International man of mystery 007 - James Bond has now been licensed to kill in 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray in the 007: The Daniel Craig Collection. With franchise highs and lows in one set, the action and excitement sparkle with terrific new 4K UHD Dolby Vision transfers while the audio mixes from previous Blu-rays have been recycled. While not the actor's "complete" collection of Bond films, this set showcases that 2160p fans are in for a real treat with James Bond. The new transfers are fantastic - especially the later two films with their native 4K presentations. Highly Recommended
"Shaken or stirred?"
"Do I look like I give a damn?"
From Connery to Lazenby back to Connery onto Moore then to Dalton off to Brosnan and now with Daniel Craig facing his grand finale as James Bond. Who will be the new Bond? Will there be another James Bond? A Jane Bond? Whatever direction the Broccoli family decides to take England's number 1 badass - it'll certainly be interesting and spark a metric ton of debate within the fanbase. But that's par for the course for this franchise. Every actor has sparked some debate of one kind or another.
From Doctor No to the upcoming No Time To Die marking 25 official films in the franchise - with a couple of side entries if you chose to accept those entries - that's a hell of a long run for any franchise. Craig has arguably left an indelible mark of the series depending of course on who you ask. Some love his turn that started with Casino Royale, the franchise's first true sequel Quantum of Solace, the excellent Skyfall, and the somewhat divisive but return to traditional formula Spectre. Others are less passionate.
For me personally, it doesn't get much better than Skyfall with Casino Royale running a close second. I loved their thriller focus and rough-edged fisticuff fight sequences. Taking a cue from the Bourne franchise, this Bond is a spy who knows how to take a lot of hits before delivering his own fatal blow. It's a dramatic departure from the campy Rodger Moore and sly adventures of Sean Connery. Not since Benicio Del Torro got pitched into an industrial cocaine grinder have we seen our favorite super spy dispatch villains with such brutal and somewhat heartless tactics and not punt a joke or two.
With Quantum of Solace, I'm torn by the appreciation for crafting the first direct sequel to a Bond film but at the same time, I can't forgive the film's numerous shortcomings. Similarly for Spectre, a smart setup to reintroduce a familiar favorite villain is tainted by the need to have some sort of arching through-line that connects all of these films together. No Time To Die will be the last stamp Craig gets to put on the character and I truly hope he goes out on a strong note. We Don't need another Die Another Day or very awkward View to a Kill for the actor's final bow in the role.
007: The Daniel Craig Collection - as incomplete as it is - does allow you to the opportunity to reexamine the man's tenure as 007. Even though I disliked Quantum and had serious misgivings about Spectre on first viewings. Watching them again in quick succession I like them better than I did in the theater. I sill have some grievances with his flicks but they're all a great time - and that's the opinion I have for every Bond actor. Roger Moore's films may be campy, but it's hard to deny their entertainment value and I will forever have a soft spot for Dalton's Licence to Kill as the first Bond movie I saw in the theater with my dad when I was 6 years old. Craig likely won't be the last Bond to requisition a PPK from Q Branch, slip on a tux, and chug down a dry shaken martini. We'll just have to wait until next April to see if he goes out with a bang or a whimper.
In my view:
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
007: The Daniel Craig Collection arrives on 4K from MGM/20th Century Fox in an 8-disc 4K UHD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + digital set. The four region-free 4K UHD Blu-ray BD-66 discs are housed in their own 4-disc black case while the four standard Region A BD-50 Blu-rays are housed in their own 4-disc case that is essentially the existing 007: The Daniel Craig Collection Blu-ray set. Each set gives you a digital copy slip - why you'd need two I don't know. Give one to a cousin maybe? The slip in the 4K case redeems through FoxRedeem to VUDU but only in HDX as of this writing. Hopefully, the set will upgrade to full 4K in time - but we'll have to wait and see.
Given that Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace were both finished on a 2K Digital Intermediate, I wasn't expecting much of a leap in overall quality but there are moments in Both films where I am flat out stunned by the improvements in quality and the enhanced colors, black levels, and contrast thanks to a smart Dolby Vision HDR application.
Likewise, Skyfall and Spectre are equally impressive with their native 4K presentations and Dolby Vision both offering deep inky blacks, clear details, bold colors, and improved contrast. I had to move through these in relatively quick order but I had a hard time not stopping and rewatching favorite segments over and over again. They were already were beasts on SDR Blu-ray but the added resolution and expanded color really bring these movies to life.
Casino Royale enjoys a big improvement in detail and fine grain structure with this exclusive to 4K Unrated Cut. I haven't been able to ascertain if they went back to the original elements and minted a new 4K DI or reused the original 2K DI, but this is damn beautiful looking stuff! The opening black and white intro always looked grainy and gritty - by design - but now those harsh whites and inky blacks of the bathroom assassination really pop with excellent shadow gradience giving the image some amazing depth. When the film moves to Madagascar with that infamous chase sequence with hardcore parkour - colors leap off the screen and fine details in facial features, clothing and set design come to life. I also noticed some more refinement in the grain structure allowing it to look more natural. The scene in particular that caught my eye with some disc flipping was after Bond gets cornered in the embassy just before he blows up the conveniently placed gas cans, the Blu-ray had a bit noisier grain field where the new 4K still has a grain texture to it but it isn't nearly as noisy and actually allows some fine details and colors to pop.
These small but noteworthy improvements move on through Quantum of Solace. While this isn't a favorite Bond film for me, I couldn't help but stare at how damn good looking it is. The opera sequence where Bond identifies his targets in the audience is a great example. Those deep inky blacks mixed with the colors of the show and how they cast the light onto the faces in the audience is beautiful stuff. I was also really impressed with how the final desert showdown looks with the bright crisp colors with the sandy yellows and bright blue sky. With some of the big action sequences requiring a lot of CGI - the parachute sequence in particular - really stand out with the Dolby Vision HDR. Not completely distracting because they always kinda looked sketchy, but the iffy effects stand out even more now. Again, not a favorite movie but it's beautiful to look at.
Skyfall is just damn beautiful stuff. I mean, it's Roger Deakins with Oscar-nominated cinematography in native 4K with Dolby Vision! It's probably the best of this set. It's incredible to look at - virtually every frame a cinematic portrait. While the Dolby Vision HDR does highlight some of the iffy CGI work - especially in the opening motorcycle chase sequence - the results of the image are superb offering notable increases in fine details and textures as well as colors, black levels, and contrast. I have so many favorite moments in this movie but one particular sequence of the film is the full siege of Skyfall as Bond makes his preparations in his family's old home and the subsequent firelight chase in the final moments. The deep blacks punctured by the bright white sky in the daytime and then the oppressive night shots with those flickering flames - I rewatched that whole sequence at least four times before I made myself move on to Spectre.
Speaking of Spectre… while it wasn't Roger Deakins behind the camera, Hoyte Van Hoytema delivered one of the best opening shots of any Bond movie ever with the Day of the Dead celebration single-take shot. That whole sequence just shines in native 4K with Dolby Vision - as does the rest of the movie. The range of beautiful and exotic locations looks fantastic. When Bond crashes the Spectre meeting and sees Blofeld, those deep shadows with golden lights is gorgeous stuff. Again, some of the iffier effects shots do stand out - the numerous "sucked out of a window" digital kills look darn cartoony - but the rest of the image sparkles offering obvious improvements in details, colors, black levels and contrast.
Taken as a whole the 4K UHD Blu-ray with Dolby Vision HDR presentations found in 007: The Daniel Craig Collection offer significant and notable improvements in overall picture quality. Even with Casino and Quantum working from 2K Digital Intermediates, they enjoy the sort of visual punch you expect from a high-end format like this while Skyfall and Spectre are the clear heavyweights of the set offering near reference quality presentations. Seeing these movies with this level of refinement gives me hope of what we could someday possibly see with the classic Sean Connery movies, fingers crossed that day comes soon.
While these films were never mixed originally for an object-based audio system, it is a bit of a letdown that they don't feature DTS:X or an Atmos audio mix. They're still perfectly good audio tracks, Spectre's original DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix is still an aggressive beast, but I was hoping for an upgrade. Switching on my setups DTS Neural:X function helped give these tracks some extra punch so if you're enabled for that I'd give it a go.
Read our original Blu-ray reviews for a full breakdown of these audio tracks:
As is the case with most catalog releases these days, 007: The Daniel Craig collection keeps most of the bonus features on the standard Blu-rays.
Casino Royal - 4K Disc
Audio Commentary Crew Commentary
Skyfall - 4K Disc
Audio Commentary featuring Sam Mendes
Audio Commentary featuring Michael G. Wilson, Barbara Broccoli, and Dennis Gassner
The rest of the classic bonus features are maintained on the included standard Blu-ray discs.
James Bond is licensed to dominate 4K UHD with 007: The Daniel Craig Collection. Given their recent vintage and that at least two of the films - Skyfall and Spectre are presented in native 4K - this is a good omen for future Bond releases on the format. Craig was the steward of the modern Bond, a "blunt object" not above some hand-to-hand fisticuff action that puts audiences in the thick of the grit. Some love these four films, some are a little nonplussed by them - but that's true for every actor to utter the iconic "Bond, James Bond" signature catchphrase.
007: The Daniel Craig Collection arrives on 4K UHD in an 8-disc set from MGM/20th Century Fox and the results are often stunning. The 4K UHD Blu-rays offer clear noteworthy improvements to the video with richer details, bolder colors, and crisp whites and inky blacks. Audio may only be the original DTS-HD MA tracks from the original Blu-ray releases, but they're still beasts and sound even better with DTS Neural:X kicked on. No new bonus features make it to the 4K discs. As amazing as this set is, my complaint is that it isn't complete. No Time To Die is easily 10 months to a full year away from its own 4K UHD Blu-ray release making this set a shelf space oddity. I would have loved it if MGM/20th Century Fox had issued these films in single releases or at the very least left open space for the new film to "slip into" this box set. Still, this is still a damned exciting release. If you don't mind buying all of these in one shot and just having the new film sit next to it - for the price point for these four films it's a hard one to pass up. Highly Recommended.