I was a great fan of the original Dad's Army series on the TV. I loved the characters, and the interaction between them. Even though you always knew exactly what was going to happen next, it was funny.
Although I seem to be in a minority, I also thought that the original feature film from 1971 was pretty funny, even if in a more slapstick way.
In summary, I think you can appreciate that the comedy bar does not need to be set too high for me to enjoy and laugh at a film.
So - what I just don't understand is how a well-funded, professional film-maker like Oliver Parker with access to excellent actors and actresses, and hundreds of hours of brilliant original material there for the studying, could produce such absolute garbage as this film.
OK, his track record is not spectacular. The St Trinians duology and Johnny English were only so-so, and most of his other stuff is a bit plodding and serious.
But he has a ready-made audience! Most people wanting to see this film would be wanting more of the original Dad's Army sitcom humour - more of the now-deceased characters; more of the same witty interactions, more slapstick humour, more 'don't panic' and 'we're doomed'! That would not be difficult, surely. But oh no. Instead, we get a 100 minutes of non-comedy as a bunch of highly talented actors are badly directed through a wooden script.
The plot is not funny. It's a hoary old femme fatale chestnut which revolves around Catherine Zeta Jones. Whilst she's a very good femme fatale - she's not funny.
The script is not funny. No-one says anything amusing. Interactions between the characters are laboured, dead and lack anything like comic timing. The slapstick sequences are so bad that you feel sorry for the talented actors forced to go through the motions.
The cast characters are not funny. Tom Courtenay as Jones looks and sounds like a dazed old man with Alzheimer's - quiet, sad and lost. There is no spark of the fire and craziness from Clive Dunn's representation. Bill Nighy as Wilson is no longer funny because he's a really nice chap who would never hurt a fly - he's now a public school snob who risks his relationship with Mavis over an old flame. John Le Mesurier's character would never have contemplated such perfidy! Michael Gambon as Godfrey portrays a senile old man who urinates up a tree in a field - the original Godfrey was an old-fashioned gentleman who would never have done such a thing. Bill Paterson's Frazer has such limited screen time he might as well not be in it. Toby Jones as Mainwaring bears some similarity to the original Arthur Lowe, but once again instead of appearing as just a bumbling, pompous but ultimately golden-hearted gentleman he just looks a bit sad and lost. Blake Harrison as Pike is about as close as anyone gets to the original Ian Lavender version, but even he is given strangely conflicting characteristics - the original mummy's boy Pike would never have dumped his girlfriend on the doorstep, or pursued a man-eater like Catherine Zeta Jones!
Even the two members of the original cast who appear have such brief roles you probably won't even notice they were there unless you read the cast list. Ian Lavender appears as a senior officer but is almost unrecognisable (and there is no tongue-in-cheek nod to his original role, which surely would not have been difficult to write in). And the vicar plays - the vicar. Very briefly.
The only even-slightly redeeming feature of this film is that it gives some screen-time to characters of the women who supported the Home Guard and the war effort. They are no funnier than the men, but at least they are there.
I think the out-takes during the end credits actually show that the cast of the film could have made a great movie if only the Director had let them.
Just for a few seconds, the cast members actually imitate the attitudes and interactions of the original Dad's Army cast, and just for a few seconds it's actually funny! I can only believe that the cast were told: "yes, you're playing the parts of Jones and Mainwaring and Wilson and so on, but you MUST NOT under any circumstances attempt to emulate the way in which the original actors Clive Dunn and Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier and so on played their roles. Any attempt at actual humour, real acting or changing the script and you're fired!"
At the final screening before this film went to print, a lot of people must have looked sideways at each other, and I only hope the director hung his head in shame.