Mr. Bean: The Whole Bean
Starring: Rowan Atkinson
Released by: Shout! Factory
Reviewed by Mike Kenny
Celebrating 25 years since its original debut, Mr. Bean returns with all 14 episodes, fully remastered and bursting with bonus content, courtesy of Fabulous Films. In this landmark British series, comedic genius Rowan Atkinson (Johnny English) stars as the dim-witted Mr. Bean who finds himself in the perils of everyday situations gone hilariously wrong. Child-like and loaded with physical humor, Mr. Bean would become an instant hit in the United Kingdom before reaching worldwide success and award recognition for its awkwardly lovable protagonist.
Mum on dialogue and basked in slapstick comedy akin to Chaplin or Keaton, Mr. Bean captures audiences with its innocent approach of a buffoonish character caught in one embarrassing situation after another. Rowan Atkinson commands the role of the jacket and tie wearing mute with perfect comedic timing that breaks the chains of language barriers and delivers one of comedies most hysterical creations. Whether Mr. Bean is struggling to take an exam, swimming in the local pool or simply eating a sandwich in the park, issues arise that only Atkinson’s awkward delivery can weed Mr. Bean out of. Its simple set ups and reoccurring gags including, a knee-slapping feud with a blue Regal Supervan that normally meets a crushing fate courtesy of Mr. Bean, is one of the many pleasures that keeps viewers overwhelmed with laughter. As a man with the personality of a child, Mr. Bean finds friendship in his appropriately named teddy bear, Teddy, and taps into the relatable and downright comical scenarios of falling asleep during Mass and trying to remain calm during a particularly scary film. Coasting along in most episodes in his miniaturized vehicle, Mr. Bean rarely needs words to convey his frustrations and enthusiasm with goofball mannerisms and excellent straight men allowing Atkinson’s comedic force to burst off the screen with even greater impact.
Airing for what seems like a shockingly short episode count, Mr. Bean ran for an impressive five years on the UK’s ITV network before, catapulting to worldwide success that would net the comedic gem countless, well deserved awards including, the Rose d’Or. A short-lived animated series and two feature films would follow to much financial and critical success cementing Mr. Bean’s status as an icon of comedy. While, Atkinson has flirted with the notion of retiring his beloved character in recent years, Mr. Bean remains the performer’s greatest success with his moronic innocence and delightful physical abilities that continue to keep audiences in stitches. A quarter century old, Mr. Bean is a timeless gem of nonstop laughs that perfectly encapsulates the unwavering charm of slapstick shenanigans, wonderfully realized by Atkinson’s unstoppable talent.
Fabulous Films presents all 14 episodes of Mr. Bean digitally remastered and sporting a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. A suitable boost in quality from their original broadcast, Mr. Bean still shows signs of its inherent video source but, hardly disappoints with a clean picture, adequate colors and no signs of wear and tear to speak of. Equipped with a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix, Mr. Bean, although scant on dialogue, still offers audible levels leaving nothing in the dust while, its prominent laugh track comes across strong with viewers’ own laughter most assuredly drowning it out. Graciously celebrating its 25th anniversary, special features run aplenty with Missing Scenes including “Turkey Weight” (1:29), “Armchair Sale” (2:57), “Marching” (0:42) and “Playing with Matches” (0:37). In addition, The Story of Mr. Bean Documentary (39:57) finds Rowan Atkinson and other key talent discuss the genesis of the character and the success of the popular series. Plus, Never Before Seen-On-TV Sketches for “Bus Stop” (5:45) and “Library” (9:30) are included along with, The Best Bits of Mr. Bean (71:47), a Mr. Bean: The Animated Series Trailer (0:49) and a 7-page episode guide with accompanying stills rounding out the supplemental offerings.
Influenced by the silent film stars of yesteryear, Rowan Atkinson’s Mr. Bean is a modern day response that is equally timeless and hilarious as those before him. The clumsy actions and physical hijinks that ensue in their aftermath have established Mr. Bean as a bonafide gem of comedy that continues to tickle the funny bones of audiences everywhere since its debut in 1990. Fabulous Films’ digitally remastered collection of all things Bean greatly improves from the original broadcasts, preserving the iconic show for another 25 years of ripe discovery and endless revisiting. Released in conjunction with pop culture enthusiasts, Shout! Factory, and packed with terrific bonus content, the strength and sheer memorability of Atkinson’s vastly uncoordinated character earns Mr. Bean: The Whole Bean the highest of recommendations!
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