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James Bond Collection Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, The (Blu-ray Review)

7 Dec, 2008 By: John Gaudiosi


Vol. 1: Dr. No
            Live and Let Die
            Die Another Day

Vol. 2: From Russia With Love
           For Your Eyes Only

Individual movies $34.98 each, three-disc Blu-ray set $89.98 each.
Stars Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Pierce Brosnan, Jane Seymour, Halle Berry.

The theatrical release of the latest James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, has offered the perfect window for a slew of Blu-ray releases of the earlier films. Each includes a discount off the cost of a ticket to the new film.

This collection is essentially a 1080p upgrade of the “Ultimate James Bond Collection” DVDs from a few years ago. That’s not a bad thing, as these films have never looked or sounded better, but it would have been nice to have some new exclusive BD content. At least some of the extras on each disc are offered in HD.

This first wave includes just six of the 20 films released prior to 2006’s Casino Royale, which also has been newly released as a Blu-ray collector’s edition ($38.96) from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The initial line-up of classic Bond includes the first two Bond films, and two of the best: 1962’s Dr. No and 1963’s From Russia With Love, in which Sean Connery defined Bond for the ages.

Thunderball (1965), Connery’s fourth Bond film, offers a wider view of the action with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This movie suffers the most from the HD upgrade, especially in the underwater sequences, likely more an issue of the technology of the times.

The two Roger Moore films in the first wave — Live and Let Die (1973) and For Your Eyes Only (1981) — show that Moore fits the tuxedo perfectly.

For Your Eyes Only looks gorgeous in 1080p. The sound is excellent as well. In terms of new features, American audiences get a commentary track from Moore that was once offered only on the British DVD.

Die Another Day (2002) is the only Pierce Brosnan Bond in this collection, and it’s his last go as 007. Like Casino Royale, this film looks amazing in HD and is clearly one of the best-looking and best-sounding films of the set.

The visual upgrades of these films are good enough for those who own the earlier DVDs to convert to BD, even though the extras are the same. Bond is one of those franchises that helps make a great BD library, regardless of the overall quality of the actual film content.

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