Most helpful positive review
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Did I watch the same film...?
on 1 May 2008
Frankly, I am mystified by the rancor this movie has generated! I have to admit that I was somewhat sceptical when I first heard of this film. But now that I own it, I will recommend it to all and sundry. It's a hilarious send-up of Hollywood's quasi-Roman tendency to rewrite history however they see fit and steal everyone else's best gods and heroes and to make them all born in the U.S. of A., while making all of the villains English. The glaring anachronisms, the stupid historical rewrites, the blatantly jingoistic viewpoint -- in effect, the Hollywoodization -- of the Churchill story make this a very good comedy for those who are familiar with (and sick of) the Lowest Common Denominator Hollywoodized Pseudo-Historical Action BioPic genre. It's mostly Mel Gibson's fault.
History buffs, war-film buffs, and anyone who remembers World War II from firsthand experience will get the most laugh value out of it, though anyone with an anti-Hollywood leaning (which, considering the way we're portrayed, should rightfully be about 99.97% of all English people) should find it funny as well. I thought there were a couple of moments of Doubled-Over-With-Pain-And-Lack-Of-Breath Laughter, but for the most part, I found myself in a fairly steady Hearty Chuckle Mode, with the occasional spike of the odd Spirited Guffaw. I've never been a HUGE fan of either Christian Slater or Neve Campbell (I enjoyed their performances in the movies of theirs that I've seen, but most of the films they're in simply aren't the kind of films I usually watch anyway), but they are both excellent in this movie . . . as are the entire rest of the impressive and talented cast.
I have just two criticisms for the DVD itself. Firstly, there were no credits for the deleted and alternate scenes, and at the very least, Ronni Ancona as The High-Powered Female Producer deserves to be mentioned, as does the actor playing her PA. And since he doesn't get a credit, I couldn't tell you who he is. Secondly, what credits appear at the end of the film say "Filmed on location in The Isle of Man," while there is only a passing mention of a Devon Location Manager earlier in the credits. I must point out that the other non-IOM locations get short shrift in the credits themselves, though most (but not all) are mentioned in the commentary track. The only location I noticed that got NO mention at all was the village of Cockington, from where Lt. Churchill phones Buckingham Palace to talk to a drugged Princess Elizabeth. Be sure to locate the Easter Egg on the second screen of Bonus Features: from the top menu choice, press "left" and you will see a white Churchill V-Sign flare up, the selection of which takes you to Vic Reeves' Naughty Art Show.
Judging by the other reviews, this movie does not seem to be to everyone's taste. But I certainly enjoyed it, and I sincerely believe that others will, too. The only reason I didn't give it a full five stars was because of the snub the Devon locations got. I recommend renting this DVD first to see if you like it, then buying it if you do.
Fun and this-time-actually-true historical facts up with which to wrap: Despite what the film says, Sir Winston Churchill was actually only HALF-American. His mother, Jennie, was a New Yorker credited with inventing the cocktail known as the Manhattan. Also, Oldway Mansion, with its many stairways and gigantic Napoleonic painting that appear throughout the film, was bought and renovated by the American Singer family, of sewing machine fame.