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Diamonds Are Forever, 2006 double disc Ultimate Edition - Connery steps down as Bond, as cold as ice and a sparkle in his eye
on 24 August 2010
This is the Seventh outing for superspy James Bond, and marks a return to the series for Sean Connery, for the last time.
After George Lazenby's departure (he feared he would be typecast) the producers managed to tempt Connery back into the fold one more time with a $10M paycheck (which Connery gave to charity) and the opportunity to make a film of his own choosing (the powerful `Offence').
This time out Bond is investigating the smuggling of diamonds, and finds that Blofeld is yet again manufacturing some weapon with which to hold the world to ransom.
The film is big and lavish, and marks what I consider to be the start of a downwards slope for Bond. The emphasis is less on plot, and more on big stunts and humour. The stunts are big exciting and the humour (especially Mr Kidd and Mr Wint are generally well done, but the tone is very different to the glory days of `From Russia With Love', or even the preceding `On Her Majesty's Secret Service'. There is less atmosphere, and less of a feeling that Bond and the world are really in any kind of danger. Personally it is not wholly to my taste.
The guest stars shine - Charles Gray is an effective Blofeld. Slightly camper than his predecessors in the role, but he still manages to exude an aura of evil genius. Jimmy Dean (a country singer who originally sang Big Bad John) makes a decent good ole country boy Texan millionaire and Jill St John makes a decent Bond girl, a bit less of a damsel in distress than most which makes a pleasant change. Three stars for the film itself.
This ultimate edition really is the best version of the film I have owned. The picture has been lovingly restored and cleaned up, and looks amazing. Really, I am not just saying that. It looks superb. The sound has been similarly treated and there is an option to listen to it in 5.1 DTS surround, which is truly exceptional.
As well as the superb presentation of the film, there is also a host of extras, original trailers, informative audio commentaries and the such. These are exhaustive and some of them quite interesting. But these really a garnish for the main course, which is the film itself.
This is an excellent release, and does the film justice. This series of `Ultimate editions' really sets the standard for film releases. It really does not get any better.