The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 143 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem, Naomie Harris, Berenice Marlohe, Albert Finney
Directed by: Sam Mendes
Music by: Thomas Newman
Written by: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, John Logan
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 12, 2013
When Bond's latest assignment goes gravely wrong and agents around the world are exposed, MI6 is attacked forcing M to relocate the agency. These events cause her authority and position to be challenged by Mallory (Ralph Fiennes), the new Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee. With MI6 now compromised from both inside and out, M is left with one ally she can trust: Bond. 007 takes to the shadows - aided only by field agent Eve (Naomie Harris) - following a trail to the mysterious Silva (Javier Bardem), whose lethal and hidden motives have yet to reveal themselves.
In Skyfall, Bond's loyalty to M (Judi Dench) is tested as her past returns to haunt her. 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost. The James Bond franchise is the longest running film series to my knowledge. I am amazed at how each installment never seems to lose its appeal. Casino Royale was special for two reasons. The first is that it “rebooted” (if you will) the James Bond story and second because it introduced us to the newest and sixth actor to play Bond, Daniel Craig. I have to admit that when I heard that he was the new Bond I was pretty skeptical. After seeing Casino Royale my skepticism was assuaged. The character has a much different feel that is highlighted by more of a reckless arrogance and darker persona than we have seen from any previous Bond. Personally I found it invigorating. While I enjoy Quantum of solace I found it a disappointing follow up to Casino Royale. When Skyfall was announced I truly wondered what lay in store and hoped that it would live up to the promise found in Casino Royale. After seeing it I was extremely pleased to see a return to the path and continuance in the thematic vein of reshaping Bond.
The central theme here revolves around Bond and M’s relationship as they deal with an element from her past that has resurfaced. There are several new challenges for Bond who is carefully drawn as a simple yet complex character with his typical lone wolf exterior that leaves him unpredictable yet predictable. The most direct obstacle comes in the form of a worthy adversary in Silva played with pitch perfect maniacal disdain by the always reliable Javier Bardem. The newest Bond Girls are exotically ravishing with a twist of course. There are a variety of familiar references in the 007 lore as well as several “interesting” introductions. Skyfall is typically stylish both in theme and execution featuring gorgeous locations, exciting action and superlative production elements.
The requisite opening chase sequence is loaded with hair raising stunts and the title sequence that follows, featuring Adele’s theme song, is a montage of beautifully crafted images enhanced by superb production design/direction. The action set pieces are exactly what you would expect while the rewarding screenplay ties everything together as it leads toward an inevitable and gratifying finale that reminds us why we keep coming back for more. Daniel Craig has truly made this character his own. Of the three Bond films he has made I think Casino Royale remains my favorite. Skyfall is probably more of a complete film in terms of tying all of the elements together. I am thrilled that Bond is back and I look forward to the next installment.
The rating is for intense violent sequences throughout, some sexuality, language and smoking.
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)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Skyfall comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 Mbps.
This is a flawless and film like video presentation (despite being shot on high definition video) that delivers exquisite high level detail and rich image penetrating colors that look gorgeous in high definition. The video has incredible depth and dimension that is rarely limited by the camera’s perspective. The level of resolution present produces imagery that in many cases has a near infinite visual acuity that draws out the finest details in close ups while enhancing the delineation and textural nuance within objects and backgrounds. Wide angle shots of the geographic locations in Turkey and London reveal the varied and rough texture in the surfaces made of stone and wood while the beautifully framed shots of the landscapes look stunning.
Flesh tones exhibit lifelike textures with natural color and vibrant complexions. Blacks exhibit exemplary dynamic range and appear deep and rich without compromise. Shadow detail is impressive and readily conveys strong dimensionality during the scenes shot in darkened areas and uneven light. The segments shot at night overlooking the various cityscapes look fabulous. Contrast and brightness work in tandem so that dark scenes exhibit good dynamic range and bright scenes are vivid without loss of detail. I saw no signs of video related anomalies or extraneous noise. I tip my hat to 20th Century Fox. This is an impressive high definition presentation that looked marvelous on my big screen.
The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio soundtrack is technically proficient and sounds terrific. This is a supremely articulated and commanding presentation that will reward those with systems capable of thoroughly reproducing its elements. This is not an overtly aggressive presentation but it definitively produces powerful dynamics and deep bass transients that underscore the action with aplomb. This is an engaging and purposeful sound design that transforms the room into a three dimensional soundstage that creates an immersive web of sound that encapsulates the sweet spot with its plethora of sounds/ effects that seem to emanate from every direction during the films active moments.
Pinpoint imaging draws out both large and small sounds and by allowing their directional correlation (based upon the onscreen events) to be definable within the room’s acoustic boundaries. Thomas Newman’s music score helps set the stage with its perfect blend of evocative instrumentation and rousing orchestration. Dialogue is reproduced with lucid expression and exacting clarity. I never had any trouble distinguishing even the slightest changes in the pitch or tonal inflection of voices. If I had one very minor nit to pick is that I would have preferred deeper extension and a bigger kick in the low end.
As my ratings suggest Skyfall as presented on Blu-ray Disc is an end to end experience that delivers on the potential and promise of the Blu-ray format. Turn it up, sit back and enjoy the ride!
- Audio commentary with director Sam Mendes
- Audio commentary with producers Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson, and production designer Dennis Gassner
- (HD) Shooting Bond (14 segments):
- Intro – 2 minutes
- Opening sequence – 4 minutes
- Title sequence – 3 minutes
- 007 – 3 minutes
- Q – 2 minutes
- DB5 – 1 minute
- Women – 4 minutes
- Villains – 6 minutes
- Action – 3 minutes
- Locations – 3 minutes
- Music – 3 minutes
- End sequence – 14 minutes
- M – 4 minutes
- The Future – 2 minutes
- Intro – 2 minutes
- (HD) Skyfall premiere – 4 minutes
- (HD) Theatrical tralier
- (HD) Soundtrack promo
- Bonus DVD
- Digital Copy
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
James Bond makes a triumphant return in Skyfall an exciting well rounded Bond epic that successfully brings the iconic character to the next level. As you might expect its presentation on Blu-ray is spectacular and features reference quality audio/video that makes for superb demonstration material for enthusiasts that like to show off their home theater systems. The included supplemental package is made up of an array of featurettes that provide glimpses behind the scenes while offering insights from the cast/filmmakers. I found it to be serviceable but not as comprehensive as I would have liked. Regardless Skyfall on Blu-ray is a must have plain and simple. Enjoy!
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JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
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Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
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Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
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SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
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Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package