Release Date: Available now (original release date October 21, 2008)
Studio: MGM Home Entertainment
Packaging/Materials: Single-disc Blu-Ray case with cardstock slipcover
Running Time: 2h08m
|Video||1080p high definition 16x9 2.35:1|
|Audio||DTS HD Master Audio: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: English 2.1, Spanish Mono, French 5.1|
Note: Portions of this review include material from my review of the two-disc DVD included in the "James Bond Ultimate Collection, Volume 3." You can read the entirety of the review here.
The Feature: 3/5
James Bond (Roger Moore) must locate a sunken British spy ship and recover a device that can control the fleet's nuclear submarines.
Video Quality: 4/5
The film is correctly framed at 2.35:1, encoded in AVC and devoid of blemishes. Black levels are generally quite good - struggling a bit in some nighttime scenes, though that could easily be the limits of the film stock used at the time. Sharpness is variable in the second half of the movie - not as dramatically as it is on the DVD release - but wide shots tend to drop in detail while some shots simply lack the crispness found in ones immediately before or after. While noticeable, it is subtle enough - particularly with the increased resolution of HD - to keep it from being considered a major problem. Outside of those few minor issues, the transfer generally displays good contrast, color depth and clarity, with grain structure appearing 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, I noticed similar qualities with the mix as I did with the previous DVD release. Surround and front channels are used rather aggressively, which befits the cartoonish action, but dialogue can seem a touch low at times in comparison, more so in the first 20 minutes. Nonetheless, the high activity across the array makes for an enveloping and dynamic experience. The highly localized source music during Bond's entrance into the Cuban compound remains, though for whatever reason it is no longer so disorienting, connecting better with what is happening in the scene. Overall it's a very good, if not particularly subtle, track.
Also included is the original Dolby Surround track. Though not as detailed, dynamic or crisp as the lossless option it is not a bad way to go and in some cases may seem more natural given the film's vintage.
Special Features: 4/5
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 merely grabbing in and out points from the feature, deleted scenes, a documentary, and the theatrical trailer are now in high definition - a nice touch.
Audio Commentary with Sir Roger Moore: A few interesting stories spread over two hours make the commentary difficult to recommend, especially with the frequent moments of dead air and Moore's tendency toward mere description/reaction to scenes. There also doesn't seem to be much information offered that can't be learned on the other special features.
Audio Commentary Featuring John Glen and Actors: John Cork of the Ian Fleming Foundation returns, but this time to introduce the commentary track ported from the previous release (not sure of the point there). The commentary follows the same scripted format as the others, combining pre-recorded audio interviews with bits of movie history and trivia, which gives the listener plenty to take in.
Audio Commentary Featuring Michael G. Wilson and Crew: Cork introduces another ported commentary track, this time centering on the experiences and memories of the crew. Once again the scripted commentary and inclusion of pre-recorded interviews make for an overall more interesting and consistent experience.
Deleted Scenes and Expanded Angles: Deleted scenes include one from the hockey scene (2m05s), in which Bond dumps a load of snow on his opponents, and the other a shortened bit of dialogue between Bond and Melina (1m07s). The "Expanded Angle" segment makes use of the multi-angle feature, allowing the user to switch between the original cut and unused footage of the same scene. A third video track puts the two side-by-side for comparison. Mildly interesting but not likely one to revisit. All clips are in high definition with stereo audio.
Bond in Greece (5m56s): Producer Michael Wilson comments on behind-the-scenes footage from the shoot in Greece.
Bond in Cortina (4m19s): Wilson comments on behind-the-scenes footage from the shoot in Cortina, Spain.
Neptune's Journey (3m33s): Wilson comments on behind-the-scenes footage from the underwater shoots, which were directed by Al Giddings. Turns out the sub built for the film was the catalyst for the formation of the Ian Fleming Foundation.
Credits (1m15s): 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 2.35:1 video. Better than skipping through the feature disc? It depends. For fans of the opening title sequence (with and without text), this is an easy way to access it. 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 Maude Adams, presented in high definition with stereo audio.
Inside "For Your Eyes Only" (29m46s): Brief history of the film, featuring interviews with cast and crew and archival photos and film. Spends time on the filmmakers bringing Bond "back down to earth" after the outlandishness of "Moonraker" and the various stunt sequences. Nicely produced, entertaining, with interesting archival footage. In high definition with stereo audio.
Animated Storyboard Sequence - Snowmobile Chase (1m13s): Intercut with actual footage and set to the film score.
Animated Storyboard Sequence - Underwater (1m47s): Intercut with actual footage and set to the film score.
Sheena Easton Music Video (2m46): Music video of "For Your Eyes Only." 4:3 matted widescreen and in stereo.
Theatrical Trailer (2m06s): In high definition with stereo audio.
TV Broadcasts (11m44s): Three (rather long for) TV trailers.
Radio Communication (1m06s): Two promotional radio spots.
Image Database: Large image gallery with the requisite mix of promotional stills, on-set shots, and advertising materials.
"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.
The Feature: 3/5
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 4/5
Overall Score (not an average): 3.5/5
For new fans of "For Your Eyes Only," the Blu-Ray release is an obvious choice, having very good audio and video to go along with a decent number of extras, several of which are now in high definition. For previous owners of the DVDs, the decision to re-purchase the title on Blu-Ray will ultimately come down to how much they enjoy the film. I found the movie one of the weaker titles in the franchise, though the special features are plentiful and the upgrade to high definition for several of them makes for a nice bonus. Ultimately, "For Your Eyes Only" won't be for everyone but should please fans of the film.