Top critical review
A bit disappointing
on 5 June 2015
I heard the original of this when Viv Stanshall first did it on the John Peel programmes in the mid 70s. It was just Stanshall narrating with a few musicians backing him. His personality and character came through; the totally eccentric Britishness which only he could conjure up. And that's how I remembered it.
I had seen this film once on TV many years ago, but I'd forgotten what it was like. And....it's ok. If 'd never heard the original I'd probably like the film, but knowing and remembering the radio version means this film is a bit of a let down. Basically, there isn't enough Viv Stanshall in it; I know he wrote it and does the voice-over, but it lacks the extreme Stanshall-ness of the original creation. Yes it's surreal, and has its moments of brilliance, and some of the wordplay is genius, but it somehow seems not quite all it should be. This is British humour at its most eccentric; words like Python and Goon often get mentioned at the same time. You'll either love it or not get it at all. I loved the original, I just like this.
And I'd forgotten that the film has a mock-sepia effect. That doesn't really work, because it makes it difficult to see details clearly. If they didn't want to use colour, then straight black and white would have been more effective. As it is, they went for half way, and spoiled that as well.