The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby (PG)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner08/02/2006

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 103 mins

The dog itself is undeniably cute, but the movie is badly written, poorly directed and ultimately ruined by an atrocious performance from the lead child actor.

What’s it all about?
This British-made movie tells the true story of Bobby, a faithful terrier in 19th century Edinburgh who accompanies his owner, Constable John Grey (Thomas Lockyer) on his daily rounds, challenging bulls and performing heroic deeds as the occasion arises.

When Grey is killed in action, Bobby camps out on his grave in Greyfriars Cemetery. However, when Bobby becomes something of a local attraction, he unwittingly riles two local businessmen (Sean Pertwee and Ronald Pickup) who plot to do away with him.

The Good
The dog is both talented and exceptionally cute - he’s easily the best thing in the film. There’s also decent human support from James Cosmo, Gina McKee (as Grey’s widow) and Christopher Lee in a small but pivotal role as the Lord Provost, William Chambers (of dictionary fame).

The Bad
Unfortunately, the movie itself is something of a mess. For one thing, director John Henderson opts for a sepia-tinted effect that backfires horribly and makes the film look grubby and miserable. Similarly, the script is extremely bad – the dialogue is unconvincing and the plot shoehorns in ghostly voices on the moors for no adequately explained reason.

In addition, it’s never clear just what the villains hope to gain by getting rid of Bobby and none of the sub-plots or relationships are developed properly. However, the film’s worst problem is the astonishingly bad performance of gormless child actor Oliver Golding, who seemingly spends almost the entire film staring blankly into space.

Worth seeing?
Ultimately, the only people likely to enjoy this are dog-lovers and small children. Wait for the Lassie DVD instead.

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Content updated: 22/11/2017 20:19

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