le 8 septembre 2015
SKYFALL  [Limited Edition SteelBook] [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] [UK Release] It’s The BEST James Bond Ever!
The story centres on James Bond [Daniel Craig] investigating an attack on MI6; the attack is part of a plot by former MI6 operative Raoul Silva [Javier Bardem] to humiliate, discredit and kill M as revenge against her for betraying him. The film sees the return of two recurring characters to the series after an absence of two films: Q, played by Ben Whishaw, and Eve Moneypenny, played by Naomie Harris. ‘Skyfall’ is the last film of the series for Dame Judi Dench, who played M, a role that she had played in the previous six films. The position is subsequently filled by Ralph Fiennes' character, Gareth Mallory.
FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: 2012 Academy Awards®: Win: Best Original Song "Skyfall" for Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth. Win: Best Sound Editing for Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers. Nominated: Best Original Score for Thomas Newman. Nominated: Best Sound Mixing for Stuart Wilson, Scott Millan and Greg P. Russell. Nominated: Best Cinematography for Roger Deakins. 2012 British Academy Film Awards: Won: Outstanding British Film. Won: Best Original Music for Thomas Newman. Nominated: Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Javier Bardem. Nominated: Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Judi Dench. Nominated: Best Editing for Stuart Baird. Nominated: Best Production Design for Dennis Gassner and Anna Pinnock. Nominated: Best Sound for Stuart Wilson, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell, Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers. Nominated: Best Cinematography for Roger Deakins. 2012 Golden Globe® Awards: Win: Best Original Song "Skyfall" for Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth. 2014 Grammy Awards: Win: Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media for Thomas Newman. Win: Best Song Written for Visual Media "Skyfall" for Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth.
Cast: Daniel Craig, Dame Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe, Albert Finney, Ben Whishaw, Rory Kinnear, Ola Rapace, Helen McCrory, Nicholas Woodeson, Bill Buckhurst, Elize du Toit, Ian Bonar, Gordon Milne, Peter Basham, Ben Loyd-Holmes, Tonia Sotiropoulou, Wolf Blitzer, Tonia Sotiropoulou, Wolf Blitzer, David Gillies, James Li, Kenneth Hazeldine, Dave Wong, Tank Dong, Roger Yuan, Liang Yang, Yennis Cheung, Chooye Bay, Sid Man, Milorad Kapor, Huw Edwards, John Hodgkinson, Kurt Egyiawan, Oliver Johnstone, Harry Kershaw, Dominique Anne Jones, Jens Hultén, Michael Pink, Wayne Gordon, Enoch Frost, Tom Wu, Jake Fairbrother, Christopher Sciueref, Daniel Adegboyega, Selva Rasalingam, Joss Skottowe, Jozef Aoki (uncredited), Steve Barnett (uncredited), Greg Bennett (uncredited), Duncan Casey (uncredited), Tom Coulston (uncredited), Paul Davis (uncredited), Alexandra Doyle (uncredited), Mehmet Edip (uncredited), Brandon Francis (uncredited), Jake Francis (uncredited), Lee Nicholas Harris (uncredited), Rob Ho (uncredited), Luke Hope (uncredited), Luke Howard (uncredited), Jorge Leon Martinez (uncredited), Chelsea Li (uncredited), Darren Lynch (uncredited), Demi Mann (uncredited), Jarah Mariano (uncredited), Vander McLeod (uncredited), Duncan Meadows (uncredited), Shane Nolan (uncredited), David Norfolk (uncredited), Dion Williams (uncredited) and Özcan Özdemir (uncredited)
Director: Sam Mendes
Producers: Andrew Noakes, Barbara Broccoli, Callum McDougall, Chiu Wah Lee, David Pope, Gregg Wilson and Michael G. Wilson
Screenplay: John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Ian Fleming (characters) (uncredited)
Composer: Thomas Newman
Cinematography: Roger Deakins
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English: 5.1 English Descriptive Audio, Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital, French: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Italian: 5.1 DTS-HD, Russian: 5.1 DTS-HD and Ukrainian: 5.1 DTS-HD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Danish, Estonian, Italian, Norwegian, Russian, Swedish, Finnish, Icelandic, Latvian, Lithuanian and Mandarin (Simplified)
Running Time: 137 minutes
Region: Region B/2
Number of discs: 2
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: When it comes to James Bond, the old ways can be a mixed bag. The series always had a tendency to run campy when given the chance. People normally blamed it on Roger Moore, but the truth is that tongue-in-cheek Bond can be tracked back all the way to 'Goldfinger.' The level of seriousness has waxed and waned over the course of the series, but by the time of Pierce Brosnan's final outing, 'Die Another Day,' it was clear that Eon needed to take their property more seriously. Thankfully they did, and with Daniel Craig on board as 007, they pulled a complete 180 degrees. Gone were the gadgets, the ridiculous villains, and most of the jokes. And as great as 'Casino Royale' was, there was a sense of something missing, and the less we say about the muddled, at times disastrously undercooked 'Quantum of Solace' the better.
That something has finally been returned in 'SKYFALL,’ the latest and so far greatest of Daniel Craig's outings as the iconic secret agent. The film opens with Bond chasing after a hard drive that contains the names of covert agents around the world. Accidentally shot by his partner, Eve [Naomie Harris], Bond falls off a moving train and disappears, presumed dead. Meanwhile, M [Dame Judi Dench] is being forcibly retired as a result of her screw-up, but not before a mysterious opponent hacks her computer and blows up her office. Languishing in exile, James Bond hears of the attack and returns. Despite not being wholly ready for the mission in front of him, M sends him out to find the villain pulling the strings.
'SKYFALL' is about James Bond facing his legacy, both as a character and a franchise. Given that 'Casino Royale' was a reboot, it seems a bit early to be playing the over the hill card with James Bond, but it's nice to see the filmmakers acknowledging that Bond can't be young forever, hopefully sparing us the embarrassment of another aging Bond running around like he were 20 years younger. The plot contrivance also allows Bond to go through a crucible that acts as more of a rebirth than the last two films did. And Daniel Craig rises to the occasion, bringing a melancholy to the character that has never been seen before.
'SKYFALL' also pushes James Bond into the realm of the prestige film, scoring A-list director Sam Mendes, who directed 'American Beauty' and 'Road To Perdition,' where he first worked with Daniel Craig. To turn a by-the-numbers franchise into something a little more elevated. Oh, don't worry, this movie still hits all the essential James Bond marks, and Sam Mendes has a refined eye for action, but now the drama is as important as the big set pieces. Sam Mendes brings along his own collaborators, much to the film's benefit. Thomas Newman's score injects some fresh blood into the series' music, while still making appropriate use of the classic themes. Even more impressive is Roger Deakins' cinematography, which has justly been nominated for an Academy Award. Roger Deakins creates a fantastic interplay of light and shadow that gives James Bond a mystique that the grit and grain of the last two films lacked.
In fact, 'SKYFALL' takes many of its cues comes from another recent critical and commercial action/drama blockbuster: Christopher Nolan's 'The Dark Knight'. The basics of the plot are remarkably similar, as is the suddenly vulnerable hero seeing a dark reflection of himself in the film's villain. Javier Bardem lights up the screen as the evil Raoul Silva. He's got a touch of old-Bond outrageousness, with a sense of panache that's wholly new. He doesn't even appear on screen until halfway through the film, and when he does, it's an unforgettable entrance that sets the stage for everything that comes afterward. Raoul Bardem's turn here is even more impressive when you consider that he's already played a hypnotic psycho assassin in 'No Country For Old Men', and the two performances bear no similarities whatsoever.
The other piece of the puzzle comes from an unexpected source. Dame Judi Dench is the second longest running actor, after the inimitable Bernard Lee, to play “M” and taking over the role in the 1995 film 'Goldeneye.' In that film, she famously called James Bond a "misogynist dinosaur." Over the Pierce Brosnan years, she softened to him, and with Daniel Craig she took on a matronly role that is brilliantly explored in 'SKYFALL.’ Although this isn't the first time M's past actions have come back to haunt her, that particular plot point was first brought to bear in the tepid 'The World Is Not Enough,' 'SKYFALL' smartly re-appropriates the idea, making it central to not just the plot, but also to the character motivations. By making Bond question his reasons for becoming a secret agent, and the nature of his relationship with “M” and he is finally able to become the 007 we know and love.
Sam Mendes, along with writers Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and John Logan, understand that even though Craig represents the start of a new type of James Bond, he's also the inheritor of the entire Bond legacy. For the first time since 'Goldeneye,' James Bond feels British again. A large segment of the film takes place in London, and there's not just Bond's trademark wit, but also the stiff upper lip of Ralph Fiennes as Gareth Mallory and the cocky smugness of Ben Whishaw as a young “Q.” There are clear nods to previous entries in the series: An out of nowhere Komodo dragon is intentionally reminiscent of Roger Moore leaping over crocodiles in 'Live and Let Die,' a joke about an exploding pen is a direct nod to Pierce Brosnan's tenure, and a certain four-wheeled vehicle makes an entrance that generated spontaneous applause from the audience every time I saw it in theatres. There's even a part that was written for Sean Connery, although sadly the original 007 does not appear here. Even the film's theme song, brilliantly sung by the acclaimed and accomplished British singer Adele recalls the torch songs Shirley Bassey made famous for the series. And of course, Sam Mendes and Roger Deakins are British themselves, although interestingly it took Jame Bond to get Sam Mendes to make a British film about British people, the rest of his films being about Americans.
'SKYFALL' skilfully manages to synthesise the old with the new, bringing Bond into the modern world even more successfully than its successors, although that isn't meant to be a slight on the still excellent ‘Casino Royale.’ By acknowledging the past, Sam Mendes and company find the license to reinvent it. By the time we reach the film's closing credits, Bond as a character and a franchise is finally where we've wanted it to be since 2006: All the pieces in place to deliver classic James Bond adventures with all of the series trademarks intact, but not simply going through the motions. It's appropriate that the movie was released fifty years after the original release of 'Dr. No,' the first James Bond adventure that set the stage for all the rest to follow. We can only hope that 'SKYFALL' has infused enough creative blood back into the proceedings that we can see James Bond on top of his game for another fifty years.
Blu-ray Video Quality – I remember being surprised, pleased, and excited to hear that Sam Mendes would be directing the new James Bond picture, but my real excitement bloomed into complete and utter giddy fanboy glee is when I heard that Roger Deakins would be the film's cinematographer. Roger Deakins' is justly famous for his previous work with Sam Mendes, as well as his long-time collaboration with the Coen Brothers, among many other classic films like 'The Shawshank Redemption.' His work has a textural quality that brings images to life, and this quality is very much present in 'Skyfall.' Scenes such as the fight in Hong Kong set against a massive screen backdrop, or the film's climax in Scotland, lit by raging fires, are all trademark Roger Deakins. But even moments like the opening shot, showing an out of focus Bond in the background, slowly walking to foreground and focus, and lifting a gun, a shot that Sam Mendes refers to a reimagining of the classic gun barrel sequence, the traditional version of which can be seen at the film's end, reveal an eye for composition and detail that no James Bond film has ever had before. For a film with such a stunning visual palette, it was important to get the transfer right. Thankfully, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s stunning encoded 1080p image and the aspect ratio 2.40:1 transfer is also stunning, maintaining all the subtlety and shading that Roger Deakins brought to the theatrical release. The aforementioned opening shot is perfectly reproduced and everything from the icy blues of London to the warm, slightly pushed colours of Macau come through cleanly. Flesh tones are accurate to the release prints, with a bit of an orange push at times. Contrast, an important element of Roger Deakins' technique, is well balanced, with deep blacks but strong whites. Sharpness and detail are exquisite. You can count the stubble on Daniel Craig's chin before Eve Moneypenny intimately shaves it all off. I was unable to detect any artefacts or other compression issues, leaving an image that is sharp, clear, and perfectly timed and balanced. Films like this justify 100% the existence of Blu-ray all on their own. It is worth noting that 'Skyfall' was released to IMAX theatres, both digitally and in, and for those releases, the film's framing was opened up from 2.40:1 to 1.85:1 to take advantage of the extra height that IMAX affords. In a proper IMAX auditorium, the taller ratio was quite effective, helping immerse the audience in the proceedings. However, it was never Sam Mendes' or Roger Deakins' preferred aspect ratio, and it rightly does not appear on this Blu-ray disc. To my eyes, the 2.40:1 composition is much tighter and highlights only exactly what you need to see, meaning that the lack of the 1.85:1 version on the disc shouldn't be seen as any kind of loss.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – James Bond films has always had a way with sound. Going all the way back to 'Dr. No' and the sound crew has been considered among the top of the industry. By now, big sound mixes are the norm for action films, but a good James Bond track still stands apart. A large part of this is due to the music. John Barry composed many classic themes that are as much a part of the series as any other element, take a look at 'Never Say Never Again' to see an example of a film that has many other James Bond trademarks, including Sean Connery as 007, but feels completely off because you never hear any of John Barry's familiar music. Long-time James Bond composer David Arnold did an admirable job of filling John Barry's shoes from 'Tomorrow Never Dies' through to 'Quantum of Solace,' but Sam Mendes smartly chose to bring in his own collaborator, Thomas Newman, to score this entry. Thomas Newman's score makes ample use of John Barry's work, but also goes in several new directions. At times he makes use of locale-specific instrumentation, and other times he uses a more traditional symphonic arrangement, but no matter how he presents it, his music is the most interesting and inventive that the series has had in decades. The disc's 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix does a great job of highlighting Thomas Newman's work. For an action film, the music is surprisingly prominent. Of course, the action isn't neglected either. Dynamic range is fantastic, handling everything from the warm strings, hearty and sometimes shrill brass of the music, and rumbling of the action with equal aplomb. Directionality and panning is seamless, with bullets ricocheting around the sound field and a thrilling deep track that comes to life and shakes your seats. Even more impressive is the sound field and sonic details in the film's softer scenes. The whisk of the cutthroat razor as Eve lovingly shaves James Bond has a satisfying glint, and the sounds of MI6 personnel working at their stations underneath London makes those scenes feel wonderfully alive. Even when it's just two characters talking, such as when M confronts Silva in a glass cage, the voices reverberate pleasingly, with Javier Bardem's snake oil voice standing in contrast to Dame Judi Dench's clipped, curt performance. 'SKYFALL' is a film that is just as fulfilling aurally as it is visually, and this mix is a fantastic reproduction of the theatrical experience and in my mind sounds even better via one Home Cinema Amplifier Reciever, at least you do not have to put up with people eating popcorn or slurping on the their massive drinks.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Audio Commentary: Commentary by Director Sam Mendes: Director Sam Mendes sits down and discusses the making of 'SKYFALL.’ Sam Mendes covers a lot of ground, from finding inspiration in the final three Ian Fleming novels to working with Roger Deakins, Newman, and Editor Stuart Baird. He talks about his aesthetic decisions, such as choosing to shoot with a smaller number of cameras than is normal for a James Bond film in order to make each shot more deliberate, and shooting the shaving scene with a Alfred Hitchcock maxim in mind: "Shoot your murders like love scenes and your love scenes like murders." He also tosses in a few fun bits of trivia, such as the fact that the exterior of M's London flat was actually John Barry's house. Sam Mendes does sometimes fall prey to describing what's happening on scene, but usually if he does this it's to explain a bit of pacing or scene construction. If you loved the film, then this engaging, smart, information-rich commentary is an essential listen.
Audio Commentary: Commentary by Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson and Production Designer Dennis Gassner: Series producers Barbara Broccoli, who of course is the daughter of "Cubby" Broccoli, one of the franchise's original producers, and Michael G. Wilson and Production Designer Dennis Gassner get together to watch the film, and sometimes talk. This is almost the exact opposite of Sam Mendes' commentary. The three spend a lot of time simply watching what's on screen, commenting on elements within the frame, and rarely saying much of relevance. Michael G. Wilson and "Cubby" Broccoli in particular feel as if they've attended a few too many press junkets where they've have to blandly endorse their latest movie, regardless of whether it was actually good or not. A few good comments manage to make it through, but if this commentary were left off the disc, no one would have mourned its absence.
Special Feature: Shooting Bond  [1080p] [59:00] Actually a series of shorter documentary that can be played as an hour-long making of documentary, Shooting Bond is a solid cursory overview of what it takes to make a James Bond film. Interviews with the major cast and crew give a lot of insight into the process, and behind the scenes footage is mixed in, but mainly played under the interview dialogue. There are too many clips from the film for my taste, given that I can watch the film anytime I like, and each individual segment is really too short to truly go in-depth, but there are a lot of great moments to see, like Naomie Harris going through gun training was a personal favourite for me.
Special Feature: SKYFALL Premiere  [1080p] [4:28] Scenes from the world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall, featuring interviews with Sam Mendes, Daniel Craig, Naomie Harris, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes and Ben Whishaw.
Theatrical Trailer  [1080p] [2:31] A smartly constructed action theatrical trailer that highlights great moments without giving too much away.
Special Feature: Soundtrack Promotional Spot  [1080p] [1:00] A short brief introduction by composer Thomas Newman conducting the orchestra playing his score to advertise the Compact Disc soundtrack.
Promotional Trailers  [16:00] BOND 50th Anniversary Blu-ray Special, ‘A Good Day To Die Hard’ and ‘Taken 2.’
Finally, 'SKYFALL' completes Daniel Craig's transition from rough and tumble James Bond to a more classic, suave, sophisticated figure. Director Sam Mendes and his collaborators bring a level of prestige and artistic legitimacy to the film that the franchise has never had before, but never at the expense of what makes James Bond great. The series once again feels British, wholly revitalised, and surprisingly touching. It's a fantastic springboard for a whole new series of Bond adventures in the coming years. This Blu-ray has reference level audio video quality, with a transfer that perfectly reproduces Roger Deakins' sumptuous cinematographic compositions and an audio mix that ably highlights Thomas Newman's exciting score. The special features are a bit of a mixed bag, with Sam Mendes' commentary being a definite highlight. The hour-long Shooting Bond feature is just good enough that you'll wish it was double the length. The rest of the features are fairly slight, but what we get is absolutely good enough to recommend wholeheartedly and a must own for all James Bond fans, like me. What I also love is the beautiful designed Limited Edition SteelBook inside and out, which was exclusive to Amazon in the UK at the time of the Blu-ray Release and of course has now gone pride of place in my all-inclusive James Bond Blu-ray Collection. Very Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom