A&E // 2003 // 199 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Treadway (Retired) // April 21st, 2004
Rowan Atkinson in the role he was drawn to play!
After wreaking unintentional havoc in the live-action world, Mr. Bean has been transplanted into the two-dimensional world of animation. Courtesy of A&E Home Video, Mr. Bean is set to invade your local DVD player!
The Cast of Characters:
* Mr. Bean -- A grown-up man with a child's sense of wonder and selfishness.
* Teddy -- Bean's beloved companion. He may be a teddy bear to some, but to Bean, he's a friend.
* Mrs. Wicker -- Bean's cranky landlady, who owns the boarding house in which Bean resides.
* One-eyed Cat -- Mrs. Wicker's beloved pet, who despises Bean.
* Irma -- Bean's girlfriend, who lives in the same boarding house.
* Maitre d' -- Frenchman who runs a fancy restaurant that Bean frequents (and often wrecks!).
The live action Mr. Bean series started life as a cult item that aired on HBO in the early 1990s. I was blissfully ignorant of Bean for many years, until I caught a few episodes on public television. I laughed my tail off, so I went searching for more Bean. I rented tapes, saw the 1997 theatrical film many times, and became a major Bean fan. So imagine my bliss when I discovered that I'd be reviewing the animated series.
I'll grant you one thing. The animated series is not as funny or manic as the live action series. Rowan Atkinson, one of the greatest British comedians of recent years, has strengths in physical comedy that even the best animation cannot recreate. The stories seem more preoccupied with material that could not be done in live action. The animation is good for its type. It's bright and colorful, often appealing to the eye. It's better than most Saturday morning fare.
All 18 Bean adventures from the second season are featured in this two-disc set. On a scale of zero to five beans:
Bean accidentally breaks his Queen mug. Havoc ensues when he searches for a replacement.
While hiding from cranky Mrs. Wicker, Bean remembers his childhood exploits.
"In the Pink"
Two scoundrels are passing off pink-dyed raccoons as a new pet. Guess who falls for it?
"Dinner for Two"
Bean invites Irma over for dinner. Everything that could possibly go wrong does.
Bean's powerful pitching causes his neighbors' tennis ball to become stuck on a high ledge.
A lone popcorn kernel causes Bean's tooth to break, causing all sorts of mishaps along the way.
Bean decides to cut his own hair for an upcoming newspaper profile.
Noisy neighbors prevent Bean from enjoying his favorite television show. He resorts to drastic measures to find a quiet space.
A shifty mechanic dupes Bean into thinking his car is beyond repair.
Bean's birthday dinner is spoiled by a snotty celebrity.
Bean discovers a thief during a visit to an art museum.
After viewing three horror films in a row, Bean begins to blur reality with fiction.
Irma grows restless at Bean's pathetic attempt at a romantic date.
Bean is whisked off to prison after being mistaken for an escaped criminal.
Bean meets his match at the hands of an Asian whiz kid. His plethora of gadgets manages to keep our hero at bay.
Bean's schooltime chum Harry comes to visit. He proceeds to eat Bean out of house and home.
After his television breaks down, Bean decides to purchase the monster set he has always dreamed of. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the 500 pounds to do so.
Bean decides to purchase a grand piano after his favorite Beethoven record is damaged.
A&E's presentation sports a full frame transfer that is free of blemishes and defects. Colors are more subdued than normal for a cartoon. The sole culprit is edge enhancement, which is a shame. The animation already has broad enough outlines without having to add those ghostly white borders.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. The mix is good for its type. However, a stereo mix is really unnecessary for this program. Crucial dialogue is minimal. Sound effects are simple and effective. A mono mix would have done the job just as well.
There are scant extras in this set. A ten-minute featurette titled "Keyboard Capers: Live Action Guide" shows Rowan Atkinson acting out an entire script for the animators. It only hammers home the weakness of the series. Trailers for A&E's The Whole Mr. Bean and Mr. Bean: The Animated Series sets, a photo gallery and a biography of Atkinson rounds out this package. Commentary tracks would have been nice. The Looney Tunes Golden Collection and Somewhere in Dreamland proved that there is a market for commentary tracks about animation.
Mr. Bean fans will be among the first to purchase this set. Casual fans will want to rent this set first. Make no bones about it, the cartoon just isn't the same. I will admit that the affordable $24.95 retail price does make it an attractive blind buy.
Review content copyright © 2004 Bill Treadway; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 199 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Keyboard Capers: The Live Action Guide
* Photo Gallery
* Official Site