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Johnny English Reborn out on DVD (just in time for half-term!)

Johnny English Reborn on DVD and Blue-rayI was invited to a screening of ‘Johnny English Reborn’ last Sunday prior to its imminent release on Blu-ray and DVD in February (details below)

It’s slightly outside the remit of what I usually write about, but given that I love all the Bond films, and am of the ‘pre-Mr. Bean generation’ for whom Rowan Atkinson can do no wrong,  it seemed a bit of a no-brainer to go, with my six year old son, to see Johnny English on the big screen.

His  cinema experiences to date have tended to involve cartoon characters , and I wasn’t sure whether he’d be that bothered about a film with ‘real people’ in it. Added to this, his tendency to get fidgety about 20 minutes into watching anything did make me wonder whether it would be enjoyable for us both. I needn’t have been worried: the opening scenes of the film, involving English being indoctrinated and trained  in martial arts by a monk in Tibet, had enough action and slapstick to have him, and me, in stitches within about 5 minutes of the opening credits!

My verdict: it’s easy to get snobby about these sort of films, but the combination of slap-stick and action scenes are enough to keep most adults and children (of about 4 upwards) entertained. There were moments when the film did start dragging a bit, and it could probably have done with being about 20 minutes shorter, but as a DVD purchase, which obviously gives you the option of stopping, starting, and fast-forwarding, I would say this is a good bet for the half-term holidays (especially if the weather stays as it is!). I can see both my sons wanting to watch some of the more ludicrous scenes of the film over and over again.

As for the adults:  the acting may not have been Oscar-worthy, but it is nonetheless a very watchable film. Other than the humour, I quite liked the fact that the casting had made some good attempts  at trying to portray a PC-version of British society, with a female MI-7 boss (played by Gillian Anderson) and Atkinson’s brighter but inexperienced side-kick being played by black actor  Daniel Kaluuya. The villain, meanwhile, turns out to be an Eton-educated MI7 agent with Grammar-school upstart Atkinson winning the day (nice side-swipe at Cameron, Johnson & Co). One of my favourite moments is when English visits Kaluuya’s character, Tucker at home. Tucker still lives with his mum in Tooting and is busy playing a computer game when English bursts into his room. Just hilarious and unlikely. and made even more amusing when his mum asks if either of them would like some orange squash while they are discussing the web of conspiracy that running throughout the KGB, CIA and even MI-7.

The DVD and Blu-Ray are released on 13 February, just in time for half term!

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