Saturday, June 23, 2012

Johnny English (Peter Howitt, 2003) Review

There are two kinds of parodies in the world: affectionate parodies and just...just stupid parodies. The former kind is quite rare but when you find one, it pays off (such as Shaun of the Dead) and the latter includes the likes of Scary Movie and is just stupid. Johnny English is a parody of the James Bond franchise but the question is: what kind of parody is it? Let's find out.

Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) is a wannabe secret agent and, after a surprise attack on MI5, his dream comes true as he is the only agent left alive. The head of the MI7, Pegasus (Tim Pigott-Smith), appoints English as their primary agent (you know, since he's the only one) and, accompanied by his sidekick Bough (Ben Miller), sends English to find out what Pascal Sauvage (John Malkovich), a powerful yet jumped-up Frenchman, is up to. Turns out he's a classic villain (inspired by classic Bond villains) out to seize the Queen's crown and take over England, turning it into the largest prison in the world. It's now up to English and Bough to stop Sauvage and save England.

As already mentioned, it's a James Bond parody and it actual does a decent job trying to copy it. Spy spoofs practically have their own genre due to the sheer amount of them. Johnny English is the only one that could actually hold up it's franchise (as shown with the sequel Johnny English Reborn) due to it's well written dialogue and interesting characters. Sauvage is a good example of a character that (with a more convincing accent) could qualify for a Bond villain (maybe a Roger Moore one

Let's not forget that it is still a parody though therefore it has to make jokes at it's own expense or even at the source materials expense. Some things include Sauvage's accent. I can't tell if it's really bad or really good. It's that strange kind of accent that you think he's trying to hard yet it is convincing at times...or it could just be atrocious...take your pick. The hilarious car chase scene as well as the scene where English and Bough break into Sauvage's office are memorable and are great parodies of classic Bond moments.

Johnny English is one of the best parodies around mainly due to that fact that it takes it's time with some quiet moments and also is very well written. If you stripped out the humour and replaced the actors, it could qualify as a proper Bond film. It's close but just misses the mark of out Bonding Bond (but considering it was up against Die Another Day, I think it may have...maybe).

An affectionate parody that may be too silly for some. It actually tries and it certainly pays off.

No comments:

Post a Comment