Mr. & Mrs. Smith Unrated DVD Review
PictureMr and Mrs Smith: Unrated comes presented with the same anamorphic 2.35:1 aspect ratio widescreen transfer as the original cut was graced with for the first DVD release and it looks absolutely fabulous. It has excellent detail throughout, with few scenes that exhibit any discernable softness, a little noticeable but negligible edge enhancement (mainly during the effects shots) and simply no grain. The colour scheme is broad and well represented, from the superb skin tones to the golden sun-blazed desert sequences and clinical metallic gleam of the military buildings. Blacks are deep and solid. The transfer also exhibits absolutely no sign of print damage at all, rounding off a stellar presentation for the movie.
SoundThis release also comes with two outstanding six-speaker surround sound tracks: in Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. Both sound pretty fantastic, but - as you would expect - the DTS has the slight edge in terms of power. Dialogue comes predominantly from the frontal array but, with effects spinning all around you - from crashes to massive explosions and, of course, ballistic gunplay, there is plenty to keep the surrounds occupied. The score is almost constant throughout, ranging from Bond-like orchestral pieces to loud rock music and frantic techno-beats, all building up suitably during the action moments and also giving the surrounds plenty to do. They even allow for some bass when you turn the volume up. One minor niggle is that sometimes the effects and the score overwhelm Brad's witty but mumbled retorts. Still overall these are boisterous, powerful tracks that will draw you into the more thrilling moments in the movie.
ExtrasFirst up we get an Audio Commentary with the Director Doug Liman. This is a new Commentary, recorded especially for the Director's Cut of the movie. Liman talks about the relationship between Brad and Angelina, the reasoning behind a second cut of the movie and the few changes that were made. He talks about shooting locations, his previous movies, working with Vince Vaughn again and the effects sequences. It is quite an interesting effort, largely highlighting the (few) extra bits, whilst providing constant background into the whole production process.
The rest of the Extra Features are located on the second disc. The Confidential Files Section houses eleven Deleted Scenes, an Alternate Ending and a Gag Reel. Totalling about fifteen minutes of extra footage in the deleted section (on fairly poor but watchable quality, with incomplete effects), most of it is inconsequential. The soundtrack is slightly different for most of them (as they are largely scene extensions) and some last barely a couple of seconds, but they do include one of the infamous Angela Bassett/Keith David sequences that were talked about on one of the Commentaries from the original DVD release. Angela Bassett (What's Love Got to do with it, Strange Days) and Keith David (Pitch Black) apparently filmed several scenes as Mr and Mrs Smith's respective clandestine operations handlers and it was nice to see at least one of them here. The Alternate Ending is quite predictable (and does not change the end to the final gunfight, but merely adds an afterthought). The highlight has to be the Gag Reel where Brad simply can't stop making Angelina crack up in hysterics. There are plenty of line fluffs, physical goofs and onset laughs, as well as lots of swearing. Finally in this section we get the short screenplay for another, slightly more explosive Alternate Ending which is well worth a quick read.
Domestic Violence: Shooting Mr and Mrs Smith is over half an hour long and has the Director and crew talking about the screenplay, getting the movie funded (it was hard to pitch a romantic comedy John Woo-style action movie) and how they put it all together. There's plenty of Behind the Scenes footage of Pitt and Jolie being directed in front of the camera, doing rehearsals and practice runs and brief interview clips (only with Jolie), as well as a little on-set fooling around. Scenes are dissected but mostly it's the fairly uneventful sections that are given the split-screen comparison treatment, although a couple of action segments are dissected towards the end. At times the Featurette lapses more into a video diary style, with huge pauses in the narration and background commentary, but overall it is a very informative and interesting effort, which seldom lapses into the cheesy promotional style exhibited by many Featurettes.
Doug's Film School is a section devoted to yet more Deleted Scenes and story concepts. I don't know why some of this isn't just included in the Confidential Files section with the rest of the deleted footage, but it is still quite nice having it here and these are certainly more interesting omissions. We get more from Adrien Brody and the introduction of the lovely Estella Warren, narrating an extended 'summary scene' which would not have worked in the movie at all and the Mother and Father 'Handler' characters fully explored as well (finally we get to hear about how Terrence Stamp and Jacqueline Bisset were cast as the handlers before Keith David and Angela Basset, even though the characters were eventually dropped entirely). This means a couple of deleted scenes with each respective acting pair in place. This most interesting part of this all is the nice comparison drawn between the competitive bantering between the handlers and the Smiths themselves, even alluding to the fact that perhaps they were once married as well. There is an Animatic for the Hood Jump scene, a section dedicated to deleted bits from the shopping mall sequence but overall the best bit is probably the part devoted to a half-finished action sequence that was eventually replaced by the desert confrontation. Set in a snowy ravine, watching what they patched together here allows you plenty more humour from Brad Pitt, but otherwise mostly animatics with rather odd voices (Angelina Jolie's animated character is not even voiced by her). It is quite an interesting little sequence, which would have been decent viewing had they produced a final cut but probably would not have been so much better than what they went with that they could justify the added expense. There is also a brief explanation as to how the scene was supposed to end in a hand-to-hand fight, two behind the scenes dissections of the Ravine and Desert sequences respectively (which include raw dailies) and screenplays for both. All the Deleted Footage here is much better (in terms of content) than that included in the Confidential Files section and I'm a little puzzled why they are split up into different parts of the disc. Anyway, we also get Previsualisations for seven key sequences including several scenes that were not filmed because of budgetary constraints, one of which (Elevator Shaft) looked quite fun (if utterly impossible) and one of which is the aforementioned Snowy Ravine sequence.
Finally there is a Gallery Section split into Director Doug Liman's Album, Producer Lucas Foster's Album and Mrs and Mrs Smith Crew Photo Album. Each section has several dozen photos in it, mostly taken during production and some of which are quite interesting. It is a nice offering to round off this second disc.
VerdictMr & Mrs Smith is a sleek, stylish and very entertaining action-comedy, pitting two of Hollywood's biggest stars against each other and letting the sparks fly. This new unrated edition is a little unnecessary, but does have some decent extra footage, although the video transfer and audio tracks are identical to the original release. The second disc is absolutely crammed with extra footage and deleted sequences (some of which is very good), as well as a comprehensive documentary. The upshot of it all is that this is a superior version of the movie and it is a superior DVD release and it is worth a double-dip if you are a fan of the movie or its cast. Of course if you haven't already got a copy of the original DVD release then this superior edition outclasses it in every respect.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £16.73
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