Saturday, 7 July 2018

Dad's Army

The film, that is, not the phenomenally qualitative TV Series from the BBC. Guess you know what's coming now! Oh dear. What a shame that this was done and the TV Series wasn't left to RIP.

TV Series' being ported to the big screen rarely work. I'm sure you have a list in your head. But when (pretty much) none of the original cast are involved (and where they are, they're bit-parts) the tall order becomes skyscraper high. And I'm afraid this doesn't deliver, on almost every level.

Our Captain, played by Toby Jones, although presented as a buffoon, had none of Arthur Lowe's confidence, authority and leadership. He's a weak joke. That's not how our idiot hero was!

Jones, played by Tom Courtenay, is nothing like Clive Dunn, though they tried embarrassingly hard to give him one-liners to make him so, executed horribly. Ditto Fraser, played by Bill Paterson, who had none of the spunk and personality of the Scottish Undertaker made famous by John Laurie.

Pike as portrayed by Blake Harrison, was kind of passable, but Mavis was not cast well at all. Godfrey played by Michael Gambon had real promise, executed faithfully mostly, but he was sadly, largely, left in the background with not enough to do. Hodges was nothing like Bill Pertwee and was barely in the film.

The show was stolen though by Bill Nighy, playing Wilson. Of all the characters and actors, he got by far the closest to emulating the personality and quirks of John Le Mesurier's masterpiece. He played it just right and it would seem that the producers knew this as he was, I got the impression, given the most screen time. He did more than everyone else put together, to save the day. But even for Nighy, this was too much to ask.

They've tried to make the storyline into an intricate WWII plot involving wider agencies and authorities than they should have done. One of the strengths of the TV Series was that it was local, much of it in the town hall and bank, depicting everyday life of the platoon going about their daily business. This formula, they should have stuck with. It didn't need a lavish and, frankly, towards the end, ludicrous, plotline. Shame.

The biggest problem though, apart from all the aforementioned, is that it just isn't funny. I think I raised a mediocre smile twice.

A great shame. I was a huge fan of Dad's Army, but this, like many others before it going up-screen, is a disaster which should not have been done. The tall order should not have been taken from the table to the chef.

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