GREEN'S TRUE GUARDIANS OF FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY REVIEW:
Passed over for a field agent again, Maxwell Smart (Steve Carell) is an analyst at CONTROL. Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway) and Agent 23 (Dwayne Johnson) are veteran field agents who always get the tough assignments. KAOS is moving large quantities of nuclear material. After an attack on CONTROL headquarters, identities of CONTROL agents are compromised and Max is promoted to field agent by the chief (Alan Arkin) and paired with agent 99, who must save the day.
This is a movie that I really didn't want to see if only because I'm a fan of the 1960's television show and was afraid that this movie wouldn't do justice to the original. Many television show to big screen transformations are not worth the celluloid they're shot on. Part of me did want to see this movie because I'm a fan of both Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway. I was able to resist until now.
I must say that this movie was much better than I expected. Not many actors can channel the comic brilliance of Don Adams as well as Carell and Hathaway as the stoic Barbara Felton character was a better than expected choice. Supporting cast members Alan Arkin as the Chief and Dwayne Johnson as Agent 23 were good choices. Johnson has an unexpected comedic presence. I'm not so sure Terrence Stamp was the best choice for the villian, even though I respect him as an actor. He'll always be General Zod to me.
Peter Segal does a fine job directing this movie and keeps the action light and funny. Screen writers Tom Astle and Matt Ember stay true to the original Mel Brooks and Buck Henry characters and the film's plot could have easily worked into an episode or two of the old show.
Unfortunately for me, the library only had the single disc version which only had comedy optimization mode as an extra and I would have liked to see more. It would have been interesting to hear what some of the original cast had to say about this film, though only Barbara Felton is still living. I do recall hearing Anne Hathaway say in an interview after the film's release that filming her scenes with Carell were difficult because he kept cracking jokes and making faces which made her laugh when her character is supposed to be the serious, straight-faced one.
Now I'm actually looking forward to the sequel, tentatively to be released sometime in 2011.
***½ out of *****
Get Smart (2008, PG-13, 110 minutes), starring Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson, Alan Arkin, Terrence Stamp, Tery Crews and David Koechner. Characters by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. Screenplay by Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember. Directed by Peter Segal.