When we watched the movie at an advanced press screening, we were blown away by the sheer visual spectacle of the film and were pleasantly surprised by how funny the movie was. Henry Cavill showed us he could be funny and pull off a character so completely different from Superman that we would see a different side of him. You can read our review of the theater release here.
The home video release gave us the opportunity to watch the film again and admire what a beautifully put together movie it is. The Blu-Ray version looked incredible and the cinematography was stunning. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. DVD/Blu-Ray/Ultraviolet version gives you the best of all options. The DVD is great for those of us who still have old movie players, the Blu-Ray version can even be played in game systems and also you can download the ultraviolet version to add to your digital movie collection.
Now, on to the special features, which were plentiful for the Blu-Ray (the DVD only has one featurette - A Higher Class of Hero). Our thoughts on each one:
• Spy Vision: Recreating '60s Cool
This special feature takes us into the mind of Guy Ritchie, Lionel Wigram and others to show us how the look of the 60s was recreated through fashion, locations, gadgets and the vehicles. Henry Cavill’s Napoleon Solo is what they called “considered” and a very much manufactured persona, so his clothes reflect that. Matching suits, highly tailored, dressed to the tee. Armie Hammer’s Ilya Kuryakin is a much more laid back character and this is shown through his relaxed outfits… turtlenecks and sport coats for the most part.
Spy Vision: Recreating: ‘60s Cool: Fashion (Courtesy WB)
• A Higher Class Of Hero
More insights into how director Guy Ritchie thinks and how he wanted to put his special brand of filmmaking into this movie. Guy and Lionel (Wigram) considered themselves spy aficionados, so they wanted to put a twist on the stunts in the movie and elevate them above what had been done before. For the Berlin car chase, for example, he had “blind drivers” in cages on the roof of the vehicles who were doing the actual driving stunt work, but he had the actors inside the moving cars. Henry Cavill and Alicia Vikander were actually in the car when they did that 180 degree spin into the parking space stunt. There is a scene later in the movie where Henry drives what they called the Rock Crawler all-terrain vehicle across a lake. Using special tires, they actually drove the vehicle across the water, potentially making movie history.
• Metisse Motorcycles: Proper-And Very British
While this featurette about the motorcycle that Armie Hammer rode in the movie was very entertaining, we have to admit that we skimmed over it because, well… no Henry Cavill.
• The Guys from U.N.C.L.E.
This is perhaps our favourite special feature as a large part of it focuses on Henry Cavill and what he brought to the film. He really wanted to bring his own thing to the character of Napoleon Solo so he didn’t watch any of the old show so as to not inadvertently mimic the original Solo Robert Vaughn (Ed note: We interviewed Vaughn and he told us that he thought Henry would do a fine job as Solo). Henry also did a lot of his own stunts, which director Ritchie appreciated, saying “he’s confident and fit”. We also find out more about Hammer’s Kuryakin and how, like Henry, he did a lot of his own stunts too.
The Guys From U.N.C.L.E.: Solo (Courtesy WB)
• A Man of Extraordinary Talents
We have long been a fan of Guy Ritchie films for not only their hyper-stylism, but also unique twist he puts on them. In this featurette, we get a glimpse into what it’s like being on set with Guy and how he makes movies. Tales of guitar playing and chess games between takes and during breaks were entertaining and we learned that Henry doesn’t play chess, so he would go off into the corner whenever a chess game broke out. Despite not knowing how to play chess, Henry seemed to enjoy the antics that went on in these matches as he watched from his prime corner viewing spot. Everybody from Hugh Grant to Elizabeth Debicki rave about how collaborative Guy is and how relaxed the set could be and how open to suggestion he was. Unorthodox, but his style seems to work.
• U.N.C.L.E: On-Set Spy
This was actually a series of four short behind-the-scenes clips for a water scene, the Kuryakin wrestling scene, the helicopter at the castle and how they recreated an old photo featuring the fathers of Hugh Grant, Guy Ritchie and another crew member.
Overall the DVD/Blu-Ray Combo Pack release is a solid package. There are a lot of extra features, but we would have liked to see a few things that were missing- a gag reel (there are endless tales of Armie Hammer being incredibly silly on set), deleted scenes and a commentary track with either Guy or Henry and Armie would have been a lot of fun. Maybe the sequel?
Our grade: B+
“The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” is now available on Blu-ray Combo Pack for $35.99, and includes the film in high definition on Blu-ray disc, a DVD and a digital version of the movie in Digital HD with UltraViolet.
Click on this link for links to purchase digital and DVD/Blu-Ray versions: http://gowatchit.com/microsite/1566.