Format: DVDAnamorphic, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Special Edition, Widescreen, NTSC
List price: $124.96
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The James Bond Collection, Vol. 1 collects the same feature-packed DVDs that appeared in previous Bond boxes, but in a new combination of titles, one with a decidedly golden gleam. In 1962 Sean Connery defined the cinematic James Bond as a tough, charming, and thoroughly professional cold war spy with a license to kill in the lean, hard-edged Dr. No. With Ursula Andress (as the original Bond girl Honeychile Ryder, who makes her entrance in a bikini), Bond battles a renegade supervillain with little more than his wits, his cunning, and his Walther PPK. In Goldfinger (1964) Connery's steely presence helped forge the formula of tongue-in-cheek wit, wondrous secret agent toys created by Q, and megalomaniac supervillains bent on world destruction. Roger Moore brought a light tone and a suave assurance to the series, and in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), he battles million-dollar assassin Christopher Lee, one of Bond's most magnetic adversaries. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), perhaps Moore's finest hour, is a return to the extravagant set pieces and cold war thrills of Connery's pictures and introduces Richard Kiel's steel-dentured Jaws to the series. Timothy Dalton made his second and final appearance as Bond in Licence to Kill (1989), the toughest of the Bond films since Connery's early efforts. Though not a fan favorite, it's a sleek, solid adventure with an edge missing from the Moore pictures. Pierce Brosnan is the latest to take on the 007 mantle, combining the best of Connery's cool and Moore's humor. GoldenEye (1995) is a grand globetrotting adventure with lovely Bond girls and a tough new M (Judy Dench). Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) doesn't recapture that magic mix of action, gadgetry, and romance, but does feature the first Bond girl to match 007 blow for blow: Hong Kong action superstar Michelle Yeoh. The DVD editions of the films each feature audio commentary tracks by the director and key members of the crew, making-of documentaries, and a host of stills, TV spots, and trailers. --Sean Axmaker