Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans review: too much teen drama | Comedy films

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As the parent of an eight-year-old, I have spent a lot of time cackling at Horrible Histories. The riotously uncouth, mostly factual kids television show, based on the books by Terry Deary, remains a high point in children’s programming. It’s lively, informative and genuinely funny, if slightly gutter-obsessed. And, crucially, it lives up to its name. A key problem with this feature-length movie spin-off is that both the historical and the horrible are rather relegated to footnotes.

The backdrop is Roman Britain, circa 54 AD. The emperor Nero is in power; meanwhile, Boudicca is stirring up unrest among the Celts. But mainly the focus of the story is a fictional encounter between a scrawny, teenage Roman centurion, Atti (Sebastian Croft), and feisty Celtic proto-feminist Orla (Emilia Jones). And while the skit-based vignette structure of the TV series delivered regular chunks of fact dredged from the sewers of history, the factual aspect here is sidelined and ill-served by the straight linear structure. Equally, this format means that the film lacks the punchy hit rate of gung-ho gross-out that made the series such a deliciously uncouth pleasure.

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Source: The Guardian
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