James Bond Blu-ray Collection Three-Pack, Vol. 3 Review
Year: Goldfinger (1964), The World Is Not Enough (1999), Moonraker (1979)
Release Date: March 24, 2009
Run time: Goldfinger (110 Minutes), The World Is Not Enough (128 Minutes), Moonraker (122 Minutes)
Rating: Goldfinger (PG), The World Is Not Enough (PG-13), Moonraker (PG)
Audio: DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix
Goldfinger (1.66:1), The World Is Not Enough (2.35:1), Moonraker (2.35:1)
Disc Spec: 3 BD50 DL
The World Is Not Enough
This time out, credit 007’s caretakers for making some visible attempts to invest their principal characters with darker motives–and blame them for squandering The World Is Not Enough’s initial promise by the final reel.
By now, Bond pictures are as elegantly formal as a Bach chorale, and this one opens on an unusually powerful note. A stunning pre-title sequence reaches beyond mere pyrotechnics to introduce key plot elements as the action leaps from Bilbao to London. Bond 5.0, Pierce Brosnan, undercuts his usually suave persona with a darker, more brutal edge largely absent since Sean Connery departed. Equally tantalizing are our initial glimpses of Bond’s nemesis du jour, Renard (Robert Carlyle), and imminent love interest, Elektra King (Sophie Marceau), both atypically complex characters cast with seemingly shrewd choices, and directed by the capable Michael Apted. The story’s focus on post-Soviet geopolitics likewise starts off on a savvy note, before being overtaken by increasingly Byzantine plot twists, hidden motives, and reversals of loyalty superheated by relentless (if intermittently perfunctory) action sequences.
‘The World Is Not Enough’ (is also referred to as TWINE) is close to being Pierce Brosnan’s finest outing with ‘Goldeneye’ slightly edging it. A more complex and nuanced story than most recent Bond films, ‘TWINE’ recaptures a good part of the exotica and international intrigue of the Bond series as first conceived. In ‘TWINE’, Brosnan resurrects the dark Bond of ‘From Russia With Love’. His dual nemeses, Electra and Renard, bring some surprising depth to their characters. Electra is particularly sympathetic, being both the brainwashed victim and willing accomplice of Renard. She is by turns sexual and ingenuous, vulnerable and implacable. Marceau is breathtakingly beautiful.
With the good there is also some bad and Denise Richards has the weakest major role as a nuclear physicist. Richards should have stuck this one out as her acting just didn’t do it for me. She is upstaged by the beautiful Marceau and this is the only love interest that should have been used for Bond. I just think her role was miscast and even worse that her character was more of an afterthought.
‘TWINE’ is a worthy addition to the James Bond franchise albeit some of the negativity. With a strong performance by Pierce Brosnan in a darker take on the the character since Sean Connery it helps give this Bond a much needed return to the earlier days. If only the Christmas Jones character never made it into the film with Denise Richards taking the role the film would be even more enjoyable.
Movie Content: 9/10
Dry as ice, dripping with deadpan witticisms, only Sean Connery’s Bond would dare disparage the Beatles, that other 1964 phenomenon. No one but Connery can believably seduce women so effortlessly, kill with almost as much ease, and then pull another bottle of Dom Perignon ’53 out of the fridge. Goldfinger contains many of the most memorable scenes in the Bond series: gorgeous Shirley Eaton (as Jill Masterson) coated in gold paint by evil Auric Goldfinger and deposited in Bond’s bed; silent Oddjob, flipping a razor-sharp derby like a Frisbee to sever heads; our hero spread-eagle on a table while a laser beam moves threateningly toward his crotch. Honor Blackman’s Pussy Galore is the prototype for the series’ rash of man-hating supermodels. And Desmond Llewelyn reprises his role as Q, giving Bond what is still his most impressive car, a snazzy little number that fires off smoke screens, punctures the tires of vehicles on the chase, and boasts a handy ejector seat. Goldfinger’s two climaxes, inside Fort Knox and aboard a private plane, have to be seen to be believed.
‘Goldfinger’ has to be one of the most admired Bond films in the entire franchise by fans. Before the reboot of the Bond franchise with Daniel Craig, ‘Goldfinger’ is one of my all-time favorite James Bond films. This film has all the elements that make Bond the hero that we all love, but in this film there is a perfect balance.
Not only does Sean Connery take the role of James Bond up a notch, but the villain Auric Goldfinger has to be one of the best the series has seen. Goldfinger is a maniac, but never taken beyond that which keeps him real and level as opposed to some of today’s action film villains. While he is a maniac, Goldfinger is also a very smart businessman that is ruthless. Gert Froebe was physically perfect for the role.
What makes this film so wonderful is the classic scene after the opening credits where Bond first meets Goldfinger in Miami. Bond is on a job and the way he foils Goldfinger’s card game is classic. On another note, while gadgets are a part of this film, they never interfere with the film like in the later films. This is an all around wonderful Bond adventure that new or younger fans should take a look.
Movie Content: 10/10
This was the first James Bond adventure produced after the success of Star Wars, so it jumped on the sci-fi bandwagon by combining the suave appeal of Agent 007 (once again played by Roger Moore) with enough high-tech hardware and special effects to make Luke Skywalker want to join Her Majesty’s Secret Service. After the razzle-dazzle of The Spy Who Loved Me, this attempt to latch onto a trend proved to be a case of overkill, even though it brought back the steel-toothed villain Jaws (Richard Kiel) and scored a major hit at the box office. This time Bond is up against a criminal industrialist named Drax (Michel Lonsdale) who wants to control the world from his orbiting space station. In keeping with his well-groomed style, Bond thwarts this maniacal Neo-Hitler’s scheme with the help of a beautiful, sleek-figured scientist (played by Lois Chiles with all the vitality of a department-store mannequin).
There’s a grand-scale climax involving space shuttles and ray guns, but despite the film’s popular success, this is one Bond adventure that never quite gets off the launching pad. It’s as if the caretakers of the James Bond franchise had forgotten that it’s Bond–and not a barrage of gizmos and gadgets (including a land-worthy Venetian gondola)–that fuels the series’ success. Despite Moore’s passive performance (which Pauline Kael described as “like an office manager who is turning into dead wood but hanging on to collect his pension”), Moonraker had no problem attracting an appreciative audience, and there are even a few renegade Bond-philes who consider it one of their favorites.
Looking at ‘Moonraker’ objectively, this film has a lot of similar flaws that made me dislike ‘Die Another Day’. It’s got a plot that’s rather silly, over the top stunts in a couple of scenes, and gadgets that just do not belong in a Bond film but somehow it all comes together very well. Then add the return of Jaws (Richard Kiel) which adds some tension to the film. Richard Kiel has become something of a cult figure since his appearance in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’. He reappears as indestructible as ever which added to my enjoyment.
Yet despite all these flaws, this is not a bad Bond film. It’s hard to say why, but I imagine it’s because it was the first Bond film I ever saw. The locations, particularly Venice, and the Amazon jungle, are simply breathtakingly beautiful. The special effects, though they do occur in scenes that just don’t belong in a Bond movie, are really quite good. The villian, Hugo Drax, is one of the most sinister Bond villians since Blofeld, and is well acted by Michael Lonsdale. And finally, John Barry’s musical score is some of the best he ever did for the Bond series.
In the end, this film is campy fun but part of the lower tiered Bond films. The only people that enjoy this film are Bond fans like myself albeit some of the plot issues.
Movie Content: 6/10
The print for ‘Goldfinger’ 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. Details are very good with this print as everything is very clear. Then there are a few scenes where the film loses some detail as the camera pans away providing a blurred image. Colors are sharp and very rich. Black levels are also very strong, except a few night scenes were a bit too dark. This has to be one of the best looking Bond films to hit high definition yet considering the age of the film.
The prints for ‘The World Is Not Enough’ and ‘Moonraker’ are presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The Colors are vibrant trumping the previous DVD releases for both films. Color reproduction is good as it doesn’t over-saturate the hues. Fleshtones actually look really good this time around on Blu-ray compared to DVD. Details are excellent and the image looks very clean for an older film. There are some small hints of film grain throughout which isn’t distracting at all. This film has a very film-like presentation on Blu-ray, which is rather impressive.
Print Quality: 9.5/10
The audio is presented in DTS-HD MA lossless mix for all three films. With ‘Goldfinger’ the sound effects and soundtrack is rather front heavy like the other Connery Bond Blu-ray films, but you do still get sound effects from the rears. Dialogue is well balanced and is very clear, with great dynamic range. Not once did I have to increase the volume, I hope that some engineers take note. ‘Moonraker’ steps up a bit in the sound design and I was surprised to hear rear sound effects come through so clear. Action scenes benefit the most here with some very discrete movements of the effects from rear speaker to speaker. Dialogue also comes through clean, yet I had to adjust the volume a few times due to it being on the lower side. ‘TWINE’ takes the most advantage of the soundfield in this set being that it is a film to release within the last 10 years. This is one of the better soundtracks that will rock your setup from guns blazing, explosions, and any sound effect that you can think of. Anytime there are action sequences, the soundfield is working very well. The rears are not going to just sit there emitting lowly sounds, they will get their workout. The dialogue is well placed through the center channel and is very clear presentation.
Audio Quality: 9/10
- Audio Commentary with Director Guy Hamilton
- On The Set with Sean Connery
- On Tour with Aston Marin DB5
- The Gold Finger Phenomenon
- Screen Tests with Theodore Bikel and Tito Vandis
- Theatrical Trailer
- Television Spots
- Radio Spots
- Still Gallery
- Audio Commentary with Director Lewis Gilbert, Producers Michael G. Wilson and William P. Cartlidge and Screenwriter Christopher Wood
- Audio commentary with Sir Roger Moore
- Inside Moonraker featurette
- Ken Adam’s Production Films
- Bond ’97 Interviews with Cast and Crew
- 007 In Rio
- Circus Footage
- Skydiving Test Footage
- Theatrical Trailer
- Storyboard Collections
- Still Gallery
The World Is Not Enough:
- Audio Commentary with Director Michael Apted
- Audio Commentary with Peter Lamont, David Arnold and Vic Armstrong
- Deleted Scenes
- Extended Scenes
- Alternative Scenes
- James Bond Down River
- The Hong Kong Press Conference
- Tribute to Desmond Llewelyn
- Theatrical Trailer
- Still Gallery
- Garbage Music Video
All features are spread across the three Blu-ray discs which the feature films are also a part of. Fans of the Ultimate Editions will be happy that all special features have been ported over to the Blu-ray.
Special Features: 9/10
The Final Word
FOX does yet another wonderful job with this third Bond collection that will make fans of the franchise happy. All special features are ported over from the Ultimate Editions DVD releases. Each film provides very good video and audio showcasing these Bond films like we have never seen them before. I highly recommend this set for fans of the franchise.
Overall Rating: 9/10
Review by: George Theofanopoulos