Agent Cody Banks: Special Edition (2003)

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Released 8-Mar-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Booklet
Audio Commentary-Harald Zwart (Director), Frankie Muniz And Angie Harmon
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Developing Agent Cody Banks
Featurette-Creating Cody's World: Production Design, Ronica's Closet
Featurette-Posting Cody Banks: Cool Cody Special Effects
Featurette-Posting Cody Banks: The Music Of Agent Cody Banks
Featurette-Director's Diary
Storyboard Comparisons-2
Multiple Angles-Multi-Camera Sequences - 3 Scenes
Featurette-Agent In Training
Featurette-Agent Action
Featurette-How To Talk To Girls
Featurette-Cool Make-Up Tricks By Hilary Duff
Featurette-Cast Read Thru
Deleted Scenes-6
Outtakes
Gallery-Photo-Behind The Scenes, The Cast
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 97:56
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (88:55) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Harald Zwart
Studio
Distributor

MGM
Starring Frankie Muniz
Hilary Duff
Angie Harmon
Keith David
Cynthia Stevenson
Arnold Vosloo
Daniel Roebuck
Ian McShane
Darrell Hammond
Martin Donovan
Marc Shelton
Chris Gauthier
Harry Van Gorkum
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $34.95 Music John Powell
James McKee Smith
John Ashton Thomas


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Polish Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Portuguese
Polish
Greek
Czech
Hungarian
Hebrew
Turkish
Slovenian
Croatian
Icelandic
Bulgarian
Romanian
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, and lots of it!!!
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Agent Cody Banks is a spy film in the grand tradition of James Bond, Austin Powers & Mission: Impossible but with one minor difference; the spy is 15 years old. This film is part spoof, part serious spy film for 12 to 15 year olds. You can certainly see bits of the films mentioned above in this production and also other films like Dr. Strangelove.

    The plot involves seemingly normal teenager Cody Banks (Frankie Muniz), who has in fact been recruited and trained by the CIA during a summer camp he attended. We see him put his skills to good use in the film's opening action sequence which is a lot of fun and includes some good stunts and effects, much of it actually done by Frankie Muniz according to the extras. Cody, like many teenage boys, has difficulty talking to girls despite being a CIA agent. Soon he is visited at school by his very attractive CIA handler, Ronica Miles (Angie Harmon), who impresses his classmates. She has visited because the CIA have decided that it is time for him to put his training to good use. Cody is assigned a mission to get close to a girl, Natalie Connors (Hilary Duff) so that he can learn  more about what her father, a physicist, Dr Connors (Martin Donovan), is up to. Dr Connors has developed microscopic robots called Nanobots which are capable of eating anything he programs them to eat. They are designed to do things like eat oil slicks. The baddie, Dr Brinkman (Ian McShane), who heads an evil organisation called ERIS, wants to use them to take over the world (now there's a surprise). Brinkman has been funding Dr Connors' research in order to get control over the nanobots and use them to destroy missile guidance systems. Brinkman is assisted by his henchman (Arnold Vosloo) who has a nasty scar and an even nastier haircut. After some failed attempts to get close to Natalie, Ronica and the CIA Director (Keith David) realise that Cody needs lessons on how to talk to girls. I won't spoil the rest of the plot, however, there are a number of good (and not too violent) fight scenes and action sequences leading up to a well done finale in the baddie's secret lair (echoes of Austin Powers).

    There is a lot of good family fun to be had in this movie. There are some good jokes (including the obligatory fart joke) and child friendly action sequences. This is a rollicking 90 minutes which doesn't let up and wouldn't offend anyone, although it might scare the under 10s. Interestingly, this film was cut by 7 seconds in the UK to get a 12 rating. I do not have any information as to which version this DVD is.

   The acting is generally quite good with Frankie Muniz (best known as Malcolm in Malcolm in the Middle) believable both as a normal teenager and as a junior agent. He did a lot of the stunts himself and had martial arts training (although some of these sequences use a double). Hilary Duff is a lot less annoying that she was in Cheaper By The Dozen and does well. Angie Harmon (ADA Abbie Carmichael from Law & Order) & Ian McShane both play their parts well but a special mention should go to Keith David who is quite amusing as the CIA Director, as is the gadget guy played by Darrell Hammond (one of the many Saturday Night Live talents who have made feature films). He delivers the funniest line of the film which you need to watch for during the sequence where they try to teach Cody how to talk to girls. Arnold Vosloo is wasted as he really only gets a very generic henchman role, which is a shame considering what a good baddie he played in the Mummy films. There is good rapport between Frankie Muniz & Angie Harmon, and based on the commentary they obviously enjoyed working together, although Angie does not appear in the second film.

    Please note, that as with several other recent MGM releases there are a couple of minor packaging errors on this disc. Firstly, and on the plus side, the extra features include a commentary which is not listed and secondly, the Polish soundtrack is 2.0, not 5.1 as listed on the package.

    Overall, this film is a lot of fun for young teenagers and has some appeal for adults as well; I know we found it enjoyable to watch.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good but slightly disappointing for a recent major release film.

    The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was generally clear and sharp throughout, although some scenes seemed just a tad soft. There was no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was very good with night scenes showing most required details.

    The colour was very good throughout with all colours being well saturated and free from colour bleeding. The skin colouring was very natural.

    There were more artefacts in this transfer than I would expect from a major release. Aliasing was the worst offender with many instances of minor but noticeable aliasing. Some examples include the Volvo at 2:40, Cody's shirt at 5:20, a grate at 8:52, a fence at 31:20, a car grille at 42:19 and the roof at 58:08. Although each one was not particularly bad, the number of instances is disappointing. Additionally, there were occasional white specks, probably about 5 in the entire film.

    There are subtitles in sixteen European languages (indicating the dual region nature of this release) as well as English and English for the Hearing Impaired. The English subtitles were clear, easy to read and very close to the spoken word.

    This is a dual layered disc and the layer change is very well placed at 88:55. It is so well done that I nearly did not notice it, and would not have, if I hadn't been looking for it.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is very good, bordering on excellent.

    This DVD contains three audio options: an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s, a Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack at 448 Kb/s and a Polish 2.0 soundtrack (not 5.1 as stated on the packaging) encoded at 224 Kb/s. The English track makes very good use of the front sound plane with some great sound effects, however the surrounds are a little underused.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand.    

    There were no problems with audio sync.    

    The score of this film by very experienced soundtrack composer John Powell, along with regular collaborators John Ashton Thomas and James McKee Smith, is very good and blends classic spy soundtrack material with some whimsical and funny additions such as massed kazoos. John Powell's other credits include Chicken Run, Shrek, The Thin Red Line, Face/Off, The Italian Job & The Bourne Identity. He has been nominated for and won a number of awards for his soundtracks. In addition to the score, a number of songs which would appeal to teenagers were used.

    The surround speakers were used extensively to create an immersive soundtrack but were surprisingly not used for many directional effects. Big action set pieces where I expected surround action did not include it to any great degree.

    The subwoofer was used continuously to add to the action sequences and music.

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    This disc has an incredible number of extras, most of which included over 1 minute of credits, sometimes closer to 2. This is annoying on a featurette which is only 4 minutes in total, which some of them are. Generally, I would say there is more quantity here than quality but there are some worthwhile features and some features will appeal more to some people than others. Most of the extras are 1.33:1 non 16x9 enhanced, however, when they include sections of the film these are presented in the correct aspect ratio. I assume these featurettes have been kept short to avoid losing the teenager audience, however, a Play All function would have been nice.

Menu

    The menus are quite reminiscent of the James Bond discs, but are a little fiddly and slightly confusing at times.

Developing Agent Cody Banks (4:51)

    A short featurette about casting, testing of props, script and locations.

Creating Cody's World - Production Design (6:35)

    A short featurette which is basically a roll call of the product placements during the film including the Solotrek personal helicopter & Apple Ipods. This also includes some information about set design and the nanobots.

Creating Cody's World - Ronica's Closet (3:50)

    A very short featurette about costumes, specifically the retro designs used for Ronica Miles which reminded me of the female costumes in Austin Powers.

Posting Cody Banks - Cool Cody Special Effects (5:59)

    A featurette about the special effects and green screen work used in the movie. One of the more interesting extras.

Posting Cody Banks - Music (4:37)

    A short featurette about the composer and his use of massed kazoos for part of the soundtrack.

Director's Diary (12:38)

    This is the longest featurette on this disc, clocking in at an 'astounding' 12 minutes. It is, as the title suggests, a history of the film from Norwegian director Harold Zwart's perspective including pre-visualisation, storyboarding, design, shooting and editing. It is quite interesting.

Storyboard Comparisons - Skateboard Chase (3:35) and ERIS Finale (3:58)

    Personally, storyboard comparisons leave me cold, but if they interest you there is nothing wrong with these two.

Multi-Camera Sequences

    There are three different  sequences available here including ERIS Stunts (1:18) which features 4 camera angles and director's commentary, Kitchen Fight (0:26) which features 2 camera angles and Dojo (1:18) which features 3 camera angles and Angie Harmon.

Agent In Training (7:28)

    A confusingly titled featurette which starts out showing the skateboard training for Frankie Muniz but then shows details of how some of the stunts were done.

Agent Action (6:52)

    Another confusingly titled featurette which shows Frankie Muniz' martial arts training and then shows how the driver's education and snowboarding stunts were done.

How To Talk To Girls (1:21)

    Features dating advice for Frankie Muniz from other cast members. Vaguely amusing.

Cool Makeup Tricks from Hilary Duff (1:35)

    Basically a short advertisement for the brands of makeup used during the making of the film. May be of interest to teenage girls.

Cast Read Through (4:30)

    Footage of the major cast members during the first read through of the script. Not particularly interesting.

Deleted Scenes - 6 (11:04)

    There are six extra scenes included here, some of which are quite amusing. The scenes are Cody's Homework, Cody & Ronica on the Street, Dr Connors Lab, Cody & Dad, Cody at Party and Cody returns to School. A good feature here is that some of the scenes are shown with the footage which would have surrounded them if they had been kept in the film. There is a Play All function.

Outtakes (3:10)

    A small collection of goofs, mostly by Angie Harmon. Not the best I have seen but not bad.

Photo Gallery

    The photo gallery is split into two sections; Behind the Scenes which includes 45 photos (2:14) and The Cast which includes 20 photos (1:00). Not particularly interesting.

Theatrical Trailer (1:09)

    This is a pretty good theatrical trailer which encourages you to see the film but doesn't give away too much of the plot.

Feature Commentary - Director-Harold Zwart, Angie Harmon & Frankie Muniz

    This is not a fantastic commentary track. It includes some mildly interesting details, a couple of laughs and lots of praise for everyone involved.

Booklet

    The box includes an eight page booklet which features a list of the major cast and their characters, photos and details of the various props and stunts.

Easter Egg 1 (1:39)

    The first of two Easter Eggs which I found involves the director showing us sections of the film where continuity was stuffed up. It can be accessed by (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) clicking right from the first selection on the first special features menu which will reveal a red cross.

Easter Egg 2 (0:33)

    The second Easter Egg which I found is about how the director includes the logo of his favourite football team from Norway in all his movies. It can be accessed by (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) clicking right from the first selection on the second special features menu which will reveal a red cross.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This movie is available on a very similar disc in Region 1 with the exception of  the Region 1 disc having an additional pan and scan transfer and different languages besides English. I can't see that these things would make you bother ordering this from the US unless you are desperate for pan and scan.

Summary

    This disc contains a good family action film with entertainment for all (with the possible exception of the under 10s).

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The disc has an abundance of extras of varying quality.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, June 28, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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Comments (Add)
2/4 agent cody banks could be uncut - Andrew Cottrell (chucky) REPLY POSTED