Tag Archives: James Bond

Craig-Bond is dead! Long live Bond!

I mean, the rumours are getting more and more frequent. I feel it’s more likely than not that Daniel Craig is out as James Bond.

Tom Hiddleston–who’d been a popular pick ages ago and sort of fell off the radar for a while amidst talks of Idris Elba (the world would never be so lucky), Damian Lewis (uh, no, because the only ginger for the job is Harry), and Aidan Turner (too cute and impish, IMO)–somehow closed shop for the bookmakers with his assured Bondness.

Follow the Tom hyperlink and you’ll read a lot that’s similar to how I feel. He’s not, initially, my top choice. The anonymity of Connery and Craig are a big part of why I liked them. But there’s his past that adds to it, and there’s an edge that makes him more than Moore and Brosnan (it might be that Loki thing I can’t shake). Should it be him, I’m definitely OK with it.

This might be all hype, all talk, all part of the beginning of the fervour around Bond 25. But with how tidily Spectre ended things, and Craig saying fuck off around the premiere, and the rumours about his newly signed flick, and since Mendes is out for directing, and the fact that it is the big 2-5… I think it’s time we start looking ahead. Bond is (maybe) dead! Long live Bond!

 

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My Thoughts on SPECTRE

spectre

It’s been a while since SPECTRE hit theaters. I wanted to give the world a chance to see it before I gave my immediate reactions. But here they are. Now, I haven’t seen it since Nov. 5., this is definitely just the completed-sentences-version of what I wrote the next morning after viewing.

Bond Girls. This film did not deliver.

Monica Bellucci / I don’t even know her character’s name because it was such a pointless part of the film—After all the hype about her, and especially her age, it was so not worth it.  She was, like, a hot second of the film. And it was an entirely unaddressed story line that had really no purpose to the film. Sure James got info from her, but it wasn’t imperative that she be the one to offer it. In fact, it didn’t even make sense that she had the info, since she wasn’t with the man and she wasn’t part of the organization. Instead, it felt like “I’m throwing the old broad one last pity fuck because she’s gonna die.” Also, his “I’ll get Felix Leiter to save you” line was bullshit, too, and felt like they had to drop his name for when the character came back in a movie or two. Uh, no. This did no work, at all.

Lea Seydoux / Madeleine Swann—I feel like they were trying to make her the new Tracy di Vicenzo // Vesper Lynd, but without any of the development. Tracy and Vesper were movie-long seductions, to some degree, and Bond had to work hard to earn them. In return, they are the only two women to leave a franchise-wide impact on him. But Madeleine is all cold and calculated, and then when Bond’s getting tortured and she tells him she loves him… it was super fucking strange. It didn’t make sense. It didn’t develop. Then at the end of the movie she’s looking at him like it’s her or the job and he tosses his gun over the bridge. NO. Not only do I see nothing that actually connects them, Bond threw his life away (twice!) for women and it didn’t work out–I don’t think he’d do it for this girl. He actually wouldn’t throw his gun away if he cared about her, because, uh, HIS WIFE GOT SHOT. Besides all that, she’s entirely unmemorable. I don’t recall her having any serious style.

MI6 Agents. A mixed review.

Money Penny really wins this one, trotting around with Q and trying to help save James. She’s fierce and I love the attitude she’s been given and the way she tries to help it. It fits well with the history of her character in the films.

M. Harrumpf. I need to watch the movie again to see how I feel about him. He didn’t stand out to me, but I don’t know, the film wasn’t one that was going to give him a lot of room to shine. He’s got this anger/frustration with Bond that contradicts with his supporting of him even after Bond breaks the rules, but that’s on-point with Bernard Lee’s portrayal of M, so I’m OK with him for now.

Q was a little less arrogant in this film, and a little more friendly. I’m OK with that, but I don’t love it, either, because to do this they sort of had to sacrifice that attitude of his from Skyfall and instead made him a bit of the cat-owning-blundering-nerd stereotype. Previously, Q was unapologetic. I liked unapologetic Q. But I also liked that Q left the office and went to bat for Bond, which felt very License to Kill-style Desmond Llewelyn, and I loved it.

The bad guys. I liked them, and I wanted more.

Max Denbigh // Andrew Scott I knew he was evil form the get-go when he stood with the bad guys at the announcement of the film cast. I wish we could have had more time with him, because he immediately felt like he had to be a villain’s sidekick. That was frustrating, because you never really had time to develop a false sense of him being on MI6’s side.

Mr Hinx // Dave Bautista was the triumphant return of the henchmen of old that I was so ready for. But he only got to use his fucked up thumbs once. ONCE. He disappeared too early in the film. He should have made a comeback after the car crash, that’s what good henchmen do.

Franz Oberhauser/Blofeld // Christoph Waltz didn’t lose his hair in the epic fire. There was an epic fire, and the man retained his hair. WHY WASN’T HE BALD. HE GOT THE SCAR, WHY WASN’T HE BALD? And in the realm of other questions that left me hanging regarding him: Why did the film let him get caught? WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CAT? I think Waltz was creepy and combative, and I want to see him reprise the role in the future. I think the bullshit brain drill was exactly the type of over-the-top weapon of villains’ of old.

The plot and story and execution. Welcome back.

First, let me say, I’m so glad they found their humor again. I know Craig, in an interview when he got started, said that it was going to be impossible to be funny with the role because Austin Powers ruined it. But I didn’t realize how much I missed the dumb stuff. When Bond told the guy, “Stay!” I was gleeful.

Mad, mad props to the opening scene. I loved the Day of the Dead parade. I sort wish there had been some sex in the hotel room, a cut away, and then Bond sneaking out on to the balcony to go over the guy and have the madness ensue, but it was still a spectacular opening. I actually got a little motion sick with the helicopter stuff.

Now, on to the opening credits + song: I still dislike the song, but the song sort of goes OK with the theme. Which isn’t saying much, but I don’t really like the visuals, either. I liked the parts with the kind of ghostly//inky stuff trailing off women, but the Daniel Craig being so visible is one thing I’ll never like. I appreciated in other Bond openings the way the character, even if obviously an outline of that man, was still blacked out. Still up for any man, any Bond. Oh yeah, the tentacle porn was strange. I also don’t like brining other movies into this opening credit stuff. That absolutely reeks of OHMSS, which was not a successful opening (it didn’t even get its own song), and which wasn’t a successful film/Bond, partially because of its inability to stand on its own (in my opinion). Was “Writing on the Wall” a link to the spray painted “James Bond” name in the old MI6 building?

On that note, I despised the way they brought back all the dead people from Craig’s movies. Why that continuity? Why now? If this wasn’t a send off for Craig as Bond, it’s going to feel really inadequate when Craig goes back to forgetting the past, per usual. It feels like he needs to walk away. I like him as Bond, but given the grievance of bringing up his entire past, and then running off with Ms. Swann, it’s time for Craig to go.

Speaking of Bond’s past… It was an interesting connection between James and the leader of SPECTRE. I liked it, a whole lot actually–more than anyone I’ve talked to it, seems. I like that it sort of gives context to all the earlier films with Blofeld as Bond’s main nemesis. This movie shows it’s personal without discrediting that it’s Bond’s job, with MI6, to battle him.  However, I have to agree that it is a little rushed. Bond just sees this photo and admits to this longstanding (that we didn’t know about) feeling that his brother-from-another-mother is still around? Pishposh. Particularly when these Craig films spend so much time relating to one another. SPECTRE as an organization, sure, that’s sort of pulled through all the movies. But this man? Not at all.

Also, I’m done with the internal intrigue and the drama. I’m sick of MI6 agents being the enemy, and exhausted with Bond threatening to leave and go rogue. Let’s put him back on his desk and let an outside be the villain again, what do you say?

The ultimate decision: a let down.

 

I hate telling people that. They’re so excited to ask me about it, and I hate being like, “Eh.” In reality, it’s not a let down as a Bond film (that’s only QoS, which is a letdown as any kind of film) but I find it underwhelming in that it doesn’t stand as strong as Casino Royale or Skyfall (which is an admittedly impossible movie to follow). It has so many amazing elements–and we all knew that going into it–that expectations did not meet reality.

That being said, I can’t wait to buy the DVD and watch it again, because it’s Bond and it is still great.

 

 

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Rumor Mill: The Next James Bond

The web’s got its panties in a bunch over the unofficial nod to Damian Lewis as the next James Bond.

As much as I love a good “unruly ginger” (to quote a friend, a phrase which would be an excellent pub), I’m not so into Mr. Lewis for Bond. Having just this past Saturday finished seasons 1-3 of Homeland, I need him to be more approachable. I don’t look at him and think he’s someone any woman in a casino is going to easily engage with in witty banter. I also don’t look at him and see the smoothness of past Bonds (not that Craig has that feature, either, so Mr. Suave may be over). He certainly must only smile with a smirk. And he needs to be a little roughed up. More stylish.

Fassbender would be my top ginger choice, a little less buff than he’s been, yet still taught in a nicely tailored suit. Although, I’m kind of into Prince Harry right now with that scruff and the devil may care about him, that would work nicely for Ginger Bond. But, I won’t think it’s the worst if it is Lewis.

Then again, anyone will fall a hard second to Idris.

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Sam Smith Sings for SPECTRE: Here’s to Alliteration

Because, it seems, alliteration is all we’ve got.

When are they going to learn that a Bond song that’s not titled after the movie is a really terrible idea? I’ve stated before that for a song to be truly considered, in my opinion, it has to be named after the film title. Not that a film-titled-song is a guarantee of success (most people despise Die Another Day) but I do think it’s essential to creating the perfect theme. Unfortunately, the SPECTRE theme is no exception.

If you haven’t heard it, check out Sam Smith’s WRITING’S ON THE WALL which I know is available on Spotify.

ssmith

My first thoughts were that the musical score is SPOT ON. Nailed it. Sounds just like it should, especially coming off of SKYFALL. 

Without the musical score, the lyrics fall. Hard. In fact, the pacing and the lyrics feel like they could easily be applied to a Disney movie. Or maybe the next sappy John Legend loves Chrissy Teigen song. Don’t get me wrong–I love both of those possibilities. But they’re not Bond.

I have a few specific problems with the lyrics that I will address.
“I want to feel love” Bullshit. First of all, no. Bond? No. Secondly, remember the time he was married? I thought that sort of cured the love thing. Thirdly, I think there’s some point in one of the books where he talks about falling for all the women he bangs. [If I wasn’t supposed to be doing work for grad school right now, I’d dig out my notes. Maybe later.]

“If I risk it all” Don’t you, always, James? Haven’t you, already? Did you forget Teresa Bond? This is all for Queen and Country. You’re not delivering papers on an especially traffic-y street, my good man.

“When you’re not here I’m suffocating” This is just too much. Unless it’s referring to the job. In which, yes, Bond, you can’t survive without your 007 status. Not for long, anyway, the films suggest.

I’m a little bummed at the content, as well. Given the prominence of Spectre (the organization), the word’s association with ghosts, phantoms, spirits of the past, and all the skulls and imagery that have been produced for the film, that this isn’t more haunting or isn’t hitting at some of those areas. The context we know seems rife for songwriting.

There’s just something about WRITING’S ON THE WALL that is so soft after vulnerable after the strong, deliberate, willful SKYFALL. Initially it’s off-putting and inconsistent, but I know Smith knows more about the film than we do, so I can’t hate too much for that reason.

Also, I’m just going to say it: the falsetto is distracting. It takes me out of the Bond trance. I wonder how this will work on screen.

All of that being said, if you know Bond themes, you know they are often highly time specific. Songs like SKYFALL and GOLDFINGER and LIVE AND LET DIE are rare, especially when you consider the popularity of Adele and Paul McCartney And Wings. Artists like Madonna, Duran Duran, Garbage, and ultimately Sam Smith, contextualize the film within the world and time it’s produced. That in itself has a value and a place in the Bond Canon.

I admit the song needs to be imbibed in the context of the film, and I look forward to seeing and hearing it in theaters this fall. I like the song enough. I just wish it could have been more.

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James Bond Tourism: Amsterdam

Despite all my adventures these past few years, I really haven’t dedicated any of it to James Bond fanatic tourist attractions. Well, OK, except the time I planned a trip to London entirely because of the Bond in Motion exhibit.

Anyhoo, this Spring’s Euro-trip with my parentals provided an opportunity for me to do exactly that. One Bond film I’ve seen more than the others–or, at least, I remember better than others–is Diamonds Are Forever. “Oh providing the collars and cuffs match…” and “Quite a nice little nothing you’re almost wearing,” and “Goede Avond” (which I butcher attempting to say it) are phrases I use regularly. At least when I’m talking to myself. And while those quotes are all from DAF, they’re also all from one particular location in the film: Tiffany Case’s Amsterdam apartment.

And that’s exactly where my parents and I first went after disembarking our cruise. The exterior apartment shown in the film is at Reguliersgracht 36. I admit that I’m bad at directions and even more so without my hand navigation apps, so it was a little tricky getting there. But, we got there, and I was fucking stoked.

Just a hop, skimp, and jump away is another DAF hot spot, but one that’s also on the regular tourist route as well: The Skinny Bridge. This where we See Mr Kidd and Mr Wint as a dead body is pulled from the canal.

Watch the video below to see the Diamonds Are Forever clip of the Skinny Bridge and Bond’s arrival at Tiffany’s apartment.


Although it’s not the most iconic Bond film or location, it’s easy to get to and in a prime tourist destination. I highly suggest making the pilgrimage.

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Hot Man Reading Things

It’s Sir Sean Connery’s 85th Birthday today!

As I speed toward library school starting in a hot second (next week), I think these images of the man, the myth, the legend–in various stances and states of undress and usage of reading materials–is just the right way to celebrate.

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RIP Lee and Macnee 

Two men-of-Bond have recently taken their final bow, and I need to pay respects.

Christopher Lee played one of the few very Bond-worthy villains as the tri-nippled Francisco Scaramanga. And until his death, I had no clue he was also the dastardly LOTR wizard!


We also must say farewell to Parick Macnee, a delightfully dolt-y Tibbett in A View To A Kill, who’s Avengers fame had him working alongside leading Bond Girls Honor Blackman and Diana Rigg.

Thanks for the memories, guys.

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