THE BEST OF MR. BEAN
Review by Michael Jacobson
Stars: Rowan Atkinson
Audio: Dolby Stereo
Video: Full Frame 1.33:1
Features: Four bonus sketches
Length: 150 Minutes
Release Date: September 30, 2008
Rowan Atkinson has stated he believes everybody has one perfect comic character inside of him, and he’s certainly proven that over the years. His many years of success in his native England and abroad has enthralled audiences with hysterical live appearances and groundbreaking television events. But nothing can compare with Bean.
A&E continues to deliver the goods with The Best of Mr. Bean Volume 2. For my money, their The Whole Bean box set is still the best way to go, but ever mindful of budgetary concerns, you can feed your need for Bean in single disc, specially compiled compilations.
This new offering picks up where the first volume left off, giving you six rib-tickling episodes of Atkinson’s legendary creation running amuck with his childlike propensity for trouble and self-centeredness. And if you enjoyed the first Best of Mr. Bean as much as I did, you’ve probably been looking forward to this latest installment!
Included are a couple of episodes that were driven by a single gag. “Mr. Bean in Room 426” shows how badly a hotel stay can go, and will have you on the floor as the unfortunately naked Bean tries to cope with getting back in his room, among other mishaps. And “Tee Off, Mr. Bean” will show you just how unflappable he can be as he ends up following a wayward golf ball all over town!
Other episodes are more sketch-oriented, and there are plenty of memorably funny moments. Some of my favorites include Mr. Bean’s frustration with a new television set, what happens when he steps on stage to help out a magician, and his attempts to mail a letter. And who but Mr. Bean could turn something as mundane as a trip to the mailbox into comic gold?
And I can’t forget “Back to School Mr. Bean”, in which our beloved hero has to deal with a rather disturbing art class and has an escapade trying to get his pants back that will have you in tears. It certainly did me. Or maybe best of all, his attempts to cheer a sick boy on an airplane. Rule of thumb: when picking up a bag on a plane, best make sure it’s empty.
I always loved Mr. Bean because he seemed a perfect throwback to the silent comedians of old. He’s not completely without dialogue, but spoken words are few and far between. They aren’t necessary. Rowan Atkinson can use his face and body to communicate volumes and elevate slapstick into an art form the way Chaplin and Keaton used to do. It’s fair to say nobody’s done it better since then.
Atkinson has claimed with the release of Mr. Bean’s Holiday that he’s retired his famous character once and for all. I can only hope, like Jay-Z or Brett Favre, he finds retirement unsuitable and decides to give it another go. This disc is proof that you can never have too much of a good thing, and certainly never too much of Bean.
The standard transfers are decent…they show a bit of age here and there, and occasional compression is evident in static backgrounds, but overall, the mix of film and video is fairly clean, and about what you’d expect for an older television program.
Likewise, the audio is fine…not much dynamic range is needed or offered, nor much dialogue either, but the overall stereo offering works well with the contents of the programs.
The disc includes four bonus sketches: “Bus Stop”, “Library”, “Blind Date” and “Torvill and Bean”.
Rowan Atkinson has been proving for years that he knows Beans about comedy. The Best of Mr. Bean Volume 2 is a solid compilation of mirth and mayhem from the master British comic in the role that made him beloved the world over.