Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor 3D - A Fathom Event
Fathom Events // Unrated // November 23, 2013
Review by John Sinnott | posted November 26, 2013
Highly Recommended
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[Notice: This review contains NO spoilers... if you haven't seen the special yet, feel free to read on.]

Fathom Events, a company that films special events and broadcasts them to theaters around the country, hosted a unique show on November 23rd (limited) and 25th (wide release). They presented the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special in 3D. Mostly known for bringing world class opera productions and plays to local theaters (though they do more than that... like hosting the Rifftrax Live events) this, to my knowledge, was the first time they presented a TV show. I was pretty dubious when I heard about it. Would people pay to see something they could get at home on cable? Even if they had to wait two days after it was broadcast? Yeah, the 3D aspect is nice, but is it worth trudging to a theater on a cold November evening? It turns out the answer to all of those questions was a resounding "yes" and it was well worth the effort. Seeing The Day of The Doctor in 3D with a very appreciative audience was a great experience and a hell of a lot of fun.

To celebrate the gold anniversary of the "most successful" science fiction series of all time, head writer Steven Moffat penned a special movie-length installment that features the current Doctor (Matt Smith), his companion Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman), a monster from the classic series that hasn't been seen in a few decades, a couple of notable appearances that will please fans, and, of course the Daleks. It's a tribute to the last 50 years of the show, while also setting the stage for the next 50. Moffat really worked his magic with the script. Many of the special occasion stories in the past have sounded better on paper than they turned out to be, but this event really was special. A fun and exciting episode that stands alone and is accessible for new fans but filled with wonderful props and lines that will tickle long-time followers of the show.

But how was the Fathom presentation? In a word, excellent. The preshow slides that were cycled on the screen featured fun facts about the show as well as some great trivia questions that would elicit both cheers and laments when the answers were shows on the screen. It was a nice way to kill the time before the show started... that was good because I arrived half an hour before show time and the theater was already crowded.

Once the lights dimmed there were a couple of special treats. First up was a lesson in theater etiquette from Strax, the Sontaran. It was hilarious, showing what happens if you try to record the event or break other common rules and mentioning that eating the exploded bodies of corn creatures was fine... but that corn feels pain.

Next up, Matt Smith welcomed the audience (though he was a little disappointed that it was only in 3D...) and instructed them to put on their 3D glasses and showed how to use them as a Zygon detector. It was also very amusing and I hope it pops up on a DVD or Blu-ray release at some time.

The show itself was excellent, presented in very clear HD quality and with great sound. The 3D effects were excellent worked particularly well. One of the plot points involves a painting that's 3D and seeing it in three dimensions added a lot to the story.

Afterwards there was a making-of special that lasted about 10-minutes. I usually find these a bit dry and lacking on actual information, but there were some nice anecdotes included, as well as a surprise at the very end that elicited applause from the audience.

When all was said and done, everyone present seemed to have a great time. People were talking excitedly about the show and the extras and I didn't see anyone who looked less than ecstatic. It was a very fun evening out that comes highly recommended.

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