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April 10, 2016 | by  | in Film |
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Dad’s Army (2016)

★★

Director: Oliver Parker

 

Dad’s Army is a film adaptation of the popular 1970s BBC series of the same name, and a very limp one at that. The film entails the members of the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard Platoon (those too old/young/sick to be in active service) during WW2, and their efforts to “protect” the home front of Britain in fear of a German invasion. There is word of a German spy among those in the coastal town of Walmington-on-Sea, and the Home Guard, led by the pompous and self-righteous Captain Mainwaring (Toby Jones), have to locate the spy before it is too late.

In the TV series the appeal stemmed from the Home Guard members’ personalities coupled with the inept leadership of Mainwaring, and the resulting attempt by the unit trying to be taken as seriously as possible. However, in the film the tropes and qualities of the characters are present, but it definitely feels like it’s trying too hard to evoke the show.

The characters are all imitations, with the exception of Sir Michael Gambon as the doddery yet good-hearted Private Godfrey who is impossible to dislike. The focus on Catherine Zeta-Jones as a reporter, and resulting love interests from the platoon, take up way too much screen time.

While the spy plot is jarring and uninteresting (seeing as the movie spoils their identity 15 minutes in), it would have been better to focus on 90 minutes of pure antics from Mainwaring and his company. I think honestly, the show’s format doesn’t work for a film, and the overall direction is proof. Cutting between a German agent being shot in a confrontation and Mainwaring banging his head on a coffee table definitely shows it.

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