Thanks Barbel. Should I mention that the two I watched prior to those (as I randomly work my way through my BluRays) were LTK and QoS? 😳
By all means; LTK isn't bad.
LTK and QoS are both good films👍️
I agree entirely. QoS has grown on me steadily with each viewing and it's now in my top 10. There's lots to like about LTK, although the 1980s vibe brings back some dodgy memories ☺️. However, you do tend to see both near the bottom of many people's fave Bond lists quite often.
QoS was the first time I left the cinema after a Bond movie feeling disappointed. Like TDE says, it has grown on me but it will never be a favourite.
CASINO ROYALE (2006)
In preparation for No Time To Die, I thought it wise to revisit Craig's tenure starting with his startling debut.
A very fine film with much to recommend it, including slick direction and a knowing screenplay which either deliberately or accidentally has echoes of previous Bond films encrusted all over it.
One of the most remarkable aspects isn't the lack of a gun barrel at the start but the tautness and brevity of the PTS, which clocks in at three-and-a-half minutes of action and death. I find it remarkable because of the extraordinary length of the PTS in the preceding Brosnan era as well as those which followed - I wonder if the writer's / producers ever really take note of what they put on screen, how it energises and intrigues, as opposed to whether we can see the spend. This three minutes is even in black & white, for goodness sake.
Craig's very good, muscly and emotionally blunt. Eva Green's performance is better than I realised; now I'm familiar with the plot the duplicity of her character is more obvious, but this wasn't the case on first or second view; she's subtle and convincing. Mads Mikkelsen is quite possibly the most believable Bond villain of the post-Cubby era. It helps he isn't playing with his own money and isn't obviously massively rich; his yacht isn't very large, for instance. Everyone else is okay without breaking any banks.
I could have done with less action. The affair in Miami feels a step too far and includes two mute or monosyllabic baddies for our James to dismiss in cutthroat fashion. One feels this is an unnecessary plot development, which serves no purpose other than to flaunt Daniel Craig's pecs and Caterina Murino's gorgeous figure. Most of the bad guys are dispatched with gleeful, nastily heroic abandon, most of them have little or no dialogue, which reinforces Le Chiffre's importance to the narrative. The best stunt among many is the rolling of the Aston Martin DBS, still spectacular even on the small screen. Again, if you can make your bangs so effectively well in five seconds, why am I having to watch epic minutes of chases and fights? The poker game over plays its hand a couple of times. The movie wears itself thin before picking up again in Venice for a reveal of almost Hitchcockian surprise.
Splendid theme song by Chris Cornell, music from David Arnold and credit sequence from Daniel Kleinman.
Typically, there are lots of little things to be irked by in Casino Royale - chiefly its length which is only long because it can be not because it needs to be - but overall it's a very fine introduction to a new James Bond and a reinvention of a character we know almost too well. This is not the Bond of Connery or Moore, or even Brosnan, it's indisputably a new spy for a new century. This one would rather chase terrorists than bed the beautiful brunette who's stripping naked in his bedroom. A neat touch to exemplify the character difference, but perhaps a touch too far; the poor girl must have been very frustrated - no amount of champagne and caviar could make any girlfriend of mine forgive me such self-indulgence, if it ever happened.
Despite the supposed central love affair, the movie is tough and brutal and meanders satisfactorily to a climax of much intelligence. It still gets a big thumbs up, even if I'm less excited by it now than in 2006. I'd pick it to be in my top 5.
'No amount of champagne and caviar could make any girlfriend of mine forgive me such self-indulgence, if it ever happened' - 'You have an exceedingly high opinion of yourself Mister @chrisno1 '!
I think the film would work better as some kind of mini-series, maybe three or four episodes. It has to pack a lot into its running time.
🤣🤣🤣 @Napoleon Plural They've tended to be rather demanding ! Then I've never had to chase spies to Miami.
Nice idea about the mini-series. I see that indeed.
QUANTUM OF SOLACE
This movie has grown on me a lot as the years have passed. I remember the excitement which surrounded it's appearance a little less than two years on from Casino Royale and how disappointed I was when I first saw it. I found it confusing and slight. The action scenes grated and the editing was too fast. However, as I have mellowed and this kind of filmmaking has become de rigour, these aspects don't bother me as much as they did in 2008. What still bothers me is how important information is related at breakneck speed and at completely inappropriate moments - note Bond attempting to interrogate Camille during a speedboat chase, M and Bond relating the events of Casino Royale in thirty rapid seconds (he steals a photo but we don't see which one) or Giancarlo Giannini mumbling all his lines virtually to the point of unintelligibility. Craig's pretty terrible at it too. And Mathieu Amalric's Dominic Greene is a weaselly, whispery villain who, despite being prone to fits of outrage, fails to convince. The other baddie, General Medrano, is physically impressive but lacks Greene's brains. Nobody explains themselves clearly enough. The plot hooks don't so much drip as hiss in - unless you have excellent hearing, you miss everything. How I long for Telly Savalas, Michael Lonsdale or Charles Grey to explain things for me.
Olga Kurylenko makes an interesting, motivated heroine with a deep fake tan and peculiar choices in lipstick. The film is almost entirely desexed, which doesn't bother me, except the one coupling is, well, odd and unlikely and frankly rather easy. Poor Gemma Arterton - no wonder she thinks the role was stereotypical at best. Action-wise it's very modern stylistically and, unlike almost every Bond movie which surrounds it, the fights, chases and shootouts are fast, furious and very very short. I applaud director Marc Foster for attempting to do something new and visually arresting. Early on, it works, the disorientating nature of the scenes reflects how combat really is: confused, split-second and at times fittingly desperate. When he translates the same effect into the briefing scenes, it become problematic. The design is sleek, if undemanding. Full marks to David Arnold for composing a deft incidental score. No marks for Jack White who provides the worst Bond song ever, a dirge of such irritating noise I almost had to mute the TV. Whoever thought this was a decent Bond theme needs to have their head examined. Alicia Keyes wails like a demented banshee. God, it's horrible. Arnold is clever enough not to use it in his score.
There's more to enjoy in QOS than I remember. I think I enjoy it most because it doesn't pretend to be emotionally taxing. It's also well under two hours in length. One last thought, the movie is the first direct sequel the franchise ever did and, in that regard, it suffers by being compared unfavourably to Casino Royale. It also relies on previous knowledge and that's always a problem with sequels.
I had gone almost a year without watching a single Bond film. The last viewing was the AJB watchalong of Dr No that we had shortly after Connery’s passing last year. I’m pretty certain that is the longest gap I’ve had between viewings since the fateful day I first watched a Bond movie roughly 25 years ago
But in the last week I’ve rewatched all 4 of the Craig films to prime myself for the very long awaited arrival of NTTD. My opinions on the 4 films remain largely unchanged. Casino Royale and Skyfall are both still top 10 movies for me. On the other hand Quantum of Solace and Spectre continue to linger in the bottom third of the ranking, however Spectre has now descended several rungs down the ladder so it is now my lowest ranked Daniel Craig Bond film.
On top of what @chrisno1 says there are just horrible things going on in QoS. Bond slowly killing the bloke in the hotel room is nicked from a similar scene in Saving Private Ryan it seems and is edited out of TV viewings. Yes, the seduction of Fields is not really scripted, and the aftermath of her death is awful - Bond rushedly tells M in an elevator - or should I say lift?- that she should be awarded a posthumous honour - oh well that's alright then! The freefall and whole plane scene doesn't fit in the world of Casino Royale, Craig's Bond shouldn't have or exhibit those kind of skills just yet in a Jason Bourne world.
Regarding that hotel killing, I believe it's quite convincing - I don't recall the Pvt Ryan scene, but I only saw that appalling sentimental mess once. Bond stabs Slade in the neck and to ensure the blood flows quickly, creating excessive low pressure and increasing the heart rate, he holds the man's arm upright. Essentially Slade has a heart attack. This kind of detail doesn't occur often in Bond films. For instance in CR Bond strangles Obanno with his forearm which is virtually impossible. Oh, wait, did Vesper shoot the man as well? Never mind, back to QOS: for blood loss to take effect and kill Slade, he'd need to lose about 50% of his supply, which he clearly doesn't. Still, a grisly little moment of detail.
@chrisno1 that is the most horrible thing I have ever read on Ajb. Ever.
Hey, wanna see the new James Bond film? Does it feature a cool underwater car? A gadget-laden autogyro? Brilliant kinky Cold War shenanigans with killer one-liners or bowler hat assassins? No, it features a convincing murder where someone is stabbed in the neck, crating low blood pressure... etc Charming! One to take your Mum to see.
The Private Ryan scene had a German slowly stab a GI in a sort of arm wrestle, the German murmuring consoling noises as if to say , he had to do this but forgive me, while a 'cowardly' Allied soldier cringed and heard it happen, unable to bring himself to prevent it.
Rumour has it that No Time To Die features Bond having a crap with the kind of detail not normally shown in a Bond film.
@Napoleon Plural there's research and research.... Be thankful the editing in that movie is over zealous ....
Me: "I'll just watch the first 15 minutes of CR before tucking early for bed."
Me, two and a half hours later:
Well, I enjoyed this more than I expected. I've seen it a few times and it's never captured my attention the way it did this time. I can't put my finger on it. Familiarity, perhaps. Bored with the arguments, maybe. Just wanted to watch it and get it done with, so I cared less, hence I overlooked the issues and went for the ride. All three?
The movie looks grand; cinematographer Roger Deakins is on fine form as always. It starts off at a frantic pace and then slows to snail's crawl. Picks up for some proper spectacular OO7 squabbling around Shanghai, Macau, Hashima Island (not named) and then reloads an unused chase scene from OHMSS in London. Latterly it becomes bogged down in boggy Scotland among Bond's familial residence Skyfall. Central to the piece isn't Bond's conflict with the villain Da Silva - an excellent Javier Bardem - but Silva's conflict with M. So, Bond becomes a glorified bodyguard preventing a M-Hunt and in doing so resolves his motherlove or unlove issues - or perhaps he doesn't. Lots of knowing asides to the camera, clunky self-conscious dialogue; all the scenes between Bond and Moneypenny are like hawks waiting to make love with barbed talons. I always claimed it was the last third of the film which pi##ed me off most, but now I'm not sure it isn't the beginning third where Bond is shot, goes AWOL and slows the excitement down to next to nothing during scenes of dull espionage rehabilitation. MI6 ought to have analysed the bullet which shot Ronson and traced it to Patrice, cutting out the need for Bond to go digging in his own scar tissue for evidence. Doesn't the service function in his absence? It did in 1971. He'd be dead anyway. If the fall from the train didn't kill him the uranium alloy bullet certainly would.
Skyfall is a well made product which reunites us with the format of earlier Bond films, tweaking them enough to fit a more modern take on espionage - Q is a computer geek rather than a F/X wizz, for instance, M complains about fighting shadows, etc etc. I still think it's overrated and takes itself far too seriously. Thomas Newman's sincere score doesn't help. It lacks a light touch. So does most of the film which errs towards bombast during its wild west coast climax. Too long.
So while some were out enjoying a premiere, I was sat catching this old beast. I hadn't realised how old DC looks in this. Doesn't bode well for NTTD.
I could go on and on about the Oberhauser / Blofeld rubbish, which immeasurably taints the film and shows the same void of concern for Fleming's characters that Raymond Benson displayed in his thoughtless treatment of Draco in Never Dream of Dying or I could hark on about the reintroduction of Quantum, a ruse which taints any legacy from the past three films.
I'll do none of that. Instead I'll mention the film is tremendously slow, scenes being framed specifically so the photographer can show us another gorgeous city, mountain or landscape. The best and most traditional villain's lair we've seen since Goldeneye is wasted. Terrible epilogue, where the Scooby Gang get to show their teeth and Bond gets to play white knights. Another long-winded, cryptic and eye-winking script which isn't half as funny or clever as it thinks it is. A nasty henchman who is never named except in the credits and who exits like a cartoon character from, well, Scooby Doo. There's violence and sex on a curiously deserted train - there were other passengers, I saw them, but then a fight starts and I only see a waiter and a barman, not even the chef - and the combatants destroy his kitchen. Strange. London and Rome also, curiously, deserted. Bond being rogue is getting boring. Enjoyed most of the action. Didn't feel the romance. Can't feel the love. Nice costumes, but why can't Blofeld wear socks?
I have been re-watching the Craig Era over the past week or so; last night was SF. I will do SP again in the next few days.
We're going to watch SPECTRE tonight. Per the non-spoilery reviews of NTTD, it sounds like the film really doubles down on the plotting established in SPECTRE, so a refresh is in order.
So yeah, we rewatched SPECTRE tonight.
My wife: 'God this song sucks.'
I love her.
Actually, this viewing went really well and the film played much better than before. It's still too long and the whole brother thing is awful but it's better than I remember. Now, just have to wait a week for NTTD.
Live and Let Die
You get to an age in life where you are entertained more by the snobbish, well-to-do neighbours Margot and Jerry in The Good Life than Tom or Barbara, or less by the titular characters in Will and Grace but rather the scandalous and outrageous Jack and Karen. I am at that age.
Likewise it's this age when one begins to enjoy the antics of the Bond villains rather than Bond himself. Now the late Yaphet Kotto was going to be a better actor than Roger (whose name Rog is autocorrected to Dog I find) and alright, that's true also of Christopher Lee, Michael Lonsdale and Christopher Walken most notably but his Mr Big really is a happy, charismatic presence. It always makes sense that the villains are often happy to see Bond, as they largely lead friendless existences surrounded by minions. They and Bond have something in common - you can't imagine them down the pub with a bunch of mates having a laugh. They seem drawn to each other.
But unlike Bond, they rarely get any sex action and I suppose Big is no exception. He won't sleep with Solitaire but he doesn't have any bits on the side we can see. Exceptions to this rule are there - Largo, Scaramanga - both have an exploitative relationship with Domino and whoever Maud Adams played... No action for Kamal Khan but Zorin gets it on with May Day.
Anyway, my point is that Mr Big is high on serotonin levels as indeed are many of his black buddies, Tee Hee and Baron Samedi.
But Live and Let Die now seems an odd film. Smoother and more exotic than its predecessor, with Moore in better shape than Connery, it now seems to be a kids' movie with some deeply odd, offensive aspects, namely the way the charmless cad Bond seduces Solitaire by deception - takes her virginity of course - given that she is no femme fatale but redolent of some kind of grooming victim. That Bond is a State operative makes this all the more exploitative and distasteful given recent events in the British news.
His treatment of Rosie Carver isn't much better given that on their first meeting he doesn't know she's a bad 'un. Oh, she got a fright, I'll get my leg over then seems to be his attitude.
Moore doesn't give a movie star performance - we had to wait for his third film for that. The most spirited shows come from our black baddies and Clifton James's sheriff whose line 'Secret agent? On WHOSE side?' is a classic.
Alongside, Bond and Solitaire are semi-skimmed milk but there you go, sometimes one starts siding with bad guys. Like the saying goes, Love Your Enemies... in case your friends turn out to be a bunch of ratbags.
Aren't the villains always more interesting than the heros? Noticing that's no sign of aging, so you're still young yet @Napoleon Plural . I noticed that watching Batman before I could read.
but you're right Kananga does have a particularly huge smile for Bond when he shows up for that final scene, and maybe the real reason big baddies keep inviting Bond for dinner is their minions make such lousy company they're bored stiff, and welcome the chance to discuss wine vintages with a civilised visitor even if said visitor is intending to blow up the evil headquarters before dessert can be served.
It seems to me @caractacus potts I've turned a bit into my Dad who often would enjoy the aspects of a movie lost on me as a kid - the womanising perhaps, or the comical aspects. The comedic aspects of Boss Hogg and his hapless cohorts in The Dukes of Hazard rather than the stunts.
Essentially, the Bond villains are the school teachers with a sarcastic put down for the errant schoolboy, and an innate sense of superiority. Most of the 'classic' Bond villains fall into school teacher territory - No, Klebb, GF, Blofelds 1 and 3.
But a parent may enjoy the fact that the villain is doomed to fail yet still maintains his joie de vivre, and may feel he relates to that.
Of course, we also see bonhomie between Claude Reins' King John and Flynn's hero in The Adventures of Robin Hood.
Referring to your user name, the only scene in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang my Dad enjoyed was the homicidal dance number between Gert Frobe and his beloved - the actress who appeared in things like The Avengers and 'recognises' John Lennon in A Hard Day's Night. I can relate to tha
I often times just watch the first act of Casino Royale. From PTS to the conclusion of the Miami airport scene is 1 hour and tells a nice semi contained story.
Similarly, I've often watched TB from the moment Bond meets Domino underwater. I don't need to see the preceding scenes too often, since the Bahamas scenes are the attraction for me.
No Time to Die - watched on October 2nd.
Going back to Live and Let Die, I notice that the 'black minions' supposedly Big's crew sort of dance out of the way when Bond makes his escape in the trainee pilot's plane - that once scene is a bit odd, somehow suggesting that any black crew member around an airport must be villains - and latterly Bond just presumably exits Big's lair without encountering so much as backchat from the minions who perhaps are all on zero hours and don't feel particularly loyal once their boss is dead.
Of course, it all suggests delicate sensibilities which pleases me to realise all these decades down the line.
It means that Bond in this really doesn't kill many people because the villains are mainly black and they didn't want race riots on their hands. There's a lot of death and attempted deaths and intrigue and voodoo stuff to distract you from this. When's Bond's first kill? It's hard to say. He knocks a lookout guard off a cliff on his hang glider and maybe he falls to his death rather than picking himself up and checking things out. Was he the only guard over Solitaire's pad?
Often where you have a racial element to the villainy - Dr No or You Only Live Twice, arguably - other elements are thrown into the mix. The main villain early on in Dr No is the very English, very slimy Professor Dent. Even Miss Taro isn't really Oriental but English and many of the villains are dubbed by English people anyway. No isn't played by a Chinese actor. Grant is played by the very English Robert Shaw, Klebb is German and Tanya is Italian - nobody is Russian, understandably as they somewhat struggled to get a visa back then.
In YOLT, Connery's Bond pops off the Japanese in the Kobe Dock scene... it's balanced by having Tiger as such a good bloke, plus Karin Dor as the femme fatale. Blofeld not Japanese of course but played by an English actor.
Only in LALD is there this odd problem - the villains are black but not necessarily foreign, could this look bad? Again I'm struggling to think of Bond's first kill. Those that do occur are so outlandish as can't be taken too seriously - Baron Samedi in a coffin of snakes - but he supposedly doesn't die anyway - Mr Big (Bond actually smiles at him during their knife duel, they seem best buddies) and his death is so preposterous it hardly counts. Lastly Tee Hee but again this is not your usual bullet between the eyes type thing, it's an outlandish death, almost Wint and Kidd comedy.
It's interesting to note these political sensitivities.