Amph James Bond: Now Disc. "Skyfall" Video Blog by Sam Mendes

Discussion in 'Community' started by big_boss_nass, Jun 12, 2003.

  1. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    That's a good scene -- it's hard to argue with Christopher Lee's magnetism or the black humor inherent in the concept -- but let me remind you of the cliff-climbing shoot-out below the monastery in FYEO. It's full of palm-sweat inducing vertigo as Bond's opponents and allies are taken out one by one. The sequence ends with 007 tossing the Macguffin cavalierly over the cliff, to shatter on the rocks below. It's freaking awesome.
  2. soitscometothis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2003
    star 5
    Gerard Butler? Really? I liked him in Rocknrolla, but I think that's the only film I've liked him in.

    What about Mark Strong? Or the almost-Bond, Clive Owen? Or, if you want to go older and American, Keith Carradine?
  3. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    Well, Butler was good as Dracula and the Phantom of the Opera, that's why I consider him a kind of modern-day Chris Lee (not that Lee ever played the Phantom, but you know, horror icons and all that).

    But yeah, any of your suggestions would work as well. I'm not totally sold on Butler.
  4. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    Man, how can you appreciate DAD as a camp masterpiece but not the DAF/LALD/TMWTGG sequence? The only real difference is that DAD didn't get the memo that no one was going to take it seriously.
  5. CloneUncleOwen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2009
    star 4
    I'll take Christopher Lee with three nipples over Rick Yune's ludicrous diamond face any day.
  6. The_Four_Dot_Elipsis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2005
    star 5
    Yeah, I don't get this either.

    And Christopher Lee is a rubbish actor. I'm just sayin'. The guy has got by on having an awesome voice for decades, but if you want anything actually interesting or nuanced from him, you need not apply.

    And I don't know how Michelle Yeoh is a positive asset of the insanely inept TND. All she does is go "Yaah!" when doing the most perfunctory action (think Leela making karate sounds when pulling out a plug in Futurama), and apparently being a "match" for Bond despite having to be rescued like every single other Bond girl (except Pam Bouvier).

    The Hamilton/Mankiewicz trilogy is full of slop merchantry, but Mankiewicz does have at least a modicum of his father's wit. I'm thinking of lines like

    "I didn't know there was a pool down there."

    "Whose funeral is this?"
    "Yours."

    "Who'd want to put a contract on me?"
    "Jealous husbands! Outraged chefs! Humiliated tailors! The list is endless!"

    The style of macabre humour is often very much in line with Fleming. There's a value to that. The films lack the polish and scope of the later Lewis Gilbert films (TSWLM being awesome, and MR being crap), and I don't even really like them at all, but the fact that they have some resemblance to Fleming and some degree of actual wit about them immediately gives them more value as Bond films over the Brosnan crap.

    GoldenEye is excellent, I won't deny that. It's got elements of Fleming and Maibaum, but with genuine gusto and colourful characters (and, again, the kind of oddball types that inhabit Fleming's world, albiet updated, like Onatopp and Orlov).

    But after that the Brosnan Bond films become homogenous. DAD isn't a pastiche - it's a like a "Best of" album, except it's actually like a "Best of B-sides" album. It brings a whole heap of elements together for no good reason other than to say "Hey, it's the 40th anniversary of Dr. No!" and contains basically no connection to the British idiom whatsoever. Oh, wait, they played "London Calling."

    And an example of Purvis & Wade's style of Bond humour.

    "I never get furious. As we say in fencing, "What's the point?'"

    (Bond releases the knife from the FRWL case in Q's lab while talking to Q) "Point taken."

    And then there's a third line making the "point" pun with swords later in the movie that I can't be bothered looking up.

    Same pun. Three times. One movie.

    But, I guess the one-liners do improve as we go on...

    "Who sent you?"
    "Yo' mama. And she told me to tell you she's really disappointed in you."

    [face_plain]

    Enough said.

    But then, at least we don't spend three quarters of DAD waiting for Bond to catch up with what we already know about the villain's plot. Which is basically what TND is.

    And don't get me started on TWINE. An episode of The Young and the Restless posing as a Bond film. Yecch.

    Those last three Brosnan films bear basically no resemblance to what a Bond film could or should be. Yeah, they've got gadgets and crappy puns, but there's a hair-model/impostor who can't act in the lead role and a bunch of remixes of classic Bond plots except with some sort of bizarre faux pro-feminist bent in the place of an exciting, compelling, and original plot. Thank Christ that Daniel Craig came along and swept away at least a percentage of these concerns.
  7. drg4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2005
    star 4
    Speaking of which, the following are the Top Five entries in the series...

    1. Casino Royale
    2. From Russia With Love
    3. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    4. Goldfinger
    5. Dr. No


    Anyone who disagrees can go to Hell.

  8. The_Four_Dot_Elipsis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2005
    star 5
    Not enough Dalton.
  9. drg4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2005
    star 4
    6. License to Kill
    7. Quantum of Solace
    8. The Living Daylights
    9. For Your Eyes Only
    10. Uhhh...Goldeneye, I guess.
  10. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 7
    Oh man, I forgot the swordfight in DAD. Seriously, if you can't get behind that swordfight, just get out. Get. Out. That was a rollicking bit of hysteria nearly unmatched in Bond history (I'm thinking the only thing that comes close is the gypsy catfight in From Russia With Love; that's right . . . one of the serious ones). I think Merlin kind of summed up why I loved DAD; the car battle is just Bond at its furthest, most logical extreme - if Bond can have gadgets, so can everyone else and eventually Bond's going to meet up with someone who has just as many gadgets as he does and it's going to be a frigging stalemate, just like that car battle. Loved it. And surely no one can hate the first twenty minutes of the movie; I mean, that's just Dalton level grit on that first act. I give you Halle Berry though; seriously, please take her. She can't do a line reading to save her life.

    My ranking, from best to worst:

    1. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    2. Casino Royale
    3. Goldeneye
    4. License to Kill
    5. The Living Daylights
    6. Dr. No
    7. Goldfinger
    8. From Russia with Love
    9. For Your Eyes Only
    10. Octopussy
    11. Die Another Day
    12. The Spy Who Loved Me
    13. The Man with the Golden Gun
    14. A View to a Kill
    15. Tomorrow Never Dies
    16. You Only Live Twice
    17. Thunderball
    18. Live & Let Die
    19. Diamonds are Forever
    20. Moonraker

    Excising, of course, The World is Not Enough and Quantum of Solace, neither of which I've seen. (I forgot that I never watched QoS!)

  11. Darth_Omega Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    1. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    2. Casino Royal
    3. Living Daylights
    4. Goldfinger
    5. From Russia with Love



  12. The_Four_Dot_Elipsis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2005
    star 5
    I'll chuck up what I think would probably be my rankings. It's been years since I've done the full run-through.

    1. The Living Daylights
    2. From Russia With Love
    3. The Spy Who Loved Me
    4. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    5. Licence to Kill
    6. Goldfinger
    7. For Your Eyes Only
    8. Casino Royale
    9. GoldenEye
    10. Dr. No
    11. A View to a Kill (no, seriously. It's the first one I saw, it has Duran Duran, one of Barry's best scores ever, and Christopher Walken. Stop looking at me that way.)
    12. Live and Let Die
    13. Octopussy (purely for Berkoff's bat**** insane performance, Louis Jourdan, and Walter Gotell's best turn for the series. I still can't tell you what the plot is though)
    14. You Only Live Twice
    15. Quantum of Solace
    16. Thunderball
    17. Moonraker
    18. Diamonds Are Forever
    19. The Man With the Golden Gun
    20. The World is Not Enough
    21. Tomorrow Never Dies
    22. Die Another Day

    And if I was to put Never Say Never Again in it'd float about the GoldenEye mark. It's a far more interesting film than it ostensibly seems, albeit a fundamentally flawed one. But the Kersh knew more about what he was doing than the vast majority of Bond directors.
  13. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    I'd defend Moonraker on the same grounds as some of you are defending DAD - it takes the absurdities of the Moore era to their apogee. It says, "You know what? It IS impossible to take Moore's Bond seriously*, so let's just have fun" and runs with the idea. As out-of-place comedy bits go, the Jaws romance is actually kind of endearingly goofy - something JW Pepper could never dream to be. And there's at least semi-competent acting from the female lead (comparing favorably with the over-praised TSWLM). And what can I say? I'm a sucker for Star-Warsy space sequences.

    *Yes, FYEO is the closest thing to a "serious" Moore Bond film, and arguably the best of the seven, but Moore is still hopelessly miscast as a gritty Bond - I almost prefer a film that better suits his foppishness.

    I kind of like to think of Goldeneye as the final Dalton film, with the wrong actor in the lead. It was developed for Dalton, and suits that portrayal of the character much better than what Brosnan turned out to be. Though I doubt Dalton would have stood for the cheeky misogyny of the scenes with M - which would have been all to the better.

    We Americans love Bond so much, sometimes it's hard to remember that he's British. Relative to the U.K., Vegas is a much more distant locale than "exotic" European sites like Paris or the Swiss Alps.

    For the record -
    Sean Connery: b. 25 August 1930
    Roger Moore: b. 14 October 1927

    Crazy what a difference in perception a cleft chin and a full head of hair can make. And funny to consider that Connery's admittedly-over-the-hill Bond in Never Say Never Again is actually several years younger than Moore's still-faking-it Bond of Octopussy.
  14. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    (double-post because edit-time ran out)

    Rather than ranking, I've been playing with the idea of sorting the films into some sort of overall narrative. One of the fun things of the seasonal TV marathons is seeing the various eras juxtaposed - what if there was a way to do that AND give it some kind of flow?

    What's also fun is that you can take different approaches - find a way to fit ALL the movies, find a way to fit just your favorites, use only certain actors, etc.

    Here's what I would call The Essentials:
    1. Casino Royale*
    2. From Russia with Love
    3. Goldfinger
    4. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    5. For Your Eyes Only
    6. Goldeneye
    7. Licence to Kill

    Granted, this list doesn't deviate from production order all that much (Only Casino Royale and Goldeneye are out of place), but I like it because a) it includes the best film of each actor (yes, Connery has two essentials), and b) continuity holds together decently well.

    1. Bond Begins. He's hardened by love and loss, we're introduced to a mysterious international group of villains.
    2. Our secret enemy is named: SPECTRE.
    3. Bond has become very comfortable in his job. It's FUN at this point.
    4. Bond falls in love again, confronts SPECTRE's Blofeld, loses the former at the hands of the latter.
    5. Bond joylessly avenges his wife and retreats into his job, helping a young girl find vengeance of her own.
    6. A ghost from the past haunts Bond in a changed world.
    7. Bond gives up his agency to avenge a murder that echoes Tracy's, finding himself a potential new love in the process.

    Although the offer to return is on the table, Licence to Kill ends with Bond retired from MI6 and in the arms of a (living) romantic interest. It's the closest thing to "Happily Ever After" of any film in the series. Maybe that's the wrong ending for Bond, but I think it's a nice way to tie things up.

    I was uncertain at first, but I think Goldfinger fits and is even essential. Beyond the fact that it's the prototypical "Bond film" and neck-and-neck with FRWL for Connery's best, I think that in this narrative it's necessary to see Bond becoming a more light-hearted hero - the jump from FRWL to OHMSS would be too jarring, I think. The deviation from the SPECTRE story helps as well; Bond is losing track of SPECTRE, and losing track of the deadly seriousness of his job. Only after he's lost sight of these things is he willing to risk everything by loving again and marrying Tracy.

    The fact that he HASN'T returned to MI6 at the end of LTK is the only thing that gives his relationship with Pam the tiniest bit of hope, but its enough. A quantum of hope, if you will.;)

    *Personally, I consider Casino Royale/Quantum of Solace a single narrative, and even enjoy the second part more than the first. But I realize I'm in the minority, there, so I left QoS off. Leaving it off also saves a continuity issue - QoS identifies CR's mystery group as QUANTUM, so leaving QoS off the list allows us to assume they're SPECTRE.
  15. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    Well, part of it is just personal aesthetics and expectations. I cannot reconcile the relatively credible (if not realistic) and cool Bond of Dr. No and FRWL with the fleshy douche played with lazy tongue-in-cheek by the same actor in DAF. I like as little camp in my Bond as possible, and there is an overwhelming flood-tide of it in the DAF/LALD/TMWTGG sequence.

    Plus which, this "camp masterpiece" trilogy named above are simply poorly made movies, IMO. The cinema arts on display -- by which I mean cinematography, editing, music, continuity, etc. -- are harrowingly bad in Hamilton's films.

    DAD, on the other hand, is extremely well crafted (but dumb) and full of spectacular sequences (that defy credibility). It's campy, sure, but it's blow-you-out-of-your-seat-ridiculously-awesome campy. I called it a silver-plated turd and I stand by that assessment. On the other hand, the Hamilton Trilogy is campy and slow and dull and largely unimpressive... IMO.
  16. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    Vastly entertaining post there, Four_Dot. I don't agree with some of it -- I think Lee is a very powerful actor and can be subtle when called upon to do so (QV his voice narration of Stoker's Dracula for Russ Jones Productions c. 1968, available on youtube); and TWINE is a decent film, much better than TND -- but you make some excellent points (ha ha, get it, points) about the Fleming oddity (there's a title for you: The Fleming Oddity) present in the Hamilton trilogy but missing from Brosnan's weaker installments.

    But at the end of the day, I cringe throughout the Hamilton run while I find the Brosnan period at least mildly diverting. It's a question of personal aesthetics, as I mentioned above. For me Brosnan has a magnetic quality -- part boyish charm, part cool intensity -- and the films he's in, even at their low point, are well-produced spectacles with gorgeous photography. I just don't feel the same about Hamilton's messes, except for fleeting moments.
  17. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    Speaking cordially from the depths of Hell, I invite you to strike GF from the list for reasons I've enumerated in the past (ad nauseam) and replace it with the vastly superior TB.

    Other than that, your list looks astonishingly like mine.
  18. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    That about sums it up for me too. As dumba** action movies go, DAD is about the dumbest-a** action movie you can get, and every penny of its huge, bloated budget is up on the screen, shimmering plasticly for your delight and excoriation. It's fun, it's stupid, it sucks, it's brilliant. What more needs to be said? :p

    Go watch CR and QOs back-to-back and pretend they're one movie. Then get back to us with your review.
  19. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    I'd put DAD in the same group with YOLT, TSWLM and Moonraker.

    They're the big, dumb ones, where "Bond movie" becomes a genre unto itself. The gadgets become full-on silly sci-fi, the bad guys have epic supervillain lairs fit for a comic book, and things go boom in a big way.

    EDIT:

    Merlin, there's some fun stuff in TB, but the underwater fight drags like crazy and the sped-up footage and crazy editing of the final boat ride looks terrible.
  20. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    Color me amazed. I had no idea! Moore certainly looks younger; even in OP he wears his wrinkles with a kind of jaunty youthfulness that Connery lacked since YOLT.

    The rest of your post I find impossible to argue with; even though I rank MR as the worst film, it's more the tone I dislike, and the fact that it's a remake of the previous movie, than anything inherently bad about the filmmaking. Lewis Gilbert was a talented director and I blame the cheeky humor and self-parody on the producers, who after all were only giving audiences what they thought they wanted. MR is my least favorite Bond movie, but it's not the worst Bond movie, if that makes any kind of sense.

    Hey, that's awesome! I've been doing a similar exercise for
  21. drg4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2005
    star 4
    Sorry Merlin, but for me, Thunderball is the juncture at which the series went off the rails.

    Among its unfortunate (then-)novelties:

    --Connery delivers the first of his auto-pilot performances, essaying a character who has now staked claim as master of his domain, thus losing the scintilla of past vulnerability.

    --Largo is a thoroughly unremarkable villain, exuding none of the chilly menace of Dr. No, Klebb/Grant, and Goldfinger. Did this guy really have to lose to Bond at every turn?

    --SPECTRE ceases to be a shadowy Cold War manipulator, devolving into the bloody Legion of Doom.

    --An appallingly languid narrative drive. (Seriously, this movie is an endurance test, and my favorite directors are friggin' Bergman and Malick!)


    Oh, and Connery looks like an idiot in his jetpack gear.
  22. Jedi_Keiran_Halcyon Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2000
    star 6
    This. I just watched the film again, to see if I'd been unfair.

    Basically, it feels like a Goldfinger/YOLT story shot in Dr. No/FRWL style. It feels very claustrophobic, and not in a way that enhances things.

    Also, even bearing in mind the series' horrible record of misogyny, Bond's treatment of the nurse in the first act dropped my jaw in horror. First he forces his tongue down her throat (we even hear an anguished squeal as she struggles in his arms), then he blackmails her into sex. Next time we see her, she's begging him to keep in touch and he's coldly dropping her like a bad habit.

    Bond's always been a chauvinist beast, but DAMN. He. Blackmails. Her. Into. Sex.
  23. drg4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2005
    star 4
    You know what's more disturbing? In Goldfinger, he effectively rapes a lesbian, and even that didn't play as creepy.

    But then, we were warned. Just listen to the Thunderball lyrics: Tom Jones is singing about a sociopath.

    Oh, and JKH: Your Casino Royale/FRWL transition is inspired. Thanks to you, I have a tonally consistent SPECTRE trilogy, consisting of CR/FRWL/OHMSS. It fits.


  24. Merlin_Ambrosius69 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2008
    star 5
    I find the underwater battle sublime and enthralling. See, it moves slowly 'cause it's underwater. ;) To my eye that's part of what makes it so cool; I can study the action as it happens. It's choreographed like a Star Wars battle: good guys on the left, baddies on the right, with costumes color-coded so you know who's who. It unfolds like a ballet. The order and timing of the shots is carefully constructed for maximum clarity. I think it's ingenious.

    Meanwhile, the extended golf game in GF gets a free pass. Bond is in Goldfinger's clutches for 75% of the movie, incapable of action, unable to be the 007 we all know and love, emasculated and under the villain's thumb. Where is the excitement that everyone thinks exists in GF? I just don't see it.

    As to TB's boat ride, the "sped-up footage and crazy editing" are just part of the Bond aesthetic for me. I like the crazy, super-fast editing in OHMSS and QoS, and I like it in TB.

    Meanwhile, GF's climax at Fort Knox plays like stock footage of an army training exercise. It's boring and unadventurous. I cannot for the life of me understand what people see in that campy crapfest of a motion picture.

    I've numbered your criticisms to more easily address them.

    [1] Bond fails when he tries to scuba under Largo's boat. He's captured first by Volpe and later by henchmen of Largo. (He escapes of his own volition the first time, but the second time Leiter has to rescue him). And Domino saves Bond's life at the end, when Largo is about to shoot 007. You're cherry-picking data here to support your conclusion that Bond has become an invulnerable superhero. I won't contest that he's superheroic and super-confident -- these are aspects of escapism that I love about the character -- but that doesn't mean that he always succeeds in every endeavor he tries his hand at.

    [2] But Largo doesn't "lose to Bond at every turn". Largo manages to steal the titular MacGuffin, settting the movie's plot into motion; he kills Bond's assistant Paula, a character I rather liked, kills Domino's brother, and also dispatches his own henchmen via sharks, revealing himself as a rather unusual villain indeed. Again your complaints are not supported by events in the film.

    [3] Please clarify what you mean here. SPECTRE has already been shown to be comprised of various members with different talents and ranks in the organization (Dr. No, Kronsteen, Rosa Klebb).

    [4] Meanwhile, GF with its excruciating golf game gets a free pass, and Bond in emasculated captivity for 75% of the movie somehow generates glowing reviews. Do. Not. Understand.

    [5] Disagree, I think he looks cool. Aesthetic preferences and all that.

  25. drg4 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2005
    star 4
    [1] Point taken, but there's something so effortless about Bond this time around. Apart from the admittedly absorbing Volpe episode, I never once believed that Bond could perish; Connery's just a little too smooth, here.

    [2] Every Bond villain succeeds in the set-up, and I'd argue that Volpe deserves the credit for every subsequent triumph. Largo himself is pitiful: there's no give and take between himself and Bond. The one-eyed thug manages to lose at cards and target-practice, and whatever countermeasures he unleashes are merely reactive and fail miserably. (Compare to Goldfinger, who consistently pulls the rug out from under Bond.) Sure, he put up a decent fight in the climax, but then, so did Goldfinger...and he didn't have goons accompanying him in the airplane. Finally, Largo's henchmen dispatch is hardly noteworthy: Dr. No and Klebb terrified their goons, while Blofeld and Goldfinger resorted to blithe murder.

    [3] In Dr. No and FRWL, the SPECTRE agents were shadow figures, throwing the Cold War dynamic into chaos through deceit and cunning. They were crafty buggers, making fools of the East and West while quietly raking in the cash. By the time Thunderball rolled around, the organization turned into a comic-book villain outfit. Everyone's running around in henchmen garb. Everyone's wearing super-SPECTRE decoder rings. It's all a bit much. (If I were Blofeld, I'd have pinned the bomb theft on a fabricated rogue Marxist offshoot, collected the ransom, and laughed my tuckus off, watching the capitalists fulminate while Russia and Red China desperately disavowed any knowledge of the plot.)

    [4] The difference lies in the fact that Goldfinger was filled to the brim with colorful characters, indelible exchanges, and tremendously effective iconography; Thunderball, sadly, was bereft of these virtues. Watching Connery and Gert Frobe square off is about as ?excruciating? as watching Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman's verbal dance.