Johnny English

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Johnny English
Johnny English movie.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPeter Howitt
Written byNeal Purvis
Robert Wade

William Davies
Produced byTim Bevan
Eric Fellner
Mark Huffam
StarringRowan Atkinson
Natalie Imbruglia
Ben Miller
John Malkovich
CinematographyRemi Adefarasin
Edited byRobin Sales
Music byEdward Shearmur
Production
companies
Distributed byUniversal Pictures (International)
Mars Distribution (France)[1]
Release dates
  • 11 April 2003 (2003-04-11) (United Kingdom)
  • 18 July 2003 (2003-07-18) (United States)
Running time
88 minutes[2]
CountriesUnited Kingdom[3]
France
United States[4]
LanguageEnglish
Budget$40 million[2]
Box office$160.5 million[2]

Johnny English is a 2003 spy comedy film directed by Peter Howitt and written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and William Davies. It is a British-French venture produced by StudioCanal and Working Title Films, and distributed by Universal Pictures.

Starring Rowan Atkinson in the title role, Natalie Imbruglia, Ben Miller and John Malkovich, it is the first installment of the Johnny English film series and serves as a parody and homage to the spy genre, mainly the James Bond film series, as well as Atkinson's Mr. Bean character. The character is also related to Atkinson's bumbling spy character from a series of adverts in the United Kingdom for Barclaycard in the 1990s.

Released theatrically in the United States on 18 July 2003, the film met with mixed reviews from critics but was commercially successful and grossed $160 million worldwide against a budget of $40 million.[2] The film was released in the United Kingdom on 11 April 2003 and topped the country's box office for the next three weekends, before being overtaken by X2.[5][6][7] It was followed by two sequels, Johnny English Reborn (2011) and Johnny English Strikes Again (2018).

Plot[edit]

Johnny English is a kindhearted but clumsy MI7 employee who dreams of becoming its top agent. After Agent One dies in a submarine accident unknowingly caused by English due to faulty access hatch codes, the remaining agents are killed by a bombing at Agent One's funeral again due to English's incompetence by two criminals working for a yet-unrevealed villain, leaving English the lone surviving agent capable of finishing Agent One's mission.

Assigned to thwart a plot to steal the newly restored Crown Jewels in an event hosted by French prison mogul Pascal Sauvage, English meets the mysterious Lorna Campbell at the jewels' unveiling at the Tower of London. During a sudden blackout, the jewels are stolen. In the aftermath, English accidentally knocks out the deputy head of security and pretends to fight an imaginary "assailant" to cover his mistakes; he gives a false description of the suspect to MI7 head Pegasus.

English and his assistant Angus Bough discover the jewels were removed via a hole dug beneath their display case. Following the tunnel, they confront the German thieves Dieter Klein and Klaus Vendetta, who escape from their hideout in a hearse. After pursuing the wrong hearse, English gatecrashes a funeral and Bough pretends that he is an escaped lunatic in order to get him out of the situation.

Sauvage, who is revealed to be Klein and Vendetta's employer, informs the thieves that he bugged English's flat, and instructs them to have him eliminated. English and Bough relay their findings to Pegasus, who finds their claims absurd and warns English against getting Sauvage involved. In a car park, English and Bough are attacked by Vendetta, who escapes after English mistakenly attacks Bough. English again encounters Campbell in a YO! Sushi restaurant, recognising her pink motorcycle. Having seen her at two crime scenes, English's suspicions deepen when her records cannot be found on any government computer.

English and Bough parachute into Sauvage's headquarters, but English mistakenly lands on an identical tower, the City Hospital. Reaching the correct building, the two learn that Sauvage, a descendant of Charles Edward Stuart, plans to make himself king, using an impostor to impersonate the Archbishop of Canterbury. English observes that the fake Archbishop has a tattoo on his bottom saying Jesus is coming — look busy. Campbell arrives, revealing herself to be an Interpol agent tracking Sauvage. With evidence of Sauvage's involvement, English crashes a reception hosted by Sauvage but is fired by Pegasus for his clumsy actions.

With English having exposed his plans, Sauvage scraps his plan to use the fake Archbishop and instead sends his minions to blackmail Queen Elizabeth II into abdicating her throne by threatening her corgis, causing the entire line of succession to be swept clean for Sauvage to become king. Campbell, now placed in charge of the assignment by Pegasus, visits English and convinces him to travel with her to Sauvage's French château to investigate. Eavesdropping on Sauvage's meeting with internationally renowned criminals, English and Campbell learn he plans to transform all of mainland Britain into the world's biggest prison. The agents' cover is blown when English accidentally activates a microphone; he attempts to steal an incriminating DVD, but unknowingly takes the wrong disc, before the two agents are taken prisoner.

Bough rescues English and Campbell, and the three race to stop Sauvage's coronation. English crashes the coronation and discovers that the Archbishop is genuine, following a stint in which he exposes the Archbishop's bare bottom in the erroneous assumption that it would bear the tattoo he had observed earlier. Undeterred, English orders Bough to play the incriminating DVD, only to find it is bugged footage of himself lip-syncing to ABBA's "Does Your Mother Know" in his underclothes. Sneaking away, English swings in to steal St Edward's Crown from the Archbishop. Sauvage attempts to kill English, who drops the crown. However, English falls from the wire, lands on the throne, knocking Sauvage off and is crowned instead. In his first and only act as king, English has Sauvage arrested and restores the Queen to the throne, simply requesting a knighthood as a reward.

Sauvage is awaiting trial for high treason, while English and Campbell drive to southern France. English accidentally ejects Campbell from his car whilst attempting to kiss her, causing her to land in a swimming pool where Bough and a man matching the description of the "assailant" are on holiday.

Cast[edit]

Additionally, the film's director Peter Howitt played a cameo in the film, as the man Bough threatens to play the DVD at Sauvage's coronation.

Production[edit]

In March 2000, before the release of Maybe Baby, Atkinson signed up to star as a spoof 007, with the news becoming official.[8]

In July 2002, Johnny English principal photography commenced. The film shot for fourteen weeks, filming at Shepperton Studios, on location in London and St. Albans, and finally setting down in Monte Carlo for two days to complete filming the final scene.[9] In September 2002, it was announced that Natalie Imbruglia would star alongside Atkinson.[10]

The character of Johnny English himself is based on a similar character called Richard Latham, who Atkinson played in a series of British television adverts for Barclaycard.[11] The character of Bough (pronounced 'Boff') was retained from the adverts though another actor, Henry Naylor, played the part in the ads. Some of the gags from the adverts made it into the film, including English incorrectly identifying a waiter, and inadvertently shooting himself with a tranquilliser ballpoint pen.

Filming locations[edit]

  • Some scenes were filmed at Canary Wharf in London—indeed, the film duplicates the single real tower into two identical ones (albeit on the real site) for the fictional London Hospital and Sauvage's headquarters at 1 Canada Square.
  • The scenes set in Westminster Abbey were filmed in St. Albans Abbey:[12] though this connection is solely implied through the dialogue—for this footage is never intercut with footage of the real abbey's exterior. The interior (with the televisual screen hiding the St Albans organ) is clearly St Albans. The choir singing in the coronation scene is St Albans Cathedral Choir.
  • Both the exteriors and interiors in the introductory dream sequence scene are in Mentmore Towers.[13]
  • The exterior and interior of MI7's headquarters which English enters at the start is Freemasons' Hall, London,[12] which is also used as Thames House (the MI5 headquarters) in Spooks.
  • The scenes where Johnny English drives into Dover, Kent along the A20 road (with Dover Castle in the background) and then enters the Port of Dover (with a "Dover Ferry Terminal" sign, Dover's Athol Terrace and the White Cliffs of Dover in the background) to catch a ferry to France, were all shot on location.[14]
  • The exterior of Sauvage's French château is actually the castle atop St Michael's Mount in Cornwall.[12]
  • The scenes in Brompton Cemetery were filmed there.[12]

Reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 33% based on 122 reviews with an average rating of 4.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A tame spy spoof that elicits infrequent chuckles."[15] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 51 out of 100 based on 32 critics, indicating "mixed or average" reviews.[16] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B" on an A+ to F scale.[17]

Soundtrack[edit]

All tracks were written by Edward Shearmur and performed by London Metropolitan Orchestra unless otherwise noted.

  1. "A Man for All Seasons" (Hans Zimmer, Robbie Williams) – Robbie Williams
  2. "Theme from Johnny English" (Howard Goodall)
  3. "Russian Affairs"
  4. "A Man of Sophistication"
  5. "Kismet" (Written by Gay-Yee Westerhoff) – Bond
  6. "Truck Chase"
  7. "The Only Ones"Moloko
  8. "Parachute Drop"
  9. "Pascal's Evil Plan"
  10. "Theme from Johnny English (Salsa Version)" (Howard Goodall) – Bond
  11. "Off the Case"
  12. "Cafe Conversation"
  13. "Into Pascal's Lair"
  14. "Zadok the Priest" – Handel
  15. "Does Your Mother Know" – ABBA
  16. "For England"
  17. "Riviera Highway"
  18. "Agent No. 1"

Home media[edit]

Johnny English was released on VHS on 11 August 2003 and on DVD on 11 January 2004.[18] A DVD re-release, entitled Johnny English: Fully Loaded Edition, was released on 19 September 2011, including bonus material about its sequel Johnny English Reborn. [19]

The film was released on Blu-ray on 28 February 2012,[20] along with its sequel Johnny English Reborn. The film was released on Netflix in February 2016.[21]

Sequels[edit]

A sequel, titled Johnny English Reborn, was released in October 2011. In September 2010, filming for the sequel began, seven years after the release of the original, and concluded in March 2011. The film follows Johnny English, now training in Asia after being disgraced in an earlier mission, as he attempts to foil a plot to assassinate the Chinese Premier, while a mole is found in "MI7" and English has to deal with being framed.

In May 2017, it was announced that pre-production had begun on a third film titled, Johnny English Strikes Again, which was released on 5 October 2018.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Film #20314: Johnny English". Lumiere. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d "Johnny English (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 13 January 2009.
  3. ^ Lemire, Christy (21 October 2011). "Film review: 'Johnny English' fires wildly, but mostly misses comic targets". Deseret News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 22 October 2011. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Johnny English (2003)". BFI. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  5. ^ "Weekend box office 11th April 2003 - 13th April 2003". 25thframe.co.uk. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Weekend box office 18th April 2003 - 20th April 2003". 25thframe.co.uk. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  7. ^ "Weekend box office 25th April 2003 - 27th April 2003". 25thframe.co.uk. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Rowan Atkinson to star as spoof 007". The Guardian. 2 March 2000. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  9. ^ "Johnny English - Production Notes". contactmusic.com. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  10. ^ "Natalie Imbruglia Takes on Hollywood". cinema.com. 20 September 2002. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
  11. ^ Stuart Heritage (13 April 2011). "Johnny English Reborn: I spy with my little eye …". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  12. ^ a b c d "Johnny English (2003)". British Film Locations. 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  13. ^ "Johnny English filming locations". UK Onscreen. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  14. ^ Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office Johnny English Film Focus".
  15. ^ "Johnny English Movie Reviews, Pictures – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
  16. ^ "Johnny English Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
  17. ^ "Home". CinemaScore. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  18. ^ Johnny English (2003), retrieved 15 November 2018
  19. ^ Johnny English - Fully Loaded Edition [DVD], retrieved 1 February 2022
  20. ^ "DVDs Release Dates - Latest Info on New DVD Releases". DVDs Release Dates. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  21. ^ MaFt.co.uk, Johnny English (2003) on Netflix USA :: New On Netflix USA, retrieved 15 November 2018

External links[edit]