Wizards Vs Aliens Series One REVIEW

Wizards vs Aliens Series One DVD review: Harry Potter And The Invaders From Space



Release Date: 31 December 2012
2012 | PG | 341 minutes | £24.99 (DVD)/£29.99 (Blu-ray)
Distributor: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Directors: Daniel O’Hara, Joss Agnew, Griff Rowland
Cast: Scott Haran, Percelle Ascott, Gwendoline Christie, Jefferson Hall, Annette Badland, Brian Blessed

You might be surprised to see a CBBC show get a lengthy review here. But take a look at the names involved: Gareth Roberts, Phil Ford, Annette Badland, Brian Blessed. Oh, and some guy called Russell T Davies…

Yes, this is the show that was made in the aftermath of Elisabeth Sladen’s passing. At first, it’s hard not to watch it without wishing this was the rest of The Sarah Jane Adventures season five. It doesn’t take long, though, before Wizards Vs Aliens settles into its own unique groove. It’s fast, fun and unashamedly silly.

Sixteen-year-old Tom is a wizard. When the alien Nekross arrive with plans to devour Earth’s magical resources, he decides to fight back. Joining him are scientist Benny, grandmother Ursula (Badland) and hobgoblin Randal.

While there’s a healthy dose of Harry Potter here (for “Muggles” read “unenchanted”) this feels very much like RTD’s humanist take on Who. “How many are starving on your planet?” asks an alien at one point, neatly upending Tom’s certainty about our innate moral superiority.

Opener “Dawn Of The Nekross”, is fast-paced but unremarkable; only the slightly depressing fate of one youngster indicates that this is a show willing to take a few risks. “Grazlax Attacks” and “Rebel Magic” are better. The former is a cut-price Critters with some good gags, while the latter introduces the rebellious Jackson Hawke – Faith to Tom’s Buffy.

It’s around this point that it becomes obvious that the Nekross aren’t very good baddies. They look great with their wasp-yellow skin and eye tentacles, but their plan is dull and the King (voiced by Blessed) looks like an unthreatening cousin of the Face Of Boe. “Friend Or Foe” dodges this problem by forcing Tom and Lexi to work together. “Fall Of The Nekross” develops the theme, but then… nothing. “The Last Day” is a jarring change of pace: the story of Tom being reunited with his dead mother would be a touching mid-season tale, but makes for an oddly sombre finale to an otherwise bright and breezy series.

These flaws aside, Wizards Vs Aliens is a thoroughly enjoyable ride and that rarest of things: a kids’ show you might actually want to watch with your children.

Extras:

Five deleted/alternate scenes (seven minutes) and a couple of minutes of cute out-takes.

Will Salmon twitter.com/evilrobotbill

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