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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Cary Joji Fukunaga
Cast:
Daniel Craig, Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux
Writing Credits:
ary Joji Fukunaga, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Synopsis:
James Bond comes out of retirement to stop a madman who wants to unleash a biological weapon on the world.

Box Office:
Budget:
$250 million.
Opening Weekend:
$55,225,007 on 4407 Screens.
Domestic Gross:
$159,617,814.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Dolby Vision
Audio:
English Dolby Atmos
Spanish Dolby 7.1
French Dolby 7.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish

Runtime: 163 min.
Price: $49.98
Release Date: 12/21/2021

Bonus:
• “Anatomy of a Scene” Featurette
• “Keeping It Real” Featurette
• “A Global Journey” Featurette
• “Designing Bond” Featurette
• “Being James Bond” Featurette
• Blu-ray Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


RELATED REVIEWS


No Time to Die [4K UHD] (2021)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 13, 2021)

After 15 years and five movies, the Daniel Craig era of James Bond movies comes to an end with 2021’s No Time to Die - though that would’ve been 2020’s No Time to Die without the interference of the COVID-19 pandemic. Well, better late than never.

When James Bond (Craig) visits the tomb of his former lover Vesper Lynd, he suffers from an ambush. Bond suspects current love interest Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) betrayed him, and he ends the relationship.

Bond also leaves the service in MI6 and retreats to retirement in Jamaica. There his former CIA pal Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright) finds him and brings him back to work to stop a deadly bioweapon called “Project Heracles”.

As Bond re-enters his professional life, he finds competition from a new 007 (Lashana Lynch) during the pursuit of fanatical madman Lyutsifer Safin (Rami Malek). In an added complication, Madeleine becomes involved in this race to stop Safin’s deadly plan, a factor that makes things even messier for Bond.

Coming into Die, we last saw director Cary Joji Fukunaga in cinemas as the director of 2015’s well-regarded drama Beasts of No Nation. He also did the comedic-fantasy mini-series Maniac between Beasts and Die.

With this background, Fukunaga seemed like a surprising choice for Bond – and not the first choice, as Danny Boyle came onto but then departed the project before Fukunaga came onboard. However, he pulls it off, as he makes Die arguably the most compelling Bond flick since Craig’s debut in 2006.

Die takes a lot of chances, some of which I can’t discuss because I like to avoid spoilers. We get the sense that Die will differ from the template right off that bat during its prologue.

In the usual Bond flick, we find action and intrigue that culminate with 007 in the midst of a massive stunt sequence. However, Die opens with a flashback to a young girl’s childhood and offers a violent but still subdued introduction to Safin.

Not counting the short “shoots at the camera” trademark, this leaves the viewer seven minutes into the movie before Bond actually appears on-screen – an enormous span based on expectations. Even when 007 does show up in his own film, Die takes risks.

As noted, Bond’s intro here comes with an ambush that may or may not relate to his love interest Madeleine. While this sequence offers stunning action and stuntwork, it also bears a dark subtext that means it stands out from the usual Big Old Spectacular.

And so goes the rest of Die. Sure, we find a lot of the usual Bond material here, as he engages in thrilling fights in exotic locations.

However, a somber sense of darkness pervades the movie. Die exists a long way from the campy thrills of the Roger Moore flicks folks of my generation grew up with – or even the semi-goofy tone adapted by plenty of the 1990s-00s Pierce Brosnan efforts.

I don’t intend that last sentence to sound as snobby as it does. I like the lighter Bond flicks, so I don’t want to imply they’re poor cousins.

I do intend to relate that Die exists as something different, though viewers should know that already. The entire run of the Craig era has been much grimmer and more serious than pretty much anything that preceded it.

For better or for worse, I guess. I’ve largely enjoyed this period’s efforts, though not consistently. I still view 2008’s Quantum of Solace as possibly the worst Bond movie ever, and 2015’s SPECTRE remains a moderate disappointment.

Still, I like the more somber vibe, even if this 15-year run leaves me eager for something lighter. No, I don’t want to go back to the clownish excesses of the past, but perhaps flicks between the darkness of the Craig era and the cartoonier efforts.

Whatever happens, Die acts as a fine sendoff for Craig. It provides a surprisingly deep, emotional tale that still packs more than enough action to keep us with it. Die was worth the wait.


The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A-/ Bonus B-

No Time to Die appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. This became an excellent Dolby Vision presentation.

Sharpness worked well. At no point did I discern any softness, so the film was accurate and well-defined.

I saw no signs of jaggies or moiré effects. The film also lacked edge haloes or print flaws.

If you suspected Die would come with the modern standard teal and orange palette, you’ll get what you expected, though not to an extreme. I’d like to see action flicks dispense with those conceits, but given their ambitions, they looked fine here. The disc’s HDR added emphasis and impact to the colors.

Blacks came across nicely. Dark tones were deep and rich, without any muddiness or problems.

In addition, low-light shots gave us smooth, clear visuals. HDR contributed range and power to whites and contrast. All in all, this became a pleasing presentation.

Aspect ratio footnote: although about 40 minutes of Die got shot on IMAX 65mm film with a 1.43:1 frame, the movie remained 2.39:1 the whole time. This came as a disappointment, as I like it when IMAX flicks open up for those scenes.

I felt happy with the solid Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Fate. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the mix offered plenty of opportunities for lively auditory information, and it took good advantage of these.

From the road chases to gunfire to explosions to other action elements, the mix filled the speakers on a frequent basis. The track placed information in logical spots and blended all the channels in a smooth, compelling manner.

Audio quality was also positive. Music sounded lively and full, while effects delivered accurate material. Those elements showed nice clarity and kick, with tight low-end.

Speech was always distinctive and concise, too. This mix worked well for the film.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? Both came with identical Atmos audio.

The 4K’s Dolby Vision presentation offered the usual improvements, with superior colors, sharpness and blacks. As good as the Blu-ray looked, the 4K topped it.

Five featurettes appear here, and Anatomy of a Scene runs 11 minutes, 32 seconds and includes statements from stunt coordinator Lee Morrison, director/writer Cary Joji Fukunaga, special effects supervisor Chris Corbould, 2nd unit director Alexander Witt, supervising stunt coordinator Olivier Schneider, stunt performers Mark Higgins and Paul Edmondson, action vehicle supervisor Neil Layton, special effects floor supervisor John van der Pool,, and actors Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux and Dali Benssalah.

“Anatomy” discusses elements involved with the movie’s opening sequence. Though we get some happy talk, we find a decent number of details here.

Keeping It Real goes for six minutes, 15 seconds and provides remarks from Craig, Fukunaga, Schneider, Morrison, Corbould, and actors Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch, Ana de Armas, and Jeffrey Wright.

Here we find notes about stunts and action. Like “Anatomy”, this one mixes praise with details to end up as a reasonable overview.

Next comes A Global Journey, a seven-minute, 50-second reel with comments from Fukunaga, Lynch, Wright, Craig, Morrison, location managers Mandy Sharpe, Liam Irving and Charlie Hayes, associate producer Gregg Wilson, unit location manager Ben Firminger, ice expert Arve Tvede, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, line producer Natalie Thompson and location production manager Martin Joy.

In this reel, we learn about locations. It ends up as another enjoyable but not deep program.

Designing Bond spans 11 minutes, four seconds and contributes material from Malek, Craig, Lynch, de Armas, production designer Mark Tildesley, art director Neil Callow, costume designer Suttirat Anne Larlarb, art director Andrew Bennett, and actor Naomie Harris.

With the last featurette, we get info about production and costume design. Expect another good but not great show.

Exclusive to the 4K, Being James Bond runs 46 minutes, 39 seconds and features remarks from Craig, Broccoli and Wilson. Though kept off-camera, all three sit together for a chat.

“Being” looks at Craig’s career and initial casting, how he adapted for the part in Casino Royale, and aspects of the following films. We get some good media clips as well as behind the scenes material like Craig’s original audition tape.

Given that we only hear from Craig, Broccoli and Wilson, no one should expect dirt/revelations. Still, we get an appealing overview of the Craig era, so this becomes an engaging program.

A second disc provides a Blu-ray copy of Die. This includes none of the 4K’s extras, though if you buy the “full price” BD, all of the programs except for “Being” appear on it.

With 2021’s No Time to Die, the Daniel Craig era of James Bond movies ends on a fine note. A strong mix of action, adventure and drama, this becomes arguably the best of the Craig movies. The 4K UHD boasts excellent picture and audio along with a decent set of supplements. Expect top-notch Bond from this flick.

To rate this film, visit the prior review of NO TIME TO DIE

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