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The set, which marks the first time the first 22 movies will be available on Blu-ray, begins with "Dr. No" (1962) and ends with "Quantum of Solace," (2008) and also includes more than 130 hours of bonus features.
For more about Bond 50 and the Bond 50 Blu-ray release, see Bond 50 Blu-ray Review published by Casey Broadwater on September 26, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 5.0 out of 5.
Starring: Desmond Llewelyn, Lois Maxwell, Bernard Lee, Roger Moore, Sean Connery, Judi Dench
Directors: John Glen, Guy Hamilton, Terence Young, Lewis Gilbert, Martin Campbell, Lee Tamahori
This Blu-ray bundle includes the following titles, see individual titles for specs and details:
Bond 50 Blu-ray Review
From MGM with Love
Reviewed by Casey Broadwater, September 26, 2012
The gadgets. The guns. The girls. The exotic locales and sexy cars. The white-knuckle action sequences. The suave flirting and cheeky double entendres. He's been played by six actors—Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig—but there's only one Bond, James Bond. Every man wants to be him, and every woman wants to be with him. (Some men too, I'm sure.) He's the epitome of super-spy cool, and for fifty years now—fifty years!—he's been an indelible part of our pop-culture consciousness. In terms of universal recognition, Bond is right up there with Mickey Mouse and Darth Vader and Superman. Everyone knows his name, knows he likes his martinis "shaken, not stirred," and knows his favorite pistol is the compact Walther PPK. You're probably even humming or whistling the iconic 007 theme song to yourself right now, and if you aren't, I guarantee it'll worm its way into your brain sometime in the next five minutes. Instantly, more like. Admit it, it's playing on a loop in your head right now. Bond isn't just a franchise, it's a revered institution. Yes, there have been a few duds along the way, but over the span of twenty-two films—soon to be twenty-three, with the upcoming Skyfall—the series has defined the international espionage sub- genre, all the while reflecting the cultural and political changes of its times. Sure, in one sense, these are just action movies—popcorn entertainments—but for their fans, these films are the height of cinematic escapism.
If you're one of them, this is the week you've been waiting for, although I kind of feel bad for you if you've purchased the thirteen Bond films MGM has previously put out on Blu-ray. This new Bond 50 set is a complete collection—and, at $150, a great deal—that includes every 007 movie from Dr. No to Quantum of Solace. (Minus the independently produced Never Say Never Again.) It even has an empty disc slot "reserved for Skyfall." Instead of a massive write-up summarizing and critiquing each film in the series and their A/V presentations, below you'll find links to our reviews of the previously released titles— the audio and high definition transfers haven't changed—and you can expect comprehensive reviews of the nine remaining movies to pop up on the site over the next two weeks. If you have been buying the Bond films individually, you should be able to find these nine new-to-Blu titles as standalone releases on October 2nd, split three apiece to big box retailers as timed exclusives. Walmart gets GoldenEye, Octopussy, and Diamonds are Forever, Best Buy will have On Her Majesty's Secret Service, The Spy Who Loved Me, and You Only Live Twice, and Target gets A View to a Kill, The Living Daylights, and Tomorrow Never Dies.
Without further ado, let's take a look at exactly what's included in this massive, 23-disc set:
Bond 50 Blu-ray, Video Quality
We'll have comprehensive reviews of the new-to-Blu-ray titles up shortly, but for now, after spot-checking all nine, I can at least happily report that—for the most part—they look fantastic, along the same lines quality-wise as the previously released films. Clarity is much improved, color accurate, and there are no wanton compression or encode issues. Some of you may have gotten wind that GoldenEye has been given a heavy digital noise reduction scrubbing, and yes, you will be able to see some fairly egregious DNR at times, though it's rarely taken to that gross, waxy-face look. (It's no Predator reissue, if that's what you're wondering.) Just skipping through the chapters, I spotted a few instances of characteristic "frozen grain" in some of the other titles as well—a bit in The Living Daylights, some slight softening in Diamonds Are Forever—but I'm honestly not too hung up on it. From what I've seen so far, the films appearing in high definition for the first time here are much sharper and more detailed than their corresponding DVD editions. And minus GoldenEye—where the noise reduction is visible from a distance—what little DNR is present in the other titles simply isn't noticeable once you get more than two or three feet from your screen. I'm really pleased with how these films have turned out.
Bond 50 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The nine new releases in the set each feature a remastered lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track, along with the usual assortment of dubs and subtitles. (See links to individual titles for details.) Like the picture quality, the audio seems to be in line with what we've what we've heard from the previously released films, with effects, ambience, and music satisfyingly expanded into the surround channels. Look out for full audio reviews in the days ahead, but buy with confidence—taking into account their respective ages, these films all sound great.
Bond 50 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
You'll be glad to hear that nearly all of the bonus content from the previously released DVDs and Blu-rays has been ported over here. (See individual titles for details; with the exception of Casino Royale, the discs in the box set are the same as the individual releases.) In total, it amounts to over 120 hours of audio commentary, behind-the-scenes featurettes, retrospective documentaries, and in-depth interviews. Enough, that is, to keep you occupied for several straight days on the off-chance that you embark on some freakishly epic week-of-nothing-but-Bond marathon. Good luck with that.
Missing in action is some of the "Mission Control" DVD material—which, honestly, didn't amount to much anyway—and the Inside: Die Another Day documentary by Charles de Lauzirika. Additionally, the Casino Royale disc included here mixes material from the original Blu-ray and the 2008 re-release. Included are Deleted Scenes, The Road to Casino Royale, Ian Fleming's Incredible Creation, James Bond in the Bahamas, Ian Fleming: Secret Road to Paradise, Death in Venice, Becoming Bond, James Bond for Real, and Chris Cornell Music Video. Unfortunately, we lose the forty-minute Bond Girls Are Forever and four featurettes—Chasing A Plane: From Storyboard to Screen, The Art of the Freerun, Storyboard Sequence: Freerun Chase, and Filmmaker Profiles.
The set also contains an exclusive bonus disc, but there's not much of substance on it:
A Note on the Packaging: MGM certainly can't please everyone, but I personally think this is a rather classy-looking box set, and sturdy too. Inside the thick, glossy cardboard slipcover are two "books," labeled 1962-1981 and 1983-2012, that are very similar in construction to the one used for the Alien Anthology set. The pages on the left feature promo images and stills, while the right pages house two discs each, which slide in and out—with a little difficulty—of scalloped slits. The cardboard under the discs has been coated with some kind of smooth plastic, so I wouldn't worry about scratches. It's a well-built set, and it looks good on a shelf.
Bond 50 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
If you're a James Bond fanatic—and you haven't already purchased the thirteen previously available films—the Bond 50 box set is a must-buy release. Fifty years of franchise history is here, complete with 120-odd hours of bonus material. Considering the wealth of content you're getting, and the satisfaction of seeing these iconic films anew in high definition, the current $150 asking price is nothing. The movies do look fantastic—minus the unfortunately DNR'd GoldenEye—and the sleek, sturdy box they arrive in is quite a looker too. I have a feeling MGM will be selling lots of these during the holidays, but if you're buying for yourself, don't wait; that price—unlike diamonds—may not last forever. Highly recommended!
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Bond 50 Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Amazon Blu-ray Deal of the Week: Bond 50 (Expired) - February 10, 2013
Amazon's Blu-ray Deal of the Week affects MGM Home Entertainment's Bond 50 collection. Through February 16th, Amazon is offering this package for 57% off its standard MSRP. The deal expires at 12 AM PST/3 AM EST next Sunday, February 17th.
• Bond 50 Becomes Bestselling Blu-ray Box Set of 2012 - December 13, 2012
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment announced today that Bond 50 is the bestselling Blu-ray box set of 2012 with projected worldwide sales totaling $50 million in consumer spending to date. The unprecedented 23-disc ...
• Bond 50 for $99.99, Amazon Gold Box Deal of the Day (Sold Out) - November 24, 2012
Today's Amazon's Blu-ray Gold Box Deal of the Day is the popular $299.99 MSRP Bond 50 box set for only $99.99. This collection bundles together the twenty two films made through the 50 years of EON Productions/MGM's James Bond franchise, from 1962 till 2008 ...
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