Going into my screening of Dad’s Army, I couldn’t help but wonder why anybody felt the need to remake such a beloved British sitcom. Leaving my screening of Dad’s Army I still couldn’t help but wonder why someone felt the need to remake such a beloved British sitcom.
Remakes are nothing new to cinema but the idea of remaking such an iconic comedy was a baffling one. I must admit I’m not too well versed in the original TV series, though I’ve caught it on occasion and always found myself amused. The remake, one assembling a brand new all-star cast relies solely on this nostalgia, and for those of us who aren’t too familiar with these references there is very, very little on offer here.
It’s 1944 and the end of the war is in sight, Captain Mainwaring, played here by Toby Jones and his platoon are tasked with looking after a base on the south coast of England. Whilst training for their mission they encounter Catherine Zeta Jones’ Rose Winters, a German spy posing as a journalist and instantly become smitten with her. Lust struck the men continue to freely give away information to here totally unaware that the balance of the war lies in their incapable hands.
The movie displays a fine array of comic talent among its ranks. Toby Jones is trying his hardest here to channel his inner Arthur Lowe, Bill Nighy is Sergeant Wilson, Tom Courtenay is Lance Corporeal Jones, Blake Harrison is Private Pike, Bill Patterson is Private Frazer, Daniel Mays is Private Walker and Michael Gambon is Private Godfrey. The movie has assembled itself a fine cast here and due to that its not surprising there are a few funny moments during the movie, they are however, few and far between. Gambon provides the most laughs here as Godfrey, whilst Nighy’s Wilson is certainly the film’s most charming character. Zeta-Jones is the only character to really maintain any sort of grip on the audience through-out though, hamming up her role as the delightfully devious Winters. It does beg the question as to what this cast could have achieved with some interesting material, so rare it is that such a fine comic ensemble are brought together.
Director Oliver Parker, whose previous work includes the likes of Johnny English 2 and St Trinians fails to add any imagination to proceedings, whilst the script, written by Hamish McColl is baggy and predictable. There is certainly potential here, what with such a fine cast and well known characters, but these pair can’t seem to take advantage of that and instead the movie comes across as cheap and lazy.
There are a few laughs to be had here, and perhaps those with a particular affection to the original series may prove to be a little more swayed but come the end this is a film that struggles to justify its existence. Come on now, who do you think you are kidding?