1. James Bond Blu-ray Discs Reviewed

    By Devin Zydel on 2008-10-05

    It is now only a matter of days until James Bond fans will get the chance to experience high-definition 007 on the all-new Blu-ray discs of the films.

    'Dr. No'

    Dr. No

    As earlier reported on, the first wave of Bond Blu-ray discs, (Dr. No, From Russia With Love and Thunderball, Live and Let Die, For Your Eyes Only and Die Another Day), are due to be released in mid-October in the UK and US.

    The What Hi-Fi? blog has gotten ahold of the UK volume one collection (which features all six titles being released at this time) and has posted reviews of Sean Connery’s Dr. No and From Russia with Love.

    Being that these first two Bond films are each 40+years old, the key question is whether or not the Blu-ray treatment can significantly benefit them now.

    ‘These Blu-rays will look better than you’ve ever seen Bond–even in the cinema,’ said Mike Inchalik, chief operating officer at Lowry Digital, the company responsible for remastering and restoring the first 20 Bond films over the past two years for the 2006 release of the Ultimate Edition DVDs–and now once more for these Blu-ray discs.

    ‘We’ve gone right back to the camera negatives and original prints. There’s colour and detail no-one’s seen since the day they were shot: some of these films are 40 years old, but they look like they were shot yesterday.’

    He continues: ‘Blu-ray is a very discriminating format, so you have to make sure the films are up to it. Dr. No was a pretty low-budget movie, and it shows in places. There were lots of “gate-hairs”, scratches and problems with principle photography that we had to take out.’

    But working on the more recent 007 titles wasn’t necessarily a walk in the park either. ‘More money meant more effects and faster edits,’ said Inchalik, ‘which mean more restoration work for us: every time you cut into the film negative it can make the image look softer, or introduce “noise”.’

    So do the new Blu-ray Bond discs actually look that good?

    From Russia With Love cover art

    From Russia With Love cover art

    ‘Oh yes–and some!’ according to the What Hi-Fi? review.

    Despite a few grainy bits here and there, Dr. No ‘seemed like a whole new film, brimming with life and oozing early-sixties retro appeal–thanks to the details on everything from cars to clothing to make-up that are suddenly apparent.’

    Similar words of praise followed for From Russia with Love: ‘it wasn’t too long before the high-definition glory impressed: the sights and sounds of 1960s Istanbul; the nuances of expression you hadn’t picked up before; even the product placement (yes, it was even going on back then!) seems more obvious because you can easily pick out the brands.’

    Click below to pre-order the James Bond Blu-ray discs…

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