Agent Cody Banks on DVD
Agent Cody Banks is the latest in a long line of James Bond spoof/ripoffs,
some of which have been good and some of which have been not so good.
Just like the Bond films themselves, in fact....
From Derek Flint to Austin Powers we've seen a variety of spy protagonists,
but most of the time, at least, the heros were always grown up - the Spy Kids
movies being a notable exception, we believe (not having seen them).
So here we have a teenaged hero off to save the world, or at least that part
of the world the screenplay concerns itself with.
Frankie Muniz stars, and as usual is very good, as Cody Banks, a high school
kid recruited by the CIA as part of their new Junior Agent Training Program.
The Corporation apparently feels that the pubescent set might be less suspicious
than their usual spy offerings, and can therefore get away with stuff that regular
Another holdover from the Clinton regime's emasculating of the intelligence
The evil this time revolves aroudn "Nanobots," which can be programmed to destroy
just about anything you could want (we can think of several uses...) As one
might expect, the bad guys want to use the Nanobots to destroy the USA.
Thank goodness there's Agent Cody Banks!
His assignment is to snuggle up to Natalie Connors (Hilary Duff), the Nanobot
scientist's daughter, and thereby get close to the Nanobots.
Alas, while Cody may be in the age of raging hormones, he's by no means a babe
magnet. He's tongue tied when trying to pitch woo, even to a girl in which he's
merely remotely interested. So his first major challenge is learning how to
be a ladykiller, without actually offing the chick.
The concept leaves plenty of room for the obligatory action sequences, as well
as some welcome humor that's actually quite funny.
Frankie Muniz is a good actor. We've never seen "Malcolm in the Middle," but
we have seen some of his other movies, and have been impressed with the kid's
presence and thespian skill. Here, he does a good job of portraying the loser-cum-spy.
Flavor of the month Hilary Duff (okay, maybe that isn't fair, but the hype sure
makes her seem that way to us) is also good as Cody's target/love interest,
and we actually hope she turns out to be more than the current pubescent babe
of the week because she has a lot of talent.
Agent Cody Banks appears to be aimed obviously at the generation of its protagonists,
and so old farts like this reviewer found some of it a tad, well, unbelievable.
For example, Cody's parents seem like they mean well, but they're actually a
couple of dunces who have no clue what's going on in their son's life. Perhaps
most Hollywood parents are actually like this, but not responsible parents where
we come from.
The special edition DVD is very good and if we wore hats we'd take them off
to MGM for doing it right.
For example, the studio has once again given audiences both anamorphic widescreen
and Pan&Scan versions on the same disc (on opposite sides in this case).
PIcture quality is very good, though a bit soft and with a few instances of
grain. Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and is a tad disappointing. Surround
is used quite a bit, particularly during action scenes (where it works best),
but many of the sound effects (i.e. explosions) sound somehwat muffled, almost
as if the sound was merely scooped from a sound effects library that was originally
recorded in mono. It doesn't really get in the way of the fun, however.
And there's a good selection of extras, too. First up is a running commentary
featuring director Harold Zwart, Frankie Muniz and Angie Harmon; they seem to
have fun but the commentary itself isn't really full of meat. You also get a
"Director's Diary," which is nice though we would have liked to see more of
it. There's some good "making-of" stuff, but it isn't as in-depth as we'd have
You also get a series of featurettes: "Frankie Muniz Going Big," "How to Talk
to Girls," and "Cool Makeup Tricks by Hilary Duff." All are quite short, but
fun nonetheless. "Developing Cody Banks," "Posting Cody Banks" and "Creating
Cody's World" focus on various aspects of production.
There are also some deleted scenes, outtakes, storyboard-to-film comparisons,
stunt footage, and a look at the inevitable sequel.
Agent Cody Banks, from MGM Home Video
102 min. anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1, 16x9 TV compatible)/Pan&Scan, Dolby
Diital 5.1 surround
Starring Frankie Muniz, Hilary Duff, Angie Harmon, Keith David
Produced by Dylan Sellers
Writen by Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz and Larry Karaszewski, Directed
by Haraold Zwart.
Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London on DVD
The first Cody Banks was a pretty good, though lightweight, teen spy flick
(is that a new genre?) and since it made some money it seems inevitable that
a sequel would be made.
And it was. But as with so many sequels, this one doesnt recapture the
supposed magic of the first one though on the other hand its entertaining
Frankie Muniz is back as the title character, this time sent on a mission to
Jolly Olde to track down a rogue agent with a mind-control microchip. Banks
cover story is that hes a musical prodigy taking part in a big concert
event so he can get close to the only person who can make the microchip work.
Along the way he hooks up with a screwup agent (Anthony Anderson) and a young
British operative (Hannah Spearritt).
Back as Codys clueless but insufferably nice parents are Cynthia Stevenson
and Daniel Roebuck. Keith David is also on hand as the head of the CIA.
The storys lightweight but at least it doesnt insult the intelligence
too much and the cast, particularly Muniz and Spearritt, are likeable and turn
in good performances. Never mind the ludicrousness of an intelligence agency
needing teenagers to do its work in an age of international terrorism
The DVDs pretty good, too. MGM has released it with both anamorphic widescreen
and pan&scan versions on opposite sides of the same disc, rather than forcing
consumers to choose between one aspect ratio and the other. This is the way
we like it, since it gives consumers a break. The picture quality is fine; the
image is sharp and bright and the colors are rich.
Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 surround its very good, nice and dynamic with
fairly good use of the surrounds. Not a home theater tour de force, mind you,
but on the other hand neither is the film itself.
Extras include the kiddie-oriented visual cast commentary, where Muniz, Anderson
and Spearritt pause the film and pop up on screen to talk about it. Its
an interesting twist on the running commentary feature thats so common.
Theres also an Agent mode interactive quiz that works similarly;
the movie is interrupted periodically and youre given multiple choice
questions about such vital stuff as what a particular character may be wearing
in a particular scene.
Theres also a short making of featurette, some deleted scenes
and some extended scenes. You also get the trailer.
Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London, from MGM Home Entertainment
100 min. anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1, 16x9 TV compatible)/Pan&Scan, Dolby
Digital 5.1 surround
Starring Frankie Muniz, Anthony Anderson, Cynthia Stevenson, Daniel Roebuck
and Keith David
Produced by Dylan Sellers,
Written by Don Rhymer, directed by Kevin Allen
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think