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MGM Studios DVD presents
"That's pretty good for a dog. I mean, I am not gonna go out and buy the CD or anything, though."
DVD ReviewI may be way out off base on this, but isn't a sequel suppose to differentiate itself from its predecessor while also being, well, better? Generally, this is the case, but Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London seems more like a rehash of the first with less impressive results.
Agent Cody Banks is another entry into the kids-as-spies genre and, for the most part, it is a fun if slightly predictable family picture. Star Frankie Muniz has a genuinely likable charm that works well in the character of Cody, a typically shy and awkward sixteen-year-old who just happens to work for the CIA. But in Destination London, the writers felt the need to pair him up with a new handler played by Anthony Anderson, and while Anderson does provide a few genuinely funny moments, his inclusion is a detriment to the film.
This time around we find Cody at a summer camp for young spies where he is nothing short of a legend, given his heroic efforts seen in the previous film. His instructor is Diaz (Allen), a gruff mercenary who, it seems, has stolen a new technology and intends to partner with Duncan Kenworth (Faulkner) to devise a plot to implant mind control devices into world leaders. Cody is placed into an international youth orchestra—problem is, he never was actually in band to learn how to play, just to meet girls. He is paired with a new handler named Derek, assigned to Cody because he botched an operation and so this is his punishment. Much like the first film, Cody is given a love interest in Emily (Spearitt), a young British agent who is also a member of the youth orchestra.
On the whole, Agent Cody Banks 2 is passable but seems more like a rehash of the original than a stand alone picture. The film was in production just as the original hit theaters, so the hurried manner in which the film is presented is clear. Some scenes seem like mirror images of several from the original film, including Cody's acrobatic attempts to find information and his the difficulty he has when talking to a girl he has a crush on. Perhaps if the writers for the sequel had been given time to come up with original ideas and situations, the film could have been more successful.
Still, the target audience for Agent Cody Banks 2 is the bubblegum set and when it comes to pleasing its that crowd the film is a surefire winner. Director Kevin Blair wisely avoids the trappings of the teen genre, eschewing gross humor and providing many lighthearted laughs. Muniz exhibits a great deal of charm and after two films it is easy to see that he is comfortable in the role of Cody, while Brit pop star Spearitt offers up an abundance of charm. The downside of Spearitt's role is that it often seems as though the producers have simply put into place a Hilary Duff clone in an effort to draw in fans of the original, yet she holds her own quite well in any case.
In the end, Agent Cody Banks 2 offers everything one expects from a sequel in that it is redundant, often uninspired, and ultimately boring. If the producers had any hope for a trilogy, it is rather clear that those hopes have been dashed. It seems a pity, because this whole wave of teen spy films has yielded some rather positive results thus far.
Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C-
Image Transfer Review: Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London is presented in both an anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen transfer as well as a full-frame image transfer that are split across two sides of one disc. The widescreen transfer boasts terrific image quality that ranks among the best I have seen lately. Sharpness and detail are each of amazing quality while the colors are rendered quite nicely with no bleeding evident. The print used was of top quality with no scratches or grain. This is a very nice transfer.
Image Transfer Grade: A-
Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix used for the film is active in numerous sequences especially in those involving the pop music heavy soundtrack. Directional effects are discrete and well placed while the .1 LFE track provides some very solid bass throughout. This is on par with some of the better sound mixes that have been released lately.
Audio Transfer Grade: A-
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 32 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
6 Deleted Scenes
1 Feature/Episode commentary by visual commentary by Frankie Muniz, Hannah Spearitt, and Anthony Anderson
A brief and promotional featurette focusing on the making of the film is included and is mostly rather boring. There are cast and crew interviews are mildly informative, but much of the information provided is nearly the same that can be heard in the commentary track. Six deleted scenes are included that are mostly extensions of already existing sequences. An interactive quiz as well as the original theatrical trailer round out the list of extra features.
Extras Grade: C
Final CommentsFor fans of the first film, Agent Cody Banks 2 may be worth a look, but it is more or less a retelling of the original with a different location and a radically different cast. It is just to bad that in copying nearly everything from the original, the writers somehow forgot to add its charm and excitement.
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