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homersimpson_esq -> Homer's Bond Thread (1/11/2008 9:47:24 PM)

[image]http://img379.imageshack.us/img379/6322/homerbondqi1.jpg[/image]

As threatened, I return with another thread, a more light-hearted and predictably ordered thread where I will look at, chronologically, all 22 (official) Bond films. Depending on how quickly I watch them will depend on whether QoS is still in the cinemas, or out on DVD by the time I get to it again!

For those uncertain of the order, here is the full rundown:

Dr No
From Russia With Love
Goldfinger
Thunderball
You Only Live Twice
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Diamonds Are Forever
Live and Let Die
The Man With The Golden Gun
The Spy Who Loved Me
Moonraker
For Your Eyes Only
Octopussy
A View To A Kill
The Living Daylights
Licence To Kill
Goldeneye
Tomorrow Never Dies
The World Is Not Enough
Die Another Day
Casino Royale
Quantum of Solace

So, coming up first will be the 1962 classic Dr No.

Review incoming...




TRM -> RE: The Bond Thread, Homer's Bond Thread (1/11/2008 9:50:08 PM)

Ha ha, good timing Homer [:D] 




Rhubarb -> RE: The Bond Thread, Homer's Bond Thread (1/11/2008 9:51:01 PM)

Woah. You skank!

Hopefully we'll be Connery to your Holness, or something [:D]

No, really, good luck

*is scared that doesn't have groovy graphics on our thread*




homersimpson_esq -> The Bond Thread - #01: Dr. No (1962) (1/11/2008 10:12:01 PM)

[image]http://img254.imageshack.us/img254/6302/drnoum3.jpg[/image]

As far as the Bond legacy goes, Dr No is a fairly unique entry for a few reasons. Firstly, there is no pre-credits sequence. Secondly, the credits sequence itself features the now iconic Bond Theme, single-handedly getting Monty Norman through retirement, rather than a song destined for the charts. We also have several key introductions to Bond's character which are being mimicked to some degree by Craig's Bond films. However, I won't dwell on comparisons with future films, only with preceding ones, to preserve the chronology of the thread (as I did previously with the Scott thread). Most notable of all introductions is that of Bond himself. A hand here, the back of his head here, a spoken sentence, the source of which is unseen. Only when he asks of a fellow baccarat player her name and she tells him does he reply, imitating her delivery, 'Bond...Jamesh Bond'. As he says it, the slow double bass semitonal theme begins to play, and thus a screen legend is born. Effortlessly cool. If I didn't know how bad it was, that scene alone might be enough to get me to smoke, so cool does he look.

The character aside, we also have him introduced to the gun with which he is forever associated, the Walther PPK, and his signature drink is fully explained by the cabana boy (again, a future echo there), 'mixed the way you asked sir, not stirred'. We are introduced to M, Miss Moneypenny and his irascible behaviour with her, and soon enough Bond is jet-setting off to Jamaica, an appropriate enough start for his cinematic career given it was Fleming's choice of home. However, where subsequent Bonds would pride themselves on having the most exotic locales and contrasting environments, this first installment is almost exclusively shot on location in Jamaica.

Comment must be made here, and I'm sure it will be repeated, of Ken Adams' stunning production design. Adams can largely be credited for creating that Bond look which was so shamelessly sent up in Austin Powers. Credit due to him then for creating lasting iconic images (he also worked on Kubrick's Dr Strangelove, most memorably creating the War Room because the real one was too boring) which outlast Myers' increasingly outdated trilogy, creating a sense of the extravagant without reason, but for its glorification and sharp beauty.

The dated aspect of Connery's Bond rears its head here once when he barks at Quarrel to "fetch my shoes" with nary a kind tone to his words, nor a thank you afterwards. This could be argued as ajust symptomatic of Bond taking charge or, worse, a 'sign of the times', but for the supporting evidence in subsequent films. Still, it's certainly not enough to put you off, especially as there's the stunning Ursula Andress to enjoy. The quintessential Bond girl, Andress is everything she needs to be - sexy, sassy, vulnerable, and in various states of undress saved by well-cast shadows.

This first film is fairly gadget free, allowing us to see Bond improvising his own little traps - the hair across the door, the powder on the briefcase - to alert him to intruders. Indeed, Bond here is at his most callous until Dalton, and then again with Craig. Certainly there are quips, but they are few, and well-tempered. No, this is the Bond who sits and waits for someone to come to shoot him, amusing himself by playing solitaire. When he blatantly allows his would-be killer to reach for his gun, knowing fine well he has no bullets left, he coldly remarks, "that's a Smith and Wesson, and you've had your six" before putting two bullets in him.

Dr No is undoubtedly a product of its time, but has much to recommend it even in today's free-running, hi-tech, soul-gazing Bond. Big explosions, big sets, big... ahem. Bond at the true start, and showing signs of the megastar Connery is to become.




Dantes Inferno -> RE: The Bond Thread - #01: Dr. No (1962) (1/11/2008 10:30:41 PM)

I have watched Dr. No two times, and I loved it the first time and completely hated it the second. Perhaps I was not a big Bond-fan to begin with, but as I sat there that last time it dawned upon how dated this film and had it not been for the name, I'm not so sure it would have survived with this status for so long. Maybe I am the wrong generation, but it has the one of the least exciting climax in a movie ever.

That being said, I really liked your review. You almost had me convinced. Not an easy feat. Good luck with the rest of the thread! [;)]




homersimpson_esq -> RE: The Bond Thread - #01: Dr. No (1962) (1/11/2008 10:33:17 PM)

Well, I have a challenge now there's a competing thread here!

Watching FRWL at the moment. Love this credits music - one of the best themes.




Dantes Inferno -> RE: The Bond Thread - #01: Dr. No (1962) (1/11/2008 10:34:17 PM)

* hums the very excellent James Bond theme*




TRM -> RE: The Bond Thread - #01: Dr. No (1962) (1/11/2008 10:38:20 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

Well, I have a challenge now there's a competing thread here!



I wouldn't worry too much [:D]




Vadersville -> RE: The Bond Thread - #01: Dr. No (1962) (1/11/2008 10:53:40 PM)

Dr.No is a superb Bond film and you're right Craig's Bond does borrow many aspects from Connery's performance in his early outings. The "you've had your six" scene is legendary. I look forward to reading your review of From Russia with Love, my favourite of Connery's films.




Deviation -> RE: The Bond Thread - #01: Dr. No (1962) (2/11/2008 12:24:02 AM)

I am awaiting the On her Majesty's Secret Service review. And it better be good.




homersimpson_esq -> RE: The Bond Thread - #01: Dr. No (1962) (2/11/2008 12:30:26 AM)

Dev, if I told you OHMSS is one of my favourites, does that set your mind at rest? [:D]




Rhubarb -> RE: The Bond Thread - #01: Dr. No (1962) (2/11/2008 12:31:33 AM)

Oooh *puts hand up* Its Ken Adam. Not Adams. [:D]




homersimpson_esq -> RE: The Bond Thread - #01: Dr. No (1962) (2/11/2008 12:33:30 AM)

Oooh, we're playing that game are we? Best make sure your posts are tip top accurate, eh? [:D]

Cheers tho, I'm surprised I got it wrong, tbh




Rhubarb -> RE: The Bond Thread - #01: Dr. No (1962) (2/11/2008 12:39:20 AM)

I absolutely know I've put myself up on a pedastal to be knocked down, already [:D]




homersimpson_esq -> The Bond Thread - #02: From Russia With Love (1963) (2/11/2008 1:01:57 AM)

[image]http://img201.imageshack.us/img201/3480/frwlry5.jpg[/image]

The gun barrel is in place, Bond is replete with hat, guitar theme is playing, blood drips down the scene, white circle bounces around the screen for a bit. Yes, we have the classic opening in place, and as a die-hard fan, it feels right. It leads directly into a cat and mouse game between an enemy agent Red Grant (Robert Shaw, on fine form) and Bond (Connery). Only, not all is as it seems, and we have the horror-joy of seeing Bond die at the start of the second film! The credit sequence is more traditional, having as it does an original tune written by Lionel Bart (and one of my favourite). Interestingly the instrumental-only version plays over the title sequence (the lyrics are heard later on when the song plays on an on-screen radio). That scene also brings a nice element of continuity - albeit in the slightly laughable guise of Bond having some sort of steady girl between missions, who is either amazingly tolerant, or unbelievably naive.

We are quickly introduced to Bond's new nemesis, another shadowy SPECTRE figure, who is seen only by his hand and his cat. I don't think he is even named here, but Blofeld wouldn't be seen for another few films. A neat McGuffin gets Bond into the thick of things in Istanbul, personally overseeing - on request of a defecting double agent - the exchange of a Russian decoding machine. Bond's contact in Istanbul, Kerim Bey (Pedro Armendariz) shows him the local delights of gypsy ways which is as quaint as it is endearing. Naturally, an argument between two girls over the chief's son is ultimately solved by Bond in his own inimitable way. I'm sure it did, as he suspects, 'take a while'.

Daniella Bianchi, as Russian defector Tatiana Romanova, typifies those two disparate traits often separated into two Bond girls - the headstrong wily Bond girl, and the swooning, loved-up Bond girl. Depending on the scene, Romanova is both these things, although how much is initially an act that becomes genuine is up to viewer's interpretation.

What I find particularly satisfying about From Russia With Love is the pacing. It's not 100% action, but the slower scenes are handled well, and inform the more rapidly paced scenes. The slow burn scenes on the train lead to that devastating revelation of uncultured villainy - the choosing of red wine with fish! - and a subsequent carriage-bound fistfight which will be repeated some ten years later in Live and Let Die (to hell with no future references!). Robert Shaw, with the exception of Connery, owns this film. He takes what could easily have been a simple, heavy-set muscle character into a nuanced one who admires Bond as much as he despises him: Not for nothing does he save him during the gypsy chaos.

As far as successful sequels go, and considering at this stage there had just been the two, From Russia With Love is one of those 'better than the original' sequels. It takes all the elements which made Dr No great, and tweaked, fine-tuned, fine-lined, and improved most aspects of it. Plus it had an exploding briefcase with money, a screw-together rifle, and a knife in it. Which as far as gadgets go, is pretty cool.




Deviation -> RE: The Bond Thread - #01: Dr. No (1962) (2/11/2008 1:22:57 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

Dev, if I told you OHMSS is one of my favourites, does that set your mind at rest? [:D]


Ok.[:)]




Gimli The Dwarf -> RE: The Bond Thread - #01: Dr. No (1962) (2/11/2008 9:32:16 AM)

Another thread I'll be following with interest. Kicks off to a great start with two fine reviews. Unfortunately, it's all downhill from here (no, I'm not predicting a downturn in Homer's reviewing capabilities![:D]). From Russia With Love is the bestest Bond of all Bond films ever. Still, there's much fun to be had in those that follow.

It should be noted that the worstest Bond of all Bond films ever came 23 years after the first and 23 years prior to the latest. And no, my maths isn't wrong as I'm not talking about Die Another Day!




jamesbondguy -> RE: The Bond Thread - #01: Dr. No (1962) (2/11/2008 10:41:57 AM)

For me, From Russia With Love is the best Bond film. And when I say 'the best,' I mean one of the few truly good ones. That string of Dr No-From Russia With Love-Goldfinger is probably the best the series has been. It's a shame that Thunderball had to come along and ruin it all, really. 

Actually, come to think of it, the original From Russia.... book was the best of the novels, as well.




homersimpson_esq -> The Bond Thread - #03: Goldfinger (1964) (2/11/2008 11:48:49 AM)

 [image]http://img239.imageshack.us/img239/3258/goldfingeriu3.jpg[/image]

Now pay attention...

Gimli was nearly right: it's all downhill from here. For this is the Bestest Bond Of All Time TM. Everything you need for a classic Bond is right here, in every way. It has the best Bond in Connery. It has the best car with Aston Martin DB5 (one day, one day...). It has the best Bond girl with Pussy Galore, the best villain with Auric Goldfinger, the best one-liners ("shocking"), and probably the best quote of all:

"Do you exshpect me to talk?"
"No Mr Bond, I expect you to die!"

But of course the formula arguably works best here simply because it is not formula - it simply is. This is the framework used for many other Bonds, complete with Bond+villain socialising in a golf game of all things. Goldfinger is also greater than the sum of its parts. As a whole it works perfectly - jetsetting, Bond using his nouse to escape from what is certain death, and the birth of the gadgets proper. If audiences were impressed by the feature=packed briefcase in From Russia With Love, then the oil-spouting, razor-wheeled, bullet-proof-shielded, rotating-numberplated, machine-gun-mounted, ejector-seated Aston should placate them. Bond also gets a couple of neat transmitters, although the ultimate usefulness of the shoe-based miniature version (not the first suspicious thing people find in shoes these days) is questionable, given the 'pressing engagement' its unwitting carrier attends.

Anyone who accuses the Moore Bond of bringing quips into the equation missed a lot of the humour of Connery's Bond. We can see just how different Craig's Bond is by comparing him to the previously-considered hardest Bond - there is none of the quick wit with Craig; Connery on the other hand divests himself perfectly between being the hard, cold killer he needs to be (and the requisite sexism that shows itself: 'man talk') and the cultured, suave gentleman that still needs to be refined in Craig's Bond (a decision I find entirely plausible, given Bond is still starting out in these new films). After all, what uncultured killer would comment on the correct temperature for a Bollinger, or the necessity of earmuffs for listening to the Beatles. (This horrendous misfire was, I suspect, partially apologised for when Sir Paul was hired for that song some 9 years later.)

Yes, this Bond has everything, from Q getting a full department, to his immortal "I never joke about my work, 007", to the tense bomb finale (and a last minute change of countdown stop to '007' not '003', a change noted by Bond saying 'three more ticks...'), to the final shootout between Bond and Goldfinger and the requisite final bedding as they are rescued. I love the other Bonds, so don't expect negative reviews now, but as far as I'm concerned this is the greatest Bond. Now, had On Her Majesty's Secret Service starred Connery, well, things could have been very different.






Pigeon Army -> RE: The Bond Thread - #01: Dr. No (1962) (2/11/2008 11:54:49 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq
However, I won't dwell on comparisons with future films, only with preceding ones, to preserve the chronology of the thread (as I did previously with the Scott thread).

quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq
We can see just how different Craig's Bond is by comparing him to the previously-considered hardest Bond - there is none of the quick wit with Craig; Connery on the other hand divests himself perfectly between being the hard, cold killer he needs to be (and the requisite sexism that shows itself: 'man talk') and the cultured, suave gentleman that still needs to be refined in Craig's Bond (a decision I find entirely plausible, given Bond is still starting out in these new films).


Tsk tsk, Homer, getting caught with your pants down. [:D]

Excellent reviews, though, even if I've only ever seen the Brosnan and Craig incarnations of Bond (please don't hurt me).




homersimpson_esq -> RE: The Bond Thread - #01: Dr. No (1962) (2/11/2008 12:00:22 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq
The slow burn scenes on the train lead to that devastating revelation of uncultured villainy - the choosing of red wine with fish! - and a subsequent carriage-bound fistfight which will be repeated some ten years later in Live and Let Die (to hell with no future references!)


[;)]

Now, get thee hence and and watch the Best Bond Films![:D]




Chris66 -> RE: The Bond Thread - #01: Dr. No (1962) (2/11/2008 12:01:35 PM)

I thought Dr. No and From Russia With Love were average myself and Goldfinger is definitely the best Bond film. Apart from Goldfinger the only Connery Bond film I like is You Only Live Twice.   




Pigeon Army -> RE: The Bond Thread - #01: Dr. No (1962) (2/11/2008 12:07:58 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq
The slow burn scenes on the train lead to that devastating revelation of uncultured villainy - the choosing of red wine with fish! - and a subsequent carriage-bound fistfight which will be repeated some ten years later in Live and Let Die (to hell with no future references!)


[;)]

Now, get thee hence and and watch the Best Bond Films![:D]



GAH! So you shall live to die another day, Mr. Simpson! SO BE IT!




Deviation -> RE: The Bond Thread - #03: Goldfinger (1964) (2/11/2008 12:27:40 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

 Now pay attention...
 
 
Ok.

quote:



Gimli was nearly right: it's all downhill from here.



No, he's wrong. On Her Majesty's Secret Service.


quote:



Now, had On Her Majesty's Secret Service starred Connery, well, things could have been very different.




I  never seen Connery eject any actual emotions in any of his films. So the OHMSS ending would have suffered from that. Also, Lazenby was a different Bond from Connery, somewhat more fragile and dare I say this, soft. Connery wouldn't have pulled it off. He would have been out of synch with the film. I'm not saying Lazenby is better, I'm saying that both Bond in OHMSS and OHMSS itself was a different beast from the other Bond films.






Rhubarb -> RE: The Bond Thread - #03: Goldfinger (1964) (2/11/2008 1:34:16 PM)

Its true that the OHMSS book, is Flemming almost trying to reinvent his hero, presumably just a bit bored (as he got from time to time - see the less effective Spy Who Love Me novel), and so even in the book, Bond feels quite different than before.

What is odd is that Lazenby is wearing a kilt after following in the footsteps of a Scot.




swordsandsandals -> RE: The Bond Thread - #03: Goldfinger (1964) (2/11/2008 5:47:05 PM)

Bond schmond. There. I said it. Although I said it better in the other thread.




mafyou -> RE: The Bond Thread - #03: Goldfinger (1964) (3/11/2008 3:45:20 PM)

Good stuff. From Russia With Love and Goldfinger are two of my favourite Bond movies.




homersimpson_esq -> The Bond Thread - #04: Thunderball (1965) (3/11/2008 8:58:26 PM)

[image]http://img207.imageshack.us/img207/8620/thunderballcc4.jpg[/image]

The problem with having three great films in a row, and three great films that increasingly better, is that eventually you're going to have to take a fall. Ridley Scott did after his The Duellists-Alien-Blade Runner trio of exponential quality with Legend (a film I feel is underrated but realise isn't a widely held opinion). Similarly here Bond hits his first hurdle. Paradoxically, the film's biggest issue is also the one for which it should also be lauded. It's predominantly subaquatic setting.

Thunderball does have many, many good points and I'll mention these first. Bond's exit from his pre-credit sequence is stellar Bond - a jetpack! Genius! The facial surgery (then: sci-fi, now: disturbingly plausible) works well, and the hijacking of the plane, and its subsequent crashing into the sea is a curious piece as we later see the wreck, camouflaged, as discovered by Bond. It brings a distinct impression of the passage of time that works rather well. Bond's relationships with the girls is nicely done, bring compassion along with his usual insouciance and suave nature. We also see a nice melding of the two sides to Bond - the warm lover and the cold killer - as one of the girls has as much to gain from killing Largo as Bond does, and she alerts him to a henchman behind him. He harpoons him to a tree and carries on as if nothing happened.

Unfortunately, Thunderball's downfall comes with the underwater sequences. I will say, to be positive, that they do look stunning, and that for the time they were technologically advanced and would have wowed audiences of the day. However, one element by which we must judge films is their effectiveness through our own eyes, whatever year it may be when we see it - its longevity. As such, as good as they look, the sequences are just too slow-moving for an action film. The pacing grinds to a halt and the tension disappears like a fart in the bath - and with as much grace.

Don't get me wrong, I do like Thunderball - it just compares poorly with the preceding (and the next two) films. I'll happily watch it as part of the series, but I wouldn't purposefully select it as a stand-alone choice.




jamesbondguy -> RE: The Bond Thread - #04: Thunderball (1965) (3/11/2008 9:09:13 PM)

I've always found Thunderball shit. Boring and tugrid shit, to be fair. It marks, for me, the downfall of Bond after one OK film (Dr No) and the two best films of the series. There are a few more high-points to come, but from now on the majority of films are sub-par. It's a shame, really.




Spider -> RE: The Bond Thread - #04: Thunderball (1965) (3/11/2008 10:43:42 PM)

I used to hate Thunderball but I watched it again recently and I actually think it's one of the better Bonds. It's very much in the Bond formula, but it does that pretty well. The underwater sequences were nowhere near as long and boring as I remembered them and that was always my main problem with the film. I preer it to Dr. No anyway.




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