog page if you would like to read more: Rated 4 out of 5 stars 09/05/23 Full Review Audience Member a very loser adaptation of the classic. Rated 1 out of 5 stars 02/19/23 Full Review Audience Member Poor Adaption of the Nigel Kneale classic, which is a suprise as their are some great actors in it like David Tennant and Mark Gatiss. I know its a live drama but it is just too pedestrian and boring, the ending is terrible, the original is head and shoulders over this am afraid. I like Jason Flemyng, hes a great actor but just does not suit the part of Quatermass, it needed someone older and not as weak. Only for the die hard fans this. Rated 1.5 out of 5 stars 01/30/23 Full Review Audience Member Woodenly acted, slow and very dull... Not even any side-boobs in this one... Rated 1 out of 5 stars 01/26/23 Full Review Audience Member Oh well, at least I got to see David Tennant. He acquitted himself well. As for the rest, it was really quite flat. Rated 2 out of 5 stars 01/31/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

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      Nancy Banks-Smith Guardian The result was adrenaline-fired, if sometimes a bit bumpy. Feb 26, 2020 Full Review Read all reviews

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      Sam Miller