Live And Let Die Blu-ray Review
PictureCorrectly framed at 1.85:1 and encoded at 1080P using the MPEG4 system, like the other Blu-ray discs in this series, the picture quality on this particular film has probably never looked better.
From the opening scene on the United Nations building in 1972, the picture is solid and oozes detail.
The buildings in the New York skyline are sharp and clear and free from any edge enhancement. The blue sky in the background is just that - blue - with none of the horrible digital artefacts that were visible on the pre-ultimate edition SD DVD.
There is a major problem however - flesh tones. They are not consistent enough for my liking - something that has unfortunately been brought over from the Ultimate SD DVD. In one scene they may appear perfect - in the next they will display a horrible red tinge. It's not my equipment as it doesn't happen on other discs in my collection - and I recently reviewed Dr No, which I commended for it's accurate and stable flesh tones.
Black levels are in a class above that disc though. Here they are ink like in their appearance - and this helps the shadow detail in the dark scenes. It's there in abundance.
The picture quality on this disc is a big step up from the Ultimate DVD released a few years ago but still isn't perfect. The amount of detail that's on show in some scenes though wins the day for me at times, it's like watching the film for the first time.
SoundComing alongside the original mono soundtrack is a rather good lossless track in the form of a DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 offering.
I chose that latter of the two and went to the scene that I thought would probably benefit form the addition of the hi res audio - the boat chase. And benefit it does - though it still isn't what you would call demo material.
Separation is spot on along the front three channels with dialogue amongst the carnage centred firmly to the centre channel. The score gets louder of course as the action gets more intense - but not once does the soundstage become muddled or clogged up.
There is, however, a distinct lack of action in the rear channels - and the LFE channel only bursts into life sporadically throughout the film despite the numerous explosions.
The volume is about right as I was able to play this at reference level whilst the neighbours were out - and it didn't need turning down. Indeed at reference level, during dialogue only scenes, the voices were no louder than two people having a conversation in my home cinema - terribly rude I know - but spot on.
All in all then, this is definitely a cut above what we have had available before and like the picture quality, makes this Blu-ray disc a worthwhile purchase.
ExtrasAs with all of these Bond Blu-ray discs, all of the extras are direct ports from the Ultimate edition SD DVD's released a few years ago - with the added benefit of one or two of them being mastered in High Definition.
As with those DVD's however, the menus can, at times, be a real pain to navigate...
Three Commentaries are what kick the extras package off - yep, you read that right - THREE!
Out of those, the first one is probably the most informative. Introduced by John Corker from the Ian Fleming Foundation, it features interviews from the majority of the cast and crew that were recorded either whilst filming was taking place or have been made since. It never really lets up and is full to the brim with information on the film.
The second commentary features screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz on his own - and is the least interesting of the three. It's a scene by scene type commentary and covers mainly different versions of the script and how scenes changed as filming went on.
But the best commentary of the three features Sir Roger Moore on his own. It's another scene by scene job and you can almost hears the gears in his brain whirring as he tries his best to recollect how a particular scene was put together. Strangely though, he seems to remember all of the girls names straight away - some men have all the luck, eh?
The Declassified MI6 Vault contains a few hidden gems, the first of which is:
Bond 1973 - The Lost Documentary(SD 20.46) and it goes to great lengths on how the producers chose Roger Moore for the part, the difficulties they had getting him into the roll - and in particular, director Guy Hamilton's reluctance to change anything to suit Moore...
Live And Let Die Conceptual Art is a series of drawings that finally ended up as the posters that advertised the film worldwide.
Roger Moore as James Bond circa 1964 is a black and white piece introduced by producer Michael Wilson. It shows Roger Moore playing James Bond in an American comedy TV show some eight years before he played the role for real. It does go to show off his perfect comedy timing though...
007 Mission Control is a complete waste of time. It enables you to navigate to certain scenes in the film - why not use the scene selection? Can't really be classed as an extra feature at all really...
Mission Dossier is where things start to get interesting again - and it kicks of with:
Inside Live And Let Die (HD 29.07) which is an excellent but all to short making of documentary narrated by Patrick Macnee.
On Set With Roger Moore is a short vignette involving the leading man in which he tells us how he got into shape to play the role and how he was taught to do the stunts.
Ministry Of Propaganda is a series of trailers used to promote the movie in cinemas, on TV and on the radio.
So - what actually looks like a holster full of extras is actually filled with padding. There are, however, some gems in there that only came to light when the Ultimate SD DVDs were released a few years back - have a listen to Sir Rogers commentary for starters - followed by the on set vignette and wonder in awe at how Daniel Craig really threw himself into the part...
VerdictAs usual here at the review centre, we are lucky enough to get a choice of what films we get to review each month. Being a Bond maniac, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this particular film - which was, up until recently, my favourite Roger Moore Bond film.
But, having spoken to another Bond loony who works (this is work?!?) here, I have now managed to see it for what it actually is - a rather weak attempt at trying to ease in the new man. I should have followed my instincts years ago and walked out of the cinema when Bond ran across those crocodiles...
However, as a Blu-ray package this surpasses the Ultimate edition DVD (which is identical in content) by the sheer quality of it's picture and clarity of it's sound. The extras are the same so - as with my Dr No review, I can't recommend that you buy the re-released SD version. That would be a total waste of money...waste you money on this version instead - I'm sure you'll find room on your shelf between the VHS version and the previous DVD single disc release - I did.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £21.69
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