Blu-ray Disc Review
Release Date: December 04, 2007.
Film 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
Routines. Secrets. Knife fights. Car Chases. Who says marriage is boring? Fox brings to Blu-ray the blockbuster marriagebuster film starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt as Mr. John & Mrs. Jane Smith. A seemingly perfect couple who have been married for five or six years; but 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 them. 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. 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 loses originality and becomes one of the average Smiths…
Note that this is the theatrical cut of the film and a 6-minute extended director’s cut has been released on DVD that made several interaction scenes between Jane and John different as well as new soundtrack elements. (source: IMDB.com)
VIDEO QUALITY: 4.5/5
I think I’m being just slightly generous with a 4.5/5 score. The image is wonderfully bright and vivid, but sometimes it appears clipped in the whites and oversaturated in colour, but that seems to be more intentional rather than erroneous. That said, flesh tones aren’t always consistent because one moment they appear correct and in another shot they look a bit pink. Still, the image quality is exceptional in terms of detail, deep blacks, shadow detail, and dimensionality. There are no edge enhancement or compression artefacts on this high definition 2.35:1 image.
AUDIO QUALITY: 4.5/5
The soundtrack – delivered with DTS-HD Master Audio - is dynamic and full-range even with DTS’s lossy core. The sound effects are never aggressive on the ears and the tango music mixed with a Columbian feel has a good sense of space and a wide soundstage. ADR is clearly noticed and distracting; it sounds forward and out of place from the rest of the mix.
Most of the soundstage is up front although there is a highly supportive surround mix. Sound effects are convincing and there are many moments of this in the three front channels. Many effects and the ambience of the music are spread behind the listener using only the two front channels. The surrounds were used effectively and are present in almost every scene. From subtle ambience to highly engaging and intense action, the surround channels never felt tonally different from the front channels. As good as it is, I feel the only thing missing from this fantastic soundtrack was some sidewall imaging. I wanted a little more sound to fill the gap in the sides.
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 have independent subwoofers per channel, expect directional and 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. Thump and boom!
TACTILE FUN!! /
TACTILE TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: ON
Gun shots, kicks, and every bang and boom has a punch of LFE too. Bass shakers are recommended for this film!
SPECIAL FEATURES: 2/5
The features that were on the first-released DVD in 2005 are carried over to this release. The disc includes all three audio commentaries. 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 (4:3 lbx)
The collection of three deleted scenes are here in HD and 5.0 surround. 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.
The last feature on this disc is a handful of trailers. Two Theatrical Trailers of Mr. & Mrs. Smith are here in HD as well as a few other Fox titles. This title also has D-Box motion code enhancement.
IN THE END...
Loaded with action, laughs, and a little bit of rough romance, Mr. & Mrs. Smith 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, and is all more enjoyable on Blu-ray with full 1080p video and lossless audio.
December 09, 2007