‘Dr. No’ Blu-ray Review
In 1962, ‘Dr. No’ was the first Bond film that started the entire 007 phenom. We were introduced to the British secret agent bringing exotic locations, action, erotic nature, and excellent story culminating all these elements together. Director Terence Young brought style to the film and little would he know the success that lied ahead of him with the James Bond character. ‘Dr. No’ would be a huge success at the box office with a total world wide gross of $59 million dollars and only a $1 million dollar budget. Add to that millions of dollars off of the VHS, DVD, and now Blu-ray release of the film.
James Bond (Sean Connery) is sent on a mission to Jamaica to investigate the disappearance of the secret service people, Dr. Strangways. Things don’t go well for Bond, the moment he lands to the island he is attacked by the locals, so we think. Bond is not alone here, he meets two locals CIA agent Felix Leiter (Jack Lord) and a fisherman Quarrel (John Kitzmiller) that help him out with the investigation. Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman) has deep pockets on this island that goes further than we think.
During his investigation, Bond finds out that Dr. No is the owner of a secluded island which has no apparent trace or records. There is radioactivity that is occurring in the area that Bond is able to take lead right to the secluded island. On his way, Bond isn’t without his beautiful women and he meets Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) as she is collecting seashells. Honey helps Bond around the island since she is familiar with the area. Honey has to be one of the most beautiful bond girls ever in the franchise. She has that Amazon woman look to her that just fits very well.
One thing that I love about the earlier Bond films is that gadgets weren’t the main focus and relying on sheer wit was the key to the story. Connery’s Bond is a suave ladies man yet an agent that gets the job done. This is a role that Connery made his own and is the standard that other actors have to try and match with the Bond role. The acting and story are superb in Dr. No, all the way to the final showdown between Bond and Dr. No.
MGM has done a great job with bringing this film to Blu-ray and have done an amazing job overall. Between the special features and wonderful video and audio presentation it breathes even new life into a film that is 46 years old. Bringing these older classic films to with new overall presentation is something that should not be missed by longtime Bond fans and even new fans of the franchise. This is classic filmmaking that should not be missed at all with story taking the central focus.
The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 1.66:1 aspect ratio. The last Bond sets on DVD used the Lowry Digital restoration which really did a nice job at bringing those films to full restoration on the DVD format in terms of video and audio. Now in 2008, Lowry Digital does the unthinkable on a BD-50. The colors in the film just really jump off of the screen as the previous DVD version had a softer color palette. Fleshtones look very good and this is also an area where details are prevalent. Taking a look at the strands of Bond’s hair on his head alone or even the vegetation on the island to see how detailed the print looks. Signs on the walls or even documents are clear as day.
The audio is presented in DTS-HD MA lossless mix. Things open up with a bang, but that is with the opening Bond theme song. The Bond theme song has never sounded so clear and crisp yet on any format. The original soundtrack was based on mono and to bring this whole audio presentation to DTS-HD MA is a spectacular feat. The sound effects and soundtrack is still rather front heavy, but you do still get sound effects from the rears. Dialogue is well balanced and is very clear, this has never been an issue with the previous DVD’s either. Not once did I have to increase the volume, I hope that some engineers take note.
Special features are offered in both high and standard definition. MGM did a great job of bringing over all features from the previous releases. I have noted the features in high definition with an HD next to the set.
- Audio commentary with Director Terence Young and Members of the Cast and Crew
- 007: License to Restore Featurette
- The Guns of James Bond Featurette
- Premiere Bond: Opening Nights Featurette
- Dr. No 1963 Featurette
- Image Database
- Theatrical Trailers, TV and Radio Spots
- Photo Gallery
- 007 Mission Control – interactive guide into the world of Dr. No (HD)
- Inside Dr. No (HD)
- Terence Young: Bond Vivant Featurette (HD)
I can’t recommend ‘Dr. No’ enough on Blu-ray, this is one of the best restorations that I have seen yet on high definition next to ‘Casablanca’ on HD DVD for older films. If you are a James Bond fan and enjoy all era’s, this is the best way to experience the film as the Lowry Digital restoration is very well done.
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