SPECTRE and other James Bond stuff

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Casino Royale

Postby LizR » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:55 pm

I think it's time for some new threads. (So long as we're talking about something nicely tailored and containing Bond....James Bond...)

Makkabee wrote:So far I'm fairly happy with the Bond reboot. It's not perfect, but I think they give us a more nuanced, human image of Bond this time out.

Hmm. I've only seen CR not QOS so perhaps I'm not in a position to comment that much, but my feelings on the reboot (FWTW) were...

Another of my mini-reviews :D

CONTAINS SPOILERS

"Casino Royale"

I've recently watched the film of "Casino Royale", and for me at least, the book wipes the floor with the film. I'm not completely sure why, but it has far more impact. One obvious difference is the ending, which in the book is more stark and unsentimental - truly shocking, in fact. There are several details which are better in the book - the whole vibe between Vesper and Bond is more believable, as are the car chase and torture scene . . . and Bond falling in love. In fact I would recommend the book, while I wouldn't particularly recommend the film - but of course these are two completely different entities, and industries. The Bond books are well written (although the prose could do with a polish in a few places), and although you know Bond is going to survive, he seems to get into impossible situations (I wonder whether one should mention sadomasochism (or homoeroticism) at this point?) and hence the books are edge-of-the-seat stuff.

There is also a lot of subtle humour in the books. Some of the Americana mentioned in "Live and Let Die" is hilarious, or at least I find it so. And "Rosa Klebb" is (apparently) a pun in Russian . . . (and Vesper Lynd is a pun on "West Berlin") - which indicates the intelligence with which the books are written. They really feel authentic - I suppose Fleming's "day job" may have helped him with research. In LALD, for example, one feels that Fleming must have taken trips into Harlem, notebook in hand - this was, incidentally, a few years before Chester Himes wrote his famous Harlem Detective novels, and shortly before the USA started to integrate black and whites in schools and, famously, on buses...)

Anyway, getting back to CR, I find it interesting that it's been described as closer to the original, and seen comments to the effect that Fleming would have liked it more. I believe that some of the early Bond films were reasonably close to the books, although I'm sure they all took liberties, and eventually the two became more or less completely divorced. When trying to "get back to the original", there is surely a greater chance of failure than when producing what is acknowledged to be a "loose adaptation". IMHO, Fleming would not have liked the ending of the film CR, and he might not have been too keen on its relative lack of humour, given that there are a few LOL moments in most of the books I've read. It might be just me, but I didn't get the same feeling from the film as the book, even though the stories are closely parallel up until near the end (no collapsing Venetian buildings in the book). The reason for the SMERSH agent who kills le Chiffre to spare Bond and Vesper are explicit in the film, implicit in the book (the reason the agent himself gives seems unlikely to be true) - and different from each other...

I felt that there was something missing from Craig's performance, however. In the book, Bond shows a tinge of regret at one of his earlier killings - he makes a comment to Vesper to the effect that the victim was probably a decent chap, maybe with a family, and it was just unfortunate that he got mixed up in such a nasty business - whereas Craig comments that he wouldn't be much good at his job if he cared about his victims. In DAF (the book), there is a passage in which Bond justifies to himself wiping out the "Spangled Mob", and it isn't because he wants to, but because "violence had been their first resort". He gives everyone a chance to surrender where possible, and is regretful at having to shoot down the helicopter (in DAF).

Bond also goes through a sort of epiphany in CR (the book), where he is prepared to give up working for MI6 because of his love for Vesper. We see this in the film, but I didn't feel it the way I did about it when I read the book, so I feel that Craig didn't give us much insight into the character. Bond gets hurt in the book, both physically and psychologically, and deals with it as you might expect - he represses his feelings, covers them with a layer of cold cynicism and ruthlessness. And still, the last sentence in the book (which you mustn't read until you get there, incidentally!) is a slap in the face for the reader.

So, following the above logic, does that make "Casino Royale" the new-Who of the Bond series? . . . Sadly, that's the impression I've come away with. In other words I have to admit to, at best, very mixed feelings about CR. Some aspects were very good. The plot was well constructed (I can feel that new-Who comparison slipping away already), and full of twists. There were some spectacular action sequences (although one feels that nowadays they are probably helped by some CGI, and indeed some of the leaping around on a construction site near the beginning seemed just a teensy bit beyond normal human capabilities....but never mind, suspension of disbelief has always been the order of the day with Bond). The shoot-out in the sinking building was edge-of-the-seat stuff, and Bond's attempt to rescue Vesper Lynd from drowning was a genuinely moving moment, at least for me, because at that point Bond still thought she'd tried to betray him, yet for once, for her, even that didn't matter. (However see below for more comments on Bond's emotional makeup.) There was even some good music, updated yet still "Bond style". The villain was a decent Bond villain, I even warmed to Vesper after that (IMHO awfully scripted) first meeting on the train. In fact, when I thought she'd ripped Bond off and stolen the money, I was cheering her on and hoping Bond wouldn't catch up with her. Although of course that turned out to be another twist...

So what's not to like? In a word, the "Blond Bondshell" - Daniel Craig.

Now, I know that he is probably playing the character closer to Fleming's original. I know that in the books, Bond is generally portrayed as a nasty piece of work. And somehow, in a book, that works - no doubt because we also have access to his thoughts and feelings. And I realise that I should abandon my preconceptions, because this is clearly not intended to follow on from previous Bonds - it's set in 2006 (I think), yet it shows him attaining his "00" status for the first time. (And it still, a bit confusingly, has Judi Dench as M.) It could almost be called "Son of Bond".

However - there is a good reason that other actors have portrayed Bond the way they have. I would describe previous portrayals as, essentially, a boy who's never grown up - he loves gadgets, he loves excitement, he is daring and clever, he is physical, he is charming, he has lots of (implied) casual sex, yet he becomes strangely awkward about actual love, an awkwardness which is portrayed, as it were externalising his inability to form proper relationships, by the short shelf life of the women he gets too closely involved with (in this respect he's more like Captain Kirk than Doctor Who). He is also honourable: when he kills people, he believes it is for a higher cause (unless he's been tortured or lost loved ones, in which case he may be out for revenge - but only when that is understandably so, the audience having vicariously experienced the same emotional trauma). That's roughly how he seems, to me, to have been portrayed in the various films I've seen to date; but as I said, I'm prepared to abandon my preconceptions and start afresh. But, of course, only if what's replacing my preconceptions actually works...

The trouble is, I found Craig's portrayal, with one exception (mentioned above), completely unsympathetic. He seems to be, quite simply, a psychopath. He speaks most of his lines in a flat, emotionless voice - the most emotion I can recall, aside from when he was being tortured, was when he got a new car with some built-in gadgets. His declaration of love for Vesper Lynd was franky embarrassing to watch.

So, that's my problem. If you're going to reboot Bond, fine; if you're going to make it darker and grittier, fine - but if the central character is going to be an emotionless killing machine, not so fine. IMHO we needed a lot more insight into what made Bond tick, and IMHO Craig failed to deliver - in spades, so to speak.

I had a couple of other minor niggles, which I will put in for completeness. These wouldn't normally have mattered - i.e. if everything else had been good. But as usual, when you feel let down by something, other failing loom larger.

So.......strangely, I found myself comparing CR to "Spooks". I've always thought the comparison should be the other way around - that Bond ought to set the bar. Obviously "Spooks" is intended to be more realistic; obviously it doesn't have a central Bond-style character (although Tom Quinn, Adam Carter and now Lucas North have leanings in that direction) and since "Spooks" deals with MI5, not MI6, there are normally rather less exotic locations. Yet on this occasion I found myself thinking this Bond is supposed to be more realistic, darker, grittier, etc, so it should knock Spooks for 6 . . . but it doesn't. When Spooks is nasty, it's a lot nastier than CR. When it's realistic, it feels more realistic, on the whole, than CR (I have some reservations about "Spooks" - quite a few, some of the time . . . but even then. Having had some (very minor) contact with the intelligence service in NZ, I know that one or two of the (very superficial) details in "Spooks" are correct - sorry, I can't say more :lol: ) But, FFS, even the gadgets in "Spooks" are better...!

So, well, I'm tempted to give CR "00" out of 7 :D . . . but perhaps it would be fairer to say 3 or 4/10. Everything worked really well . . . except for the central character.
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Re: Casino Royale

Postby LizR » Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:08 pm

By the way, CR the book has one of my favourite opening lines in all of literature, and ALSO one of my closing favourite lines (it's a bit like "1984" in that respect). The ending is "casually breathtaking" - rather like when Bond collapses onto the "wine red carpet" at the end of FRWL.
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Re: Casino Royale

Postby CADILLAC » Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:46 pm

You didn't mention if you liked him in his tiny blue swimming trunks coming out of the water...... :oops: :oops: :oops:
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Re: Casino Royale

Postby mican » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:18 pm

LizR wrote:By the way, CR the book has one of my favourite opening lines in all of literature, and ALSO one of my closing favourite lines (it's a bit like "1984" in that respect). The ending is "casually breathtaking" - rather like when Bond collapses onto the "wine red carpet" at the end of FRWL.


Ditto. Ditto. Ditto. :D

LizR wrote:I've recently watched the film of "Casino Royale", and for me at least, the book wipes the floor with the film. I'm not completely sure why, but it has far more impact.


Agreed 100%. But out of the three adaptions of the book thus far (the other two being the 1954 TV version with Barry Nelson and the 1967 so-called spoof), this film is the best.
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Re: Casino Royale

Postby bingo99 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:55 pm

The 1967 movie starts like a classic movie and ends up as Carry On Spying.
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Re: Casino Royale

Postby Makkabee » Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:55 am

I liked the '67 movie when I saw it many years ago, but I never thought of it as a real Bond film.

CR wasn't one of the Bond books I read as a teenager, so I can't compare it to any of the films. The analysis here made for some interesting reading, so I expect I'll have to track down a copy at some point and give it a look.
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Re: Casino Royale

Postby mican » Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:14 am

Makkabee wrote:CR wasn't one of the Bond books I read as a teenager, so I can't compare it to any of the films. The analysis here made for some interesting reading, so I expect I'll have to track down a copy at some point and give it a look.


I'd highly recommend that. CR is one of the best of the Bond books.
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Re: Casino Royale

Postby chap with wings » Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:36 pm

I really dislike this film, I find it overly violent (the fight in the bathroom, the stragling in the stairwell, the torture scen) smug and utterly charmless, it just fells nasty. How this passed for a 12 certificate is beyond me.
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James Bond stuntman dies

Postby The Krynoid Man » Fri Aug 16, 2013 7:28 am

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/olympics-james-bond-stuntman-mark-sutton-killed-in-alps-skydiving-accident-8762750.html

Very sad news, the stuntman who doubled for Daniel Craig in the Olympics Opening Ceremony has died in a sky diving accident.

RIP
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SPECTRE and other James Bond stuff

Postby The Ginger Cat » Wed Jul 22, 2015 3:32 pm

It does exactly what it says on the tin - a thread all about the forthcoming Bond film 'SPECTRE' and any other James Bond stuff you guys might like to have a natter about.

Anyhow, let's Kick it off with the latest trailer for 'SPECTRE'.

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Re: SPECTRE and other James Bond stuff

Postby The Nimon » Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:24 pm

Looks very good. Not sure of the Bond going off by himself again, but have high hopes for this one
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Re: SPECTRE and other James Bond stuff

Postby Heccypoo » Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:29 pm

I've not seen SKYFALL yet. Is that any good?

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Re: SPECTRE and other James Bond stuff

Postby The Nimon » Wed Jul 22, 2015 8:33 pm

Skyfall is excellent, first bond film i really loved since Tomorrow Never dies, it was also the first where Craig feĺt like Bond to me
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Re: SPECTRE and other James Bond stuff

Postby Heccypoo » Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:37 pm

The Nimon wrote:Skyfall is excellent, first bond film i really loved since Tomorrow Never dies, it was also the first where Craig feĺt like Bond to me


Have to get hold of a copy now... :mrgreen:
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Re: SPECTRE and other James Bond stuff

Postby LizR » Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:14 am

Yeah, "Skyfall" wasn't bad at all. (Especially a couple of details near the end that I won't spoil for you.)
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Re: SPECTRE and other James Bond stuff

Postby Allons-y » Thu Jul 23, 2015 2:14 pm

Heccypoo wrote:I've not seen SKYFALL yet. Is that any good?

Is it a GOLDFINGER or a DIE ANOTHER DAY?

Skyfall is great! This looks good too, glad Q is back these days.
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Re: SPECTRE and other James Bond stuff

Postby LizR » Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:53 pm

One can (of course) nitick "Skyfall" (but that wouldn't be like me :D ).
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Re: SPECTRE and other James Bond stuff

Postby 'teleportNOW!' » Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:40 pm

This well be the first Bond filum I have watched since reading all Fleming's actual novels (which are excellent page turners, without a doubt, I must say, even if they are a bit rapey in places).

Sadly though I think there's pretty much nothing left from the books that they haven't already put on screen - I gather the new movie will allude to some stuff out of the short story "Octopussy", but that's clutching at straws, really.

(Having said that, there's some scenes in the original "Moonraker" novel that I can well imagine Roger Moore doing, but never did - like when the baddies bury him under a rockfall at Beachy Head, but he escapes with one bound and surprises them by turning up for dinner in his tuxedo, not a hair out of place...)
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Re: SPECTRE and other James Bond stuff

Postby bobmcpherson » Tue Jul 28, 2015 5:31 am

I will probably see SPECTRE mainly for Blofeld. That said.

As far as I am concerned the last James Bond film was LICENSE TO KILL.

Of the Brosnans....the series died when Judi Densch came in on her broom.

GOLDENEYE and THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH are James Bond homunculi and can be enjoyed as such.

TOMORROR NEVER DIES has good points but generally is an Anti-Bond movie.

DIE ANOTHER DAY is a great sci fic film but not remotely anything resembling a Bond movie.

CASINO ROYALE was a travesty and effectively killed whatever was left of the cinematic character.

I never bothered with QUANTUM OF SOLACE.

I just watched SKYFALL.......a passable time killer as a movie. Too long and boring. Like CASINO, another destructive piss on the character. Never....not once....felt I was watching something that had ANYTHING TO DO with Ian Fleming's creations.

I hate Judi Densch.

I hate Fuzzy Wuzzy Miss Moneypenny.

The villain was boring.

Computers. Hacking. Yawn.

Daniel Craig is absolutely the worst actor to play the part. Period.
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Re: SPECTRE and other James Bond stuff

Postby Allons-y » Tue Jul 28, 2015 11:15 am

bobmcpherson wrote:I will probably see SPECTRE mainly for Blofeld. That said.

As far as I am concerned the last James Bond film was LICENSE TO KILL.

Of the Brosnans....the series died when Judi Densch came in on her broom.

GOLDENEYE and THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH are James Bond homunculi and can be enjoyed as such.

TOMORROR NEVER DIES has good points but generally is an Anti-Bond movie.

DIE ANOTHER DAY is a great sci fic film but not remotely anything resembling a Bond movie.

CASINO ROYALE was a travesty and effectively killed whatever was left of the cinematic character.

I never bothered with QUANTUM OF SOLACE.

I just watched SKYFALL.......a passable time killer as a movie. Too long and boring. Like CASINO, another destructive piss on the character. Never....not once....felt I was watching something that had ANYTHING TO DO with Ian Fleming's creations.

I hate Judi Densch.

I hate Fuzzy Wuzzy Miss Moneypenny.

The villain was boring.

Computers. Hacking. Yawn.

Daniel Craig is absolutely the worst actor to play the part. Period.

Daniel Craig might look wrong on paper, fair, short. But there has never been a better Bond, Casino Royale was good, Skyfall was fantastic.
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