A Few Words About A few words about...™ Moonraker -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 1999
    Messages:
    9,353
    Likes Received:
    5,296
    Real Name:
    Robert Harris
    Moonraker is mid-Moore era Bond -- a 1979 production, and generally looks fine on Blu-ray. There are some minor problems which should be noted for reference, and then... probably forgotten.

    Any film on Blu-ray is only as good as the elements used for the transfer or image harvest, and Moonraker, like many of the earlier Bond films, seems to have its share of dupe sections and (of necessity) effects shots. Blu-ray tends to make these stand out more than they ordinarily would.

    I also wouldn't be doing justice to discussions already on the web if I didn't at least also make note of the slightly squeezed and window-boxed main title sequence. Titles seem to be within a reasonably safe area. Other than the change in screen size, I wasn't terribly troubled by the adaptation, but didn't feel it necessary. Someone obviously did, so I surmise that there's a reason. One doesn't simply go off and adapt a film's main title sequence without one.

    Three decade old dupes show up immediately with the shot of the 747 and shuttle, with occasional scratches showing through. Entering M's quarters was also a bit odd, as flesh tones seemed overly pale, and the make up on top of Mr. Lee's (M) head reminded me of several scenes with Jack Hawkins in Lawrence.

    Once through the opening sequence things come together nicely -- possibly via a return to original negative, and the film continues on a positive track with solid colors, good blacks and nice resolution.

    If much of a Blu-ray looks good, my theory is to give those who created it their due, and make the assumption that there were occasional element problems, and that the best has been made of them. That's all one can do.

    The bottom line is that Moonraker is a quality Blu-ray, representative of the elements from which it was harvested. It's nice to have Bond number eleven in the Blu-ray library.

    I'm hopeful that MGM will release Bond number five, You Only Live Twice, another directed by Mr. Gilbert, with cinematography by the incomparable Freddie Young in the next batch. I was permitted to view a sample of YOLT a couple of years ago, and the quality in high definition is astonishing. It will make a killer Blu-ray.

    Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. DavidJ

    DavidJ Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2001
    Messages:
    3,126
    Likes Received:
    237
    Real Name:
    David
    Thank you for your thoughts. I have this in my collection, but it is a long way down in my "queue" so it will be a while before I form my own impressions. I'd prefer that the titles were not squeezed and window-boxed, but it is definitely not a deal breaker for me. It sounds like this Blu-ray is about as good as could be expected considering the elements. That is about all I could ask. I'm already anticipating You Only Live Twice though.
     
  3. Osato

    Osato Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2001
    Messages:
    3,143
    Likes Received:
    527
    Thanks for the comments about Moonraker. I really enjoyed the blu ray presentation of this film.
     
  4. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 1997
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    289
    Real Name:
    Cees Alons
    Although Roger Moore never was my favourite Bond actor (I liked him more as The Saint - Simon Templar), and even this film never has been anything near my favourite entry in the series, I gladly own it through the Bond BD Collection no. 3.

    It's still a nice film and I've seen it more often (together with the kids when I was younger) than some of the other Bonds.

    Not watched this BD yet, but thanks for your illuminating remarks, Robert. I will happily watch this one soon.


    Cees
     
  5. celica

    celica Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2009
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    hmm.. let's see if i could get this BD.. [​IMG]

    thanks for the highlight tho.. [​IMG]
     
  6. Osato

    Osato Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2001
    Messages:
    3,143
    Likes Received:
    527


    There's a few thousand Bond fans that are patiently waiting on You Only Live Twice and the other 8 Bond films to be released on blu ray!!

    Very cool that you were able to see some of You Only Live Twice in full HD!! I saw The Spy Who Loved Me (also unreleased as of yet on blu ray) on Bravo HD about a year or so ago. It looked amazing and the issues with the transfer for the UE DVD (Edge enhancement and haloing mainly) are now gone!

    I seem to come back to Moonraker quite a bit on blu ray. It looks so very good. I noticed that the film is a 4K scan transfer. This is stated at the end of the film after the credits finish.

    I believe Dr. No - Live and Let Die and Moonraker are 4K scans and the rest of the Bond films are at 2K. This according to the Lowry credits at the end of the blu rays and UE DVD's (for the 9 not currently on blu ray).

    Hopefully we get more Bond sooner rather than later, but 2012 will be the 50th anniversary of Dr. No as well as Bond 23 coming to theaters too.
     
  7. Geoff_D

    Geoff_D Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Messages:
    923
    Likes Received:
    25
    Well, that's a weirdly timed thread bump, as I watched Moonraker on Blu for the first time just last night, and noted the same general oddness that RAH has, notably the bizarre colour in that opening scene in M's office. The make up on Bernard Lee's bonce is visible throughout the film, but everyone looks so darned odd in that scene.


    One other thing that bugged me is the weird-looking grain that appears in several shots. It's not a deal-breaker by any means, but it's certainly off-putting. There are some shots of Rio's mountains which look like those classic 'frozen' opticals you sometimes see in movies because the grain is static (caused by taking a single frame and duping it over and over to achive a 'still' effect). But if you look closely, you can see that it's a live-action shot as the cable cars are moving between the peaks while the grain remains dead still. This artefact is clearly visible on some moving shots which feature the sky in the background, as the grain lazily wanders around in giant patches as the camera moves. Not a pretty sight.


    Your thoughts if you're reading this, RAH?
     
  8. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
    Owner

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1997
    Messages:
    46,639
    Likes Received:
    4,490
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    Geoff,


    You made me open my copy.


    Moonraker is not one of my Bond films, but I
    spent a few minutes with it today, and you are

    right -- the colors do seem off in the opening

    sequence in M's office.


    For the most part, however, the print looks

    amazingly good.




    Visit our [​IMG]DVD, [​IMG]BLU-RAY and [​IMG]3D REVIEW ARCHIVES
     
  9. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    6,055
    Likes Received:
    3,752
    Real Name:
    Josh Steinberg

    That's my dad's favorite Bond movie -- ever since I bought him a Blu-ray player in 2008, I've been eagerly awaiting the day I could surprise him with a copy of it. Hopefully in the not-too-distant future...
     
  10. Osato

    Osato Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2001
    Messages:
    3,143
    Likes Received:
    527

    I'm not sure if I saw too much wrong with the M's office scene. Is it the color's in M's face? I did see some differences there, but I wasn't sure if it was maybe a makeup issue? Interesting. I'll get a second opinion on it.

    Can you provide the time marks for the cable car scenes? I'm watching it right now, but I'm not sure which one you are referring too. Again it looks great to me so I may just not see it either.

    Is it the part where Bond and Holly are on the chain being chased by Jaws?



    Not one of your favorites? I really enjoy the Roger Moore Bond fllms. Moonraker is light at times, but there's some very dark moments to it as well. It's one of the more fun James Bond films, IMO. The locations are amazing in this one too. Rio, Venice... outer space?

    John Barry's score for Moonraker I believe is one of his best as well. Very underrated as is the Moonraker theme song by Shirley Bassey.

    I believe Moonraker is a 4K transfer as are Dr. No - Live and Let Die. The other Bond films are 2K. This info is published in the Lowry credits after the films end. Both on UE DVD and Blu ray.

    I find myself pulling out the Bond blu ray's quite a bit. Particularly Moonraker. Hopefully we will be getting the other 9 Bond films on blu ray soon. It's a huge step down going from blu ray to UE DVD!!!

    I agree that the print looks amazingly good. I also really like the DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack for Moonraker and the other Bond films on blu ray.
    It's a shame that MGM and Fox did not include more of the film trailers, tv spots and radio spots for Moonraker.

    "Outer Space Now Belongs to 007" .... something that will never be said of the Daniel Craig Bond films. : )
     
  11. Neil S. Bulk

    Neil S. Bulk Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 1999
    Messages:
    1,398
    Likes Received:
    231
    Real Name:
    Neil S. Bulk
    Does anybody else see aliasing on this in the blinds when Bond first walks into the room where he meets Dr. Goodhead?
     
  12. Worth

    Worth Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,759
    Likes Received:
    666
    Real Name:
    Nick Dobbs
    All of the Bonds on blu look pretty heavily DNRd to me. There's still a lot of detail present, but there are many instances of frozen and chunky looking grain.


    Interestingly, there are no opticals in the outer space scenes. The effects were achieved by backwinding the film in the camera.
     
    Osato likes this.
  13. Geoff_D

    Geoff_D Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Messages:
    923
    Likes Received:
    25

    Yep, noticed that too! Can only think that it's a downsampling artefact from the 4K original.


    I watched all the available Connery Blu-rays when they came out, and I don't remember any blatant artefacts, although FRWL and Goldfinger look a little more 'processed' than Dr No, and Thunderball is still littered with scratches. Time I revisited them I think, to see if that 4K work is as variable as it is here.


    The funny thing is, For Your Eyes Only looks terrific (from a 2K scan). The colour is well-balanced and consistent throughout, there's lots of fine detail and very little grain, and what grain there is doesn't look as fake as it does in Moonraker.
     
  14. Geoff_D

    Geoff_D Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Messages:
    923
    Likes Received:
    25
    Watched Dr. No again last night, and it looks as stunning as I remember it. No aliasing, perfect colour, loads of fine detail from start to finish. And while the grain may have a hint of strangeness about it (which I think RAH touched on) the overall effect is nothing short of spectacular.


    It's a shame, then, that the Bond movie made some 17 years later looks so much more variable in terms of colour, grain structure (opticals aside, natch) etc. In fact, I don't think that any of the 'classic' Bonds that I've seen on Blu have yet matched up to the quality and consistency of the oldest film of the bunch!
     
  15. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
    Owner

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 1997
    Messages:
    46,639
    Likes Received:
    4,490
    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    Tim,


    Moore is my favorite Bond, but I prefer the first three films

    (Live and Let Die, The Man With The Golden Gun, The Spy

    Who Loved Me) over anything else he did.


    In fact, I would say those three Bond films are my absolute

    favorite ones, though I know how much people dislike TMWTGG.


    I suppose it comes from growing up with Roger Moore. Those

    were the first Bond films I was exposed to, and I watched his

    early films many times on broadcast television during the 70s.



    Visit our [​IMG]DVD, [​IMG]BLU-RAY and [​IMG]3D REVIEW ARCHIVES
     
    Osato likes this.
  16. Osato

    Osato Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2001
    Messages:
    3,143
    Likes Received:
    527

    Awesome. Octopussy was the first James Bond film I ever saw. Needless to say I was very much a Roger Moore fan since that time. I do enjoy all of the Bond films though. I would say that all of the 70's and 80's Bond films are among my top favorites. The Connery's are great too.

    TMWTGG is a favorite and the blu ray was very well done. I was really surprised at the improvement in picture and audio on that title from the UE DVD. It's always one that I watch quite a bit along with Moonraker. Actually right now it's pretty hard to go back to the UE DVD's to watch those Bond films. I really am pleased with the overall work and effort that MGM and Fox have done with the Bond films on blu ray. Such a long far cry from first seeing many of them originally on VHS!

    I'm going to a special screening of a new print of The Spy Who Loved Me in Omaha next week too! Richard Kiel is a special guest at the event!! Really looking forward to that. It will be nice to see one of the original Roger Moore Bond films in the theater!
     
  17. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    6,055
    Likes Received:
    3,752
    Real Name:
    Josh Steinberg


    Though I'm not a huge fan of Moore's Bond films, The Man With The Golden Gun is absolutely my favorite of his - I'm kind of surprised to hear that many people dislike it. In an (admittedly small) sample size of friends I've watched Bond films with over the years (usually I do a marathon around the release of whatever new film is coming out, and have since Pierce Brosnan got the part), Golden Gun has played the best of any of the Moore films in front of friends and family. While I love all the Bond films, even the ones I consider to be terrible movies, Golden Gun is nowhere near the bottom of the barrel in my book!
     
    Osato likes this.
  18. Felix Martinez

    Felix Martinez Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2001
    Messages:
    1,465
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    South Florida

    I agree, although my fave Moore Bond titles are For Your Eyes Only and The Spy Who Loved Me, which was the first Bond film I saw in the theater. Even at 9 years of age, I was really getting into movies, but was totally confounded during the title sequence: who was this Roger Moore character when that actor James Bond was clearly "in The Spy Who Loved Me"? Was he impersonating Mr. Bond, who had obviously starred and had top billing in all those prior films? And where is this place called Panavision where they film all these movies? Must be a big studio...
     
  19. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2004
    Messages:
    6,196
    Likes Received:
    1,075
    Real Name:
    Sam Favate
    I had seen other Bond movies in the theater before Moonraker, but Moonraker was the first one I saw multiple times in the theater. My enthusiasm for the movie waned as the years went on, but I still think 3/4 of it is pretty good. The locations are excellent (far as I can tell, it's the first use of Iguazu Falls in a movie) and the story about Bond looking into a stolen space shuttle prototype in 1979 is exactly what we'd expect him to be doing. The stuff with the space station and laser guns is where the movie departs from the level of reality in the previous movies. Good cast, with Lois Chiles and Michael Lonsdale. Watched the BD when it came out and thought it looked great.
     
  20. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2000
    Messages:
    15,590
    Likes Received:
    334
    Location:
    London, England
    Real Name:
    Steve Christou
    Moonraker has always been a guilty favourite of mine, and I always seem to watch it at Xmas for some reason. I prefer it to the more down to earth and overrated For Your Eyes Only which had some nice locations but was a little too dreary and ordinary IMO (and Bill Conti's disco music the worst of the official Bond scores).


    Sadly my favourite Bond movie You Only Live Twice never made it to Blu-ray. Maybe next year when they celebrate 50 years of Bond movies, 50 years? wow! :)
     
    Osato likes this.

Share This Page