Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987)

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Released 1-Nov-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-John Glen (Director), cast & crew
DVD Credits
Deleted Scenes-Introduction By Director John Glen
Outtakes-The Ice Chase-Deleted Footage Narr. By Dir. John Glen
Featurette-Happy Anniversary 007
Featurette-(4) Silver Anniversary
Featurette-Timothy Dalton: The New james Bond/Vienna Press Conference
Interviews-Cast-Dalton and D'Abo
Interviews-Cast-Dalton On Acting
Featurette-007, Women,Allies, Villians, Mission Combat Manuel, Q Branch
Featurette-Exotic Locations
Theatrical Trailer-(3)
Gallery-Photo-Experience The World Of Bond In 1987
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1987
Running Time 125:20
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (74:28)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By John Glen
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Timothy Dalton
Maryam d'Abo
Jeroen Krabbé
Joe Don Baker
John Rhys-Davies
Art Malik
Andreas Wisniewski
Thomas Wheatley
Desmond Llewelyn
Robert Brown
Geoffrey Keen
Walter Gotell
Caroline Bliss
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music John Barry
Chrissie Hynde
Pål Waaktaar


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
Norwegian
Finnish
Danish
Greek
Hindi
English Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, some electrical brands and corporate logos.
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The Film: Shakespearian actor Timothy Dalton stars in his first role as James Bond, the fifteenth Bond film to be overseen by Eon. Produced in 1987 and directed by John Glen, the film also marked the franchise's 25th anniversary and arrived with quite a bit of fanfare. Pierce Brosnan was initially cast as 007, however his commitment to the TV series Remington Steele prevented him from fulfilling the role at the time. The script is based in Fleming's short story of the same name, which was published together with Octopussy.

    What's Bond up against?: Bond is assigned to protect a high-ranking KGB defector who claims to possess information on project 'Smiert Spionen', an alleged Soviet death list that names many western spies, including our beloved 007. All is not what it seems however, and it's up to Bond to defuse a plot that may lead to a full-scale war between the west and the Soviets.

    The Bond Girl: 007 first encounters cellist and sniper-assassin Kara Milovy (Maryam d'Abo) while he is protecting the KGB defector. D'Abo is quite a contrast to the heavily preened seductresses viewers are accustomed to in these adventures, with straight blond hair and minimal make-up. Australian Virginia Hay is also featured in some scenes.

    The Gadgets: This film saw the return of Bond's Aston Martin in an updated 'Volante' model with an impressive array of features. Rocket propulsion, laser beam cutters and automated missiles are only a few of the surprises contained in this vehicle. Q-branch also issues Bond with a handy key ring that responds to a whistle by emitting stun gas.

    The Action: The Living Daylights is most remembered for its amazing snow chase that involves Bond escaping down the slopes inside an open cello case. The concept was the brainchild of Director John Glen and was particularly difficult to film. This scene is covered extensively in the extra features.

    The Theme Song: Written in collaboration with composer John Barry, the film's opening theme is performed by Norwegian pop group a-ha. The song was a hit in its time, but sounds rather dated today. The soundtrack also features two excellent tracks by The Pretenders.

    The Locations: After a spectacular opening on the Rock of Gibraltar, Bond travels to Vienna, followed by Morocco. His adventure leads him to Afghanistan, where he is helped along by the Mujaheddin.

    My Personal Thoughts: Isn't it amazing how times change! The Mujaheddin are perceived a little differently nowadays, for obvious reasons, so a film plot such as this would be virtually inconceivable in the current political climate. In 1987 it was okay for Bond, because these 'good guys' were on the CIA payroll, resisting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Political musings aside, The Living Daylights marked the first Bond film I experienced in a cinema. Although I have fond memories of the experience as a moviegoer, it hasn't aged well I'm afraid. As a film it has an awkward flow about it that is certainly not helped by the questionable scripting and uncomfortable performances. Watching the extra features on this DVD, it would seem that in an effort to distance the new Bond from the old the Producers inadvertently made a bit of a stinker, even though they all express their satisfaction with the film and Dalton's interpretation of the character. Dalton only made one more film as 007, License To Kill, which is only slightly better.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The Living Daylights has been transferred to DVD in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, complete with 16x9 enhancement. As with the other films in this collection, Lowry have performed an amazing restoration of the video.

    The image is sharp and clear throughout. In fact, it looks as though it were only made yesterday. Black levels are strong and deep when they need to be, while shadow detail is similarly accurate. There was no low level noise evident in the transfer.

    The film's colour palette is strong and well balanced, with realistic skin tones. There are absolutely no colour rendering inconsistencies in the slightest, nor is there any oversaturation in the image.

    I didn't notice any MPEG compression artefacting at all. Edge enhancement is also completely absent. Film artefacts such as hairs, dust and dirt have been removed completely.

    Three English subtitle streams are provided, one of which accompanies the audio commentary. I sampled both the standard English subtitles and the English for the Hearing Impaired stream and found them moderately accurate to the spoken word and easy to follow.

    Both discs are dual layered (DVD9 formatted). The layer transition of disc one has been placed during the feature at 74:28. This is a relatively still moment between scenes that shouldn't prove too obtrusive to most viewers.

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

Audio

    There are three soundtracks accompanying this film on DVD, all of which are in the English language. The default soundtrack is Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), accompanied by a dts 5.1 (768Kb/s) alternative. The remaining audio option is a commentary featuring Director John Glen, cast and crew.

    The English dialogue is always distinct and easy to understand. The ADR sync is good, aside from the scene in which Bond meets Felix Leiter. On close inspection, it looks like Leiter's dialogue was altered in post production. I didn't notice any other dire audio sync issues.

    This is a pretty average surround mix that tends to lay idle for quite a while, then surprises you with a burst of activity. At 29:38 a helicopter passes in the rear left channel, while the noise of an amusement park surrounds the listener around 59:00. The score spills slightly to the rear channels, along with some atmospherics and ambient noise. Voices are generally confined to the front centre channel.

    I found that there is little difference between the Dolby Digital and dts options in this case. The depth and consistency of these soundtracks is excellent, however the output level and quality of these soundtracks is practically identical. At a high volume level I noticed that the dts comes across slightly smoother, but that's about it.

    The subwoofer accentuates the score adequately, as well as explosions such as the big bang at 104:27.

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

Extras

Menu Audio & Animation

    The menu pages are very nicely animated, accompanied by music from the film. All of the menu pages are 16x9 enhanced.

Disc One

Audio Commentary- John Glen (Director), Cast & Crew

    Director John Glen discusses the introduction of Timothy Dalton, the design of the script and how it was tailored for Dalton's acting style. He also explains his working relationship with title designer Maurice Binder, his involvement in the casting process and challenges that were encountered during production. Of particular interest is the problems he had pitching the 'cello case chase' idea to the producers. Other contributors to this commentary include actors Joe Don Baker and Maryam d'Abo. This commentary is subtitled in English and Dutch.

DVD Credits

Disc Two

    The contents of disc two are separated into sections, consistent with the other Ultimate Edition titles. All are presented in 1.33:1 full frame, unless otherwise noted.

Declassified: MI6 Vault

Deleted Scenes (2) with Director Introduction

    Two short scenes are included here, both of which are 16x9 enhanced.

Outtakes- The Ice Chase with Director Introduction (8:04)

    Much of the ice chase scene was captured by Arthur Wooster's second unit, however John Glen still has a lot of anecdotes regarding the sequence. This is also 16x9 enhanced.

Featurette- Happy Anniversary 007 (47:56)

    This is a fairly generic 25th anniversary television special (produced in 1987), hosted by Roger Moore. Essentially, it provides an overview of Bond's best action scenes, gadgets, villains and girls via many excerpts from the films up to this point. The final five minutes are a promotional exercise for The Living Daylights and its new star, Timothy Dalton.

Featurettes- Silver Anniversary

Featurette- Timothy Dalton: The New James Bond / Vienna Press Conference (4:34)

    The Director, Producer and members of the cast are welcomed by the Governor of Vienna as they field questions from an eager press gathering. Broccoli expresses his faith in Dalton, who repeatedly explains his approach to the role and respect for the franchise.

Interviews- Dalton & d'Abo (5:29)

    Two separate interviews from the period are shown here, each discussing their hopes for the film. This piece is 16x9 enhanced.

Featurette- Timothy Dalton On Acting (6:53)

    Tim shares an anecdote from his first film with Katharine Hepburn, and another he made later with Mae West. This interview is also 16x9 enhanced.

Mission Control

    This is simply an elaborate selection of clips from the film. These are divided into categories such as Allies, Girls, Villains and the like. The most notable feature here is an alternate, textless opening title sequence.

Featurette- Exotic Locations (4:00)

    A brief tour of the locations that were utilised in the film.

Mission Dossier

    This section contains all of the old featurettes from the Special Edition.

Featurette- Inside The Living Daylights (33:38)

    This making-of shows us some interesting screen tests of the final cast and potential Bond Sam Neill. We're also told of the many hurdles that were encountered, such as casting, which caused great delays to the production. Some time is also dedicated to the film's special effects and miniatures, as well as more outtakes.

Featurette- Ian Fleming: 007's Creator (43:04)

    Fleming was an interesting character in himself, and this biography succeeds in demystifying him somewhat. Through interviews with relatives, friends, colleagues and biographers we get a good picture of what the man was really like and the life he led, from his childhood to his time in the military and beyond. Interviewees include Christopher Lee, Noel Coward and several of Fleming's wartime chums.

Music Video- The Living Daylights performed by a-ha (4:21)

    There aren't any real surprises here. The video is well produced and utilises quite a bit of computer graphics for its time. Many clips from the film are included.

Featurette- The Making Of The Living Daylights Music Video (3:53)

    Interestingly, for this clip the band used the same creative team that made their classic Take On Me video. This was filmed at Pinewood, and the guys briefly discuss their collaboration with John Barry.

Ministry Of Propaganda

Teaser Trailer (North America) (1:20)

    This trailer focuses on the film's opening scene, and is 16x9 enhanced.

Teaser Trailer (UK) (1:39)

    A little broader than the US trailer, giving a better overview of the film.

Theatrical Trailer (1:21)

    This trailer is very similar to the UK trailer, and is 16x9 enhanced.

Image Database (14 Still Galleries)

    There are fourteen individual galleries, covering the production, stars and promotional material such as posters.

R4 vs R1

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

    This Ultimate Edition of The Living Daylights is currently only available as part of the Ultimate James Bond DVD Collection box set, which contains all 20 films remastered, with additional extra features. This is the ideal purchase for fans, however if you're only interested in this film on its own, you will have to settle for one of the older editions with inferior video and audio quality.

    The Ultimate Editions are available separately in Region 2, and appear to be identical to ours.

Summary

    The Living Daylights is a classic Bond tale, packed to the brim with all of the elements that make the franchise so dearly loved by fans across the globe.

    The video transfer is fantastic.

    The audio transfer is great.

    The extras are extensive and relevant to the film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Monday, July 10, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using DVI output
DisplaySanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
First 2/3 good... - Neil
I'm the one... - Rodda (This... is my *bioom* stick!)
Dalton was better than his material - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)