Steve Carell will never be Don Adams. Adams was iconic in his role as Maxwell Smart, and no matter how it’s been remade, Get Smart will always be remembered for Adams. Still, Carell does a fantastic job in updating the character in this remake, creating his own spin that’s immensely funny and enjoyable.
The heart of Get Smart is still here, that of a goofy, often unintelligent CONTROL agent working under the vice president. Smart (Carell) is tasked with bringing down a terrorist organization appropriately named KAOS. The thin plot is standard good versus evil involving nukes inside Los Angeles, and loads of priceless one-liners to go along with it. Numerous scenes exist purely for their laughs, not for plot development.
The loaded cast all take their performances to heart, brilliantly projecting an inept secret government agency. The film belongs to Carell and Anne Hathaway, but it’s nearly stolen by Alan Arkin. He delivers what may be the film’s best line immediately following a near-death experience. Dwayne Johnson is wasted, given little screen time even though his character plays a major role in the story.
Obviously, the original show is given numerous nods and homages throughout. The opening door gag is here, and arguably better than it ever was. Bill Murray has a bizarre cameo in a tree, but it’s nonetheless funny. The finale is also an action and comedic blast, despite some seriously lo-fi special effects.
Get Smart is a worthy remake of a classic show, and even if you’re a die-hard fan, it would be hard to imagine what this remake could do to taint your memories. It’s a well-executed comedic romp with some engaging action and fine performances. It’s not perfect, but it could have been so much worse.
For a new film, Get Smart is a disappointing Blu-ray. The transfer is muddy, soft, and lacking definition. Black levels range from superb to mediocre. The transfer lacks depth, coming off flat and uninspired. Flesh tones waver towards orange. Fine detail is rare through the haziness of the presentation. Some minor artifacting can be spotted from time to time.
Warner again skimps on the audio (like they do far too often), only giving viewers standard Dolby Digital instead of an uncompressed track. The bass line is powerful, and easily the best part of the mix. Surrounds are inconsistent.
In fact, this track feels subdued, even during the action. There are only minor instances of transitional audio to speak of, and none of it ambient. Only aggressive action is given any attention. It’s doubtful an uncompressed track would make this limited design any better, but at least it would have sounded sharper.
With three discs packed inside an easily breakable hinge case, one would expect mountains of extras. One would also be wrong. The second disc is a digital copy, and the third one of those throwaway DVD games that never provide any real entertainment value.
Four featurettes tell the typical making-of story. The best of the lot divulges all of the details in the film that reference the original show. A funny gag reel and an extended sequence deals with the vomit sequence in the film. The latter two run around five minutes each. A promo for the direct-to-video Bruce and Lloyd spin-off is here too.
Smart Takes is a unique way of delivering alternate takes and deleted scenes. Close to an hour of content runs alongside the movie, showcasing different takes or adlibs related to the scene you’re watching. However, this is the only way to access the content.