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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Dr. No



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#1 of 19 Cameron Yee

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Posted October 27 2008 - 04:55 PM

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Release Date: Available now (original release date October 21, 2008)
Studio: MGM Home Entertainment
Packaging/Materials: Single-disc Blu-Ray case with cardstock slipcover
Year: 1962
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1h50m
MSRP: $34.98

MAIN FEATURE
Video1080p high definition 16x9 1.66:1
AudioDTS HD Master Audio: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: English Mono, Spanish Mono, French 5.1
SubtitlesEnglish, Spanish

Note: Portions of this review include material from my review of the two-disc DVD included in the "James Bond Ultimate Collection, Volume 4." You can read the entirety of the review here.


The Feature: 4/5
James Bond (Sean Connery, in his inaugural portrayal) investigates the murder of British agents in Jamaica, leading him to the heavily guarded island of Crab Key run by the mysterious Dr. No.


Video Quality: 4.5/5
The film is correctly framed at 1.66:1, encoded in AVC and devoid of blemishes. Black levels are deep and inky with shadow detail and contrast both looking very good. Fine object detail is excellent - skin texture, grass and gravel, and threads in fabrics all standing out in their clarity - though some viewers may note some loss of detail in a few wide shots. Colors have good depth and richness, most notable with reds (Quarrel's shirt) and blues (Money Penny's scarf). Grain structure appears nicely preserved with no obvious signs of noise reduction or artificial edge enhancement.


Audio Quality: 4/5
Presented in 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio, the mix is nicely balanced with frequent environmental effects and film score support in the surrounds and clear and intelligible dialogue in the center channel. However I did notice a moment of odd reverberation in Professor Dent's dialogue, just before Bond shoots him. Though there are no instances of true LFE, there are a few moments of nice low end response, as with the opening of Dr. No's concrete sliding door and the action-filled finale. Overall the track is pleasantly detailed and dynamic.

Though the release includes the original mono track, I can't really see anyone choosing it. The lossy 224 kbps track is grainy and generally unpleasant. Switching back to the lossless track is a welcome relief.


Special Features: 4.5/5

All the special features from the "Ultimate Edition" DVD release have been ported over and some have been upgraded to high definition video! Though the "007 Mission Control" random access piece is essentially a series of bookmarks in the feature, two subsequent documentaries and the theatrical trailer are now high definition - a nice touch.

Audio Commentary with Director Terence Young and Members of the Cast and Crew: John Cork of the Ian Fleming Foundation serves as the moderator/narrator for this collection of trivia and pre-recorded interview clips with cast and crew. It is tightly scripted and Cork is clearly reading, but the information is interesting and well chosen, with the interviews enhancing it. The "Dr. No" commentary is particularly interesting as cast and crew share various "origin stories" of things like the opening title sequence, film score and character portrayals - things which laid the groundwork for the subsequent films in the franchise.

007: Licence to Restore - Lowry Digital Images Rejuvenates James Bond (11m55s): John Lowry, Founder and CEO of Lowry Digital Images, along with various staff give a brief glimpse behind the scenes of the company and of the Bond film restoration process. Interesting, but more promotional than informational.

The Guns of James Bond (5m07s): Black-and-white BBC piece with gun enthusiast Jeffrey Boothroyd, who talks about the firearms used in the Bond stories and provides a few demonstrations.

Premiere Bond: Opening Nights (13m08s): Producer Michael Wilson talks over various archival photographs and film from the Bond movie premieres. A nice walk down memory lane.

Credits (1m23s): Production credits for the "MI6 Vault."

"007 Mission Control": An interesting feature, giving random access to scenes around a particular character or theme, all in 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio and 1080p high definition 16x9 1.66:1 video. Better than skipping through the feature disc? It depends. For fans of the opening title sequence (or Ursula Andress), this is an easy way to access those scenes. And obviously users aren't meant to watch all the clips, but only access their favorites; otherwise, why not just watch the feature disc? The one departure from simple clips from the film is the "Exotic Locations" item, which is a montage of film locales with narration by Maud Adams, presented in high definition video and stereo audio.

Inside "Dr. No" (42m05s): History of the film, featuring interviews with cast and crew and archival photos. Nicely produced, covering everything from how Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman teamed up to the creation of the iconic gun barrel opener. Though not exhaustive (details about the premiere and box office success are only mentioned), the documentary is still quite thorough, with varied and plentiful interviews and archival materials. In high definition video and stereo audio.

Terence Young: Bond Vivant (17m55s): Biography of the Bond franchise's first director, touching on his pre-Bond films and his subsequent involvement with Saltzman and Broccoli. Much is said about Young's personal style, elegance and charm - qualities which he ultimately infused into the Bond character and traits we have come to expect in any Bond portrayal. A fitting tribute to a director who set the tone for all future Bond films. In high definition video and stereo audio.

Dr. No 1963 Featurette (8m40s): Promotional artifact, hosted by a very un-Bondlike gentleman.

Theatrical Archive (10m57s): Four theatrical trailers from a time when trailers tended to...trail. The third and fourth trailers promote double features of "Dr. No" with subsequent Bond films. The first theatrical trailer is in high definition with stereo audio.

TV Broadcasts (1m24s): Two TV spots promoting the double feature of "Dr. No" and "Goldfinger."

Radio Communication (6m20s): Six radio spots promoting the film, the first mistakenly calling Andress's character "Honey Child."

Image Database: A large image gallery filled with the requisite mix of promotional stills, on-set shots, and advertising materials. The gallery also appears refinished for high definition displays.

"Quantum of Solace" Movie Cash: In promotion of the upcoming Bond film starring Daniel Craig, a cover sticker has a code to access an online coupon worth up to $10.50 toward the purchase of a ticket for the movie. The sticker left a fair amount of adhesive on the cardstock cover, though it was easily removed with duct tape.


Title Recap

The Feature: 4/5
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 4.5/5
Overall Score (not an average): 4.5/5

For those who have never owned any version of "Dr. No," the Blu-Ray release is a no-brainer, having very good audio and excellent video to go along with the thorough set of extras, some which are now in high definition. For owners of the DVD version, the decision to re-purchase the title on Blu-Ray will ultimately come down to how much they enjoy the film. My personal strategy with the release of the Blu-Ray Bond films, before I knew I'd be getting them to review, was to purchase only those titles I really loved, this film being one of them. I suspect, however, that hardcore fans will be looking at a wholesale upgrade for all the films if the rest of the titles are as fine as this one.
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#2 of 19 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted October 27 2008 - 05:27 PM

Cool! Thanks for the review. Posted Image Just ordered it (along w/ the other 2 Connery Bonds plus For Your Eyes Only) from Fry's online site. Can't wait for them to arrive (probably later this week).

_Man_
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#3 of 19 Southpaw

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Posted October 28 2008 - 02:01 AM

Cameron - it was great to meet you out in Hollywood last week. Tina and I had a fun time hanging out and shooting the breeze with ya!

#4 of 19 Kajs

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Posted October 28 2008 - 02:09 AM

What I always don't see mentioned in these reviews is that the "007 Mission Control" on this disc also features the Title Sequence without text, which is another special feature that isn't located elsewhere on the disc.

#5 of 19 Gary Murrell

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Posted October 28 2008 - 09:09 PM

this is without a doubt pure reference video material and is now on all my "top lists", it is that good

unbelievable!!

-Gary

#6 of 19 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted October 29 2008 - 06:49 AM

Gary,

What happened to *all* DVNR (or similar tweaking) being unacceptable? Posted Image Posted Image According to RAH, there should be some amount of tweaking going on here, but the results turn out (appropriately) great in this instance. I can't wait to receive mine -- should be arriving today or maybe tomorrow...

_Man_
Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

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#7 of 19 Gary Murrell

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Posted October 29 2008 - 09:47 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Man-Fai Wong
Gary,

What happened to *all* DVNR (or similar tweaking) being unacceptable? Posted Image Posted Image According to RAH, there should be some amount of tweaking going on here, but the results turn out (appropriately) great in this instance. I can't wait to receive mine -- should be arriving today or maybe tomorrow...

_Man_

Man, if Dr. NO has been DNR'd to a degree that is altering the PQ then they have fooled me

if the DNR knob Posted Image has a setting of 1 - 100 they might have placed it on 1 for this, plenty of grain still there

wait until you see it!!

-Gary

#8 of 19 Peter Raber

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Posted October 29 2008 - 10:18 AM

Well thanks to all the positive reviews I have been reading I purchased the 3 Connery Bonds in Blu-Ray even though I bought the UE last year.

I decided to buy only the Bond movies I truly love in Blu, and those are 3 of the 4 Connery's I would buy.

All the positive reviews just make it so much easier to re-buy.

#9 of 19 martymc80s

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Posted October 31 2008 - 07:17 AM

I just finished watching Dr. No on Blu-Ray.

This is my endorsement of High-Def. I never "bonded" (sorry) with the film before today, neither on VHS, SD DVD or on TV.

I sat down today and gave the film a chance. In a word, hooked. I loved it.

Like so many of the films I've re-watched in High Definition, I was actually fully engaged - enjoying and gripped by the film in a similar way to how I felt as a kid at the cinema. Posted Image

The only gripe I had with this particular disc is that there was some noticeable audio out of sync which started around the area when Ursula Andress comes out of the water, and was fixed by the time they were at Dr. No's lair.

I thought perhaps the player (BDP-S550) was losing sync or it was a hardware issue between the HDMI link to my TV (my audio is analog out, the video is HDMI into LCD) - but it was consistently bad in these scenes.

Could anyone (with the previous versions or the UE DVD) clarify whether this is an issue with the film or whether this might be a sync issue for the Blu-Ray disc only?

Could be incorrect ADR, a fault of the soundtrack/dialogue in the film and nothing to do with the transfer.

#10 of 19 martymc80s

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Posted October 31 2008 - 07:31 AM

I just finished watching Dr. No on Blu-Ray.

This is my endorsement of High-Def. I never "bonded" (sorry) with the film before today, neither on VHS, SD DVD or on TV.

I sat down today and gave the film a chance. In a word, hooked. I loved it.

Like so many of the films I've re-watched in High Definition, I was actually fully engaged - enjoying and gripped by the film in a similar way to how I felt as a kid at the cinema. Posted Image

The only gripe I had with this particular disc is that there was some noticeable audio out of sync which started around the area when Ursula Andress comes out of the water, and was fixed by the time they were at Dr. No's lair.

I thought perhaps the player (BDP-S550) was losing sync or it was a hardware issue between the HDMI link to my TV (my audio is analog out, the video is HDMI into LCD) - but it was consistently bad in these scenes.

Could anyone (with the previous versions or the UE DVD) clarify whether this is an issue with the film or whether this might be a sync issue for the Blu-Ray disc only?

Could be incorrect ADR, a fault of the soundtrack/dialogue in the film and nothing to do with the transfer.

#11 of 19 Cameron Yee

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Posted October 31 2008 - 04:25 PM

Quote:
Could anyone (with the previous versions or the UE DVD) clarify whether this is an issue with the film or whether this might be a sync issue for the Blu-Ray disc only?
I looked at both the UE and the Blu-Ray. Both have the same degree of "looseness" in the lip sync, but nothing I'd say is noticeable unless you are really looking for it. Andress's voice was dubbed, so that accounts for at least her more noticeable lack of lip sync.
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#12 of 19 Josh Steinberg

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Posted November 03 2008 - 03:24 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cameron Yee
I looked at both the UE and the Blu-Ray. Both have the same degree of "looseness" in the lip sync, but nothing I'd say is noticeable unless you are really looking for it. Andress's voice was dubbed, so that accounts for at least her more noticeable lack of lip sync.

Not to mention just about every other female actress that appeared in the first five Bond films! The early Bond films, in particular, used a lot of looping and dubbing so there always have been and always will be parts where lip movement might not appear perfect especially if you're sitting close to the screen and looking for it. It was one of those things where I was glad to have learned about it early on into my Bond viewing so I could forget about it and move on.

#13 of 19 martymc80s

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Posted November 03 2008 - 03:31 AM

awesome, thanks to you both for that info. Posted Image

Having just watched the same film on a Region 2 Pal DVD, I can see it's a little loose there too - so no worries really.

There is also a jumpcut in the scene where Bond is investigating Strangway's place - really obvious - but again - it's on the earliest DVD of it too, so I assume these are actually part of the cut.

#14 of 19 Johnny Angell

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Posted November 04 2008 - 08:19 AM

Is anyone having any audio distortion notable with dialog? I just hooked up my Sony S550 and the BR has played fine, but I notice a distortion in the dialog. I've tried another BR and it has not problems along these lines.
Johnny
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#15 of 19 Osato

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Posted November 27 2008 - 04:47 AM

The one that started it all..

Thanks for the reviews and feedback! The picture quality and audio sound amazing!

Is there issues with the audio for analog out users? I am looking at getting the Panasonic BD 55 and will be using analog out for the audio.

"Those are dragon tracks."

#16 of 19 Sam Favate

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Posted May 26 2009 - 12:51 AM

Finally got to watching Dr. No over the weekend on BD. I am absolutely stunned that this nearly-50-year-old movie looks this good. I don't think anyone has ever seen the movie look this good, not unless you were there when they filmed it and had 20/20 vision at the time.

#17 of 19 Paul_Warren

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Posted June 01 2009 - 05:02 PM

Finally got round to buying this and a few of the other Connery Bond's.

I agree that it looks stunning for a 47 year old film and is a new reference point for the 1960's era on BD but does anyone know why it has the following less than stunning frames:

1: A lot of the external ocean shots where the blue sea is in the background contained what looked like compression artifacts in almost every scene with blue ocean. The green inland river looked flawless & like new however so I do not understand why I am seeing these artifacts on the blue.

2: A couple of night scenes just before they encounter the dragon have a strange very dark grey criss cross diamond like grain pattern on them which does not look like film grain more like another form of compression artifact similar to the old macrovision pattern VHS + LD's used to get.

3: 1 maybe 2 scenes have bad jump cuts where it looks as though a frame is totally missing as the next frame contains half of the previous frame or its missing half of the previous frame but it goes by so quickly its hard to spot and happens in the first half of the movie at least twice.

Just curious when they spent so much time & money to get about 99% perfect and these minor imperfections are allowed through the Q&A.

#18 of 19 Richard--W

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Posted June 01 2009 - 09:35 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_Warren
Finally got round to buying this and a few of the other Connery Bond's.

I agree that it looks stunning for a 47 year old film and is a new reference point for the 1960's era on BD but does anyone know why it has the following less than stunning frames:

1: A lot of the external ocean shots where the blue sea is in the background contained what looked like compression artifacts in almost every scene with blue ocean. The green inland river looked flawless & like new however so I do not understand why I am seeing these artifacts on the blue.

2: A couple of night scenes just before they encounter the dragon have a strange very dark grey criss cross diamond like grain pattern on them which does not look like film grain more like another form of compression artifact similar to the old macrovision pattern VHS + LD's used to get.

3: 1 maybe 2 scenes have bad jump cuts where it looks as though a frame is totally missing as the next frame contains half of the previous frame or its missing half of the previous frame but it goes by so quickly its hard to spot and happens in the first half of the movie at least twice.

Just curious when they spent so much time & money to get about 99% perfect and these minor imperfections are allowed through the Q&A.
With regard to question 3, editor Peter Hunt explains on the commentary channel, and in various interviews, that the frame jump in the opening scene was intentional. The woman who is shot was not a professional actress. She would not react in time with the gun being fired. Her reaction always came a beat too late. The film was shot hurriedly and on a miniscule budget, and Terence Young often came back without inserts, cutaways, or safety takes. Having the audience sit there and wait for her to react was more distracting than dropping a frame, so without any coverage to use, Hunt dropped a frame. I've never synched up a comparison, but it looks to me as if the Lowry restoration and now the Blu-ray smooth-out this jump a little, compared to the theatrical release.

With regard to artifacts, I shall have to take another look. The day-for-night scenes were slightly inconsistent to begin with, but on Blu-ray they look more right than wrong (for an example of wrong, check out Disney's DVD of Dr. Syn which is a catastrophe). Light in the sky and on the water changes throughout the day, and some shots had to be manipulated in post because they didn't match during the shoot. That's not unusual. The challenge is too make those shots match in the digital realm, probably without the original log to guide one's decisions. I'm just guessing, but perhaps this accounts for the artifacts you're seeing.

Having seen Dr. No projected countless times since the theatrical re-releases in 1970 and 1971, I've never seen it look as clean, color-rich, and consistent as it does now. The cameraman Ted More put the grain there for our enjoyment, and it is a pleasure to see it sustained on the Blu-ray.

The recent screening in L.A. of the restored film was another revelation. The "softening" of the digital intermediate doesn't call attention to itself. Dr. No is what cinema is all about.

#19 of 19 Craig Beam

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Posted June 02 2009 - 07:27 AM

This Father's Day weekend (June 19-21), the McMenamins Kennedy School theater in Portland (Oregon) will be screening GOLDFINGER three times (once each day). Yes, I'll be there.

I know it's not DR. NO, but still.... Posted Image





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