(Note:  All timings quoted refer to the PAL releases, unless otherwise stated)


One of the most frequently released films in the series, Goldeneye has seen many different re-releases of both full-screen and widescreen VHS releases. Indeed, in the UK, customers were originally offered a limited edition, numbered box set, similar in style to the one On Her Majesty's Secret Service was released in, this time containing a widescreen version of the film, a Goldeneye pen, a reduction of a 007 magazine back issue that detailed the making of the film, and a CD single of Tina Turner-sung theme song. This single is actually the only place that the film version of the theme tune can be obtained, complete with the climactic, definite ending heard in the movie, rather than the fade-out heard on the soundtrack album. The VHS releases were bettered by various laserdisc releases, one of which was, I believe, anamorphic and lucky enough to be graced with what was by all accounts a magnificent DTS track. This was followed by many DVD releases, both vanilla and, later, special editions.

Goldeneye is the second of the two films in the Ultimate Edition range that would appear to have been sloppily treated, especially distressing to this writer, since I find Goldeneye to be one of the most purely enjoyable films in the entire canon.

Whilst it is correctly framed at around 2.35:1, Goldeneye is, as with A View To A Kill, horrendously cropped, grainy, and dull-looking. A plus this time out is that it is uncut for the first time in the UK, restoring all of the head-butts removed in previous editions (amongst them, one delivered by Onatopp to Natalya in the jungle scrap, two featured in the dazzling fist fight between Bond and Trevelyan in the dish’s gear room, and one towards the end, during Bond and Trevelyan’s very final tussle, the details of which are featured below). The UK was the only country to make these edits, and as such, there is nothing additional here for purchasers from other countries to get excited over (though this latest release also sees the inclusion of a variety of deleted scenes, previously unreleased anywhere). Sadly, the dreaded player-generated captions make their return, dragging the viewer out of the film, and generally making a nuisance of themselves.


Comparative Live and Let Die screen-grabs

TOP: Region 1 Special Editions  (2000)         BOTTOM: Region 2 Ultimate Editions  (2006)

Note: player-generated captions at their ugliest: no attempt has been made to replicate the font, case, colour - it's not called Goldeneye for nothing! - placement or timing of the captions on the Ultimate Edition. (The two grabs are not of the same frame - the caption has disappeared by this frame in the Ultimate Edition).




Currently, the best version of this film can be found on the out-of-print R1 SE, which is uncut, handsome looking, and retains the original, burnt-in captions.

For completists, it is worth noting that the original UK edit actually contained one unique shot not seen in any other version. During the final scrap between Bond and Trevelyan, there is a shot of Trevelyan being distracted as he hears the arrival of a helicopter behind him, and turning to look over his shoulder. We then cut to the interior of the helicopter, in which we see Natalya. In the uncut version, after the close-up of Natalya, we cut to a long shot of Bond striking down with his elbow to remove Trevelyan’s hold on him, and then head-butting and kicking Trevelyan over the edge of the gantry they are laid on. In order to remove the head-butt, the UK version instead replaces the start of this long shot with a close-up of Bond, using his elbow in much the same way as the long shot and lunging at Trevelyan (this lunge is no doubt the same head-butt as seen in the long shot, but without the sound effect added), at which point, we cut to the long shot of him kicking Trevelyan off the gantry, as with the uncut version. This change was no doubt implemented to appease the BBFC, in order to remove the obvious head-butt Bond delivers to Trevelyan in the long shot. The unique shot can be found on the very early releases of this film at 117’ 05”.


Not a favourite of mine, however it is a welcome move that the UK has now been granted with an uncut release. The UE is framed a little more tightly than the SE, whilst still retaining an approximate 2.35:1 ratio, and the colour has also been altered (snow becoming pink in hue, etc.). Once more, player-generated captions make their presence felt, with one exception. Immediately after the title sequence, the caption “HMS Devonshire” is retained in its blue, burnt-in state. I can only assume that this is because it is part of the same shot that includes the director’s credit at the end of the title sequence. I would imagine the only other option would have been to go back to a clean version of this shot, and player-generate both the director’s credit and the caption, so it was decided to leave that one shot as it was originally seen, for ease.

Deleted scenes also make their debut with the UE release.


A return to the less frenetic style, more cerebral style of Goldeneye, this remarkably entertaining feature is presented in a version that is far better encoded than the previous release, which at times could turn into a blocky and artefact-riddled mess, this latest release is still not without its faults. Whilst on the previous release, all subtitles and captions were player-generated, most of them this time are burnt-in. I say most, because one scene lets the side down (the sequence in which Elektra agrees to divert the pipeline around a sacred shrine that would otherwise have to be demolished). Apart from this one stumble, they’re burnt-in all the way. Another black mark against this release is that the title sequence, as with Moonraker, appears to have been horizontally squeezed (presumably to avoid losing any of the credits to overscan). The textless version on disc two is not squeezed in this way, and neither was the title sequence on the SE. Added to this new edition are a whole host of deleted scenes and a powerful DTS track.


And so we come to this shamefully awful, final entry (to date) in the series. In all honesty, there are few discs available right now that are better-looking than the original SE, and, whilst the colours look a little colder on the UE, there are no other discernable differences. Likewise Die Another Day’s DTS track has few equals, making for an enveloping, if ear-shredding, experience. However, player-generated subtitles and captions return once more, to plague an otherwise lovely looking and sounding release. This is particularly galling in the case of Die Another Day, since this entry uses them extensively throughout, more so than in any other film in the series. The R2, unlike the R1, is uncut. The R1 would appear to have some material removed during the love scene between Bond and Jinx, though there are conflicting reports as to whether any actual footage has been removed, or if it is merely sounds of Jinx gasping in delight that have been deleted.

With thanks to Julian Knott here at Zeta Minor, Tim Lucas, Glenn Erickson, and Nathanial Thompson at Video Watchdog, Glenn Erickson again under his DVD Savant guise at dvdtalk, Mike Fillis, and various posters at mi6, bulletsnbabes, commanderbond, thedvdforums, and, of course, Roobarb’s DVD Forum and staff members at the BBFC. Oh, and George Lazenby, for being so cool, and Barbara Bouchet for, well, breathing really.



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