Get Smart appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Much of Smart looked very good, but some niggling problems nagged at me.
Sharpness usually satisfied. Though I noticed a smidgen of softness in a few wider shots, the majority of the flick came across as concise and accurate. Unfortunately, some artifacts marred the presentation. Edge enhancement remained minor, but elements could look a bit ropy; for instance, the Chief’s pinstripe suit showed some jagged edges. Mosquito noise was also a nuisance, especially in wide images; those showed a few distracting blotches. Other than light grain, no source concerns appeared.
Colors looked fine. For the most part, the film featured a natural palette; we found a blue tint here and a golden tone there, but the elements remained generally without stylization. The hues appeared solid through the film. Blacks were dark and dense, but shadows seemed more erratic. While some shots gave us good delineation, others could be a bit too thick. I thought the image had enough strengths for a “B-“, but expect some negatives.
Since Get Smart featured a lot of action, it managed to provide more ambitious audio than the standard comedy. However, it wasn’t a terrifically active affair. The front spectrum became the main focus of the mix, as the forward channels provided a nice sense of place. Music gave us good stereo presence, and the various effects moved well.
As for the surrounds, they added life at times, though not with the frequency found in a typical action movie. Again, the front channels maintained the main focus, though the back speakers brought out some useful material. The film’s larger explosive set pieces worked the best, and a few other fight scenes also gave us good information.
Audio quality was quite good. Speech came across as natural and crisp, with no issues connected to edginess or intelligibility. Effects were accurate, and they showed good range and clarity as well. Music worked very nicely, as the score presented strong definition and liveliness. The whole package showed tight, rich bass. There wasn’t anything remarkable about the soundtrack, but it seemed more than acceptable.
Though Get Smart comes as a two-disc set, don’t expect a raft of valuable extras. On DVD One, the main attraction comes from Smart Takes, a collection of alternate scenes. “Smart Takes” starts with a 39-second introduction from Steve Carell, as he tells us about the interface: when an icon appears onscreen, hit “enter” to see the alternate footage. The DVD provides no simple way to watch them other than during the feature presentation. You can access them through the “Title” menu on your player; it’s awkward, but it’s the only way to see them other than during the movie.
That’s somewhat annoying, as I’d prefer to be able to watch the movie without interruption. This is especially true due to the extremely poor implementation of the feature. Most DVDs that use this method just slap a subtle icon in a corner of the screen; you can choose the alternate scene or just ignore it. No such luck during Smart, as the “Smart Takes” abruptly interrupt the movie. They take you to a totally different screen and make it impossible to enjoy the film. It’s a really annoying presentation, so I’d advise you to use the “Title” method if you want to see the “Takes”; viewing them as part of the flick will ruin the movie for you.
Is the material worth the effort? Occasionally, though the quality of the clips varies quite a bit. We find 41 of them, and the vast majority are very short. Of those 41 snippets, 34 of them last no more than 58 seconds. Just seven run longer than a minute, and only one goes past the one-minute, 44-second mark; a certain major star’s cameo occupies three minutes, which makes it by far the longest segment.
All together, the 41 clips fill a total of 25 minutes, 18 seconds of footage. Quite a few of these are funny, and the appearance by that aforementioned Major Star is very good; it’s great to see more of him. Actually, parts of that sequence and a few others qualify more as deleted scenes than alternate takes, so expect some truly new stuff here. I wish the interface was more accessible, but I still like the “Smart Takes”.
A few ads open DVD One. We get clips for Blu-Ray Disc, the A Christmas Story “Ultimate Collector’s Edition”, and Yes Man.
Most of DVD Two’s extras revolve around some featurettes. The Right Agent For the Right Job runs 10 minutes, 30 seconds and features producers Alex Gartner, Charles Roven and Michael Ewing, director/executive producer Peter Segal, and actors Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, and Dwayne Johnson. “Agent” looks at cast and performances, the film’s tone, and some scene specifics. Expect a lot of joking in the various remarks, but we still learn a few decent tidbits. I also like the test footage of Carell and Hathaway. This is a fluffy little piece, but it’s worth a look.
Max in Moscow! goes for six minutes, 20 seconds. It presents notes from Segal, Carell, Hathaway, Roven, Gartner, Ewing, and producer Andrew Lazar. We follow the crew to Russia and observe parts of the shoot there. As with “Agent”, not a lot of substance materializes, but the show includes enough interesting tidbits to make it useful.
Next comes the three-minute, 30-second Language Lessons. This is essentially a comedic ad, as Carell touts the flick in a variety of languages. It’s cute and moderately amusing.
After this we get Spy Confidential: Gag Reel. It goes for five minutes, 39 seconds and presents the standard mix of goofs and giggles. While “Confidential” doesn’t do a lot to exceed expectations, the presence of Carell means more amusing improv bits than usual. That makes this a better than average blooper reel.
Finally, we get a Sneak Peek for Get Smart’s Bruce and Lloud: Out of Control. This three-minute and 13-second clip throws out a few remarks from Gartner, director Gil Junger, writers/executive producers Matt Ember and Tom J. Astle, and actors Nate Torrence, Masi Oka, and Jayma Mays. They do nothing more than tell us a little about the movie’s story and try to sell the DVD to us. It seems a little odd to get a “Sneak Peek” for a movie that came out months ago, but it’s there if you want to see it.
While the big-screen version of Get Smart seems unlikely to disappoint you, it also probably won’t thrill you either. The movie offers decent entertainment but has too many ups and downs to genuinely satisfy. The DVD provides generally good visuals marred by some artifacts. Audio works better, but other than some alternate takes, the mediocre extras don’t add much. Get Smart merits a rental.