‘Live and Let Die’ Blu-ray Review
‘Live and Let Die’ was the debut of Roger Moore as James Bond after Sean Connery left the franchise. I grew up with Roger Moore playing the role of James Bond, so in some ways I have enjoyed his performances even though he has been panned by fans as one of the least favorites. Roger Moore played James Bond with more of a smooth, suave, and serious at all times attitude. I never found Moore to be an intimidating Bond and that is one thing that hurt his persona. Dalton, Craig, Brosnan, and to a degree Connery made you feel like they were an imposing threat and Dalton made me fear him because he had that cold as ice look. While Moore is a toned down version of the Bonds I mentioned, he still did a great job in the role. At the box office, ‘Live and Let Die’ would make $161 million dollars worldwide with a $7 million dollar budget. This would be yet another successful Bond film.
The story of ‘Live and Let Die’ is a different one from the previous Bond films as we are taken into the streets of New York City. Three British agents are murdered at the United Nations in New York City, an tropical island, and in New Orleans. The deaths of the three agents, brings James Bond (Roger Moore) to the call by M to investigate as to why there were murdered. James Bond heads to New York City to uncover the mystery.
Our main villain Dr. Kananga (Yaphet Kotto) is the main link between all these murders. Kananga is a ruthless character that looks ever so imposing that Bond even looks intimidated by him. Then his henchman Tee Hee (Julius Harris) is the muscle for the operation that he is running. Bond makes it to New York and gets himself immediately into one of Kananga’s traps that he deliberately had setup for the British Agent. This is when we first meet the first Bond girl, Solitaire (Jane Seymour), whom looks so ever innocent and beautiful at the same time. Solitaire is a tarot card reader whom works for Kananga falls for Bond, but there is a problem once her boss finds out. James Bond takes a liking to Solitaire from the moment that he sets his eyes on her.
James Bond’s friend Felix Leiter (David Hedison) makes a return here notifying Bond on the travels of Kananga as he is trailing him. This is when James Bond heads to the Caribbean Island San Monique and he meets Rosie Carver (Gloria Hendry), whom I didn’t care for as a Bond girl. I would compare her role to the same role that Halle Barry had in ‘Die Another Day’, where both women just looked confused on what to do next. There have been some Bond characters that I have wondered over the years as to how were they thought up of boggles my mind. Quite a bit of action occurs on this island and some notable events that keep the film going on a good pace. James Bond travels with Solitaire to New Orleans, only to be caught again by Kananga as he falls into another trap. This is not a good first outing for Moore as Bond to keep getting caught in traps. This was one of my all-time favorite scenes when Tee Hee and Whisper (Earl Jolly Brown) toss Bond in an crocodile infested farm. Watching Moore make his way out of this and escape was very entertaining. For the final act, James Bond makes his way back to San Monique for a final confrontation with the evil Dr. Kanaga…….at this point is when we are also introduced to the voodoo that makes this film so famous for.
The print is presented in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. This film has suffered the most on DVD out of all the Bond films over the years due to the film stock itself. The Digital Lowry restoration really did a spectacular job with the colors making them a bit more vibrant than before, yet still retains that muted color pallette. Details are still prevalent due to the increase in color. Blacks are very strong throughout the film.
The audio is presented in DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix. This is another one of those earlier Bond films where the front heavy audio takes center stage. The soundfield is also well done to where there is some activity from the rears when sound effects are being used. The soundtrack takes advantage of the entire soundfield and sounds so ever crisp in DTS-HD. Dialogue isn’t a problem and mixed well with clean and crisp audio through the center.
Audio Commentary With Sir Roger Moore
Audio Commentary With Director Guy Hamilton
Audio Commentary with Tom Mankiewicz
Roger Moore as James Bond Circa 1964
Live and Let Die Conceptual Art
007 Mission Control Interactive Guide Into The World Of Live and Let Die
Inside Live and Let Die Featurette
On Set With Roger Moore Featurette
Theatrical Trailers, TV and Radio Spots
I do highly recommend ‘Live and Let Die’ on Blu-ray as this is yet another great upgrade to Blu-ray from the previous impressive DVD editions released 2 years ago. This is Roger Moore’s first outing as Bond and does appear a bit rather stiff in some scenes, but he would alleviate that with his later Bond appearances. All around acting is really good and this film also showcases one of the Bond girls, Solitaire, that would make your heart melt.
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