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.
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.
How did the picture and audio of this “Unrated” Smith compare to those of the original theatrical DVD? To my eyes and ears, they seemed very similar. I noticed no variations between the two.
All of this set’s extras are exclusive to it. That means we get a new audio commentary from director Doug Liman but lose the three that accompanied the theatrical cut. Liman gives us a running, screen-specific discussion. As expected, Liman offers a lot of details about changes made to this alternate version of the film, and he also relates why he decided to do a “Director’s Cut”. Along the way, he comments on the preview process and studio pressures. Liman also gets into 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 logistical concerns, cinematography and color design, and ratings issues.
Some redundancy between this track and Liman’s commentary for the theatrical DVD becomes inevitable. However, he keeps repetition to a minimum and offers plenty of new information here. Of course, the info about the altered sequences adds good material, and we find plenty of other insights from the chatty and open Liman. Heck, he even discusses his poor relationship with Universal was on and how it affected him on Smith. This is a strong commentary.
As we move to DVD Two, we go to the “Confidential Files” area and find Deleted Scenes. These fill a total of 12 minutes, 11 seconds, so don’t expect anything too substantial. We see a little more of the couples’ early days as well as additional tension once the secrets come into the light. The closest thing to a new plot twist emerges through a sequence that shows members of an agency watching John and Jane and preparing to attack. We get a couple different takes – both unused – of John and Jane after the breakfast meeting with Eddie; these show them breaking into different vehicles and arguing over who’ll drive.
The Smiths also retrieve artillery from an unlikely source, and we view the essentially unused Father and Mother characters in one brief bit where they watch the climactic battle. The latter’s pretty interesting since it also introduces an “Algerian Assassin” who never shows up in the final flick. In addition, we check out how Danz was “extracted” from the scene and an alternate ending that lands the Smiths on a “mission” in uncharted domestic territory.
All of the segments are good to see, even though most were superfluous. I’m sure many of them hit the cutting room because they didn’t actually feature Pitt and Jolie; as Liman notes, one or the other is in every scene, so these left them for too long. The “Alternate Ending” is a very good omission since it’s way too sappy.
A three-minute and 42-second Gag Reel also shows up here. It presents some typical stuff, but it has a few nice glimpses of the shoot as well and offers a couple funny moments.
An Easter Egg appears in this area. Click “down” from “Main Menu” to highlight a card that reads “Confidential”. Press “enter” to access “The Wedding”, 53 seconds of outtakes from John and Jane’s ceremony.
A documentary entitled Domestic Violence: Shooting Mrs. And Mrs Smith runs 33 minutes and three seconds. It packs the usual assortment of movie clips, behind the scenes materials, and interviews. We hear from Liman, writer Simon Kinberg, producer Akiva Goldsman, 2nd unit director Simon Crane, choreographer Marguerite Derricks, and actor Angelina Jolie. “Violence” examines the origins of the project and it development, what Liman liked about the project, the house set, the director’s approach to his work, what the actors bring to the project, the impact of the score, filming action sequences with and without the leads, dance segments, and the logistics of the climactic “Dance of Death”.
The best parts of “Violence” come from the candid footage. We see many nice shots from the set and other expansions of the movie. For instance, we can check out a dinner table scene with or without music, a technique that shows how the score changes the segment’s tone from playful to tense. We also get to watch some scenes from a mix of angles. I admit I’d like more interview information here, as the comments come a little less frequently than I’d prefer. Nonetheless, all the clips from the shoot are fun and give us a cool examination of the production.
Under the banner of “Doug’s Film School”, we get a collection of materials. Framing Device lasts five minutes, 59 seconds. Liman tells us that they studio worried the film was too dramatic and not enough fun. This meant they explored the possibility of narration, and we see the shots created in that vein. I’m very glad they skipped this method, but it’s very fun to check out the material they created.
Mother and Father looks at actors viewed for those essentially eliminated roles. We see “Terrence Stamp and Jacqueline Bisset” (4:15) and “Keith David and Angela Bassett” (5:53). Liman explains why these characters weren’t used and we get to check out the cut sequences in question. I agree with his decision, but it’s definitely a delight to see the cut footage.
For a glimpse of a fight scene as originally conceived, we head to Snowy Ravine. Its four sequences fill out a total of 19 minutes, 38 seconds. Liman goes over why the original “Ravine” sequence was changed to the desert battle. He discussed some of this in his commentary, but he expands on the subject here. We also watch the rough animatics and live footage created for “Ravine” before we examine raw footage from that shoot as well as the “Desert” location. I hate to sound like a broken record, but this collection continues to inform and entertain. I really enjoy the way this DVD presents these materials.
Some animatics appear in Hood Jump. Along with Liman’s introduction, this section lasts three minutes, 47 seconds. We learn why Liman used animated storyboards here and we get to check out the ones created for “Hood Jump”. Though not as delightful as all the cut footage seen earlier, this is still a good little addition.
A view of a sequence called Underground Garage arrives next. These components take up three minutes, 56 seconds. Liman tells us how he changed the location of one scene, an alteration that made it work in a very different way. We then watch the segment as originally conceived and filmed. This turns into another nice exploration of the decision-making behind the flick.
HomeMade runs a total of 11 minutes, 48 seconds. It starts with another intro from Liman in which he discusses the change of the climax from daytime to night, and we watch shots filmed for the original mid-day setting. We then check out storyboards created to depict the sequence. Once again we get some great footage and lots of nice information packaged together.
At times throughout the DVD, we can checkout Screenplay segments. These relate to various scenes. They cover “Alternate Ending”, “Snowy Ravine”, “Desert Fight”, “Hood Jump”, “Underground Garage”, and “HomeMade”. These often differ from the final product, which makes them interesting. Even the “Alternate Ending” isn’t the one that shows up in the “Deleted Scenes” area; I guess that makes it an alternate “Alternate Ending”.
“Film School” ends with a collection of seven Previsualizations. Taken together, they occupy seven minutes and 46 seconds. We see some of these elsewhere – particularly “Snowy Ravine” – but it’s nice to gather them all in one place.
Three Galleries complete the disc. We find “Director Doug Liman’s Album” (79 shots), “Producer Lucas Foster’s Album” (67) and “Mr. & Mrs. Smith Crew Photo Album” (144). More playful and candid than most collections of this sort, the photos merit a look.
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 as well as a nice package of extras. I liked the theatrical version of Mr. & Mrs. Smith and enjoyed this “Director’s Cut” of the film even more. Add to that all the strong new supplements and this turns into a terrific DVD.
But which one should fans purchase? If you don’t already own the original disc, I’d recommend this one. It loses the three audio commentaries from the theatrical DVD, but it compensates with plenty of good footage and the director’s new commentary. I also prefer the altered version of the film.
If you already own the old disc, the issue becomes more complex. While I like the supplements and the new cut of the movie, I don’t know if those factors make an additional purchase worth your while. Personally, I’m glad to have both releases, and I think big fans of the flick will also want both. More casual partisans should probably remain happy with the original, though.
To rate this film visit the original review of MR. & MRS. SMITH