GoldenEye - Bond 50 Box Set Blu-ray Review
The disc presents a theatrically correct widescreen 2.35:1 1080p transfer using the AVC MPEG4 codec and is Region free.
What a shame, after such wonderful restorations have been applied to most of the films in this set, GoldenEye suffers from one of the most disappointing, and it's immediately apparent right from the very first scene and can be summed up in two phrases: contrast boosting and DNR. However, it's not a total loss and there is plenty that is praiseworthy. For a start there is a tremendous amount of detail on show from the brickwork of the dam to foliage in the jungle. Skin texture is well seen, especially in close up where facial hair, pores and watery eyes are well defined, the DNR rarely ‘waxing’ skin features as it has a wont to do at its most heavy handed.
Colours are well realised and fittingly bold with all the primaries being strong with no wash or bleed. The blues of the skies are deep, while greens are, for the most part, suitably lush and reds maintain a good vibrancy.
Brightness is well maintained, but contrast has had a slight push, meaning that blacks are ‘artificially’ darker then they ought which, while it does not crush and maintains a deal of shadow detail, is certainly ‘crisper’ than previous incarnations. But it is the white that is the most noticeable with the occasional area becoming clipped and robbing the picture of some finite detail. Check out the very first shot of the plane flying over the dam, see what a white blob it looks like.
So most of the time the picture looks pretty good, but there is no denying the digital manipulation that it has suffered, while the picture is well detailed but there is finite detail that is missing, the grain structure has been all but removed and to push the detail forward there are hints of edge enhancement, certainly not over used, but nevertheless visible in places. Digitally there are no compression problems, smearing is all but absent, there are no banding issues and jaggies are held in check ok. So whilst the picture is good, because the rest of the set is far better, Goldeneye just stands out and as such my mark reflects this. A real shame.
I concentrate on the English dts-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. Thankfully there are no such issues with the surround track which is typically bombastic and full of the stuff that makes an action track sing. Surround steerage is very well realised and you really are in the centre of the action, simple effects such as plane flybys, car drivebys or other actions that appear just off camera have their sound dominating the corresponding speaker. Surrounds are used to add to the ambience of a scene as well as fill out action scenes, gun shots ring out and explosions fill the room, while the debris for said explosions fall all around. Bass is well handled adding much weight to gun shots and explosions, though it seldom plumbs the depths that the very best do and while LF effects are commonplace there are rarely any deep rumbles that will rock the foundations. High treble is also well mixed, listen to the tinkle of spent shell casings or ricocheting sparks. Dialogue is crisp and clear, sound perfectly natural, given directionality when needed and is never in any danger of being drowned out in the mix. The score makes full use of the dynamic range and again utilises all the speakers to provide a sumptuous surround experience. Missing reference by a whisker, the track gets a very high eight from me.
- Audio Commentary – With director Martin Campbell and producer Michael G Wilson, typically informative with plenty of information; this, like all the extras on this disc was previously available on the Ultimate DVD release of a few years ago.
Declassified : MI6 Vault
- Deleted Scenes – Four scenes each with an introduction from Campbell
- The Martin Chronicles – Ten minutes of behind the scenes footage of the making of the film, quite candid in places and contains interviews with other cast and crew.
- Building a Better Bond : Pre-production Featurette – Ten minute feature to promote the new sudio built especially for the project.
- The Return of Bond : The Start of Production Press Event – Exactly what the title says.
- Driven to Bond: Remy Julienne – Three minutes looking at the opening car chase.
- Anatomy of a Stunt : Tank Vs Perrier – Six minutes of further product placement.
- Making It Small in Pictures : Derek Meddings – All too short tribute to the model maker to whom this film is dedicated.
- On Location with Peter Lamont – Behind the scenes as locations are decided upon.
- Goldeneye: The Secret Files – A thirty minute making of that contains all the relevant information you’d normally expect from such a feature.
- Goldeneye: The Secret Files : The Cast – Further ten minutes that could have been included in the above feature, but pads out the extras list.
- Pre-title Storyboard Sequence – With introduction by Campbell.
- World of 007 – The forty minute 1995 TV documentary hosted by Liz Hurley looking at the franchise up until that point.
- The Goldeneye Video Journal – Another fifteen minute making of feature.
- Promotional Featurette – A, ummm, promotional featurette.
- Goldeneye Music Video – By Tina Turner.
- Exotic Locations – Looks at the various exotic locations.
Ministry of Propaganda
- Theatrical and TV Trailers
GoldenEye hit the screens in 1995, after the fall of Soviet Russia and after a six year hiatus while the franchise sat in litigation hell. During that time, Dalton passed the Bond baton to Brosnan, who, by this time, was eager for the role and took it to, perhaps, it’s filmic high up until that point with a near perfect balance of all the previous incarnations. Unfortunately the film itself hasn’t aged all that well. At the time it was great to have Bond back, the action was high, the girls were hot and the spectacle was wild. But several near fatal flaws crept in, the biggest of which was the music - which was quite simply inappropriate for a Bond film. That and BMW. However, the story was quite tight, and felt quite personal containing themes of revenge, power and grand thievery with a suitably dastardly plot to ruin London and bring about a world economic disaster (all they had to do was use America’s banking system ...) Casting for the main parts was sublime with Judi Dench taking on the mantle of M which was a high point, especially in this ‘reboot’ as it dealt head on with the ‘old style’ of Bond seen as a potential loss maker in this ever changing world. So whilst there is much to praise and the makers were heading in a terrific new direction, as a film I find the whole project lacking in that sparkle that makes a Bond film ‘Great’. Perhaps not ‘Golden’Eye, more Bronze, or Zinc.
As a Blu-ray in the Bond 50 set the disc is, for the most part, pretty good – it contains the same wealth of extras that adorned the Ultimate Edition DVD’s, it has terrific sound, but is, unfortunately, let down but a digitally manipulated picture, that whilst it contains plenty of detail and colour, also shows signs of DNR and contrast boosting.
Bond has been served well by a phenomenal boxset timed to coincide with the arrival of Skyfall and the 50th anniversary of the franchise. GoldenEye forms part of the set along with the other twenty two films in the series, the majority of which look and sound terrific, contain a wealth of extra material as well as a separate and new disc full of extra features examining our favourite super spy. It comes with the highest recommendation.
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