The Comedy Vault – Bean The Ultimate Disaster Movie.

Bean The Ultimate Disaster Movie (1997)

As you should know by now, I am a fan of the comedy character Mr Bean, as played by Rowan Atkinson, putting his “rubber-faced funnyman” talents to the extreme. After appearing in 14 TV episodes that were very successful, it was decided that it was time for this character to bumble on to the big screen. The director was Atkinson’s old Not The Nine O’Clock News mate Mel Smith.

Now as we know of course, Mr Bean is a man of few words, so how could he be placed into a film? Well there was a rather ambitious idea. Mr Bean works at the National Gallery Of London. He is rather useless though, so the staff put a plan together to try and get rid of him… he’ll be off to America! But is our loss America’s gain? An art gallery has bought “Whistler’s Mother”, which they describe as the greatest American picture ever, as they aren’t very modest. vlcsnap-00007

The gallery insist that he is a scholar of great weight and substance, but our hero gets into a pickle even by his own standards, as everything that could go wrong, does go wrong. Mr Bean goes to live with David Langley who works at the gallery, as they prepare for the big moment, and he isn’t ready for the bizarre situations he is going to be put in. The rest of his family almost instantly pack their bags and move out, which shows what they think of all this. vlcsnap-00010

It’s fair to say that he struggles to deal with American culture, and his rather eccentric ways stand out. Whilst admiring the picture, Mr Bean makes something of a mess of it, and if anyone discovers this there’ll be big trouble. He manages to hatch a plan though, and hopes that everything will work out. When it’s time to unveil the picture, it’s a very important occasion, even Burt Reynolds turned up and everything. vlcsnap-00008

The picture is now back to its original self, and Mr Bean gives a rousing speech how lovely he thinks it is. Everyone is very pleased, it’s $50 million well spent, but it seemingly cost David his marriage. By the end, Mr Bean is bringing people back to life and rescuing David’s marriage, despite everything he has become a friend. His philosophy on life seems to be when people go up to him and say “you can’t just…”, he does. vlcsnap-00009

Bean The Ultimate Disaster Movie was something of a success, satisfying the worldwide fanbase, even if critics were less impressed. The DVD contains few extras though, with an episode of the cartoon version, plus a quick look behind the scenes, and one of the songs from the soundtrack was also a Top Ten hit. About a decade later, Mr Bean returned to the big screen when he went off on holiday and caused havoc again, and I’ll review that one soon too.

The Comedy Vault – Mr Bean.

Mr Bean (ITV, 1990-1995)

Seemingly not satisfied with appearing in two of the best British comedy shows of the 1980s in Not The Nine O’Clock News and Blackadder, the great Rowan Atkinson who is often referred to as “the rubber-faced funnyman” went on to appear in a third terrific show in the 1990s when he put his mime skills to brilliant use by becoming the classic comedy character Mr Bean. vlcsnap-00827

The first episode of Mr Bean was shown on New Year’s Day 1990 on ITV and it became an instant hit. The idea with the scheduling of the show was that there would be no regular series, with each episode being shown individually. This was because the writers didn’t want exhaust all the ideas at once, and because it would mean every new episode became a big event. I definitely remember looking forward to them. Unsurprisingly, the show has won many awards and achieved very high ratings. vlcsnap-00828

The idea with the show is that of course it is virtually dialogue free, and it has been enjoyed around the world. Of course the character of Mr Bean is rather strange, he is often seen wearing his tweed jacket as he tries to solve simple situations such as painting a wall or playing a game of golf in complex ways, or come up with creative ideas that seem straightforward to him but bizarre to everyone else. vlcsnap-00829

His origin is unclear, from the second episode onwards in the title sequence it seems that he has been beamed down to Earth, maybe because his mission is to cause as much chaos on Earth as possible. This sequence was accompanied curiously by what must be one of the most sombre themes that there has have ever been for a comedy show. vlcsnap-00830

As the episodes go by Mr Bean drives around in his car going from one amusing situation to the next, and a few guest stars in every episode turned up wondering what he was doing, including Angus Deayton and Richard Wilson. We also see his girlfriend in a few episodes and discover that he likes to sleep with his teddy wherever he goes. In later episodes he also seemed to lose his trousers with alarming regularity. vlcsnap-00831

Only 13 episodes of Mr Bean were originally shown on TV, but there was an extra 14th one made that has been released on VHS and DVD which has since turned up on TV in more recent years. The story didn’t end there though. Two great films have been made, Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie in 1997, and Mr Bean’s Holiday a decade later. There has also been an animated version which is shown regularly on CITV. There was also a brilliant book released in the early-90s and he even had a hit single. He has also made a few appearances on TV shows and charity events such as Comic Relief and in adverts up to the present day. vlcsnap-00832

There are so many great sketches to choose from, one of my favourites was when Mr Bean was in a restaurant and didn’t enjoy his food and generally caused havoc around him, I think I laughed at that one more than any other sketch, the Christmas special was great too, but 25 years on I think they’re all brilliant really.