Our review of Mr. Bean: The Ultimate Collection, published December 12th, 2008, is also available.
It's not easy being Bean.
You remember Mr. Bean, don't you? He's the guy that is always getting into a heap of trouble. No matter what the poor sap attempts it always ends up in chaos: unwrapping a piece of candy, attempting to park his car, singing in church. No feat is too small for Mr. Bean to botch up. And now Mr. Bean has a whole new world to trash: the land of animation! That's right, Mr. Bean has gone from real life walking disaster to pen and ink one-man wrecking crew! In Mr. Bean: The Animated Series, Bean and Co. shuffle through all sorts of wacky adventures, including a safari watching expedition, road construction, and many other everyday actives that he completely ruins. This animated series featured ten different episodes (each broken up into two segments) of Mr. Bean doing what he does best: being a complete and utter idiot.
The following shorts are included on this set:
• In The Wild
Well, it goes without saying, but here goes: if you're a fan of the Mr. Bean TV series, you're going to enjoy his animated adventures as well. In the original series Mr. Bean (played to perfection by comedian Rowan Atkinson) was a loopy English oaf who was prone to all types of slapstick adventures. In one memorable scene, Bean attempted to take a test only to find he was ill prepared—which led to a hysterical attempt at cheating off his neighbor's paper. Now Atkinson has taken his Mr. Bean adventures into the land of animation with mixed results. Did I laugh at this set of various cartoon skits? Yes. Was it as funny as the real life Mr. Bean? Unfortunately, no. Though the animators are able to bring much of Atkinson's personality to life in this show, it's really not the same thing as Atkinson in the flesh—part of Mr. Bean's appeal is Atkinson's ability to rubberize his face and body into almost any shape imaginable. As such, Mr. Bean: The Animated Series loses something in translation. But fear not! There are still plenty of hearty chuckles to be found here, as when Bean finds himself stuck doing house repairs for his cranky old landlady and inadvertently sees consumed by a garbage truck. I also enjoyed Bean's attempts at nature watching while nature inexplicably passed him by! This set, compiling 18 episodes from the series, features animation that appears to be somewhat inspired by the show Ren & Stimpy. It's nice to hear Atkinson doing the voice talent, and while most of Bean's follies are light and fluffy, they still should provide both adults and children with a multitude of laughs. Indeed, Mr. Bean: The Animated Series may appeal more to kids than adults. If your tykes are a bit too young to appreciate Atkinson's flesh and blood comedy, they may fine solace in this goofy two-disc set. Mr. Bean fans will be more than happy to add this box of comedy to their DVD collection.
Every episode of Mr. Bean: The Animated Series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame. Originally shot for television, each of these episodes appear to be in good shape with a minimal amount of imperfections hindering the image. The colors and black levels are all solid and bright without any bleeding. While these transfers may lack the quality of a theatrical release, overall fans of the show will be happy with the picture. The soundtracks are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo in English. Much like the video presentations, these sound mixes are all in good working order. There aren't any true directional surround sounds to be found here, but that's okay—since this is a cartoon made of television, there wasn't much need for a heavy 5.1 overhaul. All aspects of the dialogue, music, and effects are crystal clear. No alternate subtitles or soundtracks have been included on either disc.
There are a few extra features for fans to laugh at, including a 20-minute "making of" featurette that includes footage from various script meetings, voice over recordings, the foley artists at work, and other production information on the making of the series. This is actually a very nice little piece (presented in anamorphic widescreen) that is heads above the usual promotional featurette. Also included on this set is a trailer for the series, a trailer for Mr. Bean: The Whole Bean, a biography/filmography on Rowan Atkinson, and a nice photo gallery.
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