There’s trouble down t’pit, World War Two is looming and the Duke of Rudling (Peter O’Toole) has just bought Lassie from her impoverished owners. After escape attempts, the windswept bitch is banished to Scotland, yet distance cannot dull her loyalty and Lassie soon sets off through northern Britain in search of the plate-faced Yorkshire boy who loves her so. Eluding dog-catchers, the chintzy canine only manages to entertain for a brief interlude when The Station Agent’s Peter Dinklage crops up as an Irish-ish gypsy puppeteer.
Charles Sturridge helms like he’s handling an Oop North panto, O’Toole could pass for a startled cadaver, the pre-teen actors are unlikely to trouble Freddie Highmore’s agent and what Samantha Morton is doing here, in the thankless ‘Mam’ role, is anyone’s guess. Less Best Of Breed, more a dog’s dinner.