Casino Royale BRAY Cover Art
SRP $38.95 2.35:1 Dolby TrueHD 5.1 SONY

SONY has released a "special edition" version of "CASINO ROYALE" to compliment the upcoming theatrical release of the newest "Bond" film, "QUANTUM OF SOLACE."  For those already owning the previous blu-ray of "CASINO ROYALE," if not interested in the added special features, there's no real essential reason to get it. But, for all those without that version, this blu-ray has a lot to offer.

The film itself offers a lot of fun, at least for its first two thirds. Unfortunately, even after a great opening sequence and many more to follow, there are so many points where the film could just end semi-neatly, but, instead, is jump-started, that it will annoy others. This reviewer found the last 15 minutes excruciating! However, Daniel Craig is terrific assuming the new mantle and "CASINO ROYALE" has many more innovative scenes than tired ones.

SONY has provided the same transfer and mix found on the previous release.  The correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio is presented in this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 blu-ray release.  Colors are vibrant, and compliment the exotic locales with plenty of jump-off-the-screen depth. Contrast is impressive, providing deep blacks and grays, allowing for stunning detail, even in darker moments.  While near reference quality, it's not perfect. There are problems with fleshtones in spots and oversaturation of colors stands out at times, as well.

SONY has provided a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix, differentiating this aspect from the PCM mix found on the previous blu-ray release. Both mixes in comparison, are pretty darned close in terms of perfection.  Some may prefer the slightly deeper bass of the PCM mix found on the previous version, but other than that, they appear the same. Discrete effects, panning effects and the more subtle ambient effects are often dazzling.  One expects "BOND" films to offer sound effects that provide an immersive presence to compliment the visual effects and action on-screen, and this mix does that with gusto. It's one of the best soundmixes of any blu-ray available.

SONY has provided substantial extras for this "Collector's Edition."  Although it's disappointing to not have Daniel Craig on the provided commentary, it's still an entertaining and insightful one. Any fan of the film will feel they know virtually everything about the film's production upon listening to it.

Picture in Picture options(HD) are provided along with a James Bond Trivia quiz. Trailers and deleted scenes are in full HD. Only two featurettes are in standard resolution, while five others are in full HD. The best, "THE ROAD TO CASINO ROYALE," explores the genesis of the Bond character from the first Ian Fleming story all the way to this one, runs nearly 30 minutes long, and leaves the viewer satisfied, but sad to see it end! If not owning the previous blu-ray version, GRAB THIS!