Bond is back and looking better than ever with the release of Bond 50 - which collects all 22 films of the Bond franchise on Blu-ray along with having an open slot for the upcoming new film Skyfall.
The discs are housed in two books that divide up the franchise by years and include Blu-ray debuts for Goldeneye, Octopussy, The Spy Who Loved Me, You Only Live Twice, The Living Daylights, Tomorrow Never Dies, Diamonds are Forever, A View to a Kill and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. 1983's Never Say Never Again is not included as it is not part of the “official” Bond franchise.
There is also a bonus disc that features a look at the world and gadgets of Bond; interviews with the actors who have stepped into 007’s shoes; and video blogs from Skyfall.
Each of the films also comes with bonus material ranging from vintage interviews and test screenings to theatrical trailers (which I enjoyed watching on several of the classic Bond films). I also liked that the set includes a spot for Skyfall - which helps it have a complete collection feel.
The Bond films all look and sound great on the Blu-ray format, and it was fun to pick up little things (such as Sean Connery’s tattoo on his arm or the quick glimpse of nudity from the Playboy magazine George Lazenby is opening in a scene during On Her Majesty's Secret Service) that have not been noticeable in past releases of the films.
With that said, the format also hurts some of the action sequence where it is clear a stunt man is stepping in for the fights scenes for a past his prime Roger Moore in A View to a Kill or Connery in Diamonds Are Forever. My wife and I also got a kick out of the “high tech” gadgets from the early films (such as the huge Xerox machine Lazenby uses) that just seem way outdated by today’s high-tech world.
Based on the character created by Ian Fleming, the Bond franchise has seen its secret agent played by Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig.
Each of the actors brought their own version of Bond to the role with Connery setting the standard for the character’s blend of charm, sex and violence; Moore adding a touch of tongue-in-cheek humor; Dalton attempting to ground the character in brooding realism; Brosnan becoming a combination of Connery and Moore; and finally Craig successfully making the character seem real (or as real as James Bond can be) and a bit of a blunt instrument for M and the British government. Lazenby also brought a more physical approach to the character, but wasn’t given enough time to fully form his own version of Bond.
The franchise films range from great (1964's Goldfinger and 2006's Casino Royale) to bad (1979's Moonraker and 2002's Die Another Day). The great thing about the Bond franchise is that the bad films are still a blast to watch – even if I did have to make my wife quit laughing at Bond in space.
The films have an established formula with each featuring a great opening sequence, followed by a plot that sees Bond forced to save the world from some epic threat - ranging from a space laser to a madman with a kitty cat who wants to rule the Earth or at least make a quick buck through blackmail.
Housed in two books, the 22 films of the Bond franchise have never looked or sounded better. This is a collection that is worth picking up if you are a diehard fan of the James Bond films or just want to own them all. Although the some of the older films might feel dated from time to time, they are still a blast to watch.
Visit the DVD database for more information.