Mr & Mrs Smith Blu-ray Review
PictureThe disc has been given a theatrically correct 2.35:1 1080p transfer that has been AVC @24Mbps encoded. Now, what at first view appears a spectacular image does hide a few little niggles. First up the detail is lovely and crisp, particularly distance, witness the desert shoot out and definition of the scrub and sand, or Jane's mountain climb and the crags and crevices of the cliff face, or the building site and the many girders against the sky line; all are gloriously defined. However, close up detail isn't quite a sharp, skin detail or clothing weaves are not quite as sharp as I would have expected considering the excellence of the distance. Colours are bold and strong without wash or bleed; most are stylised or overblown, especially greens, but all look terrific within these limitations with no defects. But skin colour does tend to wander, at times perfect at others a little too pink? Brightness and contrast are set to give some very nice blacks, they don't have that sheen associated with a reference picture but nevertheless are very deep and contain some decent enough shadow detail. There were no compression problems and only the faintest whiff of edge enhancement. This nice modern print had no original print problems either. A good solid picture, but not great.
SoundThree sound tracks to choose from; French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and my track of choice; English DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 Surround. Unfortunately, the PS3 is still unable to decode DTS-HD MA, neither is it able to transfer it bitstream, so I had to make do with the downsampled DTS core. But I wasn't disappointed. This is a wonderfully evocative and surrounding mix. Subtle in places, bombastic in others, but there is always something going on to keep the speakers singing. Take for example the music during the opening dance scene which tinkles around the room, then followed by the rain which floods the speakers with ambiance. Compare to the many, many shoot outs with the bullets zipping by, or the explosions that rumble around the room; effects such as a door being blown off its hinges and landing off screen by the sound exploding at the front and having the door land from the rears, or a house explosion that resonates around the room and debris raining down from each corner may be cheesy but when delivered with such a punch it makes your jaw drop. There is plenty of bass and plenty of LF effects, but they don't shake the foundations of the house and remain at a furniture shaking level. Dialogue is very natural sounding and there is plenty of directionality given. The score is perhaps the weakest element, not having that 'presence' compared to the action but even still it makes use of the full range and all the speakers. A highly exciting sound track and misses out on a perfect 10 because I'm sure that the HD MA track can top the core.
ExtrasNot a huge amount here, unfortunately, there are three audio commentaries, the first with Director Doug Liman and Screenwriter Simon Kinberg, it is kind of dry with the pair discussing topics such as budgets and the relationship between the two big name stars, shies away from anything too technical but does go into reasonable depth about each aspect. Following this the second commentary is with producers Lucas Foster and Akiva Goldsman, they take a slightly different stance and chat about the various locations and environments and constraints on filming and sequencing and putting the production together, it is the weakest of the three. Finally the third commentary is with editor Michael Tronick, production designer Jeff Mann and visual effects supervisor Kevin Elam, now this is a far more energetic talk with each one bringing a new element to the discussion. Particularly on how these three shape the tone, the way the film looks and eventually turns out with their designs and individual style, complementing that of the director's, very enjoyable this one.
Following these we have three deleted or more accurately extended scenes, probably removed due to timing, as really they are pretty superfluous and nothing but length.
Finally there is a dire Making of a Scene featurette from the Fox Channel which discusses the hood jump sequence with the help of mammoth advertising for the movie, try to bare it if you can, I managed half of its eight minute run time.
VerdictMr & Mrs Smith is one of those no brainer action flicks that can while away a couple of hours. What makes it standout is the chemistry between the two main stars and their tempestuous relationship is given full reign as the bullets start flying. I enjoyed it far more than I thought, even if it is aimed fairly and squarely at the MTV generation, there is a style and pace that cannot be ignored and when it's presented this well, it's worth the time invested.
As a Blu-ray package it seems a mystery why Fox delayed this title for so long, there are no new extra features compared to the SD release, the picture while very good is not exceptional and while the sound is exceptional I'm not sure it warranted nine months of mixing. The package then is like the picture, good but not great.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.79
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