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DVD Reviews

HTF DVD REVIEW: Mr. Bean's Holiday

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#1 of 12 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted November 28 2007 - 10:10 AM


Studio: Universal
Original Release: 2007
Length: 1 hour 26 mins
Genre: Comedy

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Color/B&W: Color

  • English Dolby Digital 5.1
  • French Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

    Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
    Rating: G

  • Release Date: November 27, 2007

    Rating: 2 /

    Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Emma De Caunes and Willem DaFoe

    Story by: Simon McBurney
    Screenplay by: Hamish McColl and Robin Driscoll
    Directed by: Steve Bendelack

    Mr. Bean’s Holiday is purportedly the final appearance by Rowan Atkinson as his famous alter-ego, the bumbling Mr. Bean. Originally seen on British television, and then on the big screen in 1997’s Bean, Atkinson’s title character has retained a central obliviousness to the slapstick effect he tends to have on the world around him, but for this film he has at least learned some sensitivity to the people in it. The plot of the film is wafer-thin. Mr. Bean apparently wins a trip to France along with a video camera to document it. We then spend over 80 minutes with him as he bumbles his way across France to get to Cannes and the sea. There’s not a lot of dialogue in the film, as Mr. Bean tends not to speak much. Essentially, we’re watching a string of physical sight gags, usually instigated by Mr. Bean finding himself in unfamiliar territory and either reacting in the worst possible way or obliviously generating a chain reaction that magnifies around him. For me, a lot of this got tiresome in a hurry. But I will admit there were a few inspired subtle gags here and there. In one scene, we see a refined Maitre’d feeding Mr. Bean oysters in a restaurant. In another scene later on, we see the same Maitre’d on his break answering his phone, while he eats what looks like a fast food hamburger. (I’m not worried about the spoiler effect there, as it’s a throwaway moment anyway that does not impact the main story) And the whole thing ends with an elegant sight gag that did bring a smile. But it certainly feels like a long way to go for a movie that’s less than 90 minutes long. The film has a “G” rating, and should be okay for the whole family to watch. It’s just a question of whether the family’s taste runs to Mr. Bean or not.


    Mr. Bean’s Holiday is presented in an anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer that is fairly colourful and detailed, but not spectacular. There are some nice touches here and there – the detail of Mr. Bean’s tweed jacket early on comes across well, as does the difference between the frequently used video camera footage and the film footage of Mr. Bean’s antics.


    Mr. Bean’s Holiday is presented in a lively Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in English, Spanish and French. There is very little use of the surrounds in this mix, other than for the occasional music cues. There is one mock combat sequence that makes a little more use of everything and the subwoofer, but that’s about it. The rest of the sound sits in the front channels, and there isn’t that much dialogue to begin with.

    Mr. Bean’s Holiday contains a little over 45 total minutes of deleted scenes and featurettes.

  • Deleted Scenes - (23:53 total, Non-anamorphic) – Nearly 24 minutes of non-anamorphic deleted material is presented here. This is a series of additional sight gags or character moments that are fitfully interesting to see, but which are clearly unnecessary to drive the action forward. The last bit presented is an alternate opening to the performance of “La Mer” that finishes the movie, and like the previous material, it’s simply unnecessary.

  • French Beans - (11:24, Anamorphic) - This anamorphic featurette consists of the usual interviews with cast, director and writer, intercut with on-set footage and film footage. There’s not a lot of meat here – just the usual mutual compliments. Atkinson acknowledges the film’s clear debt to Tati’s Mr. Hulot’s Holiday, but with the caveat that the current film actually reverses the situation from the earlier story. There is some discussion that this film is a little closer to the original Bean character than the first film, and an acknowledgement that the film was set in France specifically to allow Mr. Bean to work without language for much of the time, and be able to be a small figure in a wide open space. Story writer Simon McBurney reveals how his grand-uncle bragged of never having a problem traveling because he knew the word for “Thank You” in French: “Gracias”.

  • Beans in Cannes - (5:48, Anamorphic) – This featurette focuses on the climactic sequence at Cannes, showing us interviews and on-set footage of the cast (all but Atkinson) being allowed to film on the red carpet during the Cannes premiere of another film.

  • The Human Bean (6:12, Anamorphic) – This is mostly a series of interviews with Atkinson and other cast members about the character of Mr. Bean and the fun people had working with Atkinson. There’s a lot of material that could have been mined here. His character owes a lot more perhaps to Harold Lloyd’s shenanigans than to Charlie Chaplin, but there’s still something there to discuss. There could certainly have been a discussion of the evolution of the character from his beginnings to the current film, and there certainly should have been a mention if this is intended to be Atkinson’s final portrayal of the character, as he has said elsewhere. Unfortunately, none of this is included in the featurette.

    Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish for the film itself and for the special features. A standard chapter menu is included for quick reference. When the first disc is initially started, the viewer is presented with an optional series of non-anamorphic previews including Veggietales: The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything and the movie and TV series of The Land Before Time.

    IN THE END...

    Mr. Bean’s Holiday is certain to be a good time for fans of Rowan Atkinson’s character, and it’s something the whole family can watch without much trouble. It may be a little harder to watch if the character doesn’t appeal as much or if you’re looking for anything deeper. When it comes to slapstick and sight gags, though, they’re Atkinson’s stock in trade and he’s one of the best at that game.

    Kevin Koster
    November 28, 2007.

    #2 of 12 OFFLINE   Andrew Radke

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    Posted November 28 2007 - 10:46 AM

    Well I've always been a fan of 'Mr. Bean'. I used to have the complete series in the 7-volume VHS set years ago, then got rid of that once the 'The Whole Bean' DVD set was released. I also own the first film which I still enjoy to this day. I've yet to see "Mr. Bean's Holiday" but a friend of mine who is equally as big a fan as I, claims that it's even funnier than the first. I do agree though that this brand of comedy will certainly not appeal to everyone. All I know is I'm definitely looking forward to owning it.
    My DVD / Blu-ray collection:


    #3 of 12 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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    Posted November 28 2007 - 10:49 AM

    If you loved the series, you'll love this movie. The one difference, as I noted in the review, is that he's a bit kinder and gentler here than he once was. But you know, you get older and wiser... Wait. This is Mr. Bean. Okay, you get older...

    #4 of 12 OFFLINE   Ken_McAlinden



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    Posted November 29 2007 - 07:08 AM

    My eleven year old daughter loves the TV series and slapstick in general, so I will be renting this for our next family movie night. If she likes it enough, I may pick up the HD DVD. Regards,
    Ken McAlinden
    Livonia, MI USA

    #5 of 12 OFFLINE   Yumbo



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    Posted November 29 2007 - 09:20 AM

    Way better than the first.

    #6 of 12 OFFLINE   Jay Pennington

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    Posted November 29 2007 - 01:59 PM

    Enjoyed the series, was disappointed in the first film. This one will be a rental.

    Thanks for the review, Kevin. (The DVD logo graphic under it makes it a bit strenuous to read, however. Posted Image )

    #7 of 12 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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    Posted November 29 2007 - 02:47 PM

    I've adjusted the table to remove the graphic. Hope that helps a bit.

    #8 of 12 OFFLINE   John H Ross

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    Posted November 30 2007 - 04:15 AM

    The French/English subtitles on the R2 are player generated (typical Universal). Are the subtitles on the R1 burned in?

    #9 of 12 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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    Posted November 30 2007 - 05:49 AM

    They appear to be player generated to me. I'll double check.

    #10 of 12 OFFLINE   Jay*W


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    Posted November 30 2007 - 06:13 AM

    Kevin, Much better. Thanks! Jay

    #11 of 12 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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    Posted December 01 2007 - 09:24 PM

    I've done the double check. The subtitles are player generated, not burned in.

    #12 of 12 OFFLINE   John H Ross

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    Posted December 01 2007 - 10:56 PM

    Dammit. I really hoped that Universal R1 would do the right thing here, like they did with Johnny English (R1 burned-in vs. R2 player generated). The player-generated subs are horrible and there are a LOT of them in this movie! Looks like I'll be holding onto the R2 disc after all. Thanks for the info! John

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