Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Spy Next Door Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 20.2 GB
Film Size: 16.1 GB
Film Rating: PG
Region: AThe Video
The Spy Next Door comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The film looks very good in high-definition and is an easy upgrade when compared to the included DVD copy of the film. The film is one which I have very few complaints about the high-def presentation, but there are some issues which I thought were worth mentioning.

As a whole the film looks great, most shots feature an impressive level of clarity and detail. Colors are rich and give the presentation a nice pop throughout. However, there are some scenes in which black levels looked rather weak and perhaps the film’s lower encode size could have had a bit to do with this.

The film features a pleasing level of grain throughout which luckily was not given the wax museum treatment by applying DNR or edge enhancement. Lionsgate has provided a very pleasing video presentation that while not stunning is definitely good. 7.5/10.

The Audio
An English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is the only audio option included. Optional subtitles include English, English SDH and Spanish.

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track included on the disc is definitely an impressive one. Dialogue is presented front and center and is clear like most new release films. The film is a family film, but it also features plenty of action throughout. The action sequences features great amount of surround use, featuring a fantastic sense of direction and clarity as well.

The track is definitely impressive in all aspects, but I can’t say I am surprised. Lionsgate has always been great especially when it comes to lossless mixes on Blu-ray. Like almost any of their releases, the mix may be more impressive than you expected and stands out among other live action family films on Blu-ray. 9/10.

The Extras

Disc 1:

Jackie Chan: Stunt Master and Mentor (10:15) (HD)
The cast and crew talk about working with Jackie Chan and how they all learned/gained skills from him.

Adventures in Acting with the Kids of the Spy Next Door (11:10) (HD)
The three child actors from the film talk about how they started acting and tips they have for those who want to become actors.

Blooper Reel (3:16) (HD)
This is a blooper reel which also plays while the credits roll.

Also From Lionsgate (4:15) (HD)
See previews for other Lionsgate Home Entertainment releases, these also play before the menus.

Save your favorite scenes and return to them later via the bookmarks option.

Disc 2:

DVD copy of the film.

The extras included on this release are certainly good, but I do wish more behind-the-scenes footage was included to be honest. The extras are semi-informative and the feature with the kids is cute. Lionsgate has included a DVD copy of the film which I think is smart. This is definitely a movie kids will want to watch in the minivan or maybe even their own rooms, and it makes the choice to go with the Blu-ray version that much easier. 5/10.

The Movie
The Spy Next Door is not something I saw theatrically, but the trailers made the film look like this would be a cute family film. When the film started I almost didn’t want to watch, the opening title with the cheesy music and effects just made it look like a cheap action movie.

However, once we get past the first 5 minutes I found myself much more impressed by the movie. Jackie Chan is the leading actor of the film and is always likeable despite his lack of acting skills. Jackie Chan plays a spy named Bob Ho who is in a relationship with his next door neighbor Gillian. The two don’t really have great chemistry, but it is fine enough.

Their relationship is great but the problem is that Gillian has three children, all three who have a major dislike for Bob. Gillian finds herself in an emergency and needs to be with a loved one in the hospital, leaving Bob in charge of her three children while she is away.

Bob hasn’t told Gillian about his job but had intended to tell her before. Another spy asks him to check out a file which he sends to Bob’s home computer and the action begins from there. There are people who Bob works with who have deceived everyone are in search of the file which Bob has.

The kids quickly find themselves involved in the chaos as they all connect with Bob at the same time. The film’s script isn’t genius but for a kids film it definitely works. The child actors in the film are actually very good and they all fit well as a family.

The movie is definitely predictable like almost any family film, but it has a great message of family and love that kids will likely take in. The movie is one which is definitely for kids and one which I think critics judged a bit harshly. What people need to remember is that movies like this were not made for adults; it is made for those with children. That isn’t to say an adult can’t enjoy it, I think those watching it with their children will find it cute and not a bad film to spend an hour and a half on.

Overall I really enjoyed The Spy Next Door and the children who watched it as well definitely approved. The movie is bigger on the action, but girls will likely find the movie to be a lot of fun as well. The movie is far from perfect, but I do think it makes for a more than solid family film. 7.5/10.

The Blu-news Summary
The Spy Next Door is a cute family film with a good video presentation and impressive audio track. The extras are not amazing, but they are enjoyable. Overall the Blu-ray release is ‘Recommended’ to those with children.

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