Johnny English

Johnny English

DVD Rating: **

Reviewed by: Martin Gray

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of Johnny English

Well, goodness me, the menu for this very English comedy brought a strong case of deja vu - French courtesy of the film's villain, Pascal Sauvage, the Gallic beast! It's near identical to the X-Men DVD counterpart, all vaults and clanging noises. Apart from that, it's jolly standard - you go left, you go down, you do the hokey cokey, select your language option and away you go.

The actual DVD quality was annoying, in that every time I played it, there was some kind of default to mono images. At other times, the sound would have to be turned on and subtitles off - let's hope I simply got a dodgy review copy.

Copy picture

The Making Of featurette won't change your life, but it's nice to see Rowan Atkinson relaxed in an interview for once. There are also comments from Ben Miller, who plays English's sidekick, Bough, and other members of the cast and crew. The highlight is hearing John Malkovich, who plays Sauvage, noting how remarkably serious Atkinson is about his work.

Sometimes, though, I wonder if the knee-jerk add-on documentary policy should be dumped by production companies and saved only for those films with complex enough production histories to make the featurettes worthwhile. Sticking with the X-Men, as a comparison, it was fascinating to see Hugh Jackman audition for the part of Wolverine; it's less interesting to see a bunch of clips from a film we've just seen that aren't actually illustrating anything beyond the existence of the film being plugged. The obvious conclusion is that these featurettes are intended to act as cheap TV filler for networks every bit as much as they're a treat for the DVD purchaser. If not, more so. There's one on Britain's ITV seemingly every weekend, acting as an extended ad for the big release of the week.

The character stats are bog standard, listing special skills and the like for the main players. Johnny English, it seems, has conversational Japanese. So . . . how do they say 'YAWN' in Tokyo?

The observation test is a neat little game for the kiddies - it must be intended for nippers, cos the questions are so darn easy. I did have problems getting a response when I inputted my answers, though. The downloads sound peachy, but I wasn't about to risk them on my computer, given the technical glitches I'd already encountered with this DVD; if you're a braver man than I, feel free.

Basically, this is DVD-by-numbers, worth buying only if you absolutely can't wait to video Johnny English when it turns up on TV in a couple of years. The extras aren't worth the price.

Reviewed on: 17 Aug 2003
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Johnny English packshot
A spoof James Bond adventure, with Rowan Atkinson playing the accident prone secret agent.
Amazon link

Product Code: 8206707

Region: 2

Ratio: FullFrame

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Making Of documentary; character profiles; observation game; scene selection; DVD Rom features (downloads, spy profiler, spy challenge, identikit)

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