SF International Animation Film Festival 2010: Jackboots on Whitehall – Review and Trailer

Any feature film made after 2004 involving animated puppets will immediately be compared to Trey Parker and Matt Stone‘s (creators of Comedy Central’s South ParkTeam America: World Police.  That is why I urge you to not compare the new World War II farce, Jackboots on Whitehall to Parker and Stones hilarious satirical farce of the United States’ war on terror.  All those who do, will surely find that this McHenry brothers debut feature fails epicly in comparison.  Try judging Jackboots on Whitehall on its own merits, which as a stand alone film also fails epicly.

This is a dull and uninspired war film which proves that puppets do not automatically equate to funniness, a humorous script is needed as well.  Here is the plot in a nutshell:  Having survived the Nazi invasion of London, a rag-tag bunch of Englishmen, including Winston Churchill, retreat to Scotland in order to regroup and take back England.

Aside from some decade-dated jokes involving Mel Gibson’s Braveheart character, there really isn’t much more to this.  Not only did this film bombard me with clichéd 1940’s sprawling epic marching music to ad nauseum, but the poorly written dialogue of every single character and non-creative uninspired fight scenes made the 74 minutes running time feel more like 74 hours.  Really, how hard is it to come up with creative action sequences when working in the medium of hand puppets?

Perhaps the only thing less inspired than the action sequences were the voice actors themselves.  Ewan McGregor, Rosamund Pike, Richard E. Grant, Timothy Spall, Tom Wilkinson, Alan Cumming, Dominic West, and every other voice character for that matter; I find you all guilty of actually sounding like you gave a shit about this film.  If you did, it clearly did not come through in your performances.

Okay, I never like to totally trash a film unless it is the worst film ever, which Jackboots is not, so I’ll end my review on a positive note.  The Nazis, particularly Goebbels, were mildly entertaining.  There you have it, my seven words of praise for an otherwise unpraiseable film.  There are lots of other films vastly better than this one playing at San Francisco’s International Animated Film Festival, I suggest you go see them instead.

Showtimes for Jackboots on Whitehall:

Thursday, November 11, 2010 9:30pm @ Landmark’s Embarcadero


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