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VINE VOICEon November 8, 2006
REVIEW: When you talk about something as iconic as James Bond there really isn't much to say that you as a film enthusiast don't already know. With the release of Casino Royale we finally see the definitive editions of the Bond films on DVD. Let me tell you right now that these sets are absolutely stunning, the treatment that the films got are worthy of their iconic status. The Bond films have thrilled generations from 1962 to 2006 and we all know Bond will return to thrill in the future.

Ian Fleming had no idea what he had on his hands when he wrote Casino Royale and introduced this mysterious super spy into the world of fiction. It's a shame that Fleming only survived long enough to witness the first two films in the franchise. The reason why the films have lasted as long as they have is because of the formula, which is discussed a bit on The World Is Not Enough DVD. There are certain elements to the Bond formula that audiences have come to expect. It's funny, because if any of these ingredients are used in any old action movie then that movie is labeled unoriginal and formulaic. However, with the Bond films it's a rule of thumb that certain ingredients have to be used: there has to be some sort of plot of world domination, a villain with some sort of unique physical characteristic, the girls (both good and bad), the car, the gadgets, the romance, the stunts, the locales, and of course that element of fantasy. Every Bond film has those ingredients, the only thing that stays the same between the films is the element of fantasy. Well, that still doesn't explain why the Bond films have continued to be successful, I mean what is the appeal? We have a protagonist that cannot die, an antagonist who must die, we know how the gadgets work before he uses them, and we all know Bond gets the girl and saves the world. Why does that appeal to people so much? I think it's because it's fantasy yet it seems extremely attainable and realistic. We want to believe that there is a man out there who is a spy, who travels around the world to foil terrorist plots, who gets all the women, and basically can escape from any situation no matter how grim it looks. No other action film has replicated what a Bond film can do even though there have been so many attempts.

The new DVD sets are what DVD sets should be. The "Ultimate Edition" label on them couldn't be more true in that these sets are the definitive Bond experience. Lowry Digital did a frame by frame restoration of every film and the result is absolutely spectacular. We also have brand new DTS 5.1 tracks for each film. Each film is also loaded with extras, an incredible amount of extras that will take you probably months to get through. The films are divided into 4 volumes with 5 movies in each set. The only downfall of the sets are that they are packaged and sold out of chronological order, which makes it irritating for collectors like myself who likes everything to be in order. Everybody is complaining and wondering why they released them like this, and it's really simple marketing here. If they were to sell the sets with films going chronological order then people who maybe only like Connery as Bond will only buy one volume. By spreading each Bond across all four sets then people are forced to buy all the sets. My question is why don't they just make one huge box set for the dedicated fans with all the movies set in order. They did that with the previous releases in the UK, and I think that die hard fans would go for a set like that. Anyway, despite the compilations of the volumes, these are amazing sets.

VOLUME 2:

Thunderball (1965): The one and only Bond film to win an Oscar (Best Visual Effects) takes Bond to the Bahamas where he tracks down SPECTRE's number-two man, Largo. The film has some incredible chases and of course the famous jetpack escape. Tom Jones delivers an incredible performance for the opening title song and sets up a classic Bond adventure with shark tanks and all.

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977): This was one of my favorite Bonds mostly because of the seemingly invincible Jaws, a Bond villain as iconic as Oddjob. Only in a Bond film can you have a villain who has steel jaws that can bite through metal and it all seems completely plausible. An incredible fight atop a cable car is one of the film's most memorable scenes.

A View To A Kill (1985): Roger Moore's last film in the series is a memorable one, mostly because of Christopher Walken's portrayal of Max Zorin. You also have the incredible and climactic action scene atop the Golden Gate Bridge including a giant blimp. The only thing about the movie that I didn't like was the character of May Day who is just bizarre looking and doesn't look like a femme fatale at all, although she does lead Bond up an exciting climb up the Eiffel Tower.

License To Kill (1989): The first Bond film to achieve a PG-13 rating is a bit different than Dalton's first outing as Bond. I found the truck chase at the end to be really well done, but overall the movie just didn't cry out Bond to me. I mean, Bond is basically a rogue agent in this movie and that just doesn't seem to fit the character. Robert Davi creates a deliciously evil drug lord, except instead of a cat he has an iguana. You'll recognize a really young Benicio Del Toro as a disposable henchman.

Die Another Day (2002): The 20th official Bond film would also be Pierce Brosnan's last, a descision to this day that has a few people scratching their heads. While Daniel Craig looks to make a good bond, it was Brosnan who embodied the new age Bond, but apparently he wasn't hip enough. Die Another Day was directed by Lee Tamahori, a choice I still question since he went on to direct xXx: State Of The Union right after this. In this film Bond battles a Chinese guy who gets a race change and turns into a British guy, who wants to be all powerful, who lives in an ice palace. Yeah, so the film is a bit overstretched, but there are some great scenes that make it worthwhile. The hovercraft chase at the beginning will give your home theater a great workout, and the car chase on the ice was very impressive. The fact that the bad guy is just some guy with diamonds imbedded in his skin makes it kind of lame, and Halle Berry doesn't make a good Bond girl at all. Her lines and her acting are all laughable, but she does look good in an Ursula Andress style bikini. There is one scene were Bond takes a parachute and a piece of metal and surfs a giant tidal wave that was called one of the most ridiculous Bond moments ever. Madonna also hurts the film not only with her techno title song, but her pointless cameo. Die Another Day has some great action, but the plot is over the top even for a Bond film.

VIDEO: Okay, now let's talk about how pretty these sets are. Lowry Digital (now DTS) did a frame by frame restoration for each film. The older films are where you will notice the difference. The color and quality are not just brighter, but they are richer. What once looked faded and washed now looks lively and textured. Black levels are not fuzzy and they are incredibly sharp. In Goldfinger the Aston Martin is so shiny you feel like you can touch it. Overall it's breathtaking what they accomplished with these restorations.

AUDIO: The sound department is even more impressive. My old Bond DVD's were not fun to watch on my surround system. Now every single film in the set has a brand new 5.1 DTS mix that will blow you away. Sound is an important component to film, and even though some people oppose creating 5.1 mixes from mono and stereo tracks there is an undeniable advantage to the new mixes. The sound now envelopes you and the explosions truly use the surround channels. The dialogue is mostly dedicated to the center channel for the older films. Overall the improvements are noticeable and truly benefit the viewing experience.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Just when you thought that the improved picture and sound was enough, we have a seemingly endless supply of special features and goodies. For owners of the old sets there will be some familiar stuff. The main "making of" featurettes, which run for around 30-40 minutes each, are the same documentaries that were found on the old sets. However, we have a bunch of archival footage added on and some bonus featurettes that have never been seen before. There is even an incredibly old on set interview with Connery on the Goldfinger DVD that looks like it was about to disintegrate before it was digitalized. The DVD's also have lots of screen tests, lots of featurettes on the cars and the supporting characters. There also various commentaries on the DVD's. There is so much bonus material to work through that you will probably still be watching featurettes once the other 2 volumes are released in December. While the new transfers and sound mixes alone make the sets a must buy, the new special features should make you flip with joy.

BOTTOM LINE: I have been a huge Bond fan ever since I was little. I owned all of them on VHS and previously on DVD. These Ultimate Editions are absolutely stunning and are in no way some marketing stint to mooch off the publicity of Casino Royale. Yes they are being released with the opening of Casino Royale in theaters, but you can tell a whole lot of work went into these sets. Definately worth the upgrade, this is the longest running franchise in film history and it continues to deliver quality action entertainment.
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on October 14, 2013
A VIEW TO A KILL still remains an underrated Bond film after all these years. When I first saw this film on its initial release I didn't know what to make of it, but I did like it. It seemed like it got its inspiration from GOLDFINGER and Ian Fleming's Bond novel MOONRAKER. However, it was like a jumble of everything thrown up in the air and played out in the order in which they landed. Actions just seem to turn on a dime in this film. For example: Bond is being chased down an ice-covered slope by Soviet troops in Siberia all to an exciting John Barry score. This is an excellent scene. A gattling gun mounted on a Soviet helicopter blows the ski mobile right out from under Bond. He picks himself up, grabs the runner from the ski mobile and begins to ski board down the slope this time to the musical accompaniment of the Beach Boys' "California Girls." What happened to John Barry's score? The scene and all its dramatic tension are destroyed, yet it seems to work much better today, 28 years or so latter.

THUNDERBALL is a very Nostalgic and Endearing early Bond Film. This film somehow sums up a feeling of nostalgia and endearment for the way it engulfed audiences, myself included, into the wonderful world of James Bond. Sean Connery did it with such effortless and natural charm and aplomb like no other. He's a tough and resourceful blunt instrument with a level of intelligence sophistication still impressive to this day. The world of THUNDERBALL is elegant where the villains live an opulent style of life which is a veneer for their sinister plans. In a bit of irony James Bond lives in that same world and he is up to the challenge to foil whatever mayhem they concoct.
After a one-film hiatus SPECTRE returns. So has Sean Connery as he was finally groomed to perfection as the definitive screen incarnation of James Bond in GOLDFINGER. Terence Young is also back as director. However, he seems to have been influenced over the fine-tuning that Guy Hamilton brought to the main character and overall tone of GOLDFINGER. Due to that film's success Young seems to be floundering here being diverted from his vision of the character that he helped bring to the screen. Young is 180 degrees from being the auteur he envisioned himself to be.
The film seems loosely constructed and leisurely acted. Adolfo Celi as Emilio Largo looks the part but he never seems a real threat to Bond. In fact he seems to lose every encounter with Bond whether it be at the gambling tables or engaging in idle banter on the merits of women vs. guns. Bond outdoes him in skeet shooting without even looking at the target. What makes the film very memorable is John Barry's rich score and Lamar Boren's beautiful and colorful underwater photography. The two went hand in hand. I also thought the villains' plot to hijack a Vulcan jet was extremely well filmed and executed. This film has a very British feel to as it should have. But going back to John Barry's impressive and complex score for THUNDERBALL, it is here that he truly puts his inimitable stamp on the entire sound for the series during that period that were followed by his scores for YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE and the lighter sounding, yet lavish DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. The scores for these four James Bond films, are richly textured, meticulously scored for each required scene and are emotionally charged.

DIE ANOTHER DAY is one of the most implausible Bonds, yet it remains entertaining and has some real classic Bond moments. It contains one of David Arnold's best scores. DIE ANOTHER DAY is not all that bad in retrospect. The first hour is classic Bond and it is very good and well written. There is a definite feeling and physical confrontation between Bond and the main villain that has been lacking in many of the Bond films. This film also entertains unlike several before it. It was the 40th Anniversary Bond film when it was released and it contains many references to classic Bond moments that preceded it. DIE ANOTHER DAY can't be all that bad.

THE SPY WHO LOVED ME is a big-budgeted opulent film, with a lively and strong screenplay by Christopher Wood and Richard Maibaum and very effective editing by John Glen, delivering one of the most succinctly structured films of the series under the direction of Lewis Gilbert. After THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN Roger Moore clearly redefined his approach to the role as the good-natured British agent. His Bond is suave, debonair, never condescending and resorts to seriousness only when confronted with malevolence. That was the way he played it for the rest of the series. The globetrotting THE SPY WHO LOVED ME featured a gadget laden Lotus Esprit as its centerpiece along with Richard Kiel as the indestructible Jaws the villain's henchman with steel teeth. The main villain of the piece is the maniacal Karl Stromberg, played with detached amusement by Curt Jurgens, whose immense wealth featured an aquatic empire aimed at global domination. Bond must pair up with Soviet agent Major Anya Amasova played by Barbara Bach to track down missing nuclear submarines. The pre-title sequence features a very thrilling and well-filmed ski chase re-establishing James Bond as a major force to be reckoned with. Marvin Hamlisch composed a very effective score to the surprise of many. His music is right on mark and in some sequences very innovative. Hamlisch proves that he really knows how to score a film. Ken Adam returned as production designer bringing a familiar look back to the series not seen since DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. Ken Adam also introduced some new concepts giving the film a well-known but unique look. New characters are introduced in THE SPY WHO LOVED ME who would return in subsequent films of the series. They include Walter Gotell as Russian General Gogol, Geoffrey Keen as the British Minister of Defense and Eva Reuber-Staier as Rubelvitch, Gogol's secretary. Lois Maxwell as Miss Moneypenny and in expanded roles Bernard Lee as "M" and Desmond Llewelyn as "Q" Major Boothroyd are all back. There are well-choreographed great action scenes, beautiful underwater sequences, battles and chases. Some of the best-unsung workmanship in this film is the extraordinary miniatures by Derek Meddings. They are incredible and make this film very impressive and memorable. THE SPY WHO LOVED ME is one of those rare films where all the talents come together at their peek of perfection delivering an impeccable film.

LICENCE TO KILL is an interesting and progressive follow-up to Timothy Dalton's version of a world weary James Bond in THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS. Dalton's Bond certainly possesses the drive that Connery gives Bond and adds more realism and conviction in his no-nonsense performance. Dalton posses the intensity and a certain presence that Connery often played with his tongue in cheek, but Dalton adds an enigmatic quality of the lonely world-weary blunt instrument to Bond. At times one can detect a melancholic aura tinged with disgust for his line of work. These were qualities that Dalton openly wanted to put into his performance. This film integrates the thinking man's hero and the man of action into Dalton's Bond. LICENCE TO KILL contains good performances. One of the best is that of Benicio Del Toro's as Dario, a Sanchez henchman. Dario's screen presence is twisted and contorted bringing the notion that evil menace is the only reason for his existence in life. Don Stroud was very credible and somewhat likeable as Heller, the head of security and Sanchez's private army. Wayne Newton actually brought a nice touch of comic relief as Professor Joe Butcher, head of a meditation temple and front for Sanchez's laboratories. Anthony Zerbe brought his unique brand of histrionics to his role of the seemingly drunken smuggler Milton Krest. From a sentimental point of view, it was good to see David Hedison reprise his role as Felix Leiter and it was nice to see Desmond Llewelyn as Q in the field in a meatier role than usual. Robert Brown gave his most credible performance as M in this film. Brown never possessed the charisma that Bernard Lee brought to the role, but Brown as M brings a cold detachment in his scene with Bond even deploying sharpshooters in the event that the rogue agent may attempt to act irrationally when his "Licence to Kill" is revoked.
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on December 1, 2010
ULTIMATE EDITION INTRO (applies to all 4 Volumes)
I think fans need to accept that James Bond 007 won't be divided into chronological DVD sets, anymore. Because these movies are drastically different from each other in terms of style, plot, background, and audiences' & critics' reception... the most sensible move is to divide them up. Thankfully, all of the special features from older DVDs, plus some new bonus content, are on these Ultimate Edition sets.

VOLUME 2
Like the other volumes, you basically get a mix of good movies and lesser movies. On the postive side, you get the absolute best of the Roger Moore 007 movies, and the better of the two Timothy Dalton feature films. On the regrettable side, some of my least favorite Bond movies are included, one from Sean Connery, Roger Moore, & Pierce Brosnan each movies are included. They're not as bad as the 1950s "Casino Royale" TV broadcast, so we might finish this volume unscathed.

THUNDERBALL (1965 - Movie #4)
---All critical reviews and audience forums aside, this is still one of the most financially successful 007 pictures of all time. I'm not quite sure what it was, but there's a lot to like about it, with some glaring problems holding it back. I often have mixed feelings about "Thunderball". On the one hand, we get to see 007 in the exotic Nassau Islands trying to locate two hijacked nuclear warheads before NATO must reply to a ransom demand. The women are beautiful, the gadgets are pretty nifty (underwater breathing tube), the villain is convincingly sinister (albeit one-note), and the underwater action sequences are impressive. On the other hand, there's some lazy writing going on here. Isn't it a huge coincidence that James Bond happens to be at the same health clinic where the evil SPECTRE organization happens to be executing one part of their plan? And isn't it a huge coincidence that a double-crossed Air Force captain's sister just happens to be the mistress of the main villain, and that James Bond is the only one who notices the connection to the recent hijacking during the intelligence briefing? And what's with the numerous opportunities that the villains have to kill James Bond, but instead continue to pretend as if he's no major threath while he snoops around? I know I'm bashing this movie a lot, but even though 007 pictures tend to exist 'in the moment', there are some serious logical gaps going on here. When all is said and done, "Thunderball" is a solid thriller, but those thrills come at a price. (7.0 / 10)

THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977 - Movie #10)
---Okay, enough complaining from me (for now). This is one of my favorite movies in the entire 007 franchise, and I think most fans and critics will agree. The whole movie just feels like a new beginning with all sorts of sequences just clicking, one after another. We get a strong female protagonist in Anya Amasova (a terrific Barbara Bach), the Russian Agent XXX who races against James Bond to recover a submarine tracking system. We have a more subtlely menacing villain in Stromberg, a man whose love for the sea comes with a dangerous sense of global justice. We have a kicking music score from Marvin Hamlisch, complete with the wonderful title song "Nobody Does It Better". One of the more iconic henchmen in Jaws is introduced in this movie; he was so popular that (SPOILER) they brought him back in "Moonraker". The set design from Ken Adam hits a new high when Stromberg's fortress(es) are magnificently revealed. The fight scenes are more rugged than in the past few Bond pictures. The action on the whole is stellar, complete with a car chase that goes underwater (SWEET!) and a massive gunfight between two armies. And finally there's a nice love story between Anya & Bond with a painful connection that neither is aware of. I will admit that Roger Moore's one-liners are a bit excessive. For example, when Jaws is demolishing their escape van, apparently Bond has time for about 6 smartmouth comments before worrying about escaping. But on the whole, this whole movie is terrific entertainment, regardless if you're a 007 fan or not. (9.0 / 10)

A VIEW TO A KILL (1985 - Movie #14)
---Unfortunately, this final outing from Roger Moore as 007 gives Moore-haters plenty of ammunition. I personally like this movie, although I'll admit there's a lot wrong with it. Regarding Roger Moore, I liked him in the role --- I love all the James Bonds, actually --- but by his own admission, he was way too old for this movie. I didn't mind his age in his previous movies, because it gave me a wiser 007 who still had a sense of humor. But this time, he looks really goofy in certain scenes. The movie gets off on the wrong foot in a number of ways. The older James Bond is skiing and snowboarding in the pre-title sequence's high-speed ("California Girls?!". Duran Duran's title song is undermined by ridiculous imagery (what do neon, ice sculptures, and blazing fire have to do with the plot at all?). The villains Max Zorin (the always-entertaining Christopher Walken) and May Day (a creepy Grace Jones) aren't very well-introduced. And worst of all, James Bond makes some really silly mistakes when going undercover at Zorin's chateau stables, mostly in part to a kinda-dumb sidekick played by Patrick Macnee. But once Agent 007 gets to California to get close to Zorin's operation, and once Zorin reveals his evil plot, then the movie really gets good with some solid action scenes and an unusual plot. Everyone has their own opinions on which Bond movies are good, and why certain ones don't work. With this one, I understand the negative reviews, but I get bothered when people say, "This isn't a James Bond movie." To me, it is. Just because this 007 story takes place in America with more believable locations doesn't make it any less Bond-ish. The Bond ingredients are here: action scenes, beautiful women, evil villain with a deadly plan, a mystery to find out what it's all about...I think if people got over the American setting, "A View To A Kill" wouldn't be as harshly criticized...Well, the second half anyway. (6.5 / 10)

LICENCE TO KILL (1989 - Movie #16)
---Before I sing endless praises on one of my favorites, let me be the first to admit that is hardly a James Bond movie at all. The charm, sophistication, tongue-in-cheek humor, and sense of fun are pretty much tossed out the window. This is a hard-edged revenge movie with Bond going after a ruthless drug lord, who exacts his power in the most violent ways. The brief moments of humor are more of a sigh of relief rather than a joyous occasion. In fact, a couple of one-liners are chilling, particularly when Franz Sanchez speaks them. Robert Davi plays Sanchez, a man whose cool composure simply mesmerizes me, considering how vicious he can be. The movie begins when CIA buddy Felix Leiter's wedding takes a slight detour when they finally have a chance to capture Sanchez. But when he escapes, his retribution sends Bond on a personal vendetta. The way Bond manipulates the key players in Sanchez's army is quite brilliant, in my opinion. And when things go wrong, the action totally delivers. The final truck chase sequence is just about pitch-perfect. The two female leads take a bit of getting used to, because one's an abused mistress while the other is a tough informant who's not afraid to get her hands dirty. The sexuality of the two women is unusual: one uses it as a coping method, the other as an inconvenient tactic. "Licence To Kill" isn't perfect, mostly because there are about 3 times when Bond insists on working alone, only to desperately need the aid of others time and again. It takes too long for Bond to realize "there's more than [his] personal vendetta." But aside from those missteps, "Licence To Kill" is one of my favorite action movies. It may not belong in the James Bond series 100%, but with the intense Timothy Dalton as the hero, I couldn't care less. One final note - this is the uncut version, with a few added seconds of gore & violence added to the more memorable violent scenes. To be sure, this version would've received an 'R' rating, although those are the only changes. (8.5 / 10)

DIE ANOTHER DAY (2002 - Movie #20)
---If there's a mixed bag in the 007 franchise, this final outing from Pierce Brosnan is definitely it. I don't think there's another movie in this franchise that I both love and hate as much as I do with this one. For every moment that blows my imaginations wild, there's another to make me cry, "What were they thinking?" For every funny one-liner, there are 5 too many. For all the sexiness in Halle Berry's Jinx, there's some blaxploitation vibe that rubs me the wrong way. I can't tell if the villains are supposed to be taken seriously or not, because one of them engages in a father/son mourning while donning space armor & goggles. This is a movie where every single idea is thrown to the wall, and everyone has a different opinion about how much of it sticks. I love the invisible car that is used to engage in a high-octane duel amidst a crumbling ice palace; others think that whole sentence is preposterous. I think the opening parts of this movie take some neat chances with their action setups and evolution of the Bond character; others can't even get past Madonna's unusual title song. I love how a fencing duel goes horribly awry; many think it's one of many problems with the movie. To explain the plot is pointless, because it goes in so many crazy directions that I might ruin the fun and/or torture for you. I think the best and worst thing to say about "Die Another Day" is that it was so outlandish that EON Productions was forced to go back to the drawing board with 2006's "Casino Royale". I personally enjoy the carefree spirit of this 40th anniversary feature film, but I don't blame people who think this movie totally disgraced the 007 film franchise. (7.0 / 10)

VOLUME 2 RECAP
---If you think Volume 1 is all over the map, Volume 2 goes beyond the map. From the underwater mystery of "Thunderball" to the uncut version of the revenge thriller in "Licence To Kill", from the sharply-constructed "Spy Who Loved Me" to the less-remarkable "A View To A Kill", from the sheer audacity in "Die Another Day" to the sheer lunacy in "Die Another Day". To call Volume 2 a mixed bag is an understatement. If you're looking for the low-key espionage tales of the Cold War, move along. James Bond explores all sorts of horizons here. And while his reach sometimes exceeds his grasp, I think there's enough here to warrant a purchase.

7.0 > Thunderball (1965)
9.0 > The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
6.5 > A View To A Kill (1985)
8.5 > Licence To Kill (1989)
7.0 > Die Another Day (2002)
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on June 13, 2007
"James Bond Ultimate Edition - Vol. 2", the second volume of the frame-by-frame restorations of the 007 Library, offers an eclectic collection of titles (with 3 actors' final appearances as Bond), and a quality of picture and sound that WILL take your breath away!

"A View to a Kill" (1985), Roger Moore's swansong as 007, is, sadly, the worst of his seven Bonds. Looking far too old for the role, he battles youthful villain Christopher Walken, beds Amazonian henchwoman Grace Jones (which should have, by itself, killed him!), and winds up with staggeringly inept Tanya Roberts...While it's a joy to see Moore work with lifelong friend Patrick Macnee, the Silicon Valley plot is dumb, the action sequences, silly, and you'll wish Roger had retired after "For Your Eyes Only". (1 1/2 stars out of 5)

"Thunderball" (1965), the BIG Bond hit from the peak of the 007 craze, has so MUCH spectacle that it nearly sinks the story! SPECTRE crashes a NATO bomber, using the nuclear weapons to blackmail the world, and it's up to 007 Sean Connery to save the day! Sexy women (Claudine Auger and Luciana Paluzzi), a sneering villain (Adolfo Celi), and glorious Bahamas locations are highlights; the climactic underwater battle does, however, become boring, and the film seems overlong...but Connery is magnificent! (4 1/2 stars out of 5)

"Die Another Day" (2002), Pierce Brosnan's final 007, begins spectacularly (with Bond captured and tortured by the North Koreans), then collapses into silliness (an invisible Aston-Martin???). Much was made of Halle Berry as 007's CIA counterpart, Jinx, but she looks far better than she acts. The weapon is simply a rehash of the "Diamonds Are Forever" laser satellite, and even a terrific, near-superhuman henchman (Rick Yune), can't save this mundane tale. Brosnan deserved a better send-off! (2 stars out of 5)

"The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977), Roger Moore's third 007 outing, is a bona fide Bond classic, reworking the character and plot line into more of a 'Connery' mode. Working with sexy Soviet counterpart Barbara Bach against a fish-like megalomaniac (Curt Jurgens), the film is best-remembered for 7'2" Jaws (Richard Kiel), the best villainous henchman of the entire series. Whether in Egypt, on a train, or in the ocean, Jaws gives 007 Moore all he can handle! (5 stars out of 5)

"Licence to Kill" (1989), Timothy Dalton's second (and last) appearance as 007, is considered a 'lesser' Bond, which is unfair. If you enjoyed Daniel Craig's portrayal as Bond, give this a try, as Dalton goes 'renegade' to take out the drug dealer (Robert Davi) who mutilated best friend Felix Leiter (David Hedison), and murdered Leiter's wife. Hard-edged and gritty, with little of the 007 campiness, featuring future stars Benicio Del Toro and Carey Lowell, this is a Bond far closer to Ian Fleming's vision. Though a box-office failure, it is truly a gem! (4 stars out of 5)

Another 'must' collection for every Bond fan!
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VINE VOICEon July 20, 2008
Welcome to Volume 2 of the Ultimate James Bond DVD collection!

This set contains five films. Three, "Thunderball", "The Spy Who Loved Me", and "Licence to Kill" are some of the best in the series. "A View to a Kill" and "Die Another Day" are largely forgettable but at least they aren't horrible.

You can get these movies seperately in single-disc form, or you can do what I did and buy this collection! Not only do you get all the movies in pristine new transfers, along with 5.1 surround, but you also get a second disc for each movie loaded with more extras than you can imagine. Behind-the-scenes stuff, rare outtakes, radio ads, trailers, etc. It's pretty comprehensive for each movie.

As for the movies themselves, well, as I said, there's three excellent films here, and even the two that aren't great at least aren't bad. Four stars for the film selection and five for the extras! Let's give it five stars total. Not bad!
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on January 23, 2007
I actually also have the previous dvd special editions collections.

I bought all 4 ultimate collection volumes, because I am a bond fan period. This ultimate collection is well worth the money because of the effort spent by Lowry to restore the video and audio to pristine condition. Also if you have bought the previous collection releases, you will realize that the ultimate collection is still slightly cheaper. I actually prefer Connery & Brosnan over the other actors playing Bond, but I wouldn't split up this set because of the different lead actor; as the movies are a complete set to me. All the Connery's Bond movies are restored to superb condition, and is a pure joy to watch. If you have all 4 volumes, don't complain who is a better bond and better actor - just enjoy the 20 bond movies made over a period of 40 years, with currently the best video and audio possible and watch 007 at his best.
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on February 16, 2009
The DVDs themselves are great, as are all Bond movies. The Bond volumes each contain 10 DVDs (2 discs per movie for film and special features and 5 movies per set) and 5 little booklets about each movie. These booklets tell you about the general filming/production experiences. They are fun reads. However, the cases in which each DVD is packaged are not that high of quality. So far, I have volumes 1 and 2, and the cases for 2 of the 10 movies have broken little pegs that hold the DVD in place.

The pegs that hold the DVD in place seem to be slightly too big. The DVD does not come out easily, so you have to really push on the pegs or really pull on the DVD, both of which can break the pegs.

But don't let that stop you from purchsing the sets because they truly are great box sets.
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on March 28, 2015
Replacement for one never returned. Love the Bond movies.
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on January 27, 2007
Having seen 3 of the 4 James Bond Ultimate sets in their entirety, I can say with no hesitation they fulfill the most important reasons why I would make (yet again) another investment in films I have seen countless times: they make them fun to be watched again by giving them a new dimension through video and sound. I have never seen films of such age be provided with such dimensional 5.1 audio. I bet high definitions DVDs of the old negatives would have never acomplished this so well.
The extras are more than one could expect. The new ones by themselves would be enough for this DVDs to be called Ultimate Editions. The old ones were great to begin with. I specially liked the "On set with..." & "On location with..." featurettes and the incredible new "Making of.." for Die Another Day (only complaint: where exactly are the suppossedly included trailers for DAD ?)
As for the films themselves, this set includes without question the worst of each 007 actor:
"Die Another Day" has plenty of good things to recomend it but enough bad ones also to drive you crazy. Case in point is the Aston Martin-Jaguar chase: as outstanding as it is, the stupid (fast forward / slow motion) editing just kills it. Madonna's song by itself would be enough to sink even the greatest of the Bond movies (and by the way, what the heck does Sigmund Freud have to do in a Bond song lyricis ?. I guess she's the only one who knows).
"A View to a Kill" is even worse than "Moonraker". At least this last one didn't commit the sin of being boring. Roger Moore looks stiff and uncapable of climbing stairs, much less doing any of the action scenes.
"License to Kill" is doomed by a Barry-less score and some second-grade production values. Timothy Dalton would have really helped himself if he'd copied a little of the self-depricating sense of humor that just about all of the other Bond actors have had. He just seems in a bad mood which I find contagious.
Even though I like some Bond films more than others I can enjoy most of them. "A view to a kill" is the only one that can depress me by having to watch it but even that one has some good things (the Paris care chase). I realize the grittier Bonds much more ressemble what Fleming had in mind but I don't mind the fantasy-laden ones, as long as they are done well (The Spy who loved me). As they say, Bond films are like pizza, even when they're bad they're pretty good.
These new editions are a dream come true for Bond fans. My only real complaint has to do with the release of the 4 grouped sets for $179.99. I find this a slap in the face of the most loyal customers who spent about $50 extra to buy the complete group, one by one.
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on May 14, 2009
I tried to rent "A View to A Kill" because Patrick McNee (John Steed, Avengers) was in it along with Sir Roger Moore,(who by my estimation is every bit as great as Connery or Brosnon, etc.), and ended up buying this set which replaced some of my old VHS tapes...Each actor brings something unique to the role of Bond and if you have read Ian Flemings' books, Bond was definitely a product of his time--1950s-1960s. Great vintage Bond with Moore, Connery, Brosnon, and sorry I forgot his name...this digital remastered set is crisp...a good investment for all 007 lovers.
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