Last update: April 2010
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Steve Moore (creator of Star Tigers) writes:
What can I say about this wonderful, wonderful piece of work? Well, obviously, modesty forbids me saying anything in praise of the original story, as I just happened to write it, though having had the opportunity to work with Stuart on the project, we have managed to correct a few of the unwanted editorial interventions that were made in the original publication, and add a little tailpiece besides. So if you’re looking for a definitive, ‘author’s cut’ version of the Star Tigers story, this is about as good as you’re ever likely to get. Even better, it moves, it talks… it lives!
So, if I find myself too dull to talk about, we’ll just have to talk about Stuart and his work instead. I’ve never seen him on better form than he is here. We all know that everything he does is a labour of love, but this is just downright Herculean. No wonder it took him so long! Of course, in writing this review, I do have the advantage of having seen both parts of the movie, but when I slipped the advance copy into the DVD I was completely knocked out. For a start, the new software Stuart is using is a vast improvement, providing much more fluid movement for the characters, richer colours, and so on (I fear I’m too technologically ignorant to add much more than this, but if you take a look at the fascinating ‘Making of…’ feature on the second disc, you’ll get some idea of what’s going on, and of the insane amount of work that’s gone into bringing you this production). The whole thing looks absolutely stunning, and there are some sequences, like the scene where the Killwagon first takes off and heads for space, or the meeting with Vol Mercurius on Dispater, which are just so perfect they make an old fogey like me quite emotional… and that’s to say nothing of the fantastic sets on Draconia and Paradise, where Stuart has picked up the original designs by Steve Dillon and David Lloyd and extended them into wonderful new areas. And for all you fans of dead women (!), Taiyin just looks fabulous… what a babe!
As always, the voice-acting is splendid, too, with Richard Dadd as Daak and Edward Gore as Mercurius in particularly fine form, though really everyone involved is absolutely spot on. And, as always, the music’s very fine, too. So, overall, I really couldn’t possibly have asked for greater fidelity to the original, and everyone involved is to be heartily congratulated.
The bonus features are very fine, too, particularly the aforementioned ‘Making of’ feature. Better still, Stuart has kindly taken it upon himself to provide us with a “moving comic-strip” version of World of the War-King, a previously unseen Star Tigers script that I wrote immediately after the original series, but which was never published. Like life itself, it’s short, brutal and nasty, but it’s a story I never thought I’d see rendered visually, and with this (and the outline for After Daak on this website) you’ll have the entire canon of the original Daak/Star Tigers material. Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did in revisiting it.
So, obviously, I can’t recommend this highly enough. Thank heavens Stuart did it, and it didn’t go to Hollywood! If you have even the slightest interest in Star Tigers (and if you have, no one will be more grateful to you than I am), then you have to have this movie.
Gareth Preston (voice of the Draconian Emperor) writes:
Thanks for sending me the disc. I'm really impressed with this episode and all the work that has gone into it. Draconia looks splendid and you realised the characters from the strip marvellously. Your early TV21 work was good but this latest series is so much more ambitious and you've pulled it off with aplomb. Great voice work from everyone too.
The documentary on the backup strips was very entertaining too. Good to see that little chapter of Doctor Who getting some coverage. I liked Black Legacy and the Sea Devil and Silurian stories especially.
Will definitely be getting the next chapter, even if I'm not in it!
Terry Cooper (voice of the General Karinis) writes:
Received Part One today, and really liked it ! It's way ahead of previous productions in terms of detail, richness and sound quality.
The characters were nicely modelled, with only tiny minor problems (almost unavoidable when you have things like flowing robes), and theor faces are all really nicely textured: Daak has stubble and chest hair (!) and the Draconians are suitably slimy and they all look individual - tricky feat for a race that all generally look alike!
The voice acting is well done and it all sounds as if they were in the same room - I did General Karinis (Very happy at how it turned out!) and the performances all sound professional and nothing could be faulted.
Story wise, it was easy to follow and well shot. I did feel a little confusion about a certain scene where (I'm trying not to give anything away here) Salander hits his lowest point, but I assume that's in the strip, not the animation at fault.
Especially good was the scene with Dr Zorynx - atmospheric and perfectly moodily lit.
So many nice touches - the cool ship, the Dalek in black, smoke, fire, space travel, reflections, glass, throne rooms - the attention to detail is the best it’s ever been.
The only (minor) criticism I can point out, for the sake of balance, is that sometimes the backing music felt a little overused, when it could've been reined in, and saved for highlighting specific scenes.
But all in all, it's a good sign that the productions are getting better each time, and this one sits proudly above all of the rest.
Excellent work, Stuart, and all involved.
Nice selection of supporting goodies too! Bravo!
Jonny Dabinett (voice of the Immigration Official) writes:
I really enjoyed this one. The atmosphere of the whole episode is so very dark and bleak, All the Dragons are so lofty and (with two exceptions) back-stabbing. The music is really cool and suits this story very well. The animation looks fantastic and moves very smoothly. You can really tell Stuart has taken his time on this one or has got himself a much bigger computer.
All of the voice actors have done a really good job. It certainly was a strong cast as suggested by Stuart a few months ago. I am even quite impressed with my performance in it as it sounds nothing like my voice and none of my family could work out which character I played. I remember having difficulties with a couple of the lines and did several takes due to all the extra sssesss in the middle. I can still hear the struggle to get the sentence out when I watch it, but fortunately for me when I listen in detail to all the other Dragons, I can hear them struggle too so I have decided that it is just the way Dragons speak, and my struggle to imitate a Dragon must be a daily occurrence on Draconia.
Everyone has done a fantastic job in this one and I am proud to be part of this production. My advice to anyone who hasn't seen it is to get it as it’s well worth getting.
Andrew Panero writes:
The story begins in fine cinematic form with a space yacht escaping the Planet Mazam hotly pursued by a squadron of Dalek assualt vessles. After a breathtaking chase through hyperspace they emerge in Draconian space where a dogfight ensues, the space-yacht picking off the Dalek craft in an impressive demonstration of flying skills. Prince Salander, who is something to do with the Emperors left ear as well as a shipping magnate, is so intrigued he grants the space yacht landing permission. The starship lands in the Draconian city and the hatch opens. Out steps the inebriated figure of Abslom Daak, Dalek Killer.
Stuart's animation and photography reach new heights in this tale of court intrigue from the pages of DWM. The Draconian city, the Emperor in his bubble and the image of Daak's dead love all make impressive viewing. What is also very pleasing is the complexity of emotion that Stuart's cast have to portray, this is all very skilfully done.
I must admit to a dilemma in all this in that I can't say I have ever been a big fan of this story, especially the first part. Both the comic strip and the film seem very slow moving to me, although I am looking forward to the second part as things do hot hope as Abslom begins his recruitment drive for the crew of the Kill Wagon.
Nevertheless, this release feels very much like a major milestone in your career, Stuart, a truly splendid achievement.
John Anderson writes:
Just a short note to thank you for the excellent Star Tigers Part One which we received yesterday morning.
To say that it takes the already superb output of Altered Vistas to a new level of excellence is an understatement.
Thanks you once again for all your efforts.
Kevin Turner writes:
Just a few lines to let you know I have watched Star Tigers Part One (three times actually).
I am most impressed, the animation is superb, the actors are great and overall a very good entertaining story. Only major problem is I cant wait for part two!
I love the battle scenes, the explosions are more realistic and it has a very professional look and feel to it.
I got to see the preview of Dreamland on YouTube and I feel that they should have got you to do it because I know you would have done a better job. The animation is not very good, it looks like a Nintendo game, very jerky and not a good likeness of David Tennant.
Anyway, keep up the good work and again give my congratulations to all who where involved with Star Tigers.
Mark Evans writes:
Every year round about November 23rd I like to watch, read or listen to something new in the world of Doctor Who, just to celebrate the birthday.
This year I thought the only new item would be Episode Three of Dreamland on TV. However, in the post this morning was the latest disc from AV- Star Tigers Part One. Having really enjoyed all the other AV films, and being a big fan of the original comic strips I was overjoyed to receive it and had to watch it ASAP.
What can I say? Another top notch film from AV. The story is an excellent adaptation of the original strip, adapted with the help of original author Steve Moore too. The animation itself is just great. It is in every way up to the standard of Dreamland, in fact, in my opinion it betters it. There is once sequence in the Draconian country manor where the lighting effects and the reflections in the mirrored table are quite beautiful.
The pace of the story is just right; not too long or too short. The music is well up to the usual AV standard and the voice actors do a great job, especially the guy playing Daak himself.
The extras this time are a fascinating study of the back-up strips in Doctor Who Weekly/Monthly which brought back many old memories. There is an animated slideshow of the Land’s End Doctor Who exhibition and a trailer for Star Tigers Part Two.
All in all a fantastic, professional product which is easily up to broadcast standard. I hope that the obviously talented Stuart Palmer is sending copies of his work to the Doctor Who production team in Cardiff. I am sure they could find a place for him in the production of the series itself.
Just about to order a copy of Stuart's professional DVD The Legend of Kawa the Blacksmith because if it is anywhere near as good as his AV work then I should be in for another treat.
A huge thanks to Stuart and all the team at AV, especially the dubbers who are really helpful.
Roll on further Star Tigers, the completion of the Dalek Chronicles project, and anything else you guys have a crack at! Trust me, your efforts are much appreciated by all Doctor Who fans.
All the best and thanks again.
Trevor Sproston writes:
I have to admit that Star Tigers isn’t my favourite strip, and for me, Abslom Daak is somewhat of a cardboard character, so my main reason for getting the disc was that I didn’t want to miss out on yet another wonderful Altered Vistas creation.
The whole thing just gets better and better. Fine rendering, beautifully realised characters, with real weight to them; the movement of the sheets on Daak when he’s in bed was very nice. Fine lip-synching; ok on occasion they tend to move in a dreamier way than the action requires (Abslom in the Emperor’s palanquin for example), but so what? My only real criticism is that Abslom looks a bit too much like Action Man on steroids, especially in the legs. But the modelling of Taiyin in her sarcophagus was outstanding.
This is so well done, that I can’t imagine part two (which I will go for, despite my lukewarm feelings about Abslom Daak) can be any better.
Let’s just say that I love you, and I want your babies! ;-)