British cinema comes out to play DAD's ARMY

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Here’s something you learn when you see British television on home turf: there is a lot of it. So you’d be pardoned for never knowing about Dad’s Army. I didn’t know about it either, but the show was popular enough to warrant a movie…

The original show was about the shenanigans of a British Home Guard unit during World War 2: volunteers who kept the Queen’s home turf safe from eager Nazis and other Axis types. But don’t feel bad if this doesn’t ring a bell: the show’s nine seasons all aired between 1968 and 1977. That’s so long ago that even the old actors in the movie were still young cadets…

Fortunately it appears prior intelligence about Dad’s Army is not a requirement to engage with its new assault. The show has been re-appropriated for a British comedy, lead by the dean of UK film, Bill Nighy. He’s joined by quite a cast, as you can see in this trailer:

If an American comedy trailer was this cheesy, you’d know they gave away all the good jokes. That may still be the case, since many British comedies have started to do the same thing (for example, I Give It A Year). But nobody can deliver dry wit, surrealism and slapstick in such a neat package as the Brits.

Dad’s Army was already released in the UK, though critics are divided:

Dad’s Army has received mixed reviews from critics. The film currently has a 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 24 reviews, with an average rating of 5.1 On Metacritic, it has a score of 38 out of 100, based on 7 critics, indicating “generally unfavorable reviews”. Sean O’Grady of The Independent gave the film a five star review, remarking that rather than threatening the series’ legacy, it “surpasses the original”, calling it a “well-crafted reproduction” containing all the elements that made the original so clever, durable and loveable. Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian was less convinced, giving it just two stars, arguing that “it’s hard to escape the sinking feeling that this is a waste of talent – and that this is a good-natured, well-meaning but pointless kind of Brit-comedy ancestor worship, paying elaborate homage to a TV show that got it right the first time.”

But maybe the rest of the world, bereft of nostalgia-tinted glasses, might like it more…

Last Updated: February 18, 2016

James

A total movie glutton, nothing is too bad or too obscure to watch, unless it’s something like The Human Centipede. If you enjoyed that, there is something wrong with you. But bless you anyway – even video nasties need love…

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