MI6 Community Bondathon

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  • Sorry I've had to slack off a bit on my participation as we've reached the finish line...but let the record show I made it to the end.

    MY FINAL STANDINGS
    1) Goldfinger
    2) From Russia With Love
    3) Casino Royale
    4) On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
    5) Skyfall
    6) Goldeneye
    7) The Spy Who Loved Me
    8) The Living Daylights
    9) Thunderball
    10) Dr. No
    11) For Your Eyes Only
    12) Tomorrow Never Dies
    13) You Only Live Twice
    14) Octopussy
    15) License to Kill
    16) Live and Let Die
    17) Spectre
    18) Quantum of Solace
    19) The World Is Not Enough
    20) A View to a Kill
    21) DiamondsAre Forever
    22) Moonraker
    23) The Man With the Golden Gun
    24) Die Another Day
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    Is everyone happy they finally got Moneypenny and Q back now? Haha. I can understand some of the criticisms of their overuse, but Whishaw is one of my favorite things about this film, and I like Naomi and Dan's chemistry. The plot is part London based and a sub-story revolves around the future of the MI6 department with a direct attack against it, so obviously those characters are going to be seen on the screen. Anyone acting like they wouldn't isn't being entirely honest.

    Q gets a scene in the regular gadget room, just as Moneypenny gets her flirting scene. Then the both of them get one extra little scene after that before they're around for the London finale, where they would naturally feature as their jobs are on the line and they're close with M and Bond, who both need their help. Their function and how well the actors play together makes me forgive a lot, and it's not like it's their movie; it's always Bond's story, and that never changes. Naomi never makes me cringe like most Moneypenny moments do beyond the 60s and 70s, Fiennes' Mallory is no Bernard Lee (in character) but he's also thankfully no Brown, an M I've never liked. And Whishaw has managed to be a nice Q without being Desmond being Q, which is a welcome surprise.

    Tanner is Tanner, and he's written to be an oafish sod just as he always has been in these set of films. It's not going to change now for old Rory.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    edited March 2017 Posts: 28,694
    I honestly don't have a problem with the climax, and I certainly don't think it's the worst. Some of the films don't even actually have a finale, so SP can't come last by design. But anyway.
    Birdleson wrote: »
    Climax - What can I say that hasn't been said by many others, all over these boards ad nauseam; it just doesn't work. Personally, I have no problem with Blofeld being arrested or Bond letting him live (though, sparing the bad guy and throwing the gun away, as a sign of emotional growth, has been hackneyed for a half a century already; I hate seeing Bond reduced to the mundane dramatic paces expected in your average television drama). My problems with the climax stem from the absence of any suspense or tension. It's so repetitious and by the numbers that I felt and feel flat while watching it. The blowing up of MI6, trued and bound Swann, shooting down the helicopter...so dull. And why does Blofeld suddenly behave like a frightened rabbit when it looks like the copter is going down? That is not the behavior I expect to see form 007's greatest nemesis (though I love the way he fixates on Bond and Madeleine as they walk off into the not sunset-he will take her form him).

    @Birdleson, Blofeld looks frightened about going down in a helicopter because...he's going down in a helicopter. Is he supposed to smile or something? I honestly don't get the criticism here.

    That has always been Blofeld's character, in every movie-and I'm not talking about Fleming's Blofeld, as people clearly don't care to see him in these movies for whatever reason. Every Bond film with Blofeld as the villain has a moment where he reveals himself to be a spineless, frightened man brought down by his own hubris. In YOLT, he races out of that volcano like he's pissing himself, the supreme king of cowards. He turns his back on everyone who helped him in his hysteria, like all the associates he already killed in cold blood, and sets the lair to blow up to only save himself. And this is all after Tanaka brutalizes him with a throwing star or all things, which is hilariously pathetic. Blofeld had every opportunity to shoot Bond, and he just never does it, instead choosing to point a gun at Bond for at least four minutes. Why?!

    In OHMSS, when Bond and Draco's forces arrive and shoot Piz Gloria up, Blofeld has his face to the floor with his mouth agape like a frightened child lost of its mother. As the entire place is attacked, he's again covering his ass and deserts everyone, with a gigantic expression of fear on his face as he screams the moment Piz Gloria blows up with the realization that his work has been undone. The second to last image we get of him with his neck in a tree branch is a similar one of cowardice and meek power, a shell of the man he thinks he is.

    In DAF Blofeld once again deserts everyone the moment things don't go according to plan, and he gets in his bathosub with room for only one as he tries to get away, damning everyone else. He's visibly freaking out, and when Bond takes control of the sub with the lift, he's shouting and having a fit, the last images we get of him before the explosion being the same expressions of cowardice and fear and impotence like all his other appearances.

    So when people get on Waltz's case because he apparently didn't play Blofeld right, I near face-palm. He's falling from the air at least a couple hundred feet up, he's going to be scared, it's kind of how everyone would react. But not only that, it makes sense for his character, as this Blofeld, like literally all the other ones, is built up to be a man who feigns power and becomes like a fearful child the minute he's challenged. Blofeld's villainy and power is surface stuff, and we see it each and every time as Bond is always the one to peel away that arrogant layer he puts on, revealing to him that he's nothing. SP's climax is no different. Bond makes him confront how much of a powerless, failed coward he is, just as Bond and George's Bonds do in the volcano, Piz Gloria and oil rig raids.

    I think the big problem people have in judging these films is that they go into reviewing Blofeld in SP thinking that Blofeld is actually a grand villain in the series...when he's really not. The Blofeld of YOLT is the biggest disappointment of the entire 60s era, the ultimate weak point of what happens when you hype up a character and waste him. Pleasance just stands around and gabs with Bond in his meek way and never shoots him though he's given every single chance to do so, and Bond just stands there and takes it. It's the lamest Bond and Bond villain encounter I can think of, when it needed to be the best. It's why I can only watch YOLT and like it when I don't watch it after DN, FRWL and TB, because it fails to live up to anything set up in those three.

    Savalas is probably the best Blofeld, but partly only because he's in one of the best Bond films. I'm not a massive fan of the Bleuchamp subplot and how much of a giant plot hole the Blofeld of that film and his scheme represents, up there with the bad "logic" of GF's entire plot. But we get a couple of moments where he and Bond swap barbs, and he gets better. I also like how he compares Tracy to Helen of Troy, a nice bit of symbolism to the entire Greek tragedy of the movie's overall narrative. But no wheel is being reinvented, and it's not like Savalas had a lot of competition to be the best Blofeld. He's the best almost by default, kind of like the kid who wins the race around his playground because all the other kids in the race are diabetics with low sugar. Of course he's going to cross the finish line ahead.

    In DAF Gray's best scene is when he and Bond meet at the top of the Whyte house, but everything else is just okay to meh, as nothing is really done with him. He's the aristocratic Blofeld, but coming off of a movie where he's had Bond's wife killed, you'd expect a more lively confrontation between he and Bond than what we have. The only interesting thing EON bothered to do with him was give him doubles, but that's not enough. Gray only actually plays the real Blofeld twice, in the hotel and at the finale, with two minutes of random shots in between as Bond calls him and he surveys the casino through all the cameras, and that's it. Okay, but again, not iconic at all.

    So when we come to Waltz's Blofeld in SP, he's not really in danger of coming in last place, as quite frankly, he's got Savalas to contend with and only him. Maybe Pleasence and Gray have their fans, but if we're being honest, it's a lot of nostalgia that drives them up and they have very little actual character and the interactions they and Bond have are so flaccid. Savalas at least looks and talks like the Blofeld of the early Connery films should, and he becomes a good enough physical threat to Bond. That is the area where Waltz comes second, as he couldn't take Craig in a scrap, but I still like him. He has an actual sense of character, far more than Pleasence and Gray had, as the scripts of YOLT and DAF really didn't care to do things with them though they really should've. YOLT was the moment the ultimate hero met the ultimate villain, and in DAF Bond was to meet the man who killed his wife after a long search, and it all just feels so lame. But with Waltz there is that inner life, and you see the direct control he has over the other SPECTRE members and how unsettled he makes everyone around him, which you don't see with any other Blofeld. He's a very overtly villainous man, almost too much, and it's his offset and maniacal nature that really hits for me. This is a Blofeld that actually tries to humiliate and kill Bond without beating around the bush. He goes to torture quick, and when the MI6 building is set to blow, he stays to watch Bond die to make sure he doesn't get out of it alive. Only when he sees the building go up does he then fly away.

    Maybe the characterization isn't what people wanted, but Waltz is a lot like the other Blofelds in spirit and character, except he was taken further. I think people who call him the worst of the bunch are being blinded by the hoopla over his history with Bond, and they just make it out that he sucks because of that and that alone, ignoring all the great depth the script gives to him and his thirst for power. This is a guy who has control over people like they're his drones (look at how they immediately stand up to his attention like robots in Rome and Morocco), and his thirst for power and notice drives everything he does, feeding into his motives and scheme to gain ultimate surveillance control in a way that feels logical and credible.

    The Blofeld of SP works in secret, while all the others make it obvious that they are operating behind SPECTRE. In YOLT Blofeld is compromised by Bond and now the entire world knows he exists, in OHMSS Blofeld lets NATO know what he's planning without hiding a thing and in DAF Blofeld again has to reveal himself to the nations he wants to threaten who already know of his existence anyway by that point. By the time of DAF he had outed himself so horribly through his failure way back in YOLT that Bond could sniff his schemes coming a mile away forever after, and he never had a chance of succeeding. In contrast, the Blofeld of SP is a lot smarter and works behind legions of people who do his dirty work for him like the foot soldiers of the mob hide the don from view and law enforcement retaliation. Nobody, not even the CIA or MI6 knew that Quantum was part of a bigger beast, and its was Blofeld who was able to constantly divert attention away, hiding behind separate organizations with no connection to his own to ensure he deflected notice of his plans. In SP Blofeld cleverly uses C as a pawn and manipulates the man's agenda to make the world safe through surveillance to hijack his project and use it as his own tool. He's brilliant and terrifying in a way no other Blofelds have been, and certainly more effective than all the others.

    It's not a perfect portrayal, like no villain is perfect, but Blofeld has never been Bond's Moriarty and the sooner we accept that, the better. When it comes to Blofeld there's Savalas and Waltz, and that's about it. The others are okay, but if we're honest they don't even enter a serious discussion because their scripts failed them.
  • JohnHammond73JohnHammond73 Lancashire, UK
    edited March 2017 Posts: 4,151
    Birdleson wrote: »

    -I don't know if others agree or not, but I was happy to see the Blofeld cinematic trappings intact: White cat, Nehru jacket, scarred face, futuristic complex.

    I certainly agree. This was one nod to the past that i certainly enjoyed.

    Alas, it's​ a shame that the Bondathon finished. I've enjoyed it very much. Nice finish @Birdleson.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    Birdleson wrote: »
    @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7 , these are, I thought, our personal, honest assessments. Agree or disagree, I am reading others reviews and at most commenting in the affirmative that they put in the time. I don't understand the time you invest in finding things that drive you crazy in my reviews. These are my thoughts unvarnished and pure; they're not meant to reflect your sensibilities. I really am at a loss.

    I found a point that I thought was off and argued an opposing view, that's all. It's the very nature of having a discussion.
  • JohnHammond73JohnHammond73 Lancashire, UK
    edited March 2017 Posts: 4,151
    Birdleson wrote: »
    Yes, it is a downer. Good show to you too. Now to work on my goal of not watching any Bond films until the month leading up to BOND 25. I am, however, going to end this with one more mini-Bond-A-Thon on Saturday; I plan on watching the original four classics. Then I will, out of our new tradition, watch YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE and ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE on Christmas Day.

    That's a big ask?, No Bond until just before Bond 25?? I know you have a few to watch but still. Not sure that I'd be able to do that myself as it could be a while. Fair play to you though, be a great Bondathon in the lead up, no doubt.

    Also like your new tradition. OHMSS is always a Christmas tradition with me, my daughter (as it's her favourite Bond) and I have a tradition of watching it at every festive season.

  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    edited March 2017 Posts: 5,131
    Birdleson wrote: »
    @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7 , these are, I thought, our personal, honest assessments. Agree or disagree, I am reading others reviews and at most commenting in the affirmative that they put in the time. I don't understand the time you invest in finding things that drive you crazy in my reviews. These are my thoughts unvarnished and pure; they're not meant to reflect your sensibilities. I really am at a loss.

    I found a point that I thought was off and argued an opposing view, that's all. It's the very nature of having a discussion.

    In the Bond novels Blofeld reveals himself to be an insane freak in YOLT. Also it is a regular trait for the villains to be self obsessed cowards/ or insane in the end.
  • JohnHammond73JohnHammond73 Lancashire, UK
    edited March 2017 Posts: 4,151
    Birdleson wrote: »
    It's new for me as I picked up from many on here, such as yourself, already doing so.
    As for the self-imposed ban, I watched over 230 Bond films last year. I need to purge and refresh. I need to see them anew.

    230? Wowsers, that is definitely some going. I can certainly see the need for some time away.

    I'm glad the Bondathon has ended when it has. Just before our house move on Monday. Once I get settled I will no doubt get back to watching some Bond. I can never stay away for too long.

  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    suavejmf wrote: »
    Birdleson wrote: »
    @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7 , these are, I thought, our personal, honest assessments. Agree or disagree, I am reading others reviews and at most commenting in the affirmative that they put in the time. I don't understand the time you invest in finding things that drive you crazy in my reviews. These are my thoughts unvarnished and pure; they're not meant to reflect your sensibilities. I really am at a loss.

    I found a point that I thought was off and argued an opposing view, that's all. It's the very nature of having a discussion.

    In the Bond novels Blofeld reveals himself to be an insane freak in YOLT. Also it is a regular trait for the villains to be self obsessed cowards/ or insane in the end.

    You're kind of proving my point here, but I don't know if you know that you are. ;)
  • Posts: 4,030
    @Birdleson - You said that you find the London climax repetitious. Do you think the score adds to this feeling at that point?
  • Posts: 3,336
    SP must really have dissapointed you, Birdleson. Hope the next one fares better.
  • Posts: 4,030
    Birdleson wrote: »
    vzok wrote: »
    @Birdleson - You said that you find the London climax repetitious. Do you think the score adds to this feeling at that point?

    It adds to it, but there this is also the third time we've seen MI6 bombed, the second time we've had a boat chase down the Thames, the fifth time in the film we've seen the gallery of faces form Bond's past. No tension.

    At least this time they've flattened it, so they can't do it again in B25.
  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 5,131
    suavejmf wrote: »
    Birdleson wrote: »
    @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7 , these are, I thought, our personal, honest assessments. Agree or disagree, I am reading others reviews and at most commenting in the affirmative that they put in the time. I don't understand the time you invest in finding things that drive you crazy in my reviews. These are my thoughts unvarnished and pure; they're not meant to reflect your sensibilities. I really am at a loss.

    I found a point that I thought was off and argued an opposing view, that's all. It's the very nature of having a discussion.

    In the Bond novels Blofeld reveals himself to be an insane freak in YOLT. Also it is a regular trait for the villains to be self obsessed cowards/ or insane in the end.

    You're kind of proving my point here, but I don't know if you know that you are. ;)

    Yes. I was agreeing with you.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    Birdleson wrote: »
    vzok wrote: »
    @Birdleson - You said that you find the London climax repetitious. Do you think the score adds to this feeling at that point?

    It adds to it, but there this is also the third time we've seen MI6 bombed, the second time we've had a boat chase down the Thames, the fifth time in the film we've seen the gallery of faces from Bond's past. No tension.

    But it is the only time it's been demolished. ;)
  • Posts: 4,030
    Birdleson wrote: »
    vzok wrote: »
    @Birdleson - You said that you find the London climax repetitious. Do you think the score adds to this feeling at that point?

    It adds to it, but there this is also the third time we've seen MI6 bombed, the second time we've had a boat chase down the Thames, the fifth time in the film we've seen the gallery of faces from Bond's past. No tension.

    But it is the only time it's been demolished. ;)

    Third time's the charm
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 40,682
    Getting all caught up once again, firing up SF now so I can do this analysis finally. Will have it posted in a couple hours.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    That is Brady 4U.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    That is Brady 4U.

    I'll be damned if I know how that happened. I must've been keen to underline something. What, I have no idea.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    edited March 2017 Posts: 40,682
    Skyfall:

    Last rat standing.

    JAMES BOND:

    Regardless of my feelings of the film, there's no denying that the acting is in top form in this one. Craig delivers as Bond, giving us a slightly less-hardened, bit-more-lighthearted version of the character at times, at least in comparison to QoS. He cheats death and returns to become the 007 we all love once again, and aside from a few dodgy deliveries here and there, I'd say he shines.

    BOND GIRLS:

    Severine: Even though I do wish she had featured more throughout, I think she's classic and makes quite the impression in the little time she's given - it's minor, but for the sake of clearing up questions and giving her more screentime, I wish they had kept in the meeting between her and Patrice, but it is what it is. I think her main highlight is the entire bar sequence between her and Bond in Macau, but I do like their banter while he does a bit of gambling on the casino floor. Their sex scene is beautifully done, too, but like most things in this movie, the positives and appreciation are typically down to the brilliant work of Roger Deakins.

    Bond's Lover: Gorgeous, but when she's featured in a couple of shots without a word of dialogue, there isn't much to say. Glad that the writers found a way to inject a nameless, insignificant Bond girl into this one, because I've always enjoyed them getting to make an appearance.

    BOND ALLIES:

    Bill Tanner: Sad that the only notable ally of Bond's in this (until the finale) is one of the more useless characters in the franchise now. Tanner does what he's been good for in the last two films, spouting obvious exposition or filling in Bond with useless information. He should be better written or cut out of the films from here on out.

    Kincade: Boy, am I glad that they didn't cast Connery in this role like it was once rumored. It's another solid addition to this ecclectic list of characters that have made their way on screen in the last 50+ years of the franchise, and his banter with Bond is also good; for instance, the way he casually inquires about who they'll be killing later on is a nice touch, but I could've done without his fill-in of Bond locking himself in the tunnels after his parents passed and how he wasn't a man anymore after that. I'm happy that he doesn't bite the bullet in the end, either.

    (These two categories are down, and only four notable characters mentioned - definitely a night-and-day difference from the latter two films, and this has been a complaint of many of mine regarding Mendes' two installments: a lack of characters.)

    M/MP/Q:

    M/Gareth Mallory: The bittersweet final film of Dench's - I do wish they could've gone about it having her retire instead of killing her, as I really love her take on the character, but I suppose it makes it an even more emotional (and permanent) exit with her passing. Bond's crying is a nice touch, too, shows the connection they've had all along.

    As for Mallory, I don't mind him that much, but he's yet to make an impact as M.

    MP: It's really hard for me to say, since she's Eve throughout most of the movie and we don't get a proper look at Miss Moneypenny until the very end. I did enjoy their banter throughout, though, but it's a shame she's introduced as an incompetent field agent instead of being M's secretary from the get-go; could've gone that route and avoided including Tanner altogether.

    Q: I've slowly warmed to him over the years, but it was tough going from the lovable-yet-short-tempered Llewelyn take on Q, to a younger, cockier version of Ben Whishaw's, but hopefully over time, with the more appearances he makes, I'll like him more and more. I do wish he took less of Bond's shit and stood up to him more (which we see a hint of upon their first meeting, whereas in SP Bond pretty much controls him throughout the runtime).

    VILLAIN/HENCHMEN:

    Raoul Silva/Tiago Rodriguez: Bardem is very eccentric and over the top in this, and it's rather refreshing after a couple of more straightforward villains - he delivers, and that very first one-shot speech we get of his is brilliant stuff. Says a lot about the characters themselves and what'll go down throughout the film (some other tidbits throughout do this, too, such as Tanner commenting on the new digs being nice or whatever "except for the rats," which, combined with Silva's rat speech, hints that the two rats (Bond and Silva) will be chasing one another through those same tunnels later on.) Terrific villain, but inconsistently competent at times, too, which is unbefitting with how smart his character obviously is. Abilities and motivations only rear their head in the Mendes world when he sees fit.

    Patrice: He's incredibly deadly, resourceful, and competent, and that's about all you can ask for when it comes to a guy that Bond will go toe-to-toe with. Hell, he's even more successful in this than Bond is, which is really saying something (and another thing I don't care for with the movie, but that's another topic entirely.)

    STORY/ACTION:

    I'm not crazy about the story - a MacGuffin and plotholes help kill things for me, as does the ridiculously inexplicable TDK-esque escape scene involving Silva. This movie certainly has a lot of problems, particularly with the script, for me to be able to see it as legendary and perfect as some do.

    As for the action, I'm going to preface my analysis by saying this: Mendes has a way of making his action feel almost "too" staged, if that makes any sense - it likely doesn't, but to me, it does. There's something I can't really describe in-depth about the way his action is shot that doesn't feel incredibly free-flowing or unexpected; it feels all too clean to me. I'm not sure if that's down to the action itself or the choreography, or perhaps I watched way too many BTS videos of SF before it released that I still see a lot of these scenes as "softer" since I saw them being filmed. Just a jumbled thought of mine, something I've always wanted to mention without having any idea how to bring it up in detail. Now:

    PTS: Just have to say one of the biggest highlights for me is the shot of Bond exiting the hotel and hitting the safety on the PPK - what a gorgeous shot that is. The shootout in the bazaar is pretty good, and while we get some gorgeous rooftop shots during the motorcycle chase, it's marred by that jarring, hazy greenscreen because they just had to include their faces. I'd say the action I appreciate the most during the PTS is the stuff on the train - Bond and Patrice trading shots (Bond can't hit a lone man standing atop a train, though, and MP is reduced to casually driving and watching things unfold, the thought of pulling out a gun and firing at Patrice never once crossing her mind), Bond going through the train, and a couple bits of the fighting atop the train are good, but going from the frenetic energy the action had in QoS to this left a very bad taste in my mouth right off the bat. The name of the game with SF is incompetency, and the PTS is wrapped up by MP shooting the one person she shouldn't have shot. Bravo.

    Shanghai Skyscraper: This is probably the only action sequence in the movie I wholeheartedly enjoy, until it's ruined by that bad CGI fall of Patrice's (to this day, will never understand why they didn't go with the practical, slow motion fall that was in the trailers). The fight itself is good, albeit a bit dark, and I do like Bond's infiltration of the building and hitching onto the bottom of the elevator without Patrice knowing.
    Trivia tidbit: I've mentioned it before, but there's a very, very brief shot across from where Bond and Patrice are fighting, and if you look to the right of the room the man was executed in at just the right moment, you can see that the other guard is killing the man's wife. It's a nice touch, but it creates yet another plothole in what is supposed to be a grounded universe - why do they go through the charade of assassinating the man if they're going to kill the man's wife themselves? Seems odd.

    Dragon Brawl: This fight has always felt like amateur hour to me, with Bond getting tossed around and goofily pointing at a fake komodo dragon at the same time (it's a komodo dragon, but the way he stares in awe at it makes one think he just saw an alien). It's another fight in the film that doesn't do anything for me, but honestly, I'd say the action that takes place is my only dislike of the entire scene - everything that comes before inside the casino is splendid stuff. The fight itself is simply too dull to me. I get that Bond may not be as strong as he is in QoS due to his injuries sustained in the PTS, fine, but using a briefcase carrying four million euros as a weapon with his bad arm doesn't bother him in the slightest? Again: the injury only bothers Bond when they call for it. It's the same thing as Bond's shoulder in TWINE, only that one is from a film that concludes with the line "I thought Christmas only comes once a year," so I'm more forgiving with that.

    Shootout at Silva's: This scene irritates the hell out of me, and I've made that point known many times over the years, so I won't go over it again. Inconsistent, with Bond's injury once again only affecting him when the progress of the plot calls for it. Terrible.

    Escape From The New MI6: Guess Q was right: he CAN do more damage using his laptop than Bond can in the field, because he allows Silva to escape and begin his inexplicable pursuit of M thanks to the powers of movie magic. No logic is necessary in his escape and defeat of any pursuers, and that more than shows - the highlights for me are the bits of banter between Bond and Q ("Oh! I see you, there you are." "...I know where I am, Q.") and that gorgeous train derailment, all done with a real life train. Stunning stuff, and the look on Bond's face before it tears through the hole in the wall and lands on top of him says it all. I don't mind the shootout at the meeting, but the fact that Silva does all this to kill M, just to miss his opportunity, is odd. There are some more good shots in this, too - Bond's frenetic firing of the PPK, the brisk way he exits cover and continues his cover fire to help everyone escape, the way he winks at Mallory before using the fire extinguishers as cover, etc. I also find it odd that Bond feels the need to "steal" M, and it's always bugged me that they take this route instead of formulating a proper plan to protect her, which could've easily been done if they wanted to. Alas, more inconsistencies abound: M doesn't want anyone else dying for her, and yet moments earlier she had no problem NOT fleeing, putting everyone at the meeting at obvious risk, for she had to know where Silva was going. Shame.

    Finale: I have way too many problems with the set-up of the finale and how it goes down to truly enjoy it - the fact that they seek no outside help and rely on the hopes of the weapons room still being intact at Skyfall, dumb decisions by characters, and incorporating M into the fighting when she is supposed to be protected, etc. I do enjoy the "new vs. old" idea - Bond using propane tanks, dynamite, and old hunting rifles against the modern day grenades, helicopters, and assault rifles utilized by Silva and his men. Another big highlight is the fact that Craig's Bond finally manages his first kill on a villain! Still jarring that he's taken down only one of four villains he has gone up against. The final moments in the church are good, and one of my favorite character moments is Silva's angered, exasperated shout at Bond after he tosses the knife into his back, followed by his body roughly falling to the ground.
    Not sure why, but hearing the f-word in this was an unexpected treat, too - seems like a childish compliment for the film, but it's not something I was expecting at all, and it perfectly wrapped up the entirety of M's actions throughout the film. One final highlight, since I've been cruel to this movie: the 'Skyfall' track that shows some Kubrickian appreciation as Bond and M drive through Scotland is one of my favorite tracks in the series, which is also surprising given Newman's work, as a whole, is one of my least favorite scores in the series.

    MI6Community Bondathon: (May change at any time.)

    I saw this five times in theaters, bought the blu-ray, watched it several more times, I've watched it and typed my comments throughout the entire running time as I watched it, and now I've done a similar analysis for it, and alas, it's still in that 23rd spot. It's pretty and well-acted (the only two consistent highlights I've found in all my viewings are the acting by everyone involved and how Deakins can highlight every scene in the movie - he's the star of the film for me), but for a Bond film, it doesn't impress or excite me in the slightest overall, particularly in this gritty, grounded Craig era. I think I can confidently say that the previous 22 installments will always be ranked above it; it's a shame, but there's not much more I can do to enjoy this.

    1.) GE
    2.) DN
    3.) OHMSS
    4.) QoS
    5.) CR
    6.) LALD
    7.) TSWLM
    8.) GF
    9.) YOLT
    10.) FYEO
    11.) FRWL
    12.) OP
    13.) LTK
    14.) TB
    15.) AVTAK
    16.) DAF
    17.) TWINE
    18.) TLD
    19.) TMWTGG
    20.) DAD
    21.) MR
    22.) TND
    23.) SF
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 40,682
    I'd say the biggest positive change I've had with SF is rather random, but as I noted in the analysis, aside from the fight scene, that Macau casino sequence is classic - the look of it, Deakins' cinematography, the way everything is lit and stationed, all the way down to the dialogue shared between Bond and Severine, with her guards on lookout throughout. I used to have a few miscellaneous issues overall (aside from the action), but the scene as a whole is way too solid to be bothered by them anymore.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 40,682
    Me too, simply because it was shoddy CGI. If the films in the early 70's were incorporating practical stunts with practical animal effects, surely the same can be done several decades later.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    Creasy47 wrote: »
    Me too, simply because it was shoddy CGI. If the films in the early 70's were incorporating practical stunts with practical animal effects, surely the same can be done several decades later.

    Instead of cgi dragons, would have been much more fun if Bond had run over a group of similarly (orange coloured) dressed henchmen.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    Creasy47 wrote: »
    Me too, simply because it was shoddy CGI. If the films in the early 70's were incorporating practical stunts with practical animal effects, surely the same can be done several decades later.

    Instead of cgi dragons, would have been much more fun if Bond had run over a group of similarly (orange coloured) dressed henchmen.

    Or a Severine guard dressed in a komodo dragon suit.
  • royale65royale65 Caustic misanthrope reporting for duty.
    Posts: 4,423
    Birdleson wrote: »
    @royale65 , where are you? Don't drop out with two films to go!

    Yes, for some reason either Facebook, which I sign into the forums, or the forum itself, didn't recognize me, hence my absence.

  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Das Boot Hill
    Posts: 45,489
    Good luck with that, @Birdleson. I know it s like quitting smoking for you.
  • Creasy47Creasy47 In Cuba with Natalya.Moderator
    Posts: 40,682
    Enjoy, @Birdleson, sounds like quite the marathon you have planned for the day. That YOLT/OHMSS double bill on Christmas should be very nice, too.
  • JohnHammond73JohnHammond73 Lancashire, UK
    Posts: 4,151
    Yep, enjoy it @Birdleson. Look forward to reading your thoughts as always.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    @Birdleson, you could just do a short report to compare if you would rate the first couple Bond films in the same way you did 6 months ago as we geared this up. Your choice, of course.
  • royale65royale65 Caustic misanthrope reporting for duty.
    Posts: 4,423
    A bit of housekeeping before I move on to SF and SP.

    @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7, thank you for the kind comments regrading my piece on QoS. From an accomplished wordsmith such as yourself, I’m quite flattered.

    At the end of this (rather protracted in my case!) Bondathon, I’m going to view YOLT again.

    This is from @Brady -@royale65 I am conflicted with YOLT in the same way. I am still not sure whether I like it more or don't like it more. I think it helps to watch it on its own, because if you do what we did and watch all the other classics before it, the drop in quality is very visible. I will say though, one of the things that will always make it worth watching is the location work and Freddie Young's photography. Gorgeous stuff. It's also the end-all-be-all Japanese Bond film, which is kind of special.”

    I posed the question is YOLT an epic conclusion to the Sean Connery saga, or an overblown spectacular mess?

    I avoided watching YOLT in conjunction with the other four Connery’s films, as, like Brady said, the drop off in quality is too darn steep, preferring to watch it by itself.

    So it was with much trepidation that I saw YOLT a few months back. I haven’t viewed the Bond films chronologically in quite a few years, instead adopting a rather random viewing method of the movies, such as the not so random “in order of the Fleming's novel” or the very random, “locations”.

    Yet I found YOLT too be far better in chronological sequence then I remembered it.

    This is the big one. As evidenced by M leaving London for this first time. This is what the Bond series has been building up to. One didn’t need any back story or character development in YOLT. This is the conclusion to the Bond vs SPECTRE conflict.

    Sean Connery has evolved from an impetuous operative in Dr. No to a seasoned professional in Thunderball. His character arc is thus complete.

    Whilst SPECTRE has evolved from a mysterious group, funding Dr. No to an all powerful, multi pronged organization in Thunderball. Their arc is thus complete.

    This is it. Bond vs SPECTRE.

    When viewed by this mantra, I became much more forgiving of YOLT’s flaws. I was caught up in the sheer epic nature to You Only Live Twice. I was invested in the story and spectacle. One has to bear in mind that this was made in the sixties and that anything seemed possible. The space race, the sheer confidence and chutzpah of the late sixties etc....

    So, the question is YOLT an epic conclusion to the Sean Connery saga, or an overblown spectacular mess? I’m eager to find out!





  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    edited April 2017 Posts: 28,694
    @royale65, it's an interesting question to pose and endeavor to ask.

    I would probably have the middle of the road opinion of the film, somewhere in between, "This was a great lead-up to Bond and Blofeld's first meeting," and "This was such a let-down."

    I don't think the film is a mess. Hardly. It's one of the better photographed movies and has some of the greatest location work in the series with few other films in competition, up there with The Spy Who Loved Me and the early Connery films. There's also the final battle which, while imperfect, set the stage for every big finale afterward with numerous repetitions on the theme. And how many times has that Blofeld and volcano been ripped off? Too many to count.

    With all the good, however, comes the bad. I think that Bond "going Japanese" is the biggest hurdle in the way of the film becoming good/okay and great. There was a better way to handle Bond's infiltration in a fashion that didn't come off as so poor and awkward, and that didn't sink the momentum of the movie so unfortunately when it should've been climaxing. The tonality of the film before and after that point was all over the place, similar to Goldfinger. Images of murdered and oppressed women are contrasted with corny musical jokes and awkward camp in the latter, while You Only Live Twice represents the same mix of dark, dangerous moments and all the silly ones to match it in between that fail to become a successful final solution to consume. In Dr. No, From Russia with Love and Thunderball the tone was far more consistent and while the films were still fun and lively at times, they didn't ask for you to believe too much and there was an undercurrent of conspiracy and danger surrounding SPECTRE and its power.

    So when we finally get to see Blofeld, the big man behind the veil of the organization, I am personally very disappointed. We were teased with a slim Blofeld with a booming voice in previous films, whereas Pleasence delivers a meek and rather unspectacular turn with little intimidation factor. I never feel scared watching Blofeld, and that's a problem. Worse yet, is how he and Bond meet. Though all the films leading up to that moment teased their collision, with Bond and Blofeld sabotaging each other from afar, they finally speak face to face in...a control room? The dialogue they share isn't snappy or well delivered from either party, and both Bond and Blofeld have very low energy presences. Watching their interactions is very hard for me. Blofeld stands near Bond pointing a gun at him for endless minutes, and Bond just stands there, like he's waiting to be shot and doesn't want to try anything to get out of it. He's either resigned to his fate or bored, much like Sean in reality, who wanted the hell out partly after seeing how far from Dr. No's feeling the films had departed from.

    When you study up on the production of You Only Live Twice and learn that Sean had already shot his main dialogues with Blofeld alongside Jan Werich, the actor who originally performed the role before Pleasence was brought in last minute, you understand why it all feels so disappointing. In Bond's first meeting with the man who should be his Moriarty and ultimate reckoning, Sean and Pleasence are only depicted as speaking in the same room through the art of movie editing. All the other shots we get of the pair together boil down to the above, where Blofeld takes forever to shoot Bond, and Bond just waits for him to pull the trigger. The man who escaped Dr. No's cell, out-garroted Grant and diverted Largo's stolen nukes...just decides to stop fighting when he needs to react with more resolve than ever before? Come on, now.

    The movie doesn't make me feel proud of Bond, and when he looks so bored, even in the face of death, my interest dies too. Sean was right to get out at that point, as all the film was missing was Bond literally jumping the shark to match the figurative act of the same ilk that its script does. In the moment we needed Maibaum on deck the most, he'd abandoned post and the rest is history. What could and should have been haunts me, where we could've had all of Connery's 60s films be iconic, instead of just the first four. It just doesn't have enough good things to distract away from its negatives, with Bond given little to do, a weak lead-up to a third act and a poor decision to swap Aki for a far less interesting or impactful girl at the last minute.

    I know You Only Live Twice has its fans, but I think I'll always be existing in that middle ground, advocating for what it manages to do right and being honest about all it doesn't. There were a couple of films this Bondathon made me have refreshed respect for, and while I hoped it'd be the case here, it wasn't meant to be. Unfortunately it's dead last in the list of all the movies I've reviewed and ranked so far, with only the Moore and Brosnan films excluded from the numbers, and that saddens me.

    I'm interested to hear your perspective, @royale65, when you get around to seeing it and writing up a response. You question you ask is one of the most fascinating to ponder while examining the franchise.
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