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Skyfall Blu-ray Review



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#1 of 122 Matt Hough

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Posted February 14 2013 - 09:49 AM

With the James Bond franchise celebrating its golden anniversary in 2012, hopes were high that 007’s homecoming to the big screen after a four year absence would return to the series’ high standards somewhat tarnished by the something-of-a-misfire last installment Quantum of Solace. Happily, Skyfall not only delivered the goods quality-wise, but its popularity around the globe resulted in its becoming the highest grossing movie in the history of the Bond films with a worldwide gross of over a billion dollars. That’s very impressive for a character who’s been through several generations of moviegoers and shows no signs of stopping.






Skyfall (Blu-ray Combo Pack)
Directed by Sam Mendes

Studio: MGM
Year: 2012
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1   1080p   AVC codec
Running Time: 143 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Spanish, others
Subtitles: SDH, Spanish, others


Region: A
MSRP: $ 39.99



Release Date: February 12, 2013

Review Date: February 14, 2013




The Film

4.5/5


Surprise is the key word for Skyfall as the script by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan as well as the direction by 007’s first Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes uses every possible means for keeping the audience astonished and delighted and off balance from every tantalizing twist in the plot and each unexpected piece of character development. What begins as a seeming story of an unknown villain targeting Britain’s MI6 for destruction and aided in no small part on the other side by the government’s own disenchantment by mistakes being made by head of operations M (Judi Dench) turns wittily and unpredictably into a vengeance tale with M as the target and James Bond (Daniel Craig) as one of the key players to bring about her immolation. Bond, of course, has other ideas.


It goes without saying that Skyfall triumphs in the action sweepstakes as witnessed by its ten-minute pre-credit sequence which has breakneck pacing going from the streets of Istanbul to rooftops and onto a moving train and ending with a spectacular shock through Bond’s settling the score with the adversary from the opening chase in a beautifully stylized fight in silhouette staged in a glass room in Shanghai. From there we have a spectacular subway wreck in London and the climactic cat and mouse attack on Bond’s ancestral Scottish home, the film’s final twenty-minute set piece. By then, the villain Silva (Javier Bardem) has long since revealed himself, but his plans remain a continual source of little bombshells which make the movie hold one’s attention through its 143-minute running time. (Admittedly in the theater, the film seemed a trifle drawn out,  but it plays beautifully and more fluidly on Blu-ray.)


By now Daniel Craig completely owns the part of James Bond accentuating his brutality but without sacrificing moments of tenderness and expressions of loss and the inevitability of change. He is clearly the Bond of the 21st century, and he continues to explore colors of the man’s personality. The film gives Judi Dench her meatiest assignment in a Bond film since The World Is Not Enough. She’s wonderful, of course, trading verbal jabs with Bond and defending herself against her overseer Gareth Mallory (Ralph Fiennes) as well as against a critical MP in a governmental hearing. Javier Bardem’s villainous character is rather schizophrenic in nature: almost effete on his own island sanctum but gaining in bloodthirsty viciousness as the movie runs. Ben Whishaw is the new Q, a young computer genius who unfortunately learns he doesn’t have all the answers, a performance that will likely grow on viewers as he works with Bond on additional future missions. Bérénice Marlohe is the primary Bond girl this time out, Silva’s mistress Severine, but her role is less developed than other Bond girls in the series. Albert Finney makes a surprise and most welcome cameo appearance late in the movie as the Bond family’s old gamekeeper Kincade. As for Ralph Fiennes as Mallory and Naomie Harris who plays inexperienced field agent Eve, let it suffice to say that the writers’ wonderfully clever use of the two characters throughout the film ending with an engaging and satisfying sense of coming full circle makes a most memorable end to a marvelous Bond adventure.



Video Quality

5/5


The film has been framed at 2.40:1 in a faithful replication of its theatrical presentation and is offered in 1080p using the AVC codec. Color is very bold when it needs to be but never seems out of control or over the top, not even in the Shanghai sequences with their riotous neon and fluorescent displays. Sharpness is excellent, and black levels are satisfyingly deep with details in shadows never compromised. The film has been divided into 32 chapters.



Audio Quality

5/5


The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix is all one would expect from a Bond movie or any 21st century action-adventure film. There is almost continual use of split surround effects and with pans across and through the soundstage during chase scenes, and the LFE channel gets ample opportunities to show its stuff with numerous explosions and calamities. Thomas Newman’s background score and Adele’s title song get wonderful spread through the soundfield while dialogue has received expert recording and has been mostly placed in the center channel with a occasional random bit of directionalized placement.



Special Features

4.5/5


There are two audio commentaries. Director Sam Mendes goes solo on the first one while producers Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli along with production designer Dennis Gassner share the second one. Mendes’ track mixes production anecdotes with descriptions of what’s on screen. Still, it’s likely preferable to the Wilson-Broccoli-Gassner track simply because they spend so much time back patting themselves and the crew that the accolades get rather tiresome. They do mention occasional problems or difficult situations, but it’s a lengthy film to sit through to get the few moments of interesting information they offer.


All of the bonus material is in 1080p.


Fourteen featurettes make up “Shooting Bond,” an all-purpose montage covering every key aspect of the production. Together they run 59 ½ minutes, but they can also be watched individually. Many of these contain spoilers about events in the film so it would be foolish to watch these before experiencing the movie first. They are:


  • “Introduction” has director Sam Mendes and star Daniel Craig discussing the entry into the 23rd film in the franchise.
  • “The Death of Bond” covers the opening sequence featuring comments from the special effects coordinator, stunt coordinator, and the location manager for the sites in Turkey used for the shoot.
  • “Working the Titles” allows title director Daniel Kleinman a chance to discuss his ideas about the main title sequence of the movie.
  • “The Return of James Bond” features comments from Sam Mendes, Ralph Fiennes, Judi Dench, Barbara Broccoli, and screenwriter John Logan about Bond’s state of mind after the opening credit sequence.
  • “Back to Basics” introduces us to the new Q Ben Whishaw and his relationship with James Bond. Sam Mendes also adds commentary.
  • “Behind the Wheel” pays loving tribute to Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 which makes a return appearance in the movie. Daniel Craig and producer Michael Wilson discuss its importance.
  • “The Good, the Bad, the Beautiful” allows the two primary Bond girls Bérénice Marlohe and Naomie Harris a bit of time to talk about their characters as well as comments from Daniel Craig, Barbara Broccoli, and screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.
  • “In the Shadows” turns the spotlight on the film’s two main villains: Ola Rapace as Patrice whom Bond has two fateful encounters with and Javier Bardem as Silva. Daniel Craig along with stunt coordinator Gary Powell weigh in with opinions about their effectiveness.
  • “Action” gives Sam Mendes, Daniel Craig, the producers, and the special effects coordinator a chance to discuss the subway calamity sequence.
  • “License to Travel” finds Sam Mendes discussing the  scouting of locations in Turkey, Shanghai, and London for principal scenes set there.
  • “The Sound of Bond” features comments from composer Thomas Newman and Derek Martin, a trumpeter who has played in the orchestras of every Bond movie.
  • “The Beginning of the End” concentrates on the climactic assault on Skyfall featuring many members of the production team previously mentioned along with cinematographer Roger Deakins in the longest of the disc’s featurettes.
  • “Changes” concentrates on Judi Dench’s final days of shooting on the film with comments from Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, and Barbara Broccoli.
  • “New Beginnings” brings this section to a conclusion with Sam Mendes mentioning the new assignments which occur in the film’s final scene setting the stage for the next installment in the series.
Footage of the film’s premiere in London runs 4 ½ minutes and features many of the actors, the director, and the producers walking the red carpet for the Royal Command Performance.


The theatrical trailer runs 2 ½ minutes.


A promo for the CD soundtrack runs ¾ minute.


There are promo trailers for, among others, A Good Day to Die Hard, Bond 50, and Red Dawn.


The second disc in the set is the combination DVD/digital copy of the movie.



In Conclusion

4.5/5 (not an average)


Skyfall is a thrilling entry into the James Bond canon and a film that reestablishes 007 as a reliable action hero in a quality film. Reference video and audio and a generous array of bonus features complete the package. Highly recommended!




Matt Hough

Charlotte, NC





#2 of 122 moviepas

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Posted February 14 2013 - 10:38 AM

Herein is a dilemma. It has been said that the US version and possibly the UK version have been censored/edited for DVD/Blu or should it be Blu/DVD now? It has also been said that the Australian version is the unedited version on disc and the one to get. This was several weeks ago and I have heard nothing since. I am not sure that a combo version would be issued in Australia.


Any feedback on this? I have a slot in my Blu Ray imported Bond set for this title, something they did when they issued a box set of Bond in DVD many years ago with the then screening Bond not on DVD at that time(Australia).



#3 of 122 Adam Lenhardt

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Posted February 14 2013 - 10:40 AM

Has been said by whom exactly?

#4 of 122 Will*B

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Posted February 14 2013 - 11:07 AM

News to me, although that situation exactly describes the home release of Casino Royale in 2007. Perhaps your sources were confusing the two.


Skyfall was censored in China, but I was under the impression that it received an uncut release in the US & UK. I can find no evidence to the contrary.


 

 


#5 of 122 Reed Grele

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Posted February 14 2013 - 11:35 AM

The less you know about the plot, and surprises going in, the better. I made it a point not to read or watch (not even the trailer) anything about it, and was well rewarded. It's certainly the best one that Mr. Craig has done. Best plot, and best villain in quite a while. Not as many hyper quick cut action sequences as in the past (I could actually follow what was happening without resorting to pressing the slo mo button.) The main title theme hasn't grown on me very much yet. The last 2 that really worked for me were the 2 Dalton's. And, of course, there will never be another John Barry! Hopefully, now that the series has been more than successfully re booted for the 21st century, they'll consider putting the gun barrel back at the beginning where it belongs.
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#6 of 122 Ted Van Duyn

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Posted February 14 2013 - 11:38 AM

I would have liked the movie a lot more if the film didn't glorify Bond's uncaring and unprofessional nature. [SPOILER=Warning: Spoiler!]I get that Bond has no respect for women period, but I'm really starting to feel uncomfortable rooting for a guy who not only doesn't give a crap about a woman who was beaten and gratuitously murdered, but also makes a joke about the drink she was forced by the bad guy to balance on her head. We're three for three Bond films for Craig where women get beaten and killed in horrible ways. You think we can move on from that for a while? Not all of the Bond movies depended on that tope. [/SPOILER]

#7 of 122 Richard--W

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Posted February 14 2013 - 11:46 AM

I would have liked the movie a lot more if the film didn't glorify Bond's uncaring and unprofessional nature. [SPOILER=Warning: Spoiler!]I get that Bond has no respect for women period, but I'm really starting to feel uncomfortable rooting for a guy who not only doesn't give a crap about a woman who was beaten and gratuitously murdered, but also makes a joke about the drink she was forced by the bad guy to balance on her head. We're three for three Bond films for Craig where women get beaten and killed in horrible ways. You think we can move on from that for a while? Not all of the Bond movies depended on that tope. [/SPOILER]

I agree, wholeheartedly. He's an anti-hero now, like Dirty Harry and Paul Kersey only worse because the scenarios contrive to make him responsible for the deaths or women and the loss of his own moral compass. Bond's behavior has gotten ugly in the last three films. SKYFALL makes a point of showing us that Bond fails to protect anybody and screws up everything he tries to do. The newer, younger audience does not make these distinctions and is not the least perturbed by Bond throwing the body of a fellow agent in the dumpster or joking about a woman who has been murdered. They really have taken the James Bond out of 007, haven't they.

#8 of 122 Ted Van Duyn

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Posted February 14 2013 - 12:09 PM

SKYFALL makes a point of showing us that Bond fails to protect anybody and screws up everything he tries to do.

All the while trying to make him appear to be a complete bada** in the process, which also happens to fail. Take the bullet shards for instance. Bond is at Mi6 where he's been given a thorough check up by numerous doctors, and when he thinks about the bullet shards in his chest, he decides to cut them out using a knife while standing up. Why? He's not under any time or health pressure. He's not under any pressure at all. Why can't he just go to one of the professional doctors who can surgically remove all the shards? He was going to give them to a scientist to analyze anyways, so it wasn't about keeping things secret. There's dramatic, and than there's just plain hokey.

#9 of 122 Richard--W

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Posted February 14 2013 - 01:06 PM

Craig's Bond may declare "I'm here to do my duty" and stand nobly on the rooftop staring at the British flag, but he's a total misfit who can't do anything right. His failures and rejections stack up like cordwood in SKYFALL. A misanthrope with muscle. Perhaps that is what his fans are really responding to. That's why I'm done with the Bond films. With hindsight, they've been problematic ever since Diamonds Are Forever in 1971, when the self-parody and self-ridicule started. But there was always plenty to enjoy in even the most problematic Bond film, and sometimes they would achieve some dramatic quality. Licence to Kill was the last authentic Bond film in 1989, although that, too was problematic. So far as I'm concerned the Bond films are over and done with. The franchise is a different animal today, all about deconstruction and political correctness, and a corrosive ugliness has seeped in from the inside out. Not worth paying for. I get better espionage, better action and characters I enjoy spending time with in other spy films.

#10 of 122 Jason Adams

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Posted February 14 2013 - 07:38 PM

Ugh. Not THIS conversation again.

#11 of 122 Albert_M

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Posted February 15 2013 - 02:10 AM

That's why I'm done with the Bond films. With hindsight, they've been problematic ever since Diamonds Are Forever in 1971

That statement explains a lot. Basically Bond movies have sucked because time moved on and it's not the 60s anymore is a brief way of explaining it. It's too bad that some want the same tired formula.

#12 of 122 Richard--W

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Posted February 15 2013 - 02:19 AM

I never saw the Bond films until the 1970s. I don't want the same tired formula. I just don't want the present formula and I find Daniel Craig is a ridiculous Bond.

#13 of 122 Jason_V

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Posted February 15 2013 - 02:25 AM

Originally Posted by Ted Van Duyn 


All the while trying to make him appear to be a complete bada** in the process, which also happens to fail. Take the bullet shards for instance. Bond is at Mi6 where he's been given a thorough check up by numerous doctors, and when he thinks about the bullet shards in his chest, he decides to cut them out using a knife while standing up. Why? He's not under any time or health pressure. He's not under any pressure at all. Why can't he just go to one of the professional doctors who can surgically remove all the shards? He was going to give them to a scientist to analyze anyways, so it wasn't about keeping things secret. There's dramatic, and than there's just plain hokey.


If I remember the movie correctly-and I'd have to revisit to be certain-but weren't the bullet fragments in his arm preventing some of his quick reflexes with his gun?  By taking them out himself he was jump starting the healing process.  For plot convenience sake, the fragments also had clues about where he should go next.



#14 of 122 Worth

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Posted February 15 2013 - 02:26 AM

Basically Bond movies have sucked because time moved on and it's not the 60s anymore is a brief way of explaining it. It's too bad that some want the same tired formula.

I enjoyed the film, but at this point, reverting to the 60s formula would feel fresher than continuing to ape the Bourne and Nolan Batman films, as the Craig Bonds have done.
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#15 of 122 Sam Posten

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Posted February 15 2013 - 02:34 AM

Haters. gonna hate =p My review: Best Bond Ever. Somehow I missed pre-ordering, swore I had done it via the HTF store. Fixed that and copy should be here today.

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#16 of 122 Johnny Angell

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Posted February 15 2013 - 02:40 AM

I like this film too and just ordered it. Craig makes a great Bond. IMHO, he's a very close second to Connery. Wasn't there talk that Skyfall might get a Best Pic nomination? It didn't happen, but I thought there had been some speculation.
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#17 of 122 Nelson Au

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Posted February 15 2013 - 03:07 AM

Regarding Craig, I have never fully accepted him in the role, but I liked this film the most of the three. Not necessarily him, but the film was watchable enough with a satisfying plot. Looking forward to the disc. As for formula and the recent film's influenced by Nolan and the Bourne films, I'd say that's a fair criticism. Going back to the 60's formula? The first three films broke all the rules and molds. It was innovative and influential. Now it's hard to be that as the flood gates opened back in the 60's with films copying and topping Bond over the years. Maybe it's better to just go back to Fleming. But we know the producers have to pander to a certain demographic to meet box office expectations.

#18 of 122 Matt Hough

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Posted February 15 2013 - 03:08 AM

Originally Posted by Johnny Angell 

I like this film too and just ordered it. Craig makes a great Bond. IMHO, he's a very close second to Connery. Wasn't there talk that Skyfall might get a Best Pic nomination? It didn't happen, but I thought there had been some speculation.


Yes, there was speculation that it might be the first Bond film to break through. It didn't, but it wouldn't have been out of place for it to be among the best films of the year.



#19 of 122 ahollis

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Posted February 15 2013 - 03:15 AM

SKYFALL is the best of the Craig Bonds, IMHO. Looking forward to see what he does with the roll in the next two he is signed for. I also think he is much better than the last half of the Moore Bonds and won't even to try to compare him to Dalton and Brosnan. I thought and still do believe that Brosnan was right for the time the films were made but now seem "a little long in the tooth," to use another posters description of another film. :)
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#20 of 122 Mr. Pacino

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Posted February 15 2013 - 03:52 AM

SKYFALL is the best of the Craig Bonds, IMHO. Looking forward to see what he does with the roll in the next two he is signed for. I also think he is much better than the last half of the Moore Bonds and won't even to try to compare him to Dalton and Bronson. I thought and still do believe that Bronson was right for the time the films were made but now seem "a little long in the tooth," to use another posters description of another film. :)

Brosnan and not Bronson:-) Though I´d like tthe thought ....-Charles Bronson as 007 in the 70´s would be cool.





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