James Bond Collection Volume Two (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-25-2008, 09:16 AM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=120083&d=1221828795
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

82






Studio and Year: MGM – 1963, 1965, 1981
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 364 Minutes
Genre: Action

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.66:1, 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English Mono (Dr. No) French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Stereo, Spanish Mono,
Subtitles: English & Spanish
Starring: Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Bernard Lee, Lotte Lenya, Robert Shaw, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi, Carole Bouquet, Topol Lynn-Holly Johnson
Directed by: Terence Young, John glen
Music by: John Barry, Bill Conti
Written by: Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood, Michael G. Wilson
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 21, 2008







"The name’s Bond….James Bond"



Film Synopsis:

From Russia with love: Sean Connery returns as James Bond in this thrill-a-minute adventure featuring remarkable villains, beautiful women and exotic locales! This time, Bond squares off against the evil SPECTRE organization in a race to seize the Soviet Lektor decoding machine, thrusting him into a thrilling boat chase, a brutal helicopter attack and a deadly brawl aboard the Orient Express.

Thunderball: The thrills never let up as James Bond dives into this riveting adventure filled with explosive confrontations and amazing underwater action sequences! Sean Connery brings his characteristic style, humor and magnetism to Agent 007 as he travels to Nassau to track down villainous criminal Emilio Largo, who's threatening to plunge the world into a nuclear holocaust.

For your eyes only: James Bond is thrust into one of his most riveting adventures in this jam-packed free-for-all of outrageous stunts, passionate encounters and exciting confrontations. Roger Moore portrays Agent 007 with lethal determination in a plot that finds him racing against time to find a stolen device capable of controlling a fleet of nuclear submarines. As Bond teams with beautiful Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet) and infiltrates the Greek underworld, the stage is set for nonstop action - including automobile chases, thrilling underwater battles and a cliffhanging assault on a magnificent mountaintop fortress!



My Take:

James Bond films have made an indelible mark on movie making worldwide. It has a heritage that spans decades and is one of the most if not the most successful movie franchise ever. My first introduction to Bond was seeing Live and let die at the drive-in when I was about 9 years old. I have never looked back. Roger Moore WAS James Bond when I was growing up. I didn’t realize that Sean Connery was the original Bond until I saw him in Never say never again in the mid eighties. I liked him in that film and looked for some of his earlier Bond movies. If pressed I would have a hard time deciding whether I liked Connery or Moore better as Bond. Regardless they both bring charisma, elegance and high level cool factor to the role. This was my first experience with Thunderball and From Russia with love and I have to admit that Connery’s Bond stock has significantly increased for me. I noticed that Thunderball introduces some of the gadgetry that 007 soon became famous for. Both films featured plenty of Bond action and babes although I would give Thunderball the slightest edge on the action front. For your eyes only is a Bond film that I watched many times on cable TV back in the day. I always found it to be fun but after having the chance to see some of the other films it doesn’t hold up quite as well but does have a nice nostalgic feel for me. Listening to Sheena Easton belt out the title track brought back memories of watching the music video on MTV back in its early days. I find myself whistling the tune even as I type this (it’s pretty catchy). Being a fan I am thrilled that these films are finding their way onto high definition Blu-ray Disc. This is the type of treatment that this format was designed and if these discs are examples of what’s to come from Bond I am so excited to see what comes next!




Parental Guide:

The ratings are for thematic material, adult situations and violence.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 80



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699



Video: 84


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699
attachment.php?attachmentid=122826&d=1224948822

Lowry Digital did an outstanding job re-mastering the Bond Classic films and these high definition discs are proof positive of that. The process was done using the original film negative which appears to have beautifully preserved the elements contained within. In looking and listening to these films it is apparent that a lot of care went into restoring them and mixing them. Grain is intact across the board and I saw no signs of digital noise reduction. Fox has supported lossless audio on their Blu-ray Disc releases right from the beginning. Their DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks have provided some of the best high resolution audio offered from the format which is something I am sure they aspire to. I used only the DTS-HD MA tracks during my evaluation and true to form they sounded excellent. From Russia with love and Thunderball had video quality that was similar in color rendition, detail perception, sharpness, contrast, black levels, and shadow delineation. Both shared these qualities with that of Dr. No, and looked excellent. Below I have included some of my comments from my earlier Dr. No review.

From Russia with love comes to Blu-ray featuring AVC 1080p encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 mbps and lossless DTS-HD Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 mbps. Thunderball comes to Blu-ray featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 mbps and lossless DTS-HD Master Audio sound that has an average bitate of 3.4 mbps.

”Colors are vivid with subtle tonal variation and clean rendering. The range of colors is not particularly extensive but those represented looked great. Facial complexions and skin tones are nicely delineated with lifelike quality and visible fine detail. Images are well detailed and sharp over the course of the film. The level of detail present regardless of perspective was impressive for films of this age. There were minor fluctuations in apparent resolution that were more than likely related to the original photography and really didn’t infringe much on fidelity. Film grain was intact, and appeared well preserved and consistent in appearance throughout the presentation. Well balanced black and white levels brought plenty of visible detail to bright and dark segments. The same was true of shadow detail during scenes containing low light. Blacks were not inky but had enough depth so that they stood out well when onscreen with mixed content."

Video score for both films = 86

In listening to the lossless audio mixes I definitely observed that there were limits on the extent of their dynamic range, LFE, and surround activity which all stems from the elements present on the soundtrack.attachment.php?attachmentid=122824&d=1224948012 This is certainly not a complaint but rather an observation. I think that what has been achieved to reproduce a surround sound mix of this caliber from the original recordings is amazing. I felt that each of these films had sound quality that was on par with Dr. No but offered an improved sense of spatiality with deeper room penetration from the front three channels. Thunderball upped the low frequency detail and provided appreciable bass response that added some low end rumble to select sequences but didn’t approach sub bass extension. Both sounded quite good and really helped to enrich the experience of seeing them for the first time. Here are some of my comments from my earlier review of Dr. No that are applicable to From Russia with love and Thunderball:

“The mix is primarily contained in the front channels with directional cues and pans moving across the left, right and center speakers. Imaging is spot on and creates a well separated blend of sound effects and dialogue. Sound dispersion remains close to the speakers but doesn’t feel compressed in its offering. Surround use is subtle but discerningly apropos. Noticeable atmospheric presence and occasional front to rear pans/discrete sound effects do provide some near field envelopment. Dialogue is intelligible and never suffers from stridence or tinny quality. Dynamics are not particularly strong from an impact standpoint however the mix has ample dynamic range and clarity to support its elements with out compromise”.

Audio score From Russia with love = 78 - Thunderball = 80

For your eyes only comes to Blu-ray featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.6 mbps.

attachment.php?attachmentid=122822&d=1224948012

Shot in the early1980’s this film had a bit of a different look in terms of the use of color. Colors had broader range with ample saturation and hues that were typical of the time period. Textures were natural with good tonal separation and depth that wasn’t overly vibrant. Flesh tones were well delineated with complexions that were on the pale side but realistically reproduced. Blacks were not inky but had enough depth so that they stood out well when onscreen with mixed content. Detail in low light and shadows offered satisfying field depth with visible structure in dark backgrounds. Bright scenes had plenty of dynamic punch and discernible white detail. Resolution perception was impressive. Detail was crisply resolved with excellent dimensional perspective and visual acuity. Sharpness was occasionally inconsistent which had a slight softening effect that occasionally cropped up but didn’t encroach much on fidelity.

Video score = 82

I have included my comments from the audio portion of my Live and let die review as the two sound nearly identical.

“Front channel separation was excellent as off camera sounds and directional cues mated perfectly with the events onscreen. The mix was nicely spread out over the front and rear channels which provided better sound field extension. Detail and clarity were first rate which made subtle sound effects, dialogue and rear channel spatial cues audibly detectable. Voices were full bodied and well textured with just the slightest hint of mid range bloat that wasn’t always conspicuous. Bass had tactile presence but lacked room shaking extension and tight response. The 1980’s era music and theme song sounded wonderfully detailed, smooth in the upper treble, and slightly warm in tonal expression through the main channels."

Audio score = 82


Bonus Features:

From Russia with love:


  • Audio commentary with Director Terence Young and cast/crew members

  • Ian Fleming: the CBC interview

  • Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler radio interview

  • Ian Fleming on Desert Island Discs – radio interview

  • Animated storyboard sequence – Boat chase

  • Credits

  • (HD) 007 Mission Control: 007, Women, Allies, Villains - featurettes

  • Mission combat manual – action sequences

  • Q branch - gadgets

  • (HD) Exotic locations

  • (HD) Inside From Russia with love

  • Harry Salzman: Showman

  • Theatrical archive

  • TV Broadcasts

  • Radio communication

  • Image database

Thunderball:


  • Audio commentary with Director Terence Young and others

  • Audio commentary with Editor Peter Hunt and Screenwriter John Hopkins

  • The incredible world of James Bond – Original 1965 NBC TV Special

  • A child’s guide to blowing up a motor car – 1965 Ford promo film

  • On location with Production Designer Ken Adam

  • Bill suitor: The Rocket Man movies – Jet pack/stunt man used in film feature

  • Thunderball boat show reel

  • Selling Bonds – Original 1965 TV commercials advertising Bond merchandise

  • Credits

  • 007 Mission Control: 007, Women, Allies, Villains - featurettes

  • Mission combat manual – action sequences

  • Q branch - gadgets

  • (HD) Exotic locations

  • (HD) The making of Thunderball

  • (HD) The Thunderball Phenomenon

  • (HD) The secret history of Thunderball

  • Theatrical archive

  • TV Broadcasts

  • Radio communication

  • Image database

For your eyes only:


  • Audio commentary with Director John Glen and members of the cast/crew

  • Audio commentary with Screenwriter Michael G. Wilson and crew members

  • Audio commentary with Sir Roger Moore

  • (HD) 2 Deleted scenes and 1 expanded angle

  • Bond in Greece featurette

  • Bond in Cortina featurette

  • Neptune’s Journey Featurette

  • Credits

  • 007 Mission Control: 007, Women, Allies, Villains - featurettes

  • Mission combat manual – action sequences

  • Q branch - gadgets

  • (HD) Exotic locations

  • (HD) Inside From your eyes only

  • (HD) 2 animated storyboard sequences – snowmobile chase and underwater segments

  • Sheena Easton music video “For your eyes only”

  • Theatrical archive

  • TV Broadcasts

  • Radio communication

  • Image database




Final Thoughts:

James Bond has become a staple in cinematic folklore. As fans we have seen him change over the last 40 + years but somehow he still remains the same. No matter who has portrayed him his steely demeanor, great gadgets and penchant for saving the world and beautiful women keeps us coming back for more. The release of Bond films on high definition Blu-ray has been eagerly anticipated by fans right from the beginning. 20th Century Fox and MGM have done him proud with these beautifully crafted discs that truly pay tribute to the original vision of the film’s creators. No stone was left unturned with the vast supply of bonus features that looks deep inside the world of 007. I am proud to highly recommend them as they deserve a place in the collection of every film fan.







attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






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post #2 of 11 Old 10-25-2008, 06:56 PM
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Great stuff Ralph!

I have not had a chance to watch these yet but hopefully very soon.
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post #3 of 11 Old 10-26-2008, 12:35 AM
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Ralph is a great reviewer. I'm happy he's here.

I do really wish they'd publish a release date for a box with all the bond films. I'd prefer to get them all at once with additional goodies, which we can safely assume will happen someday. Even if it costs me in the range of $249-$300 I just want them all in one neat package. Has anyone heard if they're considering this method?
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-26-2008, 03:13 AM
 
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Well here is what the UK artwork cover designs look like. I couldn't find all the covers for this format only a few where available as Bond would say to wet our appetites LOL.








I find it very strange that all these DVD and bluray newer versions not! These are the same ones form last year or so, plus ones like Goldeneye is the THX laserdisc issue because the audio commentary hasn't changed all they've done is to just simply repackaged the set for the newest James Bond arrival Quantum of Solace (2008) which premieres at the famous Empire Leicester Square London on (Wednesday 29th October).

Keep up the good Ralph.
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post #5 of 11 Old 10-26-2008, 08:17 PM
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Watched THUNDERBALL today and while my impressions are mostly positive, i'm suprised i've not seen a review that mentioned a certain video issue. All during the film you could see vertical lines in most scenes and i'm not talking about a vertical line like a vertical scratch but a faint vertical line or lines as if it were bad telecine. I know this was a title re-done by Lowry, i'm just suprised that the line was visible. Makes me wonder if they didn't have access to the negatives but instead restored from a video transfer?

Now outside of the vertical lines, i'm more than pleased with the picture quality. Nearly all scenes were very sharp, with clear and accurate colors given the film stock. It hardly looked like a film out the 60's.

While I have to agree with the caveat about the dialogue mentioned earlier in this thread, i'm generally pleased with the audio. The Barry score was brought to new life and you can see why this is one of Barry's best Bond scores. Also the film had a suprising amount of impact for a film originally in mono. I'd score it very high for the restored audio.

I would have liked to seen more features outside of what was there but overall it's a good package.

I also had FOR YOUR EYES ONLY but sadly it wouldn't play on my BH 200.
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-26-2008, 08:32 PM
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Well done, Ralphieboy!

If I wasn't into home theater, I'd have a whole lotta money.
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post #7 of 11 Old 11-09-2008, 07:15 PM
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I just finished watching the last one from this volume, for your eyes only, and I do agree mostly with the review. The only issue that I found is that on this movie the dialogues get lost with music and effects.. For some reason I believe that the dialogue recording was done at a lower level in comparison with the rest of the mix...

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post #8 of 11 Old 11-14-2008, 07:53 AM
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There's a special for six Bond films on Blu-ray $64.95,
or
Ultimate Collection on DVD $89.95 TODAY ONLY at Amazon.com.
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post #9 of 11 Old 11-17-2008, 05:00 AM
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The DTS HD track of For Your Eyes Only is all wrong. The music is heavily to the right. I had to change to the 2.0 track and PLII to enjoy this. Can someone please confirm this or this is a bad disc?
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post #10 of 11 Old 11-17-2008, 08:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richlee View Post

There's a special for six Bond films on Blu-ray $64.95,
or
Ultimate Collection on DVD $89.95 TODAY ONLY at Amazon.com.

The price for the 6 blu-rays was tempting, but I have a feeling that Amazon will offer a deal for the entire collection once QOS is released on blu-ray and the other movies are released.

WG
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post #11 of 11 Old 11-21-2008, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weirdg View Post

The price for the 6 blu-rays was tempting, but I have a feeling that Amazon will offer a deal for the entire collection once QOS is released on blu-ray and the other movies are released.

WG

Perhaps, but it will be a while before all the Bond movies are on Blu-ray ... I snagged the deal when it was up - slightly over $10 per movie is a steal - for any BR disc, let alone Bond. The full DVD set was pretty tempting too for its price!
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