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Skyfall – Review

Skyfall is more than just James Bond’s 23rd adventure. It marks the 50th anniversary of the franchise and the end of what I now consider to be “The 007 Origins Trilogy”. Since Casino Royale, we have gotten a lot of back story on what makes James Bond the 007 character that we thought we knew for years. By the end of Skyfall, you are treated to glimpses of Bond’s past and get propelled into his future.

I have said it since Casino Royale that Daniel Craig is the best actor to tackle the role. I am not saying that he should be your favorite, I am just saying he is the best at portraying Ian Fleming’s character. In Skyfall, Craig continues to deliver an incredible version of 007 and it helps that his scripts allow him to add more than just one dimension to the character.

Skyfall follows a similar pattern that we have come to expect from James Bond films. The movie starts with an incredibly exciting and fun pre-title sequence filled with action and loud music. We get some awesome opening titles, which are once again masterfully created by Daniel Kleinman (thank god he is back!) and a song by Adele, which fit perfectly with the tone of the film.

After the main titles is when I found myself to start to get really bored. I enjoyed all of the MI6 intrigue and James Bond trying to get back into the spy game, but once Bond was on the case I did not care. The mission takes 007 to a couple of exotic locals, where he’s blindly following a lead. It is really slow paced and felt like it could have been cut down considerably. During this investigation, Bond meets a woman by the name of Somthing-or-other and she is going to take him to her boss or get captured by him or something, I wasn’t exactly sure of her purpose, but James Bond has sex with her for some reason and then she dies.

After about an hour and fifteen minutes of movie James Bond finally comes face to face with the main villain, a former MI6 agent that goes by the name of Silver. Silver was played by Javier Bardem and as soon as he first showed up the movie took a huge turn for the better. Everything that happens after his arrival is nothing short of amazing. He was creepy, funny and scary all at the same time. I wanted to laugh, but was uncomfortable the whole time. He is probably the best 007 villain since Telly Savalas in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Silver causes all kinds of chaos in the streets of London and the action leads 007 and M to James Bond’s childhood home “Skyfall” where we get a little bit more insight into the backstory of James Bond. They do not give you too much, but enough to see the humanity behind the killing machine.

My favorite scene in the entire film was when James Bond and M were standing in front of an overcast valley discussing the climbing accident that took his parents’ lives (see the picture above).

With the exception of the boring stuff at the beginning of the movie, I found that I liked Skyfall more than the other two 007 movies that Daniel Craig was involved with. I loved seeing the backstory of the new M. I loved seeing the budding relationship with 007 and Q and I fell in love with the new Ms. Moneypenny, even though the movie didn’t trick me for a moment by trying to hide her identity.

Of the 23 movies in the James Bond franchise, I would put this at #2 after On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The last half really made up for the first half.

★ ★ ★ ★½

Quantum of Solace

HERE is my original review for Quantum of Solace from Myspace.

A couple years after the release of Casino Royale, Daniel Craig returned to the role of 007 in Quantum of Solace. This movie was touted as being the first direct sequel to a previous Bond Film. There were elements in From Russia with Love that were holdover story points from Dr. No, but this film literally starts where the last film ended. It was a tough pill to swallow, but i liked Casino Royale so much, i had faith in EON Productions.

Recently i had the opportunity to watch both Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace back to back and i have to tell you, this is the perfect way to watch this film. Although i think the film is totally fun and works as a standalone adventure, i think that watching them back to back is way more epic.

Casino Royale had the longest runtime of any 007 outing and Quantum of Solace had the shortest. The movie is fast paced, slick and full of excitement. I have a feeling that the producers were trying to address some of the issues that average audiences complained about with Casino Royale. Whereas CR was mostly about plot and character development, QOS was filled to the brim with action. I liked that Quantum took that 60’s era spy thriller look of Casino Royale and took it to the next level. The movie felt incredibly 60’s, while maintaining a timeless quality to itself. I think that Marc Forster did a bang up job and i feel that David Arnold put out one of his best 007 scores with QOS.  Daniel Craig was great, once again, and i liked that there was no laser fights in the film.

Other than a few ugly CG shots in the film, i really enjoy it and the short runtime makes it a fun movie to pop in the old Bluray player whenever i am in the mood for a good fun Bond adventure!

★ ★ ★ ★

Daniel Craig's Last Time As James Bond?

Well folks, it has been a long time coming, but this is my final review of EON Production’s James Bond franchise. The image above is the final shot that we see of Daniel Craig as 007. I am hoping that this will not mark the end of Craig as Bond. I keep hearing about how Bond 23 is in trouble, due to the fact that even though the franchise is stronger than ever, MGM can’t seem to come up with enough money to continue making films. I hope that they have the smarts to sell the rights to the Ian Fleming character to a movie studio that will allow for Daniel Craig and Company to return. I would hate to see the world go unsaved. No matter what happens, i will keep my fingers crossed and my martini cold, because i believe that…

JAMES BOND WILL RETURN

Casino Royale

A few years had passed since the 20th James Bond outing. Pierce Brosnan was done as 007 and it was time for another round of speculation and wishlists. Who was going to be the next James Bond? My personal choice was Clive Owen. When it was announced that Daniel Craig was going to be James Bond, i was incredibly apprehensive. The dude just looked weird. He was short, blond and he was just not anything that screamed English gentleman. Then came the announcement that EON Productions was going to be restarting the franchise, by taking James Bond back to his roots. They were going to show Bond before he got his 00′ status. I did not have high hopes for the movie. But then the reviews started pouring in around the internet. I started to get my hopes up. The trailers looked fantastic, but i still needed to see this dude as James Bond and i didn’t trust Martin Campbell (Goldeneye, Vertical Limit).

Prior to seeing the movie, Stevi bought me an audio cd of the Ian Fleming novel. I had listened to it prior to seeing the film. Needless to say i was way too hyped up for the movie. I was following James Bond news sites and just building up this movie more than i should of. I was really setting myself up for a big letdown. There is no way that i would like the movie as much as i had hoped. I was wrong.

Any apprehension that i had went away real fast. Daniel Craig nailed it! Eva Green was amazing. Judi Dench was great and i loved the story. It was another successful reboot of the series. This movie was on par with OHMSS and The Living Daylights. It felt good watching James Bond going after something that wasn’t going to destroy the world. Everything about this movie was perfect. The runtime is a bit on the long side, but if i were to cut stuff out, it would definitely be the action. I guess that audiences feel that they need the action in a James Bond movie, which is true, and although the action is really exciting and well done, i felt that it didn’t serve the story that much. If you watch OHMSS, you will notice that all of the action takes place at the end of the film, i could see how the producers would not want to do the same here, seeing how OHMSS isn’t the most popular bond film.

In short, i love this film. I think that Martin Campbell did a great job. I felt that David Arnold’s score was the best of his 007 works. I really like all of the casting. I think that Le Chiffre could have been a little bit more exciting, but at least he wasn’t as lame as the majority of the Brosnan villains. I cannot love this movie any more than i do. Casino Royale is my favorite James Bond Film!

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Die Another Day

It is 2002. It is the fortieth anniversary of the 007 films. It is EON productions’ 20th entry into the series. James Bond is as popular as ever and it was time to do something special. Instead we get invisible cars, space lasers, Halle Barry, Madonna and a dude with diamonds in his face. Die Another Day is complete shit! Did i say complete? I meant 85% shit. It is more of a James Bond parody than anything.

First things first. The opening sequence is lame. The title sequence is okay. This is the first time that the opening titles was used as a plot device, which shows Bond getting tortured over a long period of time. Nothing says torture like that horribly written and performed Madonna song. I would rather have a woman stick scorpions in my ass than listen to that song again.

So after the opening titles are finally done, we get into the 15% of the film that i actually like! After 007 is tortured he is hospitalized and being held by M. Never before, in the Brosnan films, have we seen him actually in danger of losing his life. It is actually really interesting and fresh. Then at about 20 minutes in, the movie falls apart, BIG TIME!

Everything is incredibly dumb from here on out. I am talking, the worst of the worse. First off, we are introduced to another annoying American bond girl. HOLY CRAP does Halle Barry suck ass. She tries to be tough but comes off as retarded. Next comes the invisible car. REALLY?! I don’t care how well that John Cleese tries to sell the scientific mumbo-jumbo, this this looks like a stupid CG mess. Then there is an idiotic cameo by Madonna which is pointless, there is a dude with diamonds in his face, a giant space laser pointed at the earth, an ice palace and a villain who has an electrified remote controlled suit.

I do not want to go into detail about all that stuff. There is one part in the film that i want to mention, but no words can describe how dumb it is. So without further ado, i give you the space laser/parasail/tidal wave chase!

I don’t know why someone put in John Barry music, but you can still see how lame it looks.

I can go on and on about how shitty this movie is, but i would rather just rate this thing and get on to Daniel Craig, the savior of the James Bond franchise.

The World Is Not Enough

Holy Christmas. Okay, so at the time i was watching the Pierce Brosnan films, i was on board. Goldeneye was okay, because it was a new 007 after a long break. Tomorrow Never Dies was okay, because he was an established Bond and it contained a lot more action than the previous film. But then comes along T.W.I.N.E.. This movie takes the blandness of Goldeneye then mixes in none of the excitement of  Tomorrow Never Dies. So what this boils down to is a boring story with boring action set pieces.

My favorite part of this movie is the first 17 minutes. If your movie is 17 minutes before the opening titles, you know that you are in for a long-winded film. 17 minute! That is roughly 3 minutes shorter than a full episode of Alf. That is a lot of time to spend on something that barely contributes to the plot of the film. I guess that 007 does injure his shoulder in the pre-credit sequence, but that barely comes into play. I guess why they changed the title to The World is Not Enough from “Pressure Point”.

There is not much to say about this movie. This was only Brosnan’s third 007 outing and it was already becoming a parody of itself. They really started going the way of Roger Moore, by trying to inject sight gags and lame humor (bond adjusts his tie underwater). The action sequences are edited so poorly, that they feel really slow and boring. At one point, 007 jumps on some skis and gets chased by some snowmobiles. There is zero sense of danger and even less sense of excitement.

Let’s get on to the real reason why you are reading this review. You are waiting for me to rip into Denise Richards as Dr. Christmas Jones. She is pretty freaking lame in this movie, but to be honest she is not the most annoying in the Brosnan series. The thing that does suck about her is the name Dr. Christmas Jones. There is a joke where Denise Richards introduces herself, “Doctor Christmas Jones, and don’t tell me any jokes, I’ve heard them all.” which Bond replies “I don’t know any doctor jokes.”. It is pretty funny, but honestly what the fuck kind of Christmas joke could 007 tell? There is no fucking christmas jokes. There is no double entendre for Christmas. In fact, there is only one joke for this setup and it is saved for the very end of the movie. The joke is so juvenile that it leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth. “I though Christmas only came once a year” is a dumb payoff which i am sure the writers though was the most clever thing ever written. Wrong.

There really isn’t much to say about the movie. The Villain is lame, the girls are lamer. Sophie Marceau was okay, but she was soooooo boring. Everything is boring about this movie, with the exception of Pierce Brosnan, who does everything in his power to make this a good movie. This is probably my favorite performance of his in all of his movies. Other than the fact that this is the last performance of Desmond Llewelyn as “Q”, there is nothing much going on in this movie.

the end.

★ ★½

Tomorrow Never Dies

Tomorrow Never Dies may be my favorite of the Brosnan films, even though i dislike all of the characters and the story. I wish that i could take the best moments of the Brosnan era and mix up the characters and story element to make one big average movie.

My excitement for Tomorrow Never Dies starts at the very beginning of the film. That’s right, the famous James Bond 007 Gunbarrel Sequence. It is only like 15 second long, but is always the highlight of going to see any Bond movie in the theater. It is the film’s way of saying, what you are about to watch is set in the history of the franchise. Since Goldeneye was the first 007 film i saw in the theater, you can imagine my delight hearing David Arnold’s music played at the beginning as opposed to Eric Serra. David Arnold took elements of John Barry’s orchestrations of the James Bond theme and did his own Gun Barrel motif. Hearing an actual orchestra play something that sounded like classic Barry was so refreshing. An i knew that this time around they were going to do things right, if not better.

The movie on the whole isn’t very good. Go figure, but i do like that there isn’t a ton of CG. There are some great sequences and all of the action scenes are well done, with the exception of the motorcycle chase, which feels slow and awkward. The movie also suffers from a huge lag in the third act. Not that the first two acts are fast paced, but it gets starts to get way overbearing. It doesn’t help that Jonathan Price puts in a horrible performance as the main villain, Elliot Carver. On top of the shitty villain, you have two of my least favorite bond girls of all time, Michelle Yeoh and Teri Hatcher. I do not like either of them in this movie and the new characters are what usually make or break a bond film. At this point, we have already seen 007 in seventeen adventures, so a lot of the entertainment value lies in the supporting cast, which was just heinous.

Judi Dench returns in the role of “M” and once again talks about her balls. Why would they have two back to back Dench Testicle jokes? It’s baffling.

Over all the movie is just so-so. So considering that this is my favorite of the Brosnan films, really shows you what you are in for on the next two outings.

Tomorrow Never Dies, although has an incredibly slick look, great action and an amazing score by David Arnold, is still forgettable and boring.

★ ★ ½

Goldeneye

After six years without a James Bond film, 007 would return with an all new actor stepping into the roll. Pierce Brosnan was the perfect choice. Years before he appeared in Goldeneye, the producers had their sights set on him. During the making of For Your Eyes Only, Brosnan would visit the set, which starred his wife Cassandra Harris. The producers even wanted to have him replace Roger Moore in A View to a Kill, but he was still under contract for Remington Steele.

In 1995, the stars finally aligned and Pierce Brosnan stepped into one of the most boring Bond films of all time. Goldeneye was the first 007 movie that i saw in the theater and i was super amped! At the beginning of the film, there is this awesome bungie jump sequence that was super badass, unfortunately it was followed up by a bluescreen jump off a cliff. This is the worse part about the Brosnan era. There is too much CG. I am fine with space stations being special fx in 007 films, but when the stunts are cg, it’s just lame! The whole point of James Bond is that he is a superman, who can do amazing feats. As soon as you put him in a cg world, it is just stupid. You lose any suspension of disbelief.

The best part of Goldeneye is that tank sequence, other than that the movie has little to no excitement. The villains are bland, the acting is wooden, the love interest is boring. Everything about this film is just bland. One of the worse parts is that “Q” is obviously reading off of cue cards.

One of the best things to come out of Goldeneye is the fact that Judi Dench played “M”. I really like the direction that the series took the character “M”, but in this movie they tried so hard to make her a ball buster, that she became so annoying and unbearable. I am glad that her character was fleshed out a little more in subsequent Bond flicks.

I do like Famke Janssen in this film. Even though she is the most single dimensional character, at least she brought some excitement to her role. Other than her, Sean Bean, Robbie Coltrane, Izabella Scorupco (who is way hotter without her Goldeneye haircut), Allan Cumming, Pierce Brosnan and Joe Don Baker are all BORING!! Don’t get me started on the Eric Serra score.

Don’t let the video game fool you. This movie is not an action fest, which would be fine if the story wasn’t another “laser pointed at the earth” senario!

★ ★