Mr. & Mrs.
Release Date: November 29, 2005.
Entertainment Rating: /
Starring: Brad Pitt (John Smith), Angelina Jolie (Jane Smith), Vince Vaughn (Eddie), Adam Brody (Benjamin Danz), Kerry Washington (Jasmine)
Written by: Simon Kinberg
Directed by: Doug Liman
This isn’t Alfred Hitchcock. This isn’t a television show. So what do you get when you take the world’s hottest couple and put them together in a movie? Mr. & Mrs. Smith of course! But these two aren’t your average “Smiths” and certainly not representative of the everyday husband and wife – at least in terms of their careers. As far as their home life is, they are every bit as normal. Routines. Secrets. Knife fights. Car Chases. Who says marriage is boring?
From the director of The Borne Identity, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt star as Mr. John & Mrs. Jane Smith, a couple who have been married for five or six years; we never really know how long because these two just can’t seem to agree on anything anymore. The movie opens up in a POV of a therapist encouraging the awkward couple to talk about themselves. It seems as if their marriage is in jeopardy because of the staleness and empty space between each other. That space grows the more they hide their feelings and their secrets...and these aren’t little secrets. It turns out they are two undercover assassins working for competing agencies; but they never actually tell that truth to each other. Every day the routine is the same. They get up and go work at their fictional jobs and come home at the same time each evening. Over, and over…and it becomes boring as hell.
They don’t find anything odd about each other’s careers until one day they are given the same job to assassinate a young man named Benjamin Danz. Both of their agencies were hired to hit this kid, but little do they know they are competing for the kill. The job is botched and they are identified by each other’s agencies. Then heat is turned up in this relationship when Jane attempts to kill John. But how strong is their romance? Was it all fake all of these years? The answer will come when the couple finds out the true meaning to the words “till death due us part.”
This movie is romantic, funny, and full of action and according to some, features the two most beautiful people in the [television] world as the lead characters. This movie has wide appeal generating over $185 000 000 in ticket sales at the box office. While those involved with the making of this film complained about not having enough funds for their "vision" (because Fox kept a tight grip on the budget assumingly to makes top profit), this movie made far more money than its cost.
The movie has many charming moments, sometimes with ad-lib that could never be re-enacted if tried again. The pacing of the film is fine although some may find it slow in the beginning and over-kill at the end. I personally felt the character moments in the film were good and developed enough to care about what was going on. I liked the first two-thirds of the movie because of this. During the final parts of the movie when most of the non-stop action takes place, it felt a little tiring and two moments done in bad taste (both have to do with running over a person with a car – I don’t find that amusing). Combined with illogical story telling (only if you want to believe this story is real), the story takes back seat to action because it makes the movie more fun. Some of you may like that and that’s fine, but I prefer a little more substance and right to the end. At this point the film looses originality and becomes one of the average Smiths…
VIDEO QUALITY /
The film takes on different appearances from the scenes in Columbia to New York (actually it’s Pasadena, CA) in terms of colour style and contrast. Overall, the image quality is exceptional in terms of detail, colour naturalness, black and white levels, shadow detail, and dimensionality. There is no edge enhancement so the image is smooth without any film-related artefacts. The only minor issue was the slightest amount of compression artefacts that were noticeable. It’s not back-blocking, but more of a digital snowflake appearance around still images.
I reviewed the 2.35:1 widescreen enhanced edition. A full frame version is also available…
AUDIO QUALITY /
This film is available in both DTS and Dolby Digital audio. The two surround formats deliver a smooth sound that is both dynamic and full-range. The sound effects are never aggressive on the ears and the tango music mixed with a Columbian feel has a good sense of sound of space and a wide soundstage. Dialogue can be a little forward and sounding slightly out of place from the rest of the mix, but it’s always intelligible and never strained sounding.
There is a lot of LFE for you bass lovers. This soundtrack delivers a gut crunching soundtrack that is explosive in the bottom end. For those of you who run all of your main channels full-range or also have independent subwoofers per channel, expect directionalized discrete deep bass effects in each channel including the surrounds. People who claim bass is non-directional can easily be proven wrong with this soundtrack.
Most of the soundstage is up front with this film. Sound effects are convincing and there is a lot of moment of these effects in the three front channels. Many effects and the ambience of the music are spread behind the listener with recording techniques just by using the stereo pair up front. While this soundtrack did have some rear-channel use, I personally wanted a little more to fill the gap when I felt the film could have benefited from it.
The differences between the DTS and Dolby Digital soundtrack are the same as I’ve always reported. The Dolby Digital seems to have sounds that are more noticeable and forward so that we can hear them. High frequency is also extended with Dolby Digital. The DTS encoding of the same mix seems to have the sounds further into the soundstage giving the feeling of sounds standing out less but more in the mix with the rest of it. Unfortunately, we cannot toggle between soundtracks on this disc. You have to go back to the main menu.
SPECIAL FEATURES /
There is a fair amount of special features on this disc. The first and most impressive feature is the commentaries that are included here and the wealth of information they provide about the movie. We get to hear no less than three commentaries from a total of seven people! The first commentary is from Director Doug Liman and Screenwriter Simon Kinberg. They discuss everything relating to the movie such as budget, the relationship with the actors, as well as the constant reminder of how expensive it is to have stars of the magnitude of Brad and Angelina’s; the filmmakers just can’t get them to travel anywhere so New York locations have to be created in California.
The second is a producer’s commentary. Producers of this film, Lucas Foster and Akiva Goldsman, discuss the environments, the sequencing, and the editing of the film. Speaking of editing, the third crew commentary features Editor Michael Tronick, Production Designer Jeff Mann, and Visual Effects Supervisor Kevin Elam. They discuss more of the subtle detail in the film based on what their jobs are for this film. Overall, all three commentary tracks are an excellent source of information. Some of the information for each scene is repeated on the commentaries, but they give us a good look into the making of the film that can both add to and take away from the magic of filmmaking. What does truly suck is that we can’t change the commentaries on the fly with the audio button on the DVD player remote.
A Making of a Scene Featurette, from the “Fox Movie Channel” concentrates on the Hood-Jump Sequence. It’s a nifty eight minute piece that goes over the development of the scene rather quickly. It’s in 1.85:1 but is not enhanced for widescreen televisions.
The third feature is the collection of three deleted scenes. They really are extended scenes and I think they would not have hurt the movie if they were left in. The first one, John and Eddie in the Kitchen is extended conversation about being identified by Jane. The second deleted extended scene is the House Cleaning part of the film when Jane’s agency looks for clues about John. The next extended part of it, when John takes his neighbour in his house for the first time, is actually pretty funny and I’m surprised it was taken out. The last extended scene is at the HomeMade Store Shootout at the end of the film. I think this was cut down because it already seemed like too much if you know what I mean. These scenes are finished and are widescreen enhanced and in the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The audio is Dolby Digital 5.0 surround.
The last feature on this disc is a handful of trailers. The teaser and the trailer are both her but are not enhanced for widescreen TVs. This is annoying because my projector locks aspect rations on the HDMI input so if I want to see this “properly” I have to take several steps in my DVD player’s set-up menu to activate the squeeze mode. ANNOYING! The audio for these trailers are Dolby 2.0 Surround. Also included is a Mr. & Mrs. Smith Soundtrack Spot and an Inside Look trailer for the upcoming Michael Douglas film The Sentinel.
IN THE END…
Loaded with action, laughs, and a little bit of rough romance, [/b]Mr. & Mrs. Smith[/b] is an entertaining film that captures the attention of a wide audience. It’s neither serious nor over the top in story telling and it will appear to both guys and gals alike. A fun story is what makes or breaks a movie of this sort; both Pitt and Jolie will attract both sexes so the movie must be good enough and enjoyable for all people. Did the filmmakers succeed in doing this? Absolutely! Box office sales proved the film gained wide approval. Now that this high-quality DVD is hitting the streets for both stargazers and home theatre buffs, the audience is guaranteed to get larger.
November 08, 2005.