View to a Kill, A: Special Edition (1985)
Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Inside A View To A Kill (DD2.0, 4:3, 37:26 minutes)
Featurette-The Bond Sound-The Music Of James Bond (DD2.0, 4:3, 21:37)
Audio Commentary-John Glen (Director) et al
Music Video-A View To A Kill (DD2.0, 1.85:1, 4:31 minutes)
Deleted Scenes-The Paris Police Station (DD2.0, 2.35:1, 0:55 minutes)
Trailer-3 (DD2.0, 5:39 minutes)
TV Spots-4 (DD2.0, 4:3, 2:00 minutes)
|Year Of Production||1985|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||John Glen|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
A View To A Kill begins in typical fashion with 007 in the snow fields of Siberia, searching for the body of one of his secret service colleagues and a microchip stolen from the KGB. This, of course, is a simple excuse for some great looking action scenes, and another chase to the death on skis. This one is notable because it is credited with giving a huge boost to the then fledgling sport of snow boarding.
Back in London, we discover that the microchip Bond recovered from Siberia is identical to a highly secret chip being developed by the West. The only lead is to a secretive German industrialist named Max Zorin (Christopher Walken). The only public activity he appears to indulge in is horse racing, and his success in that sport has already begun raising eyebrows. Enter Sir Godfrey Tibbett (Patrick Macnee), former horse trainer and every bit the English gentleman, to assist Bond in his infiltration of Zorin's organization. After a visit to the races at Ascot, the action quickly moves to Paris and a characteristic Bond action set-piece that involves a gun fight on the Eiffel Tower, a sky dive off the Tower by Zorin's henchman (well henchwoman) Mayday (Grace Jones) and some fancy driving by Bond in a car that gradually breaks apart. There's no real point to it, but it's some of the best action in the film. Bond follows Zorin to the latter's magnificent palace and horse stables (actually built by an 18th century French Baron who was convinced that he would be reincarnated as a donkey, so the stables were built to be worthy of a Baron!). It wouldn't be a Bond film if there weren't lots of beautiful women, and the palace garden party allows plenty of scope for such sights in abundance. One of these beauties is the blonde Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts) - it took me a couple of viewings to get over my old Charlie's Angels image of her as a brunette - but it's some time before we get to know her true role.
This part of the film is, I think, the most elegant, helped along primarily by the beauty of the French locations and Patrick Macnee's wonderful character acting. Tibbet's demise at the hands of Mayday marks a certain change in the nature of the film, as Bond is allowed to go off on his own in search of action (and love). The story line begins to take real shape as we move to San Francisco (although keep an eye out at the 52 minute mark for Dolph Lundgren's screen debut as a KGB bodyguard). San Francisco is a great city to visit, but personally it leaves me a bit cold to see a Bond story based in so modern a city - it just doesn't seem to have that exotically romantic feel that is the essence of a James Bond epic. Nevertheless, we learn Zorin's master plan involves the destruction of Silicon Valley as a means of cornering the market in microchips. "Good!" I hear you cry - the real estate is overpriced anyway. From here on the film plays more like any number of pedestrian crime films - Bond follows a few leads, ends up in City Hall, follows the blonde back to her home, stays the night, etc. We get treated to City Hall burning down followed by a fire truck chase through the city streets that should have been left alone for other films to use. The plan to trigger an earthquake that inundates Silicon Valley is thwarted before the final action piece set high above San Francisco Bay and Bridge aboard one of Bondy's blimps is acted out.
Roger Moore left his departure from the Bond franchise at least one film too late. His previous appearance in Octopussy was at least helped by a good story and strong casting. This one simply struggles to find its purpose. For me, it lacks warmth and true excitement. It took quite a few years and two new Bonds before the series found those qualities again. The last line of the credits says it all: "James Bond will return". The producers had yet to figure out when, how, why and under what title he'd return.
The transfer suffers from slight softness that is simply symptomatic of the film's age. I never found it to be a problem, and to be sure, picture detail is always very clear. Shadow detail is very good without being up to the perfect levels of clarity of some of the more recent Bond films. Graininess is present throughout but at minor levels that never really become painful.
As usual with the Bond film franchise, the DVD transfer reveals extremely realistic, though slightly less than fully saturated colours. Flesh tones are natural and the multitude of sights in the picture provide a wealth of colourful detail. There is little to complain about in the picture, a state of affairs that has happily become routine with Bond films.
The single common blemish with this transfer is in the area of aliasing. Several Bond DVDs have suffered from this problem, probably due to the amount of material that is crammed onto the discs and the resultant strain on the compression rates. However, in this case the result is not too bad - the worst case can be seen at the 54 minute mark in a scene where venetian blinds cover much of the set walls and the whole screen explodes in interference patterns, but otherwise the effect is confined to smallish parts of the picture. There are the usual film artefacts present throughout but these will go unnoticed by the casual viewer.
Dialogue is spot on in clarity and sync. Everything sounds quite natural throughout. There were no clicks, pops or dropouts, and no distortion to comment on.
I've never been a fan of the theme song for this Bond film - to my way of thinking the previous film marked the end of the truly romantic of the Bond songs - but John Barry has yet again been able to weave a very effective score around the basic theme.
Surround speaker activity is again disappointing with this transfer. Although it is used very effectively for the racing scene at Ascot, with lots of crowd effects coming from all directions, very little else seems to come from it. This results in another reasonably heavy reliance on the front soundstage. Subwoofer use is similarly limited, with little or no support, even for the couple of large explosions that should rock the film.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-K310, using S-Video output|
|Display||Pioneer SD-T43W1 (125cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Richter Wizard (front), Jamo SAT150 (rear), Yamaha YST-SW120 (subwoofer)|