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 is one of those edits that isn't about fixing a botched movie, it's just about trying to "perfect" something that was close to brilliant anyway. I'm one of those that's of the opinion that Lazonby is a great Bond and it's the film he's in, that has the problems. OHMSS has lots of little flaws and this corrects almost all of them.
Audio/Video Quality: I watched the HD file (And alternate music/audio track) and it's pretty much equal to the Blu-Ray, without the filesize being massive. Great job.
Visual Editing: This is spot on without anything that stands out. There a few more inconsistent studio shots that I'd personally like to have seen removed, or regraded but the really bad ones are all gone.
Audio Editing: As per usual with an LS edit this feature seemless music replacement and general audio work. The music change over the closing credits is just beauiful, I'd be amazed to find any person who would not agree this was the way it should have been... including John Barry. I also feel that on the alternate-audio-track, the new instrumental-montage is also undeniably better. The opening credits change might be controversial though but with the option to remove it why not. IMO this totally transforms the movie by shifting the tone much more towards a romantic film and adds strength to every later scene where the theme is woven back in.
Narrative: The big narrative change is of course trimming a large chunk of fat from the romance and Tracy free Piz Gloria middle act. It's still hugely flawed that Tracy isn't this part of the movie (She could have easily been one quick rewrite away from being one of the brainwashed girls?) but LS gets through it very quickly so she doesn't feel "left out" anymore. There were one or two further trims that I think could have been made (e.g. Bond could have climbed across the cable-car engine room rope just the once) but that's nitpicking.
Enjoyment: The gold standard test for any "Fanfix" is "Does it replace the original?". This absolutely does for me. OHMSS was never my favourite Bond movie, but this brings it a lot closer to the top of the ranking.
Extras: The audio commentary was very enjoyable and interesting, even when you've already listened to the official commentaries and watched all the documentaries. The two other optional audio tracks are also a touch of class.