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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Doug Liman
Cast:
Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Vince Vaughn, Adam Brody, Kerry Washington, Keith David, Chris Weitz, Rachael Huntley, Michelle Monaghan
Writing Credits:
Simon Kinberg

Synopsis:
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie smolder in one of the most anticipated, sizzling action films ever made. After five (or six) years of vanilla-wedded bliss, ordinary suburbanites John and Jane Smith (Pitt and Jolie) are stuck in a rut the size of the Grand Canyonuntil the truth comes out! Unbeknownst to each other, they are both coolly lethal, highly paid assassins working for rival organizations. And when they discover they're each other's next target, their secret lives collide in a spicy, explosive mix of wicked comedy, pent-up passion, nonstop action and high-tech weaponry that gives an all-new meaning to "Till death do us part!"

Box Office:
Budget
$110 million.
Opening Weekend
$50.342 million on 3424 screens.
Domestic Gross
$186.219 million.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English DTS 5.1
Spanish Dolby 2.0
French Dolby 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 125 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 6/6/2006

Bonus:
Disc One
• Audio Commentary with Director Doug Liman
Disc Two
• Deleted Scenes and Alternate Ending
• “Domestic Violence: Shooting Mrs. And Mrs Smith” Documentary
• “Doug’s Film School” Featurettes
• Galleries


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Mr. & Mrs. Smith: Unrated (2005)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 9, 2005)

Call it the movie that launched a thousand tabloid covers. How much of a legacy 2005’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith leaves for its cinematic merits and how much it remains remembered for the off-screen romance between stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie won’t be know for a while. Right now, I think the tabloid side of things has the edge, but it’s a close call.

Don’t take that as a slight on Smith as a flick, for it’s a pretty entertaining ride. The movie introduces us to the titular couple: John (Pitt) and Jane (Jolie) Smith. Despite the fact both are drop-dead gorgeous, the film posits them as an ordinary suburban couple going through a cold spell in their marriage. This leads them to counseling so they can work out the kinks.

As it turns out, both lead much more exciting lives than they’d have each other believe. Both serve as assassins for competing firms. They discover this when they get the same assignment. Hired to take out Benjamin Danz (Adam Brody), they cross paths and soon set out to kill each other. The rest of the movie follows these attempts and a mix of other complications and revelations that ensue.

Smith entertains a number of metaphors for marriage and relationships, none of which seem particularly deep or insightful. While I admire the fact the film makes the attempt to tap into something richer than just the usual mindless mayhem, I think it works better if you view the metaphors on an ironic level and just sink your teeth into the comedy and action.

If viewed on those terms, it’s a blast – literally and figuratively. Surprisingly, some of the best moments come during our views of John and Jane in their mundane moments. There’s such a substantial disconnect between our views of Beautiful People Pitt and Jolie and their dull lives that each little domestic nugget becomes a joy to see. With less attractive actors – and that’s pretty much all of them – this might seem tedious, but in their hands, it’s a delight.

It helps that both do quite well in their roles. Because of their physical appearances, it’s easy to dismiss the talents of Pitt and Jolie, but that would be a mistake. I think both are highly skilled actors, and they dig into their roles with relish. It doesn’t hurt that they display a ridiculous amount of chemistry; this has to be one of the most incendiary screen pairings in quite some time.

Smith boasts a solid supporting cast as well – or at least one fine secondary actor in Vince Vaughn as John’s buddy Eddie. Vaughn exhibits his patented hyperactive shtick in the role and threatens to derail it with his scene stealing, but director Doug Liman wisely makes sure that Vaughn doesn’t take over the film. He enlivens every segment in which he appears but his screen-time is comes in small enough dollops to ensure that he doesn’t become the flick’s focus.

The fact I single out Vaughn shouldn’t be seen as a slight on the other supporting actors, as all seem fine. However, none of them get a whole lot to do. They come and go quickly and make little of an impact. That becomes especially noticeable with the character of Jasmine (Kerry Washington), Jane’s main pal. However, I don’t blame this on Washington; the fault lies largely with the script, as it doesn’t allow her to stand out in any way. Vaughn gets the fun part, while Washington exists essentially as exposition.

Really, that’s about the closest thing I can find to a serious flaw in Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Okay, it might run a little long, but it remains so darned entertaining that I can’t complain. It balances action and comedy extremely well and always makes sure that we have a good time as we watch the intricacies of marriage. It’s a winner.

This DVD offers an extended, unrated cut of Smith. It adds five minutes to the 120-minute theatrical edition. Actually, it’s not that simple, as this extended Smith drops some scenes from the original cut in addition to its new material.

Disclaimer: the following comments will assume you’ve seen the theatrical movie already and are curious to hear details about the changes. If you want to avoid any potential spoilers, skip this section.

One of the old DVD’s deleted scenes makes it into the flick here. We find the funny sequence with John and Eddie right after the former’s first fight with Jane. I think the smidgen of extra mayhem during the climactic gun battle also shows up here, but the extended cut definitely doesn’t include the third deleted scene, “House Cleaning”. We get some small changes to that part but not the added material that showed up as the deleted scene.

Other additions pop up from very early in the flick. We get a mention of Sting’s prodigious sex drive in the opening therapy scene, and we also find more domestic banality during the first act. One new sequence shows John and Jane in bed as they chat about her dad and he takes a call from work.

We see a little bit more passion during John and Jane’s post-fight sex scene, but don’t expect anything scintillating; there’s just a couple more seconds and nothing graphic. The fight in question is a little longer as well. We also find a slight extension to the bit in which John loads Danz into the mini-van; he has trouble opening the doors.

As I mentioned, some cuts and changes also occur. The scene in which Jane changes before the neighborhood party is gone. In its place we get an alternate piece in which she and John chat on the way to that house. The theatrical cut had them talk in their bedroom, while now they get out some exposition en route to the party.

In the category of small alterations, the third act gets reworked in a number of ways. Most importantly, the climactic “Dance of Death” lacks music. A few other structural changes occur too, though it’s tough to detect them.

The biggest omission comes from our introduction to Danz. No longer do we see him early in the film. Instead, he doesn’t appear until the ride out to the desert.

Other changes may exist, so don’t take this as an exhaustive list of alterations. These are the ones that I recognized after two prior screenings of the film. I also made some direct disc-to-disc comparisons to confirm my observations, but it remains possible I missed some. In any case, I think I caught most of the changes.

Do these cuts and additions do anything to improve or harm the film? I don’t think they matter a lot in either direction. I liked Smith in its theatrical incarnation and continued to enjoy it as an extended cut.

However, I’d pick the longer version as the superior one. Most of the additions are good, and I don’t miss the cut pieces. I like the original too much to make it sound like a night and day difference, but the extended edition feels just a little more satisfying.


The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A-/ Bonus A-

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

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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main