Overall | Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962) | From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963) | Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964) | Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965) | You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969) | Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971) | Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973) | Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974) | Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977) | Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979) | For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981) | Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983) | View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985) | Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987) | Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989) | GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997) | World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999) | Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

The Ultimate James Bond Collection

The Ultimate James Bond Collection

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 15-Aug-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Overall Package

     With the 21st Bond adventure, Casino Royale, just around the corner, what better time could there be to catch up on the past twenty films? In this Ultimate Collection, each film and its extras are spread over two discs, amounting to 40 discs altogether. The collection is available for a 'limited time' in two different packages; a standard box set (only 15,000 available) or a limited edition metal brief case (6000 available).

     So, what's new in these Ultimate Editions? Every frame has been restored using the Lowry process, amounting to 42 miles of film in total. All traces of film damage, dust and dirt have been removed, making these classics appear better than ever. This took over three years of processing at the Lowry labs and is the largest project they have encountered to date. In addition to the remastered image, the audio has been significantly improved and now includes a dts soundtrack option. A whole new array of extra features is available in addition to the extra material that was included on the old Special Editions.

     For now, it seems that the films will not be available separately in Region 4, so the only way to see these new editions is to buy the whole set.

     The films in this collection include:

  1. Dr. No
  2. From Russia With Love
  3. Goldfinger
  4. Thunderball
  5. You Only Live Twice
  6. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
  7. Diamonds Are Forever
  8. Live & Let Die
  9. Man With The Golden Gun
  10. The Spy Who Loved Me
  11. Moonraker
  12. For Your Eyes Only
  13. Octopussy
  14. A View To A Kill
  15. The Living Daylights
  16. Licence To Kill
  17. GoldenEye
  18. Tomorrow Never Dies
  19. The World Is Not Enough
  20. Die Another Day

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Available Separately from 17 July in R2 - Kev
re: Available Separately from 17 July in R2 - Roger T. Ward (Some say he's afraid of the Dutch, and that he's stumped by clouds. All we know, this is his bio.)
Available Separately - Steveo
missing movie - Anonymous
re missing movie - Roger T. Ward (Some say he's afraid of the Dutch, and that he's stumped by clouds. All we know, this is his bio.)
Re missing movie AKA Never say never again - Neil
Re Missing Movie - Tom Tuttle

Overall | Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962) | From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963) | Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964) | Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965) | You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969) | Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971) | Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973) | Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974) | Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977) | Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979) | For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981) | Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983) | View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985) | Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987) | Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989) | GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997) | World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999) | Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962)

Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Director Terrence Young & members Of Cast And Crew
Credits
Film Factoids-007 License To Restore
Film Factoids-The Guns Of James Bond
Featurette-007,Women, Allies, Villians, Mission Combat Manual
Featurette-Q Branch And Exotic Locations
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Inside Dr. No
Biographies-Cast-Terence Young: Bond Vivant
Featurette-Dr. No - 1963
Theatrical Trailer-Archive
TV Spots-Broadcasts
Radio Spots-Communications
Gallery-Photo-Experience The World Of Dr. No in 1962
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1962
Running Time 105:13
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (53:10)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Terence Young
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Sean Connery
Ursula Andress
Joseph Wiseman
Jack Lord
Bernard Lee
Anthony Dawson
Zena Marshall
John Kitzmiller
Eunice Gayson
Lois Maxwell
Peter Burton
Yvonne Shima
Michel Mok
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Monty Norman
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 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Danish
Greek
Hindi
English Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes, just about every character smokes in every scene
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Dr. No was to introduce cinema audiences worldwide to the character of British super-spy James Bond. As such, Dr. No is fondly remembered as being the very first movie in what was to become one of cinema's most successful and longest running franchises. With the trailers for the new Bond film soon to start running in cinemas, in August 2006 Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release all 20 official Bond films in two limited edition DVD collector's sets. Each film will feature Lowry-restored video and audio, and if that's not enough to whet your appetite, each film will also boast a whole new array of extras.

    "The name's Bond, James Bond".

    The character of super-spy James Bond was created by author Ian Fleming (1909-1964) who, like his fictional character, led a colourful life which included being a British Spy, and like Mr. Bond, a Commander in British Naval Intelligence. While Fleming's novels and the later movies often have a very tenuous relationship, one cannot easily discount the rich material that Fleming provided for the Bond universe. While the Bond film scripts were to differ greatly from Fleming's stories, the central characters, style, and swagger of the Bond films is all still Fleming.

    However, from the start, Producers Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli wanted their Bond movie series to appeal to a wider audience than just Fleming's readers. As a result, Bond became less of a cold-blooded killer (with a licence to kill provided by the UK Government), and a far more charming, suave, and witty gentleman. Indeed, Director Terence Young took matters even further and infused the character with a thoroughly debonair and dashing charm, also arming him with a fierce intelligence and an impeccable taste in clothes, wine, food and exotic women.

    There are now 21 official Bond films, and three unofficial ones - most notably the appalling Never Say Never Again (1983). If one counts newcomer Daniel Craig, then six actors have played Bond in the official films, including the former Aussie soldier from Goulburn, George Lazenby, and the unflappably dapper Roger Moore. Personally, I have always liked the rugged Sean Connery and the debonair Pierce Brosnan the most, and thoroughly disliked the sulky and uncharismatic Timothy Dalton for his contribution to what I find to be the most boring of the Bond canon.

    It's widely known that the then unknown Scottish actor Sean Connery was nowhere near to being the first choice to be Bond, but it was to be a piece of casting genius. When one thinks of Bond, even all these years later, it is Connery who still comes to mind first for most people. Then in his thirties, Connery was tall, cool, elegant, and ruggedly handsome. He walked with the swagger and self-assurance required to carry the role; And, unlike some of the other pretty-boy Bonds, he actually looked like he could handle himself in a fight.

    In Dr. No, the character of Bond is far from the indestructible superman armed with the fancy tongue-in-cheek gadgets that we see in the later films. As Bond, Connery frequently displays fear, panic, and disgust. We even see him dishevelled, bleeding, bruised, and sweating! He gets captured, beaten, and humiliated. It makes his triumphs and the film's climax all the more satisfying.

    As the first of the series, the relatively low-budget Dr No is a far more down-to-earth and realistic affair than the later Bond films. This Bond has to rely on his wits rather than gadgets and explosions to get the job done. For example, when Bond is being hunted down by dogs, it's his ingenuity, not gadgets or weaponry that save him.

    On the other hand, as a film, Dr. No is definitely a little rough around the edges. For example, consider the car-chase scene which relies on obvious rear-projection scenery, or the clumsy and simplistic fight choreography.

    In later Bond films there is a recognisable and well-loved formula: We have a pre-title action sequence that is distinct from the rest of the film. This is followed by the Bond-style title sequence (with theme song), and then Bond chatting to Moneypenny, M, and then Q. Finally, Bond heads off on his new mission armed with fancy gadgets, cool one-liners, and plenty of innuendo.

    In Dr. No, many of the recognisable elements of the Bond universe are present, albeit in their infancy. For example, the opening titles are provided by Maurice Binder (but sans the nude dancing silhouettes), and the very recognisable James Bond Theme is provided by Monty Norman and John Barry. We also get to see the famous gun-barrel opening (which features Connery's stunt double, Bob Simmons); and apart from Bond himself, we are also introduced to the recurring characters of M, Moneypenny, and Felix Leiter (Q was to make his debut in the next film).

    However, with Dr. No we don't yet get to experience the full Englishness of the Bond universe, which has been lost in recent years. From the next film onwards, Bond films were to become show-pieces for British culture - British music, art, manufacturing, and style, but in this movie Bond finds himself behind the wheel of a tiny four-cylinder Sunbeam Alpine. In later films he'd get to enjoy his English Bentleys, Aston Martins, and Lotuses (that is before the power of product placement marketing dollars put Bond into German BMWs).

    As for the plot. The story of Dr. No concerns . . . let's all say it together . . . a megalomaniac seeking world domination who can only be stopped by Secret Agent 007, James Bond . . .

    Dr. No opens in Jamaica where two British Secret Service agents have been brutally murdered. Their boss, M (Bernard Lee), sends special agent 007, James Bond (Sean Connery) to investigate. Bond survives numerous attempts on his life, and his investigation leads him to the mysterious and sinister Doctor No (Joseph Wiseman). After joining forces with CIA Agent Felix Leiter (Jack Lord), Bond enlists the help of local boat owner Quarrel (John Kitzmiller), and decides to pay a visit to the reclusive Doctor No on his secretive Crab Key island. It is here, in what was to become one of the most memorable Bond scenes, that we see the first bikini-clad Bond girl, Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress), emerging from the sea like Venus.

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

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Considering Dr. No has been released twice before on DVD, including as a Special Edition, why bother with an Ultimate Edition? The exciting aspect of these Bond Ultimate Editions is that the 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, and the results with Dr. No are truly remarkable.

    The film was originally screened theatrically in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, but the DVD's transfer is presented in a European widescreen aspect ratio of 1.66:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    While there are some noticeably softer scenes, overall the sharpness of the image is very good. The black level is excellent, with true, deep blacks. The shadow detail, however, is a bit of a mixed bag. At times it was excellent, such as the interior of Bond's gaol cell at 90:15, but at other times it was lacking, such as during the scene in the swamp at 72:42.

    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 exhibits a very well saturated palette. At times, however, some of the colours looked a little rich. For example, reds seem to jump out off the screen. The skin tones are mostly accurate, but can appear a little too orange at times. Of course, this could also be related to the excessive makeup that seems to have been caked on all the actors. Very rarely, some backgrounds looked a little murky, such as the sky at 27:12.

    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 an amazing achievement in DVD authoring.

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

    The feature is presented on a Dual Layer disc, with the layer change placed at 53:10. I did notice a slight pause, but the change is well placed. The feature is divided into 32 chapters.

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

Audio

    Originally released theatrically with mono audio, I wasn't expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised.

    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. While many films benefit from a dts soundtrack, this is not one of them. To be honest, I heard very little difference between the two options. I imagine it will be the later films, with more modern sound designs and recordings that will reap the benefits of dts audio.

    The dialogue quality and audio sync suffer 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 some actors, such as Ursula Andress, had all their dialogue looped by voice artists (in her case by Nikki Van der Zyl). Also, some dialogue was changed or added in post-production, and this has been rather clumsily dubbed in. Most of these moments seem rather obvious, and it is distracting.

    Another problem with the dialogue is the inconsistent volume. A number of times I had to increase or decrease the volume during the film. For example, once Bond and Honey enter Dr. No's lair, the dialogue seems to become buried in the sound mix and it is hard to hear.

    The musical score is credited to Monty Norman and Oscar winning composer John Barry. Director Terence Young overuses the now famous Bond theme throughout the film, and it appears even when Bond does the most mundane things like light a cigarette, step off an airplane, or make a phone call. The film also has an overly melodramatic score, which dates it terribly.

    However, in keeping with its exotic location, Dr. No also calls upon seductive calypso beats and the characters, including Bond, often burst into song, singing catchy Caribbean tunes such as Jamaica Jump Up and Underneath the Mango Tree.

    For a mono film, the sound design was excellent for its time, but now appears very limited. Although there is a nice sense of space across the front three speakers, with this film the rear speakers are rarely called upon. Recorded in 1962, don't expect any fancy directional effects or panning between speakers. Interestingly, sometimes when the rears are used for effect it is actually distracting, rather than enveloping.

    This DVD's LFE track is very limited, and the subwoofer is only really noticed with the large explosion at the end of the film.

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 Terrence Young & members Of Cast And Crew

    Hosted by John Clark of the Ian Fleming Foundation, this commentary is very interesting, and packed with detailed information. Interviews with a number of the cast and crew have been edited to make it fairly screen specific, and each speaker is introduced by Clark. We hear from a range of people, such as Actors Ursula Andress, Lois Maxwell, Eunice Gayson, and Timothy Moxon; Editor Peter Hunt, Composer Monty Norman, Set Designer Ken Adams, former UA President David Picker, Art Director Syd Cain, and Sound Designer Norman Wanstall. Each person has something interesting to say, ranging from technical, behind-the-scenes information to anecdotes or recollections from shooting.

Disc Two

Top Level Access

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 three featurettes from the Dr. No Special Edition:

Ministry Of Propaganda

    The trailers, TV and Radio Spots for each film.

Original Theatrical Trailers

TV Broadcasts

Radio Communication

    Six radio spots

Interactive Image Database 

    Eight themed photographic stills galleries from 1962-3, 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 difference.

Summary

    Dr. No is by no means the best Bond film, but it's certainly not the worst either. What it's best remembered for is for being the very first, and as such, creating the mould for all later Bond films.

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

    The audio quality is reasonable, considering the limited mono source.

    The extras are thorough, genuine, and interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Monday, June 26, 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
Comments (Add)
Bond: Regional differences - penguin (there is no bio)
Aspect ratio and comparison to previous release - sbr REPLY POSTED
Re: Aspect Ratio - grug (there is no bio.)
Giving these a miss... - Anthony Bethell
Classification stickers or printed on? - Rick007
Aspect ratio & visual comparison - JaLe
Aspect ratio - sbr
not worth buying. - Greg
2nd disc programming issues - Neil

Overall | Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962) | From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963) | Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964) | Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965) | You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969) | Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971) | Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973) | Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974) | Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977) | Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979) | For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981) | Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983) | View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985) | Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987) | Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989) | GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997) | World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999) | Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963)

From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Credits
Featurette-Ian Fleming & Raymond Chandler
Interviews-Crew-Ian Fleming - The CBS Interview
Featurette-Ian Fleming On Desert lsland Discs
Storyboards-Animated Storyboard Sequence
Featurette-Making Of
Biographies-Crew-Harry Saltzman
Teaser Trailer-Archive
Gallery-Photo-Experience The World In 1963-Year From Russia Was Released
Featurette-007, Women, Allies ,Villians, Mission Combat Manual
Featurette-Q Branch And Exotic Locations
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1963
Running Time 110:16
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Terence Young
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Sean Connery
Daniela Bianchi
Pedro Armendáriz
Lotte Lenya
Robert Shaw
Bernard Lee
Eunice Gayson
Walter Gotell
Francis De Wolff
George Pastell
Nadja Regin
Lois Maxwell
Aliza Gur
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music John Barry
Lionel Bart


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 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Greek
Hindi
English Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    In 1961, Life Magazine published a list of President John F. Kennedy’s top ten favourite books. To the surprise of some, the Ian Fleming spy novel From Russia with Love was amongst the titles listed. When producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman were looking for the right book to do a follow up film to the successful Dr. No, From Russia with Love seemed like the obvious choice. While production was not without its problems, such as numerous script rewrites, car and helicopter crashes and even the death of a supporting actor from cancer during the shoot, the result is regarded by many as one of the greatest Bond films ever made, and with good reason too.

    From Russia with Love sees James Bond (Sean Connery) sent to Istanbul to acquire a cipher machine called the Lektor from defecting Russian Agent Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianachi). Tatiana thinks she is doing it for mother Russia but it is in fact the evil organisation S.P.E.C.T.R.E. that are pulling all the strings. S.P.E.C.T.R.E not only wants the cipher machine for themselves, but their ultimate goal is to kill James Bond. Along the way Bond must confront cold-blooded hit man ‘Red’ Grant (Robert Shaw) and ruthless mastermind Rosa Klebb (played to perfection by Lotte Lenya).

    Where later Bond films would embrace over the top action, gadgets and pure escapism, From Russia with Love remained more true to Ian Fleming’s novel as a great spy adventure. The James Bond we see here is not the indestructible super human of our modern day Bonds, which I think really adds to the tension of the film. In From Russia with Love, Bond often seems to be in genuine peril, and it is only through his cunning, ingenuity and gritty determination that he will be able to get through it alive.

    From Russia with Love is not only a great Bond film, it is a great Cold War spy thriller. It introduced Desmond Llewelyn as gadget man Q (although he is referred to simply as the equipment officer) and set the benchmark by which early Bond films were judged. I really enjoyed this film and I am sure most Bond fans will too.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Those who already own From Russia with Love on DVD are probably wondering if this new release is worth upgrading to. The short answer is a definite yes. In fact there is really no comparison. While the original release may have been considered quite good for a film of its age this new transfer is outstanding, regardless of age. Lowry, who have painstakingly restored this film and performed the DVD transfer, have done an absolutely stellar job in producing this truly outstanding transfer.

    The new transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. This was the film's original aspect ratio for European exhibition. (It was shown in the slightly more matted aspect ratio of 1.85:1 in the US). Compared to the previous DVD release which was 1.78:1 this new release not only shows slightly more image top and bottom but also very slightly more on the sides as well.

    Image sharpness is extraordinarily impressive for a film of this age and the image detail really is amazing. For example, individual thread patterns on men’s suits are clearly discernable. Regardless of age this is one of the sharpest, most detailed images I have seen on DVD. Shadow detail is well above average for a film of this age and is certainly far superior to what I was expecting. The transfer is free of low level noise.

    The transfer is faithful to the 1960s colour palette of the film. Colours are all well saturated and accurate. Skin tones were generally accurate but with a slight tendency towards orange/brown tones which was typical of films from this era.

    The film is completely free of film artefacts. I looked but could find none. The image is very clean and free of any obvious MPEG artefacts. The only fault I could find was a very small amount of edge enhancement, such as around the outline of some minuets at 30:59 but it is fairly mild and unlikely to be noticed by most viewers.

    The English subtitles are white and easy to read. They match very well with the onscreen dialogue.

    The film is presented on a dual layered disc with RSDL encoding. The layer change occurs at 57:22 which is a cut between scenes - nicely placed.

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

Audio

    Some film buffs will be disappointed to learn that the original mono soundtrack is not available on this DVD. Instead we get two 5.1 soundtracks provided in Dolby Digital and DTS. These new mixes do, however, remain faithful to the feel of the original soundtrack with the mix being very front oriented.

    The two main English soundtracks are a Dolby Digital 5.1 Soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s and a DTS Soundtrack encoded at 768 Kb/s. I listened to the soundtrack in its entirety in DTS and did a number of samplings of the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. While the DTS soundtrack was slightly louder than the Dolby Digital Soundtrack, once this was taken into account I was hard pressed to discern any real difference between the two. I think this is a case where the limitation is the original sound elements rather than the audio encoding.

    Dialogue was generally easy to understand although there were some issues with audio sync caused by ADR. This was most noticeable in a scene around the 12 minute mark where there is a running helicopter in the shot and the dubbing just doesn’t match well at all. There were, however, numerous other instances in the film but this was the one that really drew my attention. I do not think this is a fault of the DVD, just the ADR work done on the film at the time.

As mentioned before the soundtrack is very front-oriented with the surrounds being used modestly for atmosphere such as bird noises in a garden at 13:15. It is also used a bit for the music as well as some high action scenes such as an explosion at 61:49.

    The subwoofer was not used much except for some high action scenes such as another explosion at 32:20 where it adds nice weight to the soundtrack.

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 taken 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 very nicely animated with familiar Bond music playing in the background.

Disc 1

Audio Commentary – Terence Young (director) and members of the cast and crew.

    This audio commentary was put together by the Ian Fleming Foundation and is hosted by John Corp. It edits together comments by various cast and crew involved in the film who are introduced by John Corp. Corp also provides a fair amount of interesting information as well. Despite the fact that I quite enjoy a good audio commentary I am not normally a fan of these edited together commentaries and this one is no exception. While it contains some interesting information I found it a bit dull and hard going.

Disc 2

    The extras are grouped under four main categories. ‘Declassified M16 Vault’ contains new material secured 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 an image gallery.

   

Declassified: M16 Vault:

Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler 4x3 (4:58)

    These two authors discuss their creations. The discussion is audio only with animated photos of the two authors. It is interesting to hear Fleming discuss his original vision of the Bond character as well as the similarities between himself and Bond. Well worth a listen.

Ian Fleming: The CBC Interview 4x3 (7:23)

    This item was created by the CBC the week following Fleming’s death in 1964. It begins with a brief biography of Fleming and then continues with an interview where he discusses the books and some of their influences.

Ian Fleming on Desert Island Discs 4x3 (4:58)

    This is primarily a radio interview with a variety of still images of Fleming shown on screen. In this interview Fleming discusses some of his writing processes. This was recorded while From Russia with Love was being filmed. Fleming briefly discusses Dr. No and then his visit to the set of From Russia with Love in Istanbul.

Animated Story Board Sequences 4x3 (1:24)

    This shows animated storyboard sequences for the boat chase scene which was originally conceived as a night scene. The segment finishes with actual footage from the film.

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 is of little appeal.

Mission Dossier:

Inside From Russia with Love 4x3 (33:43)

    This interesting featurette narrated by Patrick Macnee charts the production of the film. It includes reminiscences from cast and crew. The shooting of the film was not entirely smooth and included numerous script rewrites, car crashes, helicopter crashes and even the death of actor Pedro Armendáriz from cancer during the film's production. One thing I found particularly interesting was some of the creative editing of Peter Hunt that contributed greatly to the structure of the film.

Harry Saltzman: Showman 4x3 (26:43)

    Harry Saltzman was one of the producers of the first nine James Bond films. In this featurette friends and colleagues discuss his work and life. This is quite an interesting look at one of the men instrumental in bringing James Bond to the big screen.

Ministry of Propaganda:

Theatrical Archive

    This is a collection of theatrical trailers.

TV Broadcasts

    This is a collection of short TV spots.

Radio Communication

    These are audio only commercials made for radio.

Image Database

    This is a collection of still galleries categorized by: The Filmmakers, Ian Fleming, Portraits, Pinewood, Dressed to Kill, Lovely...Lovely, Tatiana Meets Rosa Klebb, Istanbul, The Gypsy Camp, The Orient Express, Scotland, Rats!, Back Projection, Smoke on the Water, The Lost Scene and Around the World With 007.

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

    From Russia with Love is one of the most beloved of the early Bond films and with good reason. Not only is it a great Bond film, it is a fantastic Cold War spy thriller in its own right.

    The new video transfer is simply outstanding. The audio transfers are very good but a bit limited by the sources.

    The extras package is extensive although the most significant of them are those carried over from the previous Special Edition.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Gauntlett (read my bio if you're bored.)
Tuesday, June 27, 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)
One of the Greastest Bond Films - Peter McCluskey

Overall | Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962) | From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963) | Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964) | Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965) | You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969) | Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971) | Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973) | Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974) | Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977) | Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979) | For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981) | Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983) | View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985) | Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987) | Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989) | GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997) | World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999) | Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964)

Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Guy Hamilton (director)
Audio Commentary-Cast and Crew
Featurette-On Tour With The Aston Martin DB5
Interviews-Character-Honor Blackman:- Open-Ended Interview
Interviews-Character-Sean Connery From The Set Of Goldfinger
Featurette-Theodore Bikel and Vito Vandis ScreenTests
Featurette-007, Women, Aliies, Villians, Mission Combat Manuel
Featurette-Q Branch and Exotic Locations
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-The Goldfinger Phenomenon
Featurette-Original Publicity
Theatrical Trailer-Archive
TV Spots-Broadcasts
Radio Spots-Communications
Gallery-Photo-Experience The World Of Bond In 1964
DVD Credits
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1964
Running Time 105:27
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (54:13)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Guy Hamilton
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Sean Connery
Honor Blackman
Gert Fröbe
Shirley Eaton
Tania Mallet
Harold Sakata
Bernard Lee
Martin Benson
Cec Linder
Austin Willis
Lois Maxwell
Bill Nagy
Michael Mellinger
Case ?
RPI Box 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 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Greek
Hindi
English Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
English Audio 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

    The third Bond film saw the series really take off with this clever and entertaining romp across two continents. Bond's assignment this time is to look into the affairs of Auric Goldfinger (Gert Fröbe), a gold bullion dealer whose origins are somewhat shady. In a Miami hotel 007 discovers that Goldfinger likes to win at all costs. Unfortunately for Jill Masterson (Shirley Eaton), Bond's investigations into her affairs and her work for Goldfinger leave her with a fatal gilding.

    Back in England Bond tries to worm his way into Goldfinger's confidence during a golf game, using some Nazi gold as bait. Goldfinger's caddy is his loquacious Korean driver Oddjob (Harold Sakata), who wears an unusual and deadly hat. Goldfinger plays along for a while, but he already suspects who Bond really is and does not fall into the agent's trap.

    Bond follows Goldfinger to Geneva, where he manages to become Goldfinger's prisoner and narrowly avoids being badly scorched in a place where scorching would be an issue. This scene has one of the best pieces of dialogue in the entire Bond oeuvre. Thinking that Bond knows more about his plans than he really does, Goldfinger chooses to take him to Kentucky where his master plan is finally revealed.

    People tend to look back on Goldfinger as one of the best of the Bond series, and it is easy to see why. Later in the series the concentration would be on gadgets, spectacle and beautiful women. All of these are here in abundance but the main focus of the film is on the story. The stunts are all believable and humanly possible, though I suspect Oddjob's lethal hat might not actually work.

    Richard Maibaum and Paul Dehn's script is full of witty one-liners and they are delivered with earnestness, or at least a wry smile, by an excellent cast. Sean Connery is a fine Bond, supremely confident in the role in his third assumption of it. Fröbe makes a wonderful villain, though the dubbing of his voice by Michael Collins is more obvious each time I see the film. Honor Blackman was a natural choice for the extraordinarily-named Pussy Galore, and was the first of three Avengers heroines to appear in a Bond outing. The supporting cast is as usual sturdy, my only reservation being the actors playing American gangsters (apart from Martin Benson) having unidiomatic accents. Bernard Lee is the definitive M though he only appears briefly in this episode. Richard Vernon effectively plays Colonel Smithers, a Whitehall type, in an amusing dinner sequence with the slightly befuddled M. Whenever I hear Vernon's voice I automatically associate it with Slartibartfast, something that would not have been an issue for audiences in 1964.

    Shirley Eaton had many more substantial roles but is doomed to be remembered for her brief appearance in this film. The same can be said of Margaret Nolan as Dink, who is only on screen for a minute or so. Desmond Llewellyn makes a lot of his short piece as the head of Q Branch, introducing not only the array of gadgets Bond will have at his disposal - including the now legendary Aston Martin DB5 - but also his disdain for the special agent. Familiar actors in British film and TV like Cec Linder and Burt Kwouk also appear in the cast.

    The budget for this film was much higher than that for the two previous entries in the series, and it shows. The special effects are extremely well done for a movie of this era, particularly a British one, and only a few seams show even after more than 40 years. Guy Hamilton took over the reins from Terence Young for the first of his four stints as Bond director, and his work here cannot really be faulted. Also of note are the opening titles by Robert Brownjohn which became the signature of the series. But by far the most impressive aspect of the technical side of the film is the set design by Ken Adam, which has been endlessly imitated over the years.

    This is an extremely enjoyable romp which the years have not dimmed. It earned its production costs back in 2 weeks of US release and 42 years later is still a cash cow. This is one case where the movie is worth more than the cost of the disc.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in 1.67:1, very close to the original aspect ratio of 1.66:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Viewers in 1964 would have seen this film on the big screen in all its glory. That would almost certainly have included flecks, dirt, scratches and reel change markings, so it would be fair to say that in its newest DVD incarnation the film has never looked better. It is not quite perfect, but until this film is available in a high-definition format it won't be.

    The transfer is very sharp and clean. Possibly too clean as the near absence of grain attests. There is plenty of detail visible. I'm not sure exactly what the Lowry process does but I can advise that it has not ruined the visuals. Backgrounds also have a good level of detail. If you find seeing the pores on the actors' faces as well as any skin blemishes they may have off-putting then you might not appreciate this clarity. The clarity does seem to have been achieved at the expense of some edge enhancement, which can be seen for example at 26:39. There seems to be an unrealistic digital edge to outlines as well.

    Colour is excellent. The Technicolor stock of the 1960s was not as bright and vibrant as it had been in the 1940s, but it was still very good. Flesh tones tend to be a little brown. Black levels are good with shadow detail that is not always ideal. Some of the dark suits have little in the way of detail.

    There are some film to video artefacts. There is posterisation on Bond's face in some scenes, an example being at 44:00. There is also digital noise in some backgrounds looking a lot like chroma noise.

    Optional subtitles are provided in a variety of languages. The English subtitles appear to be very well done in a sizeable white font.

    The film is on an RSDL-formatted disc. The layer break is noticeable but not disruptive to the flow of the film. It occurs at 54:13.

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

Audio

    There are two formats for the soundtrack of the film, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. The former is the default, but I listened to the latter and only sampled the former.

    Unfortunately the original mono presentation of the audio has been discarded in favour of these faux surround offerings. I would have liked the original sound mix as an option, and its omission is a serious mistake in my opinion. Anyway, the audio still comes up quite well, though the remix to surround tends to highlight some of the shortcomings of the original, being over 40 years old now. The opening song sounds overly reverberant for example. The surround mix also makes the mistake of trying to position voices in relation to the position of the speaker in the frame. This is most noticeable during the early stages of the film.

    Directional effects are placed in the rear channels but added little to the overall experience, and certainly were not as convincing or effective as, say, a recent film specifically mixed for surround presentation. The LFE channel was utilized more than I had expected, adding oomph to explosions and gunshots as well as one sequence with fire and flames.

    Dialogue comes across clearly and I had no trouble understanding any of it. There is a slight distortion at times but no sibilance or any serious issues. Audio sync is spot on, though of course Gert Fröbe is dubbed and there is some ADR work on the other actors at times.

    The music score was a big seller on LP in its day. From Shirley Bassey belting out the title song, which has lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, to the clever scoring in many sequences by John Barry, this is a fine bit of work. Barry not only weaves the title theme throughout the film, but also develops some other interesting bits, notable the music which accompanies the penetration of Fort Knox.

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

Extras

    A lot of extras, some of which will be familiar from the previous Region 4 DVD, or the laserdisc version if you had it in that format. All have subtitles, and unless stated otherwise all are 1.33:1.

Main Menu Introduction, Audio & Animation

    An 87 second skippable restoration promo precedes the menus. The menus are done in Bond credit sequence style, with images and music from the film.

Audio Commentary-Guy Hamilton (director)

    This audio commentary is actually by Lee Pfeiffer, who describes various aspects of the film, and includes a lot of interview material with the director as well as some of the actors and crew.

Audio Commentary-Cast and Crew

    A second commentary, similar to the first but hosted by John Cork and featuring audio clips from various cast and crew members, including Ken Adam, John Barry and several of the stunt and special effects people who are now dead. Like the previous commentary this was I think done for the laserdisc release.

Credits

    DVD credits.

Featurette-On Tour With The Aston Martin DB5 (11:13)

    Archival footage of the publicity tours of Bond's car in the mid-1960s, narrated by Mike Ashley who accompanied the car on Aston Martin's behalf.

Interviews-Character-Honor Blackman:- Open-Ended Interview (3:48)

    A series of filmed answers to set interview questions, which was distributed to TV stations so they could have their own reporters pretend to be interviewing Blackman for real.

Interviews-Character-Sean Connery From The Set Of Goldfinger (3:03)

    A BBC interviewer with Connery from the set of the film, with the questions centering around his early days in the business.

Featurette-Theodore Bikel and Tito Vandis Screen Tests (9:24)

    Screen tests in faded colour of two potential actors for the title role. Fortunately, on the basis of what we see here, neither were chosen. Both deliver expanded speeches which would have been in the laser sequence, and are quite different to the final script. Bikel tries  the character with different pairs of glasses while Vandis has a bad hair day and a lot of makeup in his second go at the character. All tests are in widescreen and are 16x9 enhanced.

Featurette-Mission Control: 007, Women, Allies, Villains, Mission Combat Manual, Q Branch and Exotic Locations 

    Categorised under the above headings are clips from the film, so you can see all of the footage related to a character or situation.

Featurette-Making Of (24:59)

    The featurette, narrated by Patrick Macnee, features information about the making of the film and has interviews with the director, crew and actors. I believe this and the next featurette were made for the laserdisc release of the film.

Featurette-The Goldfinger Phenomenon (28:02)

    Also narrated by Macnee, this one concentrates on the publicity for the film's release and the many merchandising tie-ins.

Featurette-Original Publicity (2:08)

    An original publicity piece concentrating on Oddjob and Pussy Galore.

Theatrical Trailer-Archive (2:59)

    An unrestored original trailer, which is 16x9 enhanced.

TV Spots-Broadcasts (2:09)

    Three TV advertisements, two of which are for the re-release double bill with Dr No.

Radio Spots-Communications (33:36)

    An almost interminable series of radio commercials.

Gallery-Photo-Experience The World Of Bond In 1964

    A very large number of publicity stills, behind the scenes photos, posters and images of merchandising. Pressing the Select button allows you to view text about some of the images.

R4 vs R1

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

    These new Ultimate Editions are getting released around the world. As far as I can tell the video quality of the new Region 4s is superior to the old Region 4 releases.

Summary

    The Bond Phenomenon hit top gear with this entertaining, tongue in cheek thriller. Along with Thunderball I think this is the best of the Bond series.

    The video quality is excellent despite some minor digital compression issues.

    The audio is very good, but the absence of the original mono is disappointing.

    More extras than you could look at in three sittings, though not all of them are golden.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS9100ES, using DVI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS60 LCD Projector projected to 80" screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES for surrounds, Elektra Reference power amp for mains
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: Richter Thor Mk IV

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962) | From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963) | Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964) | Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965) | You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969) | Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971) | Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973) | Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974) | Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977) | Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979) | For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981) | Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983) | View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985) | Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987) | Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989) | GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997) | World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999) | Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965)

Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Terrence Young (Director), et al
Audio Commentary-Peter Hunt (Editor), John Hopkins (Screenwriter), et al
Featurette-Bill Suitor: The Rocket Man Movies
Featurette-A Child's Guide To Blowing Up A Motor Car
Featurette-James Bond Commercials
Featurette-Ken Adam's Production Film
Featurette-The Incredible World Of James Bond
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Inside Thunderball, The Thunderball Phenomenon
Featurette-Making Of
Theatrical Trailer-Archive
Gallery-Photo
TV Spots-Broadcasts
Radio Spots-Commercials
Featurette-Exotic Locations
Featurette-Scene Selections; Textless Opening Credits
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1965
Running Time 124:55
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (60:53)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Terence Young
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Sean Connery
Claudine Auger
Adolfo Celi
Luciana Paluzzi
Rik Van Nutter
Guy Doleman
Molly Peters
Martine Beswick
Bernard Lee
Desmond Llewelyn
Lois Maxwell
Roland Culver
Earl Cameron
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)
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
Finnish
Danish
Greek
Hindi
English Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The Star: Perennial favourite Sean Connery stars as James Bond. Produced in 1965 and Directed by Terrence Young, this was Connery's fourth film in the role of British Secret Agent 007. Interestingly, this was the first Bond film to actually use Connery in the film's opening gun barrel sequence. The first three had used a stunt double in his place.

    What's he up against?: International terror organisation SPECTRE has procured two nuclear weapons from a lost NATO flight and is using them to hold the entire northern hemisphere to ransom. One hundred million Pounds Sterling in uncut diamonds is their demand.

    The Girls: If there's one thing that can be said for Thunderball, there's no shortage of gorgeous women. Claudine Auger co-stars as the innocent and misguided Domino while Luciana Paluzzi contradicts this with a cool, ruthless performance as red-haired SPECTRE assassin Fiona Volpa. Martine Beswick serves as Paula Kaplan, bond's Nassau assistant. Molly Peters as Patricia Fearing gives Bond a good working over at a health retreat. A young Jane Asher can be seen next to Connery for most of the Casino scene, although she hardly qualifies as a Bond girl. Asher was engaged to Paul McCartney at this time, who later composed the theme for Live and Let Die.

    The Gadgets: This time around, the villains have most impressive toys! The Disco Volanté is an astonishingly versatile yacht that is capable of detaching its rear hull, converting into a hydrofoil. Perfect for that last minute getaway! Thanks to Q (Desmond Llewelyn), Bond is issued with a few interesting pieces, such as a wrist-watch that doubles as a Geiger counter and a pocket-size SCUBA device. The film's opening scene also sees Bond making his departure via an impressive rocket-pack.

    The Action: Thunderball boasts one of the most complex and expertly filmed underwater action scenes ever attempted. The underwater sequence was directed by Ricou Browning and employed an underwater production staff of over 60 divers.

    The Theme Song: Tom Jones performs the title theme, easily one of the best and most memorable of them all, however this was not the Producer's original intention. Both Shirley Bassey and Dionne Warwick recorded themes for the opening sequence, a tune titled Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Warwick's rendition can be heard in the second audio commentary, while a clip of Bassey's theme can be heard in the Thunderball Phenomenon featurette.

    The Locations: The film opens in Paris, the home of SPECTRE's headquarters. Much of the remainder of the film is set in Nassau (The Bahamas), where at this time The Beatles had recently wrapped shooting of their second film, Help!.

    Personal Thoughts: Thunderball wasn't the first Bond film I experienced, however it became my favourite as soon as I saw it. For me, it just seems to have the best of everything; the best girls, the best action, and it is certainly the peak of Connery's reign as 007.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Lowry have done an exceptional job with the restoration of these films. Originally issued on DVD in 2000, the old Special Edition of Thunderball was rife with visual flaws, ranging from scratches and dirt to colour inconsistencies and telecine wobble. I particularly noticed the composite effects shots, such as the close-ups of Connery in the rocket outfit, have been improved considerably in this Ultimate Edition by reducing grain and shimmering effects. I have no doubt that this is the best the film has ever looked on any medium to date.

    Thunderball has been transferred to DVD in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, complete with 16x9 enhancement. This was the first Bond film to be shot and screened in this aspect ratio.

    The overall image is sharp and clear, however I did notice a few inconsistencies in clarity between scenes. I would put these down to inaccurate focus pulling and I doubt these minor instances of softness would be a problem to the average viewer. Black levels are strong and deep when they need to be while shadow detail is similarly accurate. This film contains quite a few dimly lit underwater scenes that could easily become a nightmare, but they are transferred beautifully here. There was no low level noise evident in the transfer.

    The film's colouring is strong and consistent, with realistic skin tones. One facet of the old Special Edition transfer that annoyed me was the red hue that dominated the image and made the entire cast appear as though they suffered from high blood pressure. There are no such problems here.

    I'm very happy to report that the transfer is completely free of any MPEG compression artefacting, blocking or grain. Haloing and edge enhancement are also absent. Film artefacts such as hairs, dust and dirt have been removed completely, although a very slight film-like graininess remains in some scenes, hardly worth mentioning. I noted some minor aliasing on Venetian blinds in the background at 18:55, amounting to only a brief moment of edginess. As is common for films of this vintage, some slight shakiness arises at times during image pans, but this is due to camera instability and not telecine wobble. Similarly, post production techniques of the day are difficult to correct, such as the sped-up film during action sequences and the composite shots I mentioned above, and these are intact but greatly improved. All of the fades and dissolves between scenes are also intact but appear much less clunky after being restored.

    Four English subtitle streams are provided, two of which accompany the audio commentaries. 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 60:53. This is a relatively quiet moment mid-scene that shouldn't prove too obtrusive to most viewers. The layer break was completely transparent on my system.

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

Audio

    There are four soundtracks accompanying this film on DVD, all of which are English language. The default soundtrack is Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), accompanied by a dts 5.1 (768Kb/s) equivalent that may be selected manually or on the fly. The remaining two audio options are the same audio commentaries that were included on the old Special Edition, featuring Director Terrence Young, Peter Hunt and John Hopkins. As with the video transfer, the audio has undergone significant restoration and sounds terrific, however the film's original mono soundtrack has not been included.

    The English dialogue is always distinct and easy to understand. The ADR sync does vary, with some lines more obvious than others. The scene with Luciana Paluzzi on the bed at 18:20 is a good example, as the mouth movements don't nearly match what is heard. I didn't notice any other dire audio sync issues.

    Given the age of the source material, I was pleasantly surprised at the surround usage in this mix. The score spills slightly to the rear channels, along with some atmospherics and street noise. At 7:40 a car can be heard passing on the right from rear to front. Voices are generally confined to the front centre channel and rarely stray.

    I found that there is little to separate the Dolby Digital and dts options in this case. The depth and consistency of these soundtracks is excellent, particularly when compared to the lacklustre audio of the old Special Edition, however the output level and overall quality of these soundtracks is practically identical. At a high volume level I noticed that the dts comes across slightly smoother, but that's it.

    The film's score is by John Barry, as is the theme sung by Tom Jones. I particularly love the haunting underwater theme, a musical thread that recurs throughout the film.

    The subwoofer accentuates the score a little, as well as the explosions. Again, given the age of the film I'm both surprised and content with the degree of LFE usage.

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

Extras

    There are some excellent new supplements to be found here, in addition to all of the extras from the old Special Edition.

Menus

    The menu pages contain some very smooth animation and are consistently formatted across the entire collection. An audio clip of the theme loops in the background. All of the menu pages are 16x9 enhanced.

Disc One

Audio Commentary- Terrence Young (Director) & Others

    Mediated by John Cork, a large cross-section of cast and crew contribute to this commentary, including designer Production Designer Ken Adam, underwater director Ricou Browning and actress Luciana Paluzzi. They all have interesting anecdotes to share and the flow of information is quite fast at times. Both commentaries include optional English and Dutch subtitles.

Audio Commentary- Peter Hunt (Editor), John Hopkins (Screenwriter) & Others

    This commentary follows an interview style, as Hunt discusses his career and introduction to the Bond franchise. There are a few other interesting tidbits to be found, such as Dionne Warwick's theme song (originally sung by Shirley Bassey), as well as some scenes presented in a variety of language dubs.

Credits

    A simple scrolling text, covering all those that contributed to this Ultimate Edition.

Disc Two

    The second disc is divided into five sections that separate the new extras from the old featurettes. All of the extra material is subtitled in an assortment of languages. I was very irritated to find my player completely locked for more than five minutes after playback of the The Incredible World Of James Bond featurette. Why do copyright notices in a myriad of languages need to be forced upon me? The only way of escaping this barrage of text is to eject the disc and start again, or return to the menu before the featurette ends. Incidentally, the Australian copyright warning is last of all the languages, so if by chance you did want to see the warning that pertained to Region 4, you'll have to sit through five minutes of other languages to get there.

Declassified: MI6 Vault

    This area contains featurettes that are unique to this Ultimate Edition. Some contain clips you'll recognise from the extras of the old Special Edition.

Featurette- Bill Suitor: The Rocket Man Movies (3:43)

    These are the home movies of Bill Suitor, taken while on location in France. Some narration is provided.

Featurette- A Child's Guide To Blowing Up A Motor Car (16:25)

    This tongue-in-cheek film was produced by the Ford motor company, who supplied many of the vehicles in the film. There is actually quite a bit of interesting footage captured on the set, giving an interesting glimpse at the production of the film. I can't help thinking that a film like this (mixing children and explosive devices) would probably be frowned upon nowadays, and for good reason.

Advertisements- James Bond Commercials (3)

Featurette- Ken Adam's Production Films (12:33)

    Ken Adam talks us through some of his home movies that were taken while location scouting with Terence Young, Harry Saltzman and others. He also captured some footage during the production, which is interesting to see.

Featurette- Thunderball Boat Show Reel (2:48)

    This short edit of the underwater battle was thrown together for publicity purposes while the film was still in post production. It serves as an interesting alternate edit of the scene.

Featurette- The Incredible World Of James Bond (48:46)

    United Artists made an American television special that was screened a few weeks prior to the release of Thunderball. It's cheesy to the extreme, but is interesting viewing in an historical sense.

007 Mission Control (Scene Selections)

    I don't really understand the point of this feature, but anyway, here you can access an array of clips from the film. The clips are divided into categories. Some are repeated and most have a play all function. All are presented with 16x9 enhancement and Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) audio.

007

Women

Allies

Villains

Mission Combat Manual (Action Scenes) (3:11)

    Features five of the film's great action sequences, in particular the classic underwater battle.

Q Branch (4:33)

    There are seven scenes that feature Bond's gadgets, from his rocket pack to the underwater camera.

Exotic Locations (3:16)

    This part is a little different and features a voiceover that talks the viewer through the specific locations that were utilised during production, with clips from the film as reference. This piece has stereo audio.

Mission Dossier

    This section contains all the old featurettes from the Special Edition. None are 16x9 enhanced.

Featurette - Inside Thunderball (3:37)

    This short featurette discusses the various discrepancies that appear in different incarnations of the film.

Featurette - The Thunderball Phenomenon (29:48)

    Produced in 1995, this documentary takes a brief look at the film's creator and director, while examining the huge Bond following during the 60s. We're shown conceptual artwork and some of the marketing paraphernalia that accompanied the film. Cast and crew interviews are included.

Featurette - The Making Of Thunderball (26:23)

    This is a very interesting piece that, as the title suggests, explores the making of the film via interviews with cast and crew and footage captured on the set during production. There are some great anecdotes to be heard in this 1995 production.

Ministry Of Propaganda

    Here, you'll find a collection of trailers, TV spots and radio advertisements.

Image Database (Stills Galleries)

    There is a large range of stills to view here, and each gallery has an optional page of explanatory text that can be accessed during the first still (usually about four seconds).

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 Thunderball 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 picture and audio quality.

    Incidentally, the Region 2 (PAL) UEs appear to be identical to ours and are available separately.

Summary

    Thunderball 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.)
Thursday, June 29, 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) NONE
Overall | Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962) | From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963) | Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964) | Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965) | You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969) | Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971) | Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973) | Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974) | Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977) | Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979) | For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981) | Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983) | View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985) | Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987) | Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989) | GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997) | World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999) | Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967)

You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Credits
Featurette-Ken Adam's Production Films
Featurette-Whickers World
Featurette-Welcome To Japan Mr. Bond
Featurette-007,Women, Allies, Mission Combat Manuel, Q Branch
Featurette-Exotic Locations
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Inside The Making Of You Only Live Twice
Featurette-Silhouettes: The James Bond Titles
Storyboards-Plane Crash: Animated Storyboard Sequence
Theatrical Trailer-Archive
TV Spots-Broadcasts
Radio Spots-Communications
Gallery-Photo-1967 - The Year" You Only Live Twice "Was Released
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1967
Running Time 112:03
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (56:32)
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 Sean Connery
Akiko Wakabayashi
Mie Hama
Tetsuro Tamba
Teru Shimada
Karin Dor
Donald Pleasence
Bernard Lee
Lois Maxwell
Desmond Llewelyn
Charles Gray
Tsai Chin
Peter Fanene Maivia
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
Dutch for the Hearing Impaired
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Danish
Greek
Hindi
English Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio 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

    1967 saw the fifth Bond film, and this one takes him to the Orient. Japan, to be specific.

    The pre-credits sequence sees Bond being killed in bed by assassins in Hong Kong, aided by a willing local femme (played by Tsai Chin, Fu Manchu's evil daughter). But his death is just a smokescreen to allow him to investigate the source of the current international crisis. The Americans and the Russians have each lost a spacecraft, and each blame the other. War is imminent. But those trusty Brits have learned that the American spacecraft landed somewhere in the sea off the Japanese coast.

    In Tokyo Bond goes to see local British diplomat Dikko Henderson (Charles Gray), who is swiftly killed just as he is about to give some important information. Chasing the killer, Bond ends up in the offices of Osato Corporation, which is just a front for the importation of chemicals needed to produce rocket fuel. Bond also drops in on the head of the Japanese Secret Service, one "Tiger" Tanaka (Tetsuro Tamba). But of course Bond's interest is piqued more by agent Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi), and the luscious Osato operative Helga Brandt (the luscious Karin Dor). Can Bond discover the mystery behind the missing spaceships and prevent the outbreak of World War III?

    You Only Live Twice exhibits the problems which bedevilled most of the Bonds after the late 1960s, in that the sets, settings and gadgets begin to overwhelm the story, and as each episode tries to outdo the previous they become less and less believable. The script was written by Roald Dahl, and he reportedly said that he wrote it according to a formula - by the numbers, as it were. There are enormous plot holes and unbelievable situations in this film, though with Connery's good-natured charm and a reasonably fast pace this film is still very enjoyable, even if some of it is unintentionally funny - I could not help laughing out loud when Tanaka reveals his secret army of Ninjas even though I've seen this numerous times before. But then there are some good action sequences, like the fight in Osato's office when Bond is forced to use a sofa as a battering ram. There is also an excellent airborne fight when Bond in a gyrocopter takes on four helicopters. But then there is the terrible oriental makeup Connery is forced to wear, which would fool no-one.

   There are a few token Japanese actors in the film, most of whom appear to be dubbed, though co-star Tamba could speak English. Having heard some of his English in a later film called Silence, in which he is supposed to be a Dutchman with red hair and beard, I'm not surprised that they dubbed him here. At this time his star was in the ascendant in his home country, starring in the TV series Key Hunter which also made a star of Sonny Chiba, and he is still making appearances in films in his eighties. Teru Shimada, who plays Osato, was a long-term resident of California and had been in films there since the early 1930s. I think he provides his own voice.

    The English cast includes Bernard Lee and Lois Maxwell of course, and the chief villain Blofeld is played by a very familiar character actor who will be instantly recognisable by his voice, even though his face isn't seen until near the very end. Interestingly Charles Gray would play Blofeld in the next Connery film, Diamonds Are Forever. There are a number of actors who appear in other Bond films, some of whom were killed off in Goldfinger (Burt Kwouk and Anthony Chinn). There are unbilled appearances by Alexander Knox as the American President and William Sylvester and Robert Hutton as his advisers. Fans of UFO will recognise the late Ed Bishop as the red-shirted CapCom operator at the start of the movie.

   This was the first of three Bonds directed by Lewis Gilbert. But his influence is overshadowed by the sets of Ken Adam, which are impressive but tend to overwhelm the film. This isn't the best of the Connery series, but it is still quite enjoyable. Connery left the series after this film, but was back four years later for one last "official" outing as Britain's greatest secret agent.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    This isn't the best presentation of a 2.35:1 film that I've seen. There is a slight lack of sharpness and detail. This despite some obvious manipulation which has resulted in a slight digital edge to outlines, as well as some edge enhancement. Despite the Lowry process being used here, backgrounds often look as if they should have more detail. This extends to foregrounds shown in long shot.

    Colour is very good but again it looks as if the red part of the spectrum has been boosted, making flesh tones a little too brown or ruddy for my liking. Black levels are also good. Shadow detail is sometimes lacking, but not to the extent that anything of importance is missed. Most of the actors wear light suits, in keeping with the sunny exoticism of the plot.

    I did not notice any film artefacts. There are mild examples of posterisation, but not to the same extent as in Goldfinger. There was some judder in horizontal pans, though there do not appear to be any interlacing artefacts. Some telecine wobble is evident at various points during the film.

    Optional subtitles are provided in a variety of languages. The English subtitles appear to be very well done in a sizeable white font.

    The film is on an RSDL-formatted disc. The layer break is noticeable but not disruptive to the flow of the film. It occurs at 56:32 at a cut following the helicopter battle.

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

Audio

    The default audio is Dolby Digital 5.1, with the alternative being DTS 5.1. I listened to the latter in full and sampled the former. There is really no substantial difference between them that I could discern. The producers of this DVD have done the equivalent of pan-and-scan with the audio in not providing the original mono soundtrack.

    This soundtrack has less of the placing of voices in relation to their position on the screen than Goldfinger, which gets annoying when the audio goes from one speaker to the other to match the various camera angles in the same sequence. Dialogue is clear throughout, and there are no fluctuations in the level of the voices. Effects come across very well for a movie of this vintage. While much of the film has a frontal soundstage effects are often spread across the rear channels, though often they just draw attention to themselves rather than envelop the listener in believable sound. The LFE channel gets a considerable workout with explosions and some of the music.

    Audio sync is generally okay for the European and American actors, and not so good for the Japanese. Tetsuro Tamba's voice actor doesn't nearly match Tamba's lip movements, even though he is speaking his lines in English. Alexander Knox's voice may also have been dubbed, as it often doesn't sound like his voice.

    One of the delights of this movie is the splendid score by John Barry, perhaps his finest for the Bond series. He works Asian-sounding themes into the score, plus uses the original Bond music in the aerial dogfight. The title song, sung by Nancy Sinatra, is one of the best Bond songs, the opening of which provides a memorable theme which Barry returns to throughout the film. Unfortunately the new surround mix for the song makes the voice seem more subdued than on my CD of Bond themes.

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

Extras

    A lot of extras, some of which will be familiar from the previous Region 4 DVD, or the laserdisc version if you had it in that format. All have subtitles, and unless stated otherwise all are 1.33:1. All bar the audio commentary are on Disc Two of this two-disc set.

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    An 87 second skippable restoration promo precedes the menus. The menus are done in Bond credit sequence style, with images and music from the film.

Audio Commentary

    John Cork hosts this commentary which features the reminiscences of many of the crew, from Lewis Gilbert to Nancy Sinatra to Ken Adam. There is plenty of information about the technical aspects of the production, mainly stunts and sets.

Credits

    DVD credits.

Featurette-Ken Adam's Production Films (13:57)

    Ken Adam (now Sir Ken) made some colour 16mm home movie footage of the shoot, which he narrates.

Featurette-Whicker's World (5:20)

    For those of you who don't remember or are too young, Alan Whicker is an English journalist who hosted a TV series which ran for about 30 years in which he travelled all over the world, reporting from exotic locations, sort of a one-man 60 Minutes. His unique accent and delivery were hilariously parodied in an episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus. These are excerpts taken from a show in which he looked behind the filming of the latest Bond epic. There are other excerpts from this show in the making of documentary.

Featurette-Welcome To Japan Mr. Bond (50:03)

    This appears to be a made for TV promotional film, with excerpts from all of the Bond films to 1967 framed by a very silly, almost embarrassing story in which Miss Moneypenny frets over the rumour that Bond is about to be married. It features Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny of course and Desmond Llewellyn as Q, demonstrating some of the gadgets used in the latest film. Kate O'Mara appears unbilled.

Featurette-007,Women, Allies, Mission Combat Manuel, Q Branch, Exotic Locations

    Categorised under the above headings are clips from the film, so you can see selected footage related to a character or situation.

Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Inside The Making Of You Only Live Twice (30:22)

    This is an excellent documentary with interviews with many of the surviving crew, including the director, Ken Adam, Peter Hunt and others. Patricia Neal is on hand to represent her then husband Roald Dahl. It is narrated by Patrick Macnee and was made in 2000 for the first DVD release of the film.

Featurette-Silhouettes: The James Bond Titles (23:21)

    This is a biographical featurette about Maurice Binder, who did the opening titles for Dr No, then returned for every Bond film from Thunderball until his early death after Licence to Kill. Binder was responsible for the silhouetted nude girls that sparked the credit sequences. There are interviews with friends, colleagues, Sheena Easton (now with a broad Noo Yoik accent), Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan. It was made in 2000 for the first DVD release of the film.

Storyboards-Plane Crash: Animated Storyboard Sequence (1:36)

    The sequence shows the storyboards for the plane crash sequence with music and effects.

Theatrical Trailer-Archive (8:35)

    Three trailers are included, being an international and a North American trailer and a trailer for a double-bill with Thunderball. The first two are widescreen and 16x9 enhanced.

TV Spots-Broadcasts (0:55)

    A television commercial for a Thunderball-You Only Live Twice double-bill.

Radio Spots-Communications (5:16)

    A series of radio commercials.

Gallery-Photo-1967 - The Year You Only Live Twice Was Released

    Lots of photos in various categories, including publicity stills, behind the scenes pictures and even some glamour stills of the female cast. The Select button allows you to view text about some of the pictures.

R4 vs R1

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

    These new Ultimate Editions are getting released around the world. As far as I can tell the video quality of the new Region 4s is superior to the old Region 4 releases.

Summary

    Not one of the best Bonds, but it still has much to offer.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is also very good.

    More extras than you can throw a set of star knives at.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Friday, June 30, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS9100ES, using DVI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS60 LCD Projector projected to 80" screen. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES for surrounds, Elektra Reference power amp for mains
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: Richter Thor Mk IV

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962) | From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963) | Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964) | Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965) | You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969) | Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971) | Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973) | Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974) | Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977) | Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979) | For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981) | Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983) | View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985) | Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987) | Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989) | GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997) | World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999) | Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969)

On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Credits
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Casting
Interviews-Character-George Lazenby In His own Words
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Press Day In Portugal
Synopsis-Shot On Ice, Swiss Movement
Featurette-007, Women, Aliies, Villians, Mission Combat Manuel
Featurette-Q Branch and Exotic Locations
Featurette-Making Of-Inside Her Majesty's Service
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Inside Q's Lab, Above It All
Theatrical Trailer-Archive
TV Spots-Broadcasts
Radio Spots-Communications
Gallery-Photo-Experience The World Of Bond In 1969, The Year Of Release
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1969
Running Time 136:20
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Peter R. Hunt
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring George Lazenby
Diana Rigg
Telly Savalas
Gabriele Ferzetti
Ilse Steppat
Lois Maxwell
George Baker
Bernard Lee
Bernard Horsfall
Desmond Llewelyn
Yuri Borionko
Virginia North
Geoffrey Cheshire
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 Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The 6th film in the wildly successful United Artists 007 series, upon its theatrical release On Her Majesty's Secret Service was a box-office disappointment. It's also a film that sits uneasily with many Bond fans. To many it's a stain on the Bond name. Personally I like this film, but can understand why some don't. To a large extent, On Her Majesty's Secret Service breaks the mould of the earlier Saltzman/Broccoli produced 007 films.

    Firstly, Sean Connery opted for early retirement and chose not to participate in this film. To replace the bankable Connery was an incredibly difficult task for the producers. In George Lazenby's defence, Connery's shoes would be impossible to fill for any capable actor, let alone a nomadic male model who had little acting experience. (Yes, a male model no less!) At some points in the film, it's like the filmmakers are desperately trying to remind you this is a James Bond movie. The opening credits have flashback scenes from all the previous films, and when Bond is in his office at MI6 he goes through his drawers to find old mementoes from the previous films. Cue each film's soundtrack as he goes through the items (no really... they did cue the soundtracks.)

    Secondly, Q supplied gadgets do not appear at all in this film. Bond relies on his own contacts and resources to hunt down Blofeld. In fact, for a large portion of the film 007 is actually working outside of MI6, at and one stage even resigning (if not for the wisdom of Miss Moneypenny.) This conflicted Bond, tired of the system he was working in is a much truer Bond to Fleming's books than many of the other films.

    Finally, Bond falls in love, talks about having a family and actually gets married! One of my favourite parts of the film is the romantic montage set to Louis Armstrong's We Have All the Time in the World. Walks along the beach, romantic dinners, holding hands in the street, window shopping.... in a Bond movie? So out of place is this montage, it's almost like watching a scene from a Rock Hudson/Doris Day film. The movie ends on a downer, though, as Bond's new bride Tracy gets gunned down by Telly Savalas' Blofeld and Ilse Steppat's Irma Bunt.

    Interestingly enough,  the movie was originally planned to end with the wedding, and Tracy's murder was to be the opening scene of the next movie, Diamonds are Forever. For whatever reason (editorial or getting rid of Lazenby we'll never know) it was left at the end of the film for the most emotionally charged conclusion to any Bond film.

    Most of the film was shot in beautiful Switzerland, where SPECTRE's evil master Dr Evil (I mean Ernest Blofeld) has a laboratory working on spreading disease around the world. His plan is to hold the world to ransom for the antidote. Bond poses as Sir Hilary Bray, an expert in heraldry that Blofeld has hired to confirm his royal connection. Prior to this assignment Bond had rescued and fallen for one of my all-time favourite Bond girls, the delightfully snobbish Diana Rigg. As Bond's cover is blown a great ski chase ensues and Tracy comes to his rescue. Then operating outside of MI6, James gets his future father in law to use his henchmen to take down the Swiss fortress Blofeld inhabits.

    As far as screenplays go, On Her Majesty's Secret Service one of the better in the Bond universe. Unfortunately an unsure leading man distracts viewers as he attempts to make Bond his own. What if Connery had continued on for this one? How good would it have been? One can only wonder.

    If you haven't visited this episode in the Bond library for a while it's definitely worth a look as an interesting and ultimately enjoyable film. (Plus it's not every day you get to see an Aussie with a licence to kill.)

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Lowry deserve every cent they got for the restoration of these films. Not only is this the best transfer for a movie of this age that I have seen, this is one of the best looking transfers I have ever seen, period.

    OHMSS has been magnificently transferred to DVD in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, complete with 16x9 enhancement.

    Overall the image was incredibly clear, however there were a few scenes that were noticeably softer. For a great example of how clear the picture is check out the wallpaper and surroundings at 20:45, the upholstery on the couch at 23:32 and the mural at 25:02. Seriously, I am amazed at the detail that seems to leap out of the screen in many shots. Other reviewers have said the same thing, but I doubt that this film has ever looked so good. Bring on the HD era.

    Black levels are good and shadow detail is accurate.

    Unlike some other reviews of these new editions that have mentioned reddish skin hues, thankfully this film's colouring is strong and consistent with realistic skin tones.

    There are no film artefacts present at all. This is one of the cleanest transfers I've seen. There is no grain either.

    Four English subtitle streams are available, two of which accompany the audio commentaries. They are quite accurate to the dialogue and easy to read.

    As an interesting aside, I did notice (actually my wife noticed and then told me) at 120:51-54 you can see a helicopter literally disappear from view as it goes to land in the assault scene! Airbrushed out? Has this appeared in previous versions?

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

Audio

    The default audio track is Dolby Digital 5.1 (448kbs), with the alternative being DTS 5.1. I couldn't detect any substantial difference between them. Unfortunately the original mono soundtrack is not on the disc. That said however, the tracks are generally front heavy tracks and quite conservative in the surround mix.

    Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand. Sync was correct, although it's an amusing film to watch with all the dialogue that was looped for the actors.

    The music was fantastic. John Barry's theme song sounded great and every time we heard We Have All the Time in the World  I dreaded the emotional ending that was to come.

    There were a few moments when the surrounds were utilised, especially in the aerial assault on Blofeld's mountain lair and the roar of the thundering helicopters.

    The subwoofer wasn't used much.

    There were no click or pop issues.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    This set has some of the best menus I have seen.

Audio Commentary- Director Peter Hunt plus others

    A passable collection of anecdotes with some technical commentary. Not really a director's commentary, though. It's the same track as was found on the last edition. How great would it have been for a Lazenby/Rigg commentary as well! Maybe on the high definition release?

Featurette-Behind The Scenes Casting OHMSS (1:30)

    Extremely brief. This shows some old footage of Lazenby meeting the press for the first time. Interesting but not really informative.

Interviews-Character-George Lazenby In His Own Words (9:25)

    Interview footage of Lazenby at different stages of production and promotion. He comes across as pretty arrogant. He could have had the world at his feet and it seems like his arrogant manner cost him dearly. He even seems to acknowledge that in a recent interview.

Interviews-Cast & Crew-Press Day In Portugal (1:30)

    Footage from the wedding scene.

Shot On Ice (9:19)

    A very old but fun look at the filming of car chase scenes in Switzerland.

Swiss Movement (7:14)

    A fun but dated look at the making of the film.

Featurette-007, Women, Allies, Villians, Mission Combat Manual

    Redundant look at different chapters of the film based on characters, action and so on.

Featurette-Making Of-Inside Her Majesty's Service (41:40)

    A great look at the making of the film with some interesting quotes and footage. This is the same documentary as was present on the previous OHMSS release from a few years ago. Very enjoyable.

Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Inside Q's Lab (10:21)

    A lovely look at Desmond Llewelyn and Q's influence on the franchise. The same documentary as was found on the previous OHMSS release from a few years ago.

Featurette-Behind The Scenes -Above It All (5:27)

    A great, but old look at how the various aerial shots from the film were done. Pretty standard technique for now, but quite cutting edge for back then.

Theatrical Trailer-Archive TV Spots-Broadcasts

    Standard promo fare. Great to see how the industry has changed.

Radio Spots-Communications

    Very over the top radio ads - very cheesy compared to today's marketing efforts

Gallery-Photo-Experience The World Of  Bond In 1969, The Year Of Release

    Photo gallery.

R4 vs R1

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

    Given the superior PAL transfer and the fact that they get a worldwide release - go for R4.

Summary

    A controversial Bond film, but a lot of fun if you can overlook its deficiencies.

    The video is fantastic, but what happened to the helicopter?

    The audio was good, but where is the original mono?

    Lots of special features. I'd love a Lazenby and Rigg commentary, though.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ben Smith (boku no bio)
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDMarantz DV4300, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL HS10 projector on 100 inch 16x9 screen + Palsonic 76WSHD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-DE685. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPioneer
SpeakersDB Dynamics VEGA series floor standers + centre, DB bipole rears, 10" 100W DB Dynamics sub

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Box Office Disappointment / Disappearing Helicopter - grug (there is no bio.) REPLY POSTED
Any News on Goldeneye? - DarkEye (This bio says: Death to DNR!) REPLY POSTED
"Superior PAL" - Cobretti
I think Lazenby gets a bum wrap - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)
Fat chance getting a Rigg / Lazenby Commentary - Widescream
SPOILER ALERT! - Some Bloke
Is this the same version as the previous dvd? - jab.book (oh boy, oh boy, oh bio)
Film artefacts - Gav

Overall | Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962) | From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963) | Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964) | Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965) | You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969) | Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971) | Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973) | Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974) | Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977) | Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979) | For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981) | Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983) | View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985) | Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987) | Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989) | GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997) | World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999) | Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971)

Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Credits
Featurette-Lesson # 007 - Close Quarter Combat
Interviews-Cast-Sean Connery 1971 - The BBC Interview
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Alternative Angle Scenes, Satellite Test Reel
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Explosion Tests, Oil Rig Attack
Featurette-007, Women, Aliies, Villians, Mission Combat Manuel
Featurette-Q Branch and Exotic Locations
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Inside Diamonds Are Forever
Biographies-Crew-Cubby Broccoli - The Man Behind Bond
Deleted Scenes
Theatrical Trailer-Archive
TV Spots-Broadcasts
Radio Spots-Comminications
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1971
Running Time 115:03
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Guy Hamilton
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Sean Connery
Jill St. John
Charles Gray
Lana Wood
Jimmy Dean
Bruce Cabot
Putter Smith
Bruce Glover
Norman Burton
Joseph Fürst
Bernard Lee
Desmond Llewelyn
Leonard Barr
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 Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Diamonds Are Forever marks the 7th film in the United Artists franchise and the last time that Sean Connery was issued with a licence to kill from Cubby Broccoli.

   After an exciting opening sequence in which Bond exacts revenge on Blofeld (or does he?), 007 traces diamond smugglers from London to Amsterdam to Las Vegas to an oil rig out in the middle of the ocean. But why is MI6 chasing diamond smugglers? Because it ultimately leads to a diabolical plot to uproot the world order by Blofeld of course! Apparently the producers wanted to step away from the darker issues in On Her Majesty's Secret Service and have the series return to the Goldfinger style of Bond, a Shirley Bassey theme, exciting car chases, beautiful women, some fantastic one-liners and a cracking fight scene in a elevator. What more could you want?

    The love interest this time around is the gorgeous Jill St John, playing diamond smuggling Tiffany Case. Bond impersonates a diamond smuggler and takes her to the US where they promptly arrive in Las Vegas to deliver their smuggled bounty. The typical Bond formula is to have the bad girl switch allegiances and swoon "Oh James" by the end of the movie. Miss Case is no different and is certainly a worthy Bond girl.

    Interesting additions to the villains are Mr Wint (Bruce Glover) and Mr Kidd (Putter Smith) as the homosexual double assassin act. Surely that was controversial in 1971? Anyway, they make for a fun and inventive pair that greatly up the body count in this film. Blofeld is played by Charles Gray. He does an admirable job but is not exactly the most intimidating nemesis for Bond to face.

    There's no doubting that as much fun as Diamonds Are Forever is, it's easily the weakest link in the Connery-Lazenby-Connery chain. Connery almost looks bored in some scenes, with a 'been there done that' look on his face. He simply doesn't have the energy in this film like he did in earlier incarnations.

    Nonetheless, it's still a lot of fun for a night in with 007, Tiffany Case, Bambi and Thumper, and how can you not like a movie with a girl called Plenty O'Toole?

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Lowry deserve every cent they got for the restoration of these films. This is a great transfer for a film that is 35 years old. However, I wasn't as impressed with this transfer as I was with OHMSS. There are one or two problems that bothered me but it is still a very good transfer.

    Diamonds Are Forever has been transferred to DVD in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, complete with 16x9 enhancement.

    Overall the image was good, but it wasn't as clear as OHMSS. I wonder if the problem was with the original film stock. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't look bad, but Diamonds Are Forever is not as stand out impressive as the previous film in the series.

     The picture is still pretty clear - for examples of how clear it is check out the great scenery at 18:00, 38:24 and 40:11. As good as some scenes look, there are still many that look softer than they should be.

    Black levels are good and shadow detail is accurate.

    Some other reviews of these new editions have mentioned reddish skin hues, and unfortunately this film does have instances where the colouring is too strong and skin tones too reddish. Perhaps it was the Las Vegas heat, but I doubt it. Does HD restoration expose the unnatural caking of makeup that actors have to go through? I remember reading a year or so ago how makeup techniques are changing to incorporate HD.

    There are no film artefacts present at all. Thankfully there is no grain either.

    Four English subtitle streams are available, two of which accompany the audio commentaries. They are quite accurate to the dialogue and easy to read.

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

Audio

    The default audio track is Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), with the alternative being DTS 5.1. Like the previous review I did for the Ultimate Edition of OHMSS, I couldn't detect any substantial difference between them.

    Unfortunately the original mono soundtrack is not on the disc. That said however, the tracks are generally front heavy tracks and quite conservative in the surround mix.

    The dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand. Syncing was correct.

    The music was fantastic. John Barry's theme song sounded great and Shirley Bassey's title track is a beloved classic that'll get you into the mood for a Bond film as soon as you hear it..

    There were a few moments when the surrounds were utilised, especially in the car chase around Las Vegas.

    The subwoofer wasn't used much, but I didn't miss it.

    There were no click or pop issues.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    Fantastic menus! Some of the most polished I have ever seen.

Audio Commentary

    Commentary with Guy Hamilton and other cast/crew. This is not technically a commentary because it consists of snippets of interviews and discussions from various sources. Surely Sean Connery and Jill St John could have been recruited for a commentary?

Featurette - Lesson 007:Close Quarter Combat (4:20)

    Old, brief feature on the fighting in the film featuring director Guy Hamilton. Quite interesting.

Interviews-Cast  Sean Connery BBC Interview (5:00)

    Very interesting. He describes OHMSS thusly: "the lack of success of the previous one meant I could come in now on a better wicket." Enjoyable interview, but way too brief. On that note - why was there no retrospective footage of Connery?

Featurette- Cubby Broccoli: The Man Behind Bond (41:20)

    Features relatives and friends of Albert Broccoli talking about his career in filmmaking, from where it all began to the day he began producing movie versions of Ian Fleming's Bond novels. Enjoyable. Also present on the previous edition of this DVD.

Featurette-Behind The Scenes (1:30)

    Satellite test scenes - the early days of fx.

Featurette Inside Diamonds Are Forever (30:37)

    Narrated by Patrick Macnee, this featurette shows the development and production of Diamonds Are Forever. Originally, Auric Goldfinger's evil twin was supposed to be the baddie, and an American actor was signed to play Bond - luckily, they got Connery back! The producers wanted a more American film, hence it was set primarily in Las Vegas. This was also on the previous release.

Featurette-Behind The Scenes (2:19)

    Oil rig attack sequence

Deleted Scenes

    The weirdest scene included Sammy Davis Jr in a bit part. Plenty O'Toole is featured in two scenes, one at dinner time and again after she is thrown from the window when she returns to the hotel room.

Theatrical Trailer

TV Spots

Radio Spots

R4 vs R1

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

    Get the R4 - it's PAL and the release looks to be identical across international markets.

Summary

    Overall, a weaker Bond but a fun one.

    The video is very good.

    The audio is good too.

    The special features are a lot of fun too. A Connery commentary would seal the deal.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ben Smith (boku no bio)
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDMarantz DV4300, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL HS10 projector on 100 inch 16x9 screen + Palsonic 76WSHD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-DE685. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPioneer
SpeakersDB Dynamics VEGA series floor standers + centre, DB bipole rears, 10" 100W DB Dynamics sub

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Deleted Scene Intro? - Mr Lowery

Overall | Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962) | From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963) | Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964) | Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965) | You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969) | Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971) | Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973) | Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974) | Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977) | Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979) | For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981) | Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983) | View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985) | Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987) | Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989) | GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997) | World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999) | Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973)

Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Credits
Featurette-Bond 1973 : The lost Documentary
Gallery-Poster-Conceptual Art
Featurette-Rodger Moore As James Bond, Circa 1964
Featurette-007,Women, Allies, Mission Combat Manuel, Q Branch
Featurette-Exotic Locations
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Inside Let And Let Die
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-On Set With Rodger Moore: The Funeral Parade
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-On Set With Rodger Moore:Hang Gliding Lessons
Theatrical Trailer-Archive
TV Spots-Broadcasts
Radio Spots-Communications
Gallery-Photo-The World Of James Bond in 1973-The Year Of Release
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1973
Running Time 116:34
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (55:39)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Guy Hamilton
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Roger Moore
Yaphet Kotto
Jane Seymour
Clifton James
Julius Harris
Geoffrey Holder
David Hedison
Gloria Hendry
Bernard Lee
Lois Maxwell
Tommy Lane
Earl Jolly Brown
Roy Stewart
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music George Martin
Linda McCartney
Paul McCartney


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 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Greek
Hindi
English Audio Commentary
English Audio 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

    Live and Let Die is the funkiest jive-talking Bond film. Featuring big afros, long sideburns, huge collars, platform shoes, seedy Harlem bars, black drug lords, and white red-neck hillbilly cops, Live and Let Die drops 007 into a blaxploitation script straight out of Shaft. It's absolutely pimplicious!

    Six actors have played James Bond in the 21 official Bond films, including rugged Sean Connery, former Aussie soldier George Lazenby, dapper Roger Moore, sulky Timothy Dalton, debonair Pierce Brosnan, and newcomer Daniel Craig.

    Live and Let Die was to mark the arrival of Roger Moore as Bond, following Sean Connery's brief return for just one film, Diamonds Are Forever. According to some recollections, Moore was approached to be the first Bond, before the role was offered to Sean Connery, and then again before the role was offered to George Lazenby. Some would say "fortunately", both times Moore was too busy to accept. As a result, Connery, with the help of original Bond Director Terence Young, was to make the role his own.

    Despite being aged 45 when he took on the role, Moore was to appear in seven Bond films over a period of 12 years. Following Live and Let Die in 1973, he went on to star in The Man With The Golden Gun in 1974, The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977, Moonraker in 1979, For Your Eyes Only in 1981, Octupussy in 1983, and View To a Kill in 1985.

    When Producers Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman hired Moore, they consciously decided to make Bond even more suave, debonair and unflappable. He is no longer a cold-blooded killer, and doesn't even look like he can handle himself in a fight. For example, when in Live and Let Die he ends up in a bar in downtown Harlem, I don't think anyone in the audience expected him to get out alive. The tough aura of invincibility was replaced by a handsome pretty-boy who was to embrace the comic elements of the character. Indeed, as Desson Howe once observed: "His weapon of choice was the punchline."

    The producers also decided to drop some of the Bondisms made famous by Connery. For example, in Live and Let Die, Moore's Bond never orders a vodka martini, but rather drinks bourbon whiskey; and Bond now smokes cigars, not cigarettes. As time passed, and Moore was increasingly accepted by Bond fans, some of the old Bond character traits were to return and some of the new ones were dropped.

    With the Moore era, the Bond films were to become less adult-orientated and far more tongue-in-cheek and family friendly. As a result, Bond was to gain a wider appeal, and box office takings were to improve in an increasingly difficult market.

    However, despite all these changes, or maybe because of them, the producers still wanted to infuse Live and Let Die with some of the spirit of the earlier Bond films, and thus they brought in Bond Director Guy Hamilton who had previously directed Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever, and screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz, who had written Diamonds Are Forever, and would later return to write The Man With the Golden Gun.

    While this was the only Bond film to have the character of Q absent since he was introduced in the second movie, both Bernard Lee and Lois Maxwell reprise their roles as M and Moneypenny respectively. Of note, the character of red-neck hillbilly Louisiana Sheriff J.W. Pepper (Clifton James) is introduced in Live and Let Die, and David Hedison makes his debut as Felix Leiter. Hedison returns as Leiter in Licence To Kill, becoming the only actor to play the role more than once.

    In true blaxploitation style, the plot of Live and Let Die is not about world domination or political intrigue - instead, it's about drug smuggling. The British and US Governments have been secretly monitoring the operations of Dr. Kanaga (Yaphet Kotto), a small-time dictator of a tiny Caribbean Island called San Monique.

    When the secret agents involved in the operation disappear, James Bond (Roger Moore) is urgently sent to New York City, where the last agent was killed, to investigate. It so happens that Kananga is also currently in NYC visiting the UN.

    Bond's investigation leads him to a heroin drug lord, Mr. Big, who owns and operates a chain of restaurants in North America known as Fillet Of Soul. Bond also meets Mr. Big's virginal tarot card reading assistant, the very beautiful Solitaire (Jane Seymour).

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

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Live and Let Die has been released twice before on DVD, including as a Special Edition. However, with this Ultimate Edition the 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 all 20 films, and the results are truly remarkable.

    Live and Let Die's DVD transfer is presented in a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. This is close to the film's original theatrical ratio of 1.85:1.

    Overall, the sharpness of the image is very good, but I did notice that some of the mid to long shots looked a little soft. For example the shot in the airport at 12:37. I assume this is in the source material, and I wonder if this is the work of a second unit camera team with a different lens or film stock? The black level is excellent, with true, deep blacks. The shadow detail, however, is a bit of a mixed bag. At times it was excellent, such as the interior of Bond's flat at 7:29, but at other times it was lacking, such as during the scene in the dark alleyway at 25:29.

    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 very well saturated palette. At times, however, some of the colours looked a little muted. The skin tones are accurate.

    While some scenes can appear a little grainy at times, I assume this is in the source material, and relates to the film stock used. I also assume some grainy stock footage has been inserted occasionally. 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 subtitles are present. The English ones are accurate.

    The feature is presented on a Dual Layer disc, with the layer change is placed at 55:39. The feature is divided into 32 chapters.

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

Audio

    Originally released theatrically in the 1970s, I wasn't expecting much, but was pleased with the results. The disappointing aspect of the DVD aurally is that the sound does seem dated, and even a little tinny at times. For example, the gun shots sound muffled in comparison to more recent films.

    The DVD offers three audio options: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s), and English Text Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s). I watched the feature with both the Dolby Digital 5.1 and dts 5.1 audio. While many films benefit from a dts soundtrack, this is not one of them. 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.

    Although there is a considerable amount of ADR, the dialogue quality and audio sync are good throughout.

    Taking a temporary break from scoring the Bond films, Oscar winning composer John Barry stepped aside to make way for Fifth Beatle George Martin. For the catchy theme song, Martin enlisted the help of former Beatle Paul McCartney.

    The dts and Dolby Digital surround mixes provide a nice separation across the front three speakers. The rear speakers are called upon to provide subtle ambience, such as during the hotel stage show at 27:47 or during the voodoo gathering at 96:22. The resulting mix sounds almost like a Dolby stereo surround mix, and there are no whiz-bang directional effects or panning between speakers.

    This DVD's LFE track is very limited, but the subwoofer does lend a hand at times, such as during the explosion at 102:17.

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.

 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 Guy Hamilton & members Of Cast And Crew

    Hosted by John Clark of the Ian Fleming Foundation, this commentary is very interesting, and packed with a lot of information and anecdotes. Interviews with a number of the cast and crew have been edited to make the commentary fairly screen specific, and each speaker is introduced by Clark. We hear from a range of people, such as Actors, Jane Seymour, and Yaphet Kotto, Art Director Syd Cain, and SFX Supervisor David Meddings. Some of these interviews were recorded on location, so the audio quality suffers at times.

Audio Commentary - Screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz

    Mankiewicz recalls the many script ideas he had, and to some extent, the evolution of those that ended up on the big screen. While there are some gaps, Mankiewicz seems to recall his time working on this film very well. This appears to be the same commentary that was on the Special Edition DVD.

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 is quite personal and he discusses issues well beyond the film. For example, the film opens at the UN, and this allows him to discuss his 15 years working for the UN, as a UNICEF Good Will Ambassador. Of course there is also plenty of Bond-related anecdotes and memories, such as how he was originally approached and hired, to his recollections of cast, crew, and the film's many locations.

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 featurettes from the Live And Let Die Special Edition:

Ministry Of Propaganda

    Theatrical Trailers:

    TV Trailers:

    Two Radio Spots

Interactive Image Database 

    Nine themed photographic stills galleries from 1973, presented as slide shows.

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 with the subtitles.

Summary

    Live and Let Die was to mark an intentional and noticeable change in direction for the Bond movies. The films were to become far more commercial, and far less critically acclaimed. With Live and Let Die one can see the evolution toward the tongue-in-cheek high-camp action-comedies that were to be known simply as the Moore era.

    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)
Monday, July 03, 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
Comments (Add)
I am a pedantic nitpicking b****** - grug (there is no bio.)
You're right, Grug - Ron Stevens
Music Score and Title Song - Michael Q (read my bio)
Missing audio commentary's..... - mr lowery REPLY POSTED
What??? No Moore Audio Commentaries on Region 4??? - Anonymous REPLY POSTED

Overall | Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962) | From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963) | Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964) | Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965) | You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969) | Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971) | Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973) | Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974) | Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977) | Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979) | For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981) | Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983) | View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985) | Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987) | Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989) | GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997) | World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999) | Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974)

Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Credits
Interviews-Character-The Russell Harty Show 1974
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-On Location With The Man With The Golden Gun
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Girls Fighting
Featurette-American Thrill Show - Stunt Film And Audio Commentary
Featurette-007, Women, Allies, Villains, Mission Combat Manual
Featurette-Exotic Locations
Theatrical Trailer-Archive
TV Spots-Broadcasts
Radio Spots-Communications
Gallery-Photo-Experience The World Of James Bond in 1974
Featurette-Making Of-The Road To Bond - Stunt Co-ordinator W.J Milligan
Featurette-Making Of-Inside The Man With The Golden Gun
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Double -O Stuntmen A Look At The Greatest Stunts
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Stunt Performances In Bond Films
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1974
Running Time 119:57
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (62:43)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Guy Hamilton
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Roger Moore
Christopher Lee
Britt Ekland
Maud Adams
Hervé Villechaize
Clifton James
Richard Loo
Soon-Tek Oh
Marc Lawrence
Bernard Lee
Lois Maxwell
Marne Maitland
Desmond Llewelyn
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 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 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, Large electronics manufacturer
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Roger Moore's second outing as Bond is a perfunctory adventure with little to really stamp the Bond mystique upon it. The opening sequence sees professional hitman Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) matching his wits against a dark-suited hood (Marc Lawrence) in a funhouse on Scaramanga's island. The action is observed by Scaramanga's diminutive and extremely irritating manservant Nick Nack (Hervé Villechaize). In the opening scenes Scaramanga reveals why the film could have been titled The Man With The Triple Nipples.

    Back in London M tells Bond that they have received a golden bullet - Scaramanga's trademark - with 007 engraved on it. An apparent indication that the mysterious hitman of whom there is no photograph or description, other than his mammary surplus, has Bond next on his list. Bond decides that the best form of offence is attack, and quickly proceeds to Pinewood Studios, umm, Beirut, to locate the golden bullet which killed 002. He has been forced to drop a case over a missing energy expert with a highly efficient solar energy converter, but as we see later this case is intertwined with the Scaramanga case.

    From Pinewood, sorry, Beirut he travels to Hong Kong where he catches up with Scaramanga's accomplice Andrea Anders (Maud Adams). With her assistance and that of local cop Hip (Soon Taik Oh) and resident agent Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland) he discovers that Scaramanga had been hired by mob boss Hai Fat (Richard Loo). Pretty soon Bond is in Thailand and hot on the trail of the extra-glanded assassin.

    This film is a strange stew of various elements which don't quite mix. It is as if the screenwriters and director were just tired of the whole Bond thing and decided to go through the motions just for the sake of doing so, though the truth seems to be that the film was made in a hurry after the success of the previous outing. There are some terrible bits of innuendo (a nude girl in a swimming pool reveals her name is Chew Mee) strewn throughout the film, lacking the wit of the earlier Connery scripts. The rednecked Southern Sheriff Pepper character from Live and Let Die, played by Clifton James, mysteriously appears on holiday in Thailand, spouts embarrassing racial epithets at the natives and then disappears just as quickly and mysteriously as he appeared.

    There are a few good things in the film, with an okay car chase in the middle which is by turns exciting and poorly directed. The insertion during one stunt of a terrible sound effect tends to ruin the whole effect though. The scenery is often spectacular but there are several obvious studio sets. The one positive thing is the performance of Christopher Lee, who plays the self-confident super-bad guy role to the hilt, and he is one of the best villains in the whole series. Only Scaramanga's own hubris defeats him in the end. Interestingly Lee was, by marriage, Bond creator Ian Fleming's cousin, and Fleming reportedly wanted Lee to play the titular villain in the first of the screen adventures. However the producers had already signed Joseph Wiseman. The Scaramanga role was initially offered to Jack Palance, who turned it down. The previous year Palance had played Dracula in a TV movie!

    Unusually for the Moore series there is some of the sadism of the original books, with Bond tormenting a weapons maker (Marne Maitland) with one of his own weapons and then later being quite vigorous when he "interrogates" Andrea. Moore just doesn't look comfortable being anything but a saint. He was already 46 when he assumed the role but he managed to stick around longer than any other 007. Three years older than Connery, he aged more slowly than his predecessor and continued to play the role into his late fifties. The films in which he appeared, aside from the first and third, seemed to tire more quickly than he did.

    Even the sets are not as impressive as in the earlier films, apart from an indoor set on the capsized Queen Elizabeth where the furniture is set on an angle. In the scenes in this set you can quite clearly see the effects of Bernard Lee's drinking, with his puffy, pimply nose and rheumy eyes as well as an uncharacteristically tired performance. Lois Maxwell appears only briefly as Moneypenny, while Q returns after a hiatus but fails to produce any gadgets. This time he has a colleague played by James Cossins, and there is also an uncredited role for Michael Goodliffe in the initial scene in M's London office.

    For a film set mainly in Asia there are only two actors of Asian decent in major roles, both of whom made their careers in Hollywood. Richard Loo appeared in several Frank Capra films in the 1930s and had retired to his native Hawaii by the time he made this, his last feature film. Soon Taik Oh was Japanese-born and Korean-raised but his acting career has seen him playing entirely in Hollywood, mainly on TV.

    As to the Bond women, Britt Ekland plays perhaps the dumbest heroine in any of the twenty official films thus far, and this is in keeping with the inordinate amount of comedy in the movie. Maud Adams on the other hand plays a more tragic figure, which is not so much in keeping with the overall tone. She obviously impressed the producers as would be recalled to again play a Bond girl some years later.

    While this is probably not the worst Bond film (Moonraker anyone?) it is not very good at all. It's worth seeing for Christopher Lee's performance but not a great deal else.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in what appears to be the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. I do not have a copy of the previous Region 4 DVD release to hand to compare it with this one, but I understand that it was in 1.66:1. I seem to recall reading that some of the Bonds were shot in 1.37:1 and then matted to various aspect ratios to suit different markets, the wider ratio being the preferred American standard and the narrower ratio being used in Europe. In any case it does not look like we are missing any action through cropping, and everything seems to be well composed for this aspect ratio.

    If I was still reviewing this disc on a CRT device I would give it higher marks than I now feel inclined to do. On a CRT, which I used to review the commentaries, the image appears quite sharp and the overall video is clear with plenty of detail and stable colour. On the larger projected image it is somewhat less sharp, and there is some noticeable edge enhancement. There is lots of posterisation, and often dark splotches of brown in the shadowy parts of faces, which I found quite distracting. The posterisation is also noticeable on the CRT but only if you look carefully.

    Colour is quite good. Primary colours are clean and bright. There is a brownish look to the sequences in Thailand. I don't know whether it reflects the actors getting suntans, but their skin colour tends to fluctuate from scene to scene.

    The restorers have done an excellent job in removing all film artefacts. They also appear to have introduced some digital noise in the backgrounds of scenes.

    Optional subtitles are provided in the usual umpteen languages, including English hard of hearing. The subtitles are in a clear white font and cover all of the dialogue.

    The disc is RSDL-formatted and the layer change is noticeable at 62:43, but is not disruptive to the flow of the film.

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

Audio

    The default audio is Dolby Digital 5.1, with the alternative being DTS 5.1. I listened to the latter in full and sampled the former. There is no substantial difference between them that I could discern. The producers of this DVD have done the equivalent of pan-and-scan with the audio in not providing the original mono soundtrack.

    Dialogue is clear throughout. The effects are well done, generally sounding quite believable. The use of the rear channels for directional sound effects is rare but well handled when it does occur. There is plenty of work for the LFE channel, giving emphasis to explosions and the sound of motors for example, while also being used to give the music some weight.

    Audio sync is good, with only some ADR work having noticeable sync issues. Some of the Hong Kong shooting was done in front of a large crowd at the Bottoms Up club, but you'd never know it, so that sequence must have had the soundtrack added in the studio.

    This is possibly John Barry's worst Bond score. The title song is belted out by Lulu, and it has some terrible lines ("He has a powerful weapon"). The score has little in the way of memorable music apart from the Bond theme, and sounds like it was done in a hurry like the rest of the movie. And Barry admits on the audio commentary that the use of a sound effect during the famous car stunt was a mistake on his part.

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

Extras

    A lot of extras, some of which will be familiar from the previous Region 4 DVD, or the laserdisc version if you had it in that format. All have subtitles, and unless stated otherwise all are 1.33:1. All bar the audio commentaries and credits are on Disc Two of this two-disc set.

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    An 87 second skippable restoration promo precedes the menus. The menus are done in Bond credit sequence style, with images and music from the film.

Audio Commentary - Director Guy Hamilton, cast and crew

    David Naylor hosts this commentary which features the reminiscences of many of the crew, including Guy Hamilton, John Barry, Maud Adams, Britt Ekland, Christopher Lee, Oswald Morris and many others.

Audio Commentary - Sir Roger Moore

    In a recently recorded commentary the star reminisces about the film, which he hasn't seen since the premiere, and the various actors and crew. There are some interesting stories and a few dead spots. Overall this was a better listen than I had expected, with Moore turning out not to have one of those Hollywood-sized egos and to have a good sense of humour.

Credits

    DVD credits.

Interviews-Character-The Russell Harty Show 1974 (2:51)

    Some choppy highlights from a chat show in 1974, with Moore and Villechaize promoting the film. This is really just a few grabs and is not all that worthwhile.

Featurette-Behind The Scenes-On Location With The Man With The Golden Gun (1:27)

    This is a short film that looks like it was a news story from Hong Kong, with some behind the scenes footage and interviews with a couple of cast members. It is narrated by Bond producer Michael Wilson.

Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Girls Fighting (3:29)

    The dailies of the scene of the two girls fighting a group of martial arts students, with music and voice-over introduction by Michael Wilson. This is widescreen and 16x9 enhanced.

Featurette-American Thrill Show - Stunt Film (5:03)

    The famous car stunt in the film was based on the pièce de résistance of a travelling auto stunt show. This film is the promotional film made by the stunt show, and is available as is and with a commentary by Jay Milligan, president of the company behind the stunt.

Featurette-007 Women, Allies, Villains, Mission Combat Manual, Q Branch, Exotic Locations

    Categorised under the above headings are clips from the film, so you can see selected footage related to a character or situation.

Featurette-Guy Hamilton: The Director Speaks (5:04)

    The director talks about the film and his career over animated still photographs.

Featurette-The Road to Bond: Stunt Co-ordinator W.J Milligan (8:01)

    Milligan discusses how his background, how he was approached by the producers and his work on the film. This is audio only, with a static graphic similar to the menus displayed on screen throughout.

Featurette-Inside The Man With the Golden Gun (30:57)

    An interesting documentary about the production, with interviews and behind the scenes footage. Made in 2000 for the initial DVD release and narrated by Patrick Macnee.

Featurette-Double-O Stuntmen: A look at the Greatest Stunts and Stunt Performers in the Bond Films (28:37)

    As the title suggests, this covers the best stunts over 40 years of Bond films and includes highlights of the stunts, interviews with the stunt men and tales of some of the injuries and close calls.

Theatrical Trailer-Archive (4:56)

    Two trailers, only the second of which is widescreen and 16x9 enhanced. Both show some degradation in the colour.

TV Spots-Broadcasts (1:54)

    Two television commercials.

Radio Spots-Communications (2:02)

    Three radio commercials.

Gallery-Photo-Experience The World Of James Bond in 1974

    Lots of photos in various categories, including publicity stills, behind the scenes pictures and some publicity stills of the cast. The Select button allows you to view text about some of the pictures.

R4 vs R1

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

    These new Ultimate Editions are getting released around the world. As far as I can tell the video quality of the new Region 4s is superior to the old Region 4 releases.

Summary

    One of the most disappointing films in the series, though not the worst.

    The video quality is very good but there are problems for viewers with large displays.

    The audio quality is also very good.

    A lot of extras and some are quite good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS9100ES, using DVI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS60 LCD Projector projected to 80" screen. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD Player, Dolby Digital and DTS. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES for surrounds, Elektra Reference power amp for mains
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: Richter Thor Mk IV

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
aspect ratio - penguin (there is no bio)
Car Stunt - Anonymous
Well Dirty Harry said it... - TK421

Overall | Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962) | From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963) | Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964) | Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965) | You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969) | Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971) | Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973) | Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974) | Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977) | Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979) | For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981) | Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983) | View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985) | Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987) | Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989) | GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997) | World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999) | Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977)

Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Credits
Featurette-Ken Adams Production Film
Storyboards-Escape From Atlantis-Storybook Sequence
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-007-Stage Dedication, 007-In Egypt
Featurette-Rodger Moore-My Word Is Bond
Featurette-007, Women, Aliies, Villians, Mission Combat Manuel
Featurette-Q Branch and Exotic Locations
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Inside The Spy Who Loved Me
Featurette-Ken Adams:Designing Bond
Theatrical Trailer-Archive
TV Spots-Broadcasts
Radio Spots-Communications
Gallery-Photo-Experience The World Of 1977, The Year Of Release
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1977
Running Time 120:27
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (67:44)
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
Barbara Bach
Curd Jürgens
Richard Kiel
Caroline Munro
Walter Gotell
Geoffrey Keen
Bernard Lee
George Baker
Michael Billington
Olga Bisera
Desmond Llewelyn
Edward de Souza
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Marvin Hamlisch


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 Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    For Bond's 10th big screen adventure the producers decided to use the Ian Fleming book title of The Spy Who Loved Me. Due to contract restrictions however, the filmmakers could not use any of the story elements from Fleming’s novel and so the producers had to come up with a unique storyline completely different from the original book. The resulting film is one that Roger Moore claims to be his favourite Bond film, and many fans will agree that The Spy Who Loved Me is the high point of Roger Moore’s time as Bond.

    As the film opens we learn that both the Russians and the British have lost a nuclear submarine each. The British assign their top spy, James Bond (Roger Moore) to the case while the Russians assign their top spy, female agent Major Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach), aka Agent XXX. On his way to headquarters, James Bond must race on skis from some pursuing KGB agents and must kill one to escape. The agent killed turns out to be the lover of agent XXX and she vows to avenge his death.

    When the Russians and British learn they have each lost a nuclear submarine they decide to join forces to solve the case. Bond and Anya must now work together to find out what has happened to the submarines and along the way they must stop criminal mastermind Karl Stromberg (Curt Jurgens). Stromberg wants to establish an underwater empire and plans to destroy life above the surface using the nuclear warheads from the submarines he has stolen. Can Bond and Anya stop Stromberg in time and will Bond survive when Anya learns that he was the one who killed her lover?

    Despite the fact that Anya is meant to be Russia's top secret agent she unfortunately is not a strong female figure. Maybe the film makers were worried about having a strong female lead. Instead Anya is often the damsel in distress reliant on James Bond to save her from danger. More impressive is memorable Bond villain Jaws played by Richard Kiel. Jaws was originally going to be killed off in this movie but such was the audience reaction to this character that the script was changed and Jaws survived to appear in the next film, Moonraker.

    The Spy Who Loved Me incorporated some of the most ambitious set pieces of the time, including the building of the world’s biggest soundstage for one of the impressive interiors. It also made extensive use of miniatures and most of the special effects still stand up very nicely. The film's special effects were unfortunately overshadowed by another film which set new standards for special effects that same year. That film was Star Wars and its popularity inspired the next Bond film, Moonraker. This was despite the fact that the end credits of The Spy Who Loved Me announced the next film as being For Your Eyes Only which meant it was actually promised twice.

    Along with great set pieces and cutting edge special effects, music has always been a key ingredient in any Bond film. In the case of The Spy Who Loved Me I felt it was overdone and somewhat spoilt the film for me. The best part of the music is the theme song Nobody Does it Better sung by Carly Simon. Its melody is used effectively as a recurring motif in the film. The rest of the original score by Marvin Hamlisch is less successful  and was, to be frank, rather clichéd and over done. Rather than support and reinforce the action on screen, it dominates and draws undue attention to itself. Also overdone was the use of music from other well known films. I could live with the use of Lara’s Theme from Dr. Zhivago playing from Anya’s music box, but when they used the theme from Laurence of Arabia while Bond and Anya trek through the desert after their van has broken down I felt the filmmakers had gone too far. Some may consider it an homage but I think it’s just plain tacky.

    Despite that however, The Spy Who Loved Me is still a thoroughly enjoyable adventure romp with some well executed comedy thrown in for good measure. This film can hold its own against the other films from the Bond franchise and for many it is considered one of the best films from Roger Moore’s time as James Bond and I tend to agree.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    After reviewing my first Bond film from the ultimate collection, From Russia with Love which I was extremely impressed with, I was very keen to see if that high quality was going to extend to the other films. Sadly, however, in the case of The Spy Who Loved Me it hasn’t. This is not a bad transfer per se, just nowhere near as good as the previous film I reviewed. The biggest issue with this transfer is edge enhancement. The previous special edition release does not suffer quite as badly from edge enhancement but did suffer a bit from MPEG compression artefacting. This was due to the fact that it had to share the single disc with a generous range of extras that have been moved to their own disc in this new release. Colour balance is also improved on this new edition and on the whole I felt this new edition is superior to the previous release, although it was a close call. Had it not been for the excessive edge enhancement of this Ultimate Edition it would have been a slam-dunk for this new version.

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

    The image shows reasonable levels of sharpness but this seems to have been achieved through artificial sharpening which shows up with the excessive amount of edge enhancement in the transfer. Shadow detail is about average for a film of this age and the image is thankfully free of low level noise.

    Colours were well saturated and accurate although I did observe a slight tendency to oversaturate the reds at times, which occasionally gave skin tones a slight pinkish tone.

    As mentioned above the main artefact in this transfer is edge enhancement and it is prevalent throughout the entire film. It is noticeable from the very start of the film in the famous gun-barrel start where Bond's body is surrounded by a halo. Other notable instances include an interior scene at 12:05 where all the men’s suits have a halo around them and a night exterior shot at 23:34 where Bond's body is surrounded by a small halo. This edge enhancement is noticeable throughout and I found it very annoying although viewers with smaller displays may not find it quite as intrusive as I did. Apart from that, however, the transfer is completely free of film artefacts and MPEG compression artefacts.

    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 67:44 which is a cut between two shots. The positioning is not too bad but I did feel there were spots around the same time that may have been a bit less intrusive.

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. In the case of The Spy who Loved Me, however, I felt that the DTS soundtrack provided a deeper soundstage and slightly superior dynamic range. That said, however, I was not terribly impressed with either soundtrack.

    Dialogue was generally easy to understand and audio sync was fairly good for the most part. I did, however, get the impression that some of the dialogue for Agent XXX and a few others was looped in later. For instance in a scene around the 32 minute mark her dialogue just seemed a bit off.

    As mentioned in the main review I felt the original music by Marvin Hamlisch was overdone on the soundtrack and was often clichéd and drew too much attention to itself. Watch the scene set around some ancient Egyptian columns around the 40 minute mark for a good example of this. It must be said however that music is obviously an integral part of Bond films and some may enjoy the prominence this music has in the soundtrack.

    The surrounds are used to add ambience to the scenes as well as carry the music. Sometimes they are bit overdone such as around 5:54 where the music in the surround channels really draws attention to itself. The surrounds are used effectively at times with sound effects such as at 53:52 where the sound of an approaching train pans from the front right to the rear left. These moments, however, are pretty rare and there were many instances where I felt they could have been used much better.

    The subwoofer channel was the most disappointing part of the soundtrack. There were numerous moments in the film where it could have been used to great effect and simply was not, such as during the numerous explosions during the movie.

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 One

Commentary – Lewis Gilbert (Director), Ken Adam (Production Designer), Christopher Wood (Co-writer) and Michael G. Wilson (Assistant to the Producer)

    The participants are sitting together and spend most of the commentary admiring each other's work and the work of the other people involved in the film. As the film progresses some of the gaps in the commentary become quite long. This commentary doesn’t really introduce much in the way of interesting information not covered by the other featurettes on Disc 2. To be quite frank I found this commentary extremely dull.

Commentary – Roger Moore (Actor)

    Roger Moore is relaxed, conversational and witty in this interesting commentary. He recalls as best as possible working on the film and tells a number of interesting little anecdotes about shooting the film. If you listen to only one commentary on this DVD then this is the one to choose.

Disc Two

    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. Department of Propaganda contains a collection of trailers, TV spots, radio ads and finally we have Image Database which contains a collection of still image galleries.

Declassified MI6 Vault

Ken Adam’s Production Films 4x3 (5:41)

     Strangely this featurette begins with the full assortment of copyright and legal warnings that last almost as long as the featurette itself. (OK, that’s a slight exaggeration). It consists of footage shot by production designer Ken Adam. He discusses the footage and how he used the locations in the film. Interesting behind the scenes stuff.

Escape From Atlantis Storyboard Sequence 4x3 (2:14)

    This shows a storyboard sequence for the scene where they escape from the sinking Atlantis. It is subtitled with dialogue from an early version of the script. It is surprisingly close to the actual scene.

007 Stage Dedication 4x3 (1:07)

    This is a vintage featurette about the opening of the huge soundstage built for the film.

Roger Moore: My Word Is My Bond 16x9 (4:31)

     Oddly this featurette is 16x9 enhanced but the actual interview is entirely 4x3. (There are black bars on both sides). I set my player to 4x3 letterbox and found that the resulting image had black bars all round. I can’t image this was done on purpose and suspect this is an authoring error on the disc. This featurette shows Roger Moore answering questions from journalists. It doesn’t however show the questions being asked. Moore’s responses are typical press junket stuff.

007 in Egypt 16x9 (6:12)

    Again this featurette is 16x9 enhanced but the actual footage is entirely 4x3. Like the previous featurette, if you have your player set to 4x3 you’ll receive an image with black bars all around the image. This is 16mm behind the scenes footage shot in Egypt. It includes a narration by Michael Wilson who introduces himself as producer of the Bond films (but was actually credited as Special Assistant to Producer in this film). He discusses some of the footage as well as some of the challenges of shooting in Egypt.

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 found it of little appeal.

Mission Dossier:

Inside The Spy Who Loved Me 4x3 (40:40)

    This is quite an  interesting featurette. It delves into all the pre-production problems and takes us right through to the end of production. This is a really intriguing little featurette that illustrates the fact that often the behind the scene dramas are just as interesting as what gets shot in front of the camera.

Ken Adam: Designing Bond 4x3 (21:42)

     Ken Adam was the production designer for seven of the Bond films starting with Dr. No and ending with Moonraker. In this fascinating little featurette Ken Adam discusses his work and some of the influences on the designs. This really is a must watch for all Bond fans. There is no question that Ken Adam made a huge contribution to the look and feel of the Bond series.

Ministry of Propaganda:

Theatrical Archive

     This is a collection of theatrical trailers. These are all very similar to each other and probably give away a bit too much.

TV Broadcasts

    This is a collection of short TV spots, which are all quite similar to each other.

Radio Communication

     These are audio only commercials made for radio. Some of these are quite creative and are worth a listen.

Image Database

    This is a collection of still galleries categorized by The Filmmakers, Portraits, Pre-Credit Ski Action, Sardinia, Bahamas, Egypt, Pinewood, The 007 Stage and Around the World with 007.

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

    The Spy Who Loved Me is considered one of the best Bond films from Roger Moore's time as Agent 007 and I tend to agree.

    Overall the new transfer is an improvement over the previous special edition but is let down by an excess of edge enhancement.

    Audio is provided by both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 soundtracks but I was not terribly impressed with either.

    The extras package is extensive although the most significant of them are those carried over from the previous Special Edition.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Michael Gauntlett (read my bio if you're bored.)
Wednesday, July 05, 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)
Oscar Nominations - dlormans (This is my biography) REPLY POSTED
Studio Logos - DarkEye (This bio says: Death to DNR!) REPLY POSTED

Overall | Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962) | From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963) | Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964) | Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965) | You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969) | Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971) | Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973) | Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974) | Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977) | Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979) | For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981) | Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983) | View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985) | Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987) | Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989) | GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997) | World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999) | Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979)

Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

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

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

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
Comments (Add)
Mistake in R4 vs R1 - Klokwerk REPLY POSTED
The First Bond Film I saw - Anonymous
The First Bond Film I saw - Anonymous

Overall | Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962) | From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963) | Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964) | Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965) | You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969) | Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971) | Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973) | Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974) | Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977) | Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979) | For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981) | Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983) | View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985) | Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987) | Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989) | GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997) | World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999) | Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981)

For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Credits
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Bond In Greece And Cortina
Synopsis-Neptune Journey
Scene Synopsis-John Glen's Intro - Death Of Locque
Scene Synopsis-John Glen's Intro- Death Of Locque Multi-Angle
Deleted Scenes-Joining Forces, Hockey 007 Style
Featurette-Making Of-Death Of Locque - Expanded Angles
Featurette-007, The Women, Allies, Villians,Mission Cobat Manual
Featurette-Q Branch, Exotic Locations
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Inside Your Eyes Only
Storyboards-Animated Sequences-Snowmobile Chase and Underwater
Music Video-Sheena Easton
Theatrical Trailer-Archive
TV Spots-Broadcasts
Radio Spots-Communications
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1981
Running Time 122:36
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (62:01)
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
Carole Bouquet
Topol
Lynn-Holly Johnson
Julian Glover
Cassandra Harris
Jill Bennett
Michael Gothard
John Wyman
Jack Hedley
Lois Maxwell
Desmond Llewelyn
Geoffrey Keen
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Bill Conti


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 No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The third last Roger Moore era James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only is an underrated classic, and certainly Moore’s finest. After the descent of the Bond franchise into the tongue-in-check self-mockery that was Live And Let Die, The Man With The Golden Gun and Moonraker, director John Glen brought us a fine film that attempted to bring the show back to its roots, while updating the story for a more serious espionage angle that better reflected the politics of the era and the various other “realistic” spy-thrillers released at that time.

    The plot of For Your Eyes Only is reasonably complex for a Bond movie. It opens with the sinking of a disguised British spy ship off the coast of Greece, and then takes Bond on the trail of a hired assassin in Spain, to Cortina for the middle of the Winter Olympics, down to the coast of Albania, and then back to the waters off the coast of Greece in the hunt for a stolen nuclear submarine locator that the Russians are keen to get their hands on.

    Paired up with one of the most stunning Bond women, Carole Bouquet as Melina Havelock, this film also includes some of the best underwater fighting scenes of its time, far superior to those of Thunderball, including a battle between mini-submarines that was not to be rivalled until James Cameron’s underwater epic The Abyss. The story also has a far less satirical tone than its predecessors, and a more likeable Bond who treats his women with a modicum more respect than the Connery incarnation did. More importantly, Ms Havelock is far from the defenceless, screaming, incompetent eye-candy that generally populate Bond films, and as such took the series in a more interesting direction, with several later Bond movies featuring tough female counterparts (Licence To Kill, Tomorrow Never Dies).

    As a semi-serious Bond venture, this is one of my favourites, and great viewing even twenty-five years later. Well worth it.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Presented in 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, mastered from a new high definition transfer from the source material, this is an excellent image, and the best we are likely to ever see this film until we get a proper HD transfer in one of the new formats. Upscaled to 1080i at 50Hz, this is truly stunning.

    The major difference is in the colour and light correction done by Lowry – the difference really is phenomenal. Much like the remastering done for the original Star Wars trilogy, this really does look like it was made yesterday, and the use of colour and shadow in this fashion really does enhance the viewing experience.

    Shadow detail is far more pronounced and less murky than it was for the original R4 release and the image is also sharper and more defined, with far more background detail than before.

    Film-to-video transfer artefacts are virtually non-existent, and I had to really scrutinise the picture before I was able to detect the faintest of background aliasing. Rare as it was, you can just see it in a couple of spots, mostly on metal grilles that travel at an angle to the camera. Nearly all dirt has been removed.

    There are subtitles available in a raft of options as enumerated above, including English and English for the Hearing Impaired. I watched the subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired. They are quite accurate.

    The dual layer pause is at 62:01. It occurs during a scene change and is a little jarring, but not appalling.

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

Audio

    Audio is available in English 5.1 DTS (768Kb/s), as well as English in Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s).

    The Dolby Digital track is acceptable. The DTS track is far superior.

    Dialogue is all but faultless, and any minor sync issues are almost certainly source faults that were not corrected in post-production ADR. Things like inflections and other voice-related sound effects (wheezing, sighing, heavy breathing) are also suddenly audible, like in the classic chase up the side of the Albanian coast. Brilliant.

    Surrounds are aggressive, and although the original remasters for this series added a whole new audio dimension, these remasters improve on that again. True theatre quality audio.

    The subwoofer is heavily utilised for a wide variety of sound effects.

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

Extras

Menus

    All menus are 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, and most have a 2.0 Dolby Surround audio track. Some of the submenus are static and silent. All menus are uniformly clear and well presented.

Disc 1

Audio Commentary – John Glen (Director) and Actors

    Presented 2.0 Dolby Surround, this is a pretty good commentary, and is in many respects a re-edit of the commentary from the original R1 DVD release and other retrospective documentary features from that release. Narrated like a documentary, I think this is a far better format for audio commentaries than the usual of letting the person drone on and on with no cues in the background.

Audio Commentary – Michael G. Wilson and Crew

    Presented 2.0 Dolby Surround, this is an interesting technical commentary.

Audio Commentary – Roger Moore

    Presented 2.0 Dolby Surround, Moore is definitely an amusing character. Well worth some time.

Scene Selections

    Presented 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, 2.0 Dolby Surround, each chapter has about a 10 second motion segment to choose from.

DVD Credits

Disc 2

Declassified: MI6 Vault

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced (often with a 1.33:1 inset, so you get black bars at the sides), and 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this is a series of documentaries about the show:

007 Mission Control

    Presented in 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, and 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this contains a series of snippets from the movie on each of the following topics:

Mission Dossier

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, non-16x9 enhanced (often with a 2.35:1 inset, so you get black bars at the top and bottom), and 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this submenu contains the following:

Ministry Of Propaganda

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this is a collection of the marketing material for the movie:

Image Database

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced with the image inset within, these are a series of stills.

R4 vs R1

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

    We are told that these new Ultimate Editions will be released with identical content all over the world. The original R1 and R4 releases contained the same special features as are now in the menus for “Mission Dossier”, “Ministry of Propaganda” and “Image Database”. However, whereas the original R1 release had a fantastic picture (which still holds up, although the colour correction is an improvement) the original R4 release was marred by horrible aliasing and moire. The new Ultimate Edition corrects those faults.

Summary

    For Your Eyes Only is a quality serious Bond film, setting his reign as Bond up for a fine close. I have fond memories of this film, so I may be somewhat biased, but it is a quality show.

    This DVD transfer is excellent, and much better than the earlier releases.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Friday, July 07, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDMomitsu V880N Deluxe, using DVI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS50 LCD Cineza Projector with HP 80" Widescreen (16:9) HDTV Mobile Projector Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersDigital Accoustics Emerald 703G - Centre, Front Left & Right, Rear Left & Right Satellites, Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Sound - Gav REPLY POSTED

Overall | Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962) | From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963) | Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964) | Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965) | You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969) | Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971) | Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973) | Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974) | Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977) | Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979) | For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981) | Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983) | View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985) | Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987) | Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989) | GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997) | World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999) | Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983)

Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Director - John Glen
Audio Commentary-Cast - Roger Moore
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-James Bond In India
Featurette-James Brolin And Maud Adams Screentest
Featurette-James Brolin Intro
Featurette-James Brolin Intro: Vijay
Featurette-Ken Burns On Set Movies
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-James Brolin Screentest: Stuntmen
Featurette-Location Scouting With Peter Lamont
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Shooting Stunts:Part 1 Crashing Jeeps
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Shooting Stunts Part 2 The Airplane Crash
Featurette-Making Of-Testing The Limits
Featurette-Making Of-Inside Octopussy: An Original Documentary
Film Factoids-Designing Bond - Peter Lamond
Music Video-"All Time High"
Storyboards-The Taxi Chase
Storyboards-Bond Rescues Octopussy
Theatrical Trailer-Archive
Gallery-Photo-Experience The World Of Bond In 1983
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1983
Running Time 125:22
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (66:37)
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
Maud Adams
Louis Jourdan
Kristina Wayborn
Kabir Bedi
Steven Berkoff
David Meyer
Tony Meyer
Desmond Llewelyn
Robert Brown
Lois Maxwell
Michaela Clavell
Walter Gotell
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)
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 Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    Octopussy is certainly one of the best Roger Moore Bond films and one of the better ones in the series. It has previously been released on DVD in Region 4 as a Special Edition in 2001. The review of the previous version can be found here and contains an excellent plot summary. This new version is significantly different. The main differences can be summarised as follows:

 

Original Special Edition

New Ultimate Edition

Video Transfer

Decent but afflicted by bad aliasing and some grain

Significant improvement with aliasing virtually eliminated and little or no grain.

Audio Transfer Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1

Commentaries

One

Two, including a new one by Roger Moore

Other extras

Reasonable selection of making of, featurettes, music videos etc

Everything from the previous edition plus many new extras on a separate disc

    I would say the differences were worth the cost of upgrading, however at this time you would have to be prepared to shell out for the entire box set as there is no plan to release these discs separately.

    The film itself is one which I have not seen for some time but has always stuck in my memory because it included a chase scene involving an Alfa GTV6, a type of car which I used to own (and love). I enjoyed watching it again, finding it entertaining and amusing, despite the occasional lapse into campiness. There were a few lame jokes offset with some good ones, quality stunts and action scenes such as the rickshaw chase and the pre-credits sequence and a couple of dodgy bits such as Bond's crocodile submarine.

    In the Bond series, this film is notable due to the first appearance of Robert Brown as 'M' replacing the unfortunately deceased Bernard Lee. Robert Brown was later replaced by Dame Judi Dench in the Brosnan era. It is also the second of five Bond films directed by John Glen. Additionally it includes the second appearance of Maud Adams as a Bond leading lady, after her role in The Man With The Golden Gun. To my knowledge, she is the only actress to appear as the leading lady twice in Bond films. She also appeared briefly in A View to A Kill. One other thing which stood out for me in this film was the bad acting of Kristina Wayborn although that may have been a perception due to the poor ADR work for many of her lines. Louis Jourdan and Stephen Berkoff (in full scenery chewing mode) make for a nice baddy combination along with Kabir Bedi as the more physical baddy. Moore is pretty good in this film but never seems entirely comfortable in the fight scenes. I have also been watching his older television series The Saint recently and he appears much more comfortable fighting in that, probably due to his younger age.

    This is the Bond film which went head to head with the non-official remake of Thunderball starring Sean Connery, Never Say Never Again.

    This Ultimate Edition is highly recommended.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is excellent for a film of this age but not without some minor issues.

    The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The Lowry restoration process has certainly resulted in a very clean and clear image throughout and this is undoubtedly the best this film will look from that perspective. However, having said that the sharpness although mostly very good did lapse sometimes into slight softness such as in long shots and most noticeably at 10:15 when some grain/minor macro-blocking appeared on a wall. The bitrate which was generally quite high dipped at this point. You should probably consider this point to be a nitpick as generally the picture was very sharp for a film of this age. The shadow detail was excellent for a film of this age.

    The colour was very good and, to my eyes, natural throughout. I did not note any issues with skin tones as mentioned by other reviewers.

    Film artefacts are now completely non-existent which is an improvement from the previous release. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for film-to-video artefacts with some minor aliasing, jagged edges and camera pan shimmer (eg 24:30) to be seen. Based on the previous review this has been significantly improved from the previous version, however is still present on this transfer. Examples included a door at 48:45 and a car grille at 104:56. Jagged edges can be seen on a jeep at 0:43, the umbrellas at 26:52 and occasionally elsewhere. In the grand scheme of things these incidences are minor.

    There are 13 subtitle streams including English & English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read but somewhat summarised. Four of the other streams are commentary subtitles, two sets for each commentary.

    The layer change occurs at 66:37 and caused a slight jump on my player.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is excellent and based on the previous review a huge leap forward from the previous version.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s and an English DTS 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 768 Kb/s. There are also two commentaries encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround, one at 224 Kb/s and one at 192 Kb/s. I watched the entire film in DTS and compared the Dolby Digital in a number of key scenes. Both are excellent, however I felt the DTS was more dynamic. There is excellent stereo separation with many right to left effects in addition to the excellent surround usage (see below). The clarity of the sound here highlights a few things such as the sloppy lip smacking sounds at 72:14 during a kiss and the chickens running from a crashing jeep during the pre-credits sequence.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times and there was no problem with audio sync, except for some sloppy ADR work, especially on Kristina Wayborn. There is one line where I am certain she is saying something very different to the actual line heard.

    The score of this film is by John Barry who was responsible for many Bond scores. This one uses the theme from All Time High (the theme song) quite a bit and is generally quite a good addition to the film without being spectacular.

    The surround speakers are put to excellent use throughout this film, obviously a huge step forward from the previous DVD release. I was really surprised how aggressive some of the sound was from the rear speakers considering the age and stereo origins of this film. The pre-credits sequence was especially obvious in this regard such as the plane, missiles and explosions. There were also other excellent passages such as the train at 98:00 and a gun fight at 59:15. Great stuff considering the original film was not designed with surround sound in mind like some many films are today.

    The subwoofer was also surprisingly well used, although not to the extent of the surround speakers. The explosion at 6:35 and the creaking boat at 45:10 showed good LFE and bass was also regularly added to the music.

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

Extras

    There are copious extras spread over two discs. I will mark extras which did not appear on the previous release as **NEW**

Menu

    The menu was very nicely designed, reminiscent of the Bond movie opening credits style. I did find them slightly non-obvious in terms of finding all the extras.

Disc 1

Directors Commentary - John Glen

    This commentary appeared on the previous version of the disc and is quite a decent commentary without setting the house on fire.

Cast Commentary - Roger Moore **NEW**

    This is an excellent new commentary and one of the most entertaining ones I have heard recently. He starts the commentary by saying it won't really be a commentary as he does not plan to be very scene specific. He tells lots of interesting and funny anecdotes and makes some droll side remarks. He covers such diverse topics as the fall of the Berlin Wall, UNICEF, falling dress standards, Sean Connery and the non-official Bond film which came out at the same time. Definitely worth a listen.

Credits

    DVD Production Credits

Disc 2

Declassified : MI6 Vault

James Bond in India (28:14) **NEW**

    A behind the scenes featurette made at the time the movie was shot. This is truly one of the most boring featurettes I have ever had the misfortune to sit through. It is presented by a very serious voiceover man who sounds like he commentating on a nature doco. Presented in 1.33:1.

James Brolin & Maud Adams Screentest (2:51) **NEW**

    Original screen test footage of James Brolin testing for the role of James Bond in this film. They started testing other actors when Roger Moore was proving a difficult man to sign up to an agreement. He is teamed with Maud Adams who was also testing for the role of Octopussy. They perform some material from an older James Bond film. Presented in non 16x9 enhanced widescreen.

James Brolin : Intro (4:15) **NEW**

    An interesting short interview with James Brolin about his experience screen testing for the movie. Presented in 1.33:1.

James Brolin Intro : Vijay (1:40) **NEW**

    A quick interview with Brolin followed by screen test material of him, Vijay Armitraj and a cobra.

Ken Burns on-set movies (6:40) **NEW**

    This is a really interesting and different featurette which consists of film taken by an on-set extra who was 16 years old at the time. He played a border guard and does commentary over his footage which has obviously been recorded recently. Presented in 1.33:1.

James Brolin Screentest - Stuntman (1:34) **NEW**

    A portion of screentest doing action scenes with a stuntman.

Location Scouting with Peter Lamont (4:32) **NEW**

    Another interesting extra which consists of film taken by production designer Peter Lamont as he scouts locations in Berlin. It accompanied by his commentary.

Shooting Stunts Part 1 : Crashing Jeeps (3:47) **NEW**

    This consists of footage of stunts from various angles and takes accompanied by commentary by the director. Includes commentary on injuries and issues.

Shooting Stunts Part 2 : The Airplane Crash (3:26) **NEW**

    This consists of footage of stunts from various angles and takes accompanied by commentary by the director. Fascinating the problems which an explosive laden plane can cause!

Testing the Limits - The Aerial Team (4:31) **NEW**

    This one is footage of the aerial stunt team practicing the fight on top of the aeroplane accompanied by the director's commentary.

007 Mission Control **NEW**

    This fairly pointless set of extras consists of highlights from the film separated into small segments and categorised into 007, Opening Titles, Spy in Disguise, Women, Allies, Villains, Mission Combat Manual, Q Branch & Exotic Locations. The only thing I noticed that wasn't in the film was a version of the title sequence without text.

Mission Dossier

    This sub-menu includes a number of quality featurettes which all appeared on the previous edition. Specifically they are:

Ministry of Propaganda

    This sub-menu includes four trailers for the film all of which were included on the previous release.

Image Database **NEW**

    This is a large selection of image galleries on various topics. The photos included are stills from the film, publicity material and behind-the-scenes shots. The galleries are presented with one text page each describing the topic and are timed rather than requiring you to click through each photo. The segments are Roger Moore, Maud Adams, Louis Jourdan, Kristina Wayborn, Vijay Armitraj, Other Cast X 2, Aerostar, Octopussy's Circus, The Most Dangerous Games, Q's Tricks, Russian War Room, India, The Train, At the Circus, Final Battle, The Producer & Marketing.

R4 vs R1

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

    This new Ultimate edition is the same globally except for colour system differences and subtitles. Draw.

Summary

    One of the best Roger Moore Bond films gets a significant upgrade.

    The video quality is excellent for a film of this age, but has some minor issues.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    There are a huge array of high quality extras on this 2 disc set.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Great review - Klokwerk REPLY POSTED
Subtitles - Cassidy (The bionic man) REPLY POSTED
Subtitles NOT burned in - Gav REPLY POSTED
DTS track is amazing - Gav REPLY POSTED

Overall | Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962) | From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963) | Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964) | Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965) | You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969) | Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971) | Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973) | Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974) | Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977) | Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979) | For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981) | Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983) | View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985) | Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987) | Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989) | GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997) | World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999) | Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

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

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

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

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.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

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 - Anonymous REPLY POSTED

Overall | Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962) | From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963) | Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964) | Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965) | You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969) | Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971) | Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973) | Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974) | Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977) | Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979) | For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981) | Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983) | View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985) | Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987) | Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989) | GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997) | World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999) | Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987)

Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

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.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

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)

Overall | Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962) | From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963) | Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964) | Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965) | You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969) | Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971) | Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973) | Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974) | Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977) | Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979) | For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981) | Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983) | View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985) | Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987) | Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989) | GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997) | World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999) | Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989)

Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Credits
Featurette-Location Scouting With Peter Lamont
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-On The Set With John Glen
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Ground Check With Corkey Fornof
Featurette-Bond '89
Deleted Scenes-Sharkey Arrives, Bond & Sharkey Follow Yatch
Deleted Scenes-Bond In Hotel Room, Cash Transaction
Deleted Scenes-Bond Arrives In Isthmus, Bienvenidos M15 Amigos
Deleted Scenes-Bond Returns To Casino, Bond Captured By Hong Kong Narcotic
Deleted Scenes-Boat Ride
Featurette-007, Women, Allies, Villians, Mission Combat Manuel
Featurette-Q Branch And Exotic Locations
Theatrical Trailer-Archive
Gallery-Photo-Experience The World Of Bond In 1987
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1989
Running Time 127:41
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (66:40)
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
Carey Lowell
Robert Davi
Talisa Soto
Anthony Zerbe
Frank McRae
David Hedison
Wayne Newton
Benicio Del Toro
Anthony Starke
Everett McGill
Desmond Llewelyn
Pedro Armendáriz Jr.
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Michael Kamen
Diane Warren


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 No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The second and last of the Timothy Dalton era James Bond films, Licence To Kill, is probably the most underrated of all the Bond films. Why? Because, unlike the majority of Bond films, this one has heart. Whereas for the most part Bond does his bit for King and country, this is the one film where he truly has a personal stake in what is at hand (such can readily be argued for Die Another Day, but the personal vendetta at the core of Licence To Kill feels more real). It is also considerably more realistically violent than the majority of Bond films (wild stunts aside), and for this reason it has a hard and dark edge that appeals to me. Or maybe I’m just a fan of the Bond movies directed by John Glen.

    The simple premise of Licence To Kill is this: What would happen if Bond were to put all his training and knowledge to use to kill someone in the name of revenge? The result is nothing less than one of the best Bond films ever made, with real stunts that are truly death defying, a host of interesting characters including a truly realistic and evil villain (a very young Benecio Del Toro), and a tough ex-military pilot who goes down as one of Bond’s best matches (Carey Lowell).

    My one criticism of this film is Talisa Soto who, while most definitely beautiful, acts in a very wooden manner throughout this film. Maybe this was a technique to underplay her to Lowell’s Pam Bouvier, but you have to wonder what an all powerful drug lord like Franz Sanchez is doing so infatuated with her when he has more charisma. As a criticism, though, this is not a huge one, and as such I’m inclined to overlook it.

    Not as commercially successful as many of the other films in the Bond canon, in my opinion Licence To Kill has stood the test of time as a real film, not merely passing entertainment. A dark, violent and brutal look at the Bond character, I highly recommend this film.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Like the majority of Bond movies post the Connery era in this new Ultimate Edition release line, Licence To Kill is presented in 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, mastered from a new high definition transfer. This is an excellent image. Upscaled to 1080i at 50Hz, I was again blown away.

    Again, the big difference is colour saturation, which, after the Lowry processing really does make this a whole new film. Again, I was genuinely surprised by the realistic image I got. The image is also sharper and more defined, and shadow detail is slightly improved.

    Film-to-video transfer artefacts are limited to some occasional background aliasing that I had to strain to see. A definite improvement over both the R4 and R1 original releases.

    Subtitles are available in an array of languages as listed above. I watched the subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired. They are quite accurate.

    The dual layer pause is at 66:40. It occurs in the middle of a scene but is not disruptive.

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

Audio

    Audio is available in English 5.1 DTS (768Kb/s), as well as English in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (384Kb/s).

    While the Dolby Digital track is very good, and a nice remaster of the original, the DTS track is amazing.

    Dialogue is faultless, but with the DTS we get inflections and tones I missed with the Dolby Digital.

    There is also a greater range, and more aggressive use of surrounds. A great scene where you notice this is the shoot out at Milton Krest’s shark front. The score by Michael Kamen, though a little reminiscent of his scores for both Die Hard and its sequels and Lethal Weapon and its sequels, is given a very good rendition.

    The subwoofer is used heavily, though not to excess – it really brings home the advantages of having a big subwoofer, though.

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

Extras

Menus

    All menus are 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, and most have a 2.0 Dolby Surround audio track. Some of the submenus are static and silent. All menus are uniformly clear and well presented.

Disc 1

Audio Commentary – John Glen (Director) and Actors

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, this commentary is similar to the one done for For Your Eyes Only, in that it is a re-edit of the commentary from the original R1 DVD release and other retrospective documentary features from that release, and then narrated like a documentary. Again, this is a great, and a very good format for an audio commentary.

Audio Commentary – Michael G. Wilson and Crew

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, this is another interesting technical commentary from Wilson and others.

Scene Selections

    Presented 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with 2.0 Dolby Surround audio, each chapter has about a 10 second motion segment to choose from.

DVD Credits

Disc 2

Declassified: MI6 Vault

    The documentaries are all in 1.33:1, non-16x9 enhanced, the deleted scenes presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, all with a 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround audio::

007 Mission Control

    Presented in 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, and with 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this contains a series of snippets from the movie on each of the following topics:

Mission Dossier

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, non-16x9 enhanced (often with a 2.35:1 inset, so you get black bars at the top and bottom), and 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this submenu contains the following:

Ministry Of Propaganda

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, with 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this is a collection of the marketing material for the movie:

Image Database

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced with the image inset within, these are a series of stills.

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.

    We are told that these new Ultimate Editions will be released with identical content all over the world. The original R1 and R4 releases contained the same special features as are now in the menus for “Mission Dossier”, “Ministry of Propaganda” and “Image Database”. However, whereas the original R1 release had a fantastic picture (which still holds up, although the colour correction is an improvement) the original R4 release was censored and scarred by moderate aliasing and moire. The new Ultimate Edition corrects those faults.

Summary

    Licence To Kill is excellent, realistically violent Bond, much closer to Ian Fleming’s original incarnation of a ruthless and efficient spy.

    This DVD transfer is the best I’ve ever seen this show.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDMomitsu V880N Deluxe, using DVI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS50 WXGA LCD Cineza Projector with 100" Longhorn Pro-series 16:9 Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersDigital Accoustics Emerald 703G - Centre, Front Left & Right, Rear Left & Right Satellites, Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Great Movie - Tuttle
I hated it - Mr Lowery
Agreed highly underated - Neill
second best to golden eye - Anonymous
Underrated - Gav
Finally... - UberAspie
Ultimate edition not squished - Andrew-Kenneth
Picture Quality not that great - LV426

Overall | Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962) | From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963) | Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964) | Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965) | You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969) | Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971) | Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973) | Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974) | Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977) | Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979) | For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981) | Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983) | View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985) | Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987) | Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989) | GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997) | World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999) | Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995)

GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Director Martin Campbell and Producer Michael G Wilson
Credits
Deleted Scenes-With Introductions By Dir. Martin Campbell
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Anatomy Of A Car Chase: Remy Julienne
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Anatomy Of A Stunt: Tank Versus Perrier
Featurette-Building A Better Bond: Pre-production
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Goldeneye: The Secret Files
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Goldeneye: The Secret Files-Crew
Featurette-Location Scouting With Peter Lamont
Featurette-Making It Small In Pictures:Derek Meddings
Featurette-The Return Of Bond - Start of Production Press Event
Storyboards-Pre-title Sequence
Featurette-Making Of-Directing Bond: The Martin Chronicles
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Optional Segments By Martin Campbell
Gallery-Photo-Various
Music Video-Goldeneye - Tina Turner
Featurette-World Of 007 - A Documentary
Featurette-The Goldeneye Video Journal
Featurette-Promotional/ More................
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 124:20
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (61:04)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Martin Campbell
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Pierce Brosnan
Sean Bean
Izabella Scorupco
Famke Janssen
Joe Don Baker
Judi Dench
Gottfried John
Robbie Coltrane
Alan Cumming
Tchéky Karyo
Desmond Llewelyn
Samantha Bond
Michael Kitchen
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Bono
Eric Serra
The Edge


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 Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio 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

    Goldeneye was the first Pierce Brosnan Bond film in 1995 and quite possibly the best of them. Some even consider it the best Bond film ever. Goldeneye was a stunning return to form for the series, both critically and at the box office, coming as it did after the Timothy Dalton films and a 6 year break due to a disagreement between Danjaq and United Artists. It has previously been released twice in Region 4, once in 1999 and then as part of the special editions in 2001.The reviews of the previous versions can be found here and here, the second one containing an excellent plot summary. This new version is significantly different to both previous releases. The main differences can be summarised as follows:

 

Original Release

Special Edition

New Ultimate Edition

Video Transfer

All on one layer but well reviewed at the time

RSDL and extremely well reviewed at the time

Very clean from a film artefacts perspective but I have some problems with it (See below).

Audio Transfer Reduced bitrate Dolby Digital 5.1 (384 Kb/s) Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) Remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) and DTS 5.1 (768 Kb/s).
Version Cut version for BBFC Uncut Uncut

Commentaries

One

One

One

Other extras

Theatrical Trailer

Reasonable selection of making of, featurettes, music videos etc

Everything from the previous edition plus many new extras on a separate disc

    It's a bit of a toss up whether or not an upgrade to this new version (from the SE) would be advisable as the video quality seems to have gone backwards in some areas, however, there is a marked increase in audio quality and extras. If you only have the original version then this is definitely worth purchasing.

    This is a top flight Bond film featuring excellent villains including probably the first one who could be described as both sexy and completely evil, some fantastic action sequences and stunts, a great new Bond, excellent casting (even Minnie Driver strangling her cat), and the usual cars, girls, gambling and humour.

    In the Bond series, this film is notable due to the first appearance of Dame Judi Dench as 'M' and also the first (for a long time) without titles by Maurice Binder as he died in 1991. The title sequence used, however, certainly keeps to the pattern he developed. One element of this new film which got some of the fans jumping up and down was the different style of score from what had previously been used. Eric Serra's score is more modern than previous scores but to my mind does an excellent job. Another interesting change for this film is that the team created their own new movie studio on the site of an old Rolls Royce factory, thereby moving away from Pinewood.

    Great Bond film.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is disappointing considering the excellent reviews given to previous versions.

    The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The Lowry restoration process has certainly resulted in a very clean and clear image throughout. The sharpness, however, was somewhat variable with the occasional scene such as the one around 44:00 featuring M and Bond having an argument being a little soft and showing some grain and even mild macro-blocking in backgrounds. Generally, however, the transfer was very sharp. The shadow detail was excellent. It should be noted that despite having the same aspect ratio, the pictures are quite differently cropped between this and the SE version, with less picture being shown in this version.

    The colour was excellent and, to my eyes, natural throughout.

    The main problem I have with this transfer is the introduction of quite noticeable aliasing and jagged edges which occur regularly. Most occurrences are mild, however considering that this was not present on previous versions of this film (based on the previous reviews) this is quite disappointing. Examples can be seen on the Aston Martin grille at 12:30, 14:00 and 16:40, buildings at 16:20, a roof at 21:01, buildings at 25:15, a grille at 33:38, a computer at 49:25 and a plane at 91:25. Additionally, the dam in the opening sequence has quite a few jagged edges and shimmering. This list is not exhaustive but indicates a level of aliasing and shimmering which is not acceptable when this is marketed as an Ultimate Edition. If this was just a normal release of a 10 year old film, I would not make such a big deal out of this problem, but considering this was not a problem on the other film in this new edition which I have reviewed, Octopussy, and was not a problem on previous releases of this film, I think my disappointment is justified.

    There are 11 subtitle streams including English & English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read but a little summarised. Two of the other streams are commentary subtitles.

    The layer change occurs at 61:04 and was not noticeable during playback.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is excellent.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s and an English DTS 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 768 Kb/s. There is also a commentary encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kb/s. I watched the entire film in DTS and compared the Dolby Digital in a number of key scenes. Both are excellent, however I felt the DTS was more dynamic, with a bit more LFE which made it even more "in-your-face". There is excellent stereo separation with many right to left effects in addition to the excellent surround usage (see below).

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film is by Eric Serra who as discussed above was the subject of some disappointment by long term Bond fans who felt the score was too modern and different from other Bond scores. This score can stand on its own merits however and adds significantly to the film, especially the action scenes.

    The surround speakers are put to excellent use throughout this film providing aggressive surround effects during action scenes and immersive atmosphere otherwise. Standout sequences included the helicopter scene at 69:00 and the tank scene at 78:00.

    The subwoofer was also well used adding significant bass to the many explosions, train crashes, tank squashes and of course to the music.

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

Extras

    There are copious extras spread over two discs. I will mark extras which did not appear on the previous releases as **NEW**. Subtitles are available for nearly all the extras.

Menu

    The menu was very nicely designed, reminiscent of the Bond movie opening credits style. I did find them slightly non-obvious in terms of finding all the extras especially the four pages of extras under Declassified MI6 vault. On these pages look out for the > on the bottom of the menu which leads you to three extra pages of items.

Disc 1

Commentary - Director Martin Campbell & Producer Michael G Wilson.

    This commentary appeared on the previous versions of the disc and I found it quite enjoyable compared to other more recent commentaries I have heard.

Credits

    DVD Production Credits

Disc 2

Declassified : MI6 Vault

Deleted Scenes with introductions by Director, Martin Campbell  **NEW**

    Four cut scenes are included in this section, all of which are non-essential but some are good for a laugh. 16x9 enhanced. The scenes are

Anatomy of a Car Chase : Remy Julienne (2:55) **NEW**

    Short featurette about the opening car chase between Bond and Onatopp featuring interview footage with the stunt co-ordinator for the chase. 4x3

Anatomy of a Stunt : Tank Vs Perrier (6:07) **NEW**

    Interesting featurette hosted by the director and featuring footage of the stunt being filmed on their studio lot and interview footage with the second unit director. 4x3.

Building a Better Bond : Pre-production Featurette (9:01) **NEW**

    A featurette made before production started to raise media interest in the project. Includes footage of the announcement of the new James Bond and details of the new studio built especially for the project. 4x3.

Goldeneye : The Secret Files (28:30) **NEW**

    A worthwhile and reasonably interesting making of featurette which covers the new studio, Pierce Brosnan, budgets, effects, miniatures, props, locations and how specific scenes were put together. Includes interviews with important cast and crew members.

Goldeneye : The Secret Files : The Cast (12:20) **NEW**

    Featurette focusing on the supporting cast showing behind the scenes footage and interviews. Includes coverage of  Dame Judi Dench, Robbie Coltrane, Famke Janssen, Sean Bean, Isabella Scurupco, Alan Cummins & Desmond Llewellyn.

Location Scouting with Peter Lamont (12:32) **NEW**

    Another interesting extra which consists of film taken by production designer Peter Lamont as he scouts locations all over the world. It is accompanied by his commentary.

Making It Small in Pictures : Derek Meddings (2:38) **NEW**

    A short tribute to miniature maker Derek Meddings who died just after production wrapped, featuring the work he did for the film.

The Return of Bond : The Start of Production Press Event (5:28) **NEW**

    This is footage of the press event to launch the production featuring the cast and crew plus backstage footage. OK.

Pre-title Storyboard Sequence (1:32) **NEW**

    Introduced by the director, this shows the opening sequence in storyboards.

Directing Bond - The Martin Chronicles (10:17) **NEW**

    Featurette on the director including a lot of behind the scenes footage of him spitting the dummy about things going wrong. Quite amusing and certainly refreshing to see something which is shown warts and all. Includes interviews with cast, crew and the man himself.

Optional Commentary Segments by Martin Campbell (1:04 & 0:52) **NEW**

    Two segments of the previous featurette with Martin Campbell commentating over them. In one he discusses why he was so annoyed and in the other talks about his DOP, Phil Meheux.

007 Mission Control **NEW**

    This fairly pointless set of extras consists of highlights from the film separated into small segments and categorised into 007, Opening Titles, Women, Allies, Villains, Mission Combat Manual, Q Branch & Exotic Locations. The only thing I noticed that wasn't in the film was a version of the title sequence without text.

Mission Dossier

    This sub-menu includes a number of quality featurettes which all appeared on the special edition. Specifically they are:

Ministry of Propaganda

    This sub-menu includes two trailers and 12 TV spots for the film, all of which were included on the special edition.

Image Database **NEW**

    This is a large selection of image galleries on various topics. The photos included are stills from the film, publicity material and behind-the-scenes shots. The galleries are presented with one text page each describing the topic and are timed rather than requiring you to click through each photo. There are segments on the stars plus scenes, girls, extras and publicity.

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.

    These new Ultimate Editions are the same globally except for colour system differences and subtitles. Draw.

Summary

    A great entry in the Bond canon.

    The video quality is disappointing.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    There are a huge array of high quality extras on this 2 disc set.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Q and A - DarkEye (This bio says: Death to DNR!) REPLY POSTED
Great Review - Mr Lowery REPLY POSTED
Subtitles - Gav REPLY POSTED
The score! - Gav
Video quality - Anonymous
Video quality - JLCK REPLY POSTED
Re: The Score! - richie007au (don't read it. my bio is dangerous to your health)
Aliasing - Anonymous
re:Aliasing - JLCK REPLY POSTED
rere: aliasing - Anonymous
Alternate Main Titles - PAJ REPLY POSTED
Aliasing, jaggies and cadence detection - LV426
Aspect ratio - Gav
Subtitles - Gav

Overall | Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962) | From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963) | Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964) | Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965) | You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969) | Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971) | Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973) | Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974) | Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977) | Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979) | For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981) | Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983) | View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985) | Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987) | Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989) | GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997) | World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999) | Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997)

Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Credits
Deleted Scenes-And Extended -Introduced By Dir. Rodger Spottiswoode
Multiple Angles-Expanded Angles Into By Director Rodger Spottiswoode
Introduction-Highly Classified; The World Of 007
Music Video-The James Bond Theme (Moby's Re-Version)
Featurette-007, Women, Aliies, Villians, Mission Combat Manual
Featurette-Q Branch and Exotic Locations
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-The Secrets Of 007
Interviews-Cast-Composer David Arnold
Featurette-Making Of-Special Fx Reel
Music Video-"Tomorrow Never Dies" Sheryl Crow
Storyboards-Presentations
Featurette-Gadgets
Theatrical Trailer-Archive
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 114:18
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (61:01)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Roger Spottiswoode
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Pierce Brosnan
Jonathan Pryce
Michelle Yeoh
Teri Hatcher
Ricky Jay
Götz Otto
Joe Don Baker
Vincent Schiavelli
Judi Dench
Desmond Llewelyn
Samantha Bond
Colin Salmon
Geoffrey Palmer
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music David Arnold
Sheryl Crow
Mitchell Froom


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 No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The second of the Pierce Brosnan James Bond films, Tomorrow Never Dies, is quite arguably his best. Freed from the PG-13 constraints of his first attempt at the role, Brosnan puts in an outstanding performance as a more mature and suave Bond, out to avert World War III at the instigation of media fanatic Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce).

    Starring alongside Teri Hatcher as the beautiful Paris Carver and Michelle Yeoh as the impressive Wei Lin, Tomorrow Never Dies just hangs together perfectly, running far smoother than any of the other Brosnan Bond films, with the chemistry just right the whole way. Its humour is right on the ball, and it contains some of the best action sequences of that era, including a car chase in a multi-level parking lot that set a new bar for car chases in the 1990s (arguably only bested by the extensive car chase sequence of The Matrix: Reloaded), and a motorcycle chase through downtown Saigon that cracks me up every time I see it. Only the ludicrous final sequence of M.I.:II managed to best that, and it only managed to do so by descending into farce.

    We also get to see a slightly darker more violent side of Bond in this film which, while not quite to the same level as Licence To Kill, really sets it up for the darker side of the British secret Agent to come out in The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day. Only few Bond films ever really try to deal with the character of Bond himself, and this one does its best to avoid the subject with admirable results.

    Nearly ten years on now, and Tomorrow Never Dies has stood the test of time as a quality Bond film. Amazing action sequences, a great score, fantastic locations, skilled direction and photography - there is very little to criticise in this film. Certainly, Bond’s nemesis in this film comes across as a little weak, but this is more than made up for by his evil associates, especially Gotz Otto as the lean German killing machine Stamper.

    Humorous, violent, full of spectacle, this is great entertainment.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This new Ultimate Edition of Tomorrow Never Dies is presented in its original 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced aspect ratio, mastered from a new high definition transfer. I saw this film twice at the cinema and numerous times on VHS and then DVD, but I’ve never seen it look this good.

    Where this transfer really stands out from earlier releases is in its image definition. Much like Sony’s Superbit releases, this transfer has a much finer image detail. Although you are unlikely to notice a substantial difference on a smaller TV (I can still see a fine difference on my old 32 inch CRT screen), you will notice the difference on a bigger monitor – 60 inches and above. My comparisons were with the R1 release, which does not suffer from the film-to-video artefacts that plague the original R4 release. Once you get to 100 inches and above, though, you really appreciate the remastering. Mostly it’s little things, like background detail and foreground sharpness, but the difference is there.

    The other major difference is the colour saturation and colour balance, which is remarkably different to the earlier releases, in a positive way. Things just look so naturally real-to-life. Shadow detail is far more pronounced and less murky than it was for the original R4 release or even the R1 release.

    Film-to-video transfer artefacts are limited to some very minor background aliasing. This was rare, and I really had to strain to find it, so I doubt anybody is going to be perturbed by it.

    There are subtitles available in a raft of languages as outlined above. I checked the English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles. They are quite accurate.

    The dual layer pause is at 61:01. It occurs during a scene change and is barely noticeable.

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

Audio

    Audio is available in English 5.1 DTS (768Kb/s), as well as English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (384Kb/s).

    The Dolby Digital track is very good. The DTS track is nevertheless superior.

    Dialogue is exceptional, with inflection and breathing sounds that were not apparent in any of the previous releases.

    Surrounds are ever present, with several full surround fields established where you are being hit from all sides by sound. The score is also beautifully rendered.

    The subwoofer was aggressively utilised to the point of being borderline over-utilised. Almost every sound effect seemed to employ the subwoofer. While this made for a very bassy and grinding soundtrack, it also meant that I had to turn the crossover down to prevent damage. Still, pretty impressive.

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

Extras

Menus

    All menus are 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, and most have a 2.0 Dolby Surround audio track. Some of the submenus are static and silent. All menus are uniformly clear and well presented.

Disc 1

Audio Commentary – Vic Armstrong and Michael G Wilson

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, this is a decent if technical commentary.

Isolated Music Score Track

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround.

Audio Commentary – Roger Spottiswoode and Dan Petrie Jr

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, this is a fairly conversant commentary.

Scene Selections

    Presented 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with 2.0 Dolby Surround, each chapter has about a 10 second motion segment to choose from.

DVD Credits

Disc 2

Declassified: MI6 Vault

    Presented in a mix of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, and 1.33:1 Full Frame, most with 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this segment contains the following:

007 Mission Control

    Presented in 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, and 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this contains a series of snippets from the movie on each of the following topics:

Mission Dossier

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, non-16x9 enhanced (often with a 2.35:1 inset, so you get black bars at the top and bottom), and 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this submenu contains the following:

Ministry Of Propoganda

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this is a collection of the marketing material for the movie:

Image Database

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced with the image inset within, these are a series of stills.

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.

    There have been a lot of attempts at getting this right on DVD, including an initial release in the wrong aspect ratio, a re-release that was censored, and a release with some very average video. Thankfully, this new Ultimate Edition corrects all that. This new Ultimate Edition picks up all the special features of the earlier releases with a few new ones and then segregates them on a separate disc to maximise space on the first disc for movie content.

    As for the Ultimate Editions themselves, we are told that the content of all Ultimate Editions worldwide will be the same. I would be curious to see how an NTSC image plays, but given the pristine faultless transfer here, I doubt it will make any difference to which one I decide to buy.

Summary

    Tomorrow Never Dies is arguably the best Brosnan Bond films. With this one, they just got everything right. It’s a movie for the masses, but the masses are pleased.

    This DVD transfer is excellent, and much better than the various earlier releases.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDMomitsu V880N Deluxe, using DVI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS50 WXGA LCD Cineza Projector with 100" Longhorn Pro-series 16:9 Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersDigital Accoustics Emerald 703G - Centre, Front Left & Right, Rear Left & Right Satellites, Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Highly Classified: The World of 007 - DarkEye (This bio says: Death to DNR!)
PG-13 constraints and censorship - Gav
Uncut - James O
Restored cuts in R4 = US Version ??? - Tony
Isolated Score - Bitrate? - Klokwerk
Missing Commentary - Anonymous

Overall | Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962) | From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963) | Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964) | Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965) | You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969) | Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971) | Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973) | Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974) | Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977) | Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979) | For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981) | Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983) | View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985) | Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987) | Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989) | GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997) | World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999) | Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999)

World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Director - Michael Apted
Audio Commentary-Peter Lamont, Vic Armstrong & David Arnold
Featurette-Making Of-James Bond Down River
Featurette-Making Of-Creating An Icon: Making Of the Teaser Trailer
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Hong Kong Press Conference
Multiple Angles-Alternative Versions of Boat Chase
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-007, Women, Allies, Villians, Mission Combat Manual
Featurette-Q Branch and Exotic Locations
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Bond Cocktail
Featurette-Tribute To Desmond Llewelyn
Music Video-"The World Is Not Enough" By Garbage
Alternative Version-Storyboards & Rough Cuts - Secrets of 007
Theatrical Trailer-Archive
Gallery-Photo-Experience The World Of Bond In 1999
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 123:04
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (66:44)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Michael Apted
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Pierce Brosnan
Sophie Marceau
Robert Carlyle
Denise Richards
Robbie Coltrane
Judi Dench
Desmond Llewelyn
John Cleese
Maria Grazia Cucinotta
Samantha Bond
Michael Kitchen
Colin Salmon
Goldie
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music David Arnold


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 (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
Danish
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Greek
Hindi
English Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio 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

    The World Is Not Enough was the third Pierce Brosnan Bond film in 1999 and to my mind the weakest of the four. It has previously been released in Region 4 as part of the special editions in 2001.The review of the previous version can be found here which contains an excellent plot summary. This new version is different to the previous release, however, the differences are not as large, especially in extras terms, as the other two of these new editions I have reviewed. The main differences can be summarised as follows:

 

Special Edition

New Ultimate Edition

Video Transfer

Extremely well reviewed at the time

Very clean from a film artefacts perspective but the bitrate is a bit low causing some softness in the image which is a disappointment.

Audio Transfer Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s) Remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) and DTS 5.1 (768 Kb/s).
Formatting Movie and extras stuffed onto one disc causing MPEG issues in the extras. Two discs with extras on the second disc.

Commentaries

Two

Two

Other extras

Good collection of extras but with video issues

A few additional extras but not as much as other Ultimate Editions

    Personally, I don't believe there is enough on offer in this edition to warrant an upgrade for this film alone. If you are thinking of buying the whole new set this one is fine but individually there is not enough new on offer here.

    This is a curiously flat film punctuated by the usual excellent action scenes. Pierce Brosnan is his usual debonair and brutal self and Dench is good as M, however the rest of the cast seem to struggle. The story moves a little slowly in the first half. My personal opinion is that it comes down to the director, Michael Apted having no real experience as an action director when taking on this film. Based on some of his comments in the extras I get the impression he was out of his depth and knew it. On the positive side, there are certainly some great action sequences such as the pre-credits boat chase, the scene inside the pipeline and the final climactic submarine fight. Another element which disappointed me about this film was the music which I found fairly clichéd and ordinary in many parts. Certainly not up to the quality of other previous Bond scores. I also feel that some of the roles were miscast, including the obvious Denise Richards as a nuclear scientist (yeah, right) but also Sophie Marceau who never really looks comfortable. It was nice to see Robbie Coltrane reprising his role as Valentin Sukovsky which he first played in Goldeneye.

    Sadly, this was the last appearance of Desmond Llewellyn as Q who decided to retire from the role after this film and then was killed in a car accident a few weeks after the film premiered. The title is in fact the Bond family motto, which came directly from the Ian Fleming books.

    All in all this is an average Bond film being released in a new edition not that much improved over the old one.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is disappointing but still very good.

    The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The Lowry restoration process has certainly resulted in a very clean and clear image throughout. The sharpness, however, was a bit disappointing as it was never crisp. This seems to be related to a less than excellent bitrate, which averaged just 4.5 Mb/s for the video component. One assumes any future high definition release will address this issue. There was some light background grain visible in some scenes such as at 24:30.The shadow detail was very good.

    The colour was very good with no issues to report.

    Artefacts were virtually non-existent, although I did notice a few little spots of aliasing such as at 9:05 on a grille.

    There are 13 subtitle streams including English & English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read but a little summarised. Four of the other streams are commentary subtitles.

    The layer change occurs at 66:44 and was not noticeable during playback.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is very good but not in the same class as the audio on the new Goldeneye disc.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s and an English DTS 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 768 Kb/s. There are also two commentaries encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0 at 224 Kb/s. I started watching the film in DTS but was very disappointed by the DTS mix on this disc as it was quite flat and lifeless. I changed to the Dolby Digital which was certainly superior but not spectacular. The surround effects are there but it lacked somewhat in immersion and dynamism.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by David Arnold is quite clichéd and lacks the normal spark of a Bond score. He mentions in the commentary that he decided to use less of the Bond theme than previous films, but if he wanted to do this he at least could have replaced it with something ear catching.

    The surround speakers are certainly well used during this film as you would expect such as during the boat jump at 9:25, explosion at 10:49, skiing at 36:00, the pipeline scene at 74:00 and during the caviar factory sequence.

    The subwoofer was also well used adding significant bass to the many explosions, hand grenades and other bumps, grinds and bangs (tee hee).

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

Extras

    There are copious extras spread over two discs. I will mark extras which did not appear on the previous release as **NEW**. Subtitles are available for nearly all the extras.

Menu

    The menu was very nicely designed, reminiscent of the Bond movie opening credits style. I did find them slightly non-obvious in terms of finding all the extras. On these pages look out for the > on the bottom of the menu which leads you to extra pages of items on some menus.

Disc 1

Commentary - Director Michael Apted.

    This commentary appeared on the previous versions of the disc and was fairly ordinary. He does not have a very interesting manner and seems to have little of much interest to say.

Commentary - Production Designer Peter Lamont, 2nd Unit Director Vic Armstrong & Composer David Arnold.

    This commentary appeared on the previous versions of the disc and was certainly better than the first one. They are all together and bounce things off each other which makes it more interesting. They tell some anecdotes, discuss technical details, music choices and stunts. Quite decent.

Credits

    DVD Production Credits

Disc 2

Declassified : MI6 Vault

James Bond Down River (25:03)

    An extended making of featurette for the pre-credits boat chase sequence. Includes interviews with cast & crew, locations, wildlife issues, accidents, technical problems and testing of the boats. This was on the previous release. 4x3

Creating an Icon : Making the Teaser Trailer (4:25) **NEW**

    How low have extras sunk when we need a making of for a trailer? 4x3.

Hong Kong Press Conference (9:46) **NEW**

    A plainly grumpy Pierce Brosnan talks to the Hong Kong press. Reasonably interesting. 4x3.

Deleted Scenes with introductions by Director Michael Apted **NEW**

    Quite a few different extended, deleted and alternate scenes are included. This is the best new extra on this new edition.16x9 enhanced. The scenes are:

007 Mission Control **NEW**

    This fairly pointless set of extras consists of highlights from the film separated into small segments and categorised into 007, Opening Titles, Women, Allies, Villains, Mission Combat Manual, Q Branch & Exotic Locations. The only thing I noticed that wasn't in the film was a version of the title sequence without text.

Mission Dossier

    This sub-menu includes a number of featurettes which all appeared on the special edition. The main difference is that the video quality is reasonable on this edition, which was roundly criticised in the previous review. Specifically they are:

Ministry of Propaganda

    This sub-menu includes the theatrical trailer which was included on the special edition. For some reason three menus are required to get to it!

Image Database

    This is a large selection of image galleries on various topics. The photos included are stills from the film, publicity material and behind-the-scenes shots. The galleries are timed rather than requiring you to click through each photo. There are segments on the stars plus scenes, girls, costumes and publicity.

R4 vs R1

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

    These new Ultimate Editions are the same globally except for colour system differences and subtitles. Draw.

Summary

    An average entry in the Bond canon and the weakest of the Brosnan films.

    The video quality is very good but disappointing for an Ultimate Edition.

    The audio quality is very good but seems a bit flat.

    There are a huge array of extras on this 2 disc set, but most of them were available on the previous version.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, July 14, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

Other Reviews
Michael D's Region 4 DVD Info Page - KerreK (Come on! read my bio.)

Comments (Add)
The ACTUAL Bond (Broccolli) family motto.. - Ricko REPLY POSTED
Everything or Nothing - Mr Lowery

Overall | Dr. No: Ultimate Edition (1962) | From Russia with Love: Ultimate Edition (1963) | Goldfinger: Ultimate Edition (1964) | Thunderball: Ultimate Edition (1965) | You Only Live Twice: Ultimate Edition (1967) | On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Ultimate Edition (1969) | Diamonds Are Forever: Ultimate Edition (1971) | Live and Let Die: Ultimate Edition (1973) | Man with the Golden Gun, The: Ultimate Edition (1974) | Spy Who Loved Me, The: Ultimate Edition (1977) | Moonraker: Ultimate Edition (1979) | For Your Eyes Only: Ultimate Edition (1981) | Octopussy: Ultimate Edition (1983) | View to a Kill, A: Ultimate Edition (1985) | Living Daylights, The: Ultimate Edition (1987) | Licence to Kill: Ultimate Edition (1989) | GoldenEye: Ultimate Edition (1995) | Tomorrow Never Dies: Ultimate Edition (1997) | World Is Not Enough, The: Ultimate Edition (1999) | Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

Die Another Day: Ultimate Edition (2002)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 1-Nov-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Credits
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Just Another Day
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-A British Touch; Bond Returns To London
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Location Scouting With Peter Lamont
Featurette-007,Women, Allies, Mission Combat Manual, Q Branch
Featurette-Exotic Locations
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Shaken And Stirred On Ice
Script To Screen Comparison
Web Links
Gallery-Photo-Experience The World Of Bond In 2002
Rating ?
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 127:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Lee Tamahori
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Pierce Brosnan
Halle Berry
Toby Stephens
Rosamund Pike
Rick Yune
Judi Dench
John Cleese
Michael Madsen
Will Yun Lee
Kenneth Tsang
Emilio Echevarría
Mikhail Gorevoy
Lawrence Makoare
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Mirwais Ahmadzaï
David Arnold
Madonna


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 No
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    Die Another Day marked quite a few milestones in the history of the James Bond film franchise.

    It's the 20th Bond film in the Saltzman/Broccoli/Wilson produced series. It marked the 40th anniversary of the theatrical release of Dr No and the first Bond film of the 21st century. Sadly, it also marked the fourth and ultimately final appearance of Pierce Brosnan as the super spy James Bond 007 Licensed to Kill.

    Being such a momentous time for Bond, it's no wonder the producers and studio went out of their way to make this Bond a new hero for the 21st century. Prior to the theatrical release of Die Another Day, commentators were wondering of the relevance of the Cold War icon in a new post 9/11 world.

    That same year, xXx was getting a lot of pre-release hype and was prematurely assuming the 21st century super spy mantle. Bond 20 blew fans, critics and the box-office away, while xXx was a critical dud and made $170 million less than Die Another Day did. Somehow the next big thing seemed dated and clichéd, while a 40 year old, greying British film icon seemed  fresh, reinvigorated and ready for saving the world again in the 21st century.

    The film wonderfully and somewhat nostalgically pays homage to its predecessors; Jinx emerging from the surf like Honey Ryder, the Aston Martin ejector seat, The Union Jack parachute, a megalomaniac obsessed with diamonds, the scene with Q and all the old tricks.

    There were, however, a few aspects of this film that broke from Bond tradition and caught the attention of filmgoers;

    Another Bond babe worth mentioning is the stunningly cool Rosamund Pike who plays the well-named Miranda Frost; the right hand woman to Toby Stephens' megalomaniac Gustav Graves. It's here (for me at least) that things come a little unstuck. Stephens never seems more dangerous than a schoolyard prat - a spoilt kid who should be blowing his inheritance instead of trying to take over the world. Rick Yune does a good job as the diamond encrusted evil side-kick. The usual suspects of Dame Judi Dench and John Cleese reprise their roles as M and Q respectively and do excellent jobs. On a disappointing note, Madonna  makes one of the worst soft-lighting cameos in the history of film and also chips in a pretty weak (if somewhat catchy) theme song.

    What exactly is Bond saving the world from this time? Gustav Graves has smuggled illegal African diamonds and is claiming that they have been mined in Iceland. This is bankrolling his pet project, a powerful satellite that harnesses the power of the sun to be used as a massive weapon. Gustav is not who he seems and has an agenda that includes revenge on 007. The action goes from North Korea to Hong Kong to the UK to Iceland and back to Korea! Highlights include a great car chase and battle on ice in the Aston Martin and an extreme surfing incursion into North Korea.

   Brosnan is arguably the best Bond since Connery, and I for one am sad to see him go. At least Brosnan (unlike some of his predecessors) goes out on a theatrical high-note. Here, as he has done in his previous films, he plays a very strong, determined and stylish Bond. He's suave, a lady killer and has a charismatic film presence that I'm yet to see from his thuggish, blue collar and too rough around the edges replacement. Hh well. I'm sure the franchise will thrive and continue to be a film force to be reckoned with in another 40 years!

    James Bond will return in Casino Royale.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    I owned the previous R4 release of this film and it was a lacklustre transfer. Lowry cleaned up this transfer frame by frame and remastered it in high definition. It shows - this transfer is markedly better than the original DVD release. Unfortunately, though, it's not as good as it should be.

    The film is presented in 2.35:1 and the disc is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is undeniably softer than what it should be. Close shots tend to look decent enough but as soon as there is a wide shot, especially when outdoors, there is a marked decrease in clarity. Like some of the other new releases the culprit seems to be the bit rate, probably a 'bit' lower than it should be hovering around the low to mid 4 range.

    The previous release had serious edge enhancement issues. This is not as bad this time round but it's still annoying and it generally rears its head in wider shots.

    The colour is good. Being shot in various locations all around the world, Tamahori had an extensive colour palette to work with. Filters were used extensively as this Bond outing was plagued with a lot of inclement weather through the shoot. Skin tones looked realistic and shadow/black levels were superb.

    Aliasing could be seen occasionally, but nothing too severe.

    Overall, a definite improvement from the previous release but still a notch below what's expected at the current stage of DVD's life cycle.

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

Audio

    Like the previous R4 release there are two great audio options; English Dolby Digital EX 5.1 (448Kb/s) and English dts-ES (768Kb/s).

    Both are fantastic tracks, but I prefer the dts track. It has a greater range and the bass was very impressive.

    The dialogue came through clearly, but in a few instances seemed a little softer when compared to the surrounds. Sync was fine.

    The music sounded great. David Arnold did an inspiring job reworking some of Barry's classic pieces and of course the famous Monty theme.

    This is a big movie with many explosions and earth shattering action. As such, the surrounds got a serious workout - the cracking of the ice shelf as Icarus blasts the ice away is fantastic and there are many other similar instances.

    The LFE track is similarly intense and extremely busy. This is where the dts track outdoes the Dolby.

    There are also 2 English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) tracks.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation    

Disc One

MI6 Datastream

    Same as previous release. Informative Subtitles that pop up during the movie and provide interesting production notes and bits of trivia.

Audio Commentary 1

    Same as previous release. Lee Tamahori (Director) & Michael G. Wilson (Producer) provide interesting behind-the-scenes anecdotes and other information. Their commentary is joint, and screen-specific. Dry at times, but it seems like the two have a healthy respect for each other and are proud of how the film turned out.

Audio Commentary 2

   Same as previous release. Actors Pierce Brosnan and Rosamund Pike provide a separately recorded, but screen-specific, commentary. I thought Brosnan might have been a bit more interesting, but I just couldn't get into it. Pike had a lot of enthusiasm.

Disc Two

Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Just Another Day (22:37)

    A great look at one day of filming, interviews with cast, director, security, assistant directors, location co-ordinators and so on. This day is the filming across the road from Buckingham Palace when Graves parachutes in to get his Knighthood. A massive amount of work for 30-40 seconds worth of footage.

Featurette-Behind The Scenes-A British Touch; Bond Returns To London (3:31)

    Brief look at Bond flying British Airways back to London and how Roger Moore's daughter has a bit part as a hostess.

Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Location Scouting With Peter Lamont (13:50)

    Beautiful and amazing handycam footage as Lamont is out scouting locations but his narration quite bland - no anecdotes, he just simply tells the viewer what is appearing on screen. A little disappointing.

Featurette - Shaken & Stirred - On Ice (23:34)

    Same as previous release. This extra looks specifically at the amazing car battle on ice. This featurette is fascinating, as it covers how the film-makers had to reconstruct these beautiful V12 sports cars into 4WDs (with weapons) and still make them identical on the outside -- a very tough call. The engineers seem to have their work cut out for them.

Featurette-007, Women, Allies, Mission Combat Manual, Q Branch, Exotic Locations   

    This set of extras consists of highlights from the film separated into small segments and categorised into 007, Opening Titles, Women, Allies, Villains, Mission Combat Manual, Q Branch & Exotic Locations.

Featurette- Script To Screen Comparison (51:39)

    A great look at how Bond 20 came to fruition. Extensive interviews with producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson, and cast and crew members who've worked on previous Bond productions. They have pretty close knit teams. A great making of production that more DVD releases could do with.

Web Links

Gallery-Photo-Experience The World Of Bond In 2002

    Lots of photos from the production and media blitz around the theatrical release.

R4 vs R1

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

    The new Ultimate Editions are identical in different regions, so I vote the same!

Summary

    Bond 20 is a great homage to early films and a great intro to the 21st century.

    The video is good, but not great.

    The audio is first class.

    Special features are very good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ben Smith (boku no bio)
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDMarantz DV4300, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL HS10 projector on 100 inch 16x9 screen + Palsonic 76WSHD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-DE685. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPioneer
SpeakersDB Dynamics VEGA series floor standers + centre, DB bipole rears, 10" 100W DB Dynamics sub

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Aspect Ratio - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
Trailers - THE REAL THING
Great Review - Nick
Ultimate Edition? - Anonymous
Extras!!! - Anonymous
Available INDIVIDUALLY - richie007au (don't read it. my bio is dangerous to your health)
Single Titles Released in New Zealand - Richard
Die Another Day SE vs Ultimate Edition differences - Greg
Film artefacts - Gav