Having watched a grand total of five minutes of the original series (accumulated over the years by flicking through channels) I’m at a loss to how this remake stands up.
’m unable to gauge how this Wilson-Mainwaring dynamic measures up to the 68-77 version, as judging by this update it looks like it played a major part in its success. Neither do I have an idea if the cast do passable impressions of the original performances. Nostalgia is not a factor either.
o while this is going to be cold review it will be a somewhat cleaner one than a review grumbles about missing the spirit of the series and it ruining the memory and whatnot. Removed from all that static, Dad’s Army is a pleasant if forgettable knockabout comedy.
t’s 1944 and the Allies are planning Operation Overlord – the invasion of Europe – but first comes Operation Bodyguard, a ploy to cause the Germans to look the other way. This is where the Home Guard, or Dad’s Army, come in. Dispatched to Dover, the ragbag platoon made up of Daniel Mays’ wide boy Walker, Blake Harrison’s scaredy cat Pike, Michael Gambon’s absent-minded Godrey, Tom Courtenay’s twitchy Jones, and Bill Nighy’s pragmatic Wilson, under the command of Toby Jones’ pompous Captain Mainwaring, to patrol the army base from which Overlord is to be launched. Champing at the bit to give old Gerry what-for, they take along journalist Rose Winters (Zeta-Jones) to document their heroic exploits… but is she really a spy for the blasted Hun?
ost updates and remakes attempt to bend the adaptation to reflect something contemporary but this Dad’s Army makes no such bones. It’s after a few chuckles and that’s all; writer Hamish McColl has Johnny English Reborn, Mr. Bean’s Holiday and the Paddington adaptation on his CV – if those safe, inoffensive outings were too light then expect more of the same here. There are some creaky moments – the farcical scene where Zeta-Jones hides would-be lovers in various places in her sitting room, the overlong and unfunny climactic action sequence – and to reduce Gambon’s bumbling Godfrey to an extended cameo is criminal but it doesn’t pretend to do anything but aim for broad slapstick.
ne gets the impression that women played a little role in the original series – here they have more screentime with Felicity Montagu (best known as Alan Partridge’s put-upon assistant Lynn) and Sarah Lancashire (Coronation Street’s Raquel) of the Women’s Auxiliary choir stomping about the village of Walmington-On-Sea making sure their men’s heads aren’t turned by Zeta-Jones’ ankles. It seems odd to make a point of making room for women and then reduce them to jealous henpeckers.
ut Dad’s Army’s big problem is that while it should appeal to an older audience, that audience will probably compare it unfavourably with the original series. Perhaps if this wasn’t an adaptation it would be received more kindly.