Dad’s Army is a hugely successful TV programme in England that aired between 1968-1977, it is so popular that repeats of the show are still regularly shown on British TV. This week’s review is of the new film version based on the TV series. The events that unfold are a new story but include the characters much-loved from the TV (played by different actors). Though I am aware of Dad’s Army and seen a few clips here and there I have never seen a full episode so was a little worried that I would be missing information. Happily you don’t need to have any knowledge of the TV show to be able to enjoy this film!
The story follows a group of miss-matched men in the Home Guard during WW2. These men for various reasons have been unable to sign up and so must do their duty for their country by protecting their village. Unfortunately not much call has arrived for the men in Walmington-on-Sea and their mission to capture an escaped Bull is about as exciting as it gets! Laughed at by his superior, Captain Mainwaring (Toby Jones) is determined to prove that his men are capable at dealing with anything, so when their village is found to have a German spy, Mainwaring puts the men in charge of tracking down and capturing said spy before they leak any more important information. As well as this, the men find themselves the objects of attention when beautiful journalist Rose Winters (Catherine Zeta-Jones) arrives to document their efforts towards the war.
The storyline is simple, easy to follow and unfortunately you will figure out who the spy is pretty quickly but that doesn’t stop Dad’s Army from being a brilliantly made British film. There are multiple moments of hilarity (Mainwaring’s encounter with a blackboard still has me laughing!) as well as some more touching scenes between the men and their various wives/girlfriends. It’s not all about the men either, we are shown the women and their own capable abilities during the war and the film’s ending will make any woman proud!
The cast is full of well-known and well-loved names including Bill Nighy, Michael Gambon (Dumbledore!!), Blake Harrison (playing a character very similar to Neil from The Inbetweeners), Sarah Lancashire, Daniel Mays, Emily Atack and Alison Steadman, to name but a few! Each actor perfectly fits their character and all bounce brilliantly off each other. It’s nice to see Toby Jones taking more of a lead role as he is normally placed in a supporting position (for Harry Potter geeks he is the voice of Dobby!). As Captain Mainwaring we see his devotion towards his wife, his men and his country which brings both humour and compassion depending on the situations he finds himself in.
Catherine Zeta-Jone’s character is new to the concept, so unlike the others she didn’t have a previous character to live up to. Rose Winters is everything the other women are not, she is glamorous, mysterious and knows how to get what she wants – particularly when men are involved! She soon has the whole of Walmington’s Home Guard falling at her feet, leading to many a funny moment. Catherine is a superb actress – I have loved her ever since Chicago, a personal favourite of mine – but it’s not often that we get to see her acting talent these days. She is brilliant as Rose and definitely pulls off the glamour that is needed (even if at times her face did seem a little frozen…!).
As I haven’t really seen the TV version I can’t comment on whether the new actors lived up to the previous, but I think they did an excellent job in creating believable characters.Overall Dad’s Army is a perfect British film, there are aspects for all ages and sexes to enjoy and it leaves you with a feel-good feeling. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone – though as it’s a British film it’ll probably appeal more to the Brits. Everything from the cast to the clothing to the beautiful countryside in which it’s set makes this film so enjoyable to watch.