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Johnny English Reborn Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Archived Reviews' started by Kevin EK, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer

    May 9, 2003
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    Johnny English Reborn is an intermittently funny sequel featuring Rowan Atkinson’s James Bond parody character.  Handsomely produced with some interesting casting choices, the movie should appeal to Atkinson’s fans.  The Blu-ray is loaded with special features, including a commentary with the writer and director.  It’s not a movie I would recommend, but James Bond fans and British comedy fans will likely enjoy a rental.


    Studio: Universal/StudioCanal/Relativity Media

    Release Year:  2011

    Length:  1 hr 42 mins

    Genre:  Comedy/James Bond Parody/Rowan Atkinson

    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

    BD Resolution and Codec: 1080p, VC-1 (@ an average 30 mbps)

    Audio:  English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (@ an average 3.7 mbps, up to 5.2 mbps), Spanish DTS 5.1, French DTS 5.1

    Subtitles:   English SDH, Spanish, French

    Film Rating:  PG (Mild Action Violence, Rude Humor, Some Language and Brief Sensuality)

    Release Date:  February 28, 2012

    Starring:  Rowan Atkinson, Gillian Anderson, Dominic West, Rosamund Pike, Daniel Kaluuya and Richard Schiff

    Story by:  William Davies

    Screenplay by:  Hamish McColl

    Directed by:  Oliver Parker

    Review Rating:    2 ½/5

    Johnny English Reborn picks up several years after the first Johnny English movie left off, and essentially continues the usual Rowan Atkinson hijinks into a new story.  There’s a fairly simple spy plot going on here, but it’s really more of a structure on which to hang a series of slapstick gags – typically involving Atkinson getting himself into some kind of physical trouble and then involving his fellow cast members reacting with either confusion or shock.  Gillian Anderson makes an interesting appearance here as the “M” character – essentially acting as a straight man to set up either a one-liner by Atkinson or a physical gag in her presence.   Rosamund Pike transfers over from an actual Bond film (Die Another Day) to this spoof, and has a good amount of fun playing shrink to the title character.  Richard Schiff has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him cameo that strangely doesn’t resonate.  The whole enterprise plays a bit like a typical James Bond movie, including some inventive stunt work and quick camera moves, only with the purpose of letting Rowan Atkinson be, well, Rowan Atkinson.  For his fans, this is great stuff.  For more casual viewers, this can be hit and miss, quite literally.  (There’s one entire sequence that quite literally descends into toilet humor for a while…)

    Johnny English Reborn was released on Blu-ray and DVD last week.  The Blu-ray edition contains high definition picture and audio of the movie and a generous amount of extras.  The usual Blu-ray functionality is here, including pocket BLU and BD-Live.   The DVD edition is included in the packaging, along with instructions for obtaining a digital and Ultraviolet copy of the movie.


    Johnny English Reborn is presented in a 2.35:1 1080p VC-1 encode that mimics the look of some of the latest Bond films – particularly the Pierce Brosnan era.  It’s a good looking transfer with accurate flesh tones and seamless CGI work.  On a technical level, this release is up to par with the usual James Bond Blu-rays.

    AUDIO QUALITY    4/5

    Johnny English Reborn gets an energetic English DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix, which acts much like a typical James Bond action mix, complete with surround effects, lots of subwoofer activity, and the heavy brass score.   There are also DTS 5.1 mixes in French and Spanish, as well as an English DVS track.


    Johnny English Reborn comes with a nice collection of special features, including a director’s commentary, some deleted/extended scenes, a gag reel, and some featurettes.  There’s also the usual Blu-ray functionality. 

    Commentary with Director Oliver Parker and Screenwriter Hamish McColl – Oliver Parker and Hamish McColl contribute a droll, scene-specific commentary to the disc.  The guys spend some time talking about the creative end of setting up the various slapstick motifs, as well as the production end of filming in various countries.  But much of the time is spent indulging in some fairly dry wit about the scenes playing out onscreen.

    Deleted/Extended Scenes  (39:26 Total, 1080p) – Seventeen deleted or extended scenes are included here, with on-camera introductions by Oliver Parker to explain why they didn’t make it into the movie.  These include an alternate opening moment for the film, and additional moments during various stunt and fighting sequences.

    Gag Reel (2:29, 1080p) – A short gag reel is included here, with all of the usual blown takes and misfired bits.

    The English Files: The Making of Johnny English Reborn  (25:04, 1080p) – This is your typical behind-the-scenes featurette, including interviews with all of the major cast members and creative staff.  The usual mutual compliments are exchanged between bits of on-set video and clips from the movie.

    Working With Rowan (3:55, 1080p) – This shorter featurette, as titled, focuses on people’s compliments toward Rowan Atkinson and his work.

    Gadgets  (3:16, 1080p) – This quick featurette gets into the gadgetry – including the tricked-out Rolls Royce used for the movie.

    English in Hong Kong (5:03, 1080p) – This short featurette addresses the location work done in Hong Kong.

    The Wheelchair Chase (5:26, 1080p) – This featurette covers a central gag of the movie – Rowan Atkinson using a motorized wheelchair to speed across London and some well-known landmarks.

    pocket BLU – The usual pocket BLU functionality is present here.

    BD-Live – The usual BD-Live functionality is present, including a few online trailers that play as soon as you put the disc in your internet-connected player.

    DVD – The DVD edition of the movie is included in the packaging.  The DVD has a Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix in English, French and Spanish (@ 448 kbps) and the same DVS mix as the Blu-ray.  The commentary, deleted scenes, and gag reel are included.  Of the featurettes, only The Wheelchair Chase is included on the DVD.

    Digital/Ultraviolet Copy – The packaging includes an insert with instructions for downloading a digital copy or obtaining an Ultraviolet copy of the movie.  Access to the copies expires July 27, 2012.

    The movie and the special features are subtitled in English, French and Spanish.  The usual pop-up menu is present, along with a complete chapter menu.   As a witty touch, the menus are pretty good echoes of the latest Bond film Blu-ray menus – particularly the one for Quantum of Solace.

    IN THE END...

    Johnny English Reborn is a movie that will definitely appeal to Rowan Atkinson fans, who likely have already picked it up.  The Blu-ray gives it a solid presentation in terms of good HD picture and sound, as well as a generous assembly of extras for the fans.  Fans of British comedy may want to rent this, if they aren’t already familiar with Atkinson.  And fans of James Bond may enjoy this as well, if they’re in a properly silly mood.

    Kevin Koster

    March 9, 2012

    Equipment now in use in this Home Theater:

    Panasonic 65” VT30 Plasma 3D HDTV – set at “THX” picture mode

    Denon AVR-3311Cl Receiver

    Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray Player

    PS3 Player (used for calculation of bitrates for picture and sound)

    5 Mirage Speakers (Front Left/Center/Right, Surround Back Left/Right)

    2 Sony Speakers (Surround Left/Right – middle of room)

    Martin Logan Dynamo 700 Subwoofer


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