Tuesday 25 January 2011


Screaming into the world like the bastard child of Team America and Churchill: The Hollywood Years, this new animated film is now out on DVD.

Check out the trailer and read my review, next...

Set during the Blitz in war torn London, our great nation gets paid a visit by The Nazi's, so it's up to a ragtag group of villagers to team up with Winston Churchill and the Punjab Army to try and save the day. Simple village farmboy Chris (Ewan McGregor) wants to step up and be a hero to win the heart of Daisy (Rosamund Pike), but his massive hands get in the way of him holding a rifle properly. Surrender is not an option, so they have no choice but to retreat to the ancient and barbaric Scot Land.

Equal parts creative and terrifying, the characters are realised using a combination of puppeteering, stop motion and CGI enhanced mouths. It's a fairly primitive form of animation, and the characters aren't able to express the same amount of emotion as the puppets from Team America. The film was written and directed by the McHenry brothers who should be commended for their work effort, although I just don't think this type of animation works at feature length level. They do show some promise for the future, and I'd be intrigued to see where they go from here.

One thing this film has achieved is in pulling in a wide array of voice talent. Sanjeev Bhaskar, Richard E. Grant, Alan Cumming, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall... you'll spend most of the film trying to guess who's who. Unfortunately though, Ewan McGregor once again proves his inability to convincingly do any accent other than his own. This may work as the film heads towards its Braveheart tinged conclusion, but his strange attempt at a Yorkshire accent is quite grating for most of the film.

Jackboots On Whitehall is a bizarre little film that never really gets the balance between humour and action right, but almost covers up its flaws by throwing constant, explosive set-pieces at you. As well as some playful but borderline racist stereotypes directed at the Scots, the revisionist story could very easily be construed as being disrespectful to WWII veterans, if it weren't so flippin' bonkers.

It lacks the wit and satire that made Team America such good fun, and just doesn't feature enough gags to have any mainstream appeal. I don't think they were hoping for anymore than a cult curiosity, and that is all they have. Perhaps if you're a student in a drugged up haze you'd get more enjoyment out of it, although it's just as (if not more) likely to drive you to the brink of insanity.


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