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Now that would have been a twist ending...
Also, @Major_Boothroyd, excellent review a couple pages back. I agree with so many of your points on NTTD (all of them actually), positive and negative, especially regarding the inclusion of WHATTITW. However well it all worked and wherever my feelings on the film as a whole settle in the end, it is encouraging to see that they threw a ton of ideas and ambition into this film. There is certainly no lack of desire on behalf of the producers to see James Bond thrive on the silver screen.
That has nothing to do with Codine-strung-out Felix.
Not disputing that. It’s a failed attempt at lightening up the audience by saying “Felix is okay, happy ending! Please don’t feel somber!”
In the same way that NTTD's end was a failed attempt. IMO.
"James Bond will return"
EON is like that with all their films that has a downbeat ending.
OHMSS: “Play up the Bond theme! Let audiences not feel so glum!”
LTK: “Give Bond an ending that feels like it came out of a teen comedy by John Hughes!”
TWINE: “We can’t just kill Elektra and have Bond feel bad about it, add another Bond girl, and make sure it ends with a cheesy pun!”
CR: “We can’t end with the bitch is dead, MAKE BOND TRIUMPHANT!”
QOS: “GUN BARREL BABY!!”
SF: “HEY! M’s OLD OFFICE JUST LIKE THE GOOD OLD DAYS!”
EON will never EVER want a downbeat ending where the end credits are silent like PLANET OF THE APES film series or something.
I guess they learned their lesson with OHMSS....
I have to admit, I did not come up with that quip, I read it somewhere. But I remember Sir Sean Connery, in an interview with Barry "And why not?" Normanwhen asked, what he thinks about Moore'sBond movies, and he talks about the parody character of Moore's Bond, but saying, that Moore "inheited" a bit of ths parody from DAF...
Actually, Gray's Blofeld is my favourite villain (*ducks for cover*). Yes, I need to turn a blind eye to his crazy woman disguise for this statement, but I like his 70s style a lot and how he's not physically menacing, but his plot is. He's really involved and there's some good banter with Bond.
That’s not really the end though is it? It’s just something they always have at the end of the credits, I wouldn’t class it as part of the film. If that’s the end, then camera guy 2’s credit was the build up to the big finale. And I don’t think it has to be literal, not since they stopped revealing the titles. Like, Brosnan didn’t return did he? We shifted to a Bond who was definitively a whole new person, in a whole new continuity. Nobody complained about that.
And if they hadn’t included it, they’d just have caused grief for themselves. Imagine all the clickbait articles and videos using it as evidence that they were DEFINITELY replacing Bond with Nomi or whatever. There’d already been plenty of outrage from the “go woke go broke why won’t anyone have sex with meeee” crowd before we’d even seen the film. I don’t think it lightened things either, but I don’t think that was the intention. They were just saying “see you next time” like they do at the end of every film. It’s just something they’ve always done, I don’t think there was any real intention behind it.
I hadn’t really thought about it that way, but I do think NTTD deserves credit for that. Actually being willing to end on a sombre note for a change.
I don't think NTTD does end on a somber note: Madeleine and Mathilde driving into the sunset with Madeleine smiling and about to recount for her daughter the adventures of James Bond. That's a pretty "up" note. Then Louis' "We Have All the Time in the World" is a very bright and optimistic version of that theme. Barry used the theme in quite somber ways in his score for OHMSS, but the song itself is as cheerful as it gets.
Anyways, end credits music aside, I'd say there have only been two endings to Bond films that could not be read as wholly triumphant or optimistic.
OHMSS is the first and most obvious one. There's simply no debating that the film proper closes on a down note. Tracy shot dead. End credits.
The other would be QOS. There is closure in Bond tossing Vesper's necklace in the snow, growth in his decision to spare Yusef's life, and reassurance in his final note to M that he "never left," but none of this reads as triumph and any optimism to be found in Bond resolving to move on from Vesper is weighted heavily by tragedy. Not even the final scene of NTTD, addressing the death of James Bond himself, matches the somber air of Bond and M standing in the snow at night outside Yusef's apartment.
Those are my thoughts on the various endings. The band-aids of blasting the James Bond theme or rolling out the gun barrel do little to impact the final note the story itself ends on.
Personally I really enjoyed this one, although it was way too long and I would have preferred a different ending. (On the other hand, a girl I normally go to these type of movies with refused to go, after finding out what was going to happen to our hero, so that was one ticket sale EON missed out on.)
I thought that there was plenty of action, it’s just that, being such a long movie, there was also plenty of soap and melodrama, as we have come to expect from “Craig-Bond”.
I found the plot easy enough to follow, but perhaps it was all the reading of others opinions on this website that prepared me. Regarding the mysterious boats approaching the island during the finale, for some unknown reason many people seem to assume they were terrorists or other independent organisations of evil, coming to purchase or bid at auction for the new weapon, in order to use it for their own evil purposes, but there is no evidence to support this theory, as far as I saw and heard. It is the Russians, Japanese, US and other “authorities” who get mentioned by MI6 several times and, as the island is between Russia and Japan, and the base is an abandoned Soviet Cold War missile base, it makes more sense to me to assume it is the Russian navy in some form, and of course MI6 don’t want them to get hold of the weapon.
I liked most the actors. All the regulars were in good form, although I’m starting to feel a bit sorry for M. Is that really what we’ve come to in the World today – M’s judgement is always wrong? I thought the way the whole black female 007 idea was handled was quite a neat way to address public interest in those ideas, without committing to them long term, and Lashana Lynch has enough physical presence to be believable in the way someone like Naomi Harris wouldn’t have been. Jeffrey Wright seemed to be enjoying his return to the role of Felix (perhaps channelling a bit of Bernie Casey’s version of Leiter?) Ana Demas deserves all the praise she’s been getting.
I thought Rami Malek did a very good job as the villain, even managing to mumble his way through the explanation of his muddled “master plan” in such a way that it wasn’t too obvious how half-baked it actually was, and his various henchmen were decent enough, although none rose to the level of “iconic”. I’m still not a great fan of Christoph Waltz as Blofeld, but continuity is preferable to exhuming Charles Gray.
I even liked the Russian scientist, who I found less obtrusive and irritating than many previous comic relief characters in the series. I’m not sure why that was, but there it is, judgements about the likeability of actors are often entirely subjective and individual.
I liked the humour, which I found to be more natural and less forced than in many of other Bond movies. Stuff like the abortive flirtations with Nomi and Paloma and the “Bond… James Bond” when he returned to the office and the reception guy didn’t know who he was.
I liked the references to previous movies, particularly the use of the three Astons and the portraits of previous Ms, even though, as someone else pointed out, they go against the whole concept of “Craig’s Bond being a different Universe, unconnected to previous incarnations of James Bond”.
As far as the romance is concerned, for me, it worked, because the heavy lifting is done off screen, in the time elapsed between films. They were only getting acquainted by the end of SP, but by the time NTTD begins they have been together for some time.
Personally, I’m not one who ever found the great on-screen romances with Tracy or Vesper at all realistic. For me, in neither case was there sufficient interaction to establish anything other than a superficial level of attraction, something to build on, yes, but not the undying devotion those movies would have us accept. There just isn’t time for that within the constraints of an action movie. Flirting, physical attraction, lust - yes, true love, no.
So I was good with the relationship between Madeleine Swann and Craig Bond having developed into something more substantial between and SP and NTTD, and the lovey-dovey dialogue managed to avoid sinking to the depths of Vesper’s dreadful “If the only thing left of you was your smile and your little finger” in CR. (in fact, this time the little finger may well have been all that actually was left!)
Given the ending that had been decided upon was not to my taste, I thought it was executed very well. Hats off to Director Cary Fukunaga , I think he did an even better job with this than Mendes managed with “Skyfall” and I’m rating it up alongside “Casino Royale” among Craig-Bond movies at the moment. I don’t think Babs will ever get closer than this to making an “Oscar worthy” Bond movie, but the reality may be that, as it has always been, pure entertainment action movies never win any of the “Big Five” Oscars. Not the Guns of Navaronne, not Goldfinger, not the Empire Strikes Back, not Indiana Jones, not Die Hard, not T2, not Iron Man, not The Avengers, not Black Panther.
But no Bond movie is perfect, of course, and this one is no different. “Craig-Bond” is supposedly more “gritty” and “realistic” and it’s all relative I suppose. However in truth a thin veneer papering over typical movie improbabilities and impossibilities such as…
James Bond stands in front of the tomb, in exactly the spot where the bomb maker would have wanted him to be standing, and yet suffers no serious injury, just a few abrasions and a temporary ringing in his ears. It’s not as if he realises his danger at the last second and tries to dive out of the way, he just takes the blast full frontal and then gets up and runs off after the villains. Some might like to suggest that the bomb was only intended to shake him up and all the elaborate action that follows is carefully planned and choreographed so that Bond will end up in the position of strangling the main henchman and be told he had been betrayed by Madeleine? But that would be utterly ridiculous IMO.
A lab that is working on a deadly nanobot / virus, that could potentially kill everyone on earth… is located in an office tower in central London. Not credible. Not even in Wuhan.
The villains use some sort of elaborate “Magnetic Parachute” contraption, which is dropped down a lift-shaft, with little sensors firing off precisely onto the walls all the way down. Which is about as credible as the infamous “Invisible Car” for which DAD gets so much criticism (and why give such a great gadget to the villains as a throwaway, never to be seen again? Rather than save it for Bond to use… as he makes his escape in the finale!)
Nanobots are also currently in the realms of the invisible car as far as credibility goes. Tailored virus bioweapon, much more credible, but, as others have suggested, perhaps the advent of Corona virus made that idea too hot to handle, and scared the producers into altering the plot slightly?
Blofeld having a bionic eye without MI6 detecting it. To me it’s not credible that MI6 would have such a “valuable asset" in their possession and not given him an extremely thorough medical examination, which would certainly have revealed any such technology.
And finally - my alternative ending!
James Bond makes it back down to the reinforced safety of the submarine pen and escapes in the sub, which is still there because Nomi, Madeleine and Mathilde used a boat to escape
How could he get down there quickly enough? Perhaps via some sort of convenient ventilation shaft, making use of a magnetic parachute that Q gave him? (i.e. instead of wasting that tech on the villains)
Bond is last seen back on yet another deserted tropical island, watching his kid playing, over in Norway, via Skype...
Fade to black
James Bond Will Return!
Seriously though, great job! I loved reading your post.
I agree on some points, and I slightly disagree on some others. But it's well-written, and, as I said, very thoughtfull and interesting! And I like the bit with the "little finger". *lol*
I can't wait to see the journey past the traffic lights at the top of Gabriels Hill and out to the Thomas Wyatt.
Seriously, though, I've never understood the love for Moonraker. It feels completely different to the first 2 novels, almost as if it was written by someone else. A result of its conception, I suppose, and a discussion for a completely different thread too.
I only hate DAF if I watch it right after OHMSS. Any other time its perfectly enjoyable!
I'm of this frame of mind as well. I've put myself through some serious mental gymnastics over the years trying to find more appreciation for it; but aside from a handful of very funny lines of dialogue and Barry's score, the film is pants.
But maybe we should get back to NTTD.
DAF is so awful that it is magnificent.