Die Another Day ain't that bad, fellas. C'mon now.
Which is the best movie of the Craig era (so far)?
|Quantum of Solace||0||0%|
Die Another Day ain't that bad, fellas. C'mon now.
I just saw Tomorrow Never Dies. Or how the writers originally envisioned it: Mass Media is EVIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!
But really, out of all of the Bond movies I've seen, this seems quite unfocused. I get the feeling they were trying to go for something more serious, but things just went south. Brosnan is OK, Michelle Yeoh as this movie's Bond girl is fine, the intro is fine, the score is fine, the set design and the fighting scenes are quite good actually (that helicopter stunt is ridiculous, but damn if it's not effective, and the "Bond drives using his phone" is also hilarious)... It all seems quite decent if somewhat mediocre, with the exception of one big thing: the villain. Oh, the villain of this movie. What were they thinking? What were they going for? This is without a doubt the worst villain yet, at least the worst when dealing with campy villains. Elliot Carver is a mass media mogul that somehow has enough power to cause World War III, fine, but his ways to go about it are incredibly obvious and in the face. The very first scene we see him is gleefully orchestrating chaos and mayhem all throughout the world, and when he announces the "discovery" of the Anglo-Chinese crisis with a cracking tone that almost souns like moaning. That's the first scene. This is the kind of stuff that I'd expect on a Bond parody, like Austin Powers or something similar, not an actual 007 movie! But it gets worse. Everytime we see his organization's logo, it's accompannied by a massive portrait of him, sometimes multiple copies of them. Even while inside of his office and there's no need for any kind of cult of the individual advertisement. Have we mentioned he's a narcissist yet? No? Then let us remind you of that through the entire flick? Seriously, the guy has his face printed on the side of a massive skyscraper! It almost takes half of that side, what happened to the people working there, aren't they allowed to use windows? His schemes are also horribly put together. If he knows so much about information, then he must know that by publishing the conflict before anyone could've really heard of it would put a target on his head immediately. He would at the very least get officials from both countries knocking at his organization trying to know how did he know that, why was his organization there, and what else does he know. But no, instead he apparently goes unnoposed, and he gives a speech during the satelites' big presentation in which he sounds completely deranged and thristy for power. How does anyone trust this guy? Especially when he was just joking about ruining someone out of spite to his guests (also, can we just stop to wonder why Bond decides to go to Carver directly to tease him about what he knows? You're a secret agent, you know, you need to be more subtle than that). He orders his wife's murder when he suspects she's been working with Bond, instead of just, you know, questioning her (if you're so much focused on the idea that information is power, why don't you extract the info out of her, if you're evil enough to order her assassination, you shouldn't really have any problem with questioning under torture. Hell, the guy has a two torturers under his payroll!). From here, your typical Bond villain clichés start happening one after another: the villain brings the heroes to his lair, he has an evil, gloating monologue, a "you're insane - no I'm a genious"... the whole thing. He also decides to go in his evil cloaked an armed to the teeth ship, and instead of ordering stuff from his headquarters, he goes into the thing, despite it obviously being at risk of actual naval battle. This is where he reveals his reasoning for orchestrating the whole thing: on top of getting the news of the event, he would get exclusive broadcasting rights in China for a century. Ok... how do you know that? I mean, yeah, you have a puppet in the Chinese government, but, you know China is a very strong dictatorship, yes? Even by then, they kept quite a stern control of the information going around, what makes you think that your puppet won't turn against you once he gets all the resources available to China? What's stopping him from just sending a couple of special agents to kill you once he's the Chairman? Carver struggled against a couple of special agents, imagine if the chinese sent a dozen or so against him. Once we get the hostage showdown, he kills his henchmen to prove how evil and how above Bond he is. But... why not kill Yeoh's character? No, really, Bond villain stupidity aside, why not? You kill one of the enemy agents and you make Bond mad. And in the ultimate showdown between Bond and Carver (by the way, how the hell did Carver sneak upon Bond?) he commits the ultimate Bond cliché and monologues instead of shooting him. While this is a common thing, the difference between him and other Bond villains is that most others are either capable of going mano a mano against him, or they have a great deal of distance to avoid tricks and outmanouvers as much as possible. Carver is just RIGHT THERE, and he gets immediately overpowered and killed by Bond. What did you expect, moron? What was your plan? How the hell did you think it was going to work? If we assume that he acts like that because he's crazy, then we must also assume he acts like this all the time, and in that case, how did he amass so much power without being backstabbed and taken over by more competent people? What the hell were the writing team thinking?
Overall, a mediocre Bond movie, but the villain and everything around him derails the movie for me. A sad 4/10.
Also, I find amusing that noone mentions the internet in all of this. Guess that, for a mass media mogul, he's very short sighted.
I just saw The World is Not Enough.
This is an interesting turn for the series. This is the first time the MI6 is actually targeted successfully, and by combining it with the threat on M's life and the protection of a former ally's daughter, it ends up being quite a personal story. The plot is moved along by the relations everyone has with each other: Bond's relation with Electra, M's relation with Electra and her father, Electra's relation with Renard, M and her father, Renard's relation with Bond and the MI6 in general... It is a rather interesting challenge for the writting team, and while it's not a perfect result, it's pretty good and entertaining. Most actors manage to play quite well their part, taking into advantage of this script. In particular I found the relation between Elektra and Renard fascinating, you don't really know whether one has seduced the other, both have fallen for each other, or if they are just playing a rol, but in the end you feel there's a very twisted romance going on. Robbie Coltrane steals the show as the retired KGB agent helping Bond, from his antics at the casino to his rescue of Bond at the last third of the movie, and it's a legitimate sad moment when he dies. The villain's plan is also great, and it also helps that there's a lot of human factor to the villain's motivation, making the more unrealistic plotp points easy to believe. Speaking of which, Elektra as the villaines was a great choice, although it would have worked better if the Christmas character wasn't there. The moment I saw Bond was getting a second Bond girl I knew Elektra was going to turn against him. Denisse Richards doesn't really add that much to the plot, other than convenient nuclear expertise and a motivation for Bond to continue fighting after the reveal. The action is surprisingly subpar, with only the submarine mono a mono between Renard and Bond staying in my memory, which is weird, Bond movies usually shine in this department.
Overall, this is the second best movie from Brosnan thus far. A good 7/10. I feel it had the potential of being much more, but what we got is still good.
Also, next one will be Die Another Day. Oh, boy.
I just saw Die Another Day. What can I say about this movie? This is peak silly for the James Bond series. The sheer amount of over the top action, setpieces, dialogue and plot points combined makes this probably the most childish, overdone and bombastic movie in all of the series.
And I freaking love it.
This was my favourite Bond movie when it came out, and still holds up to that title. Seriously, there is not a single moment in the film I'm not having fun, either by the sheer over the top of everyone or by its many legitimately good elements in this. But first, let us start with the beginning. Bond movies have two opposite extremes, the camp and the serious, the ying and the yang. They need each other to be a Bond movie, but directors always have to combine them to make the films. And yet, I am of the opinion that Bond movies are much stronger when they side to camp more than serious. And if the fact that the movie starts with Bond surfing in North Korea while wearing a spy suit doesn't immediately tell you what this movie is going for, you really should consider the series you're watching. And not only that, but we then have a hovercraft chase scene in North Korea (which were there to go over the landmines, when that's not how landmines work) and get a fake death that was so obviously a fakeout the first time I watched it I thought it was going to be a "this was planned all along" moment, but apparently not. Then we have a torture scene mixed with a techno music video, because it sounded modern at the time. Then Bond is traded after more than a year of torture, and put into lockdown until propper supervision because they suspect treason. Of course he immediately escapes, and swims to Hong Kong. Yep, for some reason they decided to keep Bond in a boat near Hong Kong instead of immediately moving him anywhere else. And he just goes to an hotel to ask for a room. A luxury hotel, all while Bond looks like an escaped patient at a hospital. And people don't seem to react! Well, that's not true, we hear someone say "no tie? Such poor standards". How can't you laugh at this? We later see Bond getting help from a chinese agent to go to Cuba, where he follows the clues to the one north korean agent he was traded for, and find a secret DNA replacement clinic. Yes, you read that right, a DNA replacement clinic. A child must have written this. You'd think this crime against science would actually be the bigger concern. Yeah, someone somewhere has developed a technology to replace the DNA of someone for anyone else in the world, this could be the ultimate spy tool, this could cause chaos if it fell in the wrong hands, this could change medical science and biology in general as we know it... But nah, let's just ignore all of this, we have more important shit to do. In Cuba we also meet Halle Berry's character, which also infiltrates the clinic. Bond then finds Zao there, but he escapes, and the clinic is destroyed in the process because chase scene. Bond then finds some diamonds that point out to the villain of the movie, Gustav Graves. Bond goes to confront him in a brittish castle, where he's practising fencing, and the two of them end up having a fight. And, no joke, this fight is the best action duel in the series, period. No special effect, no contrived situations, no fancy weaponry, it's just two men swordfighting. And it gets very brutal, Graves becomes unhinged and just lashes out against Bond. They keep hurting each other, they break their swords, they go for other swords, they jump and dodge each others, they brawl... The choreography is excellent, the buildup to the fight is superb, and the fact they are surrounded by a lot of people who have absolutely no idea what is happening while this two men are wrecking the place adds to their reactions to the mix. Sometimes the simplest things are the most effective, and this fight is proof of that. After that bit of awesome, Graves invites Bond to his ice palace, because of course he has an ice palace. It is from this point on that thre big things happen: first, Bond reconciles with M and begins working for the NI6 again, we realise that Graves' secretary is actually an undercover NI6 agent (and, by default the traitor, since we already know the Bond girl of the week is Hale Berry) and we finally get the invisible car! They pulled no punches when it comes to silly sci-fi spy tech, and the invisible car is probably the most overpowered tool Bond ever gets. It's a shame there were no more Brosnan movies after this, since how do you top this? Oh, I know, Virtual Reality! We have a completely pointless action scene revolving around a VR pair of glasses, and it never goes anywhere! This is a completely pointless tech show that's there only for an action scene, and it's a sad bump in the otherwise excellent pacing this movie has. Anyways, we get to the ice palace, and everything suddenly looks like it's made of plastic, glorious. And even then, there are candles, people are smoking, dozens of people are there in regular suits... Anyway, we find Berry's character again, and after a painful innuendo exchange, we are presented to the main mcguffin of the film: Icarus. Someone must've taken notes from Diamonds Are Forever, since this is practically the exact same thing: A laser satellite powered up by diamonds used to destroy enemy assets from orbit. Only this one is more akin to a weapon of mass destruction. It kinda sounds less impressive than the DNA reconstruction clinic, but regardless. Later we see Bond and Jinx infiltrating the lair of the villain, which is a full-on terrarium, and then they have to fight a henchmen using lasers (the amount of nods to previous Bond movies is great). After that, we have the necessary scene next day, the MI6 agent betrays Bond, Gustave reveals himself as... the villain! *gasp*, but then he escapes. The chase scene that follows is excellent, and goes over the top in all the right ways. Bond steals Gustave's super fast vehicle, he then uses Icarus to unleash a fuckhuge laser against Bond, which he manages to just in time avoid it by throwing himself from an iceberg. The iceberg then breaks and Bond needs to SURF FOR HIS LIFE! Yeah, that's the power of foreshadowing, baby! The magic of cinema does it again! Also, that horrible greenscreen. Bond then goes back to the ice palace to rescue Jinx, but he's discovered and ANOTHER CHASE STARTS, NOT EVEN FIVE MINUTES AFTER THE LAST ONE! And not just that, but a car vs car fight, because Zao's car is pretty much identical to Bond's for some reason. So we have not only a chase scene racing against time, but we also have a car-o a car-o, with each one countering the other's moves! After Bond manages to beat Zao by tricking him into falling into a water pool from the melting palace (yes, the palace is melting after getting shot by Icarus, instead of getting instantly evaporated) and shooting a candelabra at him, Bond rescues Jynx from almost drowning. I do now realize a bit of a foreshadowing from Goldeneye, when Trevellian complains to him that Bond never can save the women he loves. Considering he loses Paris in Tomorrow Never Dies and has to kill Elektra in The World is Not Enough, it's nice to see a bit of an arc from Bond, becoming more emotional and vulnerable in this particular regard. After she's saved, they link up with HQ, and they are sent to stop Gustave once and for all. Gustave's plan is to destroy the minefield dividing North from South Korea, so he can... wait, what can he do? I mean, he can destroy the border and the US and SK bases, but that's kind of it. They only have one superweapon, but that wouldn't be enough to win the war, or even make threats. And even if noone can shoot down Icarus, wouldn't there be a way to hack it? Or to shoot down the plane where Gustave is and neutralize it? I mean, that's what ends up happening anyway. What was his plan? No wonder his father turns on him, that plan is suicidal. Anyways, Bond and Jynx end up in the plane with Gustave, who is wearing the power glove now, and they eventually start fighting. Meanwhile, Jynx takes control of the plane, but she's discovered by the MI6 traitor and... WAIT A MINUTE!! WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?? You're in a military flight, lady! There is no reason for her to be dress like that, other than fanservice, and thus we get the catfight. It is a pretty good fight scene all things consider, but the dialogue is awful! Seriously, in general the character of Jynx is the worst written Bond girl since the Connery days. You have to laugh just at the sheer stupidity of it (but seriously, a Bond movie should never have a "yo mama" joke). Anyways, Bond and Gustave fight and it looks like Gustave is going to win, but Bond manages to turn the tides of the fight by activating his parachute. Also, probably the worst Bond one liner in the series, what does it have to do with what they are doing? Anyways, Gustave is killed by motor engine (again, a sad lost opportunity, hew should have been killed by Icarus), Bond and Jynx manage to get out of the plane in time, and the movie ends. What a ride.
If I had to point out a complain about this, it would be the very 2000s editing, that much slow-down and speed-up with the footage gets annoying fast. But overall, why even complain? This movie is a masterpiece.
10/10, they just don't make movies like this anymore.
Holy wall of text Batman!
I just watched Casino Royale. It's still my favorite. I love the music. I love the intro. I love the one-liners (not over the top). I love his Aston Martin. I even loved that Ford Focus (only because Bond was driving it). I also love the fact that Bond doesn't sleep with every female he meets.
I never tired of CR. Not only is it my favorite Bond movie, it's an excellent movie overall. 10/10
Also, RIP Chris Cornell. You made the best theme since Dr. No.
I also watched Quantum of Solace for the first time. It was also great. Too many chase sequences though. Not enough Spectre. 007/10
New poll up!
Old poll results:
I just saw Casino Royale.
After people's general reaction to Die Another Day, the producers decided to reboot the whole series after more than 40 years of a singular continuity. This also takes into account the general loss of interest for the sillier stuff in favour of the most serious and "realistic" aspects of the series. And it is really good. Craig is a very different kind of Bond, a Bond that constantly looks like he's repressing himself or else he's going to lose it, the pressure and the regrets of being an 00 being something very real in this story. The character of Vesper as a Bond girl is also great. Half of the movie is dialogues, very well written dialogues, between Bond and Vesper, and that really helps you to understand the characters. Their interactions with each other are very sweet, and that makes her betrayal and death that much sadder. The other half of the film is the poker games. The filmmakers manage to create very intense scenes where the actors can really show their acting chops (despite the point of poker being emoting as little as possible), and it makes this movie the most sofisticated one so far. A bit of a surprise for a Bond movie is how down to earth the villain plot is: the guy's just a terrorist banker who's lost his client's money and wants to recover it at all costs in a game of poker. That's it. Everything is so down to Earth in this movie, no weird gadgets, no world ending plots to foil... Not even the fight scenes are that complicated. The most developed one is the one on Venice at the very end, and even then it feels very grounded. This movie is also the one with the least amount of action, though that feels quite intentional. Even the middle fight between the african warlord and Bond feels like it was forced by the studio, it could have been solved by a shooting and it would've gotten the same amount of emotional effect. A bit of a nitpick I have is that they stay in the Montecassino Hotel for way too long. I know that's something unavoidable, but part of the charm of Bond movies are the exotic locals, and the high class casino, while cool to see, it's in pretty much all Bond movies (how many movies do we have with Bond playing cards with the girl or the villain?). Also, that fucking torture scene. I know you want to be realistic, but did you really have to go there? And, by the way, did you know Sony got a hand in making this movie? I wouldn't have been able to tell! So much Sony product placement. So, so much Sony product placement...
Overall, it's a strong movie, but I feel like it's lost a bit of the essence of the Bond movies to try and capture regular spy drama. 7/10