Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979)

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Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Credits
Featurette-Ken Adams Production Film
Additional Footage-Circus
Featurette-Bond '79
Storyboards-Sky Diving Storyboards
Alternate Subtitles-Sky Diving Storyboards
Featurette-007, Women, Allies, Villians, Mission Combat Manuel
Featurette-Q Branch and Exotic Locations
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Inside Moonraker - An Original Documentary
Featurette
Theatrical Trailer-Release Trailer
Gallery-Photo-Experience The World Of Bond In 1979
Storyboards-Cable Car Alternative Storyboard 1 & 2
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-007 In Rio
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1979
Running Time 121:09
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (62:40)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Lewis Gilbert
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Roger Moore
Lois Chiles
Michael Lonsdale
Richard Kiel
Corinne Clery
Bernard Lee
Geoffrey Keen
Desmond Llewelyn
Lois Maxwell
Toshirô Suga
Emily Bolton
Blanche Ravalec
Irka Bochenko
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music John Barry


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Greek
Hindi
English Text Commentary
Dutch Text Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Moonraker is the eleventh official James Bond film, and the fourth to star Roger Moore as 007.

    When the end credits rolled for the previous Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me, it promised: "James Bond will return in For Your Eyes Only". However, following the incredible box office success of Star Wars in 1977, the Bond producers decided to jump on the post-Star Wars Sci-Fi big-screen bandwagon and send Bond into outer-space instead.

    Although Ian Fleming's novel has no science fiction aspects, Moonraker was to join other post-Star Wars Sci-Fi films, such as Close Encounters and the first Star Trek motion picture, as being late 1970s box office winners. Indeed, Moonraker was to become the most successful Bond film until Goldeneye.

    Although all the marketing material for Moonraker focussed on the outer space sequences, most of the story actually takes place on Earth, in a variety of exotic locations such as in France, Brazil, and Italy.

    Moonraker opens with the hijacking of a Moonraker space shuttle, on loan from the United States to Great Britain, from the back of a British 747. The embarrassed British government wants to know what happened, so M (Bernard Lee in what would be his last appearance) sends James Bond (Roger Moore) to investigate its mysterious disappearance under the guise of paying reparations to the Moonraker's builders, Drax Industries in California.

    Once in California, Bond meets the head of Drax Industries, an obscenely wealthy industrialist, Hugo Drax (Michel Lonsdale). Drax lives in an enormous French chateau, which he had brought over, stone by stone, from France. Bond also meets Drax's surly bodyguard, Chang (Toshiro Suga), and Drax's gorgeous female assistant, Corinne Dufour (Corinne Clery).

    As Bond starts poking around (no pun intended), he becomes the victim of a series of murder attempts.

    These unpleasant incidents are somewhat balanced by his developing relationship with Drax Industries' beautiful scientist, Dr. Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles), who surely has one of the best Bond girl names since Pussy Galore. Along the way, Bond is also reunited with one of the great Bond movie henchmen, Jaws (Richard Kiel).

    For more about the Bond universe, check out the official sites at www.jamesbond.com and www.007.com

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Moonraker has been released twice before on DVD, including as a Special Edition. However, as with the other Ultimate Editions, Moonraker 's original camera negatives have been imaged and digitally restored in Lowry's labs, using the John Lowry process. This process took over three years to complete for the 20 official Bond films, and the results are remarkable.

    The transfer is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    Overall, the sharpness of the image is very good throughout. The black level is excellent, with true, deep blacks. The shadow detail is also much improved from the earlier Bond titles I reviewed. For example, consider the detail in the shot of the estate at night at 23:06, or of the Venice piazza in the evening at 43:52.

    With the Lowry process, the entire film has been colour corrected. As a result, the movie has a very consistent approach to colour, and the transfer usually exhibits a well saturated palette. At times, the colour in the image seems to have been intentionally muted, and at other times, such as in a jungle or in Rio, there is an explosion of colour. The skin tones are accurate.

    While some scenes can appear a little grainy at times, I assume this relates to the original film stock used. There are no problems with MPEG, Film-To-Video or Film Artefacts. Considering the age of the source material, this is a great achievement in DVD authoring.

    English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Danish, Greek, Hindi, English Text Commentary and Dutch Text Commentary are present. The English ones are accurate.

    The feature is presented on a Dual Layer disc, with the layer change placed at 62:40. On my player, the change was a little clumsy and very noticeable. The feature is divided into 32 chapters.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality and surround mix is good for a film of this vintage.

    The DVD offers three audio options: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s), and English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s). I watched the feature with both the Dolby Digital 5.1 and dts 5.1 audio. As I noted in my earlier Bond reviews, while many films benefit from a dts soundtrack, I don't believe that the Bond films of this vintage are among them. Apart from volume, I heard very little difference between the two options. I imagine it will be the later films, from the 1990s onwards, with more modern sound designs and recordings that will reap the benefits of dts audio.

    The dialogue quality is good, but at times the audio sync suffers on both the Dolby Digital 5.1 and dts 5.1 audio tracks. This is not a fault with the DVD authoring, but due to the source material. There is extensive use of ADR throughout this film, and sometimes it is obvious such as at 12:06. Indeed, some actors, such as Corinne Clery, seem to have all their dialogue looped (or perhaps dubbed by someone else?).

    Moonraker's score was provided by the Oscar-winning John Barry. If one watches Out of Africa, you will notice a lot of recycling of the score. Speaking of which, apart from the traditional Bond theme by Monty Norman, Moonraker also reuses for the first time since Diamonds Are Forever the catchy 007 theme Barry composed for From Russia With Love.

    As part of the tongue-in-cheek humour, and nodding to the fact that the producers were jumping on the post-Star Wars Sci-Fi big-screen bandwagon, a number of familiar pieces of music associated with classic Sci-Fi films appear throughout, such as Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarathustra (used in 2001: A Space Odyssey), and the Greeting Theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

    By modern standards the overall sound design of Moonraker is rather limited. The new mix remains quite front-heavy, and the rear speakers are rarely called upon. Again, it sounds more like a Dolby Stereo Surround mix, and many opportunities for ambience during the movie are missed. At times there are some subtle directional techniques, such as the sound of the helicopter at 11:12, or the tolling bells in Venice at 32:21.

    This DVD's LFE track is very limited, but the subwoofer was noticed with the loud explosions at 110:36 and 114:22.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Apart from the restored picture and sound, a whole new array of extras have been added to the Bond Ultimate Editions in addition to the extras included on the Special Editions. Unless stated otherwise, all are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.

 Menus

    A series of animated menus with audio.

Disc One

Trailer

    A forced trailer for the Bond Ultimate Editions presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.

Audio Commentary - Director Lewis Gilbert & members Of Cast And Crew

    This is a very chatty and conversational commentary featuring Director Lewis Gilbert, Producers Michael G Wilson and William P Cartlidge, and Screenwriter Christopher Wood. There is plenty of behind-the-scenes information, anecdotes, and reflections by those involved. Interestingly, a number of times they point out the rather obvious SFX, and some of the film's other dodgy moments.

Audio Commentary - Actor Roger Moore

    Last year, Roger Moore recorded screen specific audio commentaries for all seven of his Bond films. Although there are some lengthy gaps, Moore has a pleasant voice to listen to, and a fun, yet dry sense of humour. His commentary seems to cover everything from the UK's personal income tax rates to his recollections of the many cast and crew that worked on the film. For example, Moore recalls working with the film's 2nd Unit Director and Editor, John Glen, who went on to direct five Bond films himself. Moore also shares some funny anecdotes, such as the producers complaining that the opening title sequence cost more that Dr. No.

Disc Two

De-Classified: MI6 Vault

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1:

007 Mission Control

    An interactive feature that allows the viewer to jump directly to a key scene in the film, or to a specific character, gadget, or Bond girl.

Mission Dossiers

    The two featurettes from the Moonraker Special Edition:

Ministry Of Propaganda

Original Theatrical Trailer

    Release Trailer (3:47)

Interactive Image Database 

    14 themed photographic stills galleries from the production, presented as a slide show.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    As with the Bond Special Editions, I understand that the R1 and R4 Ultimate Editions should be identical, except for the NTSC/PAL differences and some differences in subtitles.

Summary

    Moonraker is a shameless, crowd-pleasing post-Star Wars Sci-Fi inspired Bond romp that provides some wonderful set pieces, great humour and exciting stunts.

    The video quality is very good, considering the age of the source material.

    The audio quality is good, considering the limited source material.

    The extras are thorough, genuine, and interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
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The First Bond Film I saw - Anonymous
The First Bond Film I saw - Anonymous