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The Power of Kroll

Rating Votes
10
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0
9
3%
2
8
3%
2
7
14%
11
6
36%
29
5
29%
23
4
16%
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Average Rating
5.7
Votes
80
Director:
Writer:

Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
5
Plot Rating:
5
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
5
Effects Rating:
4
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: DalekbusterScreen5ReviewsReview Date: 4/8/17 11:28 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The penultimate key to time is upon us as the Doctor (Tom Baker) and Romana (Mary Tamm) arrive on the third moon of Delta Magna. Robert Holmes was unhappy with this serial as he later declared it not one of his best. To some extent, I agree although overall I prefer The Power of Kroll to his later sixth Doctor serial The Two Doctors.

The plot sees the Doctor and Romana become embroiled in a conflict between the moon's occupants the Swampies and the crew of an oil refinery. The Swampies plan to awaken the giant underwater creature called Kroll whom they worship as a God but is really a squid that was mutated by the fifth segment of the Key to Time. It is a good story but far from a memorable one, especially compared to some of Robert Holmes' other stories such as Spearhead From Space or The Ark in Space. The problem is that the narrative borrows too many things associated with other episodes of the show leaving not much in the way of originality.

Giant monster? Check (The Tenth Planet, The Green Death, Robot...)
Oil refinery? Check (Inferno, The Green Death, Terror of the Zygons...)
Primitive species (Swampies)? Check (An Unearthly Child, The Underwater Menace, Death to the Daleks...)

The Swampies also look a bit too ridiculous to be taken seriously. I don't know what make-up artist Kezia Dewinne was thinking by making them green but it just makes them look silly. I don't care about how the Kroll creature looks (it's not as bad as the Nucleus from The Invisible Enemy) but there is no excuse for the Swampies looking this bad. They look like the Jolly Green Giant:

[IMG]http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/tardis/images/d/d6/Swampie.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20101209184255[/IMG]

[IMG]http://www.greengiant.no/Shared/Images/TheGreenGiant.jpg[/IMG]

And what's with those stupid dreadlocks? They look like they're about to join some sort of punk rock band and sing songs about sweetcorn. They certainly don't look like a tribe that would sacrifice people for Kroll.

There are some nice scenes in The Power of Kroll though, such as when one of the Kroll's tentacles tries to attack the crew of the oil refinery through the pipes. That is a particularly tense moment and probably one of the most memorable of the Key to Time season. It's just a shame that Robert Holmes' usual imagination isn't present here.

You have to hand it to the cast: they really try to sell the story. Tom Baker and Mary Tamm give it their all, although Tom Baker looks bored compared to his appearance in other serials. Unfortunately K9 dos not feature in this serial because of the problematic K9 prop being unable to move over the swamp but John Leeson does appear in his first onscreen role as refinery crew member Dugeen and he is by far the standout of the supporting cast. Despite the best efforts of the cast however the story still doesn't appear as anything other than average.

The Kroll could have benefitted from CGI on the DVD release. It isn't the worst classic series effect but I fear it could put off many new series fans wanting to give the classic series a try. It really shouldn't be about the special effects but unfortunately in the age of CGI, many enjoy seeing flashy visuals in a modern televised production over archive television material with weaker special effects. It is odd that they decided to give The Ark In Space (a serial with great special effects for the classic series) CGI sequences over a story like The Power of Kroll that deserved it more. Hopefully fans new to the show are better than the kind of people who wouldn't watch something because of the effects.

Overall, The Power of Kroll isn't Robert Holmes' worst Doctor Who story but it certainly isn't his best either. The narrative is decent but disappointingly borrows too much from past Doctor Who serials and the Swampies look more like the Jolly Green Giant than a primitive species capable of sacrifices for a fake God. There are some good scenes to be found in The Power of Kroll though and the cast try their best to sell the story (even if Tom Baker looks a bit bored). Yes, the Kroll doesn't look that brilliant but special effects are the last thing that should put somebody off watching a classic series serial and it's far from the worst classic series effect anyway: that honour goes to the Nucleus from The Invisible Enemy.

If you want to watch a Robert Holmes story, you're better off watching Spearhead From Space. It's a far superior serial that feels more like an exploration of new ideas than a repeat of ones the show has used already.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
6
Replay Rating:
5
Effects Rating:
6
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 4/7/15 9:46 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

There are Doctor Who scripts that are so wonderful, so perfectly matched to the Doctor, and so timelessly great, that they are guaranteed instant classics. The Power of Kroll is not such a story.

In search of the Fifth Segment of the Key of Time, the Doctor and Romana land on a moon that's ripe with conflict between a methane plant with four employees and a group of green-skinned natives who worship a giant squid.

Perhaps, the most challenging of this story is that writer Robert Holmes was told to play down the humor while producing a story featuring the biggest monster in Doctor Who history to date. Holmes succeeded on both accounts, however the story suffered as a concept like this is hard to play straight and have it taken seriously.

The result is an often B-movie feel, though in a less satisfying way to similar Doctor Who stories like the Pyramids of Mars or the Face of Evil. This is brought about by generally weak acting. The worst offenders are the crew of the refinery who look quite bored through the first three parts even while facing deadly peril making those portions almost interminable. The script also gives short shrift to Romana which is a true shame.

The one part of the scenario that does work is Kroll himself. While modern CGI could do better, they do a good job for the time in making Kroll look truly intimidating from a distance. The close up shots of his tentacles also look pretty good particularly when compared to similar effects during the show's early years.

Of course, what makes this working is Tom Baker as the Doctor. He's a dynamo of energy, and on his game with plenty of daring do, and lots of humor. Whether Holmes gave Baker these lines or he ad-libbed them, in every scene he's in, Baker's a delight and at the top of his game. With a little help from a Giant Squid, the Doctor not only saves the day, but he carries the story and makes it worth watching despite the weak spots.