james bond month

004

This is 004. One of the youngest 00′s, 004 is bi-gender and specializes in undercover operations. Commonly dubbed as the master of disguise by the other 00′s, 004 is a fantastic actor and comfortable in any role. Need a sexy secretary to listen in on state secrets? She’s your girl. Need someone to play the aspiring businessman? He’s got that role down to an art.

Originally the part of Octopussy was supposed to be an Indian woman but due to the lack of diversity in Hollywood at the time it would move from an Indian woman, to a woman that looked Indian, to a white woman raised by Indian parents, to finally a European woman living in India.

Adams felt the producers had finally gone too far with her character’s name in terms of double entendres but I would argue when you started the trend with Pussy Galore you can’t really top that.

My Top 10 Villains/Henchmen from the James Bond Series

#1 Oddjob (Goldfinger)

#2 Auric Goldfinger (Goldfinger)

#3 Red Grant (From Russia With Love)

#4 Ernst Stavro Blofeld (You Only Live Twice)

#5 Jaws (The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker)

#6 Francisco Scaramanga (The Man With The Golden Gun)

#7 Hugo Drax (Moonraker)

#8 Xenia Onatopp (Goldeneye)

#9 Alex Trevelyan aka 006 aka Janis (Goldeneye)

#10 Karl Stromberg (The Spy Who Loved Me)

Orbis Non Sufficit = The World Is Not Enough

The title of this film is taken from the real life family motto of Sir Thomas Bond which was previously used in OHMSS as Bond’s family crest. Bond calls it his family motto in the film by the same name, making it one of those rare moments of continuity throughout this series.

What was Mulan’s dad (Soon-Tek Oh) doing before he got his leg damaged? Being James Bond kickass liaison in Hong Kong that’s all. He and his nieces would turn out to be great allies to Bond in The Man With The Golden Gun. Oh and one of those nieces (Yuen Qiu) would grow up to be the chain smoking landlady in Kung Fu Hustle. I think that might be too much awesome to contain in one family.

My Top 10 Leading Ladies/Femme Fatales from the James Bond Series

#1 Anya Amasova aka Agent Triple X (The Spy Who Loved Me)

#2 Tatiana ‘Tanya’ Romanova (From Russia With Love)

#3 Natalya Simonova (Goldeneye)

#4 Vesper Lynd (Casino Royale)

#5 Xenia Onatopp (Goldeneye)

#6 Elektra King (The World Is Not Enough)

#7 Fiona Volpe (Thunderball)

#8 Kara Milovy (The Living Daylights)

#9 Aki (You Only Live Twice)

#10 Tracy Bond (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)

“I think he got the point” after using a speargun on a nearby henchman.

I think that ties with “shocking” after Bond dumps an electric fan into a bathtub with a henchman in it in Goldfinger for most groan worthy, yet still endearing, pun from Sean Connery.

Admit it, if Roger Moore said it you’d roll you eyes but some how with Connery even the puns seems kinda awesome.

#739/#101 Spectre

Tracking the evil organisation spectre over several countries, Jame Bond’s (Daniel Craig) chase leads him to Dr Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux). Together they work to unravel more about this mysterious conglomerate and its shadowy figurehead (Christoph Waltz).

(Spoilers but if you know anything about Spectre you should know this already)

My feelings on Bond are legion and you can review them all here if you so desire. With each new Craig Bond I keep hoping they’ll finally shake off this origin story feel they’ve been clinging to since the success of Casino Royale but that doesn’t seem to likely until we get a new actor in the part.

I’m not looking for an interconnected continuity spanning multiple films. I have Marvel for that; I don’t need it in my James Bond. I don’t need the villain to be Bond’s long lost evil brother or for everything he’s been doing up until now to have been done as part of said brother’s Machiavellian scheme. Just a stand alone mission with some action, some comedy and some intrigue. Bond is a very simple premise but they keep trying to make it more than it needs to be and in doing so keep making it pretty bland.

I liked elements of Spectre. I liked that Q (Ben Wishaw), M (Ralph Fiennes) and Moneypenny (Naomi Watts) got their time in the spotlight. I liked the Jaws style henchman in Mr Hinx (Dave Bautista). I liked the awesome opening sequence in Mexico and the one long shot it started with. I liked both the train and the car sequences. I liked Bond’s Archer turtleneck*.

The rest, while all very pretty and well shot, was largely forgettable and uninteresting. Seydoux was a fairly nothing leading lady, Monica Bellucci was an entirely pointless Bond girl, Waltz was actually pretty bad as Blofeld and Craig was just Craig again. Didn’t help that the entire thing was just a remake of ’On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’, my least favourite of all the Bond storylines.

It was proficient enough that I didn’t hate this movie like I did ’Quantum of Solace’ but I’m so apathetic towards it that I doubt I’ll ever really think about it again. I take back what I said about ’Skyfall’, this is easily Craig’s ’Thunderball’. 2.5/5

* I know it’s a nod to the Roger Moore era bond but it’s clearly also an Archer Tactleneck at this point.

P.S. Totally called most of what happened in this and Skyfall 4 years ago. Eon can send me my cheque whenever they feel like it.

#431/#148 Skyfall

James Bond (Daniel Craig) must return to duty after being thought dead when MI6 is attacked and M’s (Judi Dench) life threatened.

For those who don’t follow me, or started following me after May 2011, you may not know that I’m a huge James Bond fan. So much so that I reviewed all 22 official James Bond films last April (links to all of which can be found here). It’s one of the few franchises I actually fanboy out over and, as such, a quick recap of my feeling on the series are in order before the main review.

I don’t like Danial Craig in the role of James Bond. It’s not a knee-jerk thing because he’s not the typical Bond actor or a slight against him as an actor (I actually quite enjoy his performances when he’s not showing up in franchises I love) but a dislike of the way he presents the character. Craig’s Bond is a thug who’s only use is as a blunt weapon. He can’t quip, he isn’t suave and he looks out of place in every situation where he isn’t beating someone up. That’s not Bond.

As such I haven’t cared for his run of Bond films. Casino Royale is a great action movie but it is not a good Bond movie and Quantum of Solace is just bad in every sense of the word. Regardless of this however, I was quite excited to see what Skyfall had to offer. Q was back, there seemed to be an interesting villain being played by a good actor, it wasn’t a direct sequel and we had dealt with all the annoying origin story issues thus freeing Bond up to go back to the good old days of stand alone, non-personal missions. So did it work?…sort of.

Most importantly, the majority of the film actually feels like a James Bond movie. The opening sequence is strong, the premise engaging and the action suitably rewarding. I was fully willing to accept that this was a return to form we hadn’t seem since the World is Not Enough, and then the last ½ hour of the film happened. They just couldn’t help themselves from trying to be Jason Bourne once again and it killed it for me. I like both franchises but they’re two separate animals and shouldn’t be trying to be one another. Skyfall pulled it up at the end for a really good closing sequence but the entire Scotland section didn’t need to happen. All of the major emotional elements which happen there could have been done earlier in London (possibly motivating a revenge fuelled run at the criminally underused villain’s lair location for a more Bond-esk ending).

Cast-wise I have no complaints. Dench was fine as always while the newcomers of Naomie Harris as Eve, Ralph Fiennes as Mallory and Ben Whishaw as Q all filled some sorely lacking roles missing since the reboot. I look forward to their contributions in future instalments. Berenice Marlohe, while a fairly throw away character who fills almost an identical role to that of Scaramanga’s mistress in the Man with the Golden Gun, was absolutely stunning to behold; top notch Bond girl. Javier Bardem also does a great job creating certainly the most memorable Bond villain since Goldeneye. Again I felt his character weaken once he gets to the Scotland section, but for the rest of the film he is really fun to watch. Even Craig impressed me this time around. There were moments in Shanghai where he managed to even reminded me of Connery in the role a little but then he would try to quip and reality quickly came crashing back in.

On the whole I’d say I liked Skyfall, and it’s the first of Craig’s films I truly accept as a James Bond film. Despite this however, it’s nothing particularly worth writing home about. It’s pretty middle of the road as an action film, as a Bond film and as a film in general. It’s also far too long, and could have done with being cut down a little. It’s Craig’s Thunderball or Man With the Golden Gun; a couple of good elements but nothing that memorable about it. I’m more interested now to see what comes next 3.5/5

and in case of interest I’d rank it as my new no 11, above Moonraker but below Licence to Kill on my person Bond ranking list.