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James Bond Volume 3 (Goldfinger, Moonraker, The World Is Not Enough) Print E-mail
Tuesday, 07 April 2009
ImageThis is the second wave of James Bond films to be released by MGM, with the exception of the loner "Never Say Never Again."  The first wave consisted of two volumes, each with three Blu-ray James Bond films.  The first contained "Dr. No," "Die Another Day" and "Live and Let Die."  The second volume set contained "For Your Eyes Only," "From Russia With Love" and "Thunderball."

In this third set we get "The World is Not Enough," "Goldfinger" and "Moonraker."  This set contains some of the fan favorite Bond films, particularly "Goldfinger."  In 1964, "Goldfinger" marked Sean Connery's third performance as James Bond.  This film, along with "Moonraker" are two of the Bond films which Mike Myers parodied in the Austin Powers films.  "Goldfinger" follows Bond   Goldfinger has all the silly henchmen and standard plot to take over the world.  The villain of the film plans to set the United States back by destroying the gold in Fort Knoz.  The film has probably some of the most memorable dialogue quips and scenes.  As opposed to his comeback in "Never Say Never Again," Connery delivers a fine Bond performance. (Film: 4/5)

A second disc in the pack is "Moonraker."  This 1979 Bond film stars Roger Moore as the infamous Bond.  This film has probably the silliest Bond plot.  A spaceship is hijacked on its way to the British and Bond is sent on a space mission to determine who has orchestrated this plot.  Bond meets up with a Dr. Holly Goodhead (ha ha), a CIA agent who is also investigating the hijacking.  It seems as though the villain has a huge space station in Brazil and plans to release a nerve gas.  A far-fetched plot, but then again, aren't they all.  The film is entertaining along the way, but it is kind of slow moving.  You will find yourself getting restless in parts of the film. (Film: 3/5)

The last disc in the bundle is "The World is Not Enough."  This is one of the recent Pierce Brosnan James Bond films, from 1999.  This is probably one of my favorites of the Brosnan era.  This film has Bond assigned to protect Elektra King, daughter of the recently murdered Sir Robert King, oil tycoon.  Fearing that the murderer is Elektra's old kidnapper, Bond stays close on her heels, if you know what I mean.  This film has those twists in the who is playing for what team, but beyond that, the film flows nicely.  When the pipeline flowing through the mountains is in jeopardy, Bond rushes to the rescue.  Bond has teamed with Christmas Jones (awesome name), a gorgeous nuclear physicist played by Denise Richards.  This film is packed with a ton of explosions and great chase sequences. (Film: 3.5/5)

"Goldfinger" Video:
This film has a remarkably good transfer given its age.  The contrast is well balanced.  Colors are nicely saturated, if still reminiscent of 1960s filmmaking.  The black levels and shadow delineation are both well defined.  The print has been nicely cleaned.  There are occasional remnants of dust and dirt.  The skintones are accurate, which is nice to see.  The film does go soft in several sequences.  While this is more a 1960s film issue, some post-production editing could have helped to remedy the soft and fuzzy nature.  There does not appear to be any edge enhancement or digital noise reduction.  This film has a much better transfer than that of the 20 year more recent, "Never Say Never Again." (Video: 4/5) "Moonraker" Video:
While this may be one of the worst Bond films in the entire series, this Blu-ray offers one of the best looking Bond film thus far (not counting "Casino Royale" or "Quantum of Solace."  The level of color and detail is absolutely astounding.  Released just 4 years before "Never Say Never Again," "Moonraker has an infinitely better transfer than the aforementioned.  The black levels and shadow delineation are exceptional.  The image really pops.  There is no edge enhancement, compression/motion artifacting or digital noise reduction.  The printmaster has been transferred several times over, but the quality of this Blu-ray transfer is much better than that of any of the previously released DVD editions. (Video: 4.5/5)

"The World Is Not Enough" Video:
The transfer of this film to Blu-ray is a bit of a letdown.  There is a massive amount of film grain, which isn't bothersome by itself, but in addition to the other minor problems, it all adds up.  There are also some scratches and other blemishes present in the print.  The black levels are deep, but shadow delineation suffers.  The costumes are constantly either light or dark.  There is no in-between.  The colors are a bit inconsistent and skintones fluctuate over the course of the film.  Details are strong, especially in fast-motion sequences.  (Video: 3.5/5)

"Goldfinger" Audio:
This disc contains a remastered DTS-HD 5.1 audio track as well as the original mono audio track.  Both tracks have their problems, and I can't decide which one is better.  I would probably lean toward the mono mix, as there are not quite as many annoying issues.  The 5.1 track is completely matrixed, leaving phasing and psychoacoustic balance problems.  The dialogue is fairly muddy, with an improper balance between the low-mid and the upper-mid frequencies.  There is really nothing in the surround channels except for some bleeding of music and ambience.  It is such a disappointment as the Blu-ray has a really good video transfer. (Audio: 3/5)

"Moonraker" Audio:
This disc has both the original stereo mix and the remastered DTS-HD 5.1 audio track.  Both of these tracks are better than those on "Goldfinger."  The surround channels contain better movement and placement of discreet effects.  The dialogue is much clearer.  The balance among the frequency spectrum is more cohesive.  There are only occasional psychoacoustic problems, but the clarity of the HD track is terrific.  The stereo mix is a bit more low-mid heavy, leaving the dialogue buried. (Audio: 3.5/5)

"The World Is Not Enough" Audio:
Once again, I was a bit disappointed with the audio of this recent film.  The sound effects are great.  They are placed all over the soundscape.  The movement from front to back and side to side is terrific.  However, my biggest problem with this release is the frequency response.  There is a disconnect between the low-mids and the upper frequencies.  The upper mid frequencies seems completely absent.  This makes the sound effects seem out of place and the dialogue seem to lack a full-bodied image.  The LFE channel is a bit inconsistent.  It gets stronger as the film progresses, but was lacking in the opening chase and explosion sequence. (Audio: 3.5/5)

Each of the three Blu-ray discs come with their own special features.  There is an incredible amount of detail presented in these features for all you Bond fanatics.  Most of the featurettes are from previously DVD releases, but each disc does contain exclusive Blu-ray materials.

"Goldfinger" Special Features:
• Audio Commentary with Director Guy Hamilton
• Audio Commentary with Cast and Crew Members
• "Sean Connery from the Set of 'Goldfinger'"
• Screen Tests
• "On Tour with the Aston Martin DB5"
• "Honor Blackman Open-Ended Interview"
• "The Making of 'Goldfinger'"
• 007 Mission Control: Interactive Guide to the film
• Original Publicity Featurette
• Original theatrical trailer, TV spots and Radio announcements
• Photo Gallery

"Moonraker" Special Features:
• Audio Commentary with Roger Moore
• Audio Commentary with Director Lewis Gilbert and cast/crew members
• "Bond '79"
• Circus Footage
• Cable Car Alternative Storyboards
• 007 in Rio – Original 1979 production featurette
• Ken Adam's Production Films
• "Learning to Freefall – Skydiving Test Footage"
• Skydiving Storyboards
• Original Theatrical Trailer
• 007 Mission Control: Interactive Guide to the Film
• "Inside 'Moonraker'" Original Documentary
• "The Me Behind the Mayhem" Special Effects Documentary
• Photo Gallery

"The World Is Not Enough" Special Features:
• Audio Commentary with Director Michael Apted
• Audio Commentary with Peter Lamont, David Arnold, Vic Armstrong
• "James Bond Down River" Original 1999 featurette
• Deleted, Extended and Alternate Scenes with Intro by Director
• "Creating An Icon: Making the Teaser Trailer"
• Alternate Angle/Expanded Angle of the Thames Boat Chase
• "Bond Cocktail"
• Hong Kong Press Conference
• 007 Mission Control: Interactive Guide to the Film
• "The Making of 'The World Is Not Enough'"
• "Tribute to Desmond Llewelyn"
• Music Video: Garbage – "The World Is Not Enough"
• The Secrets of 007: Alternate Video Options
• Original Theatrical Trailer
• Photo Gallery

This James Bond collection is perhaps one of my favorites thus far.  The video quality of each of the films is more than adequate, with maybe the exception of "The World Is Not Enough."  The audio quality of all the films is average but certainly not demo material worthy.  I recommend this for all Bond fans and even for the action/adventure movie lovers.

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