MGM/FOX has released 6 James Bond films on blu-ray, available individually, or within two separate volumes. "VOLUME 2" includes:
"FOR YOUR EYES ONLY," "FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE," and "THUNDERBALL." All of these films have been encoded with 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 over BD50 dual layer discs.
"FOR YOUR EYES ONLY" has a hurtle to get over with the casting of "ICE CASTLES" star Lynn- Holly Johnson. While she can be cute at times, she just can't rise to the level of being believable as a "Bond Girl," and that isn't a lofty bar to reach, either! She's just too immature and chronically young for her crush on James to not feel uncomfortable, even though he never lowers himself to be tempted by her affections. Another problem, mostly due to the superior resolution, rear screen projection effects call too much attention to themself, diminishing the film's atmosphere at times. Other than those two problems, the film is great fun, and stands out as one of the best of the Bond films to star Roger Moore in the lead. To begin with, Bond veteran director, John Glen, does some of his best work here. A particular sequence, revealing the motivations behind the character played by Caroline Boquet, is absolutely breathtaking! As with all Bond films, there are plenty of impressive stunts, and while these occur in all types of locations, a ski chase sequence stands out amongst the best of any chase sequence in the series.
MGM/FOX has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for this release. Colors are solid, although restrained in comparison to most of the later films of the series. Grain visible on the recent dvd release, is completely gone now, and the result is an image that is alternately slick and soft, depending on the given scene. Some scenes offer stunning depth and others fall flat. Still, this is the best "FOR YOUR EYES ONLY" has ever looked outside of a theater.
"FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE" may not please those newer("younger")viewers to the James Bond series, expecting lots of action, but it's a great Bond film, all the same, and one can't dismiss any Bond starring Sean Connery, anyway! Early on, Connery assumes the role of the suave secret agent, hooking up with several women, all beautiful, while the clever story unfolds, filled with twists that still hold up today. Well, perhaps some of the gadgetry, including his "specially equipped briefcase" may feel dated, but there's enough action and surprises to please most viewers all the way through. The supporting cast is terrific, and it's great fun to see Robert Shaw(pre-"Jaws") as a nemesis.
MGM/FOX has provided the correct 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Colors are perfectly saturated, and the blacks are inky, providing stunning contrast throughout. Detail is also amazing, especially for a film this old! Scene after scene offers the kind of "jump-off-the-screen" depth one expects on newer blu-ray releases! GREAT JOB!!!
MGM/FOX has provided a DTS-HD master Audio 5.1 mix, along with the option of the original mono mix for purists. As should be expected for a film this old, surrounds are subdued, although the remix offers occasional ambient/discrete effects that compliment rather than detract from the film's atmosphere, unlike the inferior "CHASE SURROUND SYSTEM" which used to plague remixes on many FOX laserdiscs(remember those?)from the '90s. While "FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE" doesn't offer a mix that will energize listeners, it offers impressive fidelity and the score is great and boosted with the superior dynamic range available through lossless technology.
"THUNDERBALL" is a favorite of most Bond/Connery fans, and it's easy to understand why, for the most part. Right away, Bond kills someone, and beautiful girls are all over the place. The gadgetry was impressive at the time of its release, and even today, the jet pack Bond uses to escape from harm's way still provides great entertainment. The film's large budget is evident throughout, and the production design is elaborate. While the film does falter at times, it's almost entirely due to far too long underwater footage sequences. Given the limitations(pre-"Abyss") of the time period in which "THUNDERBALL" was filmed, these scenes just couldn't be choreographed with the freedom to provide gripping suspense, no matter the time spent in the editing room. Still, the rest of the film moves along at a steady pace, and when "THUNDERBALL" gets above water, it's great! Color levels are often amazing, pushed to the limits, without any oversaturation. Even the less impressive underwater footage looks amazing when compared to the most recent dvd presentation of the film. While these underwater scenes still suffer from varying degrees of softness, the enhanced resolution is always impressive. Grain has been cleaned up over previous dvd versions with amazing results, and although there are portions of "THUNDERBALL" wherein the image falls flat, there are more than enough scenes with the "jump-off-the-screen" effect to make anyone happy to add and show off this title as part of their blu-ray collection.
The DTS-HD master Audio 5.1 mix offers some impressive discrete effects, but surrounds can feel gimmicky at times. The score is where the lossless benefits are demonstrated the most, and it's perfectly balanced with front separation effects and dialogue, for a clean, polished listening experience.
All of the films offer the same extras found on the most recent dvd offerings of the films, along with some new features! While some may find the running time of "THUNDERBALL" to be too long, no one will be disappointed with what are literally "hours and hours" of extras provided for the three films mentioned above. Along with at least one great commentary for each film, there are loads of documentaries, featurettes and much, much more!!!! Our suggestion: RUN AND GRAB THESE COLLECTIONS, SO MGM/FOX will feel compelled to get the rest of the series out soon!