For collectors and the curious only
T. Beech | Telford, Shropshire, UK | 02/14/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"At their best, Laurel & Hardy were sublime; they caricatured so much about the human condition - the pomposity and snobbishness of Hardy, made acutely funny by the constant revelation of how stupid and inferior he really was. And the simplicity and apparent naivety of humble, fearful Laurel, who nevertheless rarely fared as badly as his partner. When they appear on screen, you already know and love them - their characters are so well-drawn that, given the right material, they are a timeless joy to watch.
Utopia/Atoll K does not fall into that category. In fact, it is one of the saddest films anyone could wish to see. The material is desperately thin and Laurel, who had just recovered from a serious illness, looks drawn and strained. It lacks any of the spark and vitality of the brilliant Hal Roach shorts and features of the 30s; indeed, Laurel later wished he had refused to complete the movie at all.
Why two stars rather than one? Because of its historic significance and its curiosity value: it is the last film of a legendary comedy team. But, if you must watch it, cheer yourself up afterwards by slipping on a DVD of The Music Box of Towed In A Hole. That's how Laurel & Hardy truly deserve to be remembered - as a brilliant, energetic and unique team, still celebrated 70 years after their peak."