Posts Tagged ‘ james bond film ’

Never Say Never Again (1983)

NSNACreamSuit

What the hell was this? A monstrosity masquerading as a James Bond film, with an ancient looking Sean Connery going to a wellness center at the beginning of the film, or was that a retirement home? What in god’s name were they thinking? A Bond movie that starts off with him being shipped off to a retirement home for being too old? Is this a joke? Not only that, but by sheer coincidence the retirement/wellness home happens to be the same place where the main villain is beginning to hatch his evil plan! Wow, what are the odds? And it only gets worse from there.

NeverSay10

God, I can’t even… This movie was so bad, so bad. I just about gave up once Rowan Atkinson showed up. And then the shark sonar, god, why? WHY?  Just awful and cheap and terrible in almost every respect. And Connery is so old and sleazy looking, and yet all the women just can’t get enough of him. And such a promising story too. How could you screw up something like this, and so badly? I don’t understand it. They didn’t even use the proper 007 title sequence for god’s sake. It was almost painful to keep watching, but I gritted my teeth and hung in there, hoping against hope for something, anything worth hanging on to. But nope. The villain is good, but everything else is a complete disaster.

neversayneveragain-surprise

It’s almost intentionally terrible. It must have been. A clear punishment to the fans for their clear abandonment of Connery and their loyal devotion to Roger Moore, maybe. Well, consider me disciplined. Traumatized even, from Bond films, forever. It’s so bad. Words don’t do it justice.

Overall, stay away. Stay FAR FAR AWAY. Never Say Never Again indeed. NEVER EVER AGAIN.

 

 

Diamonds Are Forever (1971) – 4/5

A violent, silly, but strangely effective James Bond film that also happens to be one of most unexpectedly hilarious action movies I’ve ever seen. I’m talking laugh a minute kind of stuff. One liners, slapstick, you name it. And it’s all very, very funny, and, most importantly, it works despite the relative seriousness normally associated with this franchise. It’s strange and off-putting at first since it flips everything you’ve come to expect about Bond on its head, but once you realize this and become comfortable with it, the film becomes quite the enjoyable ride. Just make sure to go into it with an open mind.

The film’s plot is also pretty good. Better than Goldfinger, at least. Sure it’s wacky and over the top, but it’s over the top in the way James Bond plots should be. Wild and zany and preposterous, but fun. I especially liked the fact that you don’t quite know how the villain’s evil plan comes together until the end. And the whole body double thing was a neat touch. Not sure why they don’t do it in films of this kind more often. Oh, and the two gay assassins here were great. Hilarious and creepy, they reminded me of something out of a Neil Gaiman novel, strangely enough. Inspiration, perhaps?

Anyway, overall, I enjoyed the film tremendously. Sean Connery is smarmy, the girls are sexy, the plot is interesting, and the action is pretty good for the most part. Sure, the effects look dated, and some scenes are really god dang goofy, but the film has plenty of great set pieces, including a brilliantly violent scene in an elevator that’s about as brutal and intense and well shot/edited as anything I’ve seen in an action film. And the ending shots in the oil tanker were pretty great too. All this, and the film is side-splittingly funny, more so than most comedies even. It’s probably one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen, mostly because I wasn’t expecting it to be so and was taken by complete surprise.

So yeah, I understand that this film gets a lot of crap, but I don’t care: I liked it. A lot. It’s by far one of the most enjoyable Bond films I’ve yet seen, and probably one of the most entertaining action/comedies ever made, whether intentional or otherwise. Strongly recommended.

Goldfinger (1964) – 3/5

 

Stupid James Bond action film with a dumb, illogical plot and some of the goofiest characters/villains I’ve ever seen in a Bond film, and that’s saying something. I mean, a guy who kills people by throwing his hat at them? What is this, a screwball comedy? Who in their right mind genuinely thought that that would make for a cool ability for a villain to have? Come on.

I get that it’s iconic now and all that, but it’s stupid and doesn’t make any sense, even within the context of the movie. How is throwing a hat at someone even the slightest bit threatening, let alone deadly? It just doesn’t make sense! This is supposed to be a James Bond film, full of explosions and gunfights and action based at least in part on the laws of reality. Where does hat throwing fit into all this, exactly?

Same with the Goldfinger character; what a ridiculous, poorly developed villain. So he’s obsessed with gold for some reason and, despite already being filthy rich, chooses to participate in petty con games to screw random people he meets at resorts out of money. Or so I gathered from the beginning. Okay, seems somewhat risky and needless, but maybe it’s a hobby of his, who knows? But the whole “kill via gold paint” thing is just ridiculous. It’s a cool visual, sure, but how does painting someone gold cause them to suffocate exactly? And why do it to the harmless woman and not, gee, I don’t know, James Bond, who you happened to have **SPOILERS** knocked out and placed in the perfect position to injury/kill at will? **END SPOILERS**

This happens a number of times, actually, where the villain has Bond in his grasp and can, and, logically, should, kill him, but doesn’t for whatever stupid reason. Yeah I get that it’s a staple of the series, but such scenes are so obviously contrived in Bond’s favor that they really stand out here. Just kill Bond and go on with your stupid plan already! And what a stupid plan it is. Goldfinger’s brilliant scheme is to **SPOILERS** detonate a dirty bomb in Fort Knox and render all US gold radioactive so his gold will increase in value? **END SPOILERS** Are you kidding me? That’s about the dumbest god damn plan I’ve ever….%#*^%#(#%! … *dies*

Overall, argh, stupid. Stupid, stupid film with some dumb, ridiculous villains and a plot thin enough to slice through butter. It’s not even particularly interesting or engaging or unique as far as action films go. Maybe it was at the time, but I don’t know. It’s pretty standard, run of the mill fare, only much dumber than it ought to have been. I don’t understand what all the praise for this thing is; this is supposedly the best Bond film of all time? Are you kidding me? I understand it caused quite the uproar at the time it was released, but man has this thing not aged well.

It has its moments here and there, though: I enjoyed the laser scene, the only real moment of tension in the film in my opinion, and some of the visuals were unique, and the women were pretty, though shallow and obviously just there to serve as eye candy. Everything else, though, is a stupid, illogical, uninteresting mess. Sean Connery isn’t even given all that much to do here. Best of Bond? Not by a long shot.

Definitely a product of hype, and ultimately extremely overrated.

 

Quantum of Solace (2008) – 4/5

Pretty good action sequel to “Casino Royale” that trades the thrills, gloss, and excess of the much heralded first in favor of some pretty intense violence and some rather grim subject matter, which, despite the odds, makes for an even better movie in some respects. Bad reviews be damned: I enjoyed this film. Even more so than Casino Royale, which was good but somewhat clunky and overstuffed. And the women here were hotter. There, I said it.

The movie is far darker and more psychological than the first. Replacing the glitz and shiny pretty things are blood and dirt and grit, and I can see why people who enjoyed the first and were hoping for more of the same were disappointed. But the movie is just better told overall, and realistic and much more psychological. The characters aren’t just there to smile and look pretty; they do, but they also have scars, both physical and emotional, and their presence often has purpose beyond what’s immediately apparent i.e. they’re attractive and they know how to wield a gun. I’m mostly talking about the female interest here and how much richer a character she is than I was expecting, and gorgeous as all hell, man, even though she looks way too tanned in the earlier scenes.

The film is also shot beautifully and is very clever at times with its action set ups. The opening in particular is pretty intense, and the one with the **SPOILERS** guys hanging on ropes falling and smashing through glass **END SPOILERS** sets up the gritty, violent nature of the film, and Bond’s psychological state, perfectly. And sure, the action is crazy and hard to follow at times, but so what? You still get the gist of it, and I think it was purposely edited in a confusing manner to show Bond’s careless, chaotic nature throughout the film. He’s brash and impulsive, and acts before really thinking about what he’s doing or how it will affect him and those around him, much like the action in this film. It works, and it works well.

Ultimately, I really liked this film, more so than Casino Royale. It’s much more psychological than the first, and, some could argue, less fun, but I found the added depth to be pretty refreshing in what could otherwise have been a pretty run of the mill action film. Sure, it has its problems, and some of the tamer scenes of just two characters talking feel kind of goofy for some reason, and there wasn’t enough of Gemma Arterton for my taste, but these are small quibbles. This is a solid, criminally underrated Bond film. It’s enjoyable and entertaining and, at times, a bit disturbing. All the more reason to see it.

Casino Royale (2006) – 4/5

Ah, the James Bond reboot. A pretty good, well written and acted action thriller; over the top, sparkly, shiny, full of beautiful women and fast cars and explosions and an obscene amount of product placement. I understand that this movie probably cost a fortune to make, and undoubtedly relied a great deal on outside companies/product tie-ins to help fund it, but one must really draw the line when nearly half the film feels like a commercial for whatever product Bond happens to be using at the time. Still, I enjoyed it, and Daniel Craig proves himself to be a worthy addition to the Bond cannon despite his “nontraditional” looks. Amazing how far great acting gets you.

The story, though good and mostly realistic, doesn’t get going until the second act. The beginning was actually the silliest part, what with the weird “double 0” intro that seemed a bit extreme and could have used some more context, and the whole chase sequence on those construction pillars and stuff. Eh. Though nice to look at, the chase was extremely over the top and ultimately didn’t make sense considering he ends up ***SPOILERS*** just killing the guy anyway and taking his backpack. Why not take the backpack initially? Why beat the crap out of him and drag him out of the building at gunpoint? Unless I missed something? **END SPOILERS**

Luckily the film kicks into gear with a pretty interesting and surprisingly complex plot dealing with stocks and terrorism and a very expensive game of poker that looks real pretty. Do people really gamble with this kind of money in real life? Scary thought. But the movie in general just looks great; it’s lit with a kind of golden hue that makes everything look much more beautiful than it could ever be in real life. And damn is Eva Green pretty in a smart, quiet, girl-next-door looking sort of way. Odd choice for a Bond girl, but it works, mostly. I just wish she wouldn’t wear so much damn eye shadow, not just in this but in everything else she’s in.

The universe of this movie is one of excess, beauty, and danger; one where Craig always looks like a million bucks, even after having been shot at for 20 minutes or nearly blown to bits, and is able to get through his day-to-day with a nearly perpetual sense of smug arrogance that seems to somehow help him thrive in any given situation regardless of how much planning would be needed or caution would be required beforehand were it taking place in a world governed by the laws of physics and common sense. I guess this is why people have come to love the franchise. It’s excessive and over the top, yet, strangely, not absurd. At least not in this movie. Everything just feels very elegant and cool, even the people he meets who often all seem to be just about as sure of themselves as he is.

Even the last act, which takes on an entirely different tone from the rest of the movie and is a touch predictable , has a ridiculously brilliant and beautifully shot action sequence set **SPOILERS** in the midst of a sinking building. **END SPOILERS** It’s just glorious. Bond also seems to make an interesting transition throughout from this cold, heartless, smug jackass of a character to a slightly less prickly, slightly more emotional jackass, which, though not the greatest of character developments, is significant for a figure this iconic. Granted this is supposed to be a reboot, and I haven’t watched every Bond film ever made to serve as comparison, but it’s nice to see the filmmakers taking advantage of the timetable this film is supposed to be taking place in to show actual character growth.

Overall, yeah, solid action film. If you like spy movies or James Bond or just want to see a well acted, well written, well shot movie about a smug, physically superior guy shooting at people and making things explode, and attracting every beautiful woman who comes within a few feet of him, this movie’s for you.