British Film is on the Rise... Oh Wait There’s Johnny English 2.
My friends we may be on the dawn of a great age for British film. We have Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block going Predator in a South London high rise while Richard Ayoade’s Submarine has fun with the French New Wave. Archipelago has an enigma of a dysfunctional, middle class family breakdown (shut up Iain) and at this point I haven’t seen, but have heard great things about Peter Mullen’s Neds. Duncan Jones and Gareth Edwards have brought thought back to sci-fi with their efforts in Moon and Monsters respectively. Hell, even though I didn’t like it that much, Exam offers something a little different from the more typical thrillers that we usually see coming from the UK. These films have all come out within the last couple of years and while we still experience difficulty in terms of cinema distribution, British cinema on the whole is once again (to me) becoming an exciting place.
Then what happens? I go to watch Thor the other day and see a trailer for Johnny English 2. Johnny Freaking English. The first film I remember well... as being a film so bad that washing one's face with urine is more appealing.
A quick recap for those who don’t know, Johnny English was a 2003 James Bond “spoof comedy” based upon some shoddy Barclaycard adverts that weren’t that funny, as anyone half remembers on their old VHS tapes (Yep. It’s based on adverts so old that VHS was still a thing).
My memories of watching the film were painful. I remember watching it with a good friend (which bond clearly got stronger through suffering such tripe) when we both worked at the local cinema. So bad did I find this film that I stood up before the film ended demanding explicitly why the film was made and reprimanding anyone who laughed. British film before this abomination brought us the Life of Brian, Withnail and I, the comedies of Ealing, The Pink Panther series amongst others. I’m not even including some of the better Carry Ons, although even some of the weaker ones could own Johnny English in the comedy stakes.
OK. As per usual I’m overdoing things and of course not every UK film release is great (Lesbian Vampire Killers, Doghouse and Danny Dyer/Nick Love films I’m definitely talking to you), however right now, with all the noise that was created with the UK film council leaving us and the wonderful mixture of films that have been coming out recently with the likes of Bronson, The Disappearance of Alice Creed, In the Loop, Four Lions, Nowhere Boy to name a few (note I’m not even mentioning the genius that is Shane Meadows) why do we want to ruin everything with a wide release of what was originally a bland, lazy, retread of lowest common denominator clap trap? Something that wasn’t really asked for by the public and yet will be placed into more cinemas than many of the more revered films I’ve mentioned?
£160 Million Worldwide gross revenue you say?