It?s astounding to see just how badly Die Another Day was screwed up. For as terrible as it is (and man, it?s bad) it actually starts off really well. Bond is in North Korea posing as a businessman doing an arms deal with Colonel Moon, a spoiled little brat with a powerful father who thinks he?s some kind of dictator. Where it gets interesting is in just how badly Bond messes up - blowing up a huge army encampment, recklessly engaging in a hovercraft chase that results in the death of Colonel Moon, and then being captured by General Moon (the other Moon?s father).
I always liked the Bond stories that would delve into the morality of his job. Is he just a hired gun who happens to be working for the ?good guys?? Is he pretty much a bad guy himself? And this is, again, where the story could have paid off in spades. Upon his capture by the North Koreans, Bond?s very existence is denied by M and the rest of MI6. He?s left for dead. No one is coming to save him, no big operation where other double-0 agents pull off a daring rescue. He had to bite the bullet on this one.
Some fairly light torture scenes are shown, mostly dealing with Bond?s head being dunked in ice water, or showing him being stung by CGI scorpions, but it?s implied that he isn?t exactly staying at the Ritz. By the end of the torture scenes, Bond has long hair and a beard. He?s been there a long time.
A rather back-handed ?trade? occurs between the Koreans and the British government, where Bond is released in return for the, er, return of Zao, Colonel Moon?s right-hand man who was wounded and captured shortly after Bond?s messy assault. Because Zao happened to have been standing right next to a briefcase full of diamonds when Bond?s bombs went off, he now has a face full of diamonds. Why can?t they be surgically removed? Your guess is as good as mine.
And from here on is where the film officially goes to Shitsville, pretty much coinciding with the arrival of Halle Berry?s character, Jinx. What disturbs me most about her character is not the terrible writing, awkward love scenes, inability to look convincing with a gun, or total bastardization of the supposed ?tribute? to Ursula Andress? famous bikini shot in Dr. No. No, what bothers me most is that the geniuses at MGM apparently found her character so intriguing, they wanted to give her her own spin-off franchise, which would run indefinitely just like Bond himself. This was just after all the hooplah with Berry showing her twins in both Swordfish and Monster?s Ball (and lord knows I?m not complaining about that), but the logic behind her own franchise just baffles me.
Luckily Berry proved she couldn?t hold her own franchise with Catwoman, so the Jinx series never got past proposal stages.
But still, we?re left with this steaming turd called Die Another Day. A movie so bad that it led to the studio deciding they needed to bring Bond back to something remotely like reality for the next installment, which proved to not only be a reboot/prequel to the series, but also one of the best films in the 40+ year run of James Bond.
So I guess I can?t be that mad about it, when it led to the greatness of Casino Royale. But still, Die Another Day must be seen to be believed. Actually, scratch that, it?s not really worth seeing unless you are tickled by terrible innuendo.
The babes in Die Another Day range fro hot-and-bland, to bland-and-bland. Halle Berry is undoubtedly easy on the eyes, but I?ve never really seen her show that she?s much of an actress. Even her Oscar-winning performance in Monster?s Ball seems more worthy of respect due to its riskiness rather than it actually being a great performance.
As mentioned before, she plays a character named Jinx. She?s an American agent, and shown as supposedly being Bond?s ?equal?, but anyone who knows the series knows that no female character is ever really equal to Bond. The one major fight Berry has in the film is with another woman, and it focuses more on their skimpy outfits and bouncing...insults off each other, than on actual bruteness. Jinx just doesn?t feel like she could believably take care of herself, especially when she can?t really hold a handgun properly.
The picture above is a snapshot of the ?tribute? they included in the film. With the film being released the year of Bond?s 40th anniversary, they decided to jam-pack the movie with tributes and references. This tribute to the famous shot of Ursula Andress coming out of the ocean in Dr. No is laughable. In the original, Andress just quietly walked out of the ocean, singing to herself and examining the sea shells she had collected. Die Another Day amped it up by having Berry emerge from the water in a huge splash, rubbing the water through her hair and down her body, all in succulent slow motion. It?s hilariously over-the-top.
Next up is Miranda Frost, played by Rosamund Pike. She is the right-hand-girl of our main villain, Gustav Graves.
Oh yeah, and while I?m on the topic, the villain is Gustav Graves (played by Toby Stephens). He?s basically a pompous English goof who thinks he?s the hottest thing since the sun and you just want to punch him in his smug face. Plus he has this ridiculous suit he wears at the end of the film which gives him the power to electrocute people by touching them.
So back to Miss Frost. She?s a total ice queen (get it? Frost...ice queen). She really doesn?t serve much of a purpose other than being a woman that is apparently unattracted to Bond, but in the Bond universe that pretty much makes her a lesbian. History shows that any woman who isn?t genuinely attracted to Bond from the start is playing for the other team (Pussy Galore, for instance) but even so, once Bond gets his sweaty little mits on them, they see the light and decide they want to be with him forever and ever.
Frost isn?t like that, though. She never really falls for Bond, though she does sleep with him at one point due to the old ?have sex with him to get information? ploy.
And finally we have Madonna playing Verity, Bond?s fencing instructor. Again, terrible innuendo ensues, and she is trying way, way too hard to be sexy in the 30 seconds she?s on screen, you almost feel bad for her. What happened to you? You used to be MADONNA...now you?re just...ugh, Madonna.
There?s really not much here in the way of babes. Rosamund Pike seems a little too comfortable playing the heartless queen of ice, and Halle Berry is frequently voted as being the worst Bond girl ever (even beating out Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist).
There are so many gadgets in this movie it?s ridiculous. This is partly why I?m glad they decided to resort back to the ?old school? Bond of just a gun and his wits. I like gadgets, but not when they get ridiculous, such as the surf board/parachute/pistol/communications array thingy that Bond uses in an incredible escape. As a glacier is melting, it creates a tidal wave that Bond must evade in one of the most laughably bad sequences in all of Bond history.
Honestly, the CGI in this scene would make a PlayStation 2 game feel embarassed.
Next up we have Bond?s watch. Of course, he needs a new watch in every film, and always with some arbitrary excuse related to his last mission, where Q gets ticked off at him for ?never bringing equipment back in pristine order.? This new watch has the typical laser beam and explosives.
Bond also has a new car. It?s an updated Aston Martin, and this one has a cloaking device! Neat-o!
I should also probably mention the ice palace that Gustav Graves builds as his central hub of evilness. Apparently it?s a real place - a hotel, if I?m not mistaken - but in the movie it just sucks, like everything else.
The rest of the gadgets are references to earlier films. When Bond enters Q branch we see tons of equipment used in the other films, most notably the tinfoil jet-pack from Thunderball.
The number of gadgets in the film - and all their ridiculous uses - go hand-in-hand with how over-the-top the series had become by this point. When Bond gets in a fistfight in a room full of lasers against a huge henchman named Mister Kill, you know you have problems.
Distinctions From Other Films
-Theme song, ?Die Another Day?, sung by Madonna - it is also the first time that the opening credits sequence is actually part of the film?s plot, as this is where all the torture scenes are included...[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoKzHD046E4]can be seen here[/url]
-First appearance of John Cleese as Q; in The World is Not Enough he was Q?s assistant (codename ?R?)
-First film in the series to feature a bullet zooming by the camera during the gun-barrel sequence at the beginning
-First ever love scene between Bond and Moneypenny (though it turns out to have been a computer simulation)
-The sex scene between Bond and Jinx is actually the first sex scene shown in the series - before that, the sex was always implied (they?d go to bed kissing, camera fades out, then back in on them getting out of bed)
Um...the terrible paragliding sequence?
Well, I guess you could say the car-chase on the ice is a signature scene.
But really, there?s nothing too memorable here, other than some bad effects. Most of it is best forgotten.
Memorable Quote of Villainy
There are so many hilarious quotes I wish I could share. Here?s one example of the terrible innuendo which occurs on and off throughout the film...
MIRANDA FROST: Mr. Bond. And Miss...?
JINX: Swift, "Space and Technology" magazine.
MIRANDA FROST: Really? I take it Mr. Bond's been explaining his Big Bang theory?
JINX: Oh yeah, I think I got the thrust of it.
But for a quote of villainy, let?s try this on for size...
GRAVES: Armed and very dangerous.
And that was in reference to himself. Wearing this.
Die Another Day just isn?t good, like this picture of Pierce Brosnan.
It wastes great ideas by including some terrible ones, and making what could have been a neat morality tale into an overdone CGI-fest with one of the worst scripts in the whole series.
I really can?t bring myself to give it a complete fail, because that stuff at the beginning really showed some promise. But Lee Tamahori shows once again that his big-budget action movies are totally inept, and should be avoided at all costs. Please keep this man away from the franchise from now on.
Rating for Die Another Day - 2.5 out of 10
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a review by Braden Adam
***HEAVY SPOILERS AHEAD***
It?s hard to explain the feeling of joy someone like myself derives from seeing genre cinema treated with respect. Over the past few years this has been happening more and more in the world of big-budget blockbusters, but I still find that the real ?gold? is found in the smaller films. You know, like that one you?ve passed by a million times at the video store - it?s got a rating of 6-something on IMDb, it has good critical reviews and a nifty cover, but you just can?t muster up the courage to take a chance with it. Or maybe you needed to see Cloverfield just one more time, for the seventh time. This was me with Larry Fessenden?s Wendigo - a movie I had heard equally good and bad things about, and had been curious about for years, yet I never got around to watching it. Until last night. And I smacked myself on the head for not having seen it before.
Telling several different stories at once, this supernatural horror fable centres on a family of three who go to a cottage in snow-covered upstate New York and are simultaneously hunted by a psychotic hillbilly, and haunted by the Native American spirit known as the ?wendigo?. This all happens amidst problems in the family structure - George, the father (played by Jake Weber) is having trouble connecting with his son and really being a part of the boy?s life, and Kim (played by Patricia Clarkson) sees this and is beginning to resent George for it. Their son, Miles (Erik Per Sullivan), is the only one who is truly aware of the supernatural occurrences around the cottage, which seem to be created (or exasperated) by his possession of a small wendigo figure he received from a mysterious Native man at a local corner store. As all of these conflicts converge, many different layers can be pealed back, in a film that has a lot to say about myths, human nature, and the way the world works.
Fessenden has said that many of his films (especially this one) deal with how myths and legends come to be. Their purpose is simple - to explain the unexplainable. To give comfort and a sense of familiarity to situations that are extraordinary, or too horrible to see truth in. Wendigo does this, with the young boy?s fantasies about the wendigo spirit being his own way of dealing with events which will eventually lead to the death of his father. In a very powerful final shot, Miles is seen clenching the wendigo idol so hard that his hand is bleeding - he has come to believe in this story (told to him by the aforementioned mysterious Native) so strongly that he has passed the point of being able to accept reality. But how much of it was imagined by Miles, and how much of it involved real, supernatural forces working on the side of nature?
In an ingenious twist, Fessenden leads us to believe that the wendigo is a creature of evil (or at least, of great destructive power). The story that the Native tells to young Miles makes the wendigo out to be an unforgiving monster, which devours everything it encounters and has immense power. But after George is shot by a (possibly) stray bullet while sledding with Miles, he is found on the doorstep of the cottage, and cannot remember how he got there. ?It was like a wind carried me here? he says, reminding us of the Native?s story of how the wendigo would often manifest itself in the form of a strong wind. We then see the father from the point of view of the young boy, lying there on the ground helpless and hurt, with the wendigo beast towering over him. It is not a stance of hostility, though, but rather of comfort and shelter - the wendigo did its best to save the man?s life.
Here we see the carrying out of the film?s sense of justice - George was shot by the psycho hillbilly, Otis (played by John Speredakos), and since saving the man?s life was beyond the wendigo?s power, it uses its greater power of destruction to seek vengeance for this wrongdoing. This ties into the theme we are shown at the very beginning of the film, before any mention of the supernatural is made - that of man vs. man. That is, the ?civilized? city man, versus the ?uncivilized? country man. The very beginning incident of the family car hitting a buck, leading to a conflict between the family and the local hunters who wanted the buck?s antlers, could be a film unto itself. The city man, who has never had to fend for himself in the country, has presumably never shot a gun or done any hunting of any kind, feels threatened by the archetypal country man, whose simple existence is much ?manlier? (plus, he?s got a big gun). This also deepens the film?s justice theme, as the country man has committed the greatest universal crime - murder - and the wendigo must even the playing field, regardless of the fact that the wrongdoer is the one who lives closest to the land.
Wendigo gives us a lot to think about, and it?s too bad that it does have some problems. Casting a child actor is risky - more often than not, they just aren?t good. And when one is found who is good, they become so overused that they are annoying regardless of their talent. Erik Per Sullivan just wasn?t convincing as the son, and many of the frightening moments (such as a late night when Miles is sitting in bed and imagines a little girl coming out of his closet) he looks as if he is on the verge of laughter. Similarly, some of the family dynamics are a little grating. While it can be seen in their one-on-one scenes together, the supposed tension between George and Miles is missing completely when the whole family is together, and their happy, playful nature is almost ?Brady Bunch?-esque in its believability.
It?s certainly not perfect, but Wendigo provides genuine thought, and looks at both spiritual and physical planes of our existence on this Earth. As Fessenden also says in the interview on the DVD, with all of our scientific knowledge and incredible advances in technology, we still don?t really have any idea how our world works. We have theories based on facts, but facts change with time and scrupulous analysis. The idea that a force like the wendigo could be out there pursuing natural justice is an interesting one. Just the fact that this film has left me with this much to ponder makes it one of the more worthwhile viewing experiences I have had in the last while, and is a great addition to the ?indie horror gems? shelf that I am constantly adding to.
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Number three of the Pierce Brosnan entries sure isn?t going to end up being ?number one? in anyone?s hearts or minds - at least, not in very many peoples?. This film represents a point (which has happened before and I?m sure will happen again in the Bond series) at which the story, actors and even the production team all seem to be tired with the material. Plot twists are thrown in and feel like they?re simply there to mix things up a bit, and despite these subtle changes it all just feels even more formulaic than the typical Bond adventure. I don?t have any illusions in my mind of the Bond series boiling over with originality or brilliance, but a film like The World is Not Enough feels like it?s even more standard, been-there-done-that fare. However, that being said, it?s well-executed, has one or two good moments, and Robert Carlyle is in it. Plus, when you compare it to the abomination that follows it, it looks like Seven Samurai.
The plot follows Bond?s mission to protect Elektra King (played by Sophie Marceau), the daughter of an oil baron and generally powerful, abundantly rich businessman Sir Robert King who is assassinated at the beginning of the film. Throughout the narrative, secrets are revealed such as a possible romance between Sir Robert King and M - who attended law school together - and possible backstabbing plots. It?s all fairly standard Bond stuff, except for the fact that M is directly involved in the plot of the film. This is something which has never really happened before in the Bond franchise, as M has always been an outside force who would simply send Bond off, then we wouldn?t hear from him/her for the rest of the film.
The villain is Renard - a terrorist who was at some point shot in the head, but survived. Now the bullet is very slowly digging through his brain, cutting off his senses as it goes. It will eventually kill him, but as of now, he?s inhumanly strong and has almost limitless stamina, due to his deadened pain receptors. It doesn?t make any sense at all when someone puts more than two seconds worth of thought into it, but it?s Robert Carlyle, so who cares?
The World is Not Enough has three main babes. One is played by a fairly respectable French actress, one is played by an Italian bombshell, and the other is played by and American ?actress?. See if you can guess which one?s which...
Maria Grazia Cucinotta is the first one to appear in the film, and her part is so small that her character is called ?Cigar Girl?. She gives Bond a cigar at the beginning of the movie, then a few minutes later he realizes that she is responsible for the assassination of King. She is involved in a pretty cool boat chase, and is disposed of pretty quickly.
Sophie Marceau plays Elektra King, the emotionally fragile woman who survived a kidnapping and is distraught over the death of her father. She is completely paranoid now about repeated kidnap attempts, but decides the best course of action is to show no fear, and continue appearing in public as much as possible. This leads to the film showing her in many different skimpy dresses, as well as a love scene with Bond where you can catch a very quick glimpse of her nipple (though it?s not like I slowed it down to check or anything).
Finally we have one of the most ridiculous characters ever, and one of the greatest instances of miscasting ever. Dr. Christmas Jones (HA!) is a nuclear physicist, and she is played by Denise Richards (double HA!). She has enormous breasts, which are shown in a wet white t-shirt at numerous times throughout the film - that?s about as deep as her character goes.
There are a few gadgets in this entry in the series, but, again, nothing overly original or interesting.
First off there are Bond?s x-ray glasses...
...at one point in the film, Bond goes to a nightclub owned by Valentin Zukovsky (Robbie Coltrane returning to his role from Goldeneye), and Bond uses the glasses to see who all in the club is armed.
Then there?s Bond?s new watch, which contains all the usual trimmings you?d expect from a Bond watch (grappling hook, laser, video, remote mines, etc.). It?s an Omega Seamaster, and it?s a damn nice watch...
Then there?s Bond?s super-boat thing, which he uses in the beginning chase sequence with ?Cigar Girl?. It can fully submerge, and is balanced in such a way that no matter how you land off a jump, it rights itself. It?s actually Q?s fishing boat, but Bond grabs it out of necessity...
There?s also Bond?s car, a BMW Z8, which meets a sad demise later in the film as it is sawed in half...
There are a few other gadgets, such as Bond?s blow-up jacket which he uses to protect himself and Elektra during an avalanche, and a credit card which works as a universal lock-pick.
Again, it?s all pretty standard stuff.
Distinctions From the Other Films
-Theme song performed by Garbage, and can be heard along with the opening titles sequence [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0kjffYeppU]here[/url]
-First film in the franchise to directly involve M in the plot and action
-The title, The World is Not Enough, is Bond?s family motto and is taken from a quote in On Her Majesty?s Secret Service
-The final appearance by Desmong Llewlyn as Q
-The first appearance by John Cleese as Q?s apprentice
-Robbie Coltrane reprises his role as Russian gangster Zukovsky, and much of his dialogue is the same as the dialogue he had in Goldeneye
-Elektra King was originally going to be played by Sharon Stone, but studios wanted someone more European in both looks and voice
Of course there?s the boat chase and the avalanche, but other scenes which are memorable in this film include the assault on Zukovsky?s caviar refinery...
...the helicopter with the 5 buzzsaw blades is responsible for the destruction of Bond?s BMW.
There?s also the scene at the end of the film where Bond is set down on a torture chair which puts pressure on the back of his neck, while simultaneously suffocating him...
...now, normally I would say the above picture is a spoiler since it sort of gives away that Elektra is not a very good girl, but seeing how her evilness is shown in the trailers and pretty much everyone knows anyways, I figure it?s fair game.
And finally there?s any one of the many scenes featuring Denice Richards in a white t-shirt, which just happens to end up submerged in cold water...
Memorable Quote of Villainy
There aren?t any particularly memorable or villainous quotes in this film, but there are some wonderfully bad puns, such as the following...
RENARD: You had me. But I knew you couldn't...
[Renard squeezes Bond's injured shoulder. Bond groans with pain]
RENARD: ...shoulder the responsibility.
RENARD: Welcome to my nuclear family.
So while it?s certainly best described as ?mediocre?, it would be an out-and-out lie to say that The World is Not Enough ranks among the worst Bond films. One of its greatest detractors is Denice Richards? character, Christmas Jones, whose retardedness is so thick it could be cut with a knife. The film features a welcome return by Robbie Coltrane - though some better material would have been much appreciated - and Robert Carlyle is great in just about anything.
Rating for The World is Not Enough - 5.5 out of 10
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Tomorrow Never Dies marks the beginning of the decline in quality in Pierce Brosnan?s run as Bond. Even though it features and impressive cast and some incredible stunts, it?s a film that never seems to be able to define itself. It?s halfway between being a continuation of the straight-edge Bond we saw in Goldeneye, and an outlandish film more suited towards Roger Moore.
The plot follows news mogul Elliot Carver, a megalomaniac intent on taking over the world through media. The film begins with him sparking a war between China and Great Britain, which he escalates by printing propaganda in the newspapers of each country. While the plan is devious enough, Carver just doesn?t seem that threatening at all. It?s not a knock against Jonathan Pryce, who injects the character with both humor and menace, but the character himself just doesn?t seem to be much of a threat at all to Bond.
It gets a little heavy-handed as well. As if the description of the plot wasn?t enough to make you think of every other ?media is evil!? plotline, watching the movie feels like you?re being bashed over the head by some kind of anti-media activist intent on showing the power that someone like Ted Turner has. This is all well and good, but in the end it ultimately leads to nothing. Bond wins, makes some witty remarks as he dispenses with the villains, and everything?s right as rain. There just seemed to be a lot more potential with the story and characters, but none of it was realized.
This is not all to say that the film is bad, however. It?s light action-adventure fun, and when taken as such it?s quite entertaining. But any bit of examination reveals it?s pretty average on all fronts - even bordering on mediocre. It?s a middle-of-the-road Bond film, about as far away from being the worst in the series as it is from being the best. Though I suppose the appearance of Vincent Schiavelli as a masochist assassin and torture enthusiast adds to it.
This film features two very attractive women. The first one, Paris, is revealed to be one of Bond?s old loves, who was left bitter after Bond left her in the middle of the night many years ago without saying a word. Of course, it was surely to go on some world-saving mission, but he couldn?t tell her that, now, could he? There are significant instances of sexual innuendo between the two, most of which are pretty laughable. Anyways, she is now the wife of Carver, and she is played by Teri Hatcher.
Next is Wai Lin, a Chinese secret agent who teams up with Bond to try to stop Carver and his plans of world domination and nuclear warfare. She is played by the eternally youthful Michelle Yeoh.
While several gadgets appear throughout the film - both in Q?s lab, and in Wai Lin?s hideout - there?s really only one gadget that Bond uses in the field, and it?s his multi-purpose cell phone.
The first function this phone has (aside from making calls, obviously) is as a stun gun. While this can no doubt be used to zap dudes, Bond actually uses it primarily for opening electronic doors.
The cell phone also features a touch screen, which can be used to scan, save and duplicate finger prints. Again, Bond uses this to open doors and safes.
Finally, the phone also flips open to reveal a thumb pad and LCD screen.
This allows him to control his new car, a BMW 750iL.
Distinctions From the Other Films
-Theme song performed by Sheryl Crow; can be heard - along with the main titles sequence - [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cg53I1WTmQ4&feature=related]here[/url]
-At no point in the film are the words ?Tomorrow never dies? ever uttered - a strange occurrence for Bond films
-James Bond gets a new gun in this film; his signature gun has always been the Walther PPK, but while in Wai Lin?s hideout he replaces it with the Walther P99, and has used it since
-Dedicated to Albert R. Broccolli, who produced all of the films before this one, as he died in 1996
There are actually several great standalone scenes throughout the film. The opening is a well executed battle between Bond and an enormous gathering of terrorists who are holding a weapons bazaar. Bond blows stuff up, gets in a jet and shoot people like a badass with a machine gun.
He then engages in a plane chase against two of the terrorists - all of them in fighter jets. While he destroys one of them with a missile, the other one he kills by ejecting the knocked-out-terrorist in the back seat of his plane, up into the hull of the other plane.
There?s also a phenomenal motorcycle chase, where Bond and Wai Lin are handcuffed together and fleeing on the bike, while being pursued by a helicopter. They are cornered, and the helicopter turns its blades down and starts coming closer and closer to them, apparently planning to chop them up. They end up driving as fast as they can towards the chopper, then swerving onto the side of the bike and sliding under the blades.
Memorable Quote of Villainy
As I mentioned before, Carver really doesn?t have a significant level of menace. Pryce does a good job making him cheeky, but in the end he doesn?t seem nearly as scary as many other villains to have appeared in the series. The following quote shows Carver at his most menacing, while also showing that the script seemed to be going for more of a humorous villain than anything.
CARVER: Mr. Bond, Ms. Lin. Welcome to Saigon. Please come in.
BOND: It's always a pleasure to see you, Elliot.
CARVER: I wasn't planning on opening this center until tomorrow. But you're just in time to help me finish writing the inaugural story, YOUR obituaries.
Seeing as how the technological boom was really taking hold at the time this film came out, it?s kind of sad to see that they apparently didn?t try to elevate it above typical action/adventure fare. This is even more apparent when thinking about a movie like The Matrix, which came out just two years later and tackled the ?technology/media as the downfall of man? theme with more success.
Sure it?s fun while it lasts, but it?s pretty forgettable.
It?s neither great nor terrible - it?s just sort of there.
Rating for Tomorrow Never Dies - 6 out of 10
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The first of the Bond films featuring Pierce Brosnan is many things - it is one of the best films in the series, it is the very best Brosnan Bond film, and, well, it?s arguably the only Brosnan Bond that?s actually worth a damn. It is directed by Martin Campbell - who recently re-proved his talent with Bond films by directing Casino Royale - and features a surprisingly memorable musical score by Eric Serra (known best for scoring the films of Luc Besson).
Like Casino Royale, Goldeneye is also a more personal and - dare I say - emotional Bond journey, dealing with betrayal, personal loss, and hot Russian women. The film actually begins several years ago, with Bond and Trevelyan (agent 006 - played by Sean Bean) on a mission in Russia to destroy a chemical weapons facility being run by the corrupt and butt-ugly General Ourumov. To make a long story short, things go wrong, and only Bond makes it out alive. Flash forward to the present, and Bond is back to being the cold-hearted, womanizing, sadistic hero we all know and love. But General Ourumov is back, and is now working with a sinister criminal leader named Janus whose identity is unknown, but may tie into the Betrayal of the Cossacks during World War II. Together, they hope to use the new Goldeneye satellite to blast London, England with an incredibly powerful electromagnetic surge which will erase all banking information, right after they rob England?s banks blind, effectively leaving no traces of their crimes.
For a Bond film, it goes above and beyond in many areas. The cinematography is gorgeous - the film has a wonderful visual style, and its all accented really well by the previously mentioned musical score. Brosnan?s performance as Bond in this film is also one of the defining moments for the onscreen representation of the popular character, since - like Daniel Craig did in Casino Royale - he was able to keep Bond as a cold-hearted misogynist asshole, while also giving him a fair bit of depth and reason for being the way he is. Finally, it?s got a great plot, with more twists and turns than most of the Bond films, as well as a good balance between reality and fantasy.
Goldeneye has a few different women, but only two of them really play major roles in the plot. Let?s get the minor ones out of the way first. The first girl to appear in the film is Bond?s psychiatrist, Caroline (played by Serena Gordon). Pretty much all we learn of her is...well...actually we don?t learn anything about her. The only reason she?s there is to confirm Bond?s raging libido.
Next up is the new Moneypenny. She was never really a babe before, but in the new movie she is *apparently* attractive - I personally think she looks a little like a man in drag. Once again, she is quite obviously in love with Bond, and he quite obviously wants to bang her brains out, but knows she wants more than just a quick fix of El-Bondo. She is played by Samantha Bond, who would reprise her role in the series for the rest of the Brosnan films.
Now we get to the two main female characters in the film. First off there?s Natalya, a Russian computer programmer working at a top secret satellite base in Siberia. When the base is ambushed and all her friends and coworkers killed - leaving her the sole survivor of the attack - she is taken care of by, who else, James Bond. Natalya is played by Izabella Scorupco, who you may remember from pretty much nothing. Oh, wait, she was in that dragon movie with those guys.
And what Bond movie would be complete without the evil femme fatale who is more attractive than the ?good girl?, adding to her menace? To bad babe in Goldeneye is none other than Xenia Onatopp - an ex-KGB pilot now working with General Ourumov and Janus as an assassin who has sex wit her targets and suffocates them with her legs. It?s just as scary and sexy as it sounds. Xenia is played by the lovely Famke Janssen.
Bond has a few cool gadgets in this movie, and they?re all pretty much within the bounds of reality. First off he has a retractable grappling hook gun, which can also shoot a laser capable of cutting through steel.
Next is his grappling hook belt. It looks like a regular belt, but the tooth is attached to a long cord which is able to support a fair amount of weight.
Bond also has a cool new Omega watch with two functions - like the grappling hook gun, it is equipped with a laser which can cut through most materials. It also works as a timer/detonator for mines.
There?s also the Tiger helicopter - a new type of military flying machine which is not only invisible to radar, but immune to the effects of electromagnetic radiation.
Finally, Bond has a cool little pen which is also a highly powerful grenade. It operates according to clicking the pen?s back end - three clicks arms it, and another three disarms it.
Distinctions From the Other Films
-Theme song sung by Tina Turner; can be heard along with the opening titles of the film [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2s6iZhQvgo]here[/url]
-First Bond film with absolutely no reference to anything from Fleming?s novels
-Pierce Brosnan?s first appearance as Bond; he was offered the role for The Living Daylights, but lost it because of his involvement with Remington Steele
-First appearance by Judi Dench as ?M?
-First film in the entire series whose credits sequence was not designed by Maurice Binder, who passed away between this and Licence to Kill
-First Bond film to ever actually shoot in Russia
-Joe Don Baker returns to the Bond series, but as a different character - this time he is CIA agent Jack Wade; he previously played the evil General Whitaker in The Living Daylights
-First appearance by Robbie Coltrane as Bond?s Russian contact, Valetnin Dmitrovich Zukovsky
Goldeneye features some of the most memorable scenes in the entire franchise, and what write-up of the film could ever be complete without mention of the bungee jump? It is the very first thing that happens - Bond jumps off a dam, in one of the wildest stunts ever put on film. It is still the highest bungee jump ever put in a movie without the use of CGI.
Next is, of course, the tank chase. When Ourumov manages to get his hands on Natalya, he tries to take her to Janus on his high-tech bullet train - but before he gets there he must drive through the busy city streets of St. Petersburg. Of course Bond had to pursue them, but a car wouldn?t do the trick - he steals a Russian tank and drives it right through the streets in a great chase with some funny sight gags.
Following almost directly after the chase is the classic scene in the train, where Bond and Natalya must figure out a way off the train before getting blown to bits. The explosion is pretty impressive.
And finally there?s the confrontation between Bond and Janus at the top of an enormous satellite dish in Cuba. While it?s an exciting set piece on its own, the Serra?s energetic score - namely the track ?Run, Shoot, Jump? - really pumps it up a notch.
Memorable Quote of Villainy
Now, I?m going to go out on a limb here and assume that most everyone has seen Goldeneye, or at least played the game, so they are aware of the major twist that occurs - and if you haven?t played the game or watched the movie, I think it?s OK to assume you probably never will. So, spoilers ahead, you?ve been warned.
Since Janus is actually Trevelyan back from the grave - well, maybe that?s not the best way to put it, since it may leave you expecting a zombie - he knows just about everything about Bond, and that includes how to really dig into his nerves. It was hard to pick one quote for Trevelyan, because he has some great lines in the film, but in the end I thought this one was the best...
TREVELYAN: I might as well ask if all those vodka martinis silence the screams of all the men you've killed... or if you've found forgiveness in the arms of all those willing women for the dead ones you failed to protect?
On a good day, I may even say that Goldeneye is my favorite of the whole series - ultimately it?s a toss up between this and From Russia With Love, and it?s decided on a daily basis according to whether I?m in a ?classic Bond played by Connery is best? or ?suave Pierce Brosnan did the best job? mood.
What is definite, though, is that Goldeneye is one of the best films in the series. Not only is it one of the best Bond films, it?s just a really great movie. The set pieces are exciting and original, it?s pretty to look at, has a great musical score, and the performances are all among the best in the series. And let?s not forget Alan Cumming?s wonderfully eccentric performance as the perverted and treacherous computer programmer, Boris.
Rating for Goldeneye - 10 out of 10
The second and last film featuring Timothy Dalton as James Bond, Licence to Kill is one of the darkest and most brutal films in the whole series. From people being eaten by sharks to having their heads blown up in decompression tanks, it?s got some very violent stuff in there, and shows a sadistic side of Bond that many hadn?t seen before. Perhaps this is why it has such a bad reputation, but I happen to think this is only part of the reason. The fact is, Bond doesn?t act at all the way Bond had been in previous films, and became more of a vigilante than a secret agent, and fans just didn?t like that.
The story follows Bond on a personal mission of vengeance, after Felix Leiter and his wife are attacked on their wedding night, leaving Felix crippled by a brutal shark attack, and his wife dead. When Bond finds Felix after the attack, there is a rather sadistic message attached to his chest...
Bond is forced to defect from MI6, but refuses to turn in his gun or listen to M when he is told that his licence to kill has been revoked, and continues on his murderous rampage to bring justice to the ones that committed these crimes against his friends. Yes, it?s quite a dark film, and I remember watching it as a kid and - while I thought it rocked - some of the violence was quite shocking to me, seeing as how I mainly had access to the ?tamer? Roger Moore films. It also has a suitably violent villain - played by Robert Davi - whose first scene in the film involves him beating a woman (whom we later find out to be his mistress) while his goons cut out her lover?s heart.
Licence to Kill contains two women, both of which can?t act and aren?t particularly attractive. It?s definitely not a high point in the series when it comes to attractive, scantily clad women, but at least we didn?t get Grace Jones again.
The first woman we are introduced to is Lupe. She?s Sanchez?s (Davi) mistress, and she can?t emote to save her life. Seriously, I don?t know where the hell they dug this woman up. There are much more attractive - and more talented - latin women out there, so why pick this woman who sounds like she?s half asleep at all times?
Up next is the main babe of the film, Pam Bouvier. She?s played by Cary Lowell, whose career really picked up after this movie, with roles like ?Bank Teller? in Leaving Las Vegas and the title role in More Than Meets the Eye: The Joan Brock Story.
Basically, she is an American woman also in pursuit of Sanchez, but falls in love with Bond and yadda, yadda, yadda. She kind of does a complete 180 in the middle of the movie, since she starts as this independent ?I can take care of myself? woman, yet by the end is just as helpless as any other Bond vixen in the history of the franchise.
Also, she has a lazy eye. Not that I have any problem with that - nor should I, or anyone for that matter. I just thought I?d point it out, since there are times in the movie where it seems like she?s looking at Bond and at you, the viewer, at the same time.
Unlike Dalton?s first foray into the franchise, this one has a few gadgets. The main gadget is his ?signature gun?, which is disguised as a camera, and reads his palm print and locks it in, so that only he can use the gun - it is rendered useless if anyone else tries to fire it.
Next is ?Dentonite? toothpaste. Clever, eh? It?s like ?dynamite?, but it?s ?DENT-onite?, because it?s toothpaste...
It?s plastic explosives, inside a toothpaste tube. Not much else to it.
Next we have the x-ray lasrer camera. Bond never uses it, and it seems to only be there for a gag where Pam tries to take a picture, Bond and Q jump out of the way of the laser, and the resulting polaroid shows their skeletons...
There are also a few other gadgets we see throughout the film that are never actually used, such as an exploding alarm clock, but the above three are the main gadgets that we actually see in action at some point in the movie.
Distinctions From the Other Films
-Theme song of the same name is sung by Gladys Knight, and can be seen [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvnyka_P4vw]here[/url], along with the first 11 minutes of the movie
-David Hedison returns as Felix Leiter
-Final Bond film directed by John Glen
-Final Bond film featuring Robert Brown as M
-Features a very young Benicio Del Toro as Sanchez?s sadomasochistic henchman Dario
-A lot of the story actually comes from two of Fleming?s novels - ?Goldfinger? and ?Live and Let Die?
-The first time a Bond film was not filmed in England
-Wayne Newton plays televangelist Professor Joe Butcher, whose program is actually just a front for raising drug money
There are several great action sequences in the film. It starts with a scene where Sanchez is fleeing by plane, and Bond is lowered out of a helicopter onto the tail of the plane, where he secures a hook on it so it can be towed away.
Then, of course, is the scene where Milton Krest - owner of a boating/fishing company which Sanchez uses as a front for his drug-running - is put in a decompression chamber, and his head blows up.
And, finally, quite possibly the most famous scene from the movie. Bond is driving an 18-wheeler down a desert road, and one of the bad guys shoots a rocket at the truck. So Bond tips the truck on one side so that the rocket goes under the truck.
It?s totally ridiculous...it?s great!
Memorable Quote of Villainy
In the opening scene, Sanchez catches his mistress with another man. While you don?t actually see what happens to the guy, Sanchez? words make it very clear...well, that and the blood-curdling scream afterwards...
SANCHEZ: What did he promise you? His heart? Giver her his heart.
While Licence to Kill isn?t the very best Bond film out there, it?s pretty damn good entertainment, and I?ve never understood why it gets such bad reviews. People are constantly crying for something different from the Bond series, and here it is. A vengeful, mean, sadistic Bond with a story of personal vendetta rather than thwarting world domination.
Rating for Licence to Kill - 7.5 out of 10
One of the most underrated and - truth be told - underseen films in the entire franchise, Dalton?s first film is simply great. The story involves many double-crosses, side-switches and generally seedy characters, making for an interesting plot which takes the audience around the world, from Austria, to The Soviet Union, to Afghanistan. It features exciting action sequences, and a great mixture of both realism and fun, creating the closest thing to a classic Connery Bond film in nearly 20 years.
The film?s main plot begins at a concert where Bond is told to protect Russian officer Georgi Koskov while he tries to escape to the West. Bond is situated in an adjacent building with a ridiculously huge sniper rifle, and ends up spotting another sniper who seems to be trying to shoot Koskov. However, the sniper being a woman, and Bond having quite the soft-spot for cute ladies, he simply shoots the gun out of her hands instead of killing her. Koskov makes it across the border, but then ends up being kidnapped anyways, and so begins the film?s story as Bond tries to recover Koskov.
While all this is happening, it is also discovered that quite a devious plan is being put into order, called ?Smiert Spionom? - roughly translated, ?death to spies?. It?s a covert operation by the KGB to eliminate all of their rival spies, leaving them free to pretty much do whatever they want, whenever they want, wherever they want. So, of course, since 007 is pretty much one of their greatest enemies, there are people trying to kill him left and right.
As it all comes together, it ends up being one man who is responsible for it all - an American named Brad Whitaker. He?s an eccentric and egomaniacal general who owns a house filled with statues of famous military conquerors, all redone with his face. It?s a great, fast-paced and entertaining Bond adventure, and one of the best in the series.
In the Roger Moore days, Bond often slept with up to 4 or 5 different women throughout each film?s 2 hour runtime - which makes The Living Daylights that much more different, as it only features one woman. Her name is Kara Milovy (played by Maryam d?Abo), and she is a cellist in the concert at the beginning of the film, as well as the other sniper that Bond spares.
She?s kind of cute in that ?80s bubblegum, probably-listens-to-Duran Duran kind of way, and she really can?t act to save her life, but when has that mattered in a Bond movie? She provided some eye candy for all those young, randy men that went to see it in the theatres, so as far as Bond movies are concerned, she did her job.
Similar to the low babe count, The Living Daylights also only features one gadget, and that is the multi-use Phillips keychain developed by Q.
This keychain contains an audio sensor, and is activated by Bond whistling a couple of different tunes. If he whistles the first few bars of ?Rule Britannia?, it dispenses stun gas. If he does a wolf whistle, it will turn into a fairly powerful explosive. And, finally, it is the most versatile lockpick in existence.
Of course, Bond uses other things in the film. Nightvision goggles, that enormous sniper rifle, a few different guns, but the keychain is the only really ?gadgety? thing he uses.
Our flamboyant blonde friend, however - who, if you listen closesly whenever he has headphones on in the movie, is listening to songs from the movie - dresses as a milkman and goes to a mansion where Bond and various government officials are dining. The bottles of milk he carries in are actually tear gas.
And, of course, we cannot forget Bond?s car - the Aston Martin V8. It contains stinger missiles, lasers in the headlights, spiked tires and an outrigger system for those snowy conditions, and a conveniently placed self-destruct mechanism.
Distinctions From the Other Films
-Theme song, ?The Living Daylights?, performed by A-HA; while the opening credits sequence could not be found, the song can be heard - accompanied by a montage of scenes from the movie - [url=http://youtube.com/watch?v=2hMLDu_mYhQ]here[/url]
-First time Bond is played by Timothy Dalton
-Sam Neill was one of the original choices to play Bond, and even recorded some test footage which was released on the recent Ultimate Edition DVD
-Joe Don Baker makes his first appearance in a Bond film, as the evil Brad Whitaker; he would appear later in the series as a completely different character
-Felix Leiter is played by John Terry, who is probably most well known now as Jack?s alcoholic doctor father on Lost
-Caroline Bliss makes her first appearance as Miss Moneypenny
-The last film to feature Geoffrey Keen - famous in the series for playing Sir Frederick Gray - as he retired from acting shortly after the film was completed
-The last Bond film to use a title from a Fleming novel, until 2006's Casino Royale
The Living Daylights opens with a bang, as the ?Smiert Spionom? operation begins during a 00 agent training mission. All of the 00 agents are seen jumping out of a plane, parachuting onto a military-run island, and they engage in a game of paintball to see if the 00 agents are able to take over the island.
Unfortunately one of the soldiers on the island is actually KGB, and kills a few of the agents.
Another well-known scene from this movie is when Bond and Kara are fleeing down a snowy hillside, and end up opening her cello case and using it as a sled to get down the hill.
And, of course, there?s th raid in Afghanistan where Bond and Kara, teamed with the Mujahedeen, overthrow the corrupt KGB officers selling narcotics and weapons to and from General Whitaker. It begins as an on-land chase with camels, horses, jeeps, etc. and ends in the air as Bond hangs out of the back of a plane while fighting our blonde friend.
I have never understood the hate that Timothy Dalton gets from playing Bond, as I always thought he played the character very well - much better than Moore ever did. But even more, I have never understood the hate that his two Bond movies receive. They?re both quality action movies, especially this one.
The Living Daylights is the best Bond film to be released in the ?80s, and one of the best in the series when all is said and done.
Rating for The Living Daylights - 8 out of 10
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A look at the generational gap present in Se7en
by Braden Adam
Studying demographics and the trends influenced by popular culture throughout generations was one of the few things I enjoyed in my high school years, so when it became a full course in college I was thrilled. In watching David Fincher?s Se7en, it is apparent that he and Andrew Kevin Walker (who wrote the screenplay) share many of the same interests. The characters of William Somerset and David Mills (played by Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt) exhibit behaviourial traits which are very telling of their personalities and histories - in fact, much of Somerset?s past is told in the way he dresses, speaks and thinks, and attention must be paid to these aspects of the character in order to fully appreciate his depth and understand why he is so pessimistic.
If you listen to the commentary track on the DVD, when Somerset first appears outdoors and is talking with Mills for the first time, he puts on his hat - a fedora. Freeman remarks that ?so much can be said about a man by the type of hat he wears?, and this couldn?t be more true. Somerset is a character straight out of 1940s film noir - a gumshoe, a private eye. He doesn?t have a particularly happy or fulfilling life, but he does what he does because he is good at it. In a scene towards the end of the film when Somerset and Mills are suiting up, Somerset loads his 6-shot revolver, while Mills loads a magazine into his handgun. Somerset takes the time to put on a clean shirt and tie a fresh tie around his neck, while Mills has a rack of pre-tied ties from which he picks one and simply slips it around his neck (perhaps inferring that Mills, himself, doesn?t know how to tie a tie). These may seem like very trivial occurrences, or very obvious ?old cop being replaced by a new cop? cues, but as the killer says towards the end of the film, ?nothing is trivial.?
The choice to show these things prominently - and some not so prominently - on-screen was a conscious one, and is far from the straight-forward ?buddy cop? clichés of films like Lethal Weapon which feature similar situations with old and young police officers being paired together. Somerset represents an age past, when cops were heroes. The days when people would go to the theatre to see the latest Humphrey Bogart detective film, because at the time he was a heroic figure. But Somerset is lost in the world of the 1990s - a dark, grim place where Generation X has taken hold and the shimmering candy coating has melted off the cities, revealing the decay underneath.
Sam Spade was busy dealing with stolen artifacts and femme fatales. Philip Marlowe was hired to watch over a dying general?s daughter. Even The Dude was just trying to get his rug back, because it really held the room together. But William Somerset is assigned a case that just doesn?t fit with his own ways - acts of evil that Philip Marlowe would never even dream of. To think of these murders occurring in a film from the 1940s or 1950s is...well...unthinkable. A man is forced to eat until he passes out, at which point he is kicked so his stomach bursts. A beautiful young woman has her face cut off, is given a phone and sleeping pills, and told she can call for help and live with her newfound ugliness or kill herself. These horrendous acts of forced penance are far beyond anything that Somerset has ever imagined, but at the same time, they confirm all that he has been thinking about with regards to today?s world.
It is here that Somerset finds himself strangely sympathetic with the killer?s cause - to turn each sin against the sinner, and make people realize what horrible creatures we are and how utterly hopeless our lives and futures are. As the killer writes in one of his many notebooks, ?what sick ridiculous puppets we are...not a care in the world, not knowing that we are nothing, we are not what was intended.? Of course Somerset does not condone the acts of this John Doe killer, but he does realize what he is trying to say - even the best of us are not truly ?good? people. But if we are imperfect beings, can we really be expected to lead perfect lives?
It is especially interesting that, when we see John Doe for the first time, he is dressed in almost exactly the same attire as Somerset - a long, beige raincoat and fedora. Both are of the same mind about the world - that apathy will be the end of man, because we simply do not care anymore about adhering to the classic laws of the Bible. It is a new day and age where both characters feel completely out of place, and are actually trying to accomplish the same goal, but on opposite sides of the law (and obviously with greatly differing methods). Both policeman and killer are trying to better the world.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have Mills. A young, married man who has just moved to the city after being transferred to Somerset?s division in order to work with him and eventually take his position. He lives a much happier life than Somerset, because what Somerset recognizes as naivety, is actually just a sense of acceptance. Mills grew up as the world changed into the world it has become, and while he may not like it, he has grown to live with it, knowing that in his line of work he is at least doing his best to make a difference. Also, he doesn?t wear a hat.
The film is quite bleak, but when looked at in this way it actually becomes quite optimistic. As Somerset readies for retirement, it represents his entire generation of classic detectives hanging up their hats, so that the new cops can take over. Cops with energy and youth, and the hope and intelligence to drive them to truly change the world. To see the story of ?two cops with different styles forced to work together? isn?t a rare occurrence, and at least one of these movies seems to come out every year, often falling under the buddy-cop comedy genre. But for a film to come and really say something about this huge generational gap - not only in law enforcement but in people on all walks of life - is rare.
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While A View to a Kill is pretty bad compared to a lot of the other movies released in the Bond franchise, it is far from being the worst. The plot actually begins as a fairly interesting mystery, where Bond finds a computer chip on a dead comrade, and under close inspection it bears the name Zorin - a company in California which manufactures computer parts, and is run by the shady Max Zorin (played by Christopher Walken). Unfortunately the potential for a subtle espionage thriller goes right out the window with the introduction of a plot to blow up Silicon Valley, some side-plot about drugging race horeses, this ridiculous backstory for Zorin in which he is the last surviving superhuman Aryan experiment by the Nazis, and Grace Jones.
It does have its fair share of great locations and set pieces - the finale on top of the Golden Gate Bridge was well shot, if still underwhelming. It has its fair share of Bond cheese, and there isn?t anything done particularly worse than any of the other films. It just feels like a completely missed opportunity, especially since it was Moore?s swan song as the British super-spy.
This could quite possibly be the worst Bond film in the entire series in terms of its female stars. First we have the ?secondary babe? - she?s evil, but is supposed to still be sexy and alluring. Unfortunately, the casting choice is all-out raunchy...
...Grace Jones is May Day. She?s evil, she?s ugly, and she shouldn?t have been in the movie.
Next up is one of the throw-away women that Bond so often encounters. She?s a Russian agent, and is dumb as a post. She is also the inspiration for the bathtub scene with Alotta Fagina in the first Austin Powers, since it seems her breasts defy gravity when submerged in liquid. The character?s name is Pola Ivanova, and she is played by Fiona Fullerton...
And last but not least is the main babe of the film, Tanya Roberts. She has such a stunning acting repertoire - from Sheena and Beastmaster to Charlie?s Angels and That 70s Show - that it?s hard to imagine how producers wouldn?t jump all over the chance to cast her.
She basically plays her character from That 70s Show - mildy retarded, completely helpless, and thinks she is much more attractive than she is.
First is Bond?s fancy pair of ?polarizing sunglasses?. They are able to see through tinted glass. Yeh...that?s it. Oh, and they?re ugly.
Next up, Bond?s ring contains a miniature camera. His panache makes it so obvious that he is taking pictures, that I?m sure people just passed him off as mentally handicapped or possibly epileptic. Anyways, he uses it once and is otherwise pretty pointless.
Finally there is the SNOOP - a robot Q designed, surely to make up-skirt shots of Moneypenny more feasible. Its only use is at the very end of the movie when Q uses it to watch Bond and Tanya Roberts have sex in a shower.
Like the rest of the movie, the gadgets all just feel like useless and/or wasted opportunities, and add to the disappointment.
Distinctions From the Other Films
-Theme song, ?A View to a Kill?, performed by Duran Duran; the song can be heard along with the opening credits sequence [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYYaFibEus0]here[/url]
-Was originally titled ?From a View to a Kill?, but the name was changed for unknown reasons
-Features Patrick Macnee as Sir Godfrey Tibbet, who pretends to be Bond?s servant when they are undercover at Zorin?s mansion
-First film in the series to not say the name of the next Bond film at the end of the ending credits
-When General Gogol meets Zorin in the empty horse-racing stadium, look closely at the bodyguards - one of them is Dolph Lundgren, who was Grace Jones? boyfriend at the time
-Final appearance by Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny
-Final appearance by Roger Moore as James Bond
The opening is quite memorable, if only for its total ridiculousness. Bond is in Russia looking for the aforementioned chip on his fallen comrade. He is skis, but loses them, takes out a guy on a snowmobile and straps the front sled of the vehicle to his feet to create a quasi-snowboard, then the Beach Boys come on.
Next up is the pursuit on the Eiffel Tower, where Bond tries to catch May Day after she kills his contact in Paris. It?s not particularly exciting, and has a terrible ending, but the photography is quite nice.
Next, there is the scene in the underground mine, where Zorin intends to load the San Andreas fault with dynamite and blow it, destroying Silicon Valley so he has a monopoly on microchip production (Superman, anyone?). What?s so memorable about this is Walken maniacally laughing while he guns down his own employees...
And finally, in probably the best set piece in the whole film, there is the fight atop the Golden Gate Bridge. It begins with Bond dangling helplessly from the Zorin getaway blimp - yes, that?s right...a getaway blimp - and then it all ends up on the big old San Fran spectacle.
Memorable Quote of Villainy
Like every other aspect of this movie, the quotes are pretty underwhelming. I picked this one simply for the cheesy laughableness of it.
While hovering over Silicon Valley in their blimp, Zorin and May Day take in the scenery...
MAY DAY: Wow! What a view!
ZORIN: To a KILL!
While it?s not the very worst in the series, it?s not hard to see why Roger Moore adamantly insists that this is the worst of his films. It starts off in a way that leads you to believe it will be a story-driven espionage thriller along the lines of From Russia With Love, but by the end of the film, it is no more sophisticated or accomplished than Octopussy.
Rating for A View to a Kill - 5 out of 10
Octopussy is pretty bad. The plot is totally ridiculous, the villains are hoaky, and it is the epitome of terrible gadgets. Plus, considering the fact that the whole movie is named after the character of Octopussy, she’s not memorable...at all.
But that doesn’t keep the movie from having some strong points - most notably the fact that a lot of it is just fun - due in part or in whole to the fact that it is just so damn campy, it can’t be taken seriously.
Two Russian twins (who work in a circus, no less) are stealing treasures the world over (the main one being a Faberge egg) so that their employers can duplicate them, then blow up the duplicates so that the world thinks the treasure has been destroyed while they actually hold onto the originals, which have monumentally increased in value. At the same time, the explosion that blows up these jewels is going to be used to start a war which will eventually end in Russia having control of almost all of Europe. This devious plan is devised by General Orlov.
Orlov is played by the infinitely creepy Steven Berkoff, whose giant forehead mole you may remember from Beverly Hills Cop.
Again, the only really memorable thing about this movie is its campiness. If it weren’t for the fact that so much of it is so completely asinine, it would just be bad.
This wonderfully alien looking woman is a character named Magda, and she is played by Swedish model-turned-actress Kristina Wayborn.
She doesn’t quite look human, but seeing as how this movie is from the ‘80s, at least there’s a reason.
The sinister looking figure beside her is one of the film’s villains, a man named Kamal Khan (played by French actor Louis Jourdan).
Next up is the main female in the movie, Octopussy. She is a crime lord situated in India, and she is supposed to be like Bond’s equal...but female...and on the other side of the law...and completely useless.
She is played by Maud Adams, who returns to the series after playing Scaramanga’s mistress in The Man With the Golden Gun. It’s sad that that character was more memorable than this one.
Plus, like Moore, she’s getting a little old.
Octopussy has a fair number of gadgets. The first and most prominent is Bond’s watch and accessories. The watch is a Seiko, and has a TV monitor on it which can be used in conjunction with an enormous and clunky video camera. Bond uses it to look at a woman’s chest.
The watch also comes with a bug, which he places inside the Faberge egg before returning it to the bad guys so he can listen in on what’s going on. There is an ear piece which picks up the signal, and the watch acts as a radar locator for the bug.
Next up, Bond uses a mini crocodile sub. That’s right, a crocodile sub. It’s a sub...and it looks like a crocodile.
At the end of the movie, Q saves the day in his giant Union Jack hot air balloon. Maybe it’s trying to cash in on the success of the similarly designed parachute from The Spy Who Loved Me?
Also, during the opening sequence, Bond has a mini jet, disguised as a horse...
Finally and most importantly in Bond’s array of gadgets is the costumes he wears. At the beginning of the film he is a Cuban military general...
...and then at the end of the film...
...I think we need to see that one again...
...yep..Octopussy is one of a kind.
Distinctions From the Other Films
-Theme song - “All Time High” - performed by Rita Coolidge; the intro to the film, accompanied by the song, can be seen [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iq4NHsPluc]here[/url]
-Return of Maud Adams, one of the few instances where an actress appears in two different films in the franchise
-First appearance of Robert Brown as M
-As with all Bond films up until recently, the end credits say Bond will return, but they say the film is called From a View to a Kill; the final product was just called A View to a Kill
-Moneypenny (still played by Lois Maxwell) introduces her new assistant, Miss Penelope Smallbone
A few scenes set this apart from the others, but again, it’s mostly due to the campiness. One scene however is shot in a pretty cool way...
As Bond escapes from Khan’s mansion, he slides down the banister and sees a giant pineapple thing at the bottom which is going to render him sterile, so he shoots it off. It’s nothing special in concept, but the execution looks kinda neat.
There’s also Khan’s henchman, Gobinda (played by Kabir Bedi)...he can crush dice with his hands. Neat-o.
Of course, anything involving the twin knife throwers is great. Especially since it seems their only speaking abilities are to say things like “this is for my brother!”
And of course, who could ever forget the giant yo-yo saw? Probably the most impractical, ridiculous, stupid and most amazingly awesome weapon since the “flying guillotine”. This is used by a nameless henchman in several scenes, and is just pure greatness.
And did I mention that Bond appears in a clown suit?
Memorable Quote of Villainy
Unfortunately this movie isn’t too high on villainous quotes. However, in one scene Bond is literally being hunted by Khan and a party of...well...hunters...
KHAN: You seem to have this nasty habit of surviving.
BOND: You know what they say about the fittest.
Octopussy is pretty bad, but it’s not the utter travesty that some make it out to be. Its campiness actually saves it from being an unintentionally funny and therefore much worse film.
As it is, it seems like they were just having fun. It’s below average for sure, but not the worst there is in the series.
Rating for Octopussy - 5 out of 10