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Site created 12/15/97.


review added: 10/18/99



Tomorrow Never Dies

review by Bill Hunt, editor of The Digital Bits


The James Bond Special Edition DVD Collection



Tomorrow Never Dies: Special Edition

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Tomorrow Never Dies: Special Edition
1997 (1999) - MGM/UA

Film Rating: B+

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/A/A+

Specs and Features:

117 mins, PG-13, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 1:24:13, at start of chapter 21), Amaray keep case packaging, 2 audio commentaries (one with director Roger Spottiswoode and Dan Petrie, Jr., and another with stunt director Vic Armstrong and producer Michael G. Wilson), The Secrets of 007 documentary, storyboard-to-film comparisons for 9 scenes, isolated music score, interview with composer David Arnold, special FX reel, theatrical trailer, teaser trailer, gadget file (with video and narration), Sheryl Crow Tomorrow Never Dies music video, booklet, "computer interface" style animated film-themed menu screens with sound and music, scene access (28 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1) and French (DD 2.0), subtitles: English, French and Spanish, Close Captioned





Tomorrow Never Dies: Special Edition (original)

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Tomorrow Never Dies: Special Edition
1997 (1998) - MGM/UA

Film Rating: B+

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/A/A+

Specs and Features:

117 mins, PG-13, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 1:24:13, at start of chapter 21), Amaray keep case packaging, 2 audio commentaries (one with director Roger Spottiswoode and Dan Petrie, Jr., and another with stunt director Vic Armstrong and producer Michael G. Wilson), The Secrets of 007 documentary, storyboard-to-film comparisons for 9 scenes, isolated music score, interview with composer David Arnold, special FX reel, theatrical trailer, teaser trailer, gadget file (with video and narration), Sheryl Crow Tomorrow Never Dies music video, booklet, "computer interface" style animated film-themed menu screens with sound and music, scene access (28 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1) and French (DD 2.0), subtitles: English, French and Spanish, Close Captioned



Tomorrow Never Dies

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Tomorrow Never Dies
1997 (1998) - MGM/UA

Film Rating: B+

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/A/D+

Specs and Features:

117 mins, PG-13, letterboxed widescreen (2.35:1), 16x9 enhanced, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, dual-layered (widescreen on one layer, full frame on the other), Amaray keep case packaging, theatrical trailer, booklet, animated film-themed menu screens with music, scene access (28 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1) & French (DD 2.0), subtitles: English, French & Spanish, Closed Captioned

Pierce Brosnan's second turn as 007 is a little lacking in believability, but boasts more than enough good action to make up for it. Imagine if either Ted Turner or Rupert Murdoch decided that there just wasn't enough news happening in the world to keep people watching their respective news networks, so they started making news of their own, by instigating military crises, and manipulating world political powers. Okay, so maybe that isn't so hard to believe. I mean, Turner was the guy who started colorizing classic B&W movies, right? Hhmmmm....

Here's the drill. Bond is busy investigating a notorious arms dealer's latest activities, when the Chinese air force suddenly attacks and sinks a British warship in international waters, initiating a potential global conflict. But, oops... media magnate Elliot Carver (Jonathan Pryce) got the story published in his newspapers a little too fast. So 007 is sent undercover, to the launch party for Carver's new satellite news network, to investigate. As luck would have it, Bond's got a history with Carver's wife Paris (Teri Hatcher), whom M directs Bond to "pump for information" (for Queen and country, of course). Turns out Bond still loves her, and he does indeed get his information, but a jealous Carver takes hasty action, and the case suddenly becomes very personal for 007. Soon enough, Bond discovers that Carver did have a hand in the sinking, but he's not the only one snooping around Carver's digs. He bumps into a Chinese agent named Wai Lin (as in Colonel Wai Lin, played by Hong Kong action star Michelle Yeoh), and before long, Carver's hired every thug on Earth to kill them both. So an unlikely alliance is formed between the two agents, and they've got just 48 hours to expose the truth and prevent all-out war.

The whole media-baron-bad-guy thing doesn't quite work for me somehow, but Pryce is likable enough that he just manages to sell it, even taking a poke at Bill Gates in the process - very funny. This film has some great action sequences, and is very well written and directed. Great dialogue abounds, with some nice, tongue-in-cheek moments with M (Judi Dench), Q and Moneypenny. And the addition of Michelle Yoeh is great stunt casting. You've probably seen her before, kicking butt in Jackie Chan movies, and she really bumps things up a notch here. I'd personally like to see a Bond film that is darker, particularly while Brosnan is still involved in the franchise - this go-round can be a little generic feeling. Still you've still got to enjoy Tomorrow Never Dies.

And there's no better way to do that than on DVD - you've got three separate DVD releases to try (okay, so two of them are virtually identical). The film was first released on DVD in mid-1998, in what is basically a movie-only edition. The disc included both full frame and anamorphic widescreen, and a theatrical trailer, and that's all. That holiday season, MGM released a jam-packed special edition version of the film on disc, which became one of the highest-selling DVDs of the time. That version was later pulled from store shelves, when the Bond films went on DVD moritorium. But that's about to change, as the very same special edition DVD is about to be re-released (with new case artwork, and a new booklet) in the James Bond Special Edition DVD Collection.

The special edition disc includes only the anamorphic widescreen, but it's of very good quality. There's good color, contrast and shadow delineation, with only light edge enhancement, and light film grain. The print is very clean looking - little dust and other such print artifacts can be seen. Note that this is the same transfer that appeared on the original DVD. The English 5.1 audio is also excellent, with rich deep bass, clear dialogue, a well-mixed score, and excellent use of the rear channels. You'll hear plenty of atmospheric fill, nifty directional sound effects, and lots of channel-to-channel panning. Sound is also available in French 2.0.

As with all the new Bond special edition discs, this first SE boasts an impressive array of supplements and viewing options. You get two very good audio commentary tracks, one with director Roger Spottiswoode and a colleague (Dan Petrie, Jr., who serves as a sort of interviewer), and another with the film's stunt director, Vic Armstrong, and producer Michael J. Wilson. There's an excellent documentary, the 45-minute Secrets of 007. You also have the full theatrical and teaser trailers, a brief special effects reel (about 4 minutes, showing before and after video), the Sheryl Crow music video for the title song, a computer access-like section where you can learn about Bond's gadgets (with video and voice-over narration), an isolated music track, and an interview with composer David Arnold. Finally, you're given the option to watch 9 segments of the film, with overlay-style storyboard panels (on the lower corner of the screen) for comparison. This would be a cool idea, if you could actually see the storyboards themselves. But they're sort of keyed in over the video as mono-chrome subtitle pages (black lines only), and they're very hard to view, as they flash by quickly. If we were looking at the actual, complete storyboards, this would work great. That's my only real complaint about the entire disc. As one would expect, all of these extras are accessible via nifty computer interface-style animated menu screens, also by 1K Studios (although these menus are slightly different in style from the menus on the newer special edition discs, as they were done earlier).

Tomorrow Never Dies may have been the first special edition DVD version of a Bond film, but it fits in with the new discs nicely. If you already own this DVD, you don't have to buy it again - other than cosmetic differences, they're the exact same disc. But if you don't have it yet, and you're interested, don't hesitate. And why not pick up the whole set while you're at it? For Queen and country, of course...

Bill Hunt
billhunt@thedigitalbits.com

A look at 1K Studio's animated menus for Tomorrow Never Dies...
Tomorrow Never Dies menu animation

Tomorrow Never Dies menu animation

Tomorrow Never Dies menu animation


The James Bond Special Edition DVD Collection

Tomorrow Never Dies (movie only)


Tomorrow Never Dies: Special Edition


The James Bond DVD Collection, Volume One


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