Discussing the old school DVD’s that still sound and look great in the era of Blu-Ray and HD-DVD technology.
Mr. And Mrs. Smith will likely be remembered more for being the film that put Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie on the road to saving the world, one Cambodian child at a time, than being an enjoyable action-comedy film. Though despite all the media buzz over the film prior to its release, it actually turned out to be a financial and critical success, unlike Gigli, a film tha… was also much-hyped due to off-screen romance of the film’s two stars.
I won’t mention much of the plot, which is probably familiar to most people reading this. It’s also pretty non-existent. But if I must, Pitt and Jolie play John and Jane Smith, a married couple who are both secret agents, unbeknownst to one another. When their respective agencies order them to kill one another, the usual complications arise: Should I tell her I hate the dinner she’s made before or after I kill her?
Smith is never without humor, and this comes from the actors more so than the script. Pitt plays the only character he’s ever played — himself — while Jolie does seem to cherish a change of pace role as the housewife/assassin, she injects her performance with a fresh sense of irony. However, both Pitt and Jolie seem to be improvising a lot when they are exchanging barbs and insults while trying to outdo one another physically. They also seem to be having a riot. Wonder why?
Even though Mr. and Mrs. Smith is a brainless and breezy 120 minutes, it could have been better. Rumor is that this film was originally to be rated R, but edited down to PG-13 to achieve a broader audience (an unrated 2-disc collector’s edition is also available). The rating change hovers over the film, making various scenes feel choppy, which limits the streamlined momentum that the film should have had. Despite these shortcomings, Doug Liman continues to have switched over from the comedy of Swingers and Go to the action of The Bourne Identity and Mr. and Mrs. Smith almost flawlessly. His action scenes are crisp, but never overdone.
The positives of Mr. and Mrs. Smith spill over into the film’s transfer on DVD. There is little to complain about here. The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen picture is practically flawless, chock full of bright and crisp images. Some movies just have a “look” about them, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith definitely has it. I want to say it has the Technicolor look of a film made from the 1950’s, but more high tech — more digital. I could be wrong. All I know is that some films have this feel to their image and I cherish each and everyone because they are a thing of beauty.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith steamrolls along with dual Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS soundtracks that are loaded with thundering gunfire, a poppy score, and roaring car engines. Both soundtracks are demo-quality. Skip to the scene where Pitt and Jolie re-decorate their house with gun-blasts to see what I mean. Each report from the shotgun booms with a burst of bass, always followed by the orgasmic sound of wood splintering and various house objects being shattered into a million pieces as each round misses its intended target.
The surrounds are used well in this scene, adding to the depth of the sound field as the two make their way around the house and blast away at one another. Fast forward to the highway chase scene to see what BMW engines sound like when they are pushed to their limit. They growl and roar their way from the left front speaker to center channel to right front speaker. I always love a well-recorded car chase, and this film has one. While the final shoot-out scene in a COSTCO-like store is redundant, it still does contain some excellent sounding gun battles that showcases the entire sound field once again.
All I can say about Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s A/V transfer is that it is crisp and powerful. Not overdone like some movies can be (and I welcome the overdoneness of these films), but just powerful enough to be a worthy entry in the world of the demo-disc. And it looks darn good too. And so does Angelina.