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A few words about...™ Goldeneye -- in Blu-ray

A Few Words About

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#1 of 83 Robert Harris

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Posted October 04 2012 - 05:04 AM

The 1995 James Bond Goldeneye, which is either the 17th or 18th Bond production, dependent upon how one counts, is an interesting affair.


From what I can gather, those involved in the image harvest and processing, were up against a huge problem originally created by Eon Productions desire to cut costs on filmmaker Martin Campbell's almost 60 million dollar budget.


Apparently, from what I've discerned from information found on the web, the production entity instituted a saving of over $120,000 by using short ends of an archaic Orwo film stock, left over from the 1960s.


On a positive note, and as one can see from the completed Blu-ray, the stock is virtually grainless.  On a negative note, processing, which was affected by a small lab outside Siberia, caused anomalies to the stock, initially reported in one of the trades, in a piece entitled Processing woes new arch-villain in latest Bond epic."  These anomalies, which look similar to digital sharpening, tend to mar what might have been a superb image, pushing it, in certain ways, toward the look of the original Patton Blu-ray.

If this were prime Bond, there might be concern, or an outcry, but it isn't.  It's fine for it's kind, but nothing special.


What's unfortunate, is that as the first of the nine new titles, the release of which seem to synchronize with the big Bond 50 Anniversary set, as bird droppings might appear on one's windshield, as a flock flies overhead, it doesn't give confidence.


I'm not going to opine that this might not bode well for the set, but from my perspective, it's off to an inauspicious beginning.


Wish they would have used Eastman stock.


One down, eight to go.


Not Recommended.


RAH


"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#2 of 83 JamesNelson

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Posted October 04 2012 - 06:41 AM

You know General, sometimes the men don't know when you're acting.

#3 of 83 Peter Apruzzese

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Posted October 04 2012 - 07:26 AM

The 1995 James Bond Goldeneye, which is either the 17th or 18th Bond production, dependent upon how one counts, is an interesting affair.

I would argue it would be the 17th or 19th, depending how you count. As for the rest of the review, ouch. :)
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#4 of 83 Moe Dickstein

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Posted October 04 2012 - 07:32 AM

Yes, we know you like your martinis like you like your wit... dry.
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#5 of 83 Robert Harris

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Posted October 04 2012 - 07:55 AM

Originally Posted by Moe Dickstein 

Yes, we know you like your martinis like you like your wit... dry.

And my DNR knobs set to zero.


RAH


"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#6 of 83 ackbak

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Posted October 04 2012 - 08:37 AM

I watched You Only Live Twice (one of my favs) and there is a pink hue going on with the whites.. Otherwise it was just okay for me. I then sampled several of the other new 9 releases and for me, Goldeneye was far and away the worst of the lot. It is defintiely "Patton-like" with the DNR. Really too bad, as I know many people that have this one ranked in their Top 5 or 10 favorite Bond's.. With the current state of affairs at MGM I don't know if complaining will help, but I do plan to send them a letter. That said, I am really enjoying the set, and am happy just to have it...

#7 of 83 Simon Massey

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Posted October 04 2012 - 08:56 AM

Are we to take from this that the damage is done and that this is the best Goldeneye could look or is this simply lack of effort ? A real shame as Goldeneye is one of my favourites - the first Bond film I saw in the cinema - and the best of the Brosnans IMO.

#8 of 83 ackbak

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Posted October 04 2012 - 09:05 AM

Are we to take from this that the damage is done and that this is the best Goldeneye could look or is this simply lack of effort ? A real shame as Goldeneye is one of my favourites - the first Bond film I saw in the cinema - and the best of the Brosnans IMO.

I think it would look much better if they dialed down the DNR.... From what I gather the Laserdisc did not have these issues...

#9 of 83 David Weicker

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Posted October 04 2012 - 09:27 AM

I'm confused from reading your review Mr Harris. With all your talk about odd film stock, and then processing in Siberia, did the original film have picture quality issues? Or did you mean that the Siberian processing was for this Blu-Ray? I understand that you are saying that this Blu-Ray does not have a good picture. But I can't tell from your review how the Blu-Ray compares to the original film (which I think you said looked like the Patton Blu-Ray). David

#10 of 83 Scott Calvert

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Posted October 04 2012 - 09:29 AM

I think it would look much better if they dialed down the DNR.... From what I gather the Laserdisc did not have these issues...

You wouldn't have been able to discern them if it did. Because it's a laserdisc. I look forward to hearing Robert's thoughts on some of the other titles. My experience is that they range from "pretty good I guess" to really awful. Sometimes within the same film. Sometimes within the same scene.

#11 of 83 Robert Harris

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Posted October 04 2012 - 10:16 AM

Originally Posted by Scott Calvert 


You wouldn't have been able to discern them if it did. Because it's a laserdisc.
I look forward to hearing Robert's thoughts on some of the other titles. My experience is that they range from "pretty good I guess" to really awful. Sometimes within the same film. Sometimes within the same scene.

Happy 50th Anniversary!


"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#12 of 83 JParker

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Posted October 04 2012 - 12:50 PM

You know General, sometimes the men don't know when you're acting.

Of course, I'm disappointed as well - Siberians and German film stock - go figure! Seriously, are all the Blu-rays of Bond as problematic? I wonder who did the work. Searching the Internet a few minutes ago, I found this YouTube on Dr. No (DVD), featuring an interview with (the late) John Lowry discussing the 4k original negative scan and archiving by swapping hard drives every two years (cool stuff to learn). If his firm did Goldeneye, then it's not up to the standards discussed here (for the DVD). Or processing was done in creating the Blu-ray? I've no idea. Hard to tell on YouTube if it's been degrained that much. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nid3cMkYS1A Feel free to respond if you know. Fox may not have been involved, other than distribution?

#13 of 83 ackbak

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Posted October 04 2012 - 01:07 PM

You wouldn't have been able to discern them if it did. Because it's a laserdisc. I look forward to hearing Robert's thoughts on some of the other titles. My experience is that they range from "pretty good I guess" to really awful. Sometimes within the same film. Sometimes within the same scene.

Well I think you can discern if one looks like a wax figure and one does not. Sure the Blu-Ray ultimately would look the best, but the DNR on Goldeneye is about as bad as it gets. Think Gladiator/Patton type bad. Thankfully I don't think the other Bond movies are nearly as DNR'd although it does look almost like they applied heavy DNR and then added fake grain to some scenes... At least at the end of the day the set was cheap. I certainly cannot complain about the price or the packaging but I do hope they address Goldeneye and some of the other 2K scans down the road and give them the treatment they deserve. Preferably without the assistance of Lowry...

#14 of 83 FanboyZ

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Posted October 04 2012 - 01:27 PM

Thunderball was DNR'd to death as well, but had fake grain to hide it.

#15 of 83 JParker

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Posted October 04 2012 - 02:36 PM

Sure the Blu-Ray ultimately would look the best, but the DNR on Goldeneye is about as bad as it gets. Think Gladiator/Patton type bad. Thankfully I don't think the other Bond movies are nearly as DNR'd although it does look almost like they applied heavy DNR and then added fake grain to some scenes... At least at the end of the day the set was cheap. I certainly cannot complain about the price or the packaging but I do hope they address Goldeneye and some of the other 2K scans down the road and give them the treatment they deserve. Preferably without the assistance of Lowry...

http://www.imdb.com/...t0924400/trivia Actually, Lowry, the firm, was purchased by Reliance Mediaworks and I've no idea if this is their work or whether they're following, if they did, MGM's instructions (the YouTube makes it clear they follow the wishes of the owners of the property). Lowry himself said that his goal is to have the film look like what the director and director of photography created. Blu-ray.com reviewed Dr. No and said (I suppose they don't have a Home Theater system of the technical quality belonging to Mr. Harris):

This remarkable Blu-ray presentation is satisfyingly free of any annoying digital picture anomalies like edge enhancement, macroblocking or noise. There is a slight amount of natural film grain present, but it is consistent with what should be present in films from the same era. [Question: true statement?] Black levels and contrast are also surprisingly strong if not quite as deep and refined as those of newer films. Detail is also better than expected with individual grains of sand visible in the film's many beach shots. Perhaps the best part of Dr. No's video presentation lies in the disc's amazing color reproduction. This is a much more colorful film that I remembered and the wide color palette of the Jamaican locations just about leaps off of the screen. All told, I'm thrilled with Dr. No on Blu-ray. I can't imagine the film looking any better!

Have you seen it, what are your thoughts? Reliance has All About Eve as their work on their site; I thought that was a terrific Blu-ray. But whoever did this work most likely DNR'd it to death and that's too bad. http://www.lowrydigital.com/ http://www.reliancemediaworks.com/ In discussing restoring THE ROBE, this interview shows the personnel know the importance of "grain" but I don't know if they wanted to make "improvements":

“We did testing with Fox to demonstrate that it was enough,” says Inchalik. “The rule of thumb is that you should digitize at twice the resolution to get everything. First, you have to think about the smallest piece of grain, since it’s the grain that captures the photons of light and turns it into dye or silver. The other factor is how good the lens is that’s able to focus light onto the film plane. For The Robe, the grain was larger because it was older film stocks. The lenses of that era also reduced the resolution.”

http://www.studiodai...e-lowry-system/ Mr. Harris wrote about THE ROBE:

As a 55 year old Eastman color production, and the first to be released in Fox's CinemaScope format, the elements had to sit in Fox's vaults waiting for technology to meet the needs of a major restoration project. Finally, over the past couple of years with our digital abilities in place, work could proceed. The result is far better than one might have expected. Anyone familiar with the original DVD of The Robe will know of its sad state. With this huge restoration effort now complete, both image and audio are back to an "honorable" state -- not perfect, and in many shots far from it -- but never embarrassing, and certainly far more than simply viewable. Those shots that survived from original elements tend to look very, very good, while dupes (based largely on the quality of the early 5216 stock) now appear far better than what they actually are.

http://www.hometheat...robe-in-blu-ray I've no interest in Lowry, personally or financially, I just wish a better job was done for this film, which I was looking forward to seeing. But I don't know who's at fault here and if Reliance did this "restoration"; ultimately, MGM must have approved the product.

#16 of 83 Scott Calvert

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Posted October 04 2012 - 02:58 PM

Of course, I'm disappointed as well - Siberians and German film stock - go figure! Seriously, are all the Blu-rays of Bond as problematic? I wonder who did the work. Searching the Internet a few minutes ago, I found this YouTube on Dr. No (DVD), featuring an interview with (the late) John Lowry discussing the 4k original negative scan and archiving by swapping hard drives every two years (cool stuff to learn). If his firm did Goldeneye, then it's not up to the standards discussed here (for the DVD). Or processing was done in creating the Blu-ray? I've no idea. Hard to tell on YouTube if it's been degrained that much. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nid3cMkYS1A Feel free to respond if you know. Fox may not have been involved, other than distribution?

MGM commisioned the Lowry company to work their "magic" on all of the bond films several years ago. That is when all of the high definition transfers were done, either 4K or 2K, depending on the film. Those transfers were downscaled for the DVD re-releases. MGM is simply using those transfers for blu-ray now. I can understand MGM not creating new HD transfers since they probably paid Lowry a boatload of money to twiddle their digital knobs and apply their, I'm sure proprietary at the time, miracle degraining software. It's funny watching films as recent as Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies and seeing restoration credits at the end. It's rediculous. Like those film really needed to go through the digital grinder. This Lowry guy sure was good at marketing himself.

#17 of 83 ackbak

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Posted October 04 2012 - 03:20 PM

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0924400/trivia Actually, Lowry, the firm, was purchased by Reliance Mediaworks and I've no idea if this is their work or whether they're following, if they did, MGM's instructions (the YouTube makes it clear they follow the wishes of the owners of the property). Lowry himself said that his goal is to have the film look like what the director and director of photography created. Blu-ray.com reviewed Dr. No and said (I suppose they don't have a Home Theater system of the technical quality belonging to Mr. Harris): Have you seen it, what are your thoughts? Reliance has All About Eve as their work on their site; I thought that was a terrific Blu-ray. But whoever did this work most likely DNR'd it to death and that's too bad. http://www.lowrydigital.com/ http://www.reliancemediaworks.com/ In discussing restoring THE ROBE, this interview shows the personnel know the importance of "grain" but I don't know if they wanted to make "improvements": http://www.studiodai...e-lowry-system/ Mr. Harris wrote about THE ROBE: http://www.hometheat...robe-in-blu-ray I've no interest in Lowry, personally or financially, I just wish a better job was done for this film, which I was looking forward to seeing. But I don't know who's at fault here and if Reliance did this "restoration"; ultimately, MGM must have approved the product.

James, Dr. No looks very good. You will be pleased I suspect. Thank you for the rest of the information.

#18 of 83 Yorkshire

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Posted October 04 2012 - 08:50 PM

The only positives I take from this are that (a) I'm not a big fan of Goldeneye, and (b) from other reports/comments I've read, it looks like Goldeneye is the worst one of the lot. Steve W
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#19 of 83 Worth

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Posted October 05 2012 - 01:45 AM

The first three Bond films look the best, but they've all been pretty heavily scrubbed, and there are moments when you can see the DNR fighting the grain in the picture. All the films look fairly decent, but they have that smoothed-over sheen that's closer to video than film, and none of them bear much resemblance to the 35mm prints I've been seeing for the past 30 years. I really wish Sony had created the masters for these when they held distribution rights for MGM. Aside from one or two missteps, they're the one studio that consistently releases blu-rays that look spotless, while also retaining a very natural, film-like image.
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#20 of 83 cineMANIAC

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Posted October 05 2012 - 03:47 AM

Goldeneye is a top 10 Bond film for me but I have decided to skip the Blu-ray because of the PQ issues (I didn't buy the box set). Picture quality issues aside, was the 6-year gap between Licence To Kill and Goldeneye covered in any of the docs? I was always curious why they stopped making more films when there had been one every 2 years since the beginning.
 

 






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