Film & TV

DVD Review: Dad’s Army (2016)

In 1944, the decrepit home guard of Walmington-on-Sea may be England’s last hope to prevent a Nazi invasion in this film adaptation of the classic TV sitcom.

Who do you think you are kidding Mr Hitler?

While big screen adaptations are far from uncommon, it often seems that very few work thanks to writers trying to extend a short format into a feature length story rather than actually adapting it for the different medium as they should. Thankfully, in this instance, Dad’s Army is rescued from the trenches to take another shot at glory.

Dad’s Army was immensely popular in its day. Running from 1968 to 1977, the BBC television sitcom by Jimmy Perry and David Croft centred around the home guard platoon of fictional English town Walmington-on-Sea towards the end of World War Two. Comprising soldiers who are too old or unfit for duty, they bumbled their way through the war hoping to save their beloved country from a Nazi invasion if they ever got the opportunity. The series has subsequently launched stage, radio and a 1971 film adaptation, while the original continues to retain a loyal fan base to this day.

DadsArmy2016DVDBack for another try, Hamish McColl has now penned a new film version of the show, directed with loving hands by Oliver Parker. All the characters are there, although new actors are playing them, and what a cast! Toby Jones heads up the decrepit wartime home guard as Captain Mainwaring alongside the likes of Bill Nighy, Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon, Blake Harrison, Daniel Mays, and Bill Paterson. Supporting them are Catherine Zeta-Jones, Sarah Lancashire and Mark Gatiss. How could this war possibly go wrong?!

Unlike its origins, this new version of Dad’s Army is a quaint comedy that relies of occasional and brief moments of farce to liven it up. It’s a likeable comedy that is more character than plot driven as the old boys and younger studs vie for the attention of a seductive journalist, all the while not realising she is the Nazi spy they’re looking for. That said, this is an adaptation and fans of the television series may take umbrage to some of McColl’s minor tweaks.

While so many TV-to-film adaptations have failed dismally, Dad’s Army soldiers on to live another day and should please, although not excite, most who see it.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Twitter: @StrtegicRetweet

Rating out of 10:  7

Dad’s Army will be released on Blu-ray and DVD from 25 August 2016.

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