This review is sponsored by
Main Menu Introduction
Audio Commentary-Vic Armstrong (2nd U Dir) & Michael Wilson (Prod)
Audio Commentary-Roger Spottiswoode (Dir) & Dan Petrie, Jr (Friend)
Isolated Musical Score
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-The Secrets Of 007
Featurette-Special FX Reel
Crew Interviews-Interview With Composer David Arnold
Music Video-Tomorrow Never Dies-Sheryl Crow
|Year Of Production||1997|
|Running Time||114:02 minutes|
|RSDL/Flipper||RSDL (80:46)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Spottiswoode, Roger|
Baker, Joe Don
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Isolated Music Score Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/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|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The premise is simple yet elegant, and almost believable in today's media-driven climate. Entrepreneur Elliot Carver, played with gusto by the wonderful Jonathan Pryce has just taken control of the biggest media enterprise on Earth, and he wants to launch it with a bang. To do this he arranges, via his henchman, what appears to be an international "incident" involving Chinese warplanes and a British naval vessel. Having created the seed, he then milks it for its worth using his mighty empire of TV, press and radio, and in doing so brings the world to the brink of warfare. It's up to James Bond to save the world again.
Pierce Brosnan is, in my mind, well-equipped as 007 himself, and he lends his own flair to the character which perhaps only Sean Connery matched. So much so that indeed the late Desmond Llewelyn confided that he believed Pierce was the best of the Bonds. Who am I to argue with him?
Originally released as a standard issue DVD over two years ago (wow, that long ..), this new Special Edition has much more to offer and is a much slicker package overall, so much so that I would recommend its purchase even if the reader has the older version.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
Filmed using anamorphic lenses, the film itself has a limited depth of field which results in blurred background objects, a quality which agrees with me. It also means that foreground objects have to be placed precisely to be in sharp focus, with little tolerance for error. This results in the transfer not always being amongst the sharpest, and certainly softer than many modern films shot using spherical lenses. However, the detail level is high and certainly very pleasing to me. Black level was extraordinarily deep at times, and shadow detail was sometimes wanting. A number of very dark scenes were close to being lost to darkness, but always managed to just hang in there. Low level noise was evident only during the darkest of scenes.
The colour palette is a striking one, making use of strong blues at times. There were hints of chroma noise in the strongest blues, again especially during darker scenes. There were no instances of colour bleed. Skin tones were on the whole very natural, only rarely appearing stronger than usual.
The transfer is without MPEG artefacting of any kind, save for ever-so-slight posterization of bright lights during some underwater scenes. Happily, there were no instances of aliasing at all, probably a result of the transfer being slightly soft. I noticed only a handful of very minor film artefacts, making for a very clean presentation.
I was upset to find that on-screen location titles were provided by the player, instead of being part of the video as per the original release of this DVD. This results in nasty, low resolution titles instead of the more tasteful ones used previously. Whilst I can understand this makes multi-region releases of the same print possible, it does detract from the glossy look of the film at those times.
This disc is dual-layered and RSDL
formatted, with the layer change well placed between chapters 23
and 24 at 80:46.
There is one English soundtrack on offer, being in Dolby Digital 5.1 at the full 448 kilobits per second data rate. Second is an isolated music-only score at the same bit rate. Also on offer are two audio commentary tracks in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround at 224 kilobits per second. MGM are to be commended for their use of the preferred higher bit-rate Dolby Digital soundtracks as promoted by Dolby themselves.
Dialogue is presented very well indeed on the whole, with barely any traces of looping, though some do crop up. Vocal quality was constant and very easy to understand. There were no instances of lip-sync errors.
The score by David Arnold is strikingly good. It is both contemporary and outrageous, though not outrageous as could have easily happened. As ever, the venerable Bond theme is worked in seamlessly from time to time, and it is a real treat even now, never seeming clichéd. It is no surprise to me that he was charged with doing The World Is Not Enough as well as the next Bond movie to be released next year. The score was always working with the action, and never called undue attention to itself other than simply being very, very stylish.
Surround activity was constant and very effective. There is a real sonic atmosphere to this movie, with no particular bias given to any hemisphere of the room. Especially convincing were panning of objects, be they missiles or aircraft, as they whizzed around. Sometimes back-to-front panning was a little obvious, but on the whole the sound is luscious and very room-filling. Of particular note are the many instances of in-phase rear surround usage, making for some effective placement of effects directly behind the listener. This would seem to be an ideal candidate for THX EX processing methinks.
The subwoofer was used almost constantly for the
myriad of explosions, gun shots and aircraft used throughout the movie.
It is pleasing to know that any minute now the room will rumble
with an imminent explosion, and a modern Bond film can almost guarantee
that. Integration with the main channels was seamless.
|Surround Channel Use|
The video is extremely good.
The audio is reference and is a very modern, enveloping movie soundtrack.
A stunning array of extras round off this package
and make it truly a Bond experience which demands to be in your
collection. Highly recommended.
© Cordingley, Paul
Sunday, June 03, 2001
|DVD||Panasonic A-360, using S-Video output|
|Display||Pioneer SD-T43W1 (125cm). Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of The Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier. Calibrated with THX Optimode|
|Speakers||Front - B&W 603 Series II, Centre - B&W LCR6 Series II, Rears - B&W 603 Series II, Subwoofer - B&W ASW500 Active.|