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January 5, 2009
Get Smart Blu-Ray Movie Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
26/6/200813/11/2008Village RoadshowPeter Segal
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
VC-1DD5.1 640kbpsPGSteve Carell

THE MOVIE
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Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway in Get Smart.
When I was growing up one of my favourite TV shows was Get Smart. No, I'm not old enough to have seen the original airing in the 1960's, but certainly watched the re-runs during the 1980's. Comedies have always been a favourite, and no matter how often the episode had been seen it could always get me laughing. Hearing there was a feature film remake being made left me in two minds; on the one hand it could never live up to the original TV series, but on the other hand it was going to star Steve Carell, one of today's hottest comedians, and a perfect fit for Maxwell Smart. So what's it about then...

When the headquarters of U.S spy agency Control is attacked and identities of its agents compromised, the Chief (Alan Arkin) has no choice but to promote his ever-eager analyst Maxwell Smart, who has always dreamt of working in the field alongside stalwart superstar Agent 23 (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson). Smart is partnered instead with the only other agent whose identity has not been compromised: the lovely-but-lethal veteran Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway).

As Smart and 99 get closer to unraveling KAOS' master plan - and each other-they discover that key KAOS operative Siegfried (Terence Stamp) and his sidekick Shtarker (Kenneth Davitian) are scheming to cash in with their network of terror. Given little field experience and even less time, Smart - armed with nothing but a few spy-tech gadgets and his unbridled enthusiasm - must defeat KAOS if he is to save the day.

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Maxwell Smart in the Phone Booth.
There is one simple way to sum up whether or not you will enjoy this movie - if you enjoyed the TV shows then you will likely enjoy this movie, if you didn't you probably won't. It's as simple as that really. There are plenty of jokes that reference the original TV series including an updated cone of silence, the original Red Sunbeam Tiger convertible sports car which is now in a Control Museum, and of course the closing doors and phone booth.

When it comes to actors I could not think of anyone better then Steve Carell to play Agent Maxwell Smart. Not only does he look the part, but he also has the mannerisms and the charisma that Don Adams portrayed so well on screen. Sure he's not a 100% carbon copy, and he had attempted that it probably would have fallen flat today, but you know who the character instantly. As for Agent 99 the casting of Anne Hathaway is an interesting choice. She is certainly younger then Steve Carell, and the Agent 99 that Barbara Feldon portrayed, however her youth is explained in the movie with a great little scene about her "dried up uterus" - you need to see it to understand. While initially jarring I actually found Anne to be a very alluring actress, and a very entertaining Agent 99. Supporting cast is also quite brilliant - Dwayne Johnson plays Agent 23, Alan Arkin as the Chief, Terence Stamp as KAOS agent Siegfried and James Caan as the President. You'll likely spot half a dozen other actors you're familiar with as well.

Get Smart manages to blend action and comedy quite well with the filmmakers managing to find the right balance between the two. I wouldn't say there are many real laugh out loud moments, but there are a couple and you never find yourself becoming bored in the 1 hour 50 minute runtime. All-in-all I found Get Smart to be an entertaining movie, with a solid enough storyline, and some amusing moments.

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Anne Hathaway as Agent 99 in Get Smart.
VIDEO
Get Smart comes to Blu-Ray at the formats standard 1080p resolution at an aspect ration of 1.85:1 using the VC-1 codec. While the bitrate never gets excessively high, the image quality on this release is quite impressive. As such a recent movie the film is free of any artifacts and dirt, while the compression produces a sharp, detailed image with good colours and black levels.

If anything the image appears a little washed out at times and lacking some vibrancy compared to other 'Hollywood' pictures, but this only manages to bring the picture back to the 'look' of the original TV series which isn't a bad thing at all.

AUDIO
Audio on this disc comes in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks each encoded at 640kbps and indistinguishable from one another. It is a little disappointing that we don't get a lossless audio track here, but what is provided here does the job in this movie. Surround sound channels are put to some use, but not as much as one would expect from such a recent release - I'm not sure if this is a fault of the audio track, or the actual movie. The sub woofer gets a workout during some of the action sequences, but again, is used sparingly. Most importantly though the dialogue, of which there is a lot in this movie, is clear at all times. While it won't win any awards, you won't be upset by this audio mix, but you may be upset by Warner Brothers failing to provide a lossless audio experience - again.

Subtitles are also provided in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Sampling the English track demonstrated accuracy to the dialogue on screen.

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That's James Caan as the President.
EXTRAS
There are a few extras on this disc which is amusing in places although it is disappointing that they are only presented in Standard Definition and there really isn’t too much of any substance besides alternate takes and some brief featurettes. Sadly the Australian Blu-Ray release of Get Smart omits a separate DVD disc which includes an interactive game.

Play Movie with Smart Takes (HD): This featurette allows you to watch the movie, and at numerous points switches to alternate takes of scenes and lines. Some of the additional scenes are amusing, and this feature adds another 45 minutes to the runtime.

The Old "Hid it in the Movie" Trick (9:04): This feature looks at some of the nods to the original TV series. Anyone who has seen the old TV show would have picked up on these already making this a bit of a pointless featurette.

The Right Agent for The Right Job (10:30): This Featurette looks at picking the right actors to play the numerous roles in the movie, with Steve Carell being a focus - and we have to agree he is perfect as Agent Maxwell Smart as well as Anne Hathaway.

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Maxwell Smart in the Control museum.
Max in Moscow (6:20): A brief look at filming the movie in Russia including filming in Red Square.

Language Lessons (3:22): A bit pointless really as Steve Carell attempts different languages from around the world.

Get Smart's Bruce and Lloyd Out of Control Sneak Peak (3:12): A look at the spin-off movie which, sadly, isn't on Blu-Ray in Australia as yet.

The Vomit Reel (5:19): A pretty funny look at Steve Carell performing his vomit sequence while in the plane.

Spy Confidential: Gag Reel (5:39): This is your typical fluffed lines and goofing from the shooting of the film. Given the actors involved and their ability to ad-lib, and the subject matter, it's pretty amusing in places.

OVERALL
Perhaps this movie could have been a little better, but with some of the rubbish that comes out of Hollywood these days the 2008 remake of Get Smart is more then acceptable. In fact there were few decent laughs, some great actors, and Steve Carell is perfectly cast as Agent Maxwell Smart. Worth a look.

Review By: Dave Warner

THE MOVIE
8/10
THE VIDEO
8/10
THE AUDIO
7/10
THE EXTRAS
4/10
OVERALL
7/10

Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Village Roadshow. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.