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AGENT CODY BANKS 2
DESTINATION LONDON

Review by Chastity Campbell

Starring: Frankie Muniz, Anthony Anderson, Keith David, Daniel Roebuck, Hannah Spearritt, Cynthia Stevenson
Director: Kevin Allen
Video: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 1.33:1 Standard Fullscreen
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Studio: MGM
Features: See Review
Release Date: July 13, 2004

Film ***

It’s lurking out there, just waiting for the unsuspecting consumer to come along.  You know what it is, the dreaded word that is feared by young and old alike…the sequel! (ominous music plays in the background)  

Okay, so not all sequels are bad, but believe me, I have had the displeasure of viewing my fair share of second timers that fall short of the benchmark set by their counterparts.

However, this summer will definitely go down in history as the year of the sequel, with hits like Shrek 2, Spider Man 2, and third installment of the Harry Potter franchise Harry Potter and The Prisoner Of Azkaban making their way through theatres. 

So it is with that in mind that I powered up my DVD player and popped in the new kid friendly spy flick from MGM Agent Cody Banks: Destination London.  I have to admit that despite my earlier worries, this sequel can visit my DVD player any day of the week!

Cody’s grown up quite a bit since his last big screen adventure, and we find him spending the summer at CIA boot camp…I mean Camp Woody!  All of the other cadets, I mean campers, are in awe of Mr. Banks ability as an agent.  Then again, it’s not surprising…he did save the world after all!  And let’s not forget…he got the girl too!

In this installment, Cody is sent to London to retrieve a stolen piece of technology.  Last time it was for honor, this time it’s personal, as Cody’s mentor and CIA trainer is responsible for stealing a mind control device, and unwittingly agent Banks helped him do it.

Cody’s mission is simple: retrieve the stolen technology and bring his former mentor to justice.   His disguise?  He’s a clarinet virtuoso at a summer retreat for musical geniuses!!  The problem:  Cody doesn’t know how to play the clarinet…or any other instrument for that matter.

I was very disappointed at first to find out that Angie Harmon would not be reprising her role as Cody’s handler.  However, that disappointment was short lived once I saw Cody’s new handler in action. 

Anthony Anderson plays the part of Derek, a CIA agent busted to handler status for incompetence.   He’s a big kid at heart, and he refuses to ever grow up.  This sets the stage for him to get himself and Cody into more jams than the people at Smucker’s can put in their jars! 

Cody doesn’t like Derek’s loose attitude right from the start, and besides, he shouldn’t need a handler anymore, he’s a big boy…WRONG!!  Turns out without Derek’s help Cody would have ended up helping his ex-mentor take over the world, one foreign leader at a time.

I really enjoyed seeing Frankie Muniz reprise his role as the innocent looking teenage CIA operative.    Muniz has grown up in looks and character since his last big screen appearance, but he hasn’t lost a single bit of his appeal.  It was refreshing for me once again to see a kid friendly movie that didn’t rely on sex or foul language to boost the plot. 

I’ve been watching Anthony Anderson on TV and the big screen for quite a few years now.   Anderson’s big break was on the Saturday morning NBC show Hang Time.   It was similar to Saved By The Bell in theme and style.  Each week featured a different teenage crisis, and the perils of trying to grow up normally.   Anderson graduated to the big screen in the 1999 film Life.  However it wasn’t until his role in the 2000 Jet Li film Romeo Must Die that people sat up and took notice of his abilities. 

I loved Anthony’s relaxed attitude, quick wit, and zany antics.  He definitely helped this film take a giant leap over the original.

The action scenes in this film take up a bigger part of the film.  There’s more physical action, which forced Frankie Muniz to start training six weeks before principal photography began.  The explosions are louder (and bigger), and the sets and scenery are more realistic this time around.

Fun, exciting, and action packed, this sequel delivered on more levels than I initially gave it credit for.   Grab your copy of Agent Cody Banks: Destination London and take it for a spin today.  

Video ***

This DVD contains a 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen version and a 1.33:1 Standard Fullscreen version.  Both versions were very sharp, crisp and clean. The colors were bright and vivid without appearing overly bright or washed out.

I will admit that when it comes down to it that I typically prefer Widescreen presentations to Fullscreen versions of a film.  I just feel like you get so much more from a movie when you see the whole picture.   However, every rule has exceptions, and I have to say this DVD was really nice in both formats.  I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything with the Fullscreen version. 

Audio ***

The 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround was powerful and balanced and in true secret agent form, it blew me away!  The mix really does make good use of the surround speakers.   The sound seemed to flow around the room evenly without any of the speakers feeling left out.  There were no detectable flaws, just good solid audio, with a really cool soundtrack to give it a leg up on the competition.  

Feature: ***

This DVD takes you deep undercover with multiple versions of the film that allow you to go behind the scenes and play different interactive games. 

First there is Agent Mode: Interactive Quiz, which allows you to watch the movie and every so often Cody and his friends will pop up to ask you questions on your quest to become a CIA operative.

Spy On The Set: Visual Cast Commentary takes a 3-D approach to discussing to goings on behind the film.   

The Back In Action featurette takes you into the minds of the people behind Cody Banks 2.  You get to see what they were thinking with Cody Banks 1, and how all of that factored into the making of this DVD.

There are some deleted scenes, a photo gallery, and the original theatrical trailer for you to view.

Also the good folks over at MGM saw fit to include an interactive page with DVD box covers that you can click on and view movie trailers.   

Summary:

With a fun an exciting story, great special effects, and fun gadgets galore, there is no doubt that Cody Banks is the boy every kid dreams of being.  However, the boy needed to spend a little extra time working on the video quality and editing of his extra features.  All that aside though, your destination should be the video store where you’ll pick up your copy of this DVD!