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Black Adder - Back and Forth

2 Ratings: 3.5
A movie directed by Paul Weiland

After twelve years away from the small screen, the Blackadder cast reunited in the twenty-first century. Lord Blackadder and Baldrick continue their historic warping of all that is sacred in Great Britain, but this time are not limited simply to one … see full wiki

Director: Paul Weiland
Release Date: 1999
MPAA Rating: Unrated
1 review about Black Adder - Back and Forth

Dinosaurs, Romans, and…Baldrick’s Underpants

  • Sep 5, 2006
Rating:
+3
Pros: More Blackadder!

Cons: Brief, not as funny as it could have been

The Bottom Line: Created 10 years after the original series ended, everyone's back for one last ride - always fun.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot.

While I’ve been contemplating going out and chopping wood, hoping that the fresh air and activity will rid me of an oncoming headache, I’ve opted instead to stare at a computer screen and listen to not-so-relaxing music (which will more than likely have the opposite effect on my little head). Still, it’s September, and I need to stop slouching around and write a review (or more) if I want to keep my title and make 300.

This leads us inevitably back to the Black Adder series. Of course, the series is over now, so what we have here is the get together of the previous cast members for one last fling concerning the life (or lives) of Edmund Blackadder. If you haven’t the foggiest idea of what I’m talking about, you’d do well to hit the first link at the bottom and start from square one. But in short, the name Blackadder has been around for generations, from the 1300s up until World War I. The series halted (and God knows why; the last series was the most hilarious of the bunch) in 1989, and so the snippy remarks from Blackadder (always played by Rowan Atkinson), stupidity of his sidekicks Percy (Tim McInnerny), Baldrick (Tony Robinson), and whoever Hugh Laurie was playing at the time – it all depended upon what era you were in, the only consistent sidekick was Baldrick – and fabulous job by the costuming crew came to an end. So sad for those of us that loved it and for those of you who are sure to feel the same.

So in 1999, almost all the previous actors we came to know and love, including Rik Mayall (the notorious Flashheart), Stephen Fry (Melchy! Or for those of you who know him as Gordon in V for Vendetta), Miranda Richardson (Queenie), and others (minus Bob – or Kate – sad, that) came together for this little tidbit of entertainment. If you know your actors and actresses at all, you may even see a few familiar faces. Colin Firth and Kate Moss anyone? But on to the plot.

Leonardo DaVinci not only left clues about the Holy Grail lying around, but he also made instructions for the creation for a time machine. Our present day well-to-do Blackadder, clad in a lush, wine colored suit and with a carefully trimmed goatee (joy of joys) has had Baldrick follow the instructions and build one. A scheme is in the making. He invites several friends over for a dinner party, where he proclaims he’s built a time machine and will make a wager that he can actually use it, promising to bring back items his guests request as proof. Naturally, he’s got relics of all sorts stashed away in the time machine, planning to step in, jiggle the machine around, and step out again – walla! The Duke of Wellington’s boots!

I suppose he forgot that DaVinci was a pretty smart guy – either that or Baldrick is a genius in disguise. Whatever the case may be, the machine actually works, and Blackadder and Baldrick find themselves on a journey to get back to their original time, staving off dinosaurs, Robin Hood, and even stumbling into a battle or two as they jump from time to time. And then there’s that whole, don’t screw up the past and affect the future thing…

Though I have to admit, seeing Queen Elizabeth react to breath mints, Blackadder punching Shakespeare, Rik Mayall as a very rabid Robin Hood, and Baldrick’s substitute for numbers in the time machine was all rather amusing, as a whole I was a little disappointed. I didn’t feel like the show, which was surprisingly short for being a special, didn’t live up to the potential it could have had. The situations they got themselves into could have gotten a lot more ridiculous than they were allowed to be. Maybe that’s a part of what was missing. The series always had elements of the absolutely bonkers about it, and yes, I know, a time machine is pretty loopy, but it didn’t quite cross the line like I’m sure it could have. Things like the scene with Napoleon and the French at the battle of Waterloo – that was great (and if you’re French…well too bad, it was still funny).

But as usual, even without the side-splitting goodness, I was totally happy to goggle at the costumes. If one thing hasn’t ever disappeared from the Black Adder table, it’s their costuming abilities. Utterly fabulous. Rowan Atkinson’s suit just gave him the total look that he should be stepping into a time machine and traveling about. And though utterly hokey, Robin Hood’s costume fits the sort of storybooks (but that just makes it funnier) and I wonder if it’s the same one used in the “Corporal Punishment” episode in the last season. Haha.

Special effects and sets. Mm, bigger budget this time, no doubt. Very little computer graphics – which is AWESOME. Sorry, but I really did enjoy the mechanical dinosaur (reminiscent of Jurassic Park), and there were a lot of outdoor scenes, in forests and on windswept plains. We do get one space scene, and those of you familiar with Doctor Who will chuckle at it. Sets were huge (mostly to encompass the large time machine), and overall very pleasing.

Overall it was pretty good. Not the best in the ways of Black Adder, but if you’ve seen the rest of the series and its specials, then you should go ahead and drink this in. It’ll make you giggle, and the end is one I really liked, mostly because it’s sort of a culmination of all that the previous Blackadders have been working toward in the past centuries.

Way to go Blackadder, you sneaky bastard you. Haha.

NT


Previous Eras:
Black Adder
Black Adder II
Black Adder III – Black Adder the Third
Black Adder’s Christmas Carol
Black Adder Goes Forth

Recommended:
Yes

Viewing Format: DVD

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