Dir: Oliver Parker
***From a British viewpoint, remaking Dad's Army into a feature film was a huge risk. For the rest of the world it's no big deal. Dad's Army was, and still is, a much loved sitcom, one of Britain's favourite, at least in the top five anyway. It ran from 1968 to 1977 and its repeats still gain huge numbers today. The premise is simple, Dad's Army is set during world war two and features a platoon of quirky characters who make up the home guard in the fictional coastal town of Walmington-on-Sea, and their biggest challenge of the war is simply organizing themselves. All but two of the original cast had passed on by 2016 and all of them are considered national treasures, including Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, Arnold Ridley, John Laurie, Ian Lavender, Clive Dunn, Frank Williams, James Beck and Bill Pertwee. Replacing, or recasting these legends seemed like an impossible task, it was often mooted but the idea never saw the light of day, until now. For my money, they got the cast spot on. Toby Jones was perfect as Arthur Lowe's Captain Mainwaring and I'm not sure anyone else could have played John Le Mesurier's Wilson as good as Bill Nighy. I'm not sure you could ever match the great Clive Dunn but Tom Courtenay gave it a good go and although they weren't quite like the originals, Michael Gambon and Bill Paterson were both good as Private Godfrey and Private Frazer respectively. Blake Harrison as Private Pike was quite a surprising bit of casting that paid off with Ian Lavender (who makes a special appearance) giving him his blessing, but for me it was Daniel Mays as Private Walker who really stood out and stole every scene he was in. I believe director and crew did the impossible and found the perfect cast, unfortunately, the story isn't as accomplished. New characters were added, including the never before seen Mrs Mainwaring, and relationships between the characters get a little complicated. It drifts far from the source material fairly rapidly. It's a shame really as the original Dad's Army did indeed have its own feature-length outing back in 1971 and it was pretty good. I'm not sure the magic was entirely captured, the cast were great but the characters and story were a little too different for my liking. Catherine Zeta-Jones' character brought nothing to the story, the rivalry between the characters was out of place and it descended into stupid when it should have just been silly. However, it is beautifully directed, the set is amazing and the casting and performances make it a worth-while watch, although I have no idea what you'd make of it if you are unfamiliar with the original and I'm sure some hard-core fans will strongly disagree with me.