Customer Reviews: Never Say Never Again [Blu-ray]
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on January 5, 2001
As some of the reviews here note, there is a large piece of missing footage on this DVD between chapters 19 & 20 (when the disc changes layers). Is yours missing footage? Here's how to check. Start at chapter 19 and follow Bond as he gate crashes the Casino and sticks the bouncer in the closet. If your DVD jumps from Bond leaving the bouncer in the closet with the "bomb" in his hand (Bond says,"Good boy"), to a scene inside the casino where Bond, Domino, and Largo enter the private game room (Largo saying, "These are my friends..."), then you've got a dud. What you should have seen is Bond going from the bouncer in the closet -- to a shot of Bond through the casino door peep hole -- he enters casino -- sticks gun in ice bucket -- enters video game room -- meets Domino ("My name is Bond, James Bond") -- meets Largo, etc. If yours is defective (and many of them where) the good news is you can return it and get a replacement DVD by calling MGMÕs customer service dept at 1-877-MGM-4YOU (or emailing them at and following their instructions. I did this and I now have a new, complete NSNA DVD.
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VINE VOICEon January 12, 2001
Holding the rights to Thunderball, Kevin McClory decided to make a new Bond Film in 1975. Amazingly enough, Sean Connery was interested in playing Bond again if he had script approval. The film originally was going to only loosely based on Thunderball, but after a few years of legal battles with EON it became simply a remake of that earlier film. Still, it is a good Bond film, even though it does have its flaws. The most obvious strength that Never Say Never Again has is Connery, Sean Connery. Even though he looked his age, he looked fit and ready for the usual Bond action. In fact, he looked like he was in better shape than he was for his last Bond film, Diamonds Are Forever, in 1971. The plot of the film very closely follows that of Thunderball, with some updating of the details and technology for 1983. Director Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back) does a fine job with the movie, and the cast gives some excellent performances (including Klaus Maria Brandauer as Largo, Barbara Carerra as Fatima Blush - her performance and character seems to be the blueprint for Xenia Onatopp from Goldeneye, Kim Basinger as Domino, Bernie Casey as Felix Leiter, and the great Max Von Sydow as Blofeld). The weaknesses of the film? It doesn't quite LOOK as spectacular as the official Bond films - it has a lower budget look to it than the EON films. Another flaw: the characters of "M" and Nigel Small-Fawcett, both of whom seem like they belong in a Bond spoof rather than the real thing. Both of them ruin their respective scenes due to the attempts at comedy by Edward Fox and Rowan Atkinson. The music is often great (some really good Jazz), but at other times seems inappropriate for particular scenes. The lack of the "James Bond Theme," also detracts a little from the film (but not much). But when you've got Sean Connery, a solid plot, and a good (overall) supporting cast, you've got a winner. NSNA could have been better, but for a Bond film outside of the official EON Productions banner Never Say Never Again acquits itself quite nicely. It's a shame that the DVD wasn't given the Bond Special Edition treatment, but it is still worth buying anyway.
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on October 18, 2000
Did anyone out there who bought this DVD or reviewed it take the time to watch it? There is an entire scene missing from it!
After James Bond crashes the formal gala affair and leaves the doorman in the coatroom, the film jumps directly to the video duel between Largo and Bond. The scene in between is missing. That scene is where Bond surprises Domino. She had previously seen him at the health spa where he gave her a rub down, she thinking he was a member of the staff. The scene that is missing is where Bond introduces himself to her and she stumbles over her lines ordering a "Bloody Mary with plenty of Worchester sauce."
For that significant omission I can not recommend this DVD. Also, other than the trailer there are no extras on this DVD. The aesthetic qualities of this film speak for themselves.
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on October 23, 2000
If you haven't bought this DVD yet,don,t. If you have,return it.There is over 4 minutes missing from this presentation which makes no sense at this point in the story.It absolutly ruins the enjoyment of the movie.The people responsible for the transfer to DVD were lazy and unprofessional.Don't accept this.Let MGM know we won't buy inferior product.If everyone returns this movie they may take more care in the future.
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on April 21, 2009
For years I have had questions about Never Say Never Again that remained unanswered for lack of special features or director's commentary to explain some of the elements in this film. Finally, we hear from the director and a Bond historian about many of the backstories about how this renegade Bond film was made, and the many challenges the producers had to overcome to complete this film. I never realized just how much of a nail-biter it was for the producers to crank out a coherent movie due to all the script, logistical, budget, and legal issues that dogged the film every step of the way.
But most of all, I really wanted to understand how the AWFUL musical score got added to this film. It was really a by-product of the low-budget and chaotic schedule to get the film completed that such a counterproductive score was added. Irvin Kirschner did not approve of the score that Michel Legrand produced because it failed to convey the proper on-screen emotion, but it was too late in the production cycle and there was no money available to commission a new score. It was interesting to note that Legrand has more history and comfort writing songs than a theatrical score, and it showed clearly in this film. It was a huge editing challenge to mix and move the music that they had to scenes of the movie.

To my surprise and disappointment, the director and some other crew members had wanted Howard Shore to create the music, but some unnamed other producers were against it for reasons unexplained (probably money). If only a more mainstream composer had created the score, it would have lifted Never Say Never Again to a whole new level. The irritating music is a constant negative throughout the movie and undermines scene after scene. The opening title sequence is marred by the terrible title track, and the main NSNA theme is so melancholy and of such poor sound quality that it gives the whole movie a B-movie feel.

Another fact revealed in the commentary is how ruthlessly the Broccolis fought this movie in court. They literally dragged Jack Schwartzmann into court almost daily during production of NSNA to dispute script changes that the Broccolis claimed were outside the scope of the allowable screenplay. Somehow, the Broccolis were getting information about all the script changes as they happened to fuel their complaints in court.

I appreciate the candor that Kirschner relates in the commentary about the musical score issues, and some other production problems, that explain some of the forces that kept NSNA from being a truly great film. At least I feel better knowing they tried to make the best film they could, and indeed, made a better film than they had any right to considering the constant budget and legal issues that dogged the film.

With the exception of Kim Basinger, who looks great in this film, the actors did a superb job in this movie. I think this was Sean's best performance as Bond besides From Russia with Love. And as others have noted, he looked much more fit in this film than in Diamonds are Forever 12 years before. He deserves a lot of credit for returning to Bond and delivering a performance with the right balance of strength, wit, and acknowledgement of age.

Oh, and don't miss Rowan Atkinson as Bond's contact in Nassau. Mr. Bean was never so funny.
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on November 5, 2000
First and foremost, I was really excited about the DVD release of Sean Connery's swan song to the role of James Bond 007 in NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN. Let me just say here and now that buyers should be aware of a major disappointment with this DVD. MGM Home Entertainment, which manufactures and distributes this title, should be ashamed. Tonight while I was watching it, I noticed a crucial scene missing. Chapter 19 of the DVD starts out fine with Bond arriving at the palace in Nice, France, where he confronts a greeter, pushes him into a room and proceeds to place a motion-activated bomb in his hand. Suddenly the scene jumps to Chapter 20 where we see Bond, Domino and Largo walking into the chamber where Bond and Largo will play a game of "World Domination." What happened to the formal introductions between the three characters? Oops! It's missing and leaves a large gap of unbelievability. Did MGM edit the film or was there a glitch during mastering? Either way, Bond fans and consumers deserve better. For that reason alone I can only give this DVD one star. A few previous reviewers here have noticed the same problem, so I suspect this is not an isolated case. MGM Customer Service can be reached at 1-877-MGM-4YOU.
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on November 18, 2000
I've always had a preference for this admittedly flawed Bond outing, mainly because Connery's return as a middle-aged Bond somehow makes the character more believable than the overblown Roger Moore episodes. (Though in fairness, it should be pointed out that the more recent Brosnan films, with their slick and outdated pomposity, make both Moore and Connery look positively Shakespearean.) The cheeky, self-deprecating humor is the best thing this one has going for it, from Bond killing an adversary with his own vodka-poisoned urine specimen to Carrera demanding that she be added to 007's memoirs.
Having said that, it is simply incomprehensible that MGM would drop such crucial scenes as Bond formally introducing himself to Basinger--how do they expect viewers to forget the earlier health club scene, for which Bond owes Domino an apology?--and Brandauer's less important but amusing dialogue with Carrera about "underpaid" British agents.
This is one of the biggest blunders I have yet encountered in the supposedly "definitive" DVD format. Buy the VHS and don't get cheated.
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on March 2, 2009
The result of Kevin McClory's lawsuit against Ian Fleming (and much later Cubby Broccoli) over THUNDERBALL, it has Sean Connery returning to harness as Commander James Bond 12 years after departing the series. A film that had a torturous history. Originally announced in 1976 as JAMES BOND OF THE SECRET SERVICE (McClory's agreement with Cubby Broccoli & Harry Saltzman called for him to be able to remake the story 10 years after THUNDERBALL's release -- some have speculated that the two Bond producers didn't believe the character would survive that long. Connery once described Broccoli & Saltzman as "Two guys sitting across a desk, looking at each other and each one thinking, 'That bugger's got half what should all be mine.'"), he was promptly sued by Broccoli & company. Later Sean Connery would come on board with British Spy novelist Len Deighton (THE IPCRESS FILE, FUNERAL IN BERLIN, et al) to write a new screen treatment now called WARHEAD. Connery even went on a scouting trip to NYC to check out locations (including the Statue of Liberty). As legal entanglements dragged on, McClory eventually sold the rights to Hollywood lawyer (and Talia Shire's husband) Jack Schwartzman. The film managed to lure Connery back for a reported $3 or $4 million. Basically using the THUNDERBALL scenario (legally, it couldn't stray too far from the original story) NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN is a curious film. While it works when Connery is on screen (and he is alot), somehow it isn't totally satisfying. It lacks the sense of urgency and worldwide menace that the original had. The Legrand score stinks (the fault of Sean Connery who insisted on him), the finale lacks the drama epic scope of the original underwater battle, Kim Bassinger is lovely but lack Claudine Auger's charm; Klaus Maria Brandeur -- a fine actor -- is interesting as Largo but everything seems less than the original. Of standout mention: Barbara Carrera as Fatima Blush -- sexy and murderously deranged. However her character departs half-way through the film. Edward Fox as M doesn't make it, Bernie Casey as Felix Leiter is fine but Pamela Salem is a weak Moneypenny. Rowan Atkinson, a fine comedian, is completely absurd as British Embawsy nebbish Nigel Small-Fawcett. Some nice touches: Aftering water sking into Bond's arms at a Bahaman bar...
Fatima Blush: I've made you all wet!
Bond: Yes, but my martini is still dry.
Released the same year as the Eon series 13th outing, OCTOPUSSY, the Moore film made more money. Also of note, the same year George Lazenby played a character only referred to as "JB" in THE RETURN OF THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. So all three of the guys who had -- up to that point played 007 -- were all doing so again somewhere in the world! Besides a new transfer there is audio commentary by director Irvin Kershner and 007 scholar Steven Jay Rubin (THE JAMES BOND FILMS: A BEHIND THE SCENES HISTORY), featurettes on the road to NSNA and a look at Connery's return.
*** New *** the Blu Ray is a good conversion for a film that is over a quarter of a century old.
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on September 4, 2014
I just received the Blu Ray from Amazon of the unofficial 007 Never Say Never Again. I have waited many years for the fix to the missing part to be restored. Just checked it out per the last review and I am glad to say that the missing part is now there. In my mind the missing part is important to the story. I have never read that they had fixed the movie and put back the missing part.

The Blu Ray looks really crisp and clear. Great visuals. I am blown away with the way the movie looks and how the colors are true and pop out of the television. One of the best visual movies I have seen.

If you have been waiting for a complete copy of the movie then now you can acquire it now. If you are a 007 Bond fan and do not own this Sean Connery Bond then you should and I highly recommend this Blu Ray version.

Happy watching.
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on January 8, 2007
Sean Connery looking 42 rather than his actual 52 returns as Bond in this remake of "Thunderball." The title is a play on Connery's own words that he would never play Bond again. Having already carved out a distinguished acting career after he initially quit Bond in 1971 (ooopppss, he had quit once before that, hence the terrible "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" with the forgetable George Lazenby), Connery couldn't resist coming back to Bond as he always loved the character, but often feuded with the writers and producers who focused, in Connery's view, too much on formula and effects. Because this film was made by those who had the rights to the original story but not the Bond franchise, this film lacks some Bond trademarks such as the famous music and opening bullet through the barrel sequence, but it is nevertheless a fairly good film.

Some will be disappointed to see Connery/Bond age, although at 52 he's in better shape than most his age and, in fact, looked better than the last time he played Bond in 1971's "Diamonds are Forever" where he was rather chunky and out of shape. He's also younger than Moore and Brosnan's last outings as Bond, so I'm not sure what all the fuss was by some critics about his "mature" Bond.

I will admit that except for Connery's temporary return as Bond, Klaus Maria Brandauer's interesting villain, and the beautiful Kim Bassinger, there is little to distinguish this Bond film from the others. The movie is generally pleasing, but nothing great here. It's just good to see Connery back as Bond one last time.
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