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James Bond: Volume 4 (Dr. No / You Only Live Twice / Octopussy / Tomorrow Never Dies / Moonraker)
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*Dr. No Disc #1 -Movie with DTS 5.1 Surround and original mono/stereo -Language selections -Audio Commentary Featuring Director Terence Young and Members of the Cast and Crew
Disc #2 -TOP LEVEL ACCESS 007: License to Restore - Featurette Detailing the BOND Ultimate Edition Film Restoration Process -DECLASSIFIED: MI6 VAULT The Guns of James Bond -Premiere Bond -007 MISSION CONTROL Interactive Guide Into the World of Dr. No -THE COMPLETE SPECIAL FEATURES LIBRARY: MISSION DOSSIER -Inside Dr. No -Terence Young: Bond Vivant -Dr. No 1963 Featurette -MINISTRY OF PROPAGANDA Original Trailers, TV Spots, Photo Gallery & Radio Communications
*You Only Live Twice Disc #1 -Movie with DTS 5.1 Surround and original mono/stereo -Language selections -Audio Commentary Featuring Director Lewis Gilbert and Members of the Cast and Crew
Disc #2 -DECLASSIFIED: MI6 VAULT Welcome to Japan, Mr. Bond Whicker's World - Highlights From 1967 BBC Documentary On Location With Ken Adam -007 MISSION CONTROL Interactive Guide Into the World of You Only Live Twice -THE COMPLETE SPECIAL FEATURES LIBRARY: MISSION DOSSIER -Inside You Only Live Twice -Silhouettes: The James Bond Titles -Plane Crash: Animated Storyboard Sequence -MINISTRY OF PROPAGANDA Original Trailers, Photo Gallery, TV Spot & Radio Communications
*Moonraker Disc #1 *Movie with DTS 5.1 Surround and original mono/stereo *Language selections *Newly Recorded Audio Commentary Featuring Sir Roger Moore *Audio Commentary Featuring Director Lewis Gilbert and Members of the Cast and Crew
Disc #2 *DECLASSIFIED: MI6 VAULT 007 in Rio - Original 1979 Production *Featurette *Ken Adam's Production Films *Bond '79 Learning to Freefall *Skydiving Test Footage *Skydiving Storyboards *Circus Footage *Cable Car Alternative Storyboards *007 MISSION CONTROL Interactive Guide Into the World of Moonraker -THE COMPLETE SPECIAL FEATURES LIBRARY: MISSION DOSSIER -Inside Moonraker -The Men Behind the Mayhem - Special Effects Documentary -MINISTRY OF PROPAGANDA Original Trailer & Photo Gallery
*Octopussy Disc #1 -Newly Recorded Audio Commentary Featuring Sir Roger Moore -Movie with DTS 5.1 Surround and original mono/stereo -Language selections -Newly Recorded Audio Commentary Featuring Sir Roger Moore -Audio Commentary Featuring Director John Glen
Disc #2: -DECLASSIFIED: MI6 VAULT Shooting Stunts: Crashing Jeeps & The Airplane Crash -Ken Burns On-Set Movie -On Location with Peter Lamont -Testing the Limits - The Aerial Team -James Brolin Original Screentests -James Bond in India - Original 1983 Featurette -007 MISSION CONTROL Interactive Guide Into the World of Octopussy -THE COMPLETE SPECIAL FEATURES LIBRARY: MISSION DOSSIER -Inside Octopussy -Designing Bond - Peter Lamont -Rita Coolidge 'All Time High' Music Video -Storyboard Sequences -MINISTRY OF PROPAGANDA Original Trailers & Photo Gallery
*Tomorrow Never Dies Disc #1: -Movie with DTS 5.1 Surround and original mono/stereo -Language selections -Audio Commentary Featuring Vic Armstrong and Michael G. Wilson -Audio Commentary Featuring Roger Spottiswoode and Dan Petrie Jr.
Disc #2" -DECLASSIFIED: MI6 VAULT Deleted and Extended Scenes Introduced by Director Roger Spottiswoode -Expanded Angles Introduced by Director Roger Spottiswoode -Highly Classified: The World of 007 -"The James Bond Theme" (Moby's Remix) -007 MISSION CONTROL Interactive Guide Into the World of Tomorrow Never Dies -THE COMPLETE SPECIAL FEATURES LIBRARY: MISSION DOSSIER -The Secrets of 007 -Storyboard Presentation -Gadgets -Sheryl Crow 'Tomorrow Never Dies' Music Video -MINISTRY OF PROPAGANDA Original Trailers & Photo Gallery
Dr. No: Released in 1962, this first James Bond movie remains one of the best, and serves as an entertaining reminder that the Bond series began (in keeping with Ian Fleming's novels) with a surprising lack of gadgetry and big-budget fireworks. Sean Connery was just 32 years old when he won the role of Agent 007. In his first adventure James Bond is called to Jamaica where a colleague and secretary have been mysteriously killed. With an American CIA agent (Jack Lord, pre-Hawaii Five-O), they discover that the nefarious Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman) is scheming to blackmail the U.S. government with a device capable of deflecting and destroying U.S. rockets launched from Cape Canaveral. Of course, Bond takes time off from his exploits to enjoy the company of a few gorgeous women, including the bikini-clad Ursula Andress. She gloriously kicks off the long-standing tradition of Bond women who know how to please their favorite secret agent. A sexist anachronism? Maybe, but this is Bond at his purest, kicking off a series of movies that shows no sign of slowing down. --Jeff Shannon
You Only Live Twice: The film boasts the best of the Bond title songs (this one sung on a dreamy track by Nancy Sinatra), but the movie itself is one of the weaker ones of the Sean Connery phase of the 007 franchise. The story concerns an effort by the evil organization SPECTRE to start a world war, but the not-so-super villain behind the plot is the awfully civilized Donald Pleasence. The thin script is by Roald Dahl (shouldn't we have expected a better Bond nemesis from the creator of mad genius Willy Wonka?), and direction is by British veteran Lewis Gilbert (Alfie). But the movie can't hold a candle to Dr. No, From Russia with Love, or Goldfinger. --Tom KeoghOctopussy: Roger Moore was nearing the end of his reign as James Bond when he made Octopussy, and he looks a little worn out. But the movie itself infuses some new blood into the old franchise, with a frisky pace and a pair of sturdy villains. Maud Adams--who'd also been in the Bond outing The Man with the Golden Gun--plays the improbably named Octopussy, while old smoothie Louis Jourdan is her crafty partner in crime. There's an island populated only by women, plus a fantastic sequence with a hand-to-hand fight that happens on a plane--and on top of a plane. The film even has an extra emotional punch, since this time out 007 is not only following the orders of Her Majesty's Secret Service, but he is also exacting a personal revenge: a fellow double-0 agent has been killed. Two Bond films were actually released in 1983 within a few months of each other, as Octopussy was followed by Sean Connery's comeback in Never Say Never Again. The success of both pictures proved that there was still plenty of mileage left in the old license to kill, though Moore had one more workout--A View to a Kill--before hanging it up. And that title? The franchise had already used up the titles to Ian Fleming's novels, so Octopussy was taken from a lesser-known Fleming short story. -- Robert Horton
Tomorrow Never Dies: Pierce Brosnan returns for his second stint as James Bond (after GoldenEye), and he's doing it in high style with an invigorating cast of costars. It's only appropriate that a Bond film from 1997 would find Agent 007 pitted against a media mogul (Jonathan Pryce) who's going to start a global war (beginning with stolen nuclear missiles aimed at China) to create attention-grabbing headlines for his latest multimedia news channel. It's the information age run amok, and Bond must team up with a lovely and lethal agent from the Chinese External Security Force (played by Honk Kong action star Michelle Yeoh) to foil the madman's plot of global domination. Luckily for Bond, the villain's wife (Teri Hatcher) is one of his former lovers, and at the behest of his superior M (Judi Dench), 007 finds ample opportunity to exploit the connection. Armed with the usual array of gadgets (including a remote-controlled BMW), Brosnan settles into his role with acceptable flair, and the dynamic Yeoh provides a perfect balance to the sexism that once threatened to turn Bond into a politically incorrect anachronism. He's still Bond, to be sure, but he's saving the world with a bit more sophisticated finesse. --Jeff ShannonMoonraker: This was the first James Bond adventure produced after the success of Star Wars, so it jumped on the sci-fi bandwagon by combining the suave appeal of Agent 007 (once again played by Roger Moore) with enough high-tech hardware and special effects to make Luke Skywalker want to join Her Majesty's Secret Service. After the razzle-dazzle of The Spy Who Loved Me, this attempt to latch onto a trend proved to be a case of overkill, even though it brought back the steel-toothed villain Jaws (Richard Kiel) and scored a major hit at the box office. This time Bond is up against a criminal industrialist named Drax (Michel Lonsdale) who wants to control the world from his orbiting space station. In keeping with his well-groomed style, Bond thwarts this maniacal Neo-Hitler's scheme with the help of a beautiful, sleek-figured scientist (played by Lois Chiles with all the vitality of a department-store mannequin). Despite Moore's passive performance (which Pauline Kael described as "like an office manager who is turning into dead wood but hanging on to collect his pension"), Moonraker had no problem attracting an appreciative audience, and there are even a few renegade Bond-philes who consider it one of their favorites. --Sean Axmaker
Beyond James Bond Ultimate Collection - Vol. 4
James Bond Ultimate Collection - Vol. 1
James Bond Ultimate Edition - Vol. 2
James Bond Ultimate Edition - Vol. 3
- Behind-the-scenes and Making-of Features
- Archival Documentaries
- Screen Tests and other archival footage
- Commentary on every feature
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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.
With the exception of the first "official" James Bond movie on this set, I think this 4th volume represents the more action-packed side of 007. Bond becomes Japanese and trains with ninjas. Bond gets a sidekick who kicks even more ass than he does. Bond goes to space, for crying out loud! I suppose after reviewing the other 3 volumes, I've run out of things to say about this franchise. But each movie on this set is worth a look.
DR. NO (1962 - Movie #1)
---Ah, the first time that James Bond was "officially" brought to world-wide audiences (that 1950s TV play of "Casino Royale" doesn't count). I feel I should warn newcomers who haven't watched this movie yet, because while the character will be instantly familiar, this is the most low-key, modest picture in the entire franchise. After all, how could anyone know "Dr. No" would be successful enough to spawn a franchise anyway? James Bond is introduced to us when we see his hands playing baccarat, and his voice flirting with his opponent. The first time we see his face is when he gives that immortal introduction, "Bond...James Bond." When Sean Connery speaks those words, he commands our attention immediately. Agent 007 is sent to Jamaica after an agent has disappeared. The movie is more of a mystery than an adventure. Shady characters turn out to be allies. Lovely locals turn out to be dangerous. What separates James Bond from any other detective though is his confidence and willingness to get his hands dirty. Watch the way he dispenses his first henchman, and then casually carries on after the bad guy kills himself. Much has been made about Honey Ryder, the iconic beauty played by Ursula Andress, but I think this character is badly overrated. She's hot and interesting, but nothing legendary. Come to think of it, I prefer the slower first half to the second half when Bond goes to a remote island, finds the villain's lair, with a beautiful woman tagging along. I know the second half is what most Bond movies are known for, but it feels more dated that it did 10 years ago when I first saw it. But for the most part, "Dr. No" is a solid mystery, and the elusive villain is intriguing. (7.0 / 10)
YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (1967 - Movie #5)
---Aside from a really dumb introduction to James Bond (he fakes his death so that his worldwide enemies won't look for him), this movie finds a fun story and runs with it. An American shuttle is stolen in space, and the USA & Russia are on the brink of war. The leads point to Japan, where James Bond's investigation leads to one of the most action-packed entries in the 007 series. The fight scenes are intense and exciting, and the final battle between the villain's army and ally Tanaka's ninjas is simply awesome. The whole Japanese setting is just pleasing to the eye. I love Nancy Sinatra's song and John Barry's music score. There are some pretty odd plot points, though. A sexy henchwoman captures Bond, makes love with him rather than kill him, and then tries to kill him in the very next scene! Also, the plan to make Bond blend in with his Japanese ally by becoming Japanese makes no sense when several assassins try to take him out while he's training. But I quickly forgot about the plot stumbles because the movie moves at such a nice pace and has such great style & action that I quickly forgave those missteps. (7.5 / 10)
MOONRAKER (1979 - Movie #11)
---I have very mixed feelings about this Roger Moore movie. It's basically a hybrid of director Lewis Gilbert's "You Only Live Twice" and "The Spy Who Loved Me", with some silly comedy thrown in. The good news is that this mostly-engaging movie is incredible when it works. The villain, Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale), is delightfully egomaniacal, and is one of the few bad guys whose elaborate deathplans for 007 actually fit the character. The action is very exciting (except for a dumb Venice boat chase). And when the story goes to space (sorry if I spoiled that), "Moonraker" somehow makes it all work and becomes a terrific entertainment. The problem I have is that when "Moonraker" tries to be funny, it often comes at the wrong time. Bond literally shoots a tree-perched assassin right in front of Drax's eyes, and trusts that Drax's driver will still take him to the airport. Every time fan-favorite Jaws shows up, his attempts to kill 007 are filled with some comedic punchline. He can't kill Bond because a bunch of Rio partiers get in the way, and he can't kill Bond because he breaks his own parachute strap. I missed the combination of sinister and humor in Jaws from "The Spy Who Loved Me". And what's with Jaws' goldilocks girlfriend, anyway? Never mind. "Moonraker" is a Bond movie that isn't afraid to try anything. For the most part, it worked for me, especially in its final act. (7.0 / 10)
OCTOPUSSY (1983 - Movie #13)
---This one of the toughest Roger Moore movies to talk about, because its greatest qualities come at some costly prices, just like "Moonraker" felt to me. I think every Bond movie has some give-and-take involved; the difference with fans is whether you gain more than you are asked to forgive. In the case of "Octopussy", I like it overall, but was annoyed by some aspects of it. The plot involves Bond tracing a forged Faberge egg to a prince named Kamal Khan (Louis Jourdan, whose speech mannerisms are always captivating). Bond's encounters with Kamal Khan and his henchmen are mostly entertaining, but then when 007 is captured, it takes a while to find out just what the heck is going on. When Bond discovers that a mysterious smuggler named Octopussy (Maud Adams in her 2nd 007 appearance) is involved, I was initially confused how she fit into the whole plot. When I figured out how the Russian General Orlov (Steven Berkoff) was going to bring his plans of global domination into the mix, I still didn't understand how he related to the other two. This sense of mystery is both a great delight and a bit frustrating. The questions are all answered, but I think the movie needed better pacing to let me know when I was supposed to be in on it. "Octopussy" uses the Eastern Europe and India locations very well, but each of its exciting action sequences has something to distract me from it. For example, an exciting jungle hunt for 007 includes our hero letting out a Tarzan yell as he dangles from vine to vine. I must say that the stuntwork in "Octopussy" is top-notch, like when Roger Moore's stunt doubles climb a speeding train or hang onto an airborne plane for dear life. Overall, I think "Octopussy" is a solid movie, but when the plot took its mysterious twists and turns, I wished the movie would've focused more on the dramatic stakes than its carefree sense of fun. (6.5 / 10)
TOMORROW NEVER DIES (1997 - Movie #18)
---What a novel concept we have here. A man attempts to control the world through mass-media manipulation. Don't be mad at me if I spoiled that for you, because when Elliot Carver (a scene-chewing Jonathan Pryce) holds the movie's first meeting with his cohorts, you know exactly what he's capable of. This adventure takes this fascinating plot point, and pits James Bond against the media baron's schemes. After a pointless-but-fun pre-title sequence, Bond is tasked to use a former flame (now Carver's wife) to get closer. Along the way, Bond runs into a Chinese agent named Wei Lin, who's played by Asian action star Michelle Yeoh. Their combination of skills and witty banter is one of the movie's best aspects. Yet, I can't say why I'm not giving this movie a stronger recommendation. I think that's because "Tomorrow Never Dies" features a lot of action, with less emphasis on the spy elements of James Bond. I love the chase sequences and hand-to-hand combat, but some of the shootouts are a bit outrageous. In other words, as well-crafted as the movie is, I was constantly aware that most Bond movies tend to have similar moments. "Tomorrow Never Dies" does it better than most 007 movies, but it didn't do it first. If you're looking for originality beyond Elliot Carver's dastardly plans, then you might be a tad disappointed. But if you want bigger, badder, and better, then Pierce Brosnan's sophomore appearance doesn't slump. (7.5 / 10)
VOLUME 4 RECAP
Although this is my least favorite collection of James Bond 007 movies, I wouldn't call this a throwaway. After all, I do like every movie that's included on this set. But if there's one Volume of the Ultimate Edition collection that I'd get last, it'd be this 4th one.
7.0 > Dr. No (1962)
7.5 > You Only Live Twice (1967)
7.0 > Moonraker (1979)
6.5 > Octopussy (1983)
7.5 > Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
I always considered DR. NO to be one of the better Bond films and closer to the literary James Bond created by Ian Fleming. Sean Connery's performance is that of the no-nonsense dedicated civil servant. His screen presence alone conveys the physical, intellectual and moral conviction of the character. He is essentially a modern day version of the white knight slaying the dragon for Queen and country. Joseph Wiseman as Dr. No is one of the best villains of the series. His steel mono-toned performance is eerily unsettling. He remains one of the most enigmatic villains in the series. He is a villain moved more by unfounded revenge than by greed or riches. You almost sympathize with him as he makes futile overtures to Bond imploring him to join his organization. It seems that Bond is the only man capable of appreciating his intellect. Not even Dr. No's backers, Blofeld and S.P.E.C.T.R.E. are worthy of his talents. Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder leaves one of the most indelible images of the series as she emerges from the sea clad in her white bikini. She is characterized by the simplicity of her goodness and naivet as she is drawn into a vortex of worldliness that Bond further engulfs her in. Rather than that of a supposed sex object, she exudes a raw femininity found only in nature. Bond can not help but feel that he has corrupted her both deliberately and inadvertently in his blind quest to revenge the deaths of fellow agents. This is the very strength of Richard Maibaum's script, here and on subsequent Bond films. These films, the better ones, are about Bond, his adversaries, his loves and his friendships. Jack Lord was the first of many actors to play Felix Leiter, Bond's CIA friend. "Friend" in the world of James Bond is not a word used casually. Lord seemed the one actor to visually convey the camaraderie that existed between these two characters. John Kitzmiller gave a very good performance as the loyal Quarrel, one of the most important characters in he entire series. This character epitomized the dormant qualities found in the instincts of the common man. When called upon in the death struggle of good vs. evil he is prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice. Anthony Dawson as Professor Dent seems perfect as a man who knew better than fall into an inescapable web of subterfuge that Dr. No has spread from his island to the mainland. Zena Marshall as Miss Taro is a more willing participant, as she appears eager to overtly display her sensuality and share her sexual appetites openly with Bond. She is supposed to lure Bond to his death. Finding this not the case she enthusiastically offers herself to Bond. It is in these scenes that Sean Connery displays a certain animal screen presence that no other actor has ever equaled in the role. Many elements that distinguish a James Bond movie were introduced in this film. The opening gun barrel trademark, "The James Bond Theme," Bernard Lee's portrayal of the inimitable M, Lois Maxwell's portrayal of the desirable Miss Moneypenny, Ken Adam's innovative and distinctive production designs, Maurice Binder's unique main titles, the "Martinis shaken not stirred," just to name a few are all here. Director, Terence Young, always boasted and took relish in how he supposedly shaped the look and feel of the James Bond series. This is quite possibly true when looking at DR. NO. It is a film visually rich with well-detailed and defined characters. It also has an uncanny feel for the settings inspired from the Ian Fleming novels whether it be Bond's intelligence headquarters in London, the exotic sights and sounds of Jamaica or the incongruity of Dr. No's plush lair hidden in the mosquito invested swamps of Crabe Key. DR. NO is also characterized by quick paced editing by Peter Hunt. Hunt's innovative technique keeps the story moving visually and unobtrusively which also further defines the cinematic world of James Bond. But coming full circle, it is Sean Connery's performance and screen presence that intrigues and captures the imagination of the viewer. Given the sets, the music, the script, the locations and all the other elements, it all comes down to how Sean Connery fits and moves through this cinematic world that has been created for James Bond. Sean Connery's performance is indeed that of Britain's dedicated civil servant. DR. NO is the benchmark.
YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE contained elements of espionage, action, thrills, adventure and science fiction. Looking back, it somehow worked loosely when put together yet, till this day I cannot determine what the cohesive element was. Looking at it closely the film is a real dichotomy of styles. The first hour is excellently filmed and works very well. We get to see James Bond the spy, working with recognition codes, breaking into safes, going under cover and the like. There is an excellently choreographed fight scene between Bond and a sumo wrestler. This is also the first time he developed a good working relationship with a fellow intelligence head, Tiger Tanaka, similar to that of Kerim Bey in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE. We also see that "M" has absolute confidence in his man. "This is the big one," he tells Bond knowing that 007 is the only one capable of pulling off this assignment.
In MOONRAKER I thought Roger Moore had finally combined his best qualities as a personality and an actor to represent James Bond in this film. His scene in the centrifuge showed his ability to bring depth to the character in a very credible way. This one scene is a standout because it equals any performance given by any of the actors that have portrayed James Bond in this series. Christopher Wood, given sole screenplay credit this time, delivered a script full of witty dialogue. The free-fall pre-credit sequence with John Barry's background score, incredible stunt work and cinematography was excellent. With so many fine elements at their peak of perfection it was a shame that the film unraveled in so many different directions.
OCTOPUSSY is probably Roger Moore's best Bond movie. It seems like a throwback to the 60s style of filmmaking. The pace is slower and deliberate and the dialogue seems to have more subtle wit interspersed. It has an overall nostalgic feel about it. The opening is excellent as we see Bond the spy infiltrate a banana republic air base. Bond escapes via a Bede Acrostar mini jet aircraft with a guided missile in hot pursuit. The score by John Barry is a little vague. The action scenes he scored didn't have his old punch. It was like he was in a transitional state. He scored the early scenes very well and they had that unique Bond sound that he used to bring to the earlier films. As the film progressed the score seemed to become repetitious and tedious. He did do a good job scoring the scenes involving the Soviets, which had that eastern block flavor similar to his score for "The Quiller Memorandum." To its credit, the film uses elements from the short stories "Octopussy" and "The Property of a Lady" by Ian Fleming in a sentimental throwback to earlier Bonds. "For Your Eyes Only" filmed just before this one, also used some of Fleming's original writings for inspiration. In that one Bond as the shark bate in-tow was taken directly from Fleming's novel "Live and Let Die."
TOMORROW NEVER DIES is one of the best of the Bonds. Roger Spottiswoode did a bang-up job as director handling the action sequences and delivering the script's more timely and coherent storyline to the screen. Pierce Brosnan gets down to business and returns to more familiar territory and storytelling in TOMORROW NEVER DIES. This is the only Brosnan-Bond film where the team of M, Moneypenny, Charles Robinson and Q work as a very efficient and cohesive unit. When of the best things to come along in years was composer David Arnold who scored this film. He continued the sound created by John Barry and simultaneously brought the action to a more modern film-making experience. TOMORROW NEVER DIES is one of the best Bond films of the series.