H D - S E N S E I

A view on Hi-def DVDs by Gary W. Tooze

 

Introduction: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)

Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze

 

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ALL OUR NEW FORMAT DVD REVIEWS

 

 

Dr. No [Blu-ray]

 

(Terence Young, 1962)

 

 

Also available as part of the James Bond Blu-ray Collection Three-Pack, Vol. 1 (Dr. No / Die Another Day / Live and Let Die)

     

      

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Studio: MGM

Video: MGM / 20th Century Fox

 

Discs:

Region: 'A'

Feature Runtime: 1:49:50

Chapters: 24

Feature film disc size: 28.49 Gig

One dual-layered Blu-ray

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 21st, 2008

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p

 

Audio:
English DTS HD Master 5.1, Original English Mono, Spanish (mono)

Subtitles:
Feature: English HOH, Spanish, and none
 

Supplements:

Audio Commentary with director Terence Young and members of the cast and crew
007: License to Restore featurette
The Guns of James Bond featurette
Premiere Bond : Opening Nights featurette
Into the World of Dr. No (42:10 in HD!)
Terence Young: Bond Vivant featurette (17:57 in HD!)

Radio Communication (8:29)
Dr. No 1963 Featurette
Original Trailers, TV and Radio Spots
 Image Database
 

 

Product Description: With DR. NO the first of the James Bond films director Terence Young and leading man Sean Connery set the precedent for what would become one of the most popular influential and long-lasting series ever made. Bond makes his first famous introduction "Bond James Bond" in an upscale casino to a saucy brunette named Slyvia Trench (Eunice Gayson) who he promptly coaxes into a dinner date. Back at Secret Service Headquarters M (Bernard Lee) assigns Bond to a mission in Jamaica.

 

 

An agent who was investigating strange activity with nuclear weapons in Cape Canaveral has disappeared and Bond is to take up where he left off. His contact CIA operative Felix Leiter (Jack Lord) reminds Bond that his title "007" means he has license to kill not be killed. This advice comes in handy in Jamaica as assassins relentlessly emerge from the woodwork desperately trying to bring Bond down. Bond makes his way to Crab Key Island to find evil scientist Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman) the primary suspect. There he is met with the obstacle of Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) a deadly beauty who emerges from the sea in a tiny bikini with a knife holster slung about her hips in one of the most seductive Bond-girl moments of all time. With a striking lack of gadgets DR. NO is a heartier mystery than subsequent films in the series providing for some excellent adventures in which Bond must rely on his own clever spy skills to get out of sticky situations...

 

 

 

The Film:

Little did the audiences of 1963 know they were witnessing the start of a cinematic phenomenon whereby a low budget film starring an unknown Scottish actor would go on to spawn the most successful franchise in movie history. Nearly 20 films later, James Bond is still going strong.

"Dr. No" opens in Jamaica where two British Secret Service agents have been brutally murdered. James Bond, special agent, licence to kill, is sent to investigate. Bond survives numerous attempts on his life and quickly learns of the mysterious Doctor No, a recluse who seems to be behind various goings-on. Bond travels to Doctor No's island and finds himself embroiled in a deadly plot..

 

 


The elements that have become familiar in all subsequent Bond movies are already present. There is a grotesque and ingenious villain threatening the peace of the world; casual sex and even more casual sadism abounds; there are the wisecracks, exotic locations, and that familiar theme music.

However, "Dr No" is a more down-to-earth affair than subsequent entries. The modest budget enforces a low-key, almost realistic tone. Bond is forced to rely on his wits to get the job done, rather then pulling out the gimmicks and gadgetry of later films...

Excerpt from BBC Online located HERE

 

Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Of the three Connery Bond's that I've covered, to date, on Blu-ray - Dr. No looks the best yet - which may be surprising as it is the oldest film. Colors are vibrant and detail shows a good deal of gratifying sharpness. Black levels are pitch. The image overall is quite beautiful - far in advance of anything put to SD-DVD. It resides on a dual-layered Blu-ray and the feature takes up 28.5 Gig. It felt like I was watching this initial Bond entry, for the very first time - what an addictive image. I am blown away by this image clarity, tightness and pristine contrast. Noise is minimal and grain is replaced with a natural smoothness that I assume theatre go-ers saw as well over 45 years ago. No DNR or edge-enhancement in sight - this image quality is marvelous.

NOTE: We have compared to stills from the region 1 Special Edition SD-DVD which is handily blown away by this new 1080P transfer. 

 

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MGM Special Edition - Region 1- TOP vs. MGM/Fox - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

MGM Special Edition - Region 1- TOP vs. MGM/Fox - Region 'A' Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music:  
The DTS-HD track has some life. The new mix does exports a strong aural presentation in advance of previous editions. Separation exists - although, like with Thunderball, the centre channel dialogue can be a bit drowned out at times. Monty Norman's Bond score can put you in the mood like nothing else as it mysteriously floats about the room. There are optional English or Spanish subtitles (no French) and these limitations leads us to conclude this is NOT a region free Blu-ray edition. Note: including the original track is an excellent idea - appreciated by many who aren't into the 'fake' mixes.

 

Extras:
Extras appear all the same as the latest SD incarnation with the Terence Young commentary and extensive, and viable, featurettes. There is no fluff here. Great news is that two of the more important supplements are in
HD! - The 42 minute Into the World of Dr. No and Terence Young: Bond Vivant featurette running 17 minutes.

 

 

Bottom line:
What's not to love? The pace and style setting entry into one of the most popular film franchises of all time.... and it extravagantly looks and sounds better on
Blu-ray. No-brainer if you indulge in the new format and/or are any type of Bond fan at all. Let's hope Goldfinger and the others not yet reviewed reach this lofty level - the bar has been set appropriately high. Fabulous work Fox (ohh... you too MGM)!

Gary Tooze

October 17th, 2008

 

 

 

Also available as part of the James Bond Blu-ray Collection Three-Pack, Vol. 1 (Dr. No / Die Another Day / Live and Let Die)

     

      

 





 

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