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AGENT CODY BANKS

Review by Chastity Campbell

Starring: Frankie Muniz, Hilary Duff, Angie Harmon, Keith David, Ian McShane, Cynthia Stevenson, Arnold Vosloo
Director: Harald Zwart
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Video: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen & 1.33:1 Standard Fullscreen
Studio: MGM
Features: See Review
Length: 102 Minutes
Release Date: August 5, 2003

Film ***

In a time where movies are either totally inappropriate for kids or bordering on inappropriate, it’s nice to see a family friendly film that offers, action, adventure and an old fashioned good time.

Cody Banks is your average teenager just trying to get by in life, or so it seems.  Cody was hand picked by the CIA when he was thirteen and attended a special summer training camp where he became a junior CIA operative in waiting.   No one in his family is aware of the special training Cody has received, nor his affiliation with the CIA.  

Cody is finally called to action when the CIA needs to get close to a scientist who has developed a nasty little critter that can be programmed to destroy just about anything it touches.  

Cody’s assignment is simple:  wear cool clothes, look daring and get close to the scientist’s daughter played by Hilary Duff.  Cody is handed over to his handler played by the very beautiful and talented Angie Harmon who discovers agent Bank’s one weakness, … he can’t talk to girls.  Gets all tongue-tied and basically makes an idiot out of himself every time he tries.

This movie was awesome from start to finish.  The pacing was good and kept you interested the whole time without feeling like it was flying by.   The gadgets and gizmos as well as the special effects really take this family oriented movie to a higher level and gives it room to shout above the rest in terms of quality.

When Cody’s girl is captured by the bad guys and used to accelerate her father’s work, it’s up to Cody to jump in and save the day.  What he doesn’t know is that he’s not only saving the woman he lo, …lo, …likes a whole lot, he’s saving the world from a form of technology that has a bottomless stomach and is ready to chow down!

Angie Harmon has a unique talent with every character I have ever had the pleasure of watching her portray.  She has been in the spotlight on magazine covers since she was seventeen and more recently for her role on NBC’s drama series, Law & Order.”  Despite the fact that I consider this a family oriented film she is quite, um, ah, well I guess sexy is the only way to describe her when dealing with the men in the CIA as well as the people out to get Cody. 

Muniz is a household name in North America due to his rambunctious, and spirited portrayal of Malcolm on Fox’s Malcolm In The Middle.   Muniz has grown up right before America’s eyes and that’s why as Agent Cody Banks he is so easy to watch and enjoy.  

Lizzy McGuire has helped actress Hilary Duff soar to stardom but it’s her vocal talents she’s most proud of.  Coming into her own this summer with the big screen release of The Lizzy McGuire movie, Duff did a wonderful job playing opposite Muniz in this roller coaster ride of a movie.   She’s not a silly, pushover kind of a girl; instead she stands up and takes charge of each situation.  A real role model for little girls out there who need strong females closer to their age that they can identify with.

Put these three people together with director Harald Zwalt's ability to capture huge amounts of detail with his filming style, and you’ve got 104 minutes of exhilaration and awesome entertainment.

I highly recommend this movie to people of all ages. It is just good clean fun, with a lot of entertainment value.  I can’t wait for the sequel and I’m sure by the end of this DVD you’ll be saying the same.

Video ***

This disc was very well put together in the visual sense with one tiny little problem, compression.   The 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen transfer bursts off the screen with vivid details, and bright colors that enhance each scene to the fullest.  The only problem this disc has is there is so much crammed on it there’s a slight bit of artifacting.   Not so badly that it will affect your viewing experience, but it is noticeable.

Flip this disc over, and you are greeted by a very nice 1.33:1 Standard Fullscreen transfer.   There is some hazing around the edges again due to the compression, but over all it was a very nice DVD to watch!

Audio ***

Like the video presentation, this disc had what I considered above average audio.   The 5.1 Dolby Digital mix was both balanced and solid.  The dialogue was easily understood, even in scenes where the background sound effects were at their highest level.

There were no audible dropouts or dips in audio, and the music beds blended in perfectly with the action sequences.  

The features were mixed and balanced in the same format as the film itself, and therefore a consistent audio level was maintained throughout.

Features ****

If your looking for features, this disc has got them.   MGM has been blowing my mind lately with some of their releases.  Chock full of interviews and a whole slew of featurettes, their DVD releases just get better and better. 

On one side of the disc you will find a running commentary track by the film’s director Harald Zwalt, actor Frankie Muniz and actress Angie Harmon.  It’s pretty interesting to listen to Muniz and Harmon talk about how they approached their characters as well as the director’s comments about filming.

The flip side is where the rest of the fun begins.  

See the action that didn’t get shown on the big screen when you watch the deleted scenes, and outtakes from the film. 

An exclusive sneak peek at the Cody Banks sequel is included, as well as story-board to film comparisons, and never before-seen footage of the stunts involved with the making of this movie.

“Developing Cody Banks” is a behind the scenes look at the films production process, you can get a look at how they designed the sets, and costumes when you watch “Creating Cody’s World.”

“Posting Cody Banks” takes you into the exciting world of special effects and musical scores.   There is a Making of overview titled “Director’s Diary” and 3 special featurettes:  “Frankie Muniz Going Big,” “How To Talk To Girls,” and finally “Cool Makeup Tricks By Hilary Duff.”

The interactive menus in combination with English, French, and Spanish subtitles help to blow this secret agent DVD right out of the water.

Summary:

This movie is fun filled, and action packed, not to mention family friendly to the extreme.   Your mission should you choose to accept it, is to locate Agent Cody Banks at your local DVD retailer and secure your copy today.   May supplies be with you!