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James Bond 25 Countdown Marathon

Jrzag42

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lapis molari

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TM2YC said:
...a mini-version of the film re-dubbed with the N64 game soundFX:

I love it. The N64 game sounds fits this '90s Bond! This is the first time I enjoy Serra's score in Goldeneye (I really don't like his score in the film).
 

TM2YC

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lapis molari said:
TM2YC said:
...a mini-version of the film re-dubbed with the N64 game soundFX:

I love it. The N64 game sounds fits this '90s Bond! This is the first time I enjoy Serra's score in Goldeneye (I really don't like his score in the film).

The car chase music is bad but otherwise I'm a fan of the film and game music. I recently discovered these two fans marathoning Bond too, they just posted their GodenEye review (they are slightly behind my schedule). At 18.00 they show the car chase scene rescored with David Arnold and it works pretty well. Their reviews are super nitpicky, in a good way.


Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
I remembered 'Tomorrow Never Dies' as pretty good but a bit lackluster after 'GoldenEye', so I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it this time. The pre-title sequence is a stone-cold classic. M and a bunch of government officials are nervously watching over satellite as Bond spies on a terrorist arms deal. An arrogant old Admiral (played by Judi Dench's 'As Time Goes By' sitcom co-star Geoffrey Palmer) wants to just nuke the site but Bond is refusing to leave and he rounds on M "What the hell is he doing!?!" and she snaps back "His Job". It's such a badass moment for the character, Bond has clearly earned the respect of the new M. Then 007 guns everyone down, commandeers a jet, blows everything else up with missiles, takes off just in time to rocket out of a giant fireball, has a dogfight while being strangled, drops some one-liners and flies off. Awesome!

The scene where Bond rescues himself using his new tricked-out, remote-controlled BMW is brilliantly shot and edited. It's full of danger and surprises and Pierce Brosnan plays it like a big kid having fun with his new toy. The problem is that that scene and the cold-opening are never really topped in the 2nd half, including at the end. The final action-sequence takes place aboard a hi-tech stealth-boat but the interior set makes it look like a big metal shed (which I imagine it was). Despite Brosnan and Michelle Yeoh running around generally kicking ass (including her duel wielding MP5s!), it really lacks pizazz. Especially when you compare it to the kind of imaginative and outlandish interior sets that Ken Adams created for the Roger Moore films. It was a masterstroke to cast Hong Kong action-star star Yeoh as 007's Chinese counterpart, she's certainly no damsel-in-distress during the fight scenes. She shares a fun moment with Brosnan when the familiar Q gadget scene is flipped to show Bond discovering all her spy tech.

Jonathan Pryce chews-the-scenery as villain Elliot Carver, a media mogul trying to trick China and the UK into a war. The character is inspired by real-life dubious media players Rupert Murdoch and Robert Maxwell (a line by M makes a close reference to the latter). CIA operative Jack Wade returns (but hasn't appeared in a film since) to aid Bond in doing a HALO-jump into Chinese territory. There is a lot of talk about the jumps in 'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' and 2014's 'Godzilla' but is Bond the franchise that did it first? David Arnold's excellent score sounds like an updated yet classic John Barry style job. The decent song he had written for the titles by K.D. Lang called 'Surrender' (and woven it in to the orchestrations) was dropped in favour of Sheryl Crow's weak theme song and the dodgy 90s CGI titles that accompany it haven't aged well. I remember being very disappointed when I saw the film in '97 because I was a huge 'Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman' fan and Teri Hatcher isn't in the film very long (despite being all over the marketing). Watching it now when that TV show has faded from the memory, she is in the film just the right amount and makes a real impact in the role. This is the first film where Bond's iconic Walther PPK is replaced with the big, chunky and ugly new P99. The reason Q-branch gave him the gun in 'Dr. No' is because it was compact, slim and easy to conceal... no chance with the P99! Thankfully 007 got it back in the Daniel Craig era. Overall, I'd now rank this in the top tier of the franchise, even if some of the energy dips in the last act. In future when I want to watch a Brosnan film, I might just reach for this one over 'GoldenEye'.



Moby's "Re-Version" of the Bond theme hit the UK top-10 in the weeks before the film came out. I bought it on cassette single and distinctly remember listening to it on a loop on my Walkman on the drive down see my relatives at Christmas. One of the all-time best versions of the theme IMO:

 

Moe_Syzlak

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Lol, Moby’s fight scene about 2/3 of the way through reminds of Dolemite is My Name.
 

TM2YC

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The World Is Not Enough (1999)
I remembered the quality of the four Pierce Brosnan films as a steady downwards slope and 'The World Is Not Enough' as semi-competent but this a drop off a cliff. I don't know where to begin, so I'll just list everything I hated in random order. Denise Richards is so astoundingly bad as 'Dr. Christmas Jones' that she doesn't even convince as a human woman capable of walking on two legs, never mind a nuclear physicist (dressed like Lara Croft). The script is stuffed with half-baked one-liners and cringey innuendo, like they were trying to write a 'Carry On' film. I have a distinct memory of the whole cinema audience in 1999 groaning with embarrassment at the final single-entendre line  "I thought Christmas only c*ms once a year".

This is Desmond Llewelyn's last appearance as Q, so they send him off with the indignity of sinking very slowly into the floor while John Cleese arrives to ham it up terribly as his successor. The pre-titles sequence is rubbish. A high-speed boat chase on the Thames might have been good if Bond wasn't piloting a silly looking, over designed dinky speedboat and it wasn't so badly edited that they actually employ crossfades to cover over shots they presumably forgot to film. The plot is such muddled nonsense that I don't think I could explain it coherently. Something about Oil pipelines, stealing nuclear weapons, bombs, submarines, kidnapping, revenge and other assorted stuff. Bond's gadgets include a pair of X-ray sex-pervert shades, there is a hilariously bad dummy shot, z-list celebrity cameos and a dated reference to the millennium bug.

Plus points? Robert Carlyle plays villain 'Renard' brilliantly, although he doesn't turn up for nearly an hour and his ability to feel no pain from injuries (due to a bullet improbably burrowing itself through his brain) isn't a superpower... it's basically Leprosy isn't it? Reynard and Elektra's (Sophie Marceau is great too) twisted love for each other is genuinely fascinating and well written. Maybe that's the problem, Director Michael Apted is more interested in exploring their relationship, than in mounting an escapist action adventure. I really liked that because Bond's arm is injured in the cold-open, he has to deal with it for the rest of the film. He has to push objects with his good arm, looks in pain when he takes a fall and the baddie uses it against him. A rare instance of Bond not being shown as indestructible. I savour those rare occasions when a comrade from a past film returns to help 007, so I enjoyed Robbie Coltrane coming back to play lovable underworld figure Valentin Zukovsky from 'GoldenEye'.

'The World Is Not Enough' is like a camp Roger Moore-era movie except everybody forgot to tell poor Pierce who is still trying to play it seriously. I can hardly believe that if memory serves, the next film is an order of magnitude worse than this one.


 

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If you think TWINE is bad, boy are you going to hate the second half of Die Another Day.  I once thought it couldn't be nearly as bad as I remember, but alas it truly is astounding awful.  I totally agree with your assessment that Apted cared far more about the villains' love story than the action, and nowadays that might have been given a more prominent role.  Unfortunately, they were still operating under the whole Bond formula at this point, and as you mentioned, the forced innuendos and sloppy action are by products of an era I'm glad are long gone.
 

Jrzag42

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Twine? Dad? How many of these movies have initials that make words?
 

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The World Is Not Enough has my favorite Bond theme until Skyfall, so it's got that going for it. 

:blush:
 

TM2YC

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Die Another Day (2002)
Arguably the worst Star Wars film and the worst Bond film in the same year... hang your head in shame 2002! The warning signs begin almost instantly with the sound of an extra "funky" drumbeat over the opening gun-barrel sequence, before 007 turns and somehow shoots a CGI bullet down the barrel of the enemy gun. For the first 40-mins or so I imagine a lot of people might be thinking "this isn't that bad?!" but then it rapidly goes down hill faster and faster from that point. The ugly digital grade is terrible, the green-screen compositing is terrible, the early CGI is beyond terrible (to the point of just laughing at the film), the decision to play The Clash's 'London Calling' as Bond is flying into London was terrible and even Pierce Brosnan's normally perfect accent is slipping back into Irish, it's as if the film was cursed. I don't want to put all the blame at the door of Director Lee Tamahori but the frequent use of jarring speed-ramping like this was a pop video was surely his decision alone.

Madonna's 'Die Another Day' title-song was an awful choice for a Bond song but I remember it being one of my favourite tunes that year. The Electroclash production is incredible, it just doesn't fit the vibe of this franchise. Neither does Madonna herself, why did they let her do a cameo? She can act but not on this occasion and isn't helped by some truly cringe inducing "sexy" banter between her character and 007. They have a whole conversation consisting of nothing but double-entendres. 'Die Another Day' was the first part in Halle Berry's strategic plan to sabotage her own career after winning an Oscar the year before. Her character Jinx is written horribly but her acting is awful too. The product placement is in your face again, reportedly it covered around two thirds of the $142m production budget. It being the 20th film in the series, they made the unfortunate choice to ram in tons of distracting references, call backs, jokes and props from the other 19 films.

I cannot understand how the same team that thought "we need to make Bond serious again" in the 80s/90s (and afterwards in the Craig era) thought invisible cars, ice palaces, hovercraft chases, lightning-bolt shooting power-armour and giant space lasers was the way to go. The MI6 "holodeck" training sequence was a bad idea to begin with, Moneypenny later using it as a Bond sex-simulator was maybe the worst idea in the whole movie. Poor Pierce was perhaps hoping that if he looked furious at all times, it'd somehow negate all the bad acting and silliness going on around him. Just to put a nail in the coffin they have techno music playing over the end credits.

The good points... Having 007 captured and tortured in North Korea for 14-months between the cold-open and the movie proper was an interesting angle (for a more serious story). 007 strolling into a high-class hotel like he owns the place, bare chested, dripping wet and looking like a disheveled tramp and saying "My usual suite please... send up my tailor... and the '61 Bollinger... etc" is so badass. The brutal sword-fight is pretty awesome in it's staging and choreography but unfortunately we aren't given a reason to care about it, or understand the motivations for it happening. The main villain modelling himself on the worst aspects of Bond's character out of shear spite was a great idea on paper but in execution, it makes the character utterly insufferable. Maybe it's just Toby Stephens' preening, massive cocky-cock performance that makes it so irritating. Set free from playing the comedy sidekick to Desmond Llewelyn, John Cleese's 'Q' isn't anything like as bad as I remembered and that "not as bad as I remembered" sentiment applies to the whole film but it's still pretty f***ing bad!

They even managed to make the official trailer awful:




Sorry Bond fans but I totally love this song. The way it rhythmically glitches the string sample is so interesting. Produced/written by Mirwais:

 
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TM2YC

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ChainsawAsh said:
Having just revisited both, which is worse - TWINE or DAD?

TWINE was far worse than I remembered and DAD was better than I remembered but the latter is the worst ever Bond movie and probably always will be. I don't believe there will ever be another Bond film as bad, it would take a concerted effort.
 

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TM2YC said:
ChainsawAsh said:
Having just revisited both, which is worse - TWINE or DAD?

TWINE was far worse than I remembered and DAD was better than I remembered but the latter is the worst ever Bond movie and probably always will be. I don't believe there will ever be another Bond film as bad, it would take a concerted effort.
Not even Quantum of Solace?
 

TM2YC

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wilhelm scream said:
TM2YC said:
ChainsawAsh said:
Having just revisited both, which is worse - TWINE or DAD?

TWINE was far worse than I remembered and DAD was better than I remembered but the latter is the worst ever Bond movie and probably always will be. I don't believe there will ever be another Bond film as bad, it would take a concerted effort.
Not even Quantum of Solace?

I'll soon be re-watching that one but I remember it being just fine. It's got it's problems but nowhere near the bottom of the pile.
 

wilhelm scream

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TM2YC said:
wilhelm scream said:
TM2YC said:
ChainsawAsh said:
Having just revisited both, which is worse - TWINE or DAD?

TWINE was far worse than I remembered and DAD was better than I remembered but the latter is the worst ever Bond movie and probably always will be. I don't believe there will ever be another Bond film as bad, it would take a concerted effort.
Not even Quantum of Solace?

I'll soon be re-watching that one but I remember it being just fine. It's got it's problems but nowhere near the bottom of the pile.
Even with it's HORRIBLE camera work and editing?
 

ChainsawAsh

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wilhelm scream said:
TM2YC said:
ChainsawAsh said:
Having just revisited both, which is worse - TWINE or DAD?

TWINE was far worse than I remembered and DAD was better than I remembered but the latter is the worst ever Bond movie and probably always will be. I don't believe there will ever be another Bond film as bad, it would take a concerted effort.
Not even Quantum of Solace?

I legitimately don't understand why Quantum is so hated. The camerawork and editing suck, sure, but the story is refreshingly relevant and realistic for a Bond film.
 

Moe_Syzlak

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Yeah QoS is a big drop off from Casino Royale but nowhere near the bottom of the pile. I honestly have very little recollection of DAD, but I’ve always considered Moonraker to be the absolute worst Bond film.
 

TM2YC

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ChainsawAsh said:
I legitimately don't understand why Quantum is so hated. The camerawork and editing suck, sure, but the story is refreshingly relevant and realistic for a Bond film.

Yeah that sums it up perfectly.

I just watched this video from the youtube channel 'TheBondExperience' where he gets his daughter in to talk with about the franchise from a female perspective (she has done gender studies and speaks Russian). Some interesting perspectives and observations:

 

TM2YC

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Sorry, this review got out of hand :D , I've got complicated feelings about this one...

Casino Royale (2006)
I was less keen on 'Casino Royale' when it first came out than others were but I've warmed to it over the years. It's not too difficult to ignore all the little issues in an otherwise successful entry in the franchise. Daniel Craig's interpretation of the character is the darkest and most animalistic Bond but he also has a little twinkle of boyish mischief in his eyes and he makes the romantic scenes smoulder. David Arnold's score is one of the all-time best, his themes for this movie sound like such a strong part of the Bond musical world now, that it's easy to forget they were new for this movie. I can't stand Chris Cornell's bland performance of the title vocal but I love Arnold's music for it. I know a lot of people think it's one of the best theme songs but it's always been one of my least favourite. Director Martin Campbell and Cinematographer Phil Méheux's visuals ooze class, surely a contender for the best and most expensive looking of these films. Certainly a big visual upgrade from the dated looking Brosnan movies. The supporting cast is top-drawer, maybe one of the best ensembles in the whole run and Jeffrey Wright is easily the best ever Felix Leiter. The bit where Bond restarts his heart is so good.

After the ludicrous atrocity 'Die Another Day' took the campness that has always been a part of this series to it's zenith, I totally get why the Producers wanted to do a complete 180 with the tone. But I don't get why it was necessary to screw around with the established format that people know and love: Gunbarrel->cold-open->titles->main plot etc. I don't get why they needed to do a reboot 'origin story' (and a half-arsed one at that), 21 films into this thing. Removing the origin elements from this script would take 5-minutes and a bottle of Tippex. There is the very short black & white pre-titles scene where he earns his 007 status, a few references to him being new in the dialogue but otherwise it's business as usual. I also don't think it was necessary to adopt a "no fun allowed" policy (something that has slowly relaxed over the course of Craig's reign), when just exercising some restraint was all that was needed to avoid repeating past mistakes. So there is no fun scene with Q (just a nameless mute tech dude), no fun Q gadgets, no fun repartee with Moneypenny and no Moneypenny, no fun uses of the Bond guitar theme (until after the credits roll) and no fun spectacular set-pieces are permitted, where 007 skydives into enemy territory, drives a tank through a wall, or does some feat of incredible and memorable action. It's all confined to frenetic running around, punching and shooting. Remember that bit where 007 punched a guy, or the bit where 007 ran fast, or that bit where 007 shot a guy and that other bit where 007 drove a car? No, me neither. That's not to say that the action isn't well executed, it's just lacking flare. I also disliked the dumbing-down of changing the card game from Baccarat (a Bond staple), to Poker but I can understand the reasons for it.

The plot doesn't make any sense whatsoever when you think about: Le Chiffre needs to win $150m to repay his dangerous creditors, so Bond is tasked with winning instead, thus forcing Le Chiffre to cut a deal for UK asylum and information on Spectre when they later arrest him. Except they could just have arrested him before the game, preventing him from winning the money and forcing him to seek asylum anyway. Plus let's not forget that 007 kills Le Chiffre's creditors halfway through the game (which Le Chiffre is shown to know about) but everybody carries on as if the impetus is still there. The general structure and pace of the story has always felt odd to me. The first part is your usual globe-trotting thriller, then the whole middle of the film is set in the casino interior. Those scenes are pretty sedentary but thankfully packed with a good deal of tension, drama and well written dialogue. Then the film sort of concludes 30-minutes from the end titles, it slows down for some romance scenes (that could and should have happened earlier), then the action starts up again for 10-minutes, then we get the actual ending scene in the form of an epilogue. In the scramble to get it over with, some plot elements are forgotten about and only wrapped up in the next film. The structure probably flowed just fine in the original more down-to-earth novel but after they plugged in the elements needed for a big-budget action thriller, it feels clunky.

It probably sounds like I don't like the film but I actually think it's one of the best. I just get frustrated by all the little deliberate choices they made which make the film needlessly worse. Maybe a light fanedit is what I'm looking for.



I think this was the first Bond movie to be reviewed on BBC Radio's hugely popular 'Kermode and Mayo's film review':

 

TM2YC

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Quantum of Solace (2008)
I never got why this languishes near the bottom of some people's franchise rankings, it's a decent film, not without it's problems but not without it's highlights either. At 106-minutes (the shortest Bond film) at least it's got brevity on it's side. This latest re watch made me appreciate it in new ways. I don't think the relationship between 007 and M has ever been portrayed anything like as well as it is here. She's not just the usual exposition-machine that calls Bond in to her office after the title-sequence to explain the mission/plot and then turns up at the end to say well done. In 'Quantum of Solace' we are constantly cutting back to her (and her adjutant Bill Tanner) as she checks in with Bond's progress, she might be driving somewhere, digesting reports with Tanner, or at home taking her makeup off, it's like she's an actual real person, a "never off duty" spy-chief, with other priorities and other agents to manage. You get the impression that Bond is like her attack dog, who she has on a very long global leash.

I'd forgotten David Harbour was in this in an early role as a deliciously slimy CIA section chief. It makes for an interesting angle to have Felix forced to choose between his career and helping Bond. The scenes with the returning Mathis are powerful thanks to actor Giancarlo Giannini. I like the clear linear narrative, more or less a continuation of the plot from 'Casino Royale'. Mathieu Amalric is fantastic as the believably psychotic villain Dominic Greene. Him fronting an evil corporation masking their activities with green credentials and his plot to hoard access to water has aged very well. Olga Kurylenko is stunningly beautiful as the main Bond girl (not really the love interest, he's still grieving for Vesper), it's a shame they didn't give her some more action to sink her teeth in to. Daniel Craig is of course perfect in the role, haunted by loss and ready to take it out on anybody in his way.

The film does have it's problems. The action is edited in an exhaustingly fast, barely coherent way, which is a shame because it's well choreographed and well shot stuff. I personally find the editing just about tolerable but I can understand it being unbearable for some viewers. Another less hyper-active editor could've made this material really work. The action content is a step up from 'Casino Royale' with a car chase and a dog fight. Gemma Arterton is a bit rubbish as Bond girl Strawberry Fields, which is surprising in retrospect because she has gone on to be a terrific actor. The franchise formula is pointlessly mucked about with again, so we get a proper gun barrel but it's at the end... why? Like 'Licence to Kill', the nastiness goes too far for my tastes, you want the baddies to be as evil as possible but a violent rape scene isn't "fun evil". The finale is visually very weak and lackluster, it's set at some kind of empty and forgettable pre-fab hotel in the desert, inexplicably run on exploding power cells. The decision to make the Craig films a continuous narrative rarely works and it's very awkward in this movie. It's supposed to take place moments after the last film but the scenes with Mathis are played like Bond is meeting up with an old comrade from an adventure that happened decades ago. We meet him enjoying his sunny retirement in Italy when we only saw him at most a week before in the last movie. 'Quantum of Solace' is a mid-level entry in the series at worst. If you re-cut the action scenes to slow them down and re-shot the end somewhere more memorable you'd have a really solid Bond film.




^ Wow it made Kermode really angry :D .
 
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