Dir. Charles Sturridge
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
Here girl, good doggie – ah Lassie, the cute collie of yesteryear is back from retirement and back in the UK where the original books were apparently set. So see how she saves an unfortunate fox from a hunt, marvel at her heartbreaking attachment to some pinched faced little northern boy from the poor family (Jonathan Mason) and erm, yawn at the homing pigeon antics of the ‘dog who came home’ as she comes home against the odds again and again.
It feels a bit mean spirited to ‘diss’ Lassie too much but this just isn’t a very good film. And I have a feeling that it was probably at least partly funded by the Yorkshire tourist board as it tries really hard to make the place look gorgeous and with wide sweeping hillside shots through which Lassie runs through in slow doggie motion.
Plot you ask – you’ll wish you hadn’t - basically when ‘heart of gold’ coal miner Sam (John Lynch) has his mine closed and he and his loyal wife Sarah (Samantha Morton) realise that their only saleable asset is their lovable dog, they sell her.
But Lassie isn’t beaten that easily (although dog lovers please note that she does get a quite distressing belt whipping from Gregor ‘Rab C Nesbitt’ Fisher at one point). Another scene that might cause distress is the death of another brave little dog – at the hands of Nicholas 'Rodney' Lyndhurst no less but overall the only thing that’s going to upset anyone about this film is the fact that paid to see it.
The few highlights on offer are a mildly brilliant bumbling turn by Peter O'Toole as the Duke of Rudling, some slapstick farce at the expense of some Scottish dog wardens and a great cameo by Nessie herself in one of the gratuitous landscape shots – this time in Scotland obviously…
But Lassie 2005 feels extremely unnecessary and should only really be considered for use in a ‘child care emergency situations’ and even then the kids probably won’t thank you for it.
Darkmatt Rating: öö (Not the dog's bollocks)