Mr. & Mrs. Smith appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Smith wasn’t an exceptional transfer, but it usually looked solid.
For the most part, sharpness was strong. A few shots appeared slightly soft, but those occurred infrequently. Instead, the majority of the film seemed concise and well-defined. No problems with jagged edges or shimmering popped up, but I noticed a little edge enhancement throughout the movie. Haloes seemed more prominent than I’d expect. On the other hand, the transfer lacked any signs of source flaws.
As befit a film of this sort, Smith presented a fairly stylized set of tones at times, and that palette meshed in with the more natural colors well. The DVD replicated the various visuals smoothly. The hues always came across as well rendered and rich. Blacks looked deep and firm, while low-light shots depicted the action cleanly and accurately. The edge enhancement created most of the disc’s concerns, and it was noticeable enough to knock down my grade to a “B+”.
The audio of Mr. & Mrs. Smith nicely complemented the movie. This DVD included both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 soundtracks. Overall, I thought the pair sounded virtually identical with one minor difference. At the nine-minute and 36-second mark of the DTS mix, I noticed a brief dropout. The track went totally silent for one second. This didn’t mar the Dolby edition. I didn’t think this was a major problem, but it did create a short distraction.
Otherwise, both tracks were terrific. The soundfields themselves seemed solid. All five channels provided a lot of information through most of the movie. Music showed good stereo presence and separation and also used the surrounds neatly. Effects blasted from all around us much of the time, especially during the action sequences. The front channels showed solid breadth and movement, while the surrounds kicked in a wealth of unique information that blended cleanly with the forward spectrum.
Audio quality seemed positive as well. Speech sounded natural and warm, and I noticed no signs of edginess or problems related to intelligibility. Music seemed clear and lively, with good definition and delineation to the frisky score. Effects appeared distinct and accurate and packed a solid punch as well. The movie presented very solid dynamics, with clean highs and some powerful but tight bass. The soundtracks of Smith provided a fine complement for the action that accentuated the material.
While restricted to a single disc, that doesn’t mean the DVD of Smith comes with a sparse roster of supplements. For the main attraction, we find not one, not two, but three separate audio commentaries. The first features director Doug Liman and screenwriter Simon Kinberg. Both men sit together for their running, screen-specific discussion. We learn why Liman came onto the project and hear about other topics like working with Pitt and Jolie, Pitt’s nervousness about dancing, problems getting the script made and changes that occurred along the way, the film’s tone and risks with this kind of project, its treatment of action and violence, music, stunts and action sequences, sets, locations and the main house, and all sorts of notes about various challenges.
That’s a long list of subjects addressed, and they add up to a terrific commentary. Liman and Kinberg run through the topics with gusto and they never sag. They maintain a strong energy as they give us tons of valuable insights into the production. Too much praise occurs, but given how much information appears, I can easily forgive that gushy tendency. This turns out to be a very useful track.
For commentary number two, we find a chat with producers Lucas Foster and Akiva Goldsman. They also sit together for a running, screen-specific track. Although they echo many of the subjects covered by Liman and Kinberg, they do so from a different slant. We hear more about script and story changes along with budgetary concerns, locations, and other production issues.
Because some of the same material appears, I doubt you’ll find as much to enjoy here. Nonetheless, since the pair look at things from the producer’s point of view, they bring a fresh take on the issues and uncover a fair amount we don’t hear in the first commentary. Foster and Goldsman have a lively chemistry as well, and that helps make this a fun listen. A little dead air occurs, but not enough to harm the piece. It ends up as another strong commentary.
Finally, the third commentary includes remarks from editor Michael Tronick, production designer Jeff Mann and visual effects supervisor Kevin Elam. Tronick and Mann sit together for a running, screen-specific piece, while Elam is on his own. Shockingly, the commentary mainly looks at editing, production design, and visual effects. We get notes on pacing and cutting, the film’s look and set details, and the use of various forms of effects.
This is the weakest of the three commentaries for a few reasons. For one, it suffers from the most dead air, as some notable gaps occur. In addition, it repeats enough information from the first two to become a little tedious at times. I don’t blame the speakers for that – repetition is inevitable in this kind of situation – but assuming you screen this one last, you’ll hear some of the same notes again.
Still, the unique perspectives offered mean that we learn quite a lot of new material. As with the producers’ track, we find distinctive points of view that give us fresh insight. I think Mann offers the best comments as he digs into the reasoning behind his visual choices. As long as you don’t suffer from commentary burnout at this point, give this track a listen.
Next we find an eight-minute and three-second featurette entitled Making a Scene. Aired on the Fox Movie Channel, this looks at the film’s “hood jump” sequence and includes remarks from Liman, Kinberg, Goldsman, Tronick, Foster, actor Angelina Jolie, and second unit director/stunt coordinator Simon Crane. It covers the scene’s development and technical issues. Despite a few fluffy moments at the start, this one turns into a reasonably deep and informative piece.
Three deleted scenes fill a total of eight minutes, 45 seconds. These include “John and Eddie in the Kitchen”, “House Cleaning”, and “HomeMade Store Shootout”. These really stand as extended scenes since they flesh out existing sequences. The “Shootout” is something of a bore since it consists of nothing more than additional mayhem, but the other two are interesting. “Kitchen” is especially fun since it focuses on Vince Vaughn’s comedic riffing.
Finally, the disc includes some ads. We get both teaser and theatrical trailers for Smith along with a “soundtrack spot” and a promo for Family Guy. In addition, the Inside Look includes a trailer for The Sentinel.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith threatened to become submerged under all the tabloid escapades associated with it, but the movie still holds up fine on its own. It balances action and romantic comedy in a deft manner to become a light and enjoyable piece of work. The DVD presents very good picture and sound. It doesn’t boast a long roster of extras, but with three solid audio commentaries, we learn a lot about the production. A strong DVD for an entertaining movie, this one earns my recommendation.