Bond on blu-ray

The twenty-two James Bond films, from Dr. No to Quantum of Solace, from Connery to Craig, comprise my entire childhood. I can still remember that fateful day when as a young child I purchased a VHS tape of The Spy Who Loved Me from a market whilst on holiday in Durham, and that equally fateful day when I decided to watch it. Instantly I was filled with exciting images of car chases, dastardly villains, gunshots, brilliant theme tunes, more explosions than you could shake a stick at and the coolest spy ever committed to celluloid; in fact, six incarnations of him! I became an avid fan and set to work on viewing each of Bond’s numerous outings.

Nobody does it better.

Eventually there came a long hiatus when my VHS tapes suddenly became redundant and DVD rolled in. I didn’t watch a Bond film for three, perhaps four years, until Casino Royale exploded into cinemas. I thoroughly enjoyed the modern take on Ian Fleming’s first novel featuring the iconic spy, but hated its follow-up, Quantum of Solace, and thus another hiatus took place. It wasn’t until this year that I ultimately sat down in front of my television with a recorded Dr. No on my DVD-TV hard drive and indulged myself in classic Bond.

Dr. No

It was just brilliant. I loved every second of it; I may have preferred Roger Moore when I was eight years old, but I can now safely say that Sean Connery is Bond. There’s simply no argument about it. The film was exciting enough with its double-crossing characters and classic action set-pieces, but re-watching the film came a realisation. As a child, I had asked my mother: “Why is there a woman in every Bond film? Surely there’s got to be one that doesn’t have a woman.” I still haven’t found one, but Ursula Andress’ quite famous entrance from the Caribbean sea delighted me as I saw a side of Bond that I hadn’t quite noticed before. The oft-cited expression “The men want to be him… the woman just want him” suddenly made sense; I enjoyed the film even more than I did when I first watched it.

Ursula Andress' immortal entrance into film history

It is with this very personal introduction, therefore, that I address Metro Goldwyn-Mayer. I’ve wanted to rediscover the Bond films for a long time but the recent selected release of Blu-rays has prompted me to be patient. This is what was recently released in shops:

Features Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Thunderball, For Your Eyes Only, Live and Let Die and Die Another Day

Fair enough; certain Bond films such as Goldfinger have been released individually. But what a weird choice for a boxset. For Your Eyes Only? Die Another Day? Surely not classic Bond outings. What aggravates me the most is that while not all the films have yet been released, reviews suggest that the ones already out look absolutely astonishing on blu-ray. This is what stops me from getting a DVD boxset, yet I’ve been waiting for too long. This message is to you, MGM studios, put in large font for more of an effect:

My guess is they’ll release them in a big boxset next year for the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. No (and the release of the new film, Skyfall, which has the new Q!), but that’s still too long. I want to rediscover the thrill of Goldfinger, the mystery of Live and Let Die and the brilliant set-pieces of The Spy Who Loved Me in their full glory. Some of the greatest films ever made are Bond films. I honestly cannot wait another day.


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