Tomorrow Never Dies - 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.
After the disaster of GoldenEye it is pleasing to report that the transfer for TND is far superior displaying none of the digital manipulation that so plagued that earlier title. Detail is very good from close up skin texture to far distant landscapes. Clothing has clear weaves while computer displays are easily identifiable and buildings, be they the brickwork of Germany or the ramshackle wood of ‘Saigon’, are clear and defined; indeed the crowded streets in the latter location showcases some excellent detail between the people, object, roads and foliage.
Colours are well realised with the primaries coming off very well, reds are bold, blues are clean and greens are lush, without any fade of bleed. Even the rather drab colours scheme in Germany shows some bold choices, but it is in the various labs, be it MI6, or Carvers headquarters where the colours really shine: with all the primaries giving a vibrancy to the picture.
Contrast and brightness are set to give well meaning blacks that still contain shadow detail, look to the stealth ship raid to see the best examples, while maintaining good depth into the picture. Little actual 3D pop but certainly clean lines and a punchy picture.
Digitally there is little to complain about, no compression problems, no edge enhancement and only very slight banding in some of darker scenes. Grain is kept to a slight minimum meaning there is still an organic nature to the film that has not been wiped away with excessive DNR. One the whole a very pleasing picture.
I concentrate in the English dts-HD Master Audio 5.1track. Much like the picture there is little to complain about with this offering being as it is well engineered, steered and contains plenty of bass. The surround ‘envelope’ is well maintained with all speakers contributing, this is especially true of effects, the car park car chase is a prime example with numerous engine, tire, gun and explosion effects being pushed around the room to place you very centrally in the action; though quieter moments are still chock full of ambience; the launch party of Cavers satellite of the bustling streets of Saigon for example. Dialogue is always clear and precise and mainly contained within the frontal array. Bass is well realised and used to fill out the score, effects and the numerous gun shots and explosions with some very satisfying LF effects to keep the neighbours awake. The score, itself, utilises all the speakers to, again, place you in the centre of the action. Plenty to give your system a good work out but remaining just this side of reference.
- Audio Commentary – Actually two commentaries, the first featuring Roger Spottiswoode and Dan Petrie Jr and the second Vic Armstrong and Michael G Wilson.
- Isolated Music Track – GolenEye’s music faux pas was so large that this film benefits with an all Bond score that can be listen to in isolation!
Declassified: MI6 Vault
- Deleted And Extended Scenes (introduced by Director Roger Spottiswoode) – Nine in total.
- Extended Angles (introduced by Director Roger Spottiswoode) – Two this time.
- Highly Classified: The World of 007 – Hour long feature that includes interviews of the major cast and crew as well as behind the scenes material and movie clips.
- 'The James Bond Theme' (Moby's Remix) – Dear god, no.
- The Secrets Of 007 – forty minute feature on Bond.
- Storyboard Presentations – Nine in total.
- Special FX Reel – Three minutes of behind the scenes footage.
- Interview With David Arnold – Just two and a half minutes to discuss the score.
- Tomorrow Never Dies music video - By Sheryl Crow
- Exotic Locations – Again.
Ministry of Propaganda
- Theatrical trailers
After the huge financial success of GoldenEye, MGM wanted to capitalise and promote itself by using its flagship series as a flag before its stock offering in 1997. This meant a huge production rush, one of the quickest in the franchise which resulted in some flaws creeping in – a poorly envisaged villain, poorly developed Bond Girls, and a poor end goal – but, learning from the mistakes made on the previous film, the makers ramped up the ‘Bond-ness’, overhauled the music and produced a film that was more ‘Bond’ than anything that had been produced in the last few years. Brosnan again takes on the mantle and even though he doesn’t do anything new, still manages to come out on top. The story of a media baron trying to instigate a war to obtain exclusive news rights in China is pure hokum, the main villain of the piece, Elliot Carver, is nowhere near slimy enough as portrayed by nice guy Jonathan Pryce, the girls (Teri Hatcher and Michele Yeoh) are window dressing and largely wasted (particularly Yeoh) and the gadgets are wild but great fun (ignoring the fact of BMW) – BUT the whole film plays out as the very best that the Bond franchise can offer; Bond is against near insurmountable odds alongside a globetrotting backdrop filled with guns, gadgets and girls – the music is Bond through and through and it is an incredibly enjoyable experience despite the nonsense of it all. The tone is far lighter than the preceding two films and marks the direction the franchise wanted to take and marks a higher point before things started to go too far in the wrong direction.
As a Blu-ray in the Bond 50 set the disc is very good; the picture is clean, bright and detailed, the surround track is absorbing and engaging and it is adorned with the same wealth of extras that filled the Ultimate DVD.
Bond has been served well by a phenomenal boxset timed to coincide with the arrival of Skyfall and the 50th anniversary of the franchise. Tomorrow Never Dies forms part of the set along with the other twenty one 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.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £119.99
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