MI6 reviews the two-disc 'Collectors Edition' Casino Royale DVD and Blu-Ray, now available in the USA and Canada...

Casino Royale DVD Review
14th March 2007

You know the name. You know the number. You also know about the film, it's story and the how it came to be, so the MI6 review of the Collectors Edition Casino Royale DVD will focus on the technical merits of the disc and the special features - not a review of the film or a recap of its production history.

The quality of the transfer is fantastic with crisp sharp edges, perfect colour balance and no noticeable encoding artifacts - helped in part by utilizing the entire first disc for the film giving it plenty of space to breathe. Explosions, fast cuts and the water sequences all look as good as they did in the theatre. Blacks are deep and true, and there is no evidence of softness on the image unless it was a creative effect. Casino Royale is probably the best transfer of a James Bond film to date, and the Blu-Ray edition displayed on a HD screen will not disappoint. Casino Royale is presented in a 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen format.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is licenced to thrill - and annoy your neighbours if you enjoy it to its fullest. The mix is extremely lively with the spot effects delivered clearly during action sequences with the bass levels rocking, but not excessively so. Levels are built up nicely through sequences and not topped out at every opportunity like most action films. Dialogue sequences are nicely delivered with no noise or perceptible volume changes. Language track availability will vary by region, but the USA & Canada release comes with a Spanish 5.1 track and French surround mix. Subtitles are provided for English, Spanish and French in Region 1.

Above: The Region 1 (USA & Canada) cover artwork for the Casino Royale DVD. Interestingly, it uses poster artwork used for the international campaign in place of the US one-sheet poster.

Special Features
There are two schools of thought when it comes to the special features on this edition of "Casino Royale". There are those who are happy that the film is available to buy so quickly after theatrical release and are more interested in watching the film again, and there are those who were looking forward to the additional material and documentaries. The latter group will be sadly disappointed by this release, especially if you live in the UK.

Above: Daniel Craig is James Bond

Chris Cornell Music Video
A nice treat to see this video in its full glory, after most fans only caught internet versions at the time of the films release. The picture and sound quality is what you would expect of a movie transfer.

Becoming Bond
A 30-minute documentary charting the origins of Casino Royale, its various incarnations, the litany of legal wranglings over the years, and Eon Production's final victory in securing the rights to make the film part of the official franchise. Producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli tell the story, with Daniel Craig's casting briefly covered by Martin Campbell. Craig talks about his approach to the role and his training, and the public reaction to his casting. Bond girl Eva Green and MI6 regular Dame Judi Dench also provide sound bytes. This documentary was originally broadcast on UK television in November 2006.

James Bond For Real
Just under 30 minutes, this documentary takes a close look at the stunt work on the movie and the 'back to basics' approach the filmmakers took to give Bond's action scenes a realistic and gritty look. The spotlight is thrown on three key sequences in the film: the opening chase to the construction site, the runway near-miss with the jet, and the sinking of the house in Venice. This documentary was originally broadcast on UK television in November 2006.

Bond Girls Are Forever
Maryam d'Abo, who played Kara Milovy in "The Living Daylights", travels around the world to interview past Bond Girls about their experience on the films and what it means to be one of 007's leading ladies. Interviewees include Maud Adams, Ursula Andress, Halle Berry, Honor Blackman, Lois Chiles, Carey Lowell, Luciana Paluzzi, Jane Seymour, Jill St. John, and Michelle Yeoh. This documentary was originally broadcast on television around the world in 2002, and has been previously distributed on DVD and various promotional tie-ins. Only a few minutes of this 'updated' documentary is fresh, with footage featuring new Bond girls Eva Green and Caterina Murino.


Unforgivably, there is not a commentary track present on the DVD. There is not even an 'MI6 data stream' feature that was used for "Die Another Day" to integrate cast and crew sound bytes with the ongoing narrative.


For the vast majority of Bond fans, purchasing Casino Royale on DVD, Blu-Ray or UMD is a given, and the picture and sound quality are fantastic and will not disappoint.

Sadly though, this edition is very light on special features, especially considering it is a two-disc volume with plenty of capacity. The two leading documentaries will already be familiar to UK viewers, and the Bond Girls Are Forever feature has been over exposed. The additional material adds up to approximately 100 minutes and will leave most fans wanting.

There are no audio commentary tracks, 'making of' documentary (as seen on the Special and Ultimate Editions of previous films), photo galleries, cut scenes, press conferences, trailers, TV spots, screen tests, or publicity materials....

The message is clear: prepare to be 'double dipped' by a fuller edition down the road with more special features, most likely to coincide with the release of Bond 22 in theatres next year - leaving this "Collectors Edition" to collect dust in a year's time.

MI6 Rating
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