Growing up, I was a huge fan of the excellent 1960’s TV show ‘Get Smart’. Everyday I would be excited to catch the re-runs on FOX when their daytime focus in the 80’s and 90’s was showing older classic television shows. ‘Get Smart’ the movie is the type of film that will either be liked or disliked, with no in-between. Critics panned the film rather hard, yet it still had a worldwide gross of $230 million dollars. The difference is that this is a film set nearly 48 years later than the television series. While the original television series was based on espionage with dry humor, the movie goes with espionage and more off the wall humor.

While over the years we have had many spoofs based off of James Bond, many of them do not get it right. Things are different with ‘Get Smart’, it is as fun as Austin Powers before that series started going in the wrong direction. This is a film that is funny and off the wall, yet rivals many big budget action films in terms of technicality.

Maxwell Smart (Steve Carrell) is a clumsy off the wall secret agent of CONTROL with very strong ambition to succeed. CONTROL is a secret U.S. agency that is like the CIA, except they are rivals of each other. With good, there is also evil. Smart has to contend with the arch-nemesis of CONTROL, known as KAOS whose headquarters are out of Russia. Smart’s main duty is to decipher debrief conversations between KAOS agents.

Smart gets promoted to a field agent by The Chief (Alan Arkin) for his excellent job performance. Smart is also known as Agent 86 and is joined by the beautiful Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway). The chemistry between Carell and Hathaway works very well. It reminds me a lot of the great chemistry between Don Adams and Barbara Feldon in the original television series. We are also introduced to the rest of the CONTROL team, Agent 23 (Dwayne Johnson), Bruce (Masi Oka), and Lloyd (Nate Torrence).

Both Smart and Agent 99 head to Russia, being joined by Agent 23 to find their arch-nemesis and leader of KAOS, Siegfried (Terrance Stamp). KAOS conspires to drop a nuclear bomb on the Walt Disney concert hall in Los Angeles on the day that the President of the United States (James Caan) is in attendance. The plot is as simple as that, but it is the conversations and jokes between Smart and Agent 99 that help flesh out the story.

The action sequences are very well done receiving top production values. There are chase sequences involving trains and vehicles. One of the better sequences involves an airplane in the middle of the film with a free-fall and no parachute. This stunt also involves KAOS muscle, the 7’ 2”Dalip (Dalip Singh) that is rather hilarious.

Performances in this film are excellent. Steve Carrell plays an excellent Maxwell Smart that fits in well with his comedic personality of a bumbling goofball. Carell also throws in a lot of comedic punch lines during the action sequences keeping things humorous. Anne Hathaway plays a very good Agent 99 and takes the role making it her own. With Hathaway and Carrell having good chemistry, being able to take elements from their television show counterparts expanding on them worked out well.

Print/Audio Quality
The film is presented in 1080p/VC-1 with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The print looks very good throughout, yet there are a few inconsistencies. Colors are vibrant and carry pop which brings out the fine details. The detailed scenes during the action sequences are very good; considering you can see Dalip’s goatee stubble on his face during the parachute sequence. There are a few scenes lack focus with the camera, causing a loss of detail. There is a hint of grain in the print, but it is more apparent in the first darker scenes of the film. Blacks are deep in the darker scenes, yet the lighting could have been a bit better to make things more apparent. Overall, this is a fairly impressive print for an action comedy.

Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Yet again Warner releases a Blu-ray film without lossless audio. ‘Get Smart’ could have really benefited from the use of a TrueHD track to take advantage of the action sequences. The standard DD 5.1 mix is good as the background and audio effects from the soundfield come through the rears at all times during any action. Dialogue is very clear through the center channel. With the lack of high resolution audio, action sequences don’t carry that usual clean and dynamic sound.

Special Features
Special Features are mainly presented in standard definition for the film, except for the Comedy Optimization Mode presented in HD. Audio on the standard definition features are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0. There is also a Blu-ray Exclusive bonus disc on DVD that is a DVD Game. Like Speed Racer, this is another wasted feature by Warner that I wish this would have stayed with the DVD release of the film.

  • Comedy Optimization Mode with Get Smart Takes (over 45 minutes of hilarious alternative jokes) [HD]

Behind the Story:

  • The Old “I Hid It in the Movie” Trick: Find Where Director Peter Segal Concealed References to the Classic TV Series (9:05) [SD]
  • The Right Agent for the Right Job: Behind-the-Scenes Training (10:30) [SD]
  • Max in Moscow!: On Location or on a Soundstage? Watch and Decide (6:20) [SD]
  • Language Lessons: Spotlight on Linguistics Master Steve Carrell (3:29) [SD]

Additional Footage

  • The Vomit Reel: More On-Screen Ways to Depict It Than You’d Ever Think (5:19) [SD]
  • Spy Confidential: Gag Reel (5:39) [SD]

Extras

  • Spying on Get Smart’s Bruce and Lloyd Out of Control (3:12) [SD]

Separate DVD Discs

  • BD Exclusive! Bonus Disc – Get Smart: Kaos Control DVD Game
  • Digital Copy

I highly recommed ‘Get Smart’ as it is an excellent action comedy based off of the 1960’s television show. In the same vein as Austin Powers, this is another Bond based comedy that succeeds. Steve Carrell and Anna Hathaway have great chemistry together mixing comedy and action to produce a surprise hit. The video quality is good on this Blu-ray, but the lack of high resolution audio is a disappointment.

List Price: $35.95, Sale Price: $24.95 – Order from Amazon Get Smart [Blu-ray]