Plot: What’s it about?
If you were packing a suitcase and your pants wouldn’t fit, would you cut the legs off to save space? If you couldn’t find a parking spot, would you push another car out of its place in order to take it yourself? If you didn’t have a stamp for your letter, would you take one off another person’s mail for your own use? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then perhaps you have a little Mr. Bean inside yourself. Rowan Atkinson’s unique creation, Mr. Bean goes through all the same kind of things we all do, but he finds unusual ways to solve his problems. He is sometimes cruel, sometimes antagonistic, and sometimes plain stupid, but he is always likable and of course, he is always hilarious. So pop some popcorn, hold your teddy close, and prepare to laugh yourself silly, as Mr. Bean has arrived on DVD. But in this incarnation, Bean is like we’ve never seen him before, animated, and I mean animated. Bean has always been an animated man, but now he is in the world of animation, instead of his usual live action presence. Bean is just as hapless in this animated world, always getting into trouble and doing outlandish things. Atkinson returns to voice Bean’s various audible sounds, while a new assortment of strange characters inhabit his world. Will Bean be more sensible in his new animated home?
As if the hilarious live action misadventures of Mr. Bean weren’t enough, now we have Mr. Bean: The Animated Series. I am a massive fan of Rowan Atkinson (Johnny English, The Black Adder), especially his work as Mr. Bean, but I had some doubts about how well his brand of humor would translate to animation. After all, so much of Bean’s charm comes from Atkinson’s facial expressions and physical antics, which might not be as humorous in animated form. I mean, all kinds of insane things happen in animation, which means the outrageous Mr. Bean might not be so outrageous this time around. But I was too curious not to check out this release, at the risk of having Bean’s flawless reputation somewhat sullied. The animation is quite cool, though it has a simple and somewhat dated visual appearance. The colors are bold, the character designs humorous, and of course, Bean’s fingerprints are all over this series. I still prefer the live action series and would have rather had new episodes of that, but if you’re in need of a fresh Bean fix, this animated series provides some decent laughs. The show mines some material you could only do in the animated realm, but also relies on tried & true Bean antics. A&E’s second two disc collection includes a total of nine episodes out of the show’s twenty-six volumes. I think one box set with all the episodes would be better, but one more double pack rounds out the series.
Video: How does it look?
The episodes are presented in full frame, as intended. As I said before, this series has some cool visuals, thanks to a bold color scheme and inventive animation. So it was important to have a top notch visual presentation, to let the visuals reach their full potential. And A&E has supplied a great looking batch of episodes here, so all the offbeat visuals can come across in clean, unhindered fashion. The prints have no marks or debris, which is good, since the series is so new and shouldn’t have any real wear evident. I love the color use in this series, so the bold and vibrant hues found here really pleased my eyes. No problems with black levels either, so both the color and contrast fall into place within these episodes.
Audio: How does it sound?
This is an animated television series, so the included stereo audio is more than sufficient for the material. The show has an odd balance of audio elements, as most shows of this kind would be driven by dialogue. That is not the case with Mr. Bean however, in fact, there is very little actual dialogue to mention. You will hear the occasional batch of words, but Bean himself remains silent aside from snorts, grunts, and other basic vocal emissions. The music is peppy and sounds good, which means there is some depth to the experience. I found the sound effects to be off the wall and bold, which fits the material quite well. So in the end, the stereo audio found on these episodes isn’t memorable, but it gets the job done.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release includes a featurette with Rowan Atkinson, a talent file on Atkinson, some still photos, and a trailer for the series.