Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Casino Royale DVD

Well, I got my review copy of Casino Royale from Sony today, and managed, over the course of three physically painful sittings, to watch the movie again and look over the extra features.

First of all, I found I enjoyed the movie more this time than I did when I saw it in the theater. While I haven't changed most of my original opinions, the pacing didn't seem so "off" to me on this viewing, and I guess it was the difference in sound systems, but Craig didn't seem to be mumbling his lines so much this time around. Still not sure why Judi Dench was in there, but she was great in the role, as always. Also, I didn't really pay attention to the music when I saw this on the big screen, but I think it may be David Arnold's best Bond score to date, and I'll be ordering the CD as soon as I can afford it.

The DVD transfer is – as one might expect from a brand-new movie – beautiful to behold: a razor-sharp 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation to die for. The sound mix – even on my antiquated system – was perfectly balanced and robust. Nothing to complain about there.

The bonus features are a disgrace though, and absolutely scream that Sony intends to double-, triple- and re-dip this film over and over again forever. All you get two extremely light, superficial EPK*-styled featurettes, a music video (that relies heavily on film clips) and the Bond Girls Are Forever documentary from several years ago, which has been updated slightly with a couple minutes of new footage featuring the Casino Royale gals. There's also a slew of unrelated Sony trailers – but no trailers, TV spots or poster/photo galleries for Casino Royale itself. There's no director's commentary, no on-screen trivia tracks, no Daniel Craig screen tests – really nothing much of any note or extra value.

Compared to every other DVD presentation of a Bond film (with the understandable exception of MGM's bare bone Never Say Never Again disc), this 2-disc edition is a major disappointment. Even the DVD of 1967's farcical version of Casino Royale with Woody Allen and David Niven had better extras!

Sure, if they hadn't sent it to me, I would have bought it anyway, because I'm an incurable Bondophile. But I do strongly resent the blatantness of Sony's cynical marketing, and I recommend sticking with an overnight rental for pretty much anyone else.

Unless, of course, you're as nutty as I am about Her Majesty's Secret Servant... in which case you're going to buy it anyway. And I can't blame you for that!

*Electronic Press Kit, for the uninitiated.

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