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Simon Read [Film Festival 06.25.10] United Kingdom movie review puppets action comedy



Year: 2010
Directors: Edward McHenry & Rory McHenry
Writers: Edward McHenry & Rory McHenry
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: projectcyclops
Rating: 9 out of 10

Edward and Rory McHenry’s deliriously entertaining WW2 historical fiction, puppet animation begins with a desperate battle for Britain over the skies of Dover, as Spitfires and Messerschmitt blast bursts of machine gun fire and explode mid-flight. Soon the Nazi war machine reaches the shores of England and the good people of God’s own green and fertile land will have to mount a resistance to the menacing Hun, who have tunnelled under London for a blitzkrieg attack!


Brought to us in “Glorious Panzervision”, Jackboots On Whitehall is possibly the best film at the EIFF this year for sheer entertainment value. It’s a real gem with a dozen jokes a minute and a sense of fun and knockabout silliness that’s rare and immensely enjoyable, and as a debut feature from animation enthusiasts, which started life as a screenplay in 2006 and is the first feature of its kind, the talent on display from the McHenry’s is, if I may say, staggering. Like a love child of Team America and Blackadder goes Forth – with a dash Dad’s Army and ‘Allo ‘Allo - the humour is alternately rude and offensive, and cerebral and witty and the all star cast are clearly having a ball with the material. In short, it’s one of the best films I’ve seen all year and you’ll love it.

Winston Churchill (voiced by Timothy Spall) is knocking around 10 Downing Street complaining about having to wait for early retirement, when suddenly he gets the call – the Nazis have arrived in London! Summoning his last remaining troops, the “Glorious men of Punjab!” led by Rupee (Sanjeev Bhaskar) and joined by American GI Billy Fiske (who cheerfully confuses the Nazis with ‘commies’, and is voiced by Dominic West), they set up barricades and await the panzers. Meanwhile in Kent, at a tiny village fete, Captain English (Tobias Menzies) loudly congratulates himself on what a wonderfully spiffing chap he is, and how life as a top soldier, rugby player and underwear model is so very tough, while the girls look on adoringly. Good hearted local boy Chris (Ewan McGregor) has been refused entry into the army because of his unusually large hands, which also gain him scorn from the evil Vicar (Richard E. Grant) but sympathy from the lovely Daisy (Rosamund Pike).

Unfortunately the party is interrupted by a huge Nazi blimp which begins bombing the hell of everything, and quick as a flash the townsfolk are busting out their own secret supply of automatic weapons and fighting back, a fight that’ll take them all the way to London, and eventually up North to join the, “Murderous, blood drinking savages” in Scotland (one of whom sounds suspiciously like a certain Mr. Gibson). The Nazi top-brass, including Goebbels (Tom Wilkinson), Himmler (Richard O’Brien) and Hermann Goering (Richard Griffiths) prepare an attack on Hadrian’s wall, which marks the divide between England and Scotland, as Hitler (the wonderful Alan Cumming) excitedly goosesteps around Buckingham Palace wearing Queen Elizabeth’s ball gown (naturally the Nazis are always portrayed as deviant sexual perverts, in this film as in others). London becomes Nazi-fied, with House of Frazer becoming Haus of Kaiser, and The Ritz? The Fritz. Despite his protests the king is also locked away in the tower of London, “Wait, I’m German too you idiots!”

I could wax lyrical about how terrific this film is for another page, but if you’ve made it this far I hope you’re convinced. The film is so imaginative and out of the box that I can’t recommend it enough for its sense of the absurd, its Python-esque dialogue, sheer balls to the wall insanity and most of all the fact that it looks so damn good. A film like this could be pretty shoddily made and still garner praise simply for it’s humour, but Jackboots On Whitehall has both; great dialogue, story, humour AND a really skilfully constructed look, with the 1:6 scale models and action-man style puppets, which look to have been lovingly crafted - although the end credits do state: “Many puppets were harmed during the making of this film.”

So, fetch a bottle of Spitfire Ale, tune-up your bagpipes and find the blue face paint - Jackboots On Whitehall is an absolute gem and I simply cannot wait to see what the McHenry’s get up to next.

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Marina (7 years ago) Reply

My hubby's going to love this. I'll need him there too, to translate:

"Like a love child of Team America and Blackadder goes Forth – with a dash Dad’s Army and ‘Allo ‘Allo"

I don't care for any of those but lives for these classics.

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Hot Fuzz (7 years ago) Reply

YES! Can't wait to see this!

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Anonymous (7 years ago) Reply

est gut,ja?lol!

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rickmcgrath (7 years ago) Reply

excellent review! I look forward to anything that reminds anybody of trey parker and matt stone!

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darkwater (7 years ago) Reply

This I must see!


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