Posts Tagged ‘007’

The (00)7th highest-grossing film of all time, the highest-grossing film in the UK and the highest-grossing James Bond film. Skyfall is a $1.1 billion phenomenon for the Golden Anniversary.

Skyfall - poster quad

007 reporting for duty.

Mindful of the critical drubbing heaped upon Quantum of Solace and the delays forced upon them by the financial woes of MGM, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson pulled out all the stops to celebrate Bond’s 50th anniversary with the innovative, intriguing and inventive Skyfall. Set in a universe of public inquiries, extraordinary renditions and a MI6 accountable to the government, Skyfall frequently doesn’t feel like a James Bond film at all. The days of grandiose sets, pussy-stroking villains and invisible Aston Martins are over.

Skyfall is the closest that the Bond series has ever come to a five-act Shakespeare tragedy as Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes helms an arc of Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action and Dénouement featuring psychologically damaged characters James Bond, M and Raoul Silva. (more…)

Over at HI! Magazine is my piece Skyfall: Reviewed for DVD and Blu-Ray.

Please go and check it out and leave nice comments. I’ll be doing a Musings on Bond at 50: Skyfall article after the UK home media release on 18 February.

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James Bond attempts to regain his Quantum of Solace as he sets off on a campaign of revenge for the death of his lover.

It’d be a pretty cold bastard who didn’t want revenge for someone he loved.

Quantum of SolaceDaniel Craig’s second outing as 007 is the first direct sequel in the history of the franchise and began development even as Casino Royale was being critically acclaimed as the best James Bond film in decades. Quantum of Solace chronicles 007’s quest for revenge following the death of Vesper Lynd and his confrontation with supposed environmental champion Dominic Greene and the shadowy Quantum organisation.

Equalling or bettering Casino Royale was never going to an easy task for any successor and so there was a certain inevitability about Quantum of Solace failing to live up to expectations. One of the biggest bones of contention is the supposedly bewildering and nonsensical title. Film critic Mark Kermode (who is correct about Michael Bay being beyond terrible but incorrect in regarding The Exorcist as the greatest film ever) referred to the film as Question of Sport on one occasion. The original Quantum of Solace is one of the five tales published in Ian Fleming’s For Your Eyes Only short story collection of 1958. According to Fleming, when the “Quantum of Solace” drops to zero, humanity and consideration of one human for another is gone and the relationship is finished. For fans of the literary James Bond (or anyone who cared to Google) the significance of the phrase was easily understood. Bond is unable to care or love following his betrayal by Vesper and must learn to trust once more. (more…)

James Bond gunbarrel poses

By breaking all the established rules of the franchise Casino Royale guarantees a future for James Bond 007.

I give him double-O status and he celebrates by shooting up an embassy. Is the man deranged? And where the hell is he? In the old days if an agent did something that embarrassing he’d have a good sense to defect. Christ, I miss the Cold War.

Casino RoyaleCasino Royale blows the cobwebs off the ailing James Bond franchise in a tale of love, betrayal, and morality as Ian Fleming’s legendary creation is reborn as a blunt instrument in the War on Terror. From the experimental pre-credit sequence to the final pan-up from the wounded Mr White to the gun-toting 007 the film chronicles the evolution of Bond from an neophyte agent into an experienced one forged by blood and heartbreak.

Despite being a massive financial success Die Another Day was justifiably subjected to critical mauling due to its poor script, over reliance on technology and poor CGI. Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson didn’t feel engaged with any of the story ideas that were under consideration for a fifth Brosnan film and reached the decision that the series had reached a creative impasse. It was time to follow a well-worn maxim of Cubby Broccoli’s, “When in doubt go back to Fleming”. The most acclaimed films in the series are the ones that adhere to the ethos and/or story elements of Bond’s creator. The rights to Casino Royale, the very first James Bond story from 1953, had recently become available to EON Productions. Broccoli and Wilson took the monumental decision to scrap 40 years of continuity and start afresh. James Bond’s early days as 007 would be chronicled as he confronts the villainous Le Chiffre in a high stakes poker game at Casino Royale. (more…)

Die Another DayLiving to Die Another Day may not be an option for 007 in the 20th James Bond film.

Released in celebration of the franchise’s 40th anniversary, Die Another Day is a poorly written, special effects laden, and over-the-top offering that deserves all the critical scorn heaped upon it. Even Roger Moore, the most gadget orientated 007 of them all, lamented the technological excesses present, “I thought it just went too far – and that’s from me, the first Bond in space! Invisible cars and dodgy CGI footage? Please!”

Forget wobbly back projection. Forget wooden acting from the likes of Britt Ekland and Stacey Roberts. Forget every second featuring Jaws. The single most excruciatingly naff moment in the entire Bond canon occurs roughly 90 minutes into Die Another Day. A CGI 007 surfs over CGI water, whilst hanging onto a CGI parachute and avoiding CGI ice flows. The sheer awfulness of experiencing this computer generated fiasco for the first time in a packed cinema is an event never to be forgotten. Mouths fall open. Popcorn drops in shock. “What the fuck?” emerges from more than one row of seats. Upon viewing that awfulness the producers should have excised the scene and if necessary mounted a reshoot to bridge the missing footage. (more…)

007 must prevent an act of nuclear terrorism in The World Is Not Enough as the British Secret Service and M come under attack.

We will not be terrorised by cowards who would murder, and use us as the tool. We’ll find these people. We’ll follow them to the farthest ends of the earth if needs be and we will bring them to justice.

The World Is Not EnoughTaking its title from the Bond family motto The World Is Not Enough finds a physically and emotionally vulnerable James Bond battling betrayal, vengeance and nuclear terrorism in the Caspian Sea. And ensuring Christmas in Istanbul comes more that once a year…

The starting point for the nineteenth James Bond film was provided by producer Barbara Broccoli after she viewed part of the television documentary The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power, a history of the global oil industry, during a trans-Atlantic flight. Broccoli reasoned that only a Bond villain would be ruthless enough to commit an act of nuclear terrorism for the sake of oil profits. The villain in this instance being the flamboyant and flirtatious Elektra King who 007 subsequently kills in cold blood in one of the most shocking moments in the series. “Peeling back the layers” of Bond’s character had been ongoing since the debut of Pierce Brosnan and the murder of someone he cared about would demonstrate his Bond’s overwhelming loyalty to Queen, Country, and M. (more…)

A succession of eleventh hour calamities fail to deter James Bond as he enters the world of information manipulation and techo-terrorism in Tomorrow Never Dies.

Words are the new weapons; satellites, the new artillery.

Tomorrow Never DiesIn Tomorrow Never Dies 007 is placed in opposition to insane media mogul Elliot Carver in a glossy Tom Clancy-style techno-thriller set against a backdrop of media manipulation, an impending global conflict, and lots and lots and lots of explosions.

The eighteenth James Bond film was the first to be produced after the death of Albert R Broccoli and by all accounts entailed a fraught working environment. Long renowned for its relaxed family-style atmosphere behind the scenes Tomorrow Never Dies was plagued by rumours of on-set conflicts between director Roger Spottiswode and just about anyone else working on the film. By the end of filming Spottiswode and screen writer Bruce Feirstein were reputedly no longer on speaking terms. One insider commented “All the happiness and teamwork which is the hallmark of Bond has disappeared completely.” Pierce Brosnan attempted to defuse the situation by saying that the so-called disputes were nothing more than the usual creative tensions that emerge during the production of any large scale film. (more…)

An old friend is the new enemy. An old enemy is the new friend. James Bond returns to a new world as GoldenEye triumphantly proves wrong those critics who had said 007’s time was over.

I think you’re a sexist, misogynist dinosaur. A relic of the Cold War, whose boyish charms, though wasted on me, obviously appealed to that young woman I sent out to evaluate you.

GoldenEyeThe release of GoldenEye in November 1995 saw the rebirth of the James Bond franchise after a six year hiatus in a critically acclaimed blaze of glory that silenced various critics who had been endlessly trumpeting that the British agent’s time was done and he would be an embarrassing sexist anachronism in a more liberated post-Cold War world.

The film tackled head-on the changes that had taken place in the world since the release of Licence To Kill as 007 confronted the vast criminal empires that had arisen in the new Russia from the ashes of the old regime following the fall of the Berlin Wall and dissolution of the Soviet Union. Bond’s traditional adversaries may well have met their demise but there was legion of new threats for him to battle in a new world. (more…)