The Re-Make Express keeps rollin’ its way down the box office tracks with no end in sight.Â There are re-makes of classic movies.Â Re-makes of classic TV shows (is â€œThreeâ€™s Company: The Movieâ€ so far fetched)?Â Re-makes of Re-makes!Â The latest â€˜re-imaginingâ€™ turns out to be the beloved “Get Smart,” the show about a bumbling spy, who despite his unknowing ineptitude, thwarted comedic villains intent on world domination every week on TV.Â I watched the show as a kid and so badly wanted some shoes with a secret phone in them.Â I still do.Â And with merchandising what it is, I’ll probably get a pair that’ll hold an iPhone.Â Anyway, they tried to re-make the TV series almost three decades ago with Don Adams still in the role of Maxwell Smart and now it’s Steve Carell exploring a brand-new kind of “Office” over at the place called “Control.”Â The Smack is On!
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â€œGet Smartâ€ (the 2.0 version) opens with the classic theme and Secret Agent 86 walking down a long hall past high-tech security doors to a simple telephone booth that drops him down into Control Headquarters.Â But this isnâ€™t your Grandpaâ€™s Control Headquarters.Â Nope.Â This is the New and Improved Control (with a healthy budget for all the CGI).
In a bit of inspired casting, Steve Carell assumes the Maxwell Smart role, but here heâ€™s a Computer Analyst who dreams of becoming a Field Agent.Â It seems Control is more like High School with its clicks of the “cool” spies (the Jocks) who look down on the Computer Nerds (the, uhm, Nerds).
After several attempts Max finally passes the fieldÂ agent exam but is kept where he â€˜can do the most goodâ€™ — in theÂ office.Â That is until the evil, criminal organization known as KAOSÂ attacks HQ, and picks off Control Agents around the globe.Â So Max getsÂ his chance, partnered with the more experienced Agent 99 (AnneÂ Hathaway).Â Thereâ€™s enough globetrotting and well-executed action toÂ keep todayâ€™s audienceâ€™s satisfied.
There are several standÂ out performances from Alan Arkin as the Chief, Dwayne (â€˜Donâ€™t Call MeÂ The Rockâ€™) Johnson as Uber Agent 23, and Terence Stamp as evil KaosÂ Arms Dealer, Siegfried.Â Donâ€™t blink or youâ€™ll miss the cameos by BillÂ Murray (underused as Agent 13, disguised as a Tree) and — if youâ€™reÂ really a fan of the series — youâ€™ll recognize Bernie KopellÂ (theÂ original Siegfried).
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The Defending Champion
â€œThe NudeÂ Bombâ€ reminds us there’s only one Don Adams who played the loveable,Â bumbling Agent 86 on the Mel Brooks-Buck Henry TV series â€œGet Smartâ€Â from 1965-1970.Â In this theatrical movie, a decade later Maxwell SmartÂ is back in action, trying to thwart Kaos, still up to itâ€™s old tricks.Â This time, a villain (who wears pantyhose over his head) has developedÂ a â€˜nude bombâ€™ that destroys all known fabric.Â Unless demands are met,Â the world will be naked!Â (A proposition thatâ€™s either good or bad,Â depending on who youâ€™re standing next to).
Very much like theÂ TV show, this movie is gag heavy.Â The budget, for the time, must haveÂ been substantial with new and improved gadgets (Stapler Phone anyone?)Â and a Bachelor Pad thatâ€™d make Hugh Hefner jealous (a car rises in theÂ middle of the living room for quick access).
Whatâ€™s missing?Â How about series regulars Barbara Feldon as Agent 99, and Edward PlattÂ as the Chief?!Â Â Instead we get (the presumably Younger and Blonder)Â Andrea Howard as Agent 22 and (the serviceable) Dana Elcar as theÂ (new?) Chief.Â Same Old Max with a different supporting cast.Â Thatâ€™sÂ like wearing a new suit with the same ole shoe phone — it just doesnâ€™tÂ match.
â€œWould you believe..?â€
Both films have virtually the same plot!Â Kaos has Bombs theyâ€™ll rainÂ down on the world unless itâ€™s paid off.Â In the â€œNude Bombâ€ itâ€™s a,Â well, nude bomb, but a bomb by any other nameâ€¦
The Update kept all the key elements from the show,Â the gadgets and the comedy, while creating more developed charactersÂ who made us care for them.Â If you put both these movies in a timecapsule, opened it in a hundred years and watched them theyâ€™d (forÂ better of worse) accurately portray the decades they were made.
The new â€œGet Smartâ€ was smart to updateÂ the concept while still paying homage to its predecessor. HathawayÂ thus has a stronger, more developed character than Feldonâ€™s TVÂ counter-part, but sheâ€™s not as alluring (at least not to the memoriesÂ of a horny teen). In the age of remakes you often groan at the thoughtÂ of rehashing a beloved classic but the new (and improved)Â “Get Smart”Â is one that works and Iâ€™m â€œloving it.”Â The original Get Smart movie, “The Nude Bomb,”Â while it has the nostalgia factor going for it, ultimatelyÂ â€œmissed itÂ by that much.”Â Score one for Steve Carell.