GoldenEye appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. A mix of positives and negatives, this became an erratic image.
Sharpness created the majority of those problems, partly due to edge haloes. These cropped up during the film and damaged delineation.
In addition, the transfer came with obvious digital noise reduction, another factor that diminished accuracy and added a mushy feel to parts of the image. Much of the film still exhibited generally positive clarity, but these issues made it look more tentative than I’d like.
At least I saw no signs of jagged edges or shimmering. Print flaws also failed to become a distraction.
Colors worked well. It’s such a relief to see a fairly modern action movie with a natural palette, and the hues of GoldenEye looked vivid and full.
Blacks were deep and dense, while shadows appeared acceptably clear and concise. Parts of the image looked good but the edge haloes and digital noise reduction caused enough damage to lower my grade to a “C”.
Though it had a few concerns of its own, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio usually came across as pleasing. On the positive side, the mix provided a good surround environment that immersed the viewer.
The forward soundstage seemed well-defined, with accurately placed audio that meshed together neatly. The rear channels added a great deal to the impact of the mix, with nicely-integrated sound that seemed realistic and made the appropriately thunderous impact. This was a terrific soundfield that used all the channels to solid effect.
Quality seemed erratic, though. While much of the dialogue was dubbed, it sounded clear and fairly natural and always was easily intelligible. Music seemed fine, with nice range and impact.
Effects usually appeared realistic and clean, though some distortion occasionally crept into the mix. These also sounded somewhat harsh at times, especially during explosions, gunfire or plane fly-bys.
Low-end was very good, with bass response that felt deep and tight. The distortion kept this one from “A”-level, but I liked the mix for the most part.
How did the Blu-ray compare to the Ultimate Edition DVD from 2006? Audio showed a bit more range, and bass response felt tighter.
As for the visuals, they didn’t blow away the DVD due to the issues I mentioned earlier. Nonetheless, the Blu-ray became an upgrade – not a great one, but a step up nonetheless.
The Blu-ray offers most of the UE DVD’s extras, and we start with an audio commentary from director Martin Campbell and producer Michael G. Wilson. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, stunts and action, effects, music, photography, editing and connected domains.
Recorded back in 1995, Wilson and Campbell seem to have a good rapport and they offer a wide variety of interesting details and anecdotes in a very engaging manner. I've listened to this track a few times over the years and I continue to find it very enjoyable.
We find 11 separate components under Declassified: MI6 Vault, and we begin with a collection of four Deleted Scenes. All come with intros from director Martin Campbell.
We find “Dodging the Guards” (1:49), “No Deal” (1:35), “Bond Rides with Wade/Natalya in Graveyard” (1:35) and “No Bugs in the Program” (1:14). Virtually all function as minor pieces of filler, and virtually none of them would add anything to the movie.
As Campbell explains, he cut them for pacing, and he was right to do so. Still, they’re moderately fun to see here.
For more with the director, we head to The Martin Chronicles, an area that gives us three pieces. We find a main featurette called “Directing Bond” (10:19) as well as “Directing Bond Segments with Martin Campbell Comments” entitled “The Monte Carlo Shoot” (1:06) and “Phil Meheux” (0:53).
This program focuses on Campbell’s directorial style and has a little fun at his expense. It includes remarks from cinematographer Meheux, stuntman Wayne Michaels, executive producer Tom Pevsner, and actors Pierce Brosnan and Sean Bean.
While most shows of this sort paint nothing more than happy-happy portraits of their subjects, “Chronicles” revels in its depiction of Campbell as an aggressive taskmaster. The shots from the set offer a seemingly unending succession of bleeped profanity from the director, and he certainly comes across as rather rough on the set. Of course, the piece tempers this with some of the standard piffle, but the harsh edges make this surprisingly fun.
The “Segments” take parts of “Chronicles” and layers comments from Campbell over them. “Monte Carlo” acts almost as an apology in which Campbell tries to explain his relentless profanity. During “Meheux”, the director briefly chats about his relationship with the cinematographer.
A pre-production featurette comes next. Building a Better Bond runs nine minutes, four seconds and comes with an introduction from Michael Wilson. He explains that it was created to pump up distributors for the first Bond flick of the Nineties.
It features some press conference shots as well as images from locations and remarks from Campbell, production designer Peter Lamont, special effects supervisor Chris Corbould and some unnamed guy with big hair I didn’t recognize.
Although we don’t get the full original piece – as Wilson explains, rights issues required some changes – this one acts as a moderately interesting glimpse at the flick’s publicity. I especially like being able to check out the production in its very early stages.
A press event that commemorates the start of production, The Return of Bond goes for five minutes, 30 seconds. In an interesting move, it spends most of its first half backstage, as we see the actors and Campbell as they prep to meet the press. The rest of the piece isn’t that interesting – it’s the usual superficial stuff – but I like the glimpse literally behind the curtain.
Stunts receive attention in the two-minute, 58-second Driven to Bond: Remy Julienne. Campbell tells us a little about the stunt coordinator, and Julienne also chats about his work.
The brevity of the clip means we don’t learn a ton, but some revealing tidbits emerge, especially when Julienne discusses how he had to work to make the Aston Martin a match for the Ferrari.
More of this sort of material pops up in Anatomy of a Stunt: Tank Vs. Perrier. This six-minute, 10-second clip starts with an intro from Campbell in which he tells us about 2nd unit director Ian Sharp.
From there we hear from Sharp himself as he gets into the stunt in which the tank rams the Perrier truck. It’s a solid view of the various issues related to the scene.
A look at long-time visual effects supervisor comes via the two-minute, 40-second Making It Small In Pictures: Derek Meddings. Since Meddings died right after GoldenEye production ended, this little tribute makes sense here.
Campbell discusses Meddings work while we watch clips from the shoot. “Small” is too short, but it’s still a nice homage.
On Location with Peter Lamont fills 12 minutes, 32 seconds. As with similar programs on other Bond discs, this one shows shots from location scouts while we hear narration from Lamont. I liked those other pieces, and this one succeeds as well.
Additional info comes to us with GoldenEye: The Secret Files. This 28-minute, 31-second piece includes comments from Brosnan, Campbell, Meheux, Meddings, Corbould, Pevsner, Wilson, Sharp, Michaels, stunt coordinator Simon Crane, modeller Peter Aston, and actor Desmond Llewelyn.
“Files” looks at the new 007, planning and pre-production, miniatures and effects, locations and logistical issues, stunts and sets, and other elements.
“Files” provides a lot of good production footage. It excels in these behind the scenes moments, as it throws out quite a few interesting shots. None of this seems “secret”, but it’s interesting.
Along the same lines, GoldenEye: The Secret Files – The Cast occupies 12 minutes, 21 seconds. We hear from Brosnan, Bean, Llewelyn and actors Judi Dench, Robbie Coltrane, Famke Janssen, Alan Cumming and Izabella Scorupco.
This one focuses on the characters and the work of the actors. The information doesn’t expose much of interest, and film clips pop up too frequently. A few decent shots from the set help make this one watchable, but it’s not a strong featurette.
Finally, a Pre-Title Storyboard Sequence runs one minute, 37 seconds. Campbell chats about the use of storyboards while we look at some art created for the movie’s opening. It’s a decent examination of these elements.
Heading to Mission Dossier, we begin with the 43-minute, 31-second The World of 007. As hinted by that title, this documentary doesn't specifically focus on GoldenEye itself, though there is a minor section about that film. Instead, the program offers a light and frothy history of the entire series.
Hosted by Elizabeth Hurley, the show originally appeared in 1995 as a promotional piece prior to the release of GoldenEye and it does a good job of highlighting the series' history. A nice variety of topics are covered, and we see some good archival footage.
In addition, the luscious Miss Hurley wears an ever-changing array of alluring outfits. While I'd prefer a more detailed feature about GoldenEye itself, this show nonetheless offers a lot of fun information in a pleasant manner.
Next comes a documentary called GoldenEye Video Journal. This 14-minute, 16-second program doesn't offer much depth but it provides some interesting interview clips and some cool behind the scenes footage.
I don't know why, but I found it very entertaining to watch Minnie Driver lip-synch to inaudible accompaniment. It's definitely worth a watch.
A promotional featurette makes the disc as well, and this piece lasts for five minutes, 22 seconds. While it falls into the "glorified trailer" category that typifies featurettes, it's not bad.
Exotic Locations (3:07) gives us a narrated set of clips. Samantha Bond chats over the scenes and tells us about the locations. This is another decent but unmemorable reel.
Other promotional materials find their way onto the GoldenEye disc. We get the music video for Tina Turner's title song. It's lavishly produced but still essentially sticks to the traditional video-for-a-movie-song formula: shots of the performer lip-synching intercut with film scenes. At least it's better than most of these, though.
The standard theatrical trailer and the clever teaser trailer appear, as do twelve TV spots.
In the Image Database, we get a collection of Still Galleries. These split into 13 subdomains, each of which displays between two and 15 shots. These add to a total of 90 photos. Don’t expect anything memorable, but it’s a decent array of images.
After a six-year break, 1995’s GoldenEye brought the Bond franchise back to prominence. 24 years later, it remains a fun and inviting adventure. The Blu-ray provides very good audio and many bonus features but visuals disappointment. This still becomes the best version of the film on the market, but it could use a new transfer.
To rate this film visit the prior review of GOLDENEYE