View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985)

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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-x2
Credits
Featurette-Butterfly Test Footage, Film '85 BBC Report
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Inside The View To A Kill-An Original Documentary
Musicography-The Music Of James Bond
Music Video-Performed By Duran Duran
Theatrical Trailer-Archive
TV Spots-Broadcast
Featurette-007, The Women, Allies, Villians,Mission Cobat Manuel
Featurette-Q Branch, Exotic Locations
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Streets Of San Fransisco
Deleted Scenes-Expanded Angles With Intro. From Dir. John Glen
Gallery-Photo-Experience The World Of Bond In 1985
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1985
Running Time 125:45
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (69:54)
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 Roger Moore
Christopher Walken
Tanya Roberts
Grace Jones
Patrick Macnee
Patrick Bauchau
David Yip
Fiona Fullerton
Manning Redwood
Alison Doody
Willoughby Gray
Desmond Llewelyn
Robert Brown
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music John Barry
Duran Duran


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)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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 No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, discussed in commentary
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    A View to a Kill marks Roger Moore’s final outing as secret agent James Bond and I can’t help but feel it was maybe one film too many. While this film does have its fans, I feel it is definitely one of the lesser Bond films. It suffers from a convoluted script that jumps around a bit and contains subplots that go absolutely nowhere.

    The main plot of the film, which literally is not introduced until almost half way through the film, involves a plot by criminal mastermind Max Zorin (played to good effect by Christopher Walken) to take over the computer chip market by flooding Silicon Valley through the use of a manmade earthquake.

    While Bond films often involve over the top action that stretches the bounds of believability, many scenes in this film take that to a new limit. In one scene, during an early subplot involving horse doping, James Bond’s companion (in a memorable performance by Patrick Macnee who is best known from the TV series The Avengers) is driving a car and must get out to open a gate. Standing nearby is Zorin’s henchperson May Day (played by the ever menacing Grace Jones) and when he turns back she is gone. The only place she could have logically gone is into the car. Does he bother to check the back seat? You can guess what happens next! 

    The unbelievably continues when Zorin first tries to kill Bond by simply knocking him out (this is despite the plethora of guns around him) and puts him in a car which is rolled into a lake but doesn’t bother to hang around to make sure he doesn’t come out. He then makes the same mistake again when he simply pops Bond in an elevator, cuts the power and sets the building on fire. Not surprisingly (at least to us the audience) Bond simply climbs out to face down Zorin again. The best one however comes when our “Bond girl” (played by ex-Charlie Angel Tanya Roberts in the most appalling acting performance in the film) is successfully snuck up on by a noisy blimp almost the size of the Hindenburg. This is just one of many scenes that are funny for the wrong reasons.

    Ultimately I can find very little to recommend about this film. Whilst it contains some memorable action sequences, like a gun fight and parachute off the Eiffel Tower and a Blimp crashing into the Golden Gate Bridge, they are ultimately there for their own sake and are inevitably irrelevant and do nothing to drive the plot forward. In fact, there is very little driving the plot forward. It really just seems like a series of action set pieces stitched together by the flimsiest of storylines which ultimately makes watching A View to a Kill feel like a fairly empty experience.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    So far it has been a bit of mixed bag in regards to the transfers of the Bond films that I have reviewed. I was extremely impressed by the transfer of From Russia with Love but disappointed by the excessive edge enhancement on The Spy Who Loved Me. The transfer of A View To A Kill is very good although not without its faults. Compared to the previous Special Edition release of the film, the image here shows improved sharpness and image detail. It is also completely free of all artefacts (film and digital) which is more than can be said for the previous release. I was however a little concerned to note that this new version is noticeably cropped on the top and left side compared to the previous release.

    The film is presented at an aspect ratio 2.35:1 which matches the original theatrical aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Image sharpness was a bit variable but overall it was quite pleasing and exhibited very nice levels of image detail. Shadow detail was quite good. The image is free of low level noise.

    Colours were well saturated but there did seem to be a slight colour bias towards red. This was most noticeable on skin tones which were unnaturally pinkish at times.

    The image is extremely clean and is completely free of film artefacts and MPEG compression artefacts. Unlike the previous two Bond films I reviewed it is also completely free of edge enhancement.

    The English subtitles are white and easy to read and follow very closely the onscreen dialogue.

    This is a dual layered disc with RSDL encoding. The layer change occurs at 69:54 which is a cut between scenes. There is continuous music between these two shots which may make it stand out if your player pauses on the layer change.

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

Audio

    There are two main English soundtracks provided on this disc, a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s and a DTS 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 768 Kb/s. In my review of From Russia with Love I found that there was little to no overall difference between the Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks but for The Spy who Loved Me, I felt that the DTS soundtrack provided a deeper soundstage and slightly superior dynamic range. The same is true for A View To A Kill although the difference is extremely minimal. That said, however, neither soundtrack seems to fully exploit the potential of the format.

    Dialogue was generally easy to understand and audio sync was fairly good for the most part. I did, however, get the impression that the dialogue for some of the characters, such as a French character around 15 minutes, was looped in later.

    The theme song A View to a Kill by Duran Duran was the most successful part of the film. It is the only Bond theme song to make it to the very top of the pop charts. The original music by John Barry successfully combines the theme from the Duran Duran song and the more traditional Bond themes. His music underpins the film nicely and helps reinforce that unmistakable Bond feel to the movie.

    The surrounds are used to add ambience to the scenes as well as carry some of the music. They were well used for example at around 13 minutes for a scene at a racetrack where the noises of the crowd and the surrounds nicely envelop the listener. These moments however are pretty rare and the soundtrack for the most part felt rather front oriented.

    The subwoofer channel was the most disappointing part of the soundtrack. There were numerous moments in the film where they could have been used to great effect and simply were not, such as during the various explosions during the movie. The only part of the film to really utilize the subwoofer was the title sequence with the theme song by Duran Duran.

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

Extras

    This new Ultimate edition combines the extras of the previous Special Edition with new material sourced from the archives. While some of these new extras are interesting the most significant features are still those carried over from the previous release.

Menu

     All menus are 16x9 enhanced and are all very nicely animated with familiar Bond music playing in the background.

Disc 1

Audio Commentary – John Glen (Director) and members of the cast and crew.

    This commentary is edited together from various interview materials with many of the cast and crew. It is hosted by David Naylor who also provides some general information about the film. The comments in the commentary are often completely unrelated to the onscreen action and a lot of the information imparted duplicates information in the various featurettes on disc 2. Frankly, I think this is one for die-hard Bond fans only.

Audio Commentary – Roger Moore (Actor)

    My comments for Roger Moore’s commentary for A View to a Kill pretty much mirror my comments about his commentary for The Spy Who Loved Me. He is relaxed, conversational and witty and a real pleasure to listen to. He recalls as best as possible working on the film and tells a number of interesting little anecdotes about shooting the film. I found his comments about legendary Bond producer “Cubby” Broccoli and his generosity towards his crews especially interesting. Interesting too is the fact the Moore admits this is his least favourite of the Bond films he made.

Disc 2

    The extras are grouped under five main categories. Declassified M16 Vault contains new material sourced from the archives. 007 Mission Control contains links to a large number of scenes from the film categorised into a number of subcategories. Mission Dossier consists of featurettes previously available on the original Special Editions. Finally, Department of Propaganda contains a collection of trailers, TV spots, radio ads and finally we have Image Database which is a series of image galleries.

Declassified MI6 Vault

Butterfly Test Footage 16x9 (1:31)

    This is test footage of a scene involving paper butterflies on fishing lines in a restaurant. The director John Glen discusses the origins of the idea and how he convinced producer “Cubby” Broccoli of its merits.

Film ’85 BBC Report 4x3 (7:24)

    This is a typical publicity featurette made at the time of the film's production. Typical puff and hype!  I’m not usually a fan of these things and this one is no exception.

The Streets of San Francisco 16x9 (3:02)

    This shows some of the footage shot in San Francisco and includes a voice over by director John Glen discussing the shooting in that city.

Deleted Scenes and Expanded Angles with Introductions by Director John Glen

    As the title suggests these are a series of deleted and expanded scenes with introductions by director John Glen where he discusses the reasons why the scenes were removed. The first scene was included on the previous special edition but the others are new to this Ultimate Edition.

    As John Glen explains, this scene would be more fitting in a Pink Panther film than in James Bond and I’m inclined to agree. It is nonetheless very amusing and well worth taking a look at.

    This shows extra footage of the Eiffel Tower parachuting scene. The main footage runs in a small box and other footage shot from other angles is shown as well.

    An unnecessary scene showing the baddies arriving at a building by car.

    It seems even criminal masterminds have to deal with protestors sometimes.

    This scene is worth watching for Roger Moore’s adlibbed line at the end.

    Like the Eiffel Tower scene this shows additional angles of the scenes where Bond rescues Stacey from the City Hall.

    Again we see a scene with shots from other angles.

007 Mission Control

     This section allows you to directly access a number of short scenes from the movie sorted into the categories of 007, Women, Allies, Villains, Mission Combat Manual, Q Branch and Exotic Locations. I guess if you have certain favourite parts of the film you might find this useful but I personally think it’s of little appeal.

Mission Dossier

Inside A View To A Kill – An Original Documentary 4x3 (37:26)

    This is an interesting little featurette that covers the entire production of the film with interviews from a lot of the participants. Getting permits to film around Paris was quite a challenge. It was less of challenge in San Francisco jokes Roger Moore as it was fortunate that the Mayor of San Francisco “was one of the rare people that preferred me as Bond instead of Sean and so we got all sorts of permits”.

The Bond Sound – The Music of James Bond 4x3 (21:37)

    This featurette focuses on the music of James Bond and how it has evolved over the decades. Composer John Barry who scored 11 of the Bond films is a strong focus and it is interesting that when he was unavailable for a few of the films, composers were chosen who could write music in a similar style to Barry.

A View To A Kill, Performed by Duran Duran 4x3 (4:31)

    This is the video clip to the song A View to a Kill by 80s band Duran Duran. It’s phenomenally awful (the video clip, not the song). I’ve watched it so you don’t have to.

Ministry of Propaganda

Theatrical Archive

    This is a series of theatrical trailers.

TV Broadcasts

    This is a series of short TV adverts.

Image Database

     This is a collection of still galleries categorized by Roger Moore, Tanya Roberts, Christopher Walken, Grace Jones, Patrick Bauchau, Bond’s Team, Cold Warrior, La Tour Eiffel, The Golden Gate, At Home with Stacy, San Francisco Fire, Mainstrike and Marketing.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

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

    I was unable to confirm specific details of the R1 ultimate edition but I would expect it to be same with the exception of the normal PAL/NTSC formatting differences.

Summary

    A View to a Kill is Roger Moore's final outing as James Bond and unfortunately it's probably one of his worst.

    The video transfer is very good but the audio mixes are not as exciting as they should be.

    The extras package is extensive and will keep fans entertained for quite a few sittings.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Gauntlett (read my bio if you're bored.)
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVPNS575-S Progressive Scan, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE900E HD LCD Projector onto 90" 16x9 Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderLogitech 5500 THX. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationLogitech 5500 THX
SpeakersLogitech 5500 THX

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Re: censorship - Neil
UK version now uncut - REPLY POSTED