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Category:    Home > Reviews > Spy > Action > Thriller > Cold War > Terrorism > British > Space > Science Fiction > James Bond Blu-ray Wave Two/Volume Three: Goldfinger/Moonraker/The World Is Not Enough (MGM/Fox/United Artists)

James Bond Blu-ray Wave Two/Volume Three: Goldfinger/Moonraker/The World Is Not Enough (MGM/Fox/United Artists)



NOTE: This review is dedicated to the now-defunct Perfect Vision Magazine, where my debate about the Goldfinger print and transfer started.  The owners of Absolute Sound have folded it for the second and final time.  It was a fine publication and it will be missed.





Goldfinger (1964) B/B-/B+/B+


Moonraker (1979) B/B/B/B


The World Is Not Enough (1999) B-/B-/B-/D



To my surprise, though these play better than the DVD versions in many shots, the higher definition images also reveal new issues and problems with the upgraded transfers done at 4K progressive scan digital HD video.  We have previously covered all of the Bond Film restoration DVD sets and here are the links to our previous coverage of these titles now on Blu-ray we are covering in this review, including advanced technical information, origins on the films, their stories and other details:


Goldfinger/The World Is Not Enough







We covered the previous Bond Blu-ray wave at this link:






All the extras are once again the same on these Blu-rays as those DVD sets and that is very extensive.  All are on a single Blu-ray disc, have AVC high definition transfers, have similar art & menus and all are superior to their DVD counterparts.


We will list the title, aspect ratio, bitrate of the picture and then explain and relay what we experienced:



Goldfinger (1.66 X 1/AVC @ 29.25 MBPS) – The big issue here has been the problematic quality of the prints used over the years in previous versions of the film and if the new 4K version can put the gold back into Goldfinger….


Well, the gold color looks really good in the credit sequences, when Shirley Eaton is killed and to a good extent in Fort Knox, but there is a problem when you get to that golf scene.  Bond throws down a bar of Nazi Gold and Goldfinger reacts.  The image is shiny when it should be showing the richness of the smelted gold cooled in that state for a few decades.  Instead, it is washed out by the sun as the transfer artists did not hold the color correctly.  You cannot see the deep shadow of the Nazi Swastika impression and it does not look heavy either.  It ruins the scene.  Unless you see it in a faithful still, three-strip dye-transfer Technicolor print of the film, a good lesser color print that retains the richness of that bar or the out-of-print Criterion 12” LaserDisc of the film, you will not see it how it as intended.


As hoped for, Video Red is improved and some shots are superior to the DVD in a way a DVD could never capture them, but the transfer is plagued with more motion blur than I would have liked and there are more than a few soft shots that show the negative needs some work.  Also, the greener grass in the golf scene is a bit less pale than I had hoped, but at least it is not yellow like the older 30th Anniversary upgrade.


As for the sound, the DTS 5.1 mix has been upgraded here for DTS-HD MA (Master Audio lossless) 5.1 and the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix dropped altogether.  The results are equal to the DVD, with a tad more clarity from a fine remix to begin with, though the original monophonic sound is here for purists.  I wondered if Lowry Digital/MiCasa Multimedia used original music masters for the mix.  Well, we still don’t know, but the sound is not as good a Dr. No or From Russia With Love for whatever reasons, no better than the DTS on the DVD and seems transferred at a lower volume than it should, while some sound seems too much towards the center screen.  Oddly, the music score by John Barry is improved, making the other flaws more obvious.




Moonraker (2.35 X 1/AVC @ 22 MBPS)


We expected Goldfinger to look the best in this set, but Moonraker is actually more film like and more consistent overall, but also has its share of issues.  The color format is not as good as Goldfinger, yet is more consistent and detail is also not bad, though some shots can look strained.  However, with a budget that jumped to #33 Million (from $13 on The Spy Who Loved Me), there is some impressive production design and location shooting that puts the best digital work today to shame.


In the best shots on this disc, you can imagine how good 70mm blow-ups looked.  It reminded me how rich-looking this was in 35mm and is easily my best screening of the film since I saw it opening weekend 1979, but there are some odd problems with the transfer.  Grain is limited, but it is noticed where there is matte and optical work, while a little more depth and detail would have been nice.  Oddest of all, the racing boat sequence has water that turns yellow where it should be white (dirt notwithstanding) and when the next to last boat blows up in a ball of fire, the fire bleaches out.  That does not happen on the DVD, so what happened?


Otherwise, no complains and as for the sound, the DTS 5.1 mix has been upgraded here for DTS-HD MA (Master Audio lossless) 5.1 and the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix dropped altogether.  The results are equal to the DVD in some ways and slightly better in others, but not enough to give it a higher letter grade.  The music, the opening title song by Shirley Bassey and laser noises when the two armies of astronauts laser blast each other outside the space station are particularly good.  The centrifuge sequence is not bad and even if they did not have the original music masters, it does sound like they got to work with the 4.1 70mm soundmaster for blow-up film prints.




The World Is Not Enough (2.35 X 1/AVC @ 25 MBPS) – One of the two worst of all the films in the series (along with Die Another Day) is worse than ever with a transfer that is far softer and grainier than it should be for this format.  In addition, not only is it now the second worst Bond Blu-ray transfer next to Never Say Never Again, but the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio lossless) 5.1 is a mess and much worse than we would have suspected.  This was a Dolby EX/DTS ES theatrical sound release, but something has gone wrong in this upgrade.  The sound is compressed, soundfield a mess, sound pulled too much towards the screen and is so bad, we would call it a defect.  It is bad enough that we recommend you buy the other two separately and skip this box, unless you are completists.



For more on Bond, try this link to all 21 films on DVD from the Casino Royale remake to the original 20 films in the series as featured in all four of the first DTS DVD remastered box sets, in one giant set, at this link:




You can also read about the Quantum Of Solace & Never Say Never Again Blu-rays, released the same day as these titles, at this link:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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