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Warner Home Video presents

Get Smart (Blu-ray) (2008)

ďMissed it by that much!Ē- Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell)

Stars: Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson, Alan Arkin
Other Stars: Terence Stamp, James Caan
Director: Peter Segal

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for (Some rude humor, action violence and language)
Run Time: 01h:49m:58s
Release Date: 2008-11-04
Genre: action comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer


DVD Review

Itís great to see comedian Steve Carell get to headline major Hollywood blockbusters, but it stinks that he still canít approach the same levels of hilarity that he reaches week in and week out on the TV series, The Office. With the release of this past summerís movie version of another TV series, Get Smart, I was hoping he would finally generate some of the same laughs as he does every Thursday night on NBC. While it wasnít a monster hit at the box office, Carellís star power still enabled the flick to take in $130 million domestically in a busy summer movie season. Now, more of Carellís fans, who are accustomed to watching him on TV can check out Get Smart in the comfort of their own homes, thanks to Warnerís new Blu-ray release.

Maxwell Smart (Carell) is the brainiest analyst for the CONTROL organization. His strong attention to detail and anal retentiveness makes him more suited for a desk job, but Smart yearns to become a field agent. When the evil KAOS organization steals the identities of all of the field agents, The Chief (Alan Arkin) is forced to rush Smart into duty. It turns out Smartís talents in the field are a little lacking, to say the least, but he is renamed Agent 86 and teamed with the lovely Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway). While Smart is honing his skills to become more like the heralded Agent 23 (Dwayne Johnson), he is soon after the leader of KAOS, Siegfried (Terence Stamp), with at least a little bit of help from the President of the United States (James Caan), who isnít exactly the sharpest of world leaders.

Itís becoming more and more apparent that Carell needs to either stick to being Michael Scott or simply refrain from doing these big budget films that have Hollywood blockbuster written all over them. His big breakthrough was arguably in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, but since then, itís been one tepid film role after the other. Even if Carellís career evolves into something similar to that of Owen Wilson, it would be a step in the right direction. Despite plenty of ďpaycheck moviesĒ that Wilson appears in, he supplements their poor quality with his excellent Wes Anderson collaborations. Carell could pull such a thing off, given his sharp writing talents as well as his comedic talents, and in heeding such advice, we might be spared more Evan Almightys, and, albeit to a lesser extent, Get Smarts.

The latter is far from a bad film, and is actually very engaging at times, but with such a high profile comedic talent as Steve Carell in the lead, we expect far more laughs than we actually get. That being said, itís difficult to see another modern comedic actor filling the shoes of the character, so famously portrayed on TV by the late Don Adams, as well as Carell does. This is a case where the screenplay was written to produce more of an action-oriented popcorn movie than an all-out comedy, which pretty much stays true to the roots of the original show. In that regard, director Peter Segal (Tommy Boy) has crafted a fine film with a great ensemble cast that could have been even better had Carellís penchant for zany comedy antics been utilized more.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation is a hit-and-miss effort. While the images are sharp and detailed, with strong, deep blacks and bright, rich colors, inconsistent contrast levels rear their ugly head all too often. Many scenes take place inside CONTROL headquarters, and this is the setting for the majority of the contrast issues. Still, despite these issues, grain, dirt, and other potential blemishes are nonexistent.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
English, French, Spanish, Portugueseyes

Audio Transfer Review: For some strange reason, Warner decided against a Dolby TrueHD audio track for this release, and settled for a 5.1 mix instead. Itís still a dynamic mix with plenty of surround usage, but I couldnít help but long for the more open, boisterous sounds that might have come from a lossless track. Still, thereís plenty of aggressive bass during the action sequences and crystal clear dialogue to keep complaints at a minimum.

Audio Transfer Grade: C+ 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese with remote access
5 Featurette(s)
Packaging: standard Blu-ray packaging
Picture Disc
3 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Smart Takes Ė Cut footage presented via seamless branching.
  2. Gag Reels Ė The Vomit Reel and Spy Confidential.
  3. Digital Copy
  4. KAOS Control Ė Interactive DVD game.
Extras Review: The extras begin with Smart Takes, which is a unique approach to showcasing deleted scenes, in that all 52 minutes of this footage can be viewed during the film, via seamless branching. This is hilarious stuff, with plenty of side-splitting footage for Steve Carell fans.

Next, is The Old ďI Hid It in the MovieĒ Trick, which is a nine-minute piece that is hosted by Masi Oka and Nate Torrence, who take us through the hidden references to the Get Smart TV series. The Right Agent for the Right Job is a 10-minute focus on the casting, and includes screen test footage with Anne Hathaway and Carell performing together.

Max in Moscow! gives us a six-minute look at the sequences set in Russia and asks us to decide for ourselves whether these were shot on location or at a soundstage. In Language Lessons, we get three minutes of Carell showing off his hilarious ability to butcher nearly every foreign language imaginable.

We also get a sneak peek at the direct-to-video movie Get Smartís Bruce & Lloyd Out of Control, and two hilarious gag reels, The Vomit Reel and Spy Confidential, which run for five minutes a piece.

Thereís a separate disc included in the package that contains a Digital Copy of the film and a third disc that has a DVD game called KAOS Control. This interactive game relies heavily on the playerís puzzle and memory skills and is a good way to kill some time after watching the feature.

Extras Grade: B

Final Comments

In a Hollywood full of unoriginal ideas and remakes, itís nice to see one of these that actually gets it right for a change. Itís unfortunate that the star of Get Smart, Steve Carell, is restrained by the screenplay, but as an amusing, escapist action film, this remake delivers. Warnerís Blu-ray disc features above average audio, video, and extras, but this isnít among one of the studios better HD efforts.

Chuck Aliaga 2008-12-10