Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 5/10
Cast: Toby Jones, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bill Nighy, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtney, Mark Gatiss, Blake Harrison, Daniel Mays, Sarah Lancashire, Emily Atack, Ian Lavender, Bill Paterson, Frank Williams, Alison Steadman, Annette Crosby, Holli Dempsey, Martin Savage, Felicity Montague, Oliver Tobias, Julia Foster.
Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be but sometimes by revisiting the past you are in danger of completely undermining all the excellent work that once went on before; the package and the idea may look appealing but the beyond the sentimental, the finished article is a pale and perhaps at times, irritating shadow.
Hamish McColl’s screenplay of the genuinely great British comedy Dad’s Army has its moments but it comes nowhere near the great heights that Jimmy Perry and David Croft managed to bring to television sets throughout the country in the 1960s and 70s. It might be the urge to remember with fondness the late great cast, it could well be that, and quite rightly, we should never forget the absolute tyranny that one deranged man and a fascist dictatorship brought to Europe, however we should remember the courage, the dedication of the men and women who served in the Home Guard and the A.T.S. with more distinction than is unfortunately offered in this very poor 21st Century update.
There are nice touches throughout the film but they have no way of saving the experience, the odd laugh and outpouring of familiarity do not make a good choice of films in which to spend a couple of hours with.
Unusually even the normally superb Bill Nighy cannot bring a sense of the suave to the occasion and in a great British cast it is left to the likes of Ian Lavender in a cameo role, Daniel Mays as Private Walker and Felicity Montague as Mrs. Mainwairing to capture any type of endearing quality, resurrected charm and a semblance of good feeling for the film.
The past is another country, so they say, not only do they do things differently there, they at times did it with more depth of feeling and control, Dad’s Army may warm the heart initially as audiences remember being entertained by this great comedy institution but it is leaves a dry and near unpalatable taste in the mouth once you look down its barrel.
Ian D. Hall