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  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Czech: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Polish: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Commentary - English: Dolby Digital Stereo
    English, Hebrew, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Russian, Portuguese, English - Hearing Impaired, Turkish, Icelandic, Croatian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Slovenian
  • 6 Deleted scenes
  • Theatrical trailer - 2.35:1, 16:9
  • Audio commentary
  • 11 Featurette
  • 2 Photo gallery
  • Animated menus
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • 2 Storyboards
  • 3 Multiple angle
  • Outtakes

Agent Cody Banks: SE

MGM/MGM Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 98 mins . PG . PAL


Growing up is tough at the best of times. For the first 15 or so years of your life your body is in a constant state of growth - never the same size for more than a week at a time - which makes us clumsy and awkward. When you throw in the fact you’re a trained CIA operative living a regular teenage existence until your country calls on you, the awkwardness disappears regarding agility, but you still have trouble talking to girls.

I could relate a lot to Cody Banks. Here he is, this good-looking kid with incredible intellect, but he still gets all nervous around chicks. Plus he fights real good with his martial arts and stuff. Yeah, him and me got a lot in common (except the intellect and the good-looking part. And the martial arts… plus I’m over 30).

Chosen because of his interest in spyware, teenager Cody Banks (Frankie Muniz) was taken to summer camp and trained to be a CIA killing machine. After returning to his regular life he goes about things as normal until the CIA call him up to action. A scientist developing nano-technology has created miniature environmental robots that eat up oil spills and such, but a baddie holds him to ransom to make them for eating guidance systems on nuclear stockpiles. Cody is employed to get to the scientist through his daughter Natalie (Hilary Duff) before he can disable the US reserves of nukes.

The only real problem is in Cody’s crippling nervousness around women. So with the help of his ‘handler’ Ronica Miles (Angie Harmon) and various geeks around the CIA office, Cody has to learn how to use the smooth moves on the ladies. Unfortunately, the baddies are onto him, so he has to have a long series of fights and stunts to get away from them before getting to the mountain stronghold of the baddies to destroy the nanobot threat for good and save the now captive Natalie.

This is by no means rocket science, being a fairly easily absorbed teen film designed to appeal to both the teen boys and girls. Naturally there are all sorts of teen dreams in here like adults doing the teen’s chores and svelte adult women coming on to rabid teenage boys, but overall the film is okay, if a little clichéd. Generally this seems aimed at the same market the Spy Kids were aimed at and is a less silly film, being more grounded in actual technology than fantasy spyware and gadgets. Think of James Bond as a teenager and that’s more like where this film is going.

It’s good fun and the ever-lovable Frankie Muniz does his best with the material he’s been given. Aimed squarely at teenagers, the film isn’t going to win any awards, but I can’t imagine that was ever the intent. There are plenty of cool special effects (some cooler than others) creating a nice fictional world in which teenagers know everything and are the only ones capable of saving the day.

But that’s not so fictional, is it?


Thankfully, these days, a lot of new films get some pretty great transfers. This one certainly does with crystal clear clarity of image and no film artefacts lurking about. Colours are great and effectively bright and appealing, helping create that all-important teenage world. Flesh tones are fine with shadow detail being even and well-defined and blacks natural. The picture is so fine, in fact, it makes some of the dodgier special effects all the more glaring and there are one or two that stand out as pretty weak (the Volvo meeting the train, for example).

The film does look superb though and has been presented in the full-scale teenage aspect ratio of 2.35:1 with 16:9 acne enhancement.


Dolby Digital 5.1 surround brings every sound blasting into our living room or storming out and slamming the door to its bedroom as required. The subwoofer keeps the deep notes of the film rolling right along, but the surrounds don’t really get to flex their muscles too much (better send for Charles Atlas… )

Dialogue is clear if delivered a little poorly occasionally, but is always easily understood even by the crazy Chang Tseng as the humourous driving instructor Mr. Yip. Sound effects are naturally secret agent-like and fit the film well with no detectable synch issues. The film’s score was composed by John Powell who built a nice militaristic theme for Cody in the flavour of the various James Bond scores and reminiscent of his work in Chicken Run.


Well, there’s a teenager’s backpack here with two full pages of bonus features on the disc, displayed with nicely spy-themed menus.

The audio commentary features the director Harald Zwart who seems intent on describing everything we can already see on screen. Frankie Muniz joins him with Angie Harmon and these two at least bring a little more insight into the film’s creation and behind-the-scenesness. Zwart isn’t that bad, but there are some lengthy pauses while they watch the film. Oh well.

Developing Agent Cody Banks is one of several featurettes included in the extras and here we see the boring pre-production process hard at sitting around swilling imported water. This goes for a yawn inducing 4:52.

Creating Cody’s World features two short featurettes of Production Design (6:35) and Ronica’s Closet (haha) (3:51). Both are obvious with the first being about the models and created gadgetry and the second being the costumes for Angie Harmon’s character.

Posting Cody Banks contains two more short featurettes in Cool Cody Special Effects (5:59) and The Music of Agent Cody Banks (4:37). The first has some good insight into the effects and computer animation in the film, while the second is basically an exploration of the making of the score (featuring ‘associate producer’ Veslemoey Ruud Zwart).

The Director’s Diary is actually one of the more worthy inclusions here, running for 12:38. This featurette contains a fairly in-depth exploration of the director’s process and involvement. We also go along through pre-production to the first day of shooting to the film's eventual premiere.

A couple of storyboard to film comparisons for the Skateboard Chase and the Eris Finalé follow and these differ dramatically from the final film to original drawings. In fact, I don’t recall a film more visually different from the storyboard in its finished state. Still, a brave inclusion.

Three multi-angle sequences follow although the longest is but 1:19. These are interesting and for Eris Stunts, Kitchen Fight and Dojo.

Agent in Training is yet another featurette about the training Frankie Muniz went through for the film with martial arts and skateboarding. It’s great to see though that Frankie did his own stunts whenever possible.

Onto page two of the bonus menu now with Agent Action, a featurette about the cast's training for martial arts. This runs for 6:52 and like most of these featurettes, looks like TV filler for the promotion of the film.

How to Talk to Girls (1:21) is among the funnier and more worthless inclusions in which the male cast members are asked their advice for picking up chicks. Arnold Vosloo thankfully doesn’t say ‘be yourself’ as so many others do and instead says ‘show up in a weird contraption’. Good advice.

Cool Makeup Tricks By Hilary Duff is aimed at the girls, obviously, and runs for a painful 1:35 as she describes the make-up used in the film to make her look so good. Euww.

The Cast Read-Thru is 4:30 of boredom as the cast do exactly that prior to filming. Plus useless film footage. Deleted scenes are next and of these there are six with film context. All in various stages of production with timecodes etc. After that are the mildly humourous outtakes though there’s nothing amazingly funny in them.

A photo gallery comes next with two short films containing Behind the Scenes and The Cast. Of them all, there is one truly cool shot of Angie Harmon resting in a ‘70s inspired egg-chair. Mm-hmm.

Finally, the theatrical trailer drops in for 2:09 at an enhanced 2.35:1.

That should keep you locked up in your room for several weeks, coming out only to get a bag of chips and glare at your parents.


This is a good, simple film with enough stuff going on to appeal to most members of the family. It’s aimed at the teenies of course, but there are enough background jokes dropped in to keep the adults alert (I even caught a One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest one in there).

Plenty of wise-cracking teenage antics with some slightly above average computer animation and cool stunts might get you in, but the overblown extras certainly add to the overall value of the disc.

Worth a look, particularly with the sequel coming to cinemas for the Easter 2004 holidays.

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