Jackboots On Whitehall (R13)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner7/10/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 93 mins

A crudely made, low budget animation that exceeds expectations by providing a surprising amount of laughs for a more mature audience.

What’s it all about?
A sleepy village in 1940s England is rudely stirred from its slumber by the impending arrival of the evil Nazis. Young farmer Chris (Ewan McGregor) races to Downing Street to warn Churchill (Timothy Spall) about the invasion plans that are being hatched, but it’s all too late. As Goering, Goebbels and Himmler parade around London the mission is now on to rescue the Prime Minister and get him to the safety of Hadrian’s Wall, England’s last line of defence.

With the country in the clutches of the Nazis, Churchill is forced to do the unthinkable - he has to ask for help from the dreaded Scots.

The Good
It’s rare to see a film that so readily embraces its own shortcomings. The budget is non-existent so the animation style is pretty much restricted to tiny models moving in a random jerky fashion with almost no real attention being paid to matching up the dialogue to the action. None of this matters however, as you quickly forget the problems and concentrate on the humour and charm the film creates. Taking some pretty broad pot-shots at the well worn stereotypes from World War II, the story also affords the opportunity for some more recent pop culture references.

The performances are deliberately over the top and in themselves add to the frivolously joyous tone that is established from the start.

The Bad
The joke is stretched pretty thin at times and towards the extended sequence in the Highlands of Scotland it reaches breaking point. It’s still amusing, but feels repetitive in comparison to the rest of the film which is original and fresh.

On the other hand too much trimming and the film might feel too short to warrant a trip to the cinema - perhaps a little more polishing of the final script would have helped.

Worth seeing?
Jackboots on Whitehall definitely provides an antidote to most Hollywood animations of recent years. It is deliberately cheap and cheerful, and succeeds in putting a gormless grin on most faces. UK animators may never be able to compete directly with the likes of Pixar or DreamWorks, but it doesn’t mean they can’t produce a slice of quality entertainment … something this film proves with aplomb.

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Content updated: 17/02/2020 08:26

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