Casino RoyaleCollector's Edition Casino RoyaleCollector's Edition
Before he can be licensed to kill, James Bond (Daniel Craig) must earn his stripes. With two quick professional assassinations, he is elevated to "00" status and M (Judi Dench) sends him on his first mission that takes him to Madagascar, the Bahamas, and eventually Montenegro to face Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), a ruthless terrorist financier, in high-stakes poker game at the Casino Royale.
When I first learned that Daniel Craig was to be cast as Bond, I wasn't sure he fit the role of the sophisticated spy. Boy was I wronghe delivered in spades! Like a young Connery, he's on the brink of recklessness but never loses control. Martin Campbell returns to direct a Bond film for the first time since GoldenEye, and he has not only refreshed the franchise but improved it immensely.
Utilizing the same AVC encode from last year's single-disc Blu-ray release, Casino Royale doesn't disappoint. The opening black-and-white scene shows every fleck of grain with no compression issues, and when the color photography kicks in, the boosted palette is enhanced by inky blacks with rich shadow detail. Overall detail is very good, although the casino segments are just a bit soft in this otherwise nearly perfect video transfer.
From the opening credits, the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack is certainly a crowd pleaser. The music is dynamic, and the Bond theme has never sounded this good. The surround channels get a great workout in the many action scenes, and the front soundstage is wide and deep. LFE is very good, although it doesn't quite live up to some other tracks I've heard recently, like The Incredible Hulk, but in all honesty, I'm splitting hairs. After recently sitting through six classic Bond flicks, this aural experience blows the catalog titles away.
Boasting over seven hours of extras not included with the original Blu-ray release, the collector's edition takes full advantage of Profile 1.1 (BonusView) and 2.0 (BD-Live) with a PIP visual commentary as well as a "Know Your Double-O" BD-Live trivia game that pits Bond fans around the world against each other. Additional supplements on the second disc include a bevy of documentaries, behind-the-scenes features, deleted/extended scenes, a storyboard sequence, music video, and an audio commentary with the creative team.
Before Casino Royale, Bond was beginning to lose his luster with me. Brosnan was getting a little long in the tooth, and much like Batman Begins, it was time to start over. The collector's edition leaves little room for criticism with a nearly perfect audio and video presentation, and the supplements offer an in-depth look at Bond in the 21st century. Highly recommended.
Release Date: October 21, 2008
JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)
Onkyo Pro 85 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 Amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner
M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer
Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector