Get Smart Blu-ray Review
PictureGet Smart comes to Blu-ray in it's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is given a High Definition makeover courtesy of a VC1 coding at 1080P. And the picture quality on this Warner disc is as sharp as the leading mans wit.
It's not all good news though - colours appear to be slightly washed out - or bland - in outdoor scenes. And in dark scenes, a little detail disappears - but nothing major. For example, the folds on Agent 86's black dinner jacket are visible for all to see in the Tango scene - but when he and Agent 99 go down into the bowels of the baddies lair, that detail is gone and things become a little “fuzzy”.
Skin tones suffer no such trait. They are solid and accurate all the way through and the level of detail on show in the background is sometimes breathtaking.
There are a few scenes that use subtitles as Max uses his linguistic skills and the colour and positioning is spot on - most of them carry a joke or two so make sure you have a look at them.
So whilst the picture quality is up there with the studios recent releases, it's not a disc I would use to show off my system to my friends - though if you did, they certainly wouldn't be disappointed - and neither will you.
SoundNow this is where things go the way of the pear...for some strange reason, the studio that led the way on HD DVD and Blu-ray - Warner Home Video - with lossless soundtracks, have decided to equip Agent 86 and his comrades with a bog standard Lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack only. Now, those of you that may have read one or two of my reviews in the past will know that I'm not in the lossless is usually better camp...however, if this particular soundtrack had actually been any good, I might still be there - but after listening to this, I've pulled pole, packed my kit and moved into the lossless is great camp.
Lifeless. Bland. Dull. That's the soundtrack of Get Smart summed up in three words. It appears to be missing all dynamics and the surround channels are not used throughout the whole film - if they are, I missed it.
The LFE channel also lies dormant throughout which makes me come to my no dynamics conclusion.
On the plus side, dialogue is audible throughout and anchored firmly to the centre channel but that is about it.,
Released about the same time as Speed Racer and coming from the same studio, I can only conclude (rightly or wrongly) that the authoring house were having a bad week - as that title came with a below par soundtrack as well. maybe the studio will release corrected versions at a later date - provided of course that this is actually faulty and not just rubbish...
ExtrasIt seems that the studio may have been under some pressure to keep this film relatively short - the majority of the extras are spliced back into the film where they should have been making for an alternate version...which is nearly 53 minutes longer that the cinematic release...and I'll cover that first
Comedy Optimization Mode (52.55 HD) is a kind of alternate version of the movie. You can choose to watch the film with it switched on or off. If you switch it on, the scene cuts (rather badly) to the bit that was cut out at that point and a telephone booth icon appears on screen.
The major problem I had with this extra was the less than seamless branching the is used to cut between scenes. At times, my Blu-ray player lost sync with my display resulting in a bright blue screen and I often missed the first few words of dialogue - cutting back was fine though.
The film really could have been three hours long as some of the scenes left out contain some classic scenes - well worth watching for some attempted physical comedy scenes by Dwayne Johnson - some of which are funnier than the film itself!
The Old Hid It In The Movie Trick (09.04 HD) in which Bruce and Lloyd from the film show us where a lot of homage is paid to the original 60's show. Some is pretty obvious - some isn't and i was surprised by a lot of it.
The Right Agent For The Right Job (10.30 HD) is the bit that appears in extras sections on most discs these days - you know the back slapping section. Yep - this is where we learn where it was so great to work with Steve Carrell or Anne Hathaway and what brilliant actors everybody is and how kind and honest they all are...(reviewer sticks two fingers in mouth and mimics throwing up.) - P-lease....
Max In Moscow (06.30 HD) is the section where the film makers try and justify to the producers why they spent all that money taking the whole crew to Russia to film when (as Steve Carrell says) it would have been cheaper to build Moscow on a backlot...
Language Lessons (03.29 HD) is a totally pointless exercise where Steve Carrell insults European languages...'nuff said.
Bruce And Lloyd Out Of Control (03.12 HD) is a shameless plug for the straight to DVD film that was shot concurently with Get Smart - it involves a back story with the two “Q type characters” Bruce and Lloyd. Their film actually takes part during Get Smart but doesn't seem to involve any of the main stars from that movie.
The Vomit Reel (05.19 HD) is a short feature showing what Steve Carrell went through to come up with one line in the film - once you've seen the movie, you'll know which one...
Gag Reel (05.39 HD) - my feeling is if you have seen one, you've seen them all when it comes to gag reels. Lots of actors forgetting their lines and that's about it...
Rounding of the extras package is a digital copy that plays on iTunes and a rather pointless game...
So - not a bad extras package. I wish that the alternate version with 62% more laughs worked a little better rather than just bringing on 100% more annoyance!
VerdictGet Smart is a brilliant vehicle for the comedy genius that is Steve Carrell. Never has a comedy been so brilliantly cast since Blake Edwards got his people to ring that Sellers bloke for A Shot In The Dark. Everything he does onscreen reminds me of Sellers at his best - bumbling around the set with a melting nose or a stuffed parrot on his shoulder.
However, the difference between Sellers' Clouseau and Carrells Agent 86 is that the Inspector was a bumbling idiot - Agent 86 is far from it. But that doesn't stop the leading man making us laugh out loud at the same time...
Unfortunatly, the Blu-ray package is a bit hit and miss. Whilst the picture quality is par for the course on Blu-ray these days (though not outstanding) and the extras enhance the package, the absence of a lossless soundtrack in this day and age - when studios are turning out TV programmes on Blu-ray with lossless tracks - is unforgivable I'm afraid. Even more so when the actual track on this disc is dull and lifeless.
However, if it was just about the film, then this will appeal to movie lovers of all ages and genders. If you're looking for a cracking comedy to watch over the Christmas holidays, then Get Smart may well be it. If you're looking for a new disc to show off your system, then you'll need to look elsewhere I'm afraid.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £22.31
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