DVD Review: Diamonds Are Forever (Ultimate Edition 2-Disc Set)
Release Date: November 7, 2006
· Guy Hamilton
· Sean Connery
· Jill St. John
· Charles Gray
· Bernard Lee
· Desmond Llewelyn
by Chad Maddux
Published: December 2, 2006
It's the film that spawned the character of Dr. Evil in the "Austin Powers" series. Charles Gray plays Ernst Blofeld, the nemesis in "Diamonds are Forever."
It also marks Sean Connery's final apperance as Agent 007.
James Bond is tasked with uncovering the mystery behind stolen African diamonds. Jill St. John stars as Tiffany Case, the Bond girl for this film. Originally released in 1971 and based upon the Ian Flemming book of the same title, the film is very different from the Bond films of the current era. The graphics, which were cutting edge for their time, look comical in their simplicity to someone who grew up watching the graphic-intensive Bond releases of the 1990s.
Blofeld is planning to use the diamonds in a laser beam satellite. Bond, however, believes he has already killed Blofeld but, as it turns out, Bond simply killed one of Blofeld's body doubles. The story is entertaining, as most of the Bond films are, especially the older ones. Sean Connery is exceptional in portraying his most well-known character. Jill St. John, on the other hand, is one of my least-favorite Bond girls, possibly due to her red hair.
Also available for purchase, James Bond Ultimate Edition Volume 2, James Bond Ultimate Edition Volume 3, and James Bond Ultimate Edition Volume 4.
Bernard Lee returns as M and Desmond Llewelyn, my all-time favorite Bond character, returns as Q in their seventh and sixth appearances, respectively. Putter Smith and Bruce Glover star as Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint, two of Blofeld's accomplices. The appearances of these characters are especially interesting because it is the only time I know of that a Bond film has included gay characters.
Interestingly absent from this film are the Bond gadgets and the Bond car that we have come to know and love. Although there are a few gadgets, they were a relative disappointment. The film does feature one of the best theme songs, "Diamonds are Forever" performed by Shirley Bassey.
Included in this updated release are a plethora of bonus features. I'll begin with my favorite, a 1971 BBC interview of Sean Connery. Rarely do I enjoy interview segments but this particular interview, from 35 years ago, was very interesting; Connery was engaging. There is a brief lesson in close quarter combat and an interactive guide to the film. Standard bonus features include several deleted scenes and expanded scenes, original trailers, and TV commercials.
The film has been remastered which you can see and hear from the high-quality video and audio, presented in Widescreen 2:35:1 with optional DTS Surround or 5.1 Dolby Surround sound. English and French audio tracks are available with subtitles available in English, French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Korean, and Thai. The presentation was impressive, packaged with a stylish DVD menu. This release was packaged in a double-disc slim case with an accompanying 6-page booklet.
This release is part of the new DVD release "James Bond Ultimate Edition Volume 1." This 10-disc set includes five double-disc sets of the films "Goldfinger," "Diamonds are Forever," The Man With The Golden Gun," "The Living Daylights," and "The World is Not Enough."
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following recommendation applies to the entire 10-disc set. For any Bond aficionado, this set is the perfect Christmas gift. This relatively inexpensive box set contains many, many hours of entertainment, featuring the best clarity most of these films have ever had. The plethora of bonus features and collectible booklets compliment the films extraordinarily well.
Feature Grade: B-
Bonus Features Grade: B
Box Set Grade: A-