Say 'Happy Birthday, James Bond,' with This Massive Box Set

"Bond. James Bond." Can you believe it's been five decades since Sean Connery gave us what may be the single most famous introduction in the history of movies? Over the next 50 years that intro would become synonymous with 22 (official) movies, six different actors and countless skits and spoofs. To celebrate James Bond turning 50 on Oct. 5, MGM Home Entertainment has released all 22 Eon productions on Blu-ray, 9 of them brand-new to the format, each with its own set of bonus features.

The set comes in a gorgeous, sturdy slipcase, inside which are two glossy books (1962-81 and 1983-2012) with two movies/sleeves per page and even an empty sleeve in which to put Skyfall when it hits Blu-ray. (Something to note, however: the cardboard movie sleeves are somewhat hard to get the discs back into, and it's easy to see how discs might get scratched after taking them in and out over time.)

It's too bad that MGM didn't include a booklet or page in these sleeve books detailing the extras; with so many movies and iconic characters, it would have been helpful to have a nice breakdown to introduce you to the set. As far as bonus features, there are literally hundreds of hours of them to keep you busy, but you may have seen many already--they're all ported over from previous releases. There is one disc devoted solely to "new" extras, but it's not much and not as in-depth as you'd hope: there's an absolutely knockout title sequence montage over which plays each film's trademark song, a couple of short featurettes on classic Bond girls and the gadgets, a couple of brief videoblogs promoting Skyfall, and featurettes about the franchise's production and quick interviews with each actor. It's fluffy stuff, and you wonder why they didn't actually do a new interview or three to support this impressive set. But, these are fairly small quibbles in what is really a remarkable release.

Here's the film breakdown:

Dr. No (1962, Sean Connery)
From Russia with Love (1963, Sean Connery)
Goldfinger (1964, Sean Connery)
Thunderball (1965, Sean Connery)
You Only Live Twice (1967, Sean Connery) - new to Blu-ray
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969,George Lazenby) - new to Blu-ray
Diamonds are Forever (1971, Sean Connery) - new to Blu-ray
Live and Let Die (1973, Roger Moore)
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974, Roger Moore)
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977, Roger Moore)  - new to Blu-ray
Moonraker (1979, Roger Moore)
For Your Eyes Only (1981, Roger Moore)
Octopussy (1983, Roger Moore) - new to Blu-ray
A View to a Kill (1985, Roger Moore) - new to Blu-ray
The Living Daylights (1987, Timothy Dalton) - new to Blu-ray
License to Kill (1989, Timothy Dalton)
Goldeneye (1995, Pierce Brosnan) - new to Blu-ray
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997, Pierce Brosnan) - new to Blu-ray
The World is Not Enough (1999, Pierce Brosnan)
Die Another Day (2002, Pierce Brosnan)
Casino Royale (2006, Daniel Craig)
Quantum of Solace (2008, Daniel Craig)


Each film is presented in 1080p with 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, and nine of the oldest films were actually scanned at 4K (exceeding BD resolution!)--you may still see specks of dust here and there, but it's far less than any previous incarnation of Bond on DVD and what do you expect with movies that are 50 years old anyway? It goes without saying the films have never looked better in terms of color balance and with improved sound mixes, never sounded better either. So go shake that martini and settle in for some Bond...James Bond.
 

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