Blu-ray Review: ‘Skyfall’

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Blu-ray Review: ‘Skyfall’
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Movie poster for "Skyfall"

Debuting in home video format, the 23rd Bond film "Skyfall" arrives via a two-disc set consisting of a Blu-ray disc and a DVD. This combo pack houses this 2012 spy flick's Blu-ray, DVD, and digital copies, as well as a variety of extras. Daniel Craig reprises his role as the esteemed 007, which serves as his third Bond outing. The film's all-star cast also includes Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney, and Naomie Harris. Sam Mendes helms this critically and financially successful movie, which aptly celebrates the 50th year of the "James Bond" franchise.

Although expectedly inspired by the novels of Ian Fleming, this picture features a relatively original storyline meant for the screen. The material deftly lures back to the familiar 007 territory both on straightforward and symbolic levels. The story begins with a mission gone awry, then a sadistic global cyber-terrorist starts haunting M and MI6, then the flagged "unfit for duty" Bond tracks down the man behind the serious threat, no matter how personal the cost may be.

Visuals

The cinematography of Roger Deakins is worth noting for simply being downright marvelous. His work, which is also a record for being the franchise's first project to be lensed entirely in the digital domain, makes this film one of the most visually opulent entries to the Bond oeuvre. The stunning visual palette brought to the theatrical release gets perfectly reproduced in the first-rate transfer. No crucial noise and artifacts are visible anywhere in the picture.

A symphony of different tones and settings, the varying scenes deliver amazing color balance and notable textural quality for each location. A number of inventive and bold compositions with beautifully sharp details are seen throughout. These include the re-imagining of Bond's classic gun barrel sequence, the earthy palette in Turkey, the icy blues and milky whites of London, and the silhouette and florescent elements in Shanghai and Macau, just to name a few.

Audio

The package hosts two flawless five-channel audio tracks (one is a lossless track, the other is a descriptive audio track), along with alternative five-channel options in Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, and Ukrainian. Just as fulfilling aurally as it is visually, this transfer leaves audiophiles simply shaken and stirred. The aggressive sound design accurately recreates the theatrical experience.

The mix's sonic intensity combines natural groundwork with a fully enveloping escapist treat. From the well-defined environments to the seamless panning effects, the diverse aural elements in the various channels offer much clarity and precision without drawing attention to themselves. The soaring musical score boasts terrific tonal range. The speaking lines remain clear and intelligible throughout.

Supplements

The disc supplements include "Commentary with Director Sam Mendes," "Commentary with Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson and Production Designer Dennis Gassner," the "Shooting Bond" documentary, "Skyfall Premiere" footage, "Soundtrack Promotional Spot" with brief intro by composer Thomas Newman, and the film's theatrical trailer. Subtitles are available in a number of languages, which include English SDH, Spanish, Italian, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Icelandic, Latvian, Lithuanian, Mandarin (Simplified), Norwegian, Russian, and Swedish.

Final Thoughts

With resurrection, rebirth, and returning to the basics among its major themes, "Skyfall" highlights the iconic secret agent's legacy both as a character and a franchise. The classic ingenuity in its tech-based story pays homage to the famed special agent's history. This highly recommendable spy-action offering maintains its license to thrill, while carefully celebrating the continuously evolving "Bond" components at the same time. It effectively packs its narrative with clever references to the series' past, present, and future.

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