STUDIO: A&E Home Video
MSRP: $48.99
Not rated$
RUNNING TIME: 729 minutes
The Story of Bean featurette
• Two never-before-seen TV sketches
• Two Bean appearances for Comic Relief
• Rowan Atkinson Bio and Filmography
OMC music video for “I Love LA”
17 deleted scenes for Mr. Bean’s Holiday
French Beans featurette
Bean in Cannes featurette
The Human Bean featurette
Animated Series photo gallery
Animated Series behind-the-scenes featurette

The Pitch

That’s a shload of Bean, man.

The Humans

Rowan Atkinson.

The Nutshell

Compiling the complete works of Rowan Atkinson as his oafish character, Mr. Bean, this Ultimate Collection is comprised of the 14 TV episodes that ran in the early ’90s, the two features films and the complete animated series, with a ton of extras to keep any Bean fan happy for quite some time.

Although a newcomer to LA, Bean got the attitude down pretty quick…

The Lowdown

This Ultimate Collection has all 14 episodes of the Mr. Bean series of comedic skits that ran from 1990 to 1995, his two theatrical films, the aforementioned Bean and Mr. Bean’s Holiday,
as well as the animated series from 2002.  Atkinson himself has
described Bean as “a child in a grown man’s body” who tries to overcome
the series of small challenges that everyday life presents, and
frequently causes havoc in the process.  Bean appears as a lonely
individual, although he’s blissfully ignorant of that fact, as he’s
usually more preoccupied with whatever menial task he’s trying to
perform at the moment. 
My thoughts as fairly new watcher of his material?  Very amusing at times, and clever, as Atkinson says maybe one word a skit and does everything via mannerisms and facial reactions.  Still though, not quite on the same level as my man, Benny Hill.

Bean’s depiction of President Bush was almost accurate, though he had the wrong ass.

In regards to the Bean TV series, each of the 14 episodes were comprised of three to four skits of Bean’s antics, filmed both on location and in a studio setting.  In one instance, he finds himself at the beach, fully clothed and trying to change into his trunks without getting naked out in the open.  In another, he’s set to meet Queen Elizabeth but is concerned with his appearance, notably his breath, unpolished shoes and dirty teeth, and tries to rectify all of those issues while standing in the greeting line.  In yet another, Bean is at home trying to get reception on his TV, which he’s only able to do when he’s holding the antenna out of visual range of the set. 

“Oh, Lord Vigo…no, I’m not busy, why do you ask?”

Another skit finds Bean wanting to go off of the high diving platform at a local pool, only to be terrified once he gets up there, yet unable to retreat because some kids are waiting to go after him.  One other skit finds Bean trying to get out of a parking garage in his Mini Cooper, but not wanting to pay the parking fee and trying to reverse himself out of the entrance instead.  Bean’s antics and incessant mugging make his exploits likable to both children and adults.  It’s also funny that although he comes off as a lovable loser, Bean is actually quite the a-hole when he wants to be, cheating on an exam, jumping in line or generally throwing people under the bus for his own benefit, which only adds to the charm.

The skit involving the colonoscopy was more than a little disturbing…

Bean’s two movies, Bean and Mr. Bean’s Holiday find Bean taking his act on the road, with the first set in Los Angeles, and the other in France.  Bean is little more than a fairly hackneyed attempt to string some old skits from the TV series into a workable film.  Bean is an employee at a British museum who is sent to accompany the Whistler’s Mother painting to the Los Angeles Grierson gallery.  Bean’s employers, aware that he is basically a buffoon and eager to get rid of him, dump him off on the unsuspecting Americans, under the pretense of being an esteemed art professor. 

Bean stays with curator David Langley (Peter MacNicol) and immediately starts disrupting his home life as his wife (Pamela Reed) and children are annoyed by Bean’s odd behavior and go to stay with her mother.  However, Bean’s biggest disaster occurs when he sneezes on the priceless painting and tries to clean it with lacquer thinner, which of course destroys it.  Langley freaks and realizes his life and career have essentially been ruined by this British oddball.  Sympathizing, Bean embarks on a plan that involves breaking into the gallery to fix the painting before the big unveiling.  Once that’s accomplished, a subplot is tacked onto the end where Bean ends up at a hospital when Langley’s daughter is comatose after a motorcycle accident.  Once again, Bean stumbles to the rescue and saves the day.

Unfortunately, Bean made the mistake of doing this to a guy in a blue bandana while riding in a red car…in LA

Mr. Bean’s Holiday is a much more coherent and quite a bit better story, as Bean wins a trip to the French Riviera and also a video camera to record his trip, then spends the rest of the film actually trying to get there, while losing virtually everything he has along the way.  He meets up with the young son of a Cannes Film Festival Judge from whom he is separated when trying to help out Bean with a video shot while boarding the train to Cannes.  Bean befriends the boy and tries to help reunite him with his father, and they share a few misadventures along the way in typical Bean fashion.  Bean also hooks up with a pretty french actress, Sabine (Emma De Caunes), when he stumbles onto a film set being directed by a pretentious, artsy fartsy American director, Carson Clay (Willem Dafoe in yet another good campy role). 

When they get to Cannes, Bean has to sneak in in drag because he’s wanted by the French authorities for allegedly kidnapping the boy.  In his usual manner, he splices in his trip footage – much of it including Sabine – into Carson Clay’s crushingly boring film.  This wins both Sabine praise and Clay undeserved praise, which he immediately jumps on.  Bean then successfully gets his reward as well, a trip to the beach. 

Finally, the animated series is a barely tolerable exercise that loses much of the live action skits’ charm because Atkinson has to grunt much more than he does in reality.  But the episodes generally follow the tone of his real-life skits, although they have a little more room to bend reality and the like.  There are eighteen skits on nine episodes.  Mr. Bean: The Ultimate Collection is a pretty solid set of all things Bean.  If you’re a fan you’ll probably want to pick it up. 

The Package

This is a seven disc offering, with the 14 episodes of the Mr. Bean television show on the first three discs, the two films with a disc of their own, and the animated series on the final two.  For the TV series, the look changes from tape to film, depending on studio or location shooting.  The transfer on those is fine and the films look pretty good as well.  The animated series features characters with heavy outlines and the transfer on those is also fine.  Sound is good all around.  In terms of special features, the best one is The Story of Bean, a good 40-minute account of the history of both Bean and Rowan Atkinson and how he rose to fame.  It has good a background of Atkinson’s other work and features interviews with his friends, colleagues and Atkinson himself.  There are also a couple of unseen sketches on Disc 3 and two he did for Comic Relief UK (one of them featuring Alan Cummings).  A trailer for the animated series and a Rowan Atkinson biography and filmography complete the features round out the features.

Bean had to go with this.  His only other option was a “deliveries in rear” sign…

Bean: The Movie has a music video by OMC for “I Love L.A.”, some trailers and cast and filmmakers bios.  Mr. Bean’s Holiday has twenty minutes of deleted scenes and three behind-the-scenes featurettes: French Beans, Beans in Cannes and The Human Bean.  The Animated Series features a couple more trailers, one for the cartoon and one for Mr. Bean: The Whole Bean, as well as some more production notes and the same Rowan Atkinson bio and filmography as the TV show.  Finally, there’s a 20-minute making-of featurette for the cartoon.

8.3 out of 10