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Special Edition

Attention James Bond fans! Get ready to shell out a few extra dollars because MGM Home Entertainment has pulled out all the stops to create a terrific Special Edition DVD of the latest James Bond outing, TOMORROW NEVER DIES ($35).

With TOMORROW NEVER DIES, Pierce Brosnan makes his second appearance in the role of British super spy James Bond. Brosnan appears even more comfortable in the role than he did in GOLDENEYE. In the tradition of the James Bond series, TOMORROW NEVER DIES is high-powered escapist entertainment. The film contains all the key ingredients needed to produce the perfect Bond cocktail- exotic locations, beautiful women, a megalomaniac villain, new high tech gadgets and death defying action sequences. The plot of TOMORROW NEVER DIES once again places James Bond in the position where he must save the world from sure destruction. Britain finds itself on the brink of war with China, thanks to a ruthless media tycoon whose "you supply the pictures, I’ll supply the war" attitude is well on its way to touching off a global conflict.

Jonathan Pryce is great as the villainous media mogul Elliot Carver. Pryce plays Carver as a deranged Charles Foster Kane, with just a touch of Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch thrown in for good measure. Teri Hatcher’s beauty is showcased with the role of Paris Carver, wife of the villain and former flame of James Bond. Hong Kong action star Michelle Yeoh is totally explosive in the role of Chinese agent Wai Lin. Not only is Yeoh beautiful, her martial arts skills make her character every bit the equal of James Bond himself. Yeoh and Brosnan have good chemistry and made for a very effective team in TOMORROW NEVER DIES. Michelle Yeoh is so good in this film that I hope she shows up in more American action films. After all, why should the Hong Kong film industry monopolize her considerable talents? Judi Dench returns to the role of M and Desmond Llewelyn once more reprises the role of Q. While I know that their characters are secondary, I felt shortchanged by the brief appearances of Dench and Llewelyn in this film. Perhaps in the next Bond outing they will be given a bit more to do. The cast of TOMORROW NEVER DIES also features Ricky Jay, Götz Otto, Joe Don Baker, Vincent Schiavelli and Samantha Bond.

TOMORROW NEVER DIES is presented wide screen only on a single sided, dual layered DVD that accommodates both the film and its healthy complement of supplements. There is a layer change that occurs during the film that isn’t as seamless as some other dual layered DVDs. TOMORROW NEVER DIES is framed very close to its full Panavision 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio and the DVD includes the anamorphic enhancement for wide screen televisions. The image is demonstration quality and really couldn’t be faulted; both sharpness and detail are exemplary. Color reproduction is smooth and realistic. Flesh tones appeared natural and I couldn’t detect any trace of chroma noise in the vivid hues of the film’s most complexly lit sequences. Digital compression artifacts were well concealed on this DVD.

Like this disc’s image quality, the Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack enters the realm of demonstration quality. TOMORROW NEVER DIES has an aggressive action movie mix that makes full use of the discrete channels. Sound effects whiz around the entire soundstage; bass is rock solid for reproducing explosions and the track has strong, localized dialogue that is never buried by the other channels. The sound mix is just as exciting as the action on the screen, maybe more so. Believe me, this kind of film is never as much fun when you listen to it through your television speakers- try it and see. A French surround soundtrack has been encoded into the DVD, along with English, French and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menus have a really cool interface that assumes the viewer is James Bond and unlocks all of its features to his security clearance. Full animation, music and sound effects are featured throughout the interactive menus. Through the menus one can access the DVD’s excellent array of supplements. TOMORROW NEVER DIES includes two separate running audio commentaries. The first features director Roger Spottiswoode and Dan Petrie Jr. and the second features second unit director/stunt coordinator Vic Armstrong and producer Michael G. Wilson. Each commentary touches on different aspects of the production and has its own rewards for fans of this movie as well as fans of the Bond series.

There is also a channel music only track for those who want to enjoy the score without the bothersome dialogue and sound effects. The DVD takes advantage of the format’s multi-angle feature to offer a storyboard to completed film comparison. Look for a 45 minute "Secrets Of 007" featurette that traces the history of the James Bond series in the supplements. Sheryl Crow’s music video for the title song has also been included, as have a theatrical trailer, a theatrical teaser and special effects reel.

TOMORROW NEVER DIES is a great deal of fun and the Special Edition DVD is something that every die-hard James Bond fan will want to own. Recommended.




DVD reviews are Copyright © 1998 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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