Spy Game DVD: Review By Rorschach1

  • OVERALL
    3.5
    GREAT
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE FEATURE
For our fathers, it was Sean Connery.When we were growing up it was Harrison Ford.Now, it is Brad Pitt.He is the guy.

The guy you wish you could be and the guy that girls wish they could be with.

And if you want to deny that, I'll lock you in a room with Jennifer Aniston and see how long you still deny the truth.

Spy Game is another excellent choice by Mr. Pitt, who has a fine eye for action and adventure, but needs to stay away from the dreaded romantic comedy genre (Meet Joe Black, The Mexican).

In Spy Game, Brad is Tom Bishop, a former CIA operative that faces execution after failing to break an unknown captive out of a Chinese prison.Robert Redford is Nathan Muir a CIA operative approaching retirement, who must work alone, against the CIA's orders, to gain his pupil's release. Unfortunately, Bishop's time is running out, and less than 24 hours remain before the fateful act will occur.

Spy Game uses flashbacks to reveal how this situation came to be, from the beginning of the mentor/pupil relationship to that very day.

Spy Game smartly capitalizes on the wisdom and attitude that Robert Redford inherently brings to a role, as well as on the incredible chemistry between him and Pitt. While this isn't the most impressive actor's showcase, both actors make the most of what they have, keeping your eyes focused on them, even when the action or dialogue fails them.

Director Tony Scott (Top Gun, Enemy of the State) creates another action packed music video, which unfortunately like most music videos, lacks not necessarily story, but plot.In this I refer to a lesson I learned in school, whereas the fact that a story has a beginning and an end means nothing without the plot, which is the device that brings you from one to the other.

Still, to argue from my sister's point of view, who needs a plot in a Brad Pitt movie?Or to quote her more directly as we walked out of Legend of the Fall a few year's back, "What was that movie about? I got distracted when Brad was onscreen."
THE EXTRAS
Video

Spy Game includes a flawless 2.35:1 widescreen anamorphic transfer with impressive clarity. Tony Scott's feverish visual style has the potential to lose the viewer, but this DVD scores for maintaining such clear imagery. Universal deserves credit for not just stamping this as a Collector's Edition, but giving us the visual to prove that it is indeed one.

Audio

Tony Scott is known to jack up the volume to create intensity inn his movies and this one is no exception. The 6.1-channel DTS transfer is one of the best tracks I've ever heard coming from my speakers and it fully highlights the impressive score by Harry Gregson Williams. The dialogue is especially clear and understandable, which is pivotal given the sounds that often jump from the speakers. This disc also includes a 5.1-channel Dolby Digital transfer, which is a quieter version, yet still and impressive and entertaining one.

Extras

The collector's edition of Spy Game includes an interesting feature that they entitle, "Clandestine OPS." This feature enables the viewer to access short featurettes, deleted scenes, and character dossiers at certain points when a symbol flashes while viewing the film. Many of these supplements are not available anywhere else on the disc, which makes it a creative, as well as active feature on the DVD.

Next, there are two commentaries from Tony Scott and producers Douglas Wick and Marc Abraham. The director's track is informative and covers nearly every aspect of the production. Tony Scott, as quiet and restrained as his brother Ridley, does show an active side fortunately.It's interesting to listen to him get excited, as he jumps from 0-60 about as quickly in real life as he does in his movies. Scott has a humble side, which makes this section as appealing to the viewer as it makes him appealing as a person. As one may have expected, the producers' track is not at all exciting and mostly acts as a pat on the back for their work.Please note my shock at witnessing arrogant producers, which as we all know are so rare in Hollywood.

This disc also contains a nice selection of deleted and alternate scenes. Each entry includes the option of hearing insightful commentary from Scott, who explains the reasons for their removal or alteration. This is a nice touch, but if you couldn't tell why these scenes weren't used then you fell asleep during the movie.Most of these scenes are either flat or incredibly out of place in the context of the movie, especially a scene that hints at a romance between Redford and McCormick's characters. The alternate ending offers few changes in terms of the plot itself, but is longer and paced differently, adding up to a finale that doesn't flow quite as well as the one they used.

A two-minute "script to storyboard" piece briefly presents Scott's method for drawing up the scenes on paper before production. His creations are interesting, but don't compare them to the boards for The Matrix, as they are little more than scribbles in some instances.

Another interesting bonus is the Requirements for CIA Acceptance, which has several text pages about the necessities when applying to become a trainee. Interestingly, I actually made it as a trainee all the way to the 3rd question, which deals with a background check.Yeah, like my college chums are just going to forget 4 years or drunken behavior.Right.I definitely think I fit the appropriate behavior in ambiguous situations profile, though.

The remaining supplements include production notes, a cast and filmmakers' section, and the original theatrical trailer. The preview trailer appears in the 1.85:1 widescreen format with a 5.1-channel audio track.

I must make special mention of the menu, which is dazzling, with a fully animated and scored intro, main page, and transitions. It also highlights Harry Gregson Williams's excellent score perfectly.
THE FINAL WORD
All in all, Spy Game is an entertaining ride that includes some excellent performances by its stars. Universal has given this DVD the works and its extras more than justify a purchase and about 10 hours of your time.

On a final note, I would like to mention something that Mr.Pitt has done that I suggest several other actors take notice of.Once upon a time there was Legend of the Fall and A River Runs Through It.This was when men hated Mr. Pretty Boy, Brad Pitt.

Then came 12 Monkeys.Fight Club.Spy Game.

You know what all three have in common?He gets the living sh*t kicked out of him in each.And that's why we like him.Because when he's bloodied and bruised our dates remember us.

So take notice Mr. Hartnett.Learn from the Guy.Get the crap kicked out of you and we might just start to like you.

And that's our lesson for today.Good Bye, Boys and Girls...

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