The inherent problem in reviewing a remake (the new Danger Mouse) of a retro classic (the original Danger Mouse) is the ‘Nostalgia Factor:’ the knee-jerk reflex to be unfairly harsh on a recreation of a treasured childhood memory. But, in this case, I’m compelled to adhere to the ironically classic formula: the new Danger Mouse doesn’t reinvigorate the original.
Nor does it provide a fresh perspective on even a small segment of the original. The new, bright, and perky visual style feels insubstantial and unfinished. There are some boxes that are satisfyingly ticked: 4th wall breaks, self-referentiality, a strong role for the narrator; check, check, check. But overall, it feels splintered. Rather than the passionate vision of a cohesive team, it comes across as a highlights reel of the last 20 years of animation. Some elements, like the Looney Tunes influence, are worthy additions but this is the exception.
The voice acting is mostly great, Danger Mouse (Alexander Armstrong) himself sounds grandiose, unflappable, and engaging. Stephen Fry is warm, charming, and amusing as Colonel K. The narrator (Dave Lamb) successfully establishes himself as a character involved in the action but also standing outside of it. But the new gadget maker/’Q’ (Shauna MacDonald) stand-in feels like a regular person that wandered onto the DM set and doesn’t add a whole lot.
Finally, the length has been increased from a 10-ish minute canapé to a 22 minute Greek Salad of confusion. Perhaps a return to the more succinct length of the original would help the new DM find focus, pacing etc. but as it currently stands it makes me miss the original rather than revel in what should have been a competent homage.
Danger Mouse starts on 28th September, and is on every weekday on CBBC at 18.00.