Spy Review and Blu-ray Features
5 June 2015
Behind the Scene and other Major Plot Points
Tailored role for Jason Statham character
Screenwriter Paul Feig, who once was an aspiring stuntman himself, is a fan of Jason Statham’s action movies. Feig tailored Statham’s Rick Ford character in the film especially for the actor to play.
A Funny Casino Royale
Writer-director-producer Paul Feig first began working on the film, then known as “Susan Cooper”, around 2010, stating “A funny Casino Royale (2006) is my goal”.
Preparation for the role
Filipino Martial Arts are used for the movie’s fight scenes. Melissa McCarthy was trained in Kali by Diana Lee Inosanto.
Kitchen Fight Sequence
Stunt co-ordinator J.J. Perry has said of the kitchen fight sequence: “The kitchen fight took two days to complete and demonstrated Paul Feig’s commitment to ramping up the action. He’s an enthusiast of 1980s Jackie Chan movies, as am I, so I had a good idea what he wanted: low, wide-angle impact shots coming into the lens. It’s funny, kinetic and violent”
Melissa McCarthy on Central Character
Star Melissa McCarthy has said of her Susan Cooper central character: “Susan’s always had ability, and is great technically and tactically, but she lacked confidence. Now her field experiences and loyalty to Jude Law’s character, Bradley Fine, begin to bring out her full potential. She discovers talents she didn’t know she had”. Moreover, the film’s writer-director Paul Feig has said: “I read that women make better spies than men because they’re generally better at reading physical cues, gaining trust and using intuition. This is Susan Cooper. She doesn’t rely on brawn – she has to figure things out as she goes along. I enjoy working with and empowering women, and was intrigued by the idea of creating a female trio of protagonist, sidekick and adversary”.
Inspiration for the movie
Reportedly, the film was inspired by the re-boot of the official James Bond movie series, with Casino Royale (2006) starring Daniel Craig, which writer-director-producer Paul said to show-business trade paper ‘Variety’ ranks as one of his favorite ever movies.
Paul Feig on the movie
This film’s writer-director Paul Feig has said of this movie: “I’m a big fan of spy movies, and I wanted to create a broad action comedy in that genre. The comedy comes from the characters. It’s not a spoof or satire. The danger and action are genuine. We wanted it to have the tone of a spy film, but still be as funny as we could make it. I also wanted to create a relatable story in which we could all wonder, ‘If I was recruited as a spy and sent on a mission, how might I react? Melissa McCarthy is perfect for the role because, despite being extraordinarily talented, she can still play the ‘every person’ and elicit a profound sense of empathy and support”.
The picture’s largest set construction was the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) Communications Room.
James Bond style car in the movie
This James Bond style comedy actually features an Aston Martin car, Aston Martin being a vehicle manufacturing company synonymous with the Bond franchise. The make and model of Aston Martin seen here is a blue Aston Martin DB9 coupé.
Production notes for the picture
The production notes for the picture state that the movie “was inspired by [the] James Bond movies” franchise. “They set out to make a comedy in the visual style of those iconic films, with sweeping shots, striking backdrops and convincing action sequences”.
RT/Meta Critic Review
Spy is witty, hilarious and doesn’t rely on cheap jokes, even the over the top insults are clever. We witness a quiet desk bound CIA analyst’s descent into a strong and wild character (kyle20ellis/ MetaCritic)
Spy is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.39:1. As Feig and DP Robert Yeoman discuss in their really interesting commentary included on this Blu-ray, the decision was made to capture this film with Arri Alexa cameras, evidently based at least somewhat on the cameras’ ability to handle low light situations so well. That may seem counter-intuitive, given the bright, sometimes candy colored, ambience of much of the film. The image offers the typically sharp, precise and sleek look of this idiom, and the film’s globe trotting provides some scenic shots of various European locales. Fine detail is often excellent, especially in close-ups, where elements like the natty pill on some of Susan’s dowdy undercover clothes is revealed in all its “glory”. The film is refreshingly free of any really aggressive color grading, and the palette looks natural and inviting. While shadow detail is generally commendable, there are occasional moments of minor crush. Pay attention, for example, to the scene where Susan and Italian agent Aldo are in a dungeon, and their black clothing almost becomes an indistinguishable whole, blending both together and with the shrouded background. There are occasional intentionally rough looking moments when video feeds and the like are featured
Spy features a rocking DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix that offers consistent immersion and a very forceful low end, though that said, the film, while offering a number of explosions, car chases and other similar gambits, is perhaps somewhat less propulsive than a “traditional” spy film. A number of sonically busy sequences offer great placement of sound effects in discrete channels, and some of the urban environments are really vividly alive with ambient environmental effects. Special kudos must be afforded to Theodore Shapiro’s great score, one which purposefully apes the great John Barry, and which features a fantastic Barry-esque theme song, one which (heresy though this may be to some readers) puts Adele’s “Skyfall” to shame, in my not so humble opinion. Fidelity is top notch and dynamic range very wide on this problem free track
- Redacted Scenes (1080p; 3:13). Wow—redacted!
- Classified Alternate Scenes (1080p; 31:51)
- Top Secret Gag Reel (1080p; 6:39)
- Extra Top Secret Behind the Scenes Gag Reel (1080p; 3:43)
- Director of Intelligence Feig Makes the Cast Do His Bidding (1080p; 8:53) offers some really funny bits with Feig directing the actors in various takes.
- Susan and Her Men (1080p; 8:18) focuses on some of the main characters.
- Super Villain Rayna Can’t Keep It Together (1080p; 5:05) offers scenes of Rose Byrne losing it during various takes.
- Super Vermin (1080p; 1:34) is a bunch of vignettes with various characters and the rats that overtake the office.
- The Many Deaths of Anton (1080p; 00:57) is a bunch of alternate takes of a death scene.
- The Trouble With Covers (1080p; 2:28) is a bunch of takes featuring some improv and a few bloopers.
- The Great Rick Ford (1080p; 3:42) is devoted to Jason Stratham’s character.
- For Your Eyes Only: Jokes-a-Plenty (1080p; 13:25) offers more extended scenes with improv.
- The Handsy World of Spies (1080p; 1:52) is a brief piece featuring hands and more hands.
- Speaking is an Art Form (1080p; 1:57) offers actors flubbing lines.
- Super Villains of the Animal World (1080p; 2:19) is some funny footage of actors dealing with various beasties.
- How Spy Was Made
- Paul Feig: Alt P (1080p; 11:08) profiles the writer-director.
- Indecent Proposals from the Cast (1080p; 3:04) is about Paul’s collaborative spirit .
- Changing Statham (1080p; 5:45) discusses Statham’s comedic sensibilities in this film.
- Stuntarama (1080p; 13:26) looks at some of the exciting work with fight choreography and various vehicles.
- In Da Klub (1080p; 6:26) is hosted by 50 Cent.
- Susan’s Disguises (1080p; 4:31) is a tour through the various characters McCarthy plays as the undercover Susan.
- Odd Couple on Set (1080p; 4:50) centers on McCarthy and Feig.
- No Go Gadgets (1080p; 3:36) features some actors in character as CIA workers discussing their wish lists for weapons.
- The Filmmakers Tell You How Spy Was Made as You Watch the Film! AKA The Commentary Trackfeatures Paul Feig; Bob Yeoman, DP; John Vecchio, gaffer; Jessie Henderson, producer; and Wally Garcia, fight coordinator. The extended version features the same commentary as the theatrical version with additional information, though perhaps it’s more appropriate to state that the theatrical version has some information excised, since that’s how Feig presents the recording/editing order in his opening statement in the commentary. This is a detailed, informative piece, with well behaved participants who contribute without talking over each other. Especially interesting are the conversations between Feig and Yeoman on capturing the image with the Arri Alexa.
- Theatrical Version (1080p; 2:00:06) and Unrated Version (1080p; 2:10:22) of the film