WWI comic mayhem courtesy of Captain Blackadder and company. Edmund Blackadder finds himself in the trenches on the Western Front in 1917. Episodes include "Captain Cook," "Corporal Punishment, " "Major Star," "Private … see full wiki
Its almost as if the Black Adder series was working its way up to this point. Or maybe Ive just watched so much of it, Im used to the humor and things just get funnier as I go. You know, the way you watch a movie again and its funnier the second time around for some reason? But whatever the case may be, though I still like volume 2 the most (I think its the costumes and the fact that Blackadder is just the biggest cad with the sharpest tongue ever), this one made me laugh the most. My newest WOT pal cripper even left a note, "Wait till you see this," and oh, how he was right.
For those of you just joining me in my little expedition through one of Britains more famous comedies, youll have to rewind. Granted, it isnt necessary to go in order, you wouldnt really be too confused by anything since each season doesnt really connect itself very closely with the next aside from the characters, but I recommend starting at the beginning. This way you can see where the whole Blackadder thing came from, and watch as characters change and evolve over the times.
This time, its 1917 and were in the middle of World War I, where our favorite characters have been trying to stay alive since the beginning in 1914. We have Captain Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson, with yet another look less hair, parted on the side, and a little moustache, the exact look for the time), Private Baldrick (Tony Robinson as dirty and gross looking as ever, if not worse, and hes got shorter hair and glasses this time around!), and Lieutenant George Barleigh (Hugh Laurie this time without the powdered wig, though just as rambling as ever). While these three are with the other British boys at the front lines, stuck in the trenches, back at headquarters sits Captain Darling (Tim McInnerny previously in Georges place beside Blackadder as the idiotic Percy) and General Melchett (Stephen Fry with a moustache you can catch small animals in).
As usual, Blackadder is scheming and planning, but instead of trying to get rich, its simply to stay alive and avoid charging over the top of the trenches and getting gunned down by Germans. And as usual, hes surrounded by people dumber than small painted wooden ducks. Baldricks cunning plans arent always (if ever) very cunning, and George may very well be dumber than Baldrick. Its too close to call. But ever time General Melchett comes up with a battle plan which is usually the same one, charge head on to the front lines Blackadder does everything possible to get out of it. This includes becoming the company painter even if he cant paint, avoiding communication at all costs, taking charge of a stage show that gets George a date with Melchett, joining the Royal Flying Air Corps., and taking over a spy operation. But in the end, they can only come up with so many plans before all they can do is reminisce about their time together before going forth one last time.
This volume was great in every sense of the word. Blackadder was just as cutting as ever in his remarks to Baldrick, George, and anyone else within a fifty-foot radius that annoys him. Though I did notice an increase of the phrase, Thats the worst something since someone/something did something, or some variation thereof, it didnt matter too much because the fillers were all so different and obscure (where do they come up with this stuff??). Baldrick excels himself in his grossness just as George excels himself in his stupidity. Having the previously dopey Percy disappear from the scene and instead Tim McInnerny returns as the devious Captain Darling, frequently referred to as simply Darling, which always draws a smile and a chuckle, was a good choice. Its almost as if Percys returned smarter and with a vengeance towards Blackadder. Not to say that he doesnt get his once and a while
Ironically, the previous three volumes have had my favorite episodes focusing with women in the picture. Not so here. In fact, its sort of the opposite. If youre familiar with the name Flashheart (Rik Mayall is suddenly my hero though I'll probably never see him again), youll know what I mean. If not, then oh are you in for a treat. The man has more sexual innuendos up his sleeve than well, I dont even have a comparison for that one. Not to mention the fact that hell randomly punch someone in the face without any provocation, and its so random its hilarious, though you do feel a little sorry for the poor sap hes smacking around. In short, the man cracks me up, and thus episode 4 is my ultimate favorite in this volume, though all the other ones are pretty hilarious. As usual the scenarios are totally ridiculous and the characters completely wacky. When you have mud as coffee, wooden ducks, a firing squad that visits you in your holding cell, Blackadder making the most ridiculous noises ever over the phone to avoid orders, and George spewing near-nonsense 40% of the time, you simply cannot go wrong.
Costumes were once again great. Top notch. Lovin every minute of it. Everyone always looked like they really did belong back in 1917. The sets were just as good, stuck in trenches half the time with mist rolling in and real dirt everywhere, and then the lavish headquarters (not surprising), and even with one scene with old biplanes actually flying around, I sit happy. As an American, I dont always get some of the references, but there arent enough of them for me to be confused, and some of the slang used for the times (such as names for the Germans) are easy to figure out so youre not left out of the loop for long.
On one final note, something Ive realized Ive left out of previous volumes, though it wasnt quite as prevalent as now, is youre going to encounter a decent helping of politically incorrect stuff. But first off, you shouldnt care (I sure dont, in fact, Im so sick of PC stuff, I enjoy it thoroughly), secondly, remember what time frame these characters are living in so they would be making fun of the French, Germans, etc, and thirdly, remember, this is British and the continent has a history of issues concerning everyone, so I figure theyre entitled. I only wish theyd jab more fun at us Im always amused when our culture is made fun of in good jest.
All right, this review is long enough. Im sure you get the impression that I liked this volume. Its got great replay value you notice things you didnt notice before, even if its a line you didnt catch. I watched episode 4 for the third time last night and noticed something I hadnt earlier. So go, buy, enjoy, and Ill see you in the next Blackadder era.
Episodes in this Volume:
1. Captain Cook
2. Corporal Punishment
3. Major Star
4. Private Plane
5. General Hospital
Black Adder II
Black Adder III Black Adder the Third
Black Adders Christmas Carol
Black Adder Back and Forth
Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Better than Watching TV
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