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A&E Home Video presents
Mr. Bean: The Animated Series (2002)



Review By: Robert Edwards  
Published: January 11, 2004

Stars: Rowan Atkinson
Director: Alexei Alexeev

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing offensive)
Run Time: 03h:17m:00s
Release Date: September 30, 2003
UPC: 733961709063
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ AAA C+

DVD Review

Rowan Atkinson is probably best known for his role as Blackadder in the British TV series of the same name, but his comic character Mr. Bean is surely almost as well known. Beginning with the Mr. Bean TV series in 1989, he was a regular fixture on the telly, in theaters and in the video shop for the better part of a decade. After a few years' hiatus, he returned to the small screen in 2002, this time in animated form, with a 26-episode series, each show containing two shorts.

Most people either hate or love Bean. Drawing inspiration from silent film comedians, Atkinson's work is mostly non-verbal and consists primarily of sight gags. The major exception is his stream of gutteral noises (and occasionally words), used to reinforce the emotions that play vividly across his expressive face. Indeed, Mr. Bean is most easily seen as a child trapped in the ungainly body of a man. It's probably this aspect of the character that some people dislike, and one could make the argument that there's something a little disturbing about a childlike, middle-aged man with a permanent five o'clock shadow, whose best friend is a teddy bear.

But this reviewer finds not only the character, but many of the situations, amusing and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. With a reduced cast (Mr. Bean, his cranky landlady Mrs. Wicket, and her one-eyed cat Scrapper) and supporting characters, Atkinson and his writers create all sorts of complicated situations for Bean, many involving his misbegotten schemes, which invariably go awry.

A&E's two-volume set contains nine episodes from the series, each of them containing two shorts.



Volume One

In the Wild
Inspired by a television program, Mr. Bean decides to try his hand at nature photography. But the animals are uncooperative, except for the printed pheasants on the skirt of a lady's rather large bum. And it's perhaps not the best idea to dress as a fox when there's a hunt on. It gets three teddies.





Missing Teddy
There's a gang of teddy bear thieves about, so perhaps taking Teddy grocery shopping is not the wisest idea. Devastated by his loss, Mr. Bean searches desperately—but is that really an ailing Teddy that he recovers?





Mime Games
Mr. Bean encounters an example of that most annoying of species, the mime, whilst visiting the park. Annoyed by that fact that Bean has no dosh, the mime follows him, but Bean has a trick or two up his sleeve as well.





Spring Clean
It's May, and that means spring cleaning at Mr. Bean's. Whilst he has no trouble cleaning his flat, removing the resultant grime from his person is another story, especially when there's no hot water.





Birthday Bear
Having forgotten Teddy's birthday, Mr. Bean has to make an impromptu visit to the toy shop. But it's all worth it, as Mr. Bean's friend Irma and her teddy join them for the party.





The Mole
When a mole interrupts two old ladies' croquet game, Mr. Bean is designated its captor. He doesn't have much luck, but perhaps Teddy could be persuaded to dress as a female mole? Or how about a trail of worms, the mole's favorite food, leading to a hungry cat in a dustbin?





Roadworks
When Mr. Bean's slumber is disturbed by roadworks, he's determined to stop them, but his attempts to sabotage their equipment go disastrously wrong. Perhaps serving the works crew endless cups of tea and snacks will do the trick... This amusing episode wins four teddies!





The Sofa
All Mr. Bean and Teddy want to do is enjoy their fish and chips and watch a bit of telly, but when the sofa sprouts multiple springs, Bean is determined to buy a new one. He doesn't have the £300, however, and even if he can raise the money, that doesn't solve the problem of the missing remote control.





Treasure!
Mr. Bean finds a treasure trove of childhood toys, including a jigsaw puzzle and a treaure map. But the puzzle's missing a piece, and is it really worth a trip to Australia to follow the map?





Homeless
Whilst returning his sleepwalking landlady to her flat, Bean is discovered in a embarrassing position and thrown out on the curb. His flat hunt proves frustrating, so maybe a disguise will do the trick.





VOLUME TWO


Nurse!
Mr. Bean's landlady, Mrs. Wicket, is laid up with a broken leg, and Bean dreams of being pampered by a nurse. Faking a fall, he's taken to hospital, but things don't work out quite as he expects. Not one of the better episodes, but still worth a teddy.





Dead Cat
It's decorating day, but Mr. Bean's arch-nemesis, his landlady's one-eyed cat, isn't exactly helping, so Bean chucks her in the dustbin. But the dustmen haul her away, and the chase is on to find a replacement.





Super Trolley
It's Teddy vs. Mr. Bean in a contest to collect the most cereal prizes, but they're out of POP brand cereal, so it's time for a trip to the market. Once there, it's the manager vs. Mr. Bean, and not even Bean's mechanical trolley can save him.





Magpie
When Mr. Bean's radio-controlled airplane collides with a bird, he takes it home to nurse it back to health. Mrs. Wicket's pile of jewellery proves to be a temptation that the magpie can't resist, and soon the police are after him.





Cat-Sitting
When Mr. Bean's ironing board surfing goes (predictably) awry and his landlady is injured, it's up to him to take care of her nasty cat, Scrappers. The cat won't eat fruit, but is a microwave oven really the best way to open a tin of cat food?





The Bottle
An antique ship in a bottle is just the thing to perk up Mr. Bean's bored goldfish. Soon it's Mission Improbable as the milkman mistakenly retrieves the bottle and Bean has to infiltrate the bottling plant.





Goldfish
Inspired by a dolphin show on the telly, Mr. Bean tries to teach Teddy to catch sardines, but Teddy ends up in a bucket full of them and stinks, so it's off to the cleaners. A goldfish would probably do better, unless it gets homesick for the sea.





Inventor
There's a new tenant, an inventor by trade, and Mr. Bean and he vie for not only the affections of their landlady, but also the best flat. Things are bound to go wrong when Bean sabotages the inventor's new robot.



Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: The image is excellent, with bright, stable colours and fairly deep blacks. There are no compression artifacts and no distracting edge enhancment.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Like the image, the Dolby Surround audio is great. The music sounds lush and full, and even gives the subwoofer a reasonable workout. The surrounds are used effectively, not only for the music but also for environmental sounds such as rain and thunder.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 18 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Documentaries
Packaging: 2 disc slip case
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Video release trailers for Mr. Bean - The Animated Series and Mr. Bean - The Whole Bean
  2. Photo Gallery with 18 animation stills
Extras Review: There are text screen biography and filmographies of Rowan Atkinson, as well as 18 still frames from the animated series. Home video release trailers for both animated and live action series are also included.

This 19m:54s documentary The Making of Mr Bean: The Animated Series traces the creation of a sequence from Bean in Love, which is unfortunately not included in this collection. Sequences show the initial meeting between the creative personnel, Rowan Atkinson acting out the movements that are difficult to animate, the actual animation process at a studio in Budapest, the recording of the sound effects and music and, finally, the completed scene. It's interesting, but not especially insightful for anyone who has seen similar documentaries on other animation DVDs.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

If the disaster-inducing, amusing antics of the live-action Mr. Bean tickle your funny bone, you'll enjoy his animated counterpart as well. The beautiful image and impressive sound of this nine-episode set only add to the fun.

 


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