Dad’s Army: Enter The Banter Bunker

An excellent cast bring the cult followed Home Guard wartime, political satire sitcom back to the big screen. It’s 1944, and the Second World War is drawing to a close when eyes are drawn to Walmington-On-Sea where a rogue German spy is on the loose. Can the Home Guard dodge disaster without enacting a major cock-up? The Allies are set to invade France and defeat the Nazis but on the south coast, morale is depleting amongst the Home Guard led by Captain Mainwaring (Toby Jones) and pouty-faced Sargeant Wilson (Bill Nighy). They’ve been tasked with a new mission by Colonel Theakes (Mark Gatiss) to patrol the Dover army base to boost spirits. They might finally end this war but the glamorous Miss Winters (Catherine Zeta-Jones) has come to the scene posing as a journalist to write about their doings.

They are oblivious to her hidden agenda. She has other things on her mind, not including turning a few heads much to the annoyance of Walmington-On-Sea’s women. MI5 fall upon a radio signal sent direct from the German capital to this quaint town, sparking talk of a spy in their midst. The outcome of the war has fallen into the hands of these incompetent middle-aged and older men with the exception of two, Private Walker (Daniel Mays) and Private Pike (The Inbetweeners’ Blake Harrison) who are the youngest…stupid boy! The classic British television comedy (1968-1977) that delighted generations in the 1960s and the 1970s has now come to a new generation creating new fans of this current generation.

Quick boys! Blend in! Look at those exotic flowers!

Quick boys! Blend in! Look at those exotic flowers!

As well as the stars I mentioned above, the movie plays host to the incapable Private Godfrey (Michael Gambon), edgy Lance Corporal Jones (Tom Courtenay), grumpy Scottish Private Frazer (Bill Paterson), outright stupid Private Pike (The Inbetweeners‘ Blake Harrison) and spivvy Private Walker (Daniel Mayes). This movie highlights the witty and banterous mood of Britain but also why many of this land are proud to be British and to fight for Queen and country. Keep calm and carry on is our normal philosophy but keep calm and be clumsy is more to the mark in this movie. This movie has received very poor reviews but I loved it. Michael Gambon (Harry Potter) as Private Godfrey stole every scene he was in. He’s comedy gold. His head is always in the clouds and he plays that role to perfection. His best moment was when he wore a necklace of exotic flowers when they were trying to blend in with the English countryside.

I’m probably alone in thinking that Bill Nighy (The Cornetto Trilogy) was good. He’s middle-aged but his character was in thinking that he was in twenties and able to pull women despite being married. The constant pouting of his lips, it was so bad yet it was highly amusing. “Is that a new suit?” his wife asks him as he is trying to impress Winters, then he soon changes his tune. Despite this being set in wartime, it seems women are still calling the shots, telling men what to. Some things do not change. Blake Harrison is a complete tool as Neil in Inbetweeners and he’s a complete imbecile in Dad’s Army.

Private Pike: I’ll catch him sir. What does he look like?

Sargeant: Wilson: We don’t know. That’s sort of the point with spies.

Captain Mainwaring: Stupid boy!

I need to shake the hand of  Alex Johnson, the casting director. The casting was excellent. The writing was good with many witty quips and amusing one liners as well as elements of a good political satire, knocking the stuffing out of the empire as many of this caliber do. But also playing tennis with many British stereotypes. Oh is it raining? Would you like a scone and some tea? There’s a good gender balance as well, giving female members of the cast (not just Zeta-Jones) dialogue and making them important to the plot. Toby Jones as Captain Mainwaring is also very good. His performance becomes more amusing when his likeness to Winston Churchill is highlighted as he aims to do tasks without his glasses thus turning into a bit of slapstick comedy sketch yet comical nonetheless.

Lance Corporal Jones (Tom Courtenay) playing it smooth with Miss Winters (Catherine Zeta-Jones)

Lance Corporal Jones (Tom Courtenay) playing it smooth with Miss Winters (Catherine Zeta-Jones)

In conclusion, there are enough good jokes to keep one interested yet there are a fair few cringeworthy moments as well. The writing is good and so was the acting. But the reason why I like this movie the most is the rapport between the actors and how the bounce of each other like an Ealing Studios comedy or a ‘Carry On’ movie. I’ve only watched a few episodes of the television series. From what I saw, I can see that it’s something I can get into but also the new generation of actors mimicked the television counterparts incredibly well and I think the diehard fans won’t be disheartened by this movie regardless of the reviews. I did have some big laughs I really enjoyed this movie.

It’s a good bit of fun.