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Blu-ray Reviews

HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: James Bond Volume Three - Recommended



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#1 of 16 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

Kevin EK

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  • 2,857 posts
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Posted April 15 2009 - 07:26 PM


 

Blu-ray Disc REVIEW





JAMES BOND BLU-RAY VOLUME THREE


Studio: United Artists (via MGM)
Genre: Spy Action Thriller


THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH

Original Release: 1999
Length: 2 hours 8 mins

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 High Definition Widescreen
Color/B&W: Color

Audio:

  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (@ an average 2.5+ mbps)
    • French Dolby Digital 5.1
      • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1


        Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin
        Rating: PG-13 (Violence, Sexuality, James Bond)

        Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Robert Carlyle, Denise Richards, Robbie Coltrane and Judi Dench

        Screenplay by: Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and Bruce Feirstein
        From a Story by: Neal Purvis & Robert Wade
        Directed by: Michael Apted


         
      • GOLDFINGER
         
      • Original Release: 1964
        Length: 1 hour 50 mins

        Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 High Definition Widescreen
        Color/B&W: Color

        Audio:
        • English DTS-HD MA 5.1 (@ an average 2.5+ mbps)
          • English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (Original 1964 soundtrack)
            • French Dolby Digital 5.1
              • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

                Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin
                Rating: PG (Violence, James Bond)

                Starring: Sean Connery, Gert Frobe, Honor Blackman, Shirley Eaton

                Screenplay by: Richard Maibaum and Paul Dehn
                Based Upon the Novel by Ian Fleming
                Directed by: Guy Hamilton




                MOONRAKER

                Original Release: 1979
                Length: 2 hours 1 min

                Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 High Definition Widescreen
                Color/B&W: Color

                Audio:
                • English DTS-HD MA 5.1 (@ an average 2.5 mbps)
                  • English Dolby Surround 2.0
                    • French Dolby Digital 5.1
                      • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

                        Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin
                        Rating: PG (Violence, James Bond)

                        Starring: Roger Moore, Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale, Richard Kiel and Corinne Clery

                        Screenplay by: Christopher Wood
                        Directed by: Lewis Gilbert

 





Release Date: March 24, 2009

Film Rating: 3 ½/5




James Bond Blu-ray Volume Three is the latest collection of Bond catalogue Blu-ray releases, this time intended to compliment the initial home video release of the newest Bond film, Quantum of Solace. For the most current trio of releases, UA has once again selected highlights from three different eras of Bond films: The World is Not Enough, Goldfinger and Moonraker. In this three-disc Blu-ray set, each disc presents its film in a lovely 1080p AVC transfer with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 sound mix and a treasure trove of extras carried over from the 2006 standard definition Ultimate Edition releases.

This collection spans roughly 35 years and 17 films in the series. The first film in the collection, The World is Not Enough represents the Pierce Brosnan era with what is probably the second best of his four efforts. In this case, the film tries to bend some of the formulas of the series, both in terms of characters switching their loyalties and in terms of trying some new ideas, like staging a major action sequence right out of the MI6 building itself. It can’t quite overcome some of the creakier moments (many of the quips and the double entendres are a bit forced), but the action sequences still amaze and the film has a solid sense of scale. Goldfinger, on the other hand, represents the peak of the Sean Connery era, and while it’s quite dated at this point, it’s amazing how much of the film works on its own terms. In addition to the original cast being in their best form, the plot mostly works. (I have some questions about how Bond manages to turn one character around so quickly, but the movie goes by so quickly it’s hard to quibble.) And even after 45 years, it’s still a pleasure to see the original Aston Martin in all its glory. The final film in this set, Moonraker represents the Roger Moore era, and has a mixed history, although it’s one of the more popular Moore outings. It is known as possibly the most gadget-heavy of all the films, and the most self-referential in its humor. It brings back one of the series most effective heavies, Jaws, but then plays him almost completely for laughs, including an absolutely bizarre romantic interlude in the middle of the film’s climax. But I have to also acknowledge a grudging affection for the film. The sheer spectacle of the whole thing, ranging all the way from Venice to Rio to outer space, is breathtaking at times. And Michael Lonsdale’s Drax is given some of the best villain dialogue in the entire series. (Second only to Gert Frobe’s Goldfinger...)

I should take a moment here to note the history of the multiple releases of these titles, given how many times they have been presented on home video and the resulting confusion. In the case of The World is Not Enough, this will be its third iteration on DVD, the first having come after its initial theatrical run and the second being in the Ultimate Editions released in 2006. Goldfinger and Moonraker are now in their fourth DVD releases, not including multiple VHS and laserdisc editions that span an additional fifteen years before that. On two prior releases, consumers were told the current release would be the “Ultimate Special Edition”, and yet here we are in 2009 with a new release of the title. So I feel I should address this directly here. If you have already purchased the 2006 Ultimate Edition DVDs of these titles, it’s simply a matter of whether the 1080p transfers are worth the additional purchase. In that event, I’d recommend renting them and evaluating the higher quality transfer. If, on the other hand, you’ve either never purchased these titles before or have only seen the editions available as of 2000, then the restorations and the 2006 special features are well worth your time. It’s also a more attractive price point to pick these up in the collected volume if you’re a fan of at least two of the titles. Casual observers will likely want to think about this carefully before making new purchases, so I will be as thorough as I can in describing the features to be found on each of these titles.


VIDEO QUALITY: 4 ½/5 ½

Each of the three films is presented in a lovely 1080p AVC transfer at an average of over 20 mbps, courtesy of the restoration work done by Lowry Digital around 2006. The World is Not Enough is likely not one that needed much restoration given its relatively recent production. It has a sleek look to it, with a lot of darker colors in its palette as photographed by Adrian Biddle. The high definition clarity reveals many fine details in the wardrobe and production design, and actually reveals a minor continuity error in the film’s teaser. (The opening sequence was shot mostly on location in Spain in overcast and rainy weather. So the exterior shots tend to show dark and grey skies over wet buildings and people. But the interior set used for much of the action has a translite backdrop showing the same buildings in bright sunlight. On a standard definition transfer, I could not discern this so much – but at 1080p it practically jumps at the viewer.) (I’m not saying that’s a problem with a transfer, by the way – that’s just an example of how much more you can see in a high definition image.) Goldfinger really benefits from the restoration work, with the transfer showing off a print that is remarkably clear and fresh for a film that is 45 years old! Again, there are many wardrobe and location details that jump out at the viewer, including Bond’s Miami bathrobe, and the clarity of the water in the Miami hotel pool. At the same time, the higher level of clarity makes the plate shots used for the Miami scenes stand out – it’s evident each time the actors are standing in front of projected backgrounds. There’s also one oddity I am still trying to figure out from the Flying Circus cockpit photography near the film’s climax. In at least three cockpit shots (two of which are on the team leader), large scratches can be seen on the cockpit glass behind the head of the pilot. I initially thought these were on the negative, but then realized that that the pilot’s head moves in front of them and partly blocks them from view. If anyone else notices these scratches, I encourage you to respond to this thread. You can find them at 1:28:35 to start, and then in at least two shots fairly soon afterwards. Moonraker similarly benefits from the improved clarity of its 1080p transfer, with the outer space effects coming across quite nicely. The space station reveal is particularly stunning, as it emerges into the light from an inky black. And again, the clarity is enough to give away at least one effects trick – one of the shuttle launches can clearly be seen to be on three wires pulling the shuttle and its booster rockets. Flesh tones for all three films are improved from earlier transfers, particularly on Goldfinger which has the best coloring of any of its releases to date. (I should mention here that I noted the same extreme paleness of Bernard Lee in the early scenes of Moonraker as Robert Harris has commented, but I attributed this to this being part of his final appearance as "M" and due to his age at the time. I recall John Glen noting in his book For My Eyes Only that Lee was ill during the production. By the same token, Desmond Llewelyn's appearance in The World is Not Enough makes his age quite apparent.) In short, these transfers are the best these films have every looked on home video. I should acknowledge here that I am viewing this film on a 40” Sony XBR2 LCD. If any viewers here are watching the film on a 60” or larger monitor and are seeing anything unfortunate, please put a comment here and I’ll check it out.

I’m going to address another issue here, which is the reason that I am holding back a ½ star in my evaluation of all three transfers. As has been noted on threads on this site, the credits for both The World is Not Enough and Moonraker have been windowboxed both for the opening titles and the closing credits. Distortions can be seen, particularly at the center of the image when circular objects take on a more oblong appearance. The reason for this is evidently to make sure that all the credits can be read, as they tend to go all the way from the left edge of the frame to the right edge. Thankfully, each film also has a textless version of the opening titles included in the special features, so that viewers can see the full unsqueezed image, albeit without credits. I also noticed that the end credits for Moonraker actually still go a bit off the right edge of the screen, and appear to shift slightly to the right as they roll up the screen.

One other controversy raised on the boards here has to do with a few frames apparently missing from one scene of Goldfinger, where Oddjob drives Mr. Solo to an important appointment. Given that Lowry Digital has already responded to this question (they restored the original negative supplied to them by UA), I see it as a moot point. There may in fact be three frames missing from that sequence, but it did not affect my enjoyment of the transfer, the scene or the film.


AUDIO QUALITY: 4/5

Each of the three films is presented in a 2.5+ mbps DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix in English, and a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in French and Spanish that lives at 448 kbps. The bitrates go up a bit during the heavier action sequences as the explosions and such go off. These are fairly energetic mixes, albeit with the dialogue tending to stay in the front channels. Surrounds get more of a workout once the action sequences get going, in addition to showcasing two effective John Barry scores. Most of the mix lives in the front channels here, including most of the atmospheric effects. Goldfinger also includes the original English mono soundtrack from the 1964 release, and Moonraker includes an English Dolby Surround mix.



SPECIAL FEATURES: 4 ½/5 ½

It is in the Special Features area that things get really complicated here, so I will try to be both thorough and clear in my descriptions. The first thing to understand is that all the extras available here are conversions or lifts from the 2006 Ultimate Edition DVDs. Some features are now presented in high definition, while others are still in standard definition. Each film has a pair of commentaries and a brace of featurettes and other supplements to tell as much as possible about the making of these films. The second thing to understand is that while the 2006 releases were spread over two discs, the new Blu-rays keep each film and its supplements to a single disc. A single menu breaks everything up, and is pretty simple to follow, once you get the hang of it.

Once you start each disc up, you are presented with the following options: “Initiate Mission”, “Mission Selection”, “MI6 Commentary”, “Language Decryption” and “Special Features”. Several of these are fairly obvious, but these essentially translate to “Play Movie”, “Scene Selection”, “Commentaries”, “Languages” and “Special Features”.

Once you get into the “Special Features” menu, there are several submenus: “MI6 Declassified Vault”, “007 Mission Control”, “Mission Dossier”, “Ministry of Propaganda” and “Image Database”. Basically, these submenus each cover a separate area.

-“MI6 Declassified Vault” holds the newer features assembled for the 2006 releases.

-“007 Mission Control” mostly holds bookmarks for key moments in each film as they apply to key characters or situations. It also holds the textless version of the opening titles and a brief narrated guide to the various “exotic locations” seen in the film. In the 2006 release, this section was available on the 2nd disc and would access clips arranged on that disc. For the current Blu-ray releases, this section accesses the bookmarks within the feature itself. As a sidenote, if you turn subtitles or commentary tracks on, those will still be active when you access the bookmarks through this section.

-“Mission Dossier” holds the various documentaries and featurettes carried over from the 1999/2000 editions of the DVDs, including a “Making of” documentary for each film, additional production featurettes and the occasional music video.

-“Ministry of Propaganda” holds the theatrical trailer, in addition to radio and TV advertising.

-“Image Database” holds a collection of production photos and promotional photos and artwork for each film.

As a general warning here, I have to openly state that a good number of the special features here contain MANY SPOILERS. If you want to experience the films as a fresh and new experience, DO NOT WATCH ANY OF THE SPECIAL FEATURES UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE ALREADY SEEN EACH FILM. I must also warn you that by necessity, my descriptions of the special features may in and of themselves contain spoilers as well.

I’ll add one more thing before breaking everything down. I have once again held back a ½ star even in light of all the special features here, for a single reason. There are no subtitles available for any of the featurettes or documentaries. It may be a little peevish of me, but there are times when it can be hard to understand what people are saying, and the lack of subtitles can be really problematic.


Let’s take each of the discs in order:

THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH:


  • Commentary with Director Michael Apted – Michael Apted provides a scene-specific commentary, discussing the shots at hand and his various choices throughout the film. This commentary has been available through each DVD release of the film.
  • Commentary with Peter Lamont, David Arnold and Vic Armstrong – This is another scene-specific commentary, as done by a group including Production Designer Peter Lamont, composer David Arnold and second unit director/stunt coordinator Vic Armstrong. Like the commentary by Apted, this one has been available through each iteration of this film on DVD.
     
  • DECLASSIFIED MI6 VAULT:
  • Deleted Scenes with Introductions by Director Michael Apted (12:49 Total) (1080p, 16x9) (Dolby 2.0 sound) – Michael Apted introduces several additional scenes and extensions dropped from the final film. While this is presented in high definition, the scenes themselves appear to be video telecine dubs, so they are of a lower picture quality than you might think. The scenes are mostly unnecessary extensions or pieces of exposition that the audience doesn’t need. Most of the time here is taken up with Apted’s descriptions of them; the actual scenes are usually not that long.
  • The Boat Chase – (1080p, 16x9) – This is actually a section unto itself, covering the boat to boat chase on the Thames in the film’s pre-credit sequence. There’s an introduction to the section by Michael Apted (1:10) that explains what you can find here. Next, there’s an extended version of the chase (8:27) which appears to be a rough early cut of the sequence on telecine video with no inserts. (The various close-ups of control panels, monitors, etc, are not part of the scene yet.) Next, there’s a three-fold way to view the actual scene. Viewers can switch between an “expanded angle” version, which presents anywhere from 2 to 5 different angles of the coverage at the same time. The final version can be seen at the lower right corner of the screen, with the unused additional angles filling the rest of the screen. An “alternate angle” version can be accessed by pressing the red button on your remote or selecting it directly from the menu. This just reassembles the same scene using additional unused coverage. Finally, the “Original Version” of the scene (the completed version) can be brought up to fill the screen either by pressing the red button again or selecting it from the menu. This three-fold section runs 6:24. The completed version of the scene is lifted from the 1080p transfer with full DTS-HD MA sound. The other two optional angles use the same soundtrack but the visual image is a much lower quality video transfer.
  • James Bond Down River (1999 Featurette) (25:04) (480p, Full Frame) – A “Making of” featurette from the time of the film’s release is included here in standard definition.
  • Creating an Icon: Making the Teaser Trailer (4:26) (480p, Full Frame) – This featurette is essentially a discussion with Tom Kennedy of how the film’s trailer was created, including some outtake footage of Pierce Brosnan and the female model whose outline would be filled with flames in the completed teaser.
  • Hong Kong Press Conference – (9:46) (480p, Anamorphic) This is an appearance by Pierce Brosnan in Hong Kong to answer questions and promote the film. Brosnan makes some interesting comments here about wanting to make a non-formula Bond film next time out.
  • Credits (1:16) (480p, 16x9) – This is a quick credit roll for the team that put together the MI6 Vault features, headed by John Cort.

007 MISSION CONTROL

This section mostly consists of scene clips accessed from the film on the disc, so it can be seen as a series of bookmarks based on characters, action or gadgets.


007 – (1080p) – This section includes bookmarks for the opening “Gun Barrel” moment, and then two further character moments during the film. In the middle are presented two versions of the film’s opening titles and song. One version is the windowboxed opening seen on the disc, and the other is a textless alternative that presents the film in its correct aspect ratio. A “Play All” function is available if you wish to view both versions of the titles back to back.


WOMEN (1080p) – Bookmarks are presented for the two “Bond Girls” of the film, with Dr. Christmas Jones getting 8 bookmarks, and Dr. Warmflash getting 3.


ALLIES (1080p) – Bookmarks are presented for Bond’s allies here. M gets a whopping 14, Moneypenny gets 4, Q gets 2 and Zukovsky gets 8.


VILLAINS (1080p) – Bookmarks are here for the film’s villains. Elektra gets 22, Renard gets 7 and the Cigar Girl gets 3


MISSION COMBAT MANUAL (1080p) – 7 bookmarks are here for the various fight scenes in the film.


Q BRANCH (1080p) – 11 bookmarks are here for in-scene demonstrations of the various gadgets used in the film.


EXOTIC LOCATIONS (3:48) (1080p, 16x9) – Samantha Bond narrates a series of clips from the film, discussing the locations used by the production.


MISSION DOSSIER

The Making of The World is Not Enough (15:06) (480p, Full Frame) – A brief making-of featurette covers much of the same ground as the longer one found in the MI6 Vault.


The Bond Cocktail – (22:52) (480p, Full Frame) – This featurette goes over the typical mix of elements found in Bond films, ranging from the earlier films through this one.


Tribute to Desmond Llewelyn (3:22) (480p, Full Frame) – As Desmond Llewelyn passed away one month after the film’s premiere, a brief featurette is included with clips of various scenes of Q at work.


The World is Not Enough Music Video by Garbage (4:01) (480p, Non-Anamorphic) – A music video by Shirley Manson and Garbage is included here, showing a decidedly different take on the song than that seen in the film’s opening titles.


The Secrets of 007 Alternative Video Options (22:31 Total) (480p, Full Frame) – This is a mixture of on-set footage, storyboards and clips from the film of several key sequences.


MINISTRY OF PROPAGANDA

  • Release Trailer – (2:13) (1080p, 16x9) – The film’s theatrical trailer is presented here in 1080p.


    IMAGE DATABASE

    The final special feature on the disc is a series of photos of the cast and crew, the locations, and some of the marketing for the film.

GOLDFINGER:

  • Commentary with Director Guy Hamilton – John Cort moderates a scene-specific commentary by Guy Hamilton. Hamilton goes silent for some periods, but Cort then fills in the gaps with additional notes and information. This commentary has been available since the 1999 DVD release, and is not to be confused with the now-legendary Criterion laserdisc commentary.
  • Commentary with Various Cast and Crew – John Cort moderates a second commentary track, this time with various members of the cast and crew, including stunt players and on-set effects men. Like the Hamilton commentary, this one has been available since the 1999 DVD.

DECLASSIFIED MI6 VAULT:

  • Sean Connery from the set of Goldfinger (3:12) (480p, Full Frame, Black and White) – A brief BBC interview with Sean Connery on the dungeon cell set is included here, with Connery discussing the various projects he’s been working on over the past year.
  • Theodore Bikel Screen Test – (5:39) (1080p, 16x9, Sepia) – Theodore Bikel’s screen test for the role of the villain is included here in high definition. He performs Goldfinger’s dialogue from the infamous laser scene twice, with and without glasses.
  • Tito Vandis Screen Test (4:13) (1080p, 16x9, Sepia) – Tito Vandis tests for the role of Goldfinger, using a different scene from that of Bikel.
  • On Tour With the Aston Martin DB5 (11:43) (1080i, 16x9) – Mike Ashley narrates an assembly of footage covering the promotional tour he did with the gadget-laden vehicle at the time of the film’s release. Several commercials and promotional films are included in the mix, along with a children’s show featuring a promotional miniature version of the car. As a sad final note, Ashley notes that the original Aston Martin from the film was stolen out of Boca Raton in 1997 and hasn’t been seen since…
  • Honor Blackman Open-Ended Interview – (3:58) (480p, Full Frame, Black and White) Several minutes of one-sided interview footage with Honor Blackman is presented here. The idea is that reporters at the time could insert themselves asking the appropriate questions and thus have an instant interview with the female lead of the latest Bond film.
  • Credits (1:23) (480p, 16x9) – As before, this is a quick credit roll for the team that put together the MI6 Vault features, headed by John Cort.

007 MISSION CONTROL

  • 007 – (1080p) – As before, this section includes bookmarks for the opening “Gun Barrel” moment, and then two further character moments during the film. In the middle is presented two versions of the film’s opening titles and song. Given that this film is presented in a 1.66:1 ratio, no windowboxing is involved with the opening titles. Thus, the only difference between the feature version and the textless one is the lack of printed credits. As before, both versions can be viewed in succession with a “Play All” function.
  • WOMEN (1080p) – Bookmarks are presented for the three “Bond Girls” of the film, with Jill Masterson getting 4 bookmarks, Tilly Masterson getting 4, and Pussy Galore getting 8 bookmarks.
  • ALLIES (1080p) – Bookmarks are presented for Bond’s allies here. M gets a whopping 2, Moneypenny gets 1, Q gets 1 and Felix Leiter gets 6.
  • VILLAINS (1080p) – Bookmarks are here for the film’s villains. Bonita gets 2, Capungo gets 1, Goldfinger gets 13 and Oddjob gets 8.
  • MISSION COMBAT MANUAL (1080p) – 6 bookmarks are here for the various fight scenes in the film.
  • Q BRANCH (1080p) – 5 bookmarks are here for in-scene demonstrations of the various gadgets used in the film. Be advised that two of the bookmarks are mislabelled. The “Grappling Gun” and “Seagull Snorkel” are neatly reversed on the bookmarks, so they refer to each other.
  • EXOTIC LOCATIONS (3:15) (1080p, 16x9) – Maud Adams narrates a series of clips from the film, discussing the locations used by the production.

MISSION DOSSIER

  • The Making of Goldfinger (26:00) (1080i, 16x9) – Here we have a “Making of” featurette that dates back to the VHS box set release from 1995. Narrated by Patrick Macnee, it’s a solid look at the making of the film, and for the Blu-ray, it’s been upgraded with a high definition transfer.
  • The Goldfinger Phenomenon – (29:14) (1080i, 16x9) – As with the prior featurette, this one was originally produced for the 1995 VHS box set. It includes radio interview material with Connery, a Vicks commercial with Harold Sakata, and a publicity featurette for the film from 1964.
  • Original Publicity Featurette (2:15) (480p, Full Frame) – The publicity featurette included in the prior item is presented here on its own. It includes Harold Sakata’s screen test and footage of Bond and Galore’s roll in the hay.

MINISTRY OF PROPAGANDA

  • Original Theatrical Trailer – (3:08) (1080p, 16x9) – The film’s theatrical trailer is presented here in 1080p and 2.0 sound.
  • TV Broadcasts – (1:46 Total) (480p, Full Frame) – Three TV spots are included here, 2 of which have a shot of Ursula Andress from Dr. No.

    #2 of 16 OFFLINE   Sam Favate

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    Posted April 16 2009 - 12:46 AM

    Great review. I would agree that the content here is very good, and the films have never looked better. However, the packaging for these volumes is so very bad that I am tempted to tell people to stay away. I suppose you can always make your own packaging, but the minimalistic nature of what is here is pathetic.

    #3 of 16 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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    Posted April 16 2009 - 06:26 AM

    I'm okay with the packaging. But I have heard from different people that the hubs have broken on some sets and they found scratched discs. I personally haven't seen that. For me, I'm still amazed that they packed this much material AND a 1080p transfer onto a single disc each time.

    #4 of 16 OFFLINE   celica

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    Posted April 16 2009 - 06:41 AM

    really detailed review.. thanks mate.. i don't have any trouble with the packaging either..
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    #5 of 16 OFFLINE   Tim-H.

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    Posted April 16 2009 - 07:24 AM

    Thanks for these thorough reviews. I'd enjoyed most of the Moonraker extras, but had missed the textless opening titles. I picked up Moonraker & Goldfinger separately, and only noticed odd packaging on the latter; a "hollowed-out" plastic case. Is this the packaging people had issues with? (I immediately swapped it with an extra BD case.)
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    #6 of 16 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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    Posted April 16 2009 - 09:10 AM

    I believe they're talking about the 3-disc volume, rather than the individual discs. The issue there is that the three discs are loaded into a 3 cardboard page book, with the discs held in place by a rubber hub on the page. For some people, the hubs came unglued and the disc was scratched when they opened the package. It's also not much in the way of packaging, in that you have an outer case that just has the three movies summarized on the back, and then each movie's page in the book has a quick list of the features available. For myself, the hubs are working and I'm not as involved with the packaging. I'm not sure about the hollowed-out plastic case on the individual releases. I am aware of the usual plastic casing, and of a "steelbook" packaging available in some stores like Best Buy or Target. But again, I'm usually less concerned with the container than the contents. That said, I'll be the first to admit that I loved the Blade Runner briefcase idea...

    #7 of 16 OFFLINE   ATimson

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    Posted April 16 2009 - 10:40 AM

    It's a packaging people have issues with; there's been complaints about the three-packs from the start, but only the most recent batch used the "hollowed-out" type. There's at least two threads discussing it in the last month or so (one on Silence of the Lambs, one specifically about "eco-friendly packaging").
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    #8 of 16 OFFLINE   Tim-H.

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    Posted April 16 2009 - 03:22 PM

    Ah, thanks for clarifying. Hm, guess I'll continue to avoid the 3-packs. (But I promise to drink less bottled water...)
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    #9 of 16 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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    Posted August 22 2010 - 04:43 AM

    I finally watched Moonraker last night. It does look really good! Though I did notice a glitch on my disc and I'm curious if anyone else has. Right after Bond is captured at Drax's launch facility and is dragged out of the water by Jaws, he is led into the launch control center. Right before Bond asks Drax why he stole a Moonraker, my disc freezes. It lasts for about 10 to 15 seconds. An eternity and it freezes on a shot of one of the video displays that shows the status of the launch. It is repeatable, so it must be a disc issue. Any insights is appreciated! It's over a year old now, so I can't exchange it. But I see the single disc is $19.99 at Amazon. I could resort to that.     A few thoughts on the plot. I haven't seen this in a while and I was kinda surprised how close it was to The Spy Who Loved Me. Even the action. Meglomaniac wants to kill everyone so he can create his own ideal world. One by nuclear bombs and the other by poisoning all the humans while they sit it out underwater or in orbit.   What is interesting is that the plot to Goldeneye bears a strong resemblance to Moonraker, the book!

    #10 of 16 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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    Posted August 22 2010 - 07:50 AM

    I just re-watched that scene and had no glitches.  I'd recommend trying to clean the disc - it might just be dirt or something like that.   The plot to the film Moonraker is indeed based on the plot to Spy Who Loved Me, which in turn is based on the plot to the film You Only Live Twice.  And all three are directed by Lewis Gilbert.  There's even a shot in Spy Who Loved Me that is pretty much identical to its counterpart in You Only Live Twice.   But Moonraker does have Michael Lonsdale and his wonderful put-downs of Bond.

    #11 of 16 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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    Posted August 22 2010 - 03:23 PM

    Thanks for checking your copy of Moonraker Kevin.   I checked my disc for dirt and I found a scratch, 2 scratches, one along the outer edge and one about 2/3 from the center outward. About 1/4 long and is radially concentric with the disc. I could run my fingernail over it and feel it in parts. It came this way as it was the first time I played it and I did notice the scratch last night and I thought it might have been a smudge.   I used some disc cleaner stuff on it and it helped it a tiny bit, but it still froze at about the same area. Shoot!   While this is not my favorite film, I still hate to see a defect in it. Maybe I can write MGM about a replacement. Anyone know who I could write to? Given their current financial status, not sure if I am going to be able to get any help.   Thanks!   The blu ray sure is a beauty, the fine stone carvings on the walls of Drax's launch control center sure look good! And while I could see on the standard def DVD that the stuntman playing Bond falling out of the airplane was wearing goggles, it was even more obvious on the BD!   Kevin, I'll have to look for that shot you refer to in TSWLM being a counterpoint to YOLT. It's funny, I never think too hard on a Bond film, but they are all similar in someways! But then it's not Bond if it's not.

    #12 of 16 OFFLINE   Sam Favate

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    Posted August 22 2010 - 11:50 PM

    For those of us waiting for the rest of the movies on Blu-Ray, the Digital Bits reports today that sources tell them that those films are on hold until the next Bond film hits theaters, which is of course dependent on MGM's financial struggles.

     

    http://www.thedigita...com/#mytwocents

     

    Seems like everything is riding on the Spyglass deal.

     

    http://www.hollywood...a30e420029a82d3



    #13 of 16 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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    Posted August 23 2010 - 04:55 AM

    Wow, I just called Fox, I was redirected from the MGM customer service number to call them. The guy I spoke to was very nice and said he'd help me out with the scratched disc and will replace the whole Volume 3 set! Normally, after so much time has passed, they would not do that. I have to send them my set first and after about 5 to 6 weeks, I should get a new set.   Now I'm scared, I hope the new set will be fine!

    #14 of 16 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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    Posted October 29 2010 - 03:01 AM

    Well, after 10 weeks, I finally received a replacement set to Volume 3. I really appreciate that Fox did this for me. However, the box is not the same as the one I originally got, it has the 3 separate blu-ray cases instead of the folder book with each disc on a page held in with the foam disc. I know a lot of people didn't like that, but I'm bummed because I have the other sets with that packaging. Now they don't match, plus this new box arrived with a smashed corner and dents and wear and tear on the shrink wrap. I hate to do this, but I'm thinking of looking to buy another set with that packaging. Or I just buy blu-ray cases and put my other Bond discs into those. But then I'd have to find matching artwork for the covers! Of course I am capable of creating my own artwork, but then creating them with all the correct assets and disc info will be a challenge. Of course I also have the fourth set from Best buy that included Licence to Kill, Quantum of Solace and The Man With The Golden Gun which is packaged in individual blu-ray cases. So the collection is already mismatched! I could complain to Fox, but I don't think I'll get what I want and they did go out of the way to help me out. Any insights? Maybe someone or place sells the packaging? Either all in the bd cases with art, or the booklet packaging. Thanks for reading and letting me vent.

    #15 of 16 OFFLINE   Sam Favate

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    Posted October 29 2010 - 04:24 AM

    There were Zinema style blu-ray artwork covers for the released Bond movies in this thread:


    http://www.hometheat...-ray-collection


    But they appear to be gone. They were top-notch, and much better than the generic and random boxes in the blu-ray sets.




    #16 of 16 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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    Posted October 29 2010 - 04:48 AM

    Thanks Sam. I think I'll ponder some options and I can work on my own design and create a box with art that I can use for the discs I have and for the remaining Bond films when they finally come out.





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