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“Die Another Day"-{Blu-ray}
Reviewer:
Taylor Carlson
Studio: MGM
Genre:
Action
Release Date:
10/21/08
Special Features:

All features from Ultimate Edition DVD

Review:

Die Another Day is directed by Lee Tamahori. The film stars Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, and co-stars Halle Berry, Judi Dench, and John Cleese. ***

James Bond is captured and held as a hostage following a mission gone horribly wrong. When he is finally freed in exchange for another prisoner, he finds himself hot on the trail of a mysterious millionaire, who like so many characters in the James Bond series, isn’t all that he seems. It’s up to Bond to do battle with a new threat and prevent a super weapon from being used against the world. ***

Prior to this, Pierce Brosnan appeared in three James Bond films. The first one, Goldeneye, was the best James Bond movie since the sixties. The two that came after weren’t great films, but they were at least “average” level. It was the closest thing the Bond series had to a hot streak” since the glory days of Sean Connery as Bond. ***

How could they screw up THIS bad? ***

Die Another Day is the film that was supposed to celebrate the 40 year anniversary of the James Bond franchise. Instead, it ends up as a two-hour-plus farce that seems obsessed with referencing as many past films as possible, relying on gadgetry more than any Bond film in the past, and jam-packing as much CGI in as could be possibly put in one film. Not to mention it has Halle Berry, who is tragically miscast (she’s a fine actress, but just doesn ’t seem right as a Bond Girl.) Die Another Day makes the series die today. It’s not hard to see why the next film in the series was a reboot. ***

The story is as campy and over-the-top as anything EON was doing in the past few decades, and that’s saying a lot. In the 30 year period that came before this film, we’ve seen Bond do any number of campy things – drive a moon buggy, fight the midget from Fantasy Island, go to space, dress like a clown, fight on top of a blimp, and ride a cello case down a snowy mountain. I thought I’d seen it all. Here you’ll see 007 racing an invisible car across a glacier, and even meet Madonna in a fencing school… If reading this summary of the movie makes you ill, imagine how bad seeing it will make you cringe. ***

David Arnold returns to score the film, something he has done since 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies. As always his scoring gets the job done, and he has proven himself as the series’ successor to John Barry. Madonna’s theme song, on the other hand, is just as cringe-inducing as the film itself (and this is coming from a Madonna fan – who owns just about every release she has ever put out!) ***

Long story short, there’s not much going on here. Actually, let me reword that. There’s TOO much going on here, and due to the farcical nature of it all, the movie never quite hits the mark. Agent 007 has a licence to kill – and here the franchise succeeded in killing its audience. 1 star out of 5. ---

Image and Sound:

Several years ago, the James Bond movies (which had seen a ton of home video releases already) underwent an extensive, frame-by-frame restoration. A good deal of print damage and dirt were removed in an effort that took several years to complete. ***

The end result is, to put it simply, well worth it. ***

Lowry Digital Images knows how to restore movies. Their restoration of the James Bond back catalogue is, hands down, the greatest restoration job this reviewer has EVER seen. This film is no exception. They have taken movies, that are in some cases, nearly half a century old, and made them look as good as they day when they premiered in theatres, if not better. The image is clear throughout, without any sort of issue. From what I can tell, no DNR was used in these transfers, and there is a staggering amount of detain not noticeable in any standard-def release of the movie. Lowry did one hell of a job restoring this franchise. ***

As if the image restoration wasn’t enough, the films now have lossless audio tracks. If you’ve got a speaker set, you’ll be able to experience these films (both audio and visual-wise) like you never have before.

Special Features:

When MGM put out the Ultimate Edition DVDs in late 2006, they contained not only excellent transfers for the movies, but a good wealth of bonus material as well. All of20the bonus features from that excellent Ultimate Edition DVD package have been ported over to this release. Unfortunately, they are presented in standard definition. Still, with the wealth of material that each film has, it’s hard to argue.

Final Words:

Die Another Day further proves that EON is incapable of keeping a hot streak of James Bond movies going – and they haven’t been able to since the sixties. Completists will want to pick up this Lowry remaster, but everyone else will want to take advice from John Cleese’s old Monty Python buddies and RUN AWAY.

 

 
 
 
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