‘Dad’s Army’ – Stand Out Performances Despite Slightly Weak Storyline | Film Review
This revival of the successful TV series was an exciting prospect for all Dad’s Army fans. However it also made a lot of people feel nervous. The cast is reassuring, with the best that Britain can provide in terms of acting legends. Everything was crossed in the hope this would live up to the comedic genius of the TV series.
The premise of the film is centred around the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard dealing with a glamorous female journalist, and a unidentified German spy as the war draws to a close. The Home Guard are challenged by MI5 with the task of looking out for suspicious personnel in Walmington. This is a high priority for Captain Mainwaring’s Home Guard, and a task he does not take lightly.
The film started rather slowly and took a bit of time to get going. The laughs and jokes became better as the film went on. The storyline wasn’t exactly ground breaking. This wouldn’t be a problem for a 30 minute TV episode. However, a film needs more content and strength than a TV show. Despite the slightly weak storyline, the characters and essence of the film were just enough to compensate for this. It was also a shame the theme tune from the original wasn’t played at the beginning, as well as the end of the film. This would have got an audience involved from the off.
Expectations were high due to the incredibly popular TV series, it is fair to say the film could never live up to the success of the 60s and 70s series. There was something about the humour that was always going to be difficult to replicate. The film had to ultimately make a choice, was it going to try and copy the success of the series, or go in a different direction and try something new. Well, it sort of came somewhere in between. There were references and jokes from the series, but also new themes and characters.
The characterisation by the main ensemble was in general, a success. Stand out performances were Toby Jones as Captain Mainwaring and Michael Gambon as Private Godfrey. Jones has managed to capture the essence of Arthur Lowe’s Captain Mainwaring in an extraordinary way and exactly what Dad’s Army fans would expect, and hope for in this character. Gambon gave the rather unexciting character of Godfrey, new life and comedic charm that had been absent before.
The only character that wasn’t quite there in terms of getting the characterisation right, was Bill Nighy as Sergeant Wilson. He didn’t quite have the appeal or the warmth of Wilson from the TV series. Lance Corporal Jones (Tom Courtenay) was good, but not manic enough. There were not enough exclamations of “Don’t Panic” or “Permission to speak sir“, Jones should have provided most of the laughs, unfortunately this wasn’t the case.
Not the original, but a pretty good job nonetheless.
“Cometh the hour, cometh the man”.
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