Bond 50 Blu-ray Collection (22 film set)

Discussion in 'High Definition' started by Katatonia, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    I've read Diamonds Are Forever and the bulk of the other books. Most of them are far too low-key to have satisfied audience expectations after Goldfinger and Thunderball. Most diehards, including us, regard OHMSS very highly. But it was a relative box office disappointment. Some of that is undoubtedly due to the departure of Connery. But I strongly believe that the more grounded Bond didn't meet the escapist expectations of the Bond audience at that time.

    As far as the books go, the real bummer for me is that the Blofeld trilogy wasn't filmed in order. You Only Live Twice is such a cinematic book that it's hard to believe they tossed the plot aside because they couldn't find the right locations for OHMSS (after Thunderball). Throw out that one decision and it's possible that they could have kept Connery satisfied a lot longer.

    Diamonds Are Forever (the film) works much better for me than any of the Brosnan films and all the Moore films with the exception of TSWLM and FYEO. I find I feel like nitpicking a lot of individual elements (like the fey Blofeld, Connery's pink bib tie, and the move toward outright comedy). But for whatever reason, it holds up to repeat viewings for me in a way that many of the Brosnan and Moore films don't. It's certainly bolstered by one of Barry's best scores--including the very effective usage of his criminally underused (recently) 007 Theme during the climactic assault. And I like the fact that more of the oil rig scenes revolve around Connery's verbal jousting with Charles Gray than another soulless group shoot-out. I haven't checked the run-times. But the actual assault on the rig SEEMS to move at a much brisker pace than similar scenes toward the end of the Brosnan films especially.

    It's interesting that the FYEO score turns off so many of you. I'd take that over any of David Arnold's recent work--in a second. I especially like the revved up version of the gun barrel theme. Some of the other pieces definitely aren't up to Barry's standards. But I'm more willing to accept them as Bond music than Arnold's generic-sounding recent contributions.

    It sounds like some of you guys don't know why Blofeld isn't overtly named or shown at the beginning of FYEO. Kevin McClory's lawsuit against EON granted him the cinematic rights to SPECTRE and Blofeld. Apparently some type of accommodation was worked out to allow Eon to continue using those elements in the film series through Diamonds Are Forever. But after that they were unable to specifically reference either--which is why the script to TSWLM had to be rewritten and why Blofeld isn't named or shown explicitly at the beginning of FYEO. The literary rights to the characters stayed with the Fleming estate, which is why John Gardner was able to use SPECTRE in several of his novels.

    I also feel the need to weigh in on the fake film grain controversy. The transfers of the early Connery films are some of the most impressive, FILM-LIKE transfers of movies from that era, period. If those transfers resulted from judicious use of DNR and the addition of digital film grain it should become standard practice. I continue to be astounded by the level of detail visible in those transfers. They're really that impressive.
     
  2. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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  3. dave13

    dave13 Well-Known Member

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    just watching Tomorrow Never Dies, and was shocked to recognize a young, thin, and heavily accented Gerard Butler as one of the crewmembers of the doomed British ship!
     
  4. Demoni

    Demoni Active Member

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  5. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    What's your point exactly? That, in the absence of other reviews, we completely ignore this one because you're not personally enamored with the website? I posted it because a lot of us are starving for info while we wait for the set to arrive.

    Blu-ray.com has definitely posted some clunkers. But in general I still find it to be one of the more reliable review sites. Your mileage obviously varies, which is fine. But some others are probably interested in what they have to say about this set.
     
  6. dave13

    dave13 Well-Known Member

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    i wouldn't say my opinion of Tomorrow Never Dies has been completely changed after watching it last night, but I admit it's probably Brosnan's most polished film. It's very serious, very slick. The humour is pretty restrained, but i couldn't help but feel as it was progressing that it wasn't as exciting as I remember Goldeneye being (i'll have to see if that remains true after watching it again this time around). It has some great scenes, no doubt about it - the car chase in the parking garage is wonderful, and one of my personal favorite moments in the film is Brosnan's reaction when his BMW drives over the tire spikes and his tires reinflate. anyway, it's a great film, very well-put together - i think i'd place it higher on my (imaginary) list of bond's after watching it again.

    with regards to the score, i agree that it used a lot of the classical bond music (with a lot of 90's techno sounds layered into the background, though), and that was pretty great - although there was one glaring sound-editing error (?) when Bond is escaping from Carver's printing room about halfway through. He slides along on the trolly and rolls through a shipping door to escape the building. as he's doing it, the classic bond theme is playing and at one point, to extend the music a few seconds more, it repeats a section. i thought it was really jarring, and sounded almost like a CD skipping. i mean seriously, if you want the theme to be a few seconds longer, can't you do a better job than that? you couldn't rerecord it? kind of sloppy, i thought, and very out of character for the film, which is anything but sloppy.
     
  7. dave13

    dave13 Well-Known Member

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    having just watched GoldenEye, I can say that you are completely right about the soundtrack. Eric Serra did a horrible, horrible job. Its so overdone, with hollow synthesized drum beats strewn about. The car chase scene at the beginning was especially bad. It sounded like the music from a bad video game. Every now and then the classic bond theme is heard, such as in the tank chase. But its never sustained, which ends up making the scenes feel frustrating. You keep waiting for the score to kick into gear, and about 5 different times it sounds like its about to, but then it always reverts back to that awful hollow sounding synth score again. I now see exactly what you mean about the Tomorrow Never Dies score being much more Barry-like. When I watched it I wasn't too sure, but now having just seen GoldenEye again, I completely get it.

    I still liked GoldenEye, but not nearly as much as I remembered.

    just wanted to comment on what I said here earlier. After listening to the commentary, I found out that David Arnold had to create the score before the film was actually complete. I'm not sure how this worked exactly, but it explains why you might have a piece of music that didn't line up exactly with the action on screen.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2012
  8. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    That car chase music is indeed horrendous. It amazes me that so many people bash Conti's work in FYEO while Sera generally gets a pass.

    Unfortunately Arnold eventually went with the "Where's Waldo?" approach to the Bond theme too. And he took it to truly unfortunate extremes in QoS. A few lines of Barry here and there in completely un-Bondian arrangements don't get it done. Not for me anyway.

    I think it's interesting that so many modern composers are opting to favor their own original stuff over iconic, timeless music that's proven itself over the years. Barry's (I still don't believe it's Monty Norman's!) Bond theme has survived all types of interpretations. And it's still the most rousing tune in Casino Royale or QoS. There's no reason not to use it in the action scenes. That music is one of the Bond series's most valuable assets.

    I sincerely believe that Barry's Bond and 007 themes are indestructible. I tend to gravitate to the classic Barry sound from the Connery days. But I enjoy Hamlisch's disco variations in TSWLM. I typically want to jump out of my seat when the opening ski scene starts. Conti's gun barrel theme for FYEO is one of my favorites too. It basically screams YOU'RE ABOUT TO SEE THE GREATEST F_______G ACTION MOVIE OF ALL-TIME! The movie doesn't deliver on quite that level obviously. But it's not the gun barrel's fault.

    It's really time for the return of the 007 theme (first heard in FRWL when Bond absconds with Tanya and the Lektor decoder) and the theme from OHMSS. The 007 theme hasn't appeared since the Amazon boat chase in Moonraker. And the OHMSS theme hasn't been used since it kicked all kinds of ass in the pre-credits sequence of AVTAK. I hope they dust off both of them for Skyfall.

    Speaking of which, I'm already holding IMAX tickets for Thursday, November 8. After I wrap up the October horrorthon it'll be all Bond all the time for a while. I really need to spend some time with the Blu-ray box.

    Here's one discouraging minor spoiler. The gun barrel will NOT appear at the beginning of Skyfall. Damn I'm getting sick of that. Fortunately the advance reviews are so good that I might get past it pretty quickly.
     
  9. crikan

    crikan Well-Known Member

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    Not everyone hates Sera's work in Goldeneye. I love it. I especially enjoy the car chase.

    FYEO is easily the worst Bond score.

    My favorite scores are OHMSS and The Living Daylights. I haven't ranked them, but I also greatly enjoy TND and TSWLM.

    I would like to see a return to the classic themes as long as the films have a more classic feel like in Casino Royale.

    That pisses me off. If they don't want to have the gun barrel, then make an action movie starring Daniel Craig that isn't a Bond movie.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2012
  10. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    We disagree on Sera. But we're 110% in agreement about the gun barrel. Eon had a good reason to withhold it in Casino Royale. But the ending of Casino clearly insinuated that Bond was fully formed. We know how that worked out. QoS did a complete about-face before offering another ending that suggested the familiar Bond was back. And now we're led led to believe that Bond still isn't Bond--but he is at the end of Skyfall?

    Enough's enough! The gun barrel and the Barry themes are cornerstones of this franchise that shouldn't be de-emphasized. Fortunately I have a feeling this will be the last Bond film without a proper opening gun barrel sequence. And if it's as good as the early reviews suggest I'll get over this.

    16 days 'til Skyfall in IMAX!
     
  11. dave13

    dave13 Well-Known Member

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    i'm really excited for skyfall, but that gun barrel news sucks. i just don't understand. do they think fans don't want it? i mean, come on. it's such a small thing, but it means a lot to the hundreds of millions of fans out there. stupid.
     
  12. Paff

    Paff Super Moderator

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    My guess is that they don't care. They know the hardcore Bond fans are going to show up anyway. And more importantly, that those fans are a minority. They're trying for a movie that will attract EVERYONE, not just the Bond fans. Thus, they're probably afraid of making it seem like you have to be familiar with the series to enjoy the movie, so they dump all the traditions. Sad, but true. Think about it. It's been 27 years since MOORE stepped down as Bond. Most of the desired demographic has only seen Brosnan and Craig in the role (theatrically, I mean), so going back to the 60s traditions is pretty damn low on their list.
     
  13. dave13

    dave13 Well-Known Member

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    you're probably right, Paff, but the idea that novice viewers would be put off by the gun barrel seems pretty extreme. I mean modern films don't have large animated musical numbers during the opening credits, but that's a tradition that hasn't been abandoned. The first two bond films I saw were Moonraker and For Your Eyes Only on VHS. What I thought was strange were the extended credits sequences, not the gun barrel scene. I can actually recall fast-forwarding through them because I thought they were boring. So if that is the reasoning of the producers/director, I think it's completely misguided.

    Speaking of traditions that have been abandoned, I've recently noticed how all of the bond films up until around the end of the Moore era incorporated the music from the main title theme into the score for the body of the film, but that the more recent films don't. I miss that, and I think it speaks to how appropriate the songs used for the themes may or may not be. I enjoy songs like You Know My Name and Die Another Day, but if they can't be woven into the score for the body of the film, perhaps they're not right as bond theme songs. Skyfall by Adele seems like a return to form, although I'm not very optimistic about the possibility of hearing it incorporated into the main score.

    If I'm wrong about this, and if the title themes from any recent films (i.e. within the last 20 years) have been incorporated, please let me know.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  14. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    Excellent point. Almost all of the golden age scores made great use of the title themes as incidental music. Even non-Barry outings like LALD, TSWLM, and FYEO used this technique very effectively. Casino Royale did it to a lesser degree. I don't recall any other recent examples.

    Suitability is definitely a key factor. And I agree completely that songs that don't fit into the bigger picture shouldn't be considered. It's clear that a lot of effort was put into the theme songs early in the series. Thunderball is a great example. Apparently multiple artists attempted Barry's "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" before it was scrapped, forcing Barry to hastily pen "Thunderball." I've even seen some stories that claim a Johnny Cash tune called "Thunderball" was rejected somewhere in that window.

    Most important of all, if you're going to build a soundtrack around a song it has to be good. And unfortunately, it's been a long time since there's been a particularly notable Bond theme song. Most of them seem to disappear without even making a ripple. The last I recall getting much radio airplay was A-Ha's "The Living Daylights." I think I heard Sheryl Crow's "Tomorrow Never Dies" on the radio once too. But that's a far cry from the days of smash singles like "Live And Let Die" or "Nobody Does It Better" getting saturation airplay.

    A legitimate hit song could potentially help ticket sales. I remember reading that lots of Duran Duran fans bought tickets to "A View To A Kill" and left after the opening credits. I think you could easily argue that the gradual degradation of theme song quality is a factor in the Bond series's loss of genuine EVENT MOVIE status. While still popular, Bond definitely isn't the phenom he once was.

    The new song at least seems like a stylistic step in the right direction. But I doubt it's going to be a smash. Eon should probably start working OT to produce a truly memorable theme as soon as they have a title for the next film. They've confirmed that pre-production is already underway.
     
  15. Kolpitz

    Kolpitz Purely and Simply Evil

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    I just got back from Skyfall, and it's easily the best film in the franchise since On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Sam Mendes is a Bond fanatic, and it shows, as the movie really plays like a love letter to '60s era Bond. It's serious without being morose, and it's fun without being silly. Daniel Craig haters will be happy to know that he's finally settled into the role comfortably, bringing the raw edge he displayed in his previous two outings but coupling it with a Connery-esque suave, cool sophistication (although I suspect that was more Mendes' direction). The "what the fuck is happening right now?" action of Quantum of Solace is replaced by smooth, fluid, exciting setpieces that are impeccably shot by the masterful Roger Deakins (this film is sumptuous to look at). Thomas Newman's score still isn't Barry-esque (but I don't honestly suspect that we'll ever see that again; times have changed), but it works really well within the context of the film. It's a little more traditional than I expected from Newman, but he manages to trickle in some of his touches while also using the theme song a bit more than in previous entries. If you're expecting wall-to-wall use of the theme, though, you'll be disappointed. As for the gun barrel, it is at the end and, truthfully, that's where it belongs. I think the gun barrel controversy has been blown way out of proportion anyway but, without spoiling anything, I'll just say that it works really well where it is.
     
  16. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for reporting. This all sounds tremendously encouraging. Like I said, I can live with the gun barrel if we get a great Bond film.
     
  17. crikan

    crikan Well-Known Member

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    Great stuff. I hope I feel the same way. I really appreciate that you were spoiler free. Time for me to "go dark". I'm not going to read or watch another thing about Skyfall until I see it.

    As for the gun barrel, I can deal with it being at the end as long as it makes sense. I hope they never get rid of it.
     
  18. dave13

    dave13 Well-Known Member

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    thats interesting, i didn't notice it the last time i watched casino royale. once again, i'll have to pay closer attention the next time i see it.

    also, nice to hear from kolpitz that the adelle theme is incorporated throughout the film. and that the gun barrel isn't so much missing, as it is moved around. i'm fine with that if, like crikan said, it's used in a way that makes sense.
     
  19. Kolpitz

    Kolpitz Purely and Simply Evil

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    Sorry for the confusion; I was talking about the James Bond theme. I don't remember hearing Adele's Skyfall theme at all in the score. I've also listened to the score album, and I don't recall it anywhere on that.
     
  20. dave13

    dave13 Well-Known Member

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    oh, ok. well, there you go. anyway, its still nice to hear that the bond theme is well-used.
     

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