|Category||Bond||Main Menu Audio and Animation
Documentary - Inside The Spy Who Loved Me (40:40)
Documentary - Ken Adam: Designing Bond (21:41)
Audio Commentary - Lewis Gilbert (Director), Ken Adam (Production Designer), Christopher Wood (Co-writer) and Michael Wilson (Special Assistant to Producer)
Television Spots (6)
Radio Spots (12)
The Spy Who Loved Me Gallery
|Running Time||120:14 minutes|
Fox Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||No||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0, 224 Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Theatrical Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Someone has been stealing nuclear-missile equipped submarines and the Russians and English are not too happy about it. So unhappy in fact that they assign their top agents to the case as a joint mission. And so Commander James Bond (Roger Moore) finds himself teamed up with Major Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach) in search of one "visionary" in Stromberg (Curt Jurgens). He is a man of vision who happens to live under the sea and suffers from the usual megalomaniacal tendencies of Bond villains in wanting to change the world - this time by blowing it to smithereens with nuclear missiles so that it can be started anew under the sea. The race is on to find the submarines and stop the evil plan, whilst also avoiding the henchmen of Stromberg, headed by the aptly named Jaws (Richard Keil). At the same time of course, Mr Bond gets to play with several beautiful woman and do his bit to foster Anglo-Soviet relations - of whatever kind.
Nothing at all unusual here in that respect and as I said, basically a rehash of the same story used so successfully in just about every Bond film. Why spoil a good time? What makes this episode such a memorable one is the fact that the tongue-in-cheek aspect of the franchise was to some extent revived here with some wonderfully droll one-liners being tossed around with gay abandon. Thankfully of course, because had this needed to rest on the shoulders of Roger Moore, it would have failed miserably. To my mind, he never really suited the action aspects of Bond and in many ways this film demonstrated it more than most. But a Bond film is all about bigger and better and so Production Designer Ken Adams gave this the biggest and best up to that time - and maybe of all time for Bond. He outdid even himself with the scope of the set inside the huge oil tanker, and the model of the tanker itself is indeed something special - eighty five feet in length under the old measure. Offsetting that however was the fact that another film released the same year lifted the special effects bar by more than a few notches and this film suffers in comparison.
Whatever the perceived faults of the film, and the rather torrid circumstances in which it was gestated, this is anything but a dead loss and an enjoyable enough romp it is, even today. After all, how can you possibly ignore or hate a film that has a Lotus Esprit submarine? One of the best efforts to recapture the comic side of Bond and in that respect it is best remembered. Bond fans will of course need no prodding to add this one to the collection, but if you need a representative of each incarnation of Bond, this is perhaps the DVD of choice for Roger Moore, and MGM have done another generally good job in committing this to digital posterity.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, as it was presented theatrically, and it is 16x9 enhanced.
Despite the presence of a fair chunk of special effects work in the form of miniatures and blue screen work, this is actually a quite decently sharp and detailed transfer. This is partly the result of the huge sets used I would suspect, especially that for the interior of the oil tanker. There are the odd lapses of course in the image which does result in some slightly diffuse portions, but they do not detract from the show at all. The transfer is not an especially memorable effort as far as shadow detail is concerned but it is never less than good, just not finding the absolute detail of more recent films. It is unfortunately not an especially clear transfer and there are some minor issues at times with very mild grain, and certain sequences seem to have a distinctly dirty look to them. This is usually evident on any sequence showing a significant amount of cloudy sky. Low level noise did not seem to be an issue here.
From a colour point of view, there is not much to complain about. Whilst this has a slightly muted look at times, this is perhaps expected due to the large scale sets used for interiors - they must have been a sod to light properly. The external location stuff usually has a nice bright, vibrant feel to the image that is quite believable. The only time that oversaturation was even hinted at was during the red light sequences in the submarines. Other than that, there were no oversaturation problems and no colour bleed problems.
There was nothing in the way of MPEG artefacts in the transfer as far as I could see. Unfortunately, the transfer is blessed with a consistent problem with aliasing throughout. Most of the time it is quite minor and not at all distracting, but on just the odd occasion it forces itself into the consciousness a little more than I would like. The main problem though is that the interior shots in the oil tanker show some obvious moiré type artefacting. These sequences must have been a real pain to master as the set is predominantly silvery steel with sharp-edged gantry walkways across the set. This must be tantamount to a mastering nightmare. There were a few film artefacts floating around in the transfer but nothing really distracting.
This an RSDL formatted DVD, with the layer change coming very late in the film at 112:54. It is just a little slow in the navigation and makes it just a little too obvious for my taste.
There are no real problems with the dialogue here, which is clear and easy to understand. There does not appear to be any great issue with audio sync in the transfer either.
The music score comes from Marvin Hamlisch, and a quite decent effort it is too. However, it does pale in comparison with my personal choice for the best Bond theme song of all time - Nobody Does It Better sung by Carly Simon.
I would have to say that the 5.1 soundtrack is marginally
problematic. It really does not come over as a great sounding effort and
some of the bass channel usage is a little wonky. At 41:40,
the bass seems to come in slightly after the relevant on-screen action
for instance and at other times it simply does not seem to carry the sort
of deep roar that I would expect from the on-screen action. Probably one
way to describe it is slightly emasculated, but that really does not convey
much of an image to go with. There also does not seem to be much use made
of the surround channels - the rear channels hardly seem to get any action
at all, whilst the front channels, if they are used, just don't seem to
produce an enveloping sound at all. Indeed, at times this really sounds
quite monophonic, which is not really what I would expect from a 5.1 remastering.
|Surround Channel Use|
© Ian Morris (have
a laugh, check out the bio)
25th November 2000
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|