In Short: Definitely not one of the better Bond films and a not terribly memorable set of extras.
The Bond Series:Live and Let Die
James Bond(Roger Moore, this time) is back, and in this edition of the bond series, 007 has to track down a drug kingpin(isn't it always those pesky drug dealers in action movies?). The result here isn't always the best of Bond; although it's not always the fault of Roger Moore. This film tends to go on a little too long and although it does contain a couple of stunts, it doesn't satisfy Bond viewers looking for action.
Much of the film's visual style and look also doesn't stand the test of time like some of the other Bond films have. Although Moore did eventually become more well-known as Bond, in this picture, he seems to be gaining his footing in the role(and the plot doesn't help him build the character much). Where some of the other Bond films gathered the elements of a successful Bond picture well, things seem a little off-balance here.
VIDEO: "Live and Let Die" looks fairly good for the most part, but it does have its flaws that are noticable in the image. Images are generally clear and sharp, providing a nice amount of detail. Colors are really quite impressive, looking natural and vibrant throughout the picture. Flesh tones are generally accurate as well.
It does go wrong in a few places though; there are a lot of easily apparent marks on the print that's used, ranging from tiny to medium in size. There are also a fair deal of dust that is noticable as well as some grain in the picture. Shimmering is apparent on occasion as well, although not to levels that I found too distracting. Some of "Live and Let Die" actually looks good, but the problem is that the image quality as a whole is simply not that consistent.
SOUND: "Live and Let Die" is very basic in the audio department. There's not much to it, but what you do hear, such as the score and dialogue, sounds quite clear and clean, without any distortion or problematic elements. Dialogue sounds clear, although a little thin at times. Listenable, but not thrilling.
MENUS: Again, very cool animated menus for "Live and Let Die". Like the rest of the Bond set, the menus have basically the same set-up, although the little adjustments in the animation that go with the theme and story of the movie. Very nicely done.
Commentary One: After listening to the second commentary track first, I was very pleased to hear the member of the Ian Fleming foundation that hosts a few other commentaries on some of the other Bond discs. Again, the "moderator" is excellent and does fantastic work filling in the gaps between comments on these discs and I have found a lot of what he alone has had to say about Bond and the history of the series to be just as interesting as most of the comments from the actual members of the Bond casts that I've heard on these first three special editions I've listened to. At this point, I've listened to Goldfinger and Licence To Kill.
Director Guy Hamilton(whose comments are also heard on the Goldfinger DVD commentary) also opens up the comments on this track by talking about what it was like to get access to the United Nations building as well as the jazz funerals of New Orleans. Other subjects that the director touches on is a lot of production information, including a very nice section of comments about how the car chase scene early in the picture was filmed and how the production was able to film in New York. He also talks about having to have to work with all of the snakes that are involved with this story, which were trained.
Jane Seymour also talks on this track, with a few notes of her memories about how it came about that she played her role in this picture, talking about the first time she met the producers as well as her audition for the picture. She also gives her opinion on the Bond character and her character's relationship with Bond.
It becomes a little noticable on this track that there are a few pauses on this track and the "moderator" talks quite a bit, filling in the gaps between talking. It's not the best of the "Bond" commentaries, but it's certainly an interesting track.
Commentary Two This is actually a screen-specific audio commentary by writer Tom Mankiewicz. A fair commentary, Mankiewicz talks quite basically about a lot of general aspects of the film, from the general concepts behind the writing of the characters to the pieces of the plot. And that's when he's actually talking. There are quite a few pauses (long and short) on this commentary.
The writer talks about the more basic pieces of a "Bond" plot as well as some of the elements that are a part of the series. There are also a lot of very small observations about various characters and scenes. What ruins this commentary somewhat is that Mankiewicz sounds pretty disinterested in the commentary process. Occasionally he offers some interesting insights, but they're few and far between. After listening to the commentary tracks on both "Licence To Kill" and "Goldfinger" that were taken from interviews and tied together with a moderator, I have to say that I found those tracks more interesting than just hearing the writer here. I'd rather have a commentary than no commentary, but I wish that MGM had included a second "interview-based" commentary on this disc rather than this track. Either that, or get a few more people involved with this discussion, because Mankiewicz on his own isn't a terribly exciting commentator.
Still Gallery::Again, this Bond special edition also has a large photo gallery that is separated into multiple sections for easy browsing. The sections on "Live and Let Die" are: The New 007, Portraits, The Filmmakers, Ross Kananga, Joe Chitwood's Driving Team, Mr. Big's Make-up, James Bond and His Gadgets, Marketing, Around the World With 007
Trailer/TV Spots: The trailer, the teaser, 2 TV spots, 2 radio spots and a UK milk board commercial.
Inside "Live and Let Die": Very similar to the other documentaries in the set, this documentary takes a look at what has gone on up until now in the Bond series and a look at the current film. This documentary takes a look at how Roger Moore was chosen, and a few notes about how Burt Reynolds was originally going to be chosen for the role.
The documentary has interviews with many of the cast and crew involved, and they talk mainly about how the film's plot was built and put together as well as some information about the production and locations(and location scouting). It's an interesting and informative look at the making of the movie, unfortunately, it's not one of the better Bonds in the series. Aside from the commentaries, this is the only other major extra feature on this disc, and it generally is at the level that the other extras in this set reached: occasionally interesting, but definitely not memorable.
Also: The trailer for the "Tomorrow Never Dies" game, a short booklet and 2 very short featurettes that contain on-set footage of Roger Moore. The 2 two featurettes aren't terribly interesting and don't provide too much information at all.
Where To Find It:
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