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Falls at the last
on 5 October 2011
As far as British comedy goes, "Dad's Army" is up there with the very best. A great series, lasting many years and touching many of the laudable efforts of the real Home Guard under unusual circumstances.
Dad's Army the Movie, is more like a compilation of Dad's Army jokes, re-enacted and called "the movie". In truth it lacks a truly solid storyline, that even some of the original episodes pulled off far better. Though the original cast of Home Guard soldiers, the warden, vicar and verger, and even Pike's mother (although a different actress), all get a part in this movie, none of them really come into their own. The jokes come off a little flat, with a sort of "it was funnier first time around" feel. I also miss canned-laughter, personally, having gotten used to it through 9 seasons, the atmosphere feels too quiet and serious. The cliché remarks don't have the same impact.
Although I enjoyed watching the cast in their roles, I only laughed a couple of times, the only unique jokes to this script involving a bath tub, and a parody hymn coming to an abrupt end!
There is little in the way of enthusiasm and the usual energy of the originals. Even the "Don't panic!" and "they don't like it up 'em" bayonet thrust motion from the brilliant Clive Dunn, as Corporal Jones, just doesn't carry the same level of amusement, despite the fact this was filmed half way through the series, rather than any time after.
As for action. Again, very little - despite there being mention of crashed German pilots, etc, in the synopsis, really it only occupies the last 15 minutes of the movie, without any witty "accidental hero" conclusions that we love to see from the original series, where a muddle of events leads them to an unintentional happy ending, and Mainwaring taking credit. In this case, the credit is deserved, based on bold action, and therefore it's a little less fun.
Enjoyable, but not amazing. Poor direction, rather than poor acting. Even the sets, not the open sets from the series, where we only get to see 3 walls, but various different locations were used for the movie which seems odd, given that the original sets must have been around at the time of filming.
An original script, perhaps set after the formation of the Home Guard, with a truly comical situation would have been more objective.
It's worth getting for a few quid, and although it is disappointing in many respects, it is still the "Dad's Army" cast that we love and should be respected for its attempts!