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Author Topic: New James Bond  (Read 22358 times)
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davidelliott
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« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2006, 09:54:20 PM »

You're the man, nightwing...

I still don't think I'm going to see CR, although I may actually like the story and idea of a literal (more or less) adaptation, but as far as ditching the whole 007 history and the reboot, aside from Craig and other casting gaffes, I don't think I would enjoy it.

FWIW, I was emabarassed by half of Brosnan's 007 films.  TND and DAD were okay, but the direction and editing in DAD were VERY un-Bond-like... it was like watching a music video with it's slo-mo editing in places.  I DID like the references to earlier films, especially all the old gadgets in the one scene, but the Aston Martin and the villain's similarly weapon equipped car were so over-the-top it wasn't even funny.

That substanciates the pattern, though... once a Bond film get's "way out there", the next one comes back down to Earth... OHMSS, TSWLM, FYEO, TLD, GE and now CR all follow the pattern and usually it's when a new actor plays Bond.
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Aldous
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« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2006, 07:12:34 AM »

Two nice comments by Daniel Craig in my paper this weekend.

First one:

Quote
I've given 100 percent on this. I've given everything I could. If people don't like it, stuff them.

You know, quite a difference from Pierce Brosnan... he would be really upbeat about each of his films in the interviews I saw ("I think we have a real winner with this film... the fans will enjoy it, I think")... never told the Bond fans... to "stuff it"

Such class... low class...

He said he gave 100 percent, David. He said he gave everything he could. If you are a fan, how could you ask for more than that?

I actually find it refreshing, especially since I mostly have contempt for stars and their hangers-on, with their PR departments and phony personalities. I like Daniel Craig so far because in him I recognise a man I could have a drink with.

Nightwing:

Quote
Maybe Roger Moore would be a better example; he always has something pleasant and charming to say (even about people who may not deserve it), and he invariably shows up for the interview dressed to the nines, as opposed to most modern stars who look like boxcar hoboes half the time.

I am in complete agreement, regarding Roger Moore and the rest of it. His sort of class is largely missing these days. What you said about Roger Moore reminded me of things I have read about Bogart in biographies. Bogie set the standard in his day when it came to interviews, etc. I remember reading that a lot of male stars of the day would do things like answer the door for an appointment dressed in a towel, and would make the poor sap wait while they got shaved and dressed, etc. Some sort of power trip I imagine. Whereas Bogie would answer his hotel door ready to roll, shaved, showered and "dressed to the nines". Like you, I don't get the multimillionaire superstar types who dress in tramp's clothes and who look miserable, and don't shave regularly. I am a fan of the late Charles Bronson, and he once came out with a criticism very similar to yours about the stars of today (would have been the 70s), and he said, I always dress as well as I can afford. He had no time for that affectation nonsense. So basically I agree with your assessment of Roger Moore the man.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2006, 10:23:07 AM »

I'm interested in seeing this new Bond film.

I can't say whether it will work or not, because obviously I haven't seen it yet, BUT...I find the concept alone intriguing.

First, by the sound of things, this movie will buck the Bond "formula." You know what I'm talking about: first scene has Bond blowing something up, then the credits, then he flirts with Moneypenny and gets an exposition from his boss, until finally he penetrates the villain's base like Theseus in the Labyrinth.

I've always thought the most interesting film in a franchise is the one that doesn't use the "formula": for that reason I've never liked INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE as much as others seem to, and my favorite Bond and Indiana films are respectively, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE and INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM - and for the exact same reasons. In a franchise based on making the same movie over and over, they came early on and did a different and more intriguing kind of story before a story formula was set in stone.

The thing I always liked about Bond in the films, and in the novels too (though I must confess the only one of the books I've really read is my uncle's first edition of THUNDERBALL on a plane) is that James Bond as a character has a great deal of "edge." He's a good guy, but he's got a streak of mischief and love of pleasure, a dirtiness that gives him a sort of "coolness" that a shiny-toothed Mountie hero can't match. At the same time, Bond movies work as straightforward good vs. evil adventure stories, because while Bond is no angel, he's up against sociopaths with sinister agendas.

There was an interview around the time the first KILL BILL came out, where Quentin Tarantino expressed interest in making a James Bond movie. Now that would have been something to see. When watching KILL BILL parts 1 and 2, I was struck by how THIS is closer to the spirit of James Bond than anything else in the theater those years: KILL BILL combined over the top comic book stuff like villains with eyepatches with an edgy, sexy streak and ultra-stylization.

James Bond movies are adventure movies, but ideally you should hesitate before taking your Mom to one.

Over time, this "edge" to the character has been lost, and it's not entirely because this niche is less and less unique than when Bond first filled it (not a year goes by where a "bucking the rules" cop movie is made) but also because the films have not been playing this element up. James Bond movies in the sixties were super-risque and ultraviolent for the time...they had edge, and it's hard to remember that considering the films have been xeroxes of xeroxes.

It's hard to identify the exact moment, but I think it may have been THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, during the dinner conversation between Roger and Dracula himself, Christopher Lee. Here was Bond, a man who at his core, is a guy that kills people for money...getting sanctimonious to Scamanger...because Scamanger kills people for money!

So yeah, I am pretty intrigued they're trying to make Bond more "Tarantino" for CASINO ROYALE, because that's what Bond should be doing too.

Leigh Brackett almost wrote a James Bond? Now that would have been awesome. Edgar Rice Burroughs is the greatest adventure novelist of all time, but Leigh comes a close second. 

Incidentally, I actually wrote a haiku about Ed Hamilton and Leigh Brackett:

Edmond Hamilton
Writer Mighty as Great Oak
Until wife gets home
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nightwing
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« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2006, 05:31:26 PM »

JulianPerez writes:

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I've always thought the most interesting film in a franchise is the one that doesn't use the "formula": for that reason I've never liked INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE as much as others seem to, and my favorite Bond and Indiana films are respectively, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE and INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM - and for the exact same reasons. In a franchise based on making the same movie over and over, they came early on and did a different and more intriguing kind of story before a story formula was set in stone.

I'm with you on "Russia," easily the best Bond in the series and not likely to be toppled.  But "Temple of Doom" is a sick, dark mess.  The "raft from the plane" bit is pure Road Runner and Coyote stuff (in a bad way).  The brains,bugs and eels for dinner scene takes the cute "sheep's head" moment from Octopussy and drags it on well past the point of humor (like an SNL sketch) and at best is the kind of thing you expect from a 6-year-old.  Kate Capshaw plays easily the most annoying love interest in any film ever, and that's including Denise Richards, Tanya Roberts and Britt Eklund from the Bond films.  Indy's attempt to shoot the bad guys near the end, only to find his gun gone, is a joke that can't work because it references the previous film...which according to Steven and George happens LATER in Indy's life.  And the whole "fortune and glory" routine is a half-hearted and abortive attempt to paint Indy as a younger, more reckless and not yet fully developed character compared to "Raiders." But other that that line, and a bit of a harder edge to Indy in the opening scene, nothing is done with it.

This is an unrelentingly dark and depressing film that piles on stunt after stunt with no sense of pace.  I still remember coming out of the theater in 1984 feeling like I'd been dragged into an alley and worked over with brass knuckles.  Lots of films have created the same effect since then, but that one was the first.

Quote
Over time, this "edge" to the character has been lost, and it's not entirely because this niche is less and less unique than when Bond first filled it (not a year goes by where a "bucking the rules" cop movie is made) but also because the films have not been playing this element up. James Bond movies in the sixties were super-risque and ultraviolent for the time...they had edge, and it's hard to remember that considering the films have been xeroxes of xeroxes.

A friend of mine just wrote a review for "Casino Royale" that had a neat turn of phrase.  He said it harks back to the early days of the series, "before the lava of creativity cooled into the crust of formula." 

The thing about being "edgy" is that you have to keep one-upping yourself.  In 1964, just releasing a film with a character named "Pussy Galore" was about the most scandalous, daring thing imaginable.  Showing a guy like Bond, who beds multiple partners in one film with no pretense of commitment, was amazing stuff.  But all it amounted to really was, "Oh my god, he's in his bath towel and she's already naked!  They're kissing! They're gonna do it! Pant! Pant!").  Nothing graphic was shown, but it was "racy."  Ten years later Bond is still bending a girl over a bed, with a slow fade to the next scene, only now it's tame...a cop-out.  By now you'd have to show them naked and thrusting to get anyone's attention and even then some audience members would be yawning.

Anyway, you're right that Bond has spawned countless imitators who've made him seem a lot less unique and interesting.  When I was growing up, you had basically two choices for big-screen action (unless you wanted to hunt down a kung-fu movie at a drive-in), and those were James Bond and Burt Reynolds.  Now action flics are a dime a dozen.

Quote
It's hard to identify the exact moment, but I think it may have been THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, during the dinner conversation between Roger and Dracula himself, Christopher Lee. Here was Bond, a man who at his core, is a guy that kills people for money...getting sanctimonious to Scamanger...because Scamanger kills people for money!

That's an odd scene, isn't it?  You have to wonder if that's the writers trying desperately to justify why this guy should be considered the villain.  A well-dressed, cultured Englishman who shoots people for a living....hmm, is this the bad guy or the hero?  The funny thing is, you'd think with all that was happening in the world in 1974, James Bond would come off as even less sympathetic.  After all, he did his killing on the orders of a government.

It's also interesting that Roger conveys such genuine fervor here.  You wonder if he was a bit at sea in his first two Bonds, playing a "hero" who slaps women around, tries to shoot them, tricks them into bedding him and so on.  Quite a switch from his "Saint" days.  And sure enough by the end of his tenure, he's the knight in shining armor, doing insane things like jumping on planes or dirigibles to put his life in danger for the fair damsel, even though the mission's already accomplished. 

There's a neat reversal of the Scaramanga dinner scene in "Octopussy," when Bond sanctimonously turns down an offer of employment from the title character and she replies, "I'll not apologize to you, a paid assassin, for what I am!"

The trouble is by this point sweet old Rog has been in the saddle so long we've forgotten that yes, he is a paid assassin.  Doggone it, he made it seem like such a sociable calling!

Before I give up entirely on the issue of how "classy" one actor is compared to another, I submit this video clip of Pierce Brosnan's compassionate and caring response to the "news" (later debunked) that Daniel Craig had lost two teeth filming a stunt scene for the new film...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMIhRnJBc7Q

There's class and charm for ya.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #28 on: November 16, 2006, 11:53:05 PM »

Quote from: nightwing
I'm with you on "Russia," easily the best Bond in the series and not likely to be toppled.  But "Temple of Doom" is a sick, dark mess.  The "raft from the plane" bit is pure Road Runner and Coyote stuff (in a bad way).  The brains,bugs and eels for dinner scene takes the cute "sheep's head" moment from Octopussy and drags it on well past the point of humor (like an SNL sketch) and at best is the kind of thing you expect from a 6-year-old.  Kate Capshaw plays easily the most annoying love interest in any film ever, and that's including Denise Richards, Tanya Roberts and Britt Eklund from the Bond films.  Indy's attempt to shoot the bad guys near the end, only to find his gun gone, is a joke that can't work because it references the previous film...which according to Steven and George happens LATER in Indy's life.  And the whole "fortune and glory" routine is a half-hearted and abortive attempt to paint Indy as a younger, more reckless and not yet fully developed character compared to "Raiders." But other that that line, and a bit of a harder edge to Indy in the opening scene, nothing is done with it.

This is an unrelentingly dark and depressing film that piles on stunt after stunt with no sense of pace.  I still remember coming out of the theater in 1984 feeling like I'd been dragged into an alley and worked over with brass knuckles.  Lots of films have created the same effect since then, but that one was the first.

On the question of TEMPLE OF DOOM's pacing...the first act was pretty much BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG, going from a nightclub gun battle to a car chase to a plane nearly crashing out of the sky...I found it breathtaking, presenting something new every few minutes...but I can see why others found it exhausting. Either way, it doesn't last long: it then leads to the scary, quieter second act, where you've got a frightening Indian guy giving exposition, missing children taken by an evil cult, and finally forests filled with evil idols and vampire bats. For me, the spookiest moment was NOT the guy getting his heart ripped out, but was earlier, on the way to Pankot, they good guys are presented with this downright otherworldly idol that the elephants refuse to approach, and Harrison Ford selling the scene, demanded Willie and Shorty "not come up there." While on the idol, he discovers fresh red huiman blood. The music becomes screechy and strange...an astonishingly frightening scene.

The point here is, TEMPLE OF DOOM wasn't all breakneck - they mixed up the kind of movie it is periodically.

As for the "chilled monkey brains" scene...I'm with you that it was pretty moronic, but what is often forgotten is that the subtle, angry tension between Indiana and that Prime Minister guy, which made it all a very tense, dramatic scene.

When people say they didn't like TEMPLE OF DOOM because it was the most horror-centered and darkest of the Indiana Jones films, I'm not sure how to respond, because the reason I like TEMPLE OF DOOM is BECAUSE it makes the exotic horror and the darkness so explicit. There's a tendency to lump RAIDERS and LAST CRUSADE together and have TEMPLE OF DOOM be the odd film out of the three.

Actually, I think it's the other way around: it is RAIDERS and TEMPLE OF DOOM that are more like each other, and LAST CRUSADE that is the odd film out. The reason is that - the presence of Marcus and John Rhys-Davies aside - the TEMPLE and RAIDERS have their artifact be a mysterious, and rather scary, object with a mind of its own. They featured occult forces that were downright scary (that had really spooky John Williams music surrounding them). LAST CRUSADE on the other hand, was much more the traditional adventure film, with cowboys and escapes and castles.

RAIDERS had Indiana Jones start out in spooky, possibly haunted Mayan ruins with spiders and heathen idols. LAST CRUSADE started out with Indiana Jones in a Western with a gunfight against banditos.

People call Indiana Jones a series of adventure films with occult/horror elements, but that doesn't ring true to me: Indiana Jones films are really, horror movies with adventure elements. If you take out the horror/occult elements from Indiana Jones, you lose the distinctiveness of the franchise and you get a movie like THE ROCKETEER (a great film, but not very Indy-ish). TEMPLE OF DOOM makes that the most clear, which is why I like it most of all: the "personality" of the Indy films shines the most. This is why I don't think Indiana Jones's imitators have been very successful: they keep making adventure movies in exotic locales without duplicating the history and occultism, so they never do it quite right.

Quote from: nightwing
The thing about being "edgy" is that you have to keep one-upping yourself.  In 1964, just releasing a film with a character named "Pussy Galore" was about the most scandalous, daring thing imaginable.  Showing a guy like Bond, who beds multiple partners in one film with no pretense of commitment, was amazing stuff.  But all it amounted to really was, "Oh my god, he's in his bath towel and she's already naked!  They're kissing! They're gonna do it! Pant! Pant!").  Nothing graphic was shown, but it was "racy."  Ten years later Bond is still bending a girl over a bed, with a slow fade to the next scene, only now it's tame...a cop-out.  By now you'd have to show them naked and thrusting to get anyone's attention and even then some audience members would be yawning.

Yeah, I'm with you. I love Roger Moore, but the last thing I need to see is his bare ass.

The point I'm making here is not that Bond movies should be excessively violent or the sex should be explicit.

What I'm trying to say here is this: James Bond films are not seen as being the kind of racy flick they used to be. I don't think this is because the general culture has "caught up" with James Bond, so much as it is that Bond movies have, over time, become so enmeshed in the formula that we've forgotten what a "bad boy" James Bond really is.

Maybe. like you said, a nice guy like Sir Roger had a lot to do with this. He's such a sweet old English dude that you can take him home to meet Mom - a very strange statement to make about a character like Bond, and very different from the two guys before him. Even when Sean Connery's trying to be a sexier version of Dick Van Dyke in DARBY O'GILL AND THE LITTLE PEOPLE, there was this strange grit and sex appeal about him that was totally inappropriate. Watching "Sean O'Connery" in DARBY O'GILL was a little like watching a porn star play Snow White.

I think the raciness is a much more important element of Bond than you make it out to be because without the Bond movies's daring - without all the bright blue gags and very distinctive, misbehaving hero, the Bond films become just another action film...which is precisely what happened in the past few recent films...and why CASINO ROYALE trying to give Bond his "edge" back is something that really tickles my fancy.

If they want it to be edgy they don't have to try to one-up themselves when it comes to explicit sex. They just need to make a film where there is a type of raciness, and more importantly raciness that leads to glamour and adventure. MOULIN ROUGE had no explicit sex, but it had a kind of sexiness that was exotic and glamorous, and not entirely PG-13.

One element that has been lost over time gradually from the Bond films is how there's been this sort of humor related to sex. Whether it was the gay henchmen in DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, or Bond turning a radio off and saying "I'm fully satisfied" in GOLDFINGER, or the girlfriends with names like "Plenty O'Toole" (!). You can even see this in the early Roger Moore films - the trick he pulled on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman with the tarot cards, or his tendency to say "Oh, the things I do for England" so forlornly as he's about to do the nasty with some hot babe (no doubt hating every minute of it, of course Cheesy ).

Like I said, KILL BILL was more "James Bond" than "James Bond" was. This humor about sex was present there, too. When Uma Thurman steals a vehicle with PUSSY WAGON spraypainted on the side, for instance.

Quote from: nightwing
That's an odd scene, isn't it?  You have to wonder if that's the writers trying desperately to justify why this guy should be considered the villain.  A well-dressed, cultured Englishman who shoots people for a living....hmm, is this the bad guy or the hero?  The funny thing is, you'd think with all that was happening in the world in 1974, James Bond would come off as even less sympathetic.  After all, he did his killing on the orders of a government.

That's a very, very interesting point that didn't occur to me. Considering what was going on in 1974, you'd have to make Bond a heroic type, because Bond as a guy that kills people on behalf of his government comes off as downright sinister. Incidentally, that was by far the most hallucinogenic and counterculture of the Bond films, from that weird disco tunnel scene to Tattoo, who is himself a living acid trip.

Nowadays, I think the idea of Bond as assassin will play better, because - for good or for ill - we as a culture have gone back to the idea that sometimes you have to do something bad to make things turn out right.
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« Reply #29 on: November 17, 2006, 04:11:27 AM »


JulianPerez writes:
Quote
It's hard to identify the exact moment, but I think it may have been THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, during the dinner conversation between Roger and Dracula himself, Christopher Lee. Here was Bond, a man who at his core, is a guy that kills people for money...getting sanctimonious to Scamanger...because Scamanger kills people for money!

That's an odd scene, isn't it?  You have to wonder if that's the writers trying desperately to justify why this guy should be considered the villain.  A well-dressed, cultured Englishman who shoots people for a living....hmm, is this the bad guy or the hero?  The funny thing is, you'd think with all that was happening in the world in 1974, James Bond would come off as even less sympathetic.  After all, he did his killing on the orders of a government.

The issue was dealt with in "The Mechanic" a couple of years earlier, and far more convincingly.

But I mainly wanted to address the mistaken idea mentioned above that at his core, Bond is a guy who kills people for money. Bond is a secret service agent earning a salary who is permitted to kill in the line of duty if necessary. I do wish people would get that right.
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« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2007, 05:30:17 AM »

Is it really on the level that the new Bond film has the biggest box office take of them all?

Anyway.....

Daniel Craig has now been nominated for a Bafta.
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davidelliott
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« Reply #31 on: January 15, 2007, 07:39:59 AM »

And I have seen Casino Royale twice and loved it!  I'm a convert to Daniel Craig
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