Another Bond from LS always feels like X-Mas to me :-). I'm esp. thrilled that this one doesn't seek to "rescue" an obnoxious entry, but to improve upon an already good one. LS keeps showing his dedication to the Fleming spirit of the series in his stellar commentary and defines the "gold standard" together with HAL9000.
It's a pity some technical problems hamper further improvements, I for one wouldn't mind to see the cartoon-style action scenes slowed down. And I agree that "when in doubt, cut one-line jokes" is the way to go. Concerning the (on a PC screen nearly invisible) compression artifacts in the deep shadows: Afaik crazy bitrates aren't the only or best solution for this, but proper encoder tuning. I suggest you seek help on the doom9 video forum with a sample clip, esp. if you're doing the final encode with x264 this should be solvable.
But these are minor nitpicks, because LS convinced me that OMSS is a “golden age” movie and Lazenby is an authentic Bond after all. It’s amazing to see good fan-editors identify and solve key problems and how much a movie can benefit from dedicated work. After you’ve been told what the problems are, it’s all clear, but figuring it out is another matter altogether...
... and LS got it right: The basic problem I always had enjoying this one is that the Tracy love story seemed so disconnected from the dragging Bond vs. villain part. And all the references to the "real" Connery made Lazenby look like a single O who cannot decide between traditional promiscuity and being a soft Bond with a skirt. LS' edit solves these problems, and I can hardly wait what Bond movie he'll tackle next!
My favourite fan editor is BACK! And he does not disappoint!!!
The original OHMSS seems to divide many Bond fans, some praise it, others seem to loathe it. As a casual Bond watcher, it has always fallen somewhere in the middle for me. It has a fantastic cast in Rigg and Salvalas and some truly spectacular stunt work. Lazenby definitely has the physicality for Bond and exudes the needed confidence, though his inexperience at times shines through. His performance in the original was also hampered by the producers constantly injecting references to previous Bond movies in the film, thus keeping the ghost of Connery present throughout the film and causing Lazenby to never truly own the role.
Luckily, this frustrating weakness has been smartly removed by Last Survivor. The suggestion of past exploits remain, but the blatant over the top/in your face references through past movie soundtracks, one liners and trophies are gone. This small but significant change goes a long way to make Lazenby immediately more acceptable as the new OO7.
The other weakness of the original film for me has always been the second act. As soon as Tracy disappears from the screen and Bond begins his investigation/infiltration of Blofled's headquarters, the movie moves like molasses. But again, it is here LS makes the most of his cuts. His edit choices are smart and very well executed; they keep the story moving forward as fast as possible without losing any vital plot.
Last Survivor's overall edit work has improved the story significantly, and clearly enhances Lazenby's performance and proves to me he had the potential to be one of the great Bonds.
But LS's work does not end in mere story editing. As always, he has done some truly incredible audio replacement work. I watched the Alternate Audio version and was blown away! I think his music switching and changes are sheer genius and far superior to the original! Great work mate!
If I were to nit-pick....There is also a couple of instances of clever audio/dialogue dubbing that works though slightly noticeable. Also, the jump cut during the conversation between Bond and Draco is a bit off putting, I completely understand why it was done. Some of the more cringe worthy one liners remain. And there is some minor video artifacts/compression in the blacks. But none of these detract from the enjoyment I experienced with watching.
But for me, the absolute best part of this edit is Last Survivor's commentary. I have said it before, but LS delivers some of the best, most engaging, informative commentaries I have ever had the pleasure to listen to... he puts many professional dvd commentaries to shame. What I enjoy so much about his commentaries is the sheer love for the material he has and how infectious it is. When I listen to LS's love for Bond, I begin to love Bond. I see the character and the franchise in a new way. It makes me want to go out experience more Bond -- watch more Bond movies, research more about Bond, read the books, etc. Anyone and everyone who watches this or any of LS's previous edits, MUST take the time to listen to Last Survivor's insights and comments. To do otherwise, is to do your self a great disservice.
So to recap, a brilliant edit both technically and narratively. Definitely superior to the original in my opinion and well worth watching for both Bond fan and non-fan alike.
This edit is a bit polarizing for me. On the one hand, I love all the little things in this edit, the fixing of continuity errors and slight trims here and there to really tighten things and remove some of the more dated and silly elements. On the other hand, the removal of two scenes dampen my enjoyment a bit. The first is the rearranging of Campbell's ascent and capture, as I feel without the scene where they're all playing curling we lose sight of Blofeld for too long. I love Telly Savalas as Blofeld and feel the removal of this scene hurts the film by keeping him out of frame for far too long. The second is the removal of the bell room fight, one of my favorite action scenes in the film. I understand why it was cut, but I think it adds a certain element of danger to Bond's escape, that he's far from being out of the woods even when he makes it to the town. I love all the other work LastSurvivor has done, such as removing some of the egregious rear projection shots and recutting the battle at Piz Gloria to be more coherent and suspenseful, and the musical changes throughout to correct some baffling bits of tone-deafness on the part of the soundtrack. I feel that if these two scenes were retained or only slightly modified, I'd consider this a replacement for the theatrical version, hands down. Perhaps at some point in the future, there will be another version of this edit that fixes my minor quibbles. I won't hold my breath, though. However, aside from those complaints, this is a superb edit. Nearly seamless visual and audio editing and a good grasp of story and character make this an edit to seek out, even though it might not fully replace the original. It's still fun to see attention being paid to what is, in my opinion, the greatest James Bond film ever made.
A very good edit that trims away some of the problems I have with the original. Most prominently, the scenes with the Angles of Death. The film at least moves on now, instead of dies completely. Vultural's review below really says it all, so I will only commend LS's skills as a editor. Though I would argue against Vutural that this cut makes Lazenby quite alright as Bond (despite the poorly inserted one-liners they gave him). No silly callbacks and I like some of the fights in this, especially the one on the beach.
Then again, "Lazenby would always pick the wrong wine" is a wonderful description!
This is a great edit. You have taken a great Bond film and subtly improved it. You took out most of the parts that always made me cringe a little. I think you very much accomplished the goal of focusing on Tracy throughout more, which was a great idea in my opinion. I thought the cuts were smart and I personally wouldn't want them any deeper. Great job!