01/05/2010. Contributed by Rod MacDonald
region 2 DVD: pub: Network B000NHG806. 2 DVDs 150 minutes 6 * 30 minutes and some extras. Price: £19.99 (UK)) stars: Barry Morse, Richard Griffiths, John Barron and Alexei Sayle.
check out website: www.networkdvd.co.uk
When I received the DVDs to review there was initially some confusion. I knew there was a British TV series from the early 1980s called 'Whoops Apocalypse' but there was also a later movie with the same title. Which one was this? Confusion soon ended when discovering this package contained both and all for a reasonable price.
First, the TV series from 1982. As the title suggests, this is a comedy series. Actually, it's outrageously funny in lots of different ways where all political persuasions are offended regardless of status and culture. The humour is cynical and satirical. Six episodes of 30 minute duration take you through a global crisis of nuclear dimensions, involving the Middle East, the Soviet Union, NATO and the Shah of Iran.
Barry Morse, Ed Bishop (remember him from 'UFO'), John Barron, Alexei Sayle and Geoffrey Palmer are included in the cast. The piece is quite electric so, too, is the dialogue which is well-written and presented. British comedy at its best!
Four years later, a movie was made with the same name. This actually was quite different from the TV series. With a different set of actors, it was based more on the Falklands War and was set in Caribbean banana republics. Peter Cook is outstanding as the British Prime Minister and we've also got Herbert Lom as General Mosquera, the protagonist who starts the whole thing going by invading a British colony. Loretta Swit (remember her from 'M*A*S*H'?) makes a good performance as the American President.
Of course, the conflict does not stay within the Caribbean and we are soon facing World War Three! Irreverent political satire is a good description of this movie. It's hilariously funny. Black humour, resignation to an inglorious fate!
Now, here's the rub as Hamlet says. While the TV series and the movie are very good, funny and entertaining, their time has passed. When watching them in the 1980s, when they were in vogue, you had a feeling that maybe all this could come true. The satire was poignant, horribly real in an awful sense and contemporary. However, the world has changed and today we've got another bunch of political jokers with new situations to exploit. We can look back on this as history but it doesn't have the same impact anymore.
'Dr. Strangelove' is still a very funny movie especially when considering the antics of Peter Sellers in his various roles. 'Whoops Apocalypse' can be regarded in the same way and you will definitely get a laugh but probably only if you are old enough to have lived through the events of the Cold War. I don't think young people will find this very entertaining but for the oldies out there this represents good value for money and it's a lot better than most of the other stuff on TV today.
Extras with the DVDs included a couple of scripts and still shots from the movie and the TV series.
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