"I have mixed emotions about this one. Laurel and Hardy fans SHOULD see this one, because it is the last film the boys did.
But be prepared, Stan was in poor health at the time. He was a diabetic and suffered terribly during the heat. He was only 60, but looked like death warmed over. The film is NOT typical L&H comedy, but a poor attmept at political satire. Sorry folks, that just WASN'T the boys style. With poorly dubbed dialog for the non-English speaking performers, it's a little irritating at first. There is still some magic left, like Stan "burping" his pet lobster, when he and Ollie take the boat engine apart, only to have the pieces fall overboard and where Stan pours oil over troubled water. I just wish the film had been made when the boys were in better health and could have had more controll. In his final years,even Stan called this film an "abortion" True fans of L&H should remember them in their prime, like "The Music Box"
and "Way Out West""
A sad ending
stephenmorgan | 01/16/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This very last movie Laurel & Hardy made was a disaster. They expected to film for about a month but it took a year to complete. Stan fell ill and had to undergo surgery. After having been released from hospital he should have taken a rest but being a professional he felt obligated to make the movie.
He was in a lot of pain and it certainly shows in this film. Stan also lost a lot of weight and both looked old and tired, which was partially due to the fact that the director had them waiting for days before calling them for some scenes.
Don't ever start a collection with this one. It might put you off for the rest of your life!"
yaremar | Pilsen, USA | 11/19/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"While the silent-era comedies of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are well represented on DVD, the majority of the team's sound films remain unavailable here in the U.S. The fact that UTOPIA, their final film, is readily available everywhere is a bitter pill for most of their fans to swallow.
In 1950 Stan and Ollie traveled to France to make the movie, which was originally titled ATOLL K. In this uneasy blend of political satire and slapstick, the boys inherit a yacht and wind up on an uncharted atoll, which they try to establish as a new country. This ill-fated little picture saw limited release in Europe during 1951-52, and received scant distribution in the U.S. as UTOPIA in 1954.
Aside from the erratic quality of the script and the production, the biggest drawback is the unhealthy physical appearance of the boys themselves. Hardy is at his all-time heaviest, while Laurel contracted dysentery during location shooting and wound up losing over 50 pounds. Here, their "fat and skinny" personas are more like "obese and emaciated." That they're still able to rustle up a handful of laughs and perform with some degree of enthusiasm speaks volumes about their dedication to their craft and their comedic gifts. To his dying day (February 23, 1965), Laurel considered the film one of the most painful experiences of his career.
This Goodtimes edition is one of the better-quality copies in circulation, though it doesn't compare to the sparkling 35mm print I saw at a revival theater back in the 1970s. "
Proving they still had it....
Tuco | Phoenix, Az USA | 09/26/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm kinda surprised at all of the negative reviews here. I had been staying away from this film because of the negative reviews and the low price which is usually an indicator of quality of the work. Don't miss this one!! For review reference, I personally think Sons of the Desert is the boys best film, I did not find Pardon Us or Flying Dueces too funny, but I thought Utopia was hilarious with plenty of great laughs in the first five minutes alone. Sure the plot get's a little too involved towards the end but what movie doesn't? The entire first hour was great with lots of the signature comedy you're lookin' for!
Even when he was old, sick, and overheated from the hot weather on the island, Stan Laurel proves himself to be one of the, if not THE finest comedian in film history. Although the sound and picture quality here is more like a 1930's film(it was 1951!?!), I am glad to own this one. The Boys' last 30 seconds on film was most appropriate and is just how the world will always remember them. Not to be missed!!
For reference, the DVD release by the Platinum Disc Corporation is currently the best picture quality available for this title - some of the other releases are almost unwatchable!!
I think the negative reviews here stem from people hard to accept the boys as either old and sick or old and too fat. Trust me, the bits here are just as funny or even funnier than most of their feature length stuff. Even John Wayne The Duke was both sick and tired when he filmed his last movie, The Shootist, and that too is a great film which proved to the world his high caliber just as Utopia does for Stan and Ollie. "It ce'tainly does!""
Not As Bad As You've Heard But...
stephenmorgan | slough, england | 08/22/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The Boys' last and supposedly worst film together. It has a notorious reputation and much of it is justified. Stan DOES look old and frail. Ollie DOES look dangerously obese. It's poorly dubbed (apparently none of the other performers could speak English), the picture quality is far worse than their 1930s material even after DVD treatment and the gags are lame, tired and in places cringe-inducingly childish. The plot, while pretty original and perhaps even daring for the time is convuluted and as far from the classic Laurel and Hardy as ever.
What does redeem the film are the performances from the two leads. Their acting was remarkable considering they were not well men at the time. Oliver Hardy's acting was as commandingly brilliant as it had always been and a further example of how much of an under-rated actor he was. Meanwhile, Stan Laurel was amazingly physical here despite his obvious illnesses. There's at least one scene where both men are running along a beach. Which comes to the observation that the scenery was very pretty!
'Atoll K' is probably the worst Laurel and Hardy film ever made. But it isn't as bad as some would make out. "