Didn’t miss it by that much

When it comes down to it, only The Addams Family and The Brady Bunch have had movies that bettered their television series originals. But unlike some true disasters — e.g., The Beverly HillbilliesGet Smart is actually a reasonably funny movie. But to do so, it takes some notable changes in direction from the original and it is the sting of that that takes the gloss off.

First and foremost, Get Smart was always known for its catch-phrases: “Missed it by that much,” “Would you believe a boy scout and an angry dog?”, “Starker this is Kaos who don’t blurrpht here,” “Oh Max” and “Sorry about that Chief.” Those were all there but it just wasn’t the same. And let’s face it Seigfried begs for a fake German accent rather than the accent of General Zod.

Second, the roles of Max and 99 have changed. Max was bumbling but always very lucky while 99 was competent but accepting of her role of never receiving recognition and playing second fiddle. In today’s world that didn’t work and so 99 became competent and defensive of it while Max was unsure of himself but seemed to actually have some measured and non-accidental success.  But some old favourites are still around. The Chief suffers, Laromie is cocky and 13 is despondent (for good reason).

Finally, there was a lack of absurdity. The shoe phone makes a sentimental appearance; something that in so many way emptomised the absurdity that was Get Smart. But there was no flashlight in a gun. And the cone of silence was there but unnecessary. The only throw-back was a Swiss Army Knife with lots of good and useful stuff but a knife. And the entire devious Kaos plan that was usually quite ludicrous and founded on absurd predictions of social commentary was pedestrian and straight out of 24.

Despite all that it was a funny movie. Moreover, it did retain one thing of the original and that was an undercurrent of political commentary that is subtle only because it is disguised with humour such as a high level government discussion with the phrase “Now boys, remember when we squabble the terrorists have won.”

Nonetheless part of me did miss the commentary of an earlier time:

Chief: “So who can walk into Kaos headquarters, retrieve the plans and walk right out again with out being noticed or recognised by anyone?”

Max: “The Vice President!”

Classic.

2 thoughts on “Didn’t miss it by that much”

  1. But the Cone of Silence was always unnecessary.

    Was there really political commentary in the series? I totally missed anything of the sort. A good excuse for going back and watching some old episodes.

    Thanks for the recommendation.

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