| 15 June 1983 (USA)
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  • Reviews

    Very very predictable, including the post credit scene !!!

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    So much average

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    The first must-see film of the year.

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    Kien Navarro

    Exactly the movie you think it is, but not the movie you want it to be.

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    "Baldrick, why do dislike the first, original series of The Black Adder?""I dunno. I suppose it's because the Baldrick character is smart and Black Adder character is stupid.""Why does that bother you so much?""Well I suppose that it's more funny to see a stupid guy being made to look stupid who isn't in charge of anything.""Go on.""In the first series the Prince looks stupid, but he's in charge of things so they go wrong. In the other series, Blackadder looks smart because he has all these cunning plans, and so things go wrong.""Brilliant. A brilliant analysis considering that your body contains absolutely no brain tissue!"

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    IMO The Blackadder is the best of the four series - edging out Series 3. When I first saw Episode One, however, I hated it. I had seen The Blackadder series pretty much in reverse order, so I was used to seeing the confident, sarcastic, clever & scheming Blackadder character.In series one, the character of Edmund was different epitomised by the way he talked and his spineless,cowardly persona. But with several viewings you get used to it, and from then on you can concentrate on the comedy - that is brilliant! Set in The Middle Ages - when life was cheap - you actually get the sense that his life really is in danger in every episode.The relationship between Blackadder, Baldrick and Percy was different in this first series. In the others, Percy and Baldrick were just the butt of Blackadder's jokes - mocked and openly loathed by him.In The Blackadder, he actually needs their help, and together they go through a series of hilarious and dangerous situations. 'Baldrick' in series one was much better than say the Baldrick of Series 4. He was smart and street-wise - and he genuinely believed he had 'cunning plans' to get Blackadder out of trouble. Typically it was Baldrick who sparked off Blackadder's scheming with his subtle insinuations. Baldrick also displayed a ruthless side, not seen in the other series. He held a knife to a priest's throat and assaulted a Bishop - all in good fun of course!By series 4, Baldrick was a more a figure of fun, an empty vessel - his main purpose was to act stupid and make Blackadder look clever.The supporting cast in the first series was also the best IMO: Brian Blessed was brilliant as the menacing King and Blackadder's 'Dad'. Robert East as Prince Harry, Elspet Gray as the Queen. Throw in guest appearances by Peter Cook, Alex Norton as 'McAngus', Frank Finlay as 'The Witchsmeller' and Miriam Margolyes and Jim Broadbent in one of the funniest episodes of all the series - 'The Spanish Infanta's Beard'.This was the only series that featured outside locations, which made it more 'real'.My main gripe with Series 2 - was the irritating Queenie and Nursie. Their humour was very childish and generally unfunny. There was also one very weak episode 5. Baldrick was just slightly disappointing. Blackadder himself though was very good - but just a little too smug.Series 3 -the Blackadder character was on a par with that of Series 2 very intelligent - but less smug. Great scenes between Blackadder, Prince George and Baldrick. Also loved the 'coffee-shop scenes'. Episodes 2, 3 and 4 are outstanding.Series 4 - Captain Darling wasn't as good as Percy from Series 1 and 2. General Melchett and George - brilliant. Blackadder IMO was too much of a know-it-all in Series 4 and he rarely looked ruffled even when faced with death (total contrast to Series 1). They also overcooked the 'canned laughter'. All the episodes though were solid.Series 1 didn't really have any 'weak' episodes. If I had to pick one weaker episode, it would be episode 5 (Witchsmeller Pursuivant). The final episode 6 - was more story-based and introduced a whole new group of characters - the writers appeared to try and end the series with a bang.

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    That said, it's not too bad; just not the classic mixture that gelled in the next series. As others have said: too much Bean, not enough Blackadder. If you already liked Rowan Atkinson, you'll enjoy his facial muggings; but aficionados will miss the stylish, scheming sociopath we came to know and love.My pick, for those who want to check it out, is "The Queen of Spain's Beard", with Miriam Margolyes as the Spanish Infanta. Very funny, and full of the sort of quotes we associate with the later series.Thank God the BBC had the foresight to see its potential and schedule a second series because, as we all know, the rest is history.

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    The start of an excellent series, this bears the marks of them not really having determined the exact tone yet. At this point, some gags and jokes are based on ridiculous and overdone stuff, such as costumes and people just being manic, yelling or talking in a goofy way. But the real core of the masterful satire and comedy of the franchise is already evident here, if less strong and with fewer memorable ones than later(particularly in the next one), including the satire, social commentary, verbal and clever material. Each of these make fun of one specific portion of Britain's history, and while occasionally bringing in a couple of other countries, the focus is always on their own. The English have a real talent for exploring their past with the helpful distance of humor making the horrible truth a lot easier to take in. This follows the first incarnation of Black Adder, a line who will work in devious and sly ways to steal what they can't earn, usually power. The plots tend to be well-written, and there are interesting twists and surprises, that mostly hold up. This is well-cast, with McInnerny and Atkinson garnering the majority of the genuine laughs. The latter sadly does his Mr. Bean thing in this, for almost the entire performance. This is relatively well-produced, though all the exterior shots and the fact that this is actually on the format of film are somewhat cheapened by the often weird, and never incredible, cinematography. The editing can be jarring, at times. Apart from that, it's fine. I recommend this to fans of this type of show, and urge anyone who enjoys what they do with words in this to watch the next three, as well. 7/10

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