One of the best Bond films of the last 30 years, "NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN," has been released on blu-ray by FOX. Sean Connery, arguably the best Bond of them all, returns in what's actually a version of "THUNDERBALL," that had never been filmed. Of course, there are many major similarities between "THUNDERBALL" and "NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN," besides SPECTRE, the theft of nuclear warheads and more. But, in comparison, "NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN" is a much better film! Of course, some of the blue-screen effects in "NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN" appear more hokey than they did in the original film, but there's simply more charm in the newer film. Connery's attempt to retain his throne from the other actors who've assumed this role is never missed upon the viewer or the actor, and he readily assumes the role, proving he's always been the best at it.
Throw in a decent performance by Klaus Maria Brandauer, the young, beautiful Kim Basinger and strikingly exotic Barbra Carrera and there's more than enough here to captivate the viewer and make him/her return to this title again and again. It's a lot of fun, in the way Bonds have rarely managed to be since this release in 1983.
FOX has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 blu-ray. While it's not as strikingly beautiful as most the other Bond films previously released on blu-ray, it's better looking than it's ever been, outside of a theater, and it's better looking than many catalogue blu-ray titles being released by other studios. The main problem with the transfer is the lack of restoration. There are glaring scratches and other signs of wear and tear, that keep popping up. Grain varies from mild to excessive, particularly in effects sequences. Still, detail is consistently impressive and the image is seldom flat. Contrast is above average. While blacks aren't inky, darker scenes still display a solid degree of depth.
FOX has provided a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. The remix is outstanding. While it hasn't been artificially pushed, creating a false, excessively immersive environment, surrounds are prominent when they need to be and the dynamic range is superior to previous dvd and laserdisc releases. Dialogue is center channel focused, but music and bass are spread out effectively throughout.
There are some fun extras here, the best of which features a Bond historian and director Irvin Kershner. The three featurettes and a trailer are worthwhile.