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  Jackboots on Whitehall Their Finest Hour
Year: 2010
Director: Edward McHenry, Rory McHenry
Stars: Ewan McGregor, Rosamund Pike, Richard E. Grant, Timothy Spall, Tom Wilkinson, Alan Cumming, Dominic West, Sanjeev Baskar, Richard Griffiths, Richard O'Brien, Pam Ferris, Neil Newbon, Tobias Menzies, Stephen Merchant, Hugh Fraser, Alexander Armstrong
Genre: Comedy, War, AnimatedBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Britain, 1940, and the nation is suffering its darkest hour as a quarter of a million of their troops have been trapped in Dunkirk after a failed attempt to rescue them, leaving those back home extremely vulnerable to attack by the Nazi war machine. Their bombers have caused a lot of damage, and now the Royal Air Force are down to their last Spitfires it seems there's nothing to stop the Germans from invading. In a quiet, rural corner of England, Chris (voiced by Ewan McGregor), not allowed to join up with the forces because his hands were too big, may be the United Kingdom's last hope...

Here's evidence that someone was impressed with Team America: World Police, as brothers Edward McHenry and Rory McHenry, still in their twenties, managed to not only make a feature film using puppets and animation as that bigger hit had, but they managed to secure an impressive voice cast to deliver the dialogue as well. This wasn't a particularly high profile release, but it did see the inside of selected cinemas which is a lot more than can be said of some low budget enterprises, and the visuals displayed a meticulous attention to detail, not to mention Guy Michelmore's neat renditions of the music, which made for some highly entertaining scenes. Or they would have been if this had been a silent movie.

That was the problem, the moment the characters opened their CGI mouths it all went to pot as there wasn't one decent joke in the whole movie. The idea was to spoof all those stiff upper lipped World War II patriotic epics of yesteryear, and which would still show up on afternoon television in the U.K. so it's not as if nobody would be able to get the point, but at best the satire could be described as wide-ranging, but not any more biting than an episode of 'Allo, 'Allo! with which it shared a liking for funny voices. If you could get the references to what they were sending up you might have thought at least some chuckles were available, yet in effect the parodies here were blunt instruments.

That said, it was perfectly adequate to look at thanks to the McHenry brothers offering an insane attention to detail, all in the service of their own not quite up to par material. With Goebbels, Goering and Himmler advancing on England in The Hindenburg and Churchill (Timothy Spall) looking forward to his retirement until he acknowledges his country needs him, it's actually up to Chris to save the day, along with romancing his childhood sweetheart Daisy (Rosamund Pike) in spite of her father's disapproval, he being the local vicar (Richard E. Grant) whose big trait is that he is massively offensive, swearing and insulting people as if it was going out of fashion, which should give you some idea of the level of wit.

Along with those we had an American (Dominic West) who flies in for reasons best known to himself as the U.S.A. were not in the war at this point, a Frenchman (Hugh Fraser) who crosses the Channel to chase the women, and an Indian (Sanjeev Baskar) who commands a regiment of his countrymen and escorts Churchill out of London when the Nazis take over. Obviously historical accuracy flew out of the window when the aims were making the audience laugh, but too often it was silly without actually being funny. It led up to an escape to Scotland, behind Hadrian's Wall which offers the excuse to get the Nazis confused with the Ancient Romans, and the savage Scots make their presence felt in an extended take-off on Braveheart where Chris discovers the origin of those large hands (and the rest of him). Some of this is mildly amusing, such as the final reveal, but putting Adolf Hitler in a frilly dress was not as hilarious as the directors seemed to think it was.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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