Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
Daniel shares one of his favourite Disney films, ‘The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad’, on a new episode of Ink & Paint!x
review, Downton Abbey, Downton, Abbey, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Jim Carter, Laura Carmichael, Elizabeth McGovern, Phyllis Logan, Penelope Wilton, Brendan Coyle, Joanne Froggatt, Michael Engler, Drama film rating

DOWNTON ABBEY

★★★

TRANSITION FROM TV TO FILM NOT AS CLASSY AS EXPECTED

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Chris dos Santos
10th September 2019

Theatrical feature films based on TV shows with the original cast are extremely rare nowadays, even in animated form. HBO’s ‘Sex and the City’ seems to be one of the only adaptations to have actual success, but it seems that was a fluke. ‘Entourage’, ‘Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie’ and ‘Kath & Kimderella’ all banked themselves on reuniting an old cast but all failed on delivery. ‘Downton Abbey’ hopes to bring the critical success it experienced on the small screen for its cinematic leap - but does it succeed?

Two years after the events of the series, Downton is still in full swing. The servants have a healthy relationship with the Crawley family, and all are happy in the house. But when a letter arrives from King George V (Simon Jones, ‘Miracle on 34th Street’, ’12 Monkeys’) and Queen Mary (Geraldine James, ‘Alice in Wonderland’, ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’) requesting to visit the whole house is sent, chaos ensues to prepare for the royal visit.

I must confess I have never seen an episode of the show. I’ve followed it through friends and news, so I was excited when the film was announced as I would finally get an insight into the hit show. Right off the bat, it's clear if you have never seen the show then there's no saving you; the film picks right up and runs as if the show never left. The film seems much more comedic and melodramatic than the show ever was.

SWITCH: 'DOWNTON ABBEY' TRAILER

It’s strange to say that this TV show that was a historical period drama and won many drama awards is now a fun movie. Maggie Smith (the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise, ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’) who plays Violet Crawley, the head of the family, and Penelope Wilton (‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’, ‘Shawn of the Dead’) who plays Isobel Grey, have a very love/hate relationship, but every scene with them just turns into a competition of who can out-sass each other. I’ll be the first to say that’s fun to watch, but it seems a little out of place in a period drama. Violet’s main plot of the film is how her cousin Lady Maud Bagshaw (Imelda Staunton, ‘Maleficent’, ‘Paddington’), who works for the King and Queen, is close with her maid (Tuppence Middleton, TV’s ‘Sense8’, ‘Jupiter Ascending’), and that gets under Violet’s skin. For most of the run time, the build-up of their storyline is that there is going to be a massive fight between the two, but it’s just another sass-off.

One of the biggest failures in the transition to film is the balance of the characters. There's so many characters, but most have so little to do. In a TV series, it's easier to not seeing a main character for a long amount of time, but in a movie it's strange. The Crawely family is missing for huge chunks of the film, with the main focus being on the waitstaff and their hilarious hyjinks when the royal servants come in and take over. While again this is enjoyable, everything is very over-the-top and a little too slapstick. It’s your typical clashing of heads with one party too upper-class and stepping on toes of the servants of the house, so it plays out exactly how you would expect.

‘Downton Abby’s’ transition to film isn't going to make it onto any worst film-to-TV adaptions lists, but it is a mediocre film that offers two hours of fun for fans of the show.

A prime example of not caring if you’ve seen the show is Thomas Barrow’s (Rob James-Collier, ‘The Ritual’) subplot. He's now the head butler at Downton, but when the royals step in he starts butting heads with them, so they bring back the previous head butler, Mr Carson (Jim Carter, ‘Swimming with Men’, ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’), to run things while they are in town. This leads Thomas having some free time which leads him to an underground gay club; this comes up around the end of act two - that's how late it plays out. There is absolutely no setup to him about being gay in the film, although I knew from the trailer that there would be some kind of gay plot, yet in the film it comes out of nowhere. It seems like they were doing a little bit of queerbaiting, and the scene has so little impact on anyone other than the filmmakers giving themselves a pat on the back for including it.

Another issue with the film is that it adds zero to the Downton legacy. Characters are virtually unchanged from events of the film, having zero consequences on its players. If you were a fan of the show, the movie doesn’t offer much - it’s just an extra two hours with these characters that they expect you'll enjoy.

‘Downton Abby’ is known for its production design, and the movie is also a letdown in that aspect - nothing feels grand. Even if you don’t like Baz Luhrmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby’, just looking at it on a big screen is breathtaking, from the costumes to the set design. 'Downton' seems like it should be in that same vein, but sadly it’s a little bland. The clothes they are wearing are beautiful but are never really showcased, which is a strange move for this film. It also never leans into fan service; even the fact that the royals are coming is extremely downplayed. You expect a huge reveal or grand entrance, but it never happens - they just show up and the movie keeps going.

‘Downton Abby’s’ transition to film isn't going to make it onto any worst film-to-TV adaptions lists, but it is a mediocre film that offers two hours of fun for fans of the show. If you’re not a fan, there is absolutely no reason to see it. The film seems more like an extended TV special rather than a theatrical film, but fans won’t be mad to see it on the big screen.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 12/09/2019
RUN TIME: 2h 2m
CAST: Hugh Bonneville
Maggie Smith
Michelle Dockery
Jim Carter
Laura Carmichael
Elizabeth McGovern
Phyllis Logan
Penelope Wilton
Brendan Coyle
Joanne Froggatt
DIRECTOR: Michael Engler
WRITER: Julian Fellowes
PRODUCERS: Gareth Neame
Julian Fellowes
Liz Trubridge
SCORE: John Lunn
www.DowntonAbbey.com
DowntonAbbeyAU
DowntonAbbey
DowntonAbbey_Official
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Never Rarely Sometimes Always - The film every teenager needs to see
TRENDINGNEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYSThe film every teenager needs to see
Dolly Parton: 50 Years at the Opry - Celebrating the Queen of country music
TRENDINGWIN DOLLY PARTON: 50 YEARS AT THE OPRYCelebrating the Queen of country music
About A Boy - All grown up 15 years on
TRENDINGABOUT A BOYAll grown up 15 years on
xXx: Return Of Xander Cage - The good, the bad and the ugly
TRENDINGxXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGEThe good, the bad and the ugly
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
23 Walks - A story of dogs, walks and romance later in life
TRENDING23 WALKSA story of dogs, walks and romance later in life
The Pickup Game - A confronting reveal of the pickup industry
TRENDINGTHE PICKUP GAMEA confronting reveal of the pickup industry
After We Collided - Wattpad returns to the screen for slightly better, still dumb, results
TRENDINGAFTER WE COLLIDEDWattpad returns to the screen for slightly better, still dumb, results
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse - Fairly brainless
TRENDINGSCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSEFairly brainless
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
Inseparable Bros - A heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
TRENDINGINSEPARABLE BROSA heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
Wet Woman in the Wind - A sexy struggle for conquest
TRENDINGWET WOMAN IN THE WINDA sexy struggle for conquest
God of the Piano - A tale that tickles the ivories
TRENDINGGOD OF THE PIANOA tale that tickles the ivories
Red Pill, Blue Pill - 10 Films Influenced by 'The Matrix' on its 20th anniversary
TRENDINGRED PILL, BLUE PILL10 Films Influenced by 'The Matrix' on its 20th anniversary
Swans: Where Does a Body End? - An exhaustive look at an exhausting band
TRENDINGSWANS: WHERE DOES A BODY END?An exhaustive look at an exhausting band
The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale - An extremely silly zomedy
TRENDINGTHE ODD FAMILY: ZOMBIE ON SALEAn extremely silly zomedy
Easy A - Top marks for the teen comedy on its 10th anniversary
TRENDINGEASY ATop marks for the teen comedy on its 10th anniversary
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
Trolls World Tour - Poppy and the gang are back - and rocking harder than ever
TRENDINGTROLLS WORLD TOURPoppy and the gang are back - and rocking harder than ever
© 2011 - 2020 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us