Lewis Gilbert, director; MGM Home Entertainment; Dual Layer Widescreen
and Pan & Scan; Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Dolby Surround French;
This is the film that introduced Richard Kiel as the chrome-toothed giant assassin, Jaws, who went on to become a much more sympathetic character in Moonraker. It also features the delectable Barbara Bach as a Russian agent who teams up with Bond to defeat villain Karl Stromberg, played with appropriate menace by Curt Jurgens. Many Bond fans could never see anyone but Sean Connery in the role, but I always liked the dapper rogue that Roger Moore made of Bond, a little seamier and more of an opportunist than the heroic Connery version.
The Spy Who Loved Me is a fast-paced romp that never takes itself too seriously, and the new discrete sound track increases the fun. Both picture and sound are THX mastered, and both are very good, though I did find the dialogue track a little midrangey, even shrill, at times. The picture resolution seems just a little softer than that of either Apollo 13 or The Fifth Element, especially on the pan & scan layer. The widescreen version is anamorphic, which tends to use more of the available pixels for the stretched picture, and offers a very high resolution image throughout.
The theatrical trailer and backgrounder on the set construction are both under 4 minutes, while the special focus menu allows replay of scenes with the aquatic Lotus, the various women and villains, and the Bond-esque tricks dreamed up by Q. I was actually hoping for more background on both girls and gadgets. The special features here are more about access than accessories. But it’s the movie that matters, and The Spy Who Loved Me is a fun film.