Sunday, 27 July 2014

License to Kill

Sunday 27th July

Starting very non-traditionally at a wedding Bond’s playing the part of best man at Della and Felix’s wedding. The actually wedding goes quite smoothly if you ignore the quick detour to capture some drug dealer guy called Sanchez before parachuting back in for the vows. Unfortunately it wouldn’t be a wedding in a Bond film if the wife survived past the first day and after he’s escaped Sanchez is pretty set on revenge.  It’s back to basics and feeding people, or at least parts of them to sharks, Felix survives and is rushed to hospital two limbs lighter.

Torn between avenging his friends and his next mission in Iran Bond throws a hissy fit and resigns from the secret service, which I think is the second time he’s pulled that one when things don’t go his way.  Unable to let him just get on with it Q tracks James down to stock him up with gadgets, well if you’re going to go after a billionaire drug dealer you defiantly need a camera with an inbuilt laser.

In terms of Bond girls, James teams up with one of Felix’s associates Pam and after very mild resistance she quickly falls into the highly clingy category.  Sanchez’ girlfriend, who I’m not even sure had a name pops up every now and again to try and steal him but Bond manages to fob her off on the Argentinian president instead.  

Just like the last Dalton film, I didn’t start enjoying this until the last half an hour when Bond manages to sneak his way into Sanchez’ laboratory; it would seem that no matter how clever hiding cocaine in petrol is it does leave the whole operation highly vulnerable, especially if part of your little demonstration to investors involves lighting the petrol.

So with the bad guys dead and Felix recovering in hospital it’s a typically happy ever after Bond ending, who would of thought Bond would save the day at the last moment and end up with the girl? Shocker!

One slightly confusing thing, we’re now on 1989 and the gadgets are still a bit naff… this film is only two years older than me so there’s no way it can be old (because I’m not).  While Q remains my favourite thing I was expecting better gadgets as we moved forward in time, but no we get a laser in a camera and an overly excited lighter – I think I preferred it when a briefcase that grew legs was cutting edge.

This also marks the end of Timothy Dalton’s brief stint as Bond, nor particularly sad to see him go, not particularly excited for Pierce Brosnan – yes it is comfy sat on this fence thanks for asking. In my opinion he’s by no means the worst Bond, Lazenby I’m looking at you but no rival for Sean Connery, maybe on par with the better Roger Moore ones, so I’m putting him second on my current list of Bonds.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Mini Netflix Reviews – July 2014

The idea behind this is simple, short summaries/reviews of the random things I stumble across on Netflix.

The Pill
It’s a truly magical modern love story. Boy meets girl; boy goes back to girls apartment; boy assumes girl is on the pill; boy finds out he was wrong about girl being on the pill; boy panics.  Ok, so maybe it’s not quite that magical…

After convincing Mindy to take the morning after pill Fred blows her off using ever classy “I’ll call you” method; then he’s told Anna needs to take the second part dose of medication 12 hours later and is forced to spent the day with her to make sure she takes it.  Obviously the rest of the day is stupidly cheesy and entirely predictable but surely that’s the point of romantic comedies!

Weirdly I enjoyed this, not one I’ll re-watch or one I’ll probably even remember in twelve months’ time but if you’re after a light hearted, slightly different rom-com with an hour and a half to spare I’d recommend it.

The Words
The words a film about the story of a book being told within another book. My head hurts trying to find a good way to word how intertwined the books are.

Reading the little summary Netflix gives you I was expecting something similar to Limitless, maybe just because it’s the same actor, I’m not sure.  Struggling writer comes across an extremely easy but not entirely ethical way to achieve him dreams but once he’s there he has to deal with the consequences and baggage associated with how he got there – actually that is a very similar plot to Limitless!  Bradley Cooper really has had a lot of practise at that troubled pensive look.

Honestly – it’s not great and I’m struggling to put it into a genre. Defiantly not a comedy, there’s no action or adventure.  It’s just a film about a book and I suppose lightly about morality..?

It did teach me one thing though; how to get rid of brain freeze – how had I never know that until now!

The Giant Mechanical Man
Honestly, I have no idea what even happened in this film; a 30-something year old woman breaks up with her boyfriend and moves into her sister while she tries to work out what to do with her life.  Out of ideas she takes a job at a concession stand at a zoo where she meets Tim, who is of course wonderful.  Ok, so maybe I paid some attention.

I want to call this a rom-com but it wasn’t laugh out loud funny; by no means a bad film but not much happened and when she started working at the zoo I was hoping there’d be animals.  The title is extremely random and if the street artists similar to the ones you get a lot around Covent Garden in London freak you out I’d advise you stay away from this one.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The Living Daylights

Sunday 6th July

We start with the proof that you can take paintball way too seriously… and that’s normally the point that someone swaps to using a real gun.  Although I’m not sure how professional using the Rock of Gibraltar for paintball really is, particularly considering how temperamental those monkeys can get!

The cheese is there from the off, Mr Bond, now being portrayed by Mr Timothy Dalton parachutes straight onto a privately owned yacht just as the owner is complaining that she needs a ‘real man’ the entertain her; que Bond.  Team that with the cringeworthy “What happened to him?” “He got the boot” when talking about a man Bond has just literally kicked off an aeroplane and you've got you’re tone.

Koskov has defected from the KGB so 007 is employed to get him out of Russia safely; apart from managing to upset M by refusing to shoot the pretty girl everything goes well. Until we learn the defection was fake and the pretty girl was knowingly firing blanks give the whole charade an air of believably.

A new Bond also means a new approach with the ladies, and this one is different to say the least.  No matter how much you want to impress a girl, a tuxedo is not really appropriate attire, winning her a massive cuddly toy is ridiculously cheesy but extremely effective so at least he got that one right.

Along with a new Bond with have a very shiny new Miss Moneypenny who is just as bad at flirting as the last one; I can’t imagine inviting a man round to listen to Barry Manilow ever working; then I suppose having never tried I can’t judge. I was glad to see Q hadn't changed; he might be my favourite thing about the earlier Bond films. 

Just the one Bond girl in this, Kara, who lives up to tradition and tries to kill him about halfway through and continuing to keep with tradition she switches sides straight after realising she was a fool and can’t stand to be without Bond; turning into yet another overly-clingy annoyance. I can’t understand why none of these girls make repeat appearances! 

We end up randomly in Afghanistan – maybe it’s not that random if you’re aware of geographical politics for the 80s but unfortunately that’s one of my weaker areas of general knowledge.  Gerogi, Kara’s previous employer is buying opium with diamonds that have been smuggled over among the ice used to transport organs – I liked that bit, thought it was imaginative.  Needless to say Bond’s not all that happy and several explosions later he’s saved countless New York teenagers from future drug troubles.

I quite enjoyed it from the point Kara turned on him and things actually started to get interesting. Predictable, of course; with the most anti-climactic bomb de-fusel ever but enjoyable. Until that point I was starting to wonder what all the hype surrounding the Dalton years was since not a lot was happening; the question I've been asked most about watching these films is “Have you got to the Dalton ones yet?” so I did have high expectations.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

The Fault In Our Stars

Obligatory disclaimer – these are my thoughts, opinions and general ramblings on both the book and the film of The Fault In Our Stars; I haven’t given away anything major but I have referred to some minor plot points so if you’re trying to keep either version a surprise; firstly why are you researching it online and secondly, you may want to click away now.

Heart-wrenching novel gets turned into tear-jerking film, I think we’ve all seen this one before but this is aimed at a younger audience with a quite non-typical main theme.  On a serious note each time I’ve read or seen this it’s provoked genuinely emotion.

To give you an idea of the target audience - at 22 I think I was probably the second to oldest person in the cinema so points to the lovely mother who’d taken her daughter and double-bonus boyfriend points to the only male in the room.  I volunteer as a young leader at a guide unit (they’re 10 – 14) and a lot of this story has a lot of them fangirling just as much as the words ‘One Direction’.

It’s not a particularly long book, both times I’ve read this I’ve finished it in a couple of days however the film was over two hours and yet they left out quite a few characters and then switched around the sections they left in.  Characters were reciting conversations word for word but in completely different scenes which made me question how much attention I’d actually paid to the book – not that it changes the plot but if you’re a hard core fan I could see that being irritating.

One quite strange thing, why make them both a year older in the film? Did anyone else notice that? Was it to make the driving and/or the sex scenes more acceptable? Does it really make a difference if they’re 17 and 18 instead of 16 and 17?  At least if they’d of left the characters at their original ages they could of skipped around Amsterdam reciting songs from the Sound of Music.

I did feel that they played to the characters extremes in the film, in the film Augustus was perfection, even I fell a little bit in love with him watching that.  They also made Hazel out to be quite the whiner that did nothing but read before she met Gus. They seem to have left out all the middle ground.  Where was Augustus’ tale of his previous girlfriend, Bluie, Hazel’s shopping trips, the video games, selling the swing set; basically where were all the parts where they had fun and weren’t just talking about having cancer – I understand it’s a pretty big part of the story but for me it was those moments in the book that made the characters believable.

I realise this all sounds slightly anti-film so just to clarify I am by no means against the film but I thought the omitted details left it a bit empty.  To balance that the book is by no means ground breaking but it’s a lovely read – particularly if you’re looking for a sunbed/holiday read!

Friday, 27 June 2014

A Song of Ice and Fire – Game of Thrones. Book One v Season One

Firstly, no this is not a review of a Bond film you should have probably worked that one out by the title; imma be trying something new. Fret not, we’re currently halfway through the year and more than halfway through the Bonds, plenty of time until we reach what will probably be a Daniel Craig filled December – there are worse ways to spend December I suppose.

Secondly, this is not; like many of my Bond write-ups a review of the actual plot so there are NO SPOLIERS in the paragraphs below – I’m contemplating a second spoiler friendly review – you’ll just have to wait!

For those that don’t know “Game of Thrones” whilst the name of the amazingly popular HBO show is actually only the name of book one of the series of books “A Song of Ice and Fire” referring to one of the many stand-out quotes “When you play the Game of Thrones you either win or you die.”

I jumped on the Game of Thrones bandwagon when I the rest of the world was engrossed in season 2, by the time the world got to episode 10, so had I; then began the agonising wait for season 3. Fast forward a bit and game of thrones fans have once again found themselves in that purgatory phase between seasons; forced to wait for season 5 to get the answers we know we’re not going to like.  Ok, that may sound a tad extreme, but I know I’m not the only one missing the show. To try and fill the direwolf shaped hole in my life I decided to finally pick the books up, for space, cost and saving myself from wrist strain reasons I got the e-books on my kindle something which has no bearing on this write-up I’m just throwing it out there for kicks really.

At around 800 pages it’s a decent sized read; it’s slightly longer than HP5 if that helps anyone’s perspective.  Stupidly it was the size of this book that made me continue to put off starting it; que a day where I had to spend three hours on a train on my own and I was hooked to the point that I was looking forward to my train home not just to save my aching feet (a day of shopping in London does that to a girl) but so I could keep going - that being said it still took me around 6 weeks to get through it.

Structure wise I loved the way this was written because of the amount of subplots, characters and the fact that these books are spread across years and continents there is no way you could of written this from one point of view, also that technique creates a main character something I’d say that on the whole Game of Thrones cleverly avoids.  Each chapter is written from the standpoint of a main character, something they can’t really put across on screen meaning you get to know each character individually in turn enforcing the whole, no main/favourite thing.

What I would say about the first season and book is that they’re pretty much completely in-line with each other, there are a few extra little parts in the book but nothing that changes the plot, they just add a bit of character depth and generally make it a better read.  Also nothing major was missed out of the show – Hermione’s potion moment at the end of the Philosopher’s Stone I’m looking at you!

Now one of HBO’s biggest criticisms is that the show isn’t exactly family friendly, my view on this is that it’s not meant to be, end of.  However the book is no-where near as graphic as I assumed it  was going to be so if that aspect puts you off its simply not there; yes its implied but no its nothing to cause offence.  The main downside of having a kindle is I can’t pass books on to other people but if I could I would defiantly pass to my Aunt, who’s avoided the show based on what she’s heard about certain ‘adult’ scenes.

Something I think the books do better than the show is bring across both sides of each and every character; GoT is renound is robbing the audience of its favourite heroes going against the happily ever after grain and dispelling the fairytale myth, but after reading book one I’m starting to think that the point is there aren’t meant to be any out and out heroes and yes I’m going to be a massive cliché and mention how much that mirrors real-life, is anyone really a complete “good-guy”?

Now we come to the inevitable question of which I enjoyed more, the book or the television show.  My honest answer is – I don’t know.  The book wasn’t spoiled by knowing what was going to happen and I don’t now think the show is lacking and want to rage about the sections it missed.  I would happily re-visit both and will probably be planning a complete Game of Thrones re-watch come the start of 2015; if not sooner – I may be a bit addicted.

So if you hadn’t gathered from the above rant or if you’ve just skipped to the end for a bit of a summary I loved the first written instalment of a song of ice and fire, I can’t remember the last book that had me that gripped, especially over several weeks, we’re probably going back to the release of HP7.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

A View To A Kill

Wednesday 4th June

Finally I’m onto the last Roger Moore film, like Connery in his last film the Bond in this film is defiantly showing his age though it has been twelve years since Live and Let Die.

This film’s generic bad guy is Zorin; which according to the disclaimer at the start of the film is entirely fictional and not based on an actual person – if I cared I’d google but I’m guessing something similar to this film to part of it went down around the same time. 

Anywho, Zorin originally from Russia is now living in some sort of Californian palace with lots of horses while playing silly games with oil and sea water.  Bond masquerading as James St John-Smyth pretending to be interested in horses; manages to get himself a ticket to Zorin’s horse auction; making this one of the Bonds where Bond’s meets the bad guy – they both know who each other are but for civilities sake and not to cause a scene neither mention it or do anything about it until the last half an hour of the film – I suppose we wouldn’t have much plot if Bond were efficient all the time.

Keeping up the pretence that nobody is buying of being a reporter Bond continues to bide his time finding out more about Zorin and running into exes that steal his audio cassettes (you can defiantly tell this was made in the 80s) until finally he finds Stacey, who actually seems relatively normal at first but she may be the most clichéd and annoying bond girl we’ve encountered since Dr No.

He stalks the very blonde Stacey Sutton; now pretending to be James Stock; back to her house and with the help of her, her little cat and an antique vase they manage to chase off several assassins. In a moment of insanity which she’s probably call integrity Stacey rips up a 5 million dollar cheque from Zorin unfortunately for her she falls victim to red wine and crosses that fine line between seducing Bond and falling asleep while getting ready to.

Zorin sets city hall alight leaving Bond and Sutton trapped in an elevator; now this is where she turns into a proper helpless Bond girl able to do nothing but stand still and shriek “James!” at the top of her voice, obviously he saves her because he’s just a good guy like that – and he hasn’t got laid yet. To try and seal the deal Bond reveals he’s not actually clean cut James Stock from the Financial Terms but is actually part of the British Secret Service, steals a fire engine and manages to seriously piss off the Californian Police Department.

Sneaking into Zorin’s mines I was sort of hoping this would turn into the Bond version of Indianna Jones and the Temple of Doom; Stacey’s whining could easily rival Willie’s; bring back Nik-Nak as Bond’s vertically challenged sidekick and I may have just unearthed the ending this film should have had – sadly I was disappointed and they just chased each other around the tunnels on foot until someone decides to flood the tunnels.  There were rats, but I was after the temple of doom not the last crusade!

Compared to other Bond films I’d say this is fairly average; not exactly thrilling but there’s been a lot worse. There was a building that turned into a blimp; that was new; though I was really hoping for a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang style sing along as Zorin began to make his escape…“Oh you pretty little blimp house, pretty little blimp house we love you”…

For now at least Roger Moore sits at my second favourite Bond (we’re only on three at this point) for all his slightly boring moments overall he was far more interesting than Lazenby!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014


Tuesday 20th May

Onto the penultimate Roger Moore film; problem is from the title and previous Moore experience I’ve decided I hate it before I even put it on.  

So we start in East Berlin with a clown; who is actually agent 009 (why doesn’t he get his own films!) being chased and killed by knife-throwing twins – well it’s a more original start than *insert big pieces of machinery* has been stolen and someone’s annoyed.  Instead a dying clown annoys a group on people by falling through their window on party night holding a counterfeit Faberge egg.

To help him get over the death of his friend, Bond is off to a Sotherby’ auction to look at shiny things; and some hope that this film might not be so bad begins to rise. Unfortunately we’re not shopping for very long, just to witness the auction of the aforementioned Faberge egg for an obscene amount of money; bitter that he didn’t win Bond swaps the original egg for a fake, a clever idea but it didn’t really do much good.

Bond doesn’t actually meet Octopussy until at least halfway through the film, and thankfully it’s merely an unfortunate nickname her father gave her. As always when Bond seems to be making a lady-friend drama ensues and someone tries to kill them both; giving Bond a way out; essentially faking his own death to avoid any of the “you never called me” conversations later on.

Back to Germany, back to the circus and back to the knife throwing twins, but now as well as knives they have a rather powerful bomb that the Russians are out to cause mischief with.  Something I don’t think we’ve seen before is Bond chasing a train in a car, I’m pretty sure that until this point all the vehicle chases we’ve seen have been fairly matched and it’s no surprise that the poor car end up in a canal.

The Russian bomb is poised to go off in the middle of a circus show on a US airbase in Germany – at least I think that’s what happened… it’s the final few seconds as Bond struggles to convince people to the existence of the bomb; though in their defence you don’t normally believe the things people dressed as clowns believe you. Surely with such a powerful device disarming it is out of the question, well apparently not and when all else fails you just take it apart yourself, with 1 second to spare of course, just for added affect.

Of all the Moore films this one isn’t bad I mean a man got killed by taking an octopus to the face, at one point Roger Moore was dressed as a crocodile and at another a gorilla and Q came to the rescue in a hot air balloon so it can’t be classed as terrible if only for those bits.  It didn’t bore me though personally I would have liked a bit more of the whole Octopussy diamond merchant story and a bit less hide and seek in a circus caravan park.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

For Your Eyes Only

Sunday 11th May

Blofeld is back, and so is the cat. Now I have to say that although I welcomed the absence of SPECTRE’s number one but with the recent tedious inevitability of the last few films I’ll admit I did smile when that fluffy little feline came on the screen.  The nostalgia is short-lived as Bond makes quick work of escaping from his hijacked helicopter and returns to head office unharmed.

Bond accidently teams up with Melina, a recently orphaned young woman trying to avenge her parents’ death; they start on separate missions to kill the same man.  Their friendship is short-lived, mostly because Bond is unimpressed by her little yellow car.

Q’s latest gadget, the identigraph is a very odd version of the software you use to build your own person at the start of the SIMS but this one also gives your character a nice little back story. This send James off to Italy for skiing and to meet Luigi, you have to admire Bond’s resilience given the amount of times he’s almost been killed out on the slopes it never seems to put him off.  After abandoning his new over-enthusiastic friend Bibi; Bond is chased around the resort by an Olympic skier with a gun, several people on motorbikes and a man in a funny hat managing to ruin a skiing lesson and several people’s lunch in the process.

Back with Melina in Greece and Bond soon abandons her for a Scouse girl that’s pretending to be a French countess, unfortunately she doesn’t last long and is dead before breakfast. On the flip side it does mean Bond finally gets to meet Columbo only to learn he’s chased down the wrong man; to celebrate their new found friendship the pair go on an adventure to track down the man with the funny hat, Bond finally manages to push him down a cliff in a car which is a very noisy way to die.

After this little adventure he rejoins Melina in an overly cheesy underwater diving scene complete with plinky plonky soundtrack to highlight their reunion. Still determined to track down her parents’ killer they enlist the help of Max the parrot and head off in a submarine which ends which them both being dragged behind a boat and hunted by sharks.  Once they’ve escaped it’s the parrot which turns out to have all the answers that leads them to the bad guys who all get killed before Bond destroys the ATAC machine and they all live happily ever after. Moral of the story – if possible always check with the parrot first.

I’ll be honest it’s taken me weeks to watch this and I’ve sat through the first forty minutes about four times.  I’ve forced myself through it so as to not ruin this challenge despite nearly stopping it several times. That in itself should highlight my opinion here; least favourite so far, by quite a way though it’s difficult to say why exactly. Lack of original plot? Defiantly! Lack of humour? Yep. Lack of decent characters? The parrot was my favourite. Also I think the opening scenes set decent expectations that just weren’t met by any of it so pretty disappointed by this one!

Sunday, 30 March 2014


Sunday 30th March

So the last film was a misplaced submarine, well the clumsy theme continues as Moonraker explores the fate of a lost rocket, stolen whilst attached to the back of a British aircraft.

Starting off as we so often do James is one moment in the arms of a yound stewardess, the next she has a gun to his head – one has to admire Bond’s faith in humanity, a lesser man would have written off women by now considering how many either try to kill him or get killed following their encounters.

James travels to California to stay with Frenchman Dr Drax in an attempt to apologise for the misplacement of his rocket. Here Bond meets NASA trained Dr Holly Goodhead and avoids getting killed in a flight simulator using a tranquiliser dart. After seducing Drax’s PA in exchange for information Bond makes a swift escape to Italy; chasing down his new lead and coincidently, Dr Goodhead.

Though it would seem Bond’s enemies have also chased him to Venice, thankfully he has with him a turbo powered chitty chitty bang bang version of a gondola to outrun them in. A bit more detective work leads James to a secret lab where he manages to hijack a vial of clear liquid which as demonstrated shortly after has the ability to kill humans in less than a minute if inhaled. In a very sensible move James leaves the highly sensitive glass vial in his pocket while he has a quick fight with a ninja in a museum.

Further jetsetting sees Bond head over to Rio on ‘holiday’ but it seems when James goes on holiday the British secret service offices relocate with him and it’s not long before M and Q are sending him into the middle of the Brazilian jungle, where he discovers Drax’s secret space pad.

Jaws is back, he really is seemingly indestructible – though he does find himself a little girlfriend in this film, which is quite the heart-warming little subplot.

Drax is a pretty interesting villain, with a pretty eerie goal – to grow a new handpicked human super race in space whilst destroying all human life left on earth using a flower. Then return to Earth, assumedly head of the new super-race.   All this talk of perfection seems to get to Jaws, he’s not perfect but now he has his new girlfriend he has no desire to be eliminated and in a rather odd twist he actually teams up with Bond and Goodhead helping them send Drax on a little spacewalk.

If I’m honest, I’ve not been enjoying the Roger Moore films as much as the Sean Connery ones they’re overrun with clichés and cheesy lines which just make me cringe!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The Spy Who Loved Me

Sunday 9th March

Simple start to this film, the world has lost a nuclear submarine, how exactly you lose a submarine I’m not sure but secret services around the world instantly get their best agents on the job, among them 007 and XXX.

Bond starts off in Austria on a different mission, once again getting betrayed by a female companion working for people trying to kill him; in true bond style he escapes wearing a very fetching yellow ski suit which of course has an inbuilt parachute and swaps the Austrian Alps for Cario.

Quite originally newest Bond villain, Mr Stromberg who likes to feed people who betray him to carnivorous marine-life. He also has on hand Frankenstein versions of Laurel and Hardy set the task of tracking down the agents tracking down the submarine. Bond makes quick work of the smaller of the pair leaving his companion Jaws for later.

It’s an almost overly clichéd romantic tale, opposing agents thrown together, a mutual distain forced to be put aside in order to survive and of course, they’re both in evening wear to give the whole thing a sense of occasion – at least XXX stops to tie her hair back, proving her dedication to the task in hand. Unfortunately they leave the task half-finished and while they do leave with the microfilm Jaws is merely delayed and catches up with them on a train where Bond quite originally uses a lamp to do some high-tech electric dental work on Jaws’ braces.

Q was back in this film, if I’m honest I think there’s been rather a lack on him in the more recent films, showcasing his new techniques and gadgets including decapitation via tea tray. Though more usefully he’s developed his own version of Chitty Chitty Bang Ban which quite usefully converts into a submarine, providing Bond and Anya with even more clichéd alone time submersed in a coral reef. However just when Anya is starting to come round to James’ charms she realises Bond is the man behind the death of her recently departed boyfriend – bound to throw a spanner into any budding romance.

Eventually we’re told what Stromberg’s plan is with his stolen submarine, destroy Moscow and New York using the nuclear missiles onboard and create a new world focused around the seas, so essentially he’s a bit of a marine hippy. 

James gets to play a rather intense game of operation to remove a detonator from one of the remaining missiles, which he then transports using cable car to blow his way into the control room with just minutes to spare. International crisis averted Bond is forced to turn his attentions to a more personal one – the navy has been instructed to destroy Stromberg’s vessel which happens to have Anya onboard – can Bond get them both off submarine before the British Navy destroys it – unsurprisingly they both just make it.

This was possibly my favourite Roger Moore so far, if only for the submarine car and DIY Jet Ski and who can resist a clichéd love affair that’s inevitable and yet doomed from the first few scenes of the film.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

The Man With The Golden Gun

Sunday 2nd March

So award for most bizarre start to a Bond film goes to The Man With The Golden Gun; a French champagne and tabasco carrying midget, a man with three nipples ad some twisted excuse for a fairground sideshow containing an odd collection of Madame Tussauds rejects. Including a waxwork image of Bond himself, a plot ruiner if ever there was one.

Back to London and M suspects someone has paid a million dollars for Bond to be killed by the world’s most OCD hitman who only uses golden bullets fired from a golden gun and who never misses.  Giving in rather easily M simply suggests Bond retires; Bond however has other ideas and travels halfway across the world to track down his predicted assassin.

Masquerading as Scaramanga Bond breaks into Hai Fat’s house, a flawless plan if only the two met hadn’t previously met and if the real scaramanda hadn’t been in the other room. Further proof that we should never assume as shortly after arriving for dinner James is attacked by two sumo wrestlers.

After being knocked unconscious by the aforementioned French midget wearing a Mexican wrestler mask Bond is sent to some sort of ninja show with mandatory audience participation, at least the appropriate attire was provided. Completely unaware of his previous experience with ninjas they seem surprised when he manages to fight his way past two of them before suicide jumping out the window to join the rest of his own ninja posse, which although is made up primarily of teenage girls proves extremely effective. 

Following and quick speedboat chase and remembering the fun he had with James in live and let die Bond teams up with everyone’s favourite sheriff JW who despite trying to help quite quickly manages to get himself arrested by the Bancock police.

With Hai Fat dead Scarmanga finds himself at the helm of a solar energy plant; strangely solar energy isn’t something normally associated with evil, however when you do harness it to produce a laser powerful enough to blow up a small plane at reasonable difference it easy to see how lines can become blurred.

Our main Bond girl of this film is Goodnight, winning the award for most ridiculously named Bond girl so far, and also the most accident prone, managing to nearly blow up an entire power plant by bending over. I do however admire her determination, not even put off from sleeping with James even after she’s covered in glass and he puts her boss of speakerphone.

With Scarmanga dealt with and tired of jet skis and speedboats Bond makes his final escape from the power plant island in no other than a pirate ship, which usefully has an automatic pilot function, allowing him to finally hook up with Goodnight.

The highlight of this film has to be Nick Nack, a Gordon Bleu butler, midget, actor, scientist and all round sneaky little buggar, which Bond finally packs up in what looks like a ventriloquist dummy case. He does end the film alive so I can only hope we might see him again in subsequent films.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Live and Let Die

Sunday 16th February

Bond has yet again regenerated, this time into Roger Moore; an interesting man, slightly younger and blonder then Connery with overly expressional eyebrows.

This time jetsetting off to New York where he makes friends with Captain Hook (who’s hand was actually taken by a crocodile), Mystic Meg (this one prefers tarot cards to a crystal ball)  and some quite colourful taxi drivers.  After being rejected by Mystic Meg Bond sulks off to the Caribbean where he is quickly attacked by the always highly dangerous snake on a stick.

The overly screamy and overly easy Rosie appears; first to kill Bond, but her fear of hats quickly gets the better of her so she decides to sleep with him instead – obviously the safest option given the scary hat.   A move, which like so many before her have found leads to her dying, at the hands; or rather eyes of a scarecrow.

In an almost original move Bond convinces Mystic Meg to sleep with him using a pack of tarot cards. In fairness he does then rescue her from a bunch on CCTV scarecrows on heroin so really it’s a win-win.

Betrayed by Mystic Meg and left to the mercy of Captain Hook’s crocodiles it looks like it could be the end for Bond, surrounded with no apparent escape, apart from his trusty magnetic watch; however the watch’s power seem more inline with removing clothing than summoning boats.  This could be it for Bond, until he spots the obvious escape route - running across six or seven alligators, setting a laboratory on fire and escaping in a speed boat – who needs fancy gadgets when you can just lure your enemies into crashing speedboats into sheriff’s cars.

All this accumulates in a high speed boat chase straight through a wedding ceremony, understandable that Bond may have a slight dislike for weddings since the outcome of his own; but that’s no real reason to ruin them for other people.

Unable to keep out of troble, Mystic Meg finds herself as the centrepiece of a tribal ceremony being taunted with a plastic snake; naturally Bond rescues her and they run away to the underground lair of the films super-villain “Mr Big” who probably attended the same class in creating nicknames as Blofeld as its really not all that original. Neither is attempting to drop Bond and Mystic Meg into a sharkpool but I guess since Mr Big isn’t in SPECTRE he thinks he’s being original. 

With Mr Big fed to his own shark it’s a sixteen hour train back to London for Bond and Meg; they pass the time playing cards and fighting off captain hook; who they discover is extremely useful when trying to open train windows.

I did find this a little disappointing; not overly enamored by Moore, no overly ridiculous gadgets, unless you count a magnetic watch which seems to have the same powers of attraction as a weak accido spell performed by a Hogwarts first year.  No overly cheesy chatup lines; and not enough M, Q or Moneypenny.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Diamonds are Forever

Sunday 9th February

So according to the latest Bond instalment, diamonds, unlike George Lazenby are forever.  Thankfully Connery is back, pretending he never went away.  As expected his first priority is to kill Blofeld, in revenge for his becoming a widower.

With Blofeld seemingly dealt with James is quickly moved into his next mission, surprisingly enough it involves diamonds and a trip to Amsterdam; maybe they’re hoping a trip to the red light district will help Bond forget about Tracey.

Masquerading as “transport consultant” Peter Franks Bond meets with the wig loving Tiffany before being forced to kill the real Peter Franks with a fire extinguisher in order to use him as a jewellery box to transport diamonds into America.  Back in the casino James meets Plenty, a stupid name for an equally stupid woman, that doesn’t wear bras despite that she quickly gets thrown about the window, quite literally in favour of Tiffany.

What is noticeable in this Bond is the improvement in the stunts, most noticeably in the car chases; previous Bonds have been extremely unconvincing green screen shoots where Sean throws the steering wheels fiercely from side to side to make the car continue to go in a straight line.

Being the super spy he is James quickly tracks down the people behind the missing diamonds; Blofeld; to be more precise, two Blofelds and of course his ever reliable cat.  Enforcing the saying “third time luck” James kills another double; meaning that surely next time he’ll get the right man, or at least the cat.

Next on the agenda, track down the real Mr Whyte; who’s identity is being use by the ever evil and occasionally cross-dressing Blofeld.  Being protected by acrobatic versions Disney characters Bond finds an extremely confused Willard just as the films plot escalates from stealing diamonds to, very originally world domination.  Whoever told Blofeld “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” really needed to add on, “unless you end up killing lots of people and have spent billions and have the world’s secret services watching your every move” Not as catchy a saying but in this case the disclaimer would have been useful.  Also, a lesson to the worlds politicians, stop sending the same agent to the same job if said agent has failed on repeated occasions to get a quite simple of killing one man done properly!

We also see a different side on Q who has started using his powers for evil by fixing fruit machines with an electo-magnet; maybe he’s trying to raise the funds for that HR department.  There’s  brief appearance from MoneyPenny shamelessly insisting Bond propose to her, so soon after the death of his wife.

I’m almost slightly disappointed that this is Connery’s last Bond, after the last film this was a comforting return back to normal Bond. That being said Connery was in slight need of some hair dye in this film, and he only slept with one woman, perhaps a sign that his time as 007 has come and gone and it’s time to take up a new hobby; just not in fork lift truck driving.

Monday, 3 February 2014

On Her Majesty's Secret Service

Monday 3rd February

So James Bond is back, and he has a new hat; and seemingly a new face; new Bond even remarks on Sean Connery being ‘the other fellow’ so we can only assume that Bond is in fact a timelord but the regeneration effects were too expensive to film; that or I missed a crucial end scene of the last film .  Moneypenny has a new face too but this isn’t remarked upon, maybe she’s not a time lord and her plastic surgery just went wrong.

We begin with James “saving” a woman walking into the sea, the woman in question didn’t seem to be in any distress or danger until Bond saves her when she finds herself caught in a fight with two rather violent strangers with very little regard for other people’s property. 

Despite new appearances new Bond still enjoys his card counting and is quickly back in the casino; although this time he’s swapped his rather classic attire for a frilly shirt and dickybow. His choice in casual wear is also distinctly worse than it was; though it does seem to allow for slightly more movement when beating up strangers. He also seems to have swapped his rather impressive track record with women for stalking one woman rather restlessly. Tracy; it seems that no matter how many times she tries to have Bond killed he just persists in pursuing her.

In the middle of a tantrum James resigns from the secret service via a post it, a rather unprofessional method if ever there was one; this backfires when MoneyPenny hands in the wrong post it and James gets two weeks holiday and she gets a kiss; so it seems they’re still looking for that HR department.

New Bond, old villain; SPECTRE – again! This time hiding in some snowy Swiss mountains, since warmer climates have previously resulted in failure. To help him get over his failure with Tracy he is sent to a seemingly female only allergy clinic where they seem to help poor, innocent women with life-threateningly difficult issues such as a dislike of chicken and potatoes and a weakness for overly cheesy chatup lines.

It seems that Blofelt, who has strangely ditched his numerical nickname is also a timelord and has recently completed a hypnosis course at his local college for which curing fears of chicken were merely coursework as his real goal, is rather unimaginably world domination. No wonder all the numbered people have abandoned him; they merely had a realistic idea of the company’s growth and potential and they knew that no matter how hard they worked they couldn’t compete with the cat.

If I’m brutally honest I’m glad this is George Lazenby’s only appearance as Bond, although it was interesting to see the character portrayed from a very different angle - I’m sure at one point he was wearing lip gloss and a skirt as well as a frilly cravat whilst going by the name of Hilary! No wonder they got Connery back.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

You Only Live Twice

Sunday 26th January

Bond begins this film in Hong Kong faking his own murder with the help of the British Navy. No sooner as body is ceremoniously plopped into the sea a couple of sneaky individuals take it to a nearby submarine where the body bag is opened to reveal Bond completely fine and wearing an oxygen mask.  After a brief chat with M and Moneypenny he’s spat back out again near the Japanese coast, no rest for the wicked.

He tracks down the quite strange Mr Henderson, and while I was slightly disappointed not to find my old chemistry teacher on the other side of the door the disappointment didn’t last long as he’s quite literally and remarkably quietly stabbed in the back. Cleverly James catches the killer, disguises himself as him to use the getaway vehicle to try and gauge the enemy’s identity. Instead he manages to crack a safe jump in a getaway car with a random girl and end up being caught by the person he was trying to meet in the first place – all terribly confusing if you ask me.

Despite being a long way from England Q does not disappoint as he brings Bond a mecano helicopter; for someone pretending to be dead this is quite a stupid move, not only is it bright yellow it’s also extremely noisy attracting a stupid amount of attention to such a unique machine.  It can therefore not be considered surprising when four normal sized helicopters arrive with the apparent aim of shooting Bond out of the sky.  Proving size doesn’t matter James and his tiny flying machine prevail bringing them all down.

Back once more with his cat is number one; his love of fighting fish has moved on from goldfish to piranhas, though I can’t see his feeding this to the cat and although they do give him a new way of disposing of agents I believe they are further proof that the execution branch of SPECTRE is being to get bored and uncreative.
In an interesting racist twist; Bond must become ‘Japanese’ which apparently involves wearing a wig and a partial face mask to cover his eyes. He’s also forced to marry, as apparently this makes the whole thing less suspicious. A strange triple wedding where the minister reads from a take away menu before presenting the couples with lunch which since its Japan that have to eat with chopsticks.

Finally we get to see the face of the elusive number one who has been kept from the viewer since film two. Not only do we get to see him but he also reveals his real name and it’s not surprising he prefers to go by number one. Only a minute and a half away from starting the next world war Bond is seemingly powerless to stop the evil scheme; and the rocket launches. What number one and his rather bored looking cat haven’t planned on is the ninja army approaching to save Bond and destroy number one’s little hideout.

Honestly, I’m starting to tire of the concept of SPECTRE now; initially the idea that this film would be based around space related things was promising but I actually found it quite tiresome and difficult to maintain interest in this film.  Though since number one is still alive I can only assume there will be at least one more SPECTRE related adventure, unless the cat snaps and attacks him before number one can come up with a new plan.

Friday, 24 January 2014


Friday 24th January 2014

We begin with James in France attending a funeral; for a transvestite, that isn’t actually dead.  Either extremely judgemental of the man’s lifestyle choice or annoyed by the fact that he’s still alive Bond proceeds to kill him and escape using a jet-pack which I believe raises the question. Was the whole thing just an excuse to finally use the jet-pack?

Thunderball sees the return of SPECTRE and its many numbered members.  Maybe Dr No gave me false hope of the intelligence of the members of SPECTRE but number one seems determined to slowly kill off the agents in albeit rather inventive fashions – surely this will eventually lead to two problems, firstly a lack of people and secondly having to assign increasingly larger numbers which is just going to get confusing for everyone. Even though this film was made in the sixities I still feel that number two’s eye patch is probably a little out of date; unless channelling you’re inner pirate at a child’s birthday party. What did intrigue me was the mention of SPECTRE’s execution branch which given its previous inventions of the blowing up chair and poisoned spike must be quite the creative workplace.

Once again Bond does not disappoint on the clichéd seducing of every woman he runs into, except for poor Miss Moneypenny.  Firstly he seduces a nurse, initially against her will but like so many before her she quickly becomes needy and clingy; maybe woman have been missing a lot of relationship advice subtly offered by Bond films because if one thing is standing out its playing hard to get works – very well but as soon as you get clingy James will lose interest and very quickly and conveniently get called away to do very important work things. Later in the film he also claims to have only slept with SPECTRE agent Fiona for King and Country – what a hard life!

Managing to avoid being sent to Canada Bond once again finds himself in a tropical climate, and once again everyone is dressed in suits!  We also see Bond back at the blackjack table demonstrating his questionable card counting abilities to impress women.  This film’s main bond girl ‘Domino’ tells the audience her tragic tale of how when she was young she fell in love with a pirate with pet sharks but now finds herself trapped and scared; controlled by number two – who does in fact have a real name! Making it all so easy for Bond to swoop in and steal her innocent affections.

Everyone’s favourite geek, Q also is back in this film, unfortunately backing up the stereotype that geeks dress badly by getting into full holiday mode with a rather garish Hawaiian shirt.  Though once again it would appear that money has been poorly spent as they seem to have run out halfway through making James’ wetsuit; leaving him trouser-less.

Things look like they might start to get exciting as Fiona and various SPECTRE lackies chase an injured Bond through a parade of the characters from It’s a Small World to a secluded bar for casual dancing and shooting the wrong person by accident, poor Fiona; all she wanted was to be given a higher agent number.

With this being the longest of the films I’ve watched so far I was starting to loose attention towards the end. However on the whole, I like the sharks and the underwater fighting – much quieter and much more entertaining to watch than the typical on-land fights. Leading to my conclusion that we need more underwater fight scenes in films, and if not completely underwater we should make people just wear the flipper and snorkels for sheer amusement factor.

Friday, 17 January 2014


Thursday 16th January

Firstly it should be pointed out that Goldfinger’s first victim, Jill did sort of have it coming; after all if the man which is paying you is getting chased by the British secret service, don’t run away with the agent tracking him, no matter how refined his taste in champagne is.  Also, despite the suggestion of the opening titles she's the only person to actually end up gold.

Once again Miss Moneypenny continues to harass James, this time even proposing marriage to him; one might think that given the money that seems available to be spent on cars and gadgets what they really need to invest in is a decent HR department.

Given the continual theme of disposal women throughout the films so far it obvious that one of the benefits of sleeping with Bond is that there’s no need to stress over the possibilities of STIs, since you probably won’t be alive long enough to notice you have one.  Someone with better priorities might have noticed the connection between their romantic involvement with a woman and their untimely demise but obviously golf is very important.

Hands down this film wins the award for most unrealistic car crash, after having both her passenger side tyres slashed in a cruel display of road rage on Bond’s part Tilly Masterson slides quite gracefully off the road, with absolutely zero panic or distress.  Though what is realistic is Bond’s annoyance at his albeit primitive satnav, whilst at no point does he ask him to take a u-turn in the middle of  motorway or pull over into a river its incessant beeping must be just as irritating.

Whilst the organisation behind the operations can't really be faulted there must be better ways of smuggling gold besides in the bodywork of a Rolls Royce, perhaps wait until Christmas time and pretend to be transporting large amounts of novelty confectionery. Surely the transportation costs of continual trips and the labour costs of paying people to take apart fake cars makes this a very expensive hobby.

Pussy Galore; possibly one of the most clichéd Bond girl names yet to be thought of; and how original that they should mark her out as ‘different’ by having her save James at the crucial moment and what better job for our strong female lead than to make her the head of the blonde airplane army.

Watching the character of Goldfinger I couldn’t help but imagine he’s how Augustus Gloop from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory might have ended up if he’d of developed a cocoa intolerance; continually trying to fill the gaping hole that chocolate left behind with gold, golf and making everyone else in the US suffer the way he has suffered simply because he has nothing left to live for.  To enter the financial stronghold of the continent and not touch a thing also screams ever so slightly of Aladdin.

I have to say this was a vast improvement on From Russia with Love, possibly since it moved away from the frustratingly ominous SPECTRE.  All round more enjoyable, better characters, some very questionable acting and an ever so slight bit of humour.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

From Russia With Love

Film two - Thursday 9th January

It seems old habits die hard so we’re introduced to the main villain’s voice early on, without seeing his face - again; all the viewer has to go on is his love of cats, violent fish and giving people numbers instead of names, including himself who he seems to have given the rather presumptuous title of ‘number one’.

One of his associates, number five is introduced while playing a game of chess, we can only assume from how tired he looks that this game has been carrying on for several days; despite this he wins the game and is next seen in the office of number one discussing a plan which he guarantees will not fail – it’s fairly obviously from that line of the film that whatever the plan may be its defiantly going to fail.  With this inevitability in mind its slightly harsh that later in the film number five is killed for things not going quite according to his brilliant plan; though I was amused by the rather original, “kick him in the shin with a venom powered spike” method.  This method is revived later by number three in a last ditch attempt to kill Bond; unfortunately she doesn’t seem to have been taught how to kick and end up getting shot.

The regular viewer will be pleased to see the return of previous Bond girl, Sylvia Trent, who still likes golf and is still a clingy psychopath and once again is deprived of spending time with James as he’s dragged away to save the world again.  Nonetheless it was nice to see a small reference to the otherwise seemingly forgotten prequel.

If it’s at all possible Bond puts even less effort into seducing the women of this film, one case they are quite literally given to him. Unfortunately all women have their flaws, for example, Tania, thinks her mouth is too big and she’s too tall to be a ballerina – these negative body images issues are proof that older films are still very much relatable to a modern day audience.

We also get the introduction of the Bond’s first gadget, a suitcase with built in tear gas, money and shotgun; proof if needed that airport security has improved somewhat over the years; it does however come in extremely useful when fighting off Grant, a hand selected murder machine.  Grant plays his part well, attempting to pass himself off as a cultured well-rounded gentleman only to fall down at the obvious hurdle of what wine to drink with fish.

It seems that a lot of this drama could be avoided by Bond simply getting on with the job he’d been commissioned to do, all this waiting around in Istanbul making friends and fighting with gypsies just gives everyone more time to decide how to kill each another.

I have to say this was much more of a forced viewing than the last, although I think this is possible more reflective of my own mood than the plot which was just a bland as the last film.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Dr No

Film 1 - Monday 6th January 2013

The film opens to the song three blind mice, three men who then proceed to kill two people, with extremely good aim with shotguns for blind people. However the fake blood used in these scenes was extremely poor quality, being far too orange to be passed as realistic.

Moving into a casino where we first meet Bond showing off his blackjack skills leading us to question whether the character is autistic, unfortunately this matter is never addressed, though he’s difficult to spot amongst all the Brylcreem being used so the viewer is almost thankfully for his ever clichéd personal introduction.

Primarily, I would question Mr Bond’s poor choice in women, his first, conquest of the film, Miss Sylvia Trench starts by breaking and entering into Bond’s hotel room only to proceed to parade round in Mr Bond’s clothes, play with his golf set and ultimately delay him in his important trip.  Secondly Miss Moneypenny, a character quite easy to sympathise with, if she had more about her she could sue for sexual harassment in the workplace but instead she will remain forever besotted.  The third young woman he then gets arrested, presumably for her bad acting skills but only after he ruins her nail varnish, there can be little surprise as to why she proceeded to spit in his face. The fourth female Bond encounters, Honey Ryder, has a very rare and powerful skill, keeping her makeup and hair in pristine condition; despite the hot climate and a fairly traumatic change to her usual routine, her makeup remains perfect even when forced through a powerful shower; though instead of using this to her advantage she has chosen to concentrate her life looking for shells.

At one point we see Mr Bond trying to sleep when he discovers a spider, which we can only assume is not expected to be present at that moment.  Dramatic music ensues, surely this spider must be trained to kill, it seems all James can do is wait for the spider to decide when to administer the fatal blow.  When suddenly in a highly dramatic unexpected twist the spider makes his move, onto the other pillow only to be killed mere seconds later by shoe – how heroic.

The elusive Dr No is not met by the viewer until the final portion of the film, supposedly designed to build an air of mystery around the character. A seemingly intelligent individual with a flair for interior design with a good grasp on his personal priorities and the value of materialistic goods; one can only wonder that if under the influence of better parenting he could of done a lot of good in the world.  Clearly his main motivation for world domination is lack of much needed attention as an infant.

Overall I found the plot lacking somewhat with several loose ends left unresolved.  Being my first viewing I found it to be watchable, keeping my attention throughout; however I will not be rushing towards a second viewing of this film.

The James Bond Challenge

Until a week ago I had only ever seen 3 of the Bond films - all the new Daniel Craig ones if you were wondering. This came up in a recent conversation at work which in turn lead to being set my own James Bond challenge.  Perhaps I'm mis-using the word challenge here .

The requirements are, quite simply watch all the Bond films in order during 2014, in addition to prove I was paying the films due attention I also need to write 500(ish) words on each film.  That what this is for - a digital record of each analysis/review/critique (delete as appropriate).

So watch this space for more Bond related thoughts.