on October 4, 2012
The Blu-ray set arrived about a week ago and I have watched one disk each day since. No point in my re-telling the stories, please read other reviews for that. Rather, I want to address the quality and features of this specific set.
The quality of the images (watched on an LG 47" Led tv via a Sony 3D/Blu-ray player and Sony sound bar) is absolutely fabulous! Each film has been meticulously converted from the ORIGINAL NEGATIVES to digital resulting in exceptional clarity with brilliant color. WOW! Great job!
So far I've watched all of the disks starring Sean Connery as Bond (Never Say Never Again is not included in the set as it was produced by another company). I first saw these films when they were originally released at the famous old grand theatres in downtown Chicago, and have watched them many times since on tv, VHS, and DVD. Short of viewing these films on a big theatre screen, this Blu-ray set is the next best thing - or possibly better - as I can watch in my jammies and the set includes hours and hours of bonus features.
One fun thing I notice about the early movies is how current and stylish everything looks. As is said "everything old becomes new again", since Mad Men has become so popular, mid-century modern decor is now considered chic as is the clothing of the 60's and 70's. Except for the cars and Bond's swim trunks, the films look as if they could have been filmed today!
I like the album-style packaging and have no problem removing or returning disks to their slots. Plastic clamshells would have been an improvement, though they probably would have raised the cost of the set. I appreciate that a slot is reserved for Skyfall, due for November theatre release.
Each of the disks I've watched contain plenty of extras, some way more than others. All contain at least one or two optional commentary versions. So far they all appear to have been produced in the 80's or 90's. One disk contains a documentary on the process of converting the original negatives to Blu-ray format, each film taking hours and hours to convert. The results are stunning and the results even amazed the technicians. The sharpness and crispness at times made it seem almost like I was watching Dr. No and From Russia With Love in 3D. (Feel free to disagree, but that's how I saw them!)
The bonus features include an incredible amount of additional content such as premier openings, deleted scenes, screen tests, documentaries on filming, special effects, martial arts training, casting, props, location scouting, as well as brief bios of Ian Fleming, Sean Connery and other cast members, original commercials and tv specials about the films (60's and 70's vintage so of poor quality), toys, collectibles and other Bond merchandise promoting the movies. Whew! I said it was hours and hours! One day I watched over six hours straight and still hadn't seen everything on the disk.
The complete set includes 22 Blu-ray disks, one disk of bonus material (besides what is on each movie disk), stored in two albums that fit it into a slick slipcase and the 70 page hardcover book, "James Bond 50 Years of Movie Posters".
I was glad I pre-ordered this set months go. Amazon lowered the price after shipping my set so they refunded the $30 difference, plus as an Amazon Prime member, shipping was free. I initially hesitated pre-ordering the set when originally offered at almost $200.00. But after seeing the quality and all the features the set contains I now think it is definitely worth it, after all it's less than $10 per disk. Once these sets are gone, it may probably be years or decades, before a new set is issued (or maybe never if everything actually goes to owning by downloading the file or watching via instant streaming!)
As the Bond culture lives on, all items Bond go up in price on the secondary market. Every time a new film is released new Bond fans are created. I recently introduced my 14 year old granddaughter to Sean Connery as James Bond in Dr. No and she loved it so much she took home eight of the extra Flemming novels I had!
The 14 Flemming Bond books have also been reissued for the anniversary, priced individually, not as a set. The last time a set was issued was in 2002 and I was fortunate to obtain a complete set via Amazon's secondary market some months ago for about $150.00.
If you are a Bond fan I think you will love this set as much as I do. Every fan has their favorite Bond movie, villian, woman and favorite Bond. Not every film is great, not every Bond actor acclaimed. But there surely is much great (and timeless) entertainment here for Bond to be alive and kicking for over 50 years!
From this fan of 50 years: Thank you, Mr. Fleming - Ian Fleming!