Controversial opinions about Bond films

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  • Posts: 13,257
    echo wrote: »
    My general attitude about this stuff is that I don't tend to mind too much if some amount of contrivance or coincidence is present, so long as it works to the advantage of the villain.

    That's a good point. Villains cheating or getting away with something easily feels very Fleming (and let's face it, tight plotting was not Fleming's strong suit).

    Yet somehow it feels unfair if it's too easy for Bond...LALD, I'm looking at your buzzsaw watch.

    No you don't read Flemimg for his plots. He is great at character and atmosphere, but he never was a great plotter.
  • Posts: 2,304
    True. It's also notable that the book Fleming and others regarded as his best--From Russia With Love--is one of his best plotted novels. I also think Thunderball benefits from being based on pre-plotted material, though it still relies on a couple of coincidences.

    But ultimately the Bond novels wouldn't be as memorable or as good as they are if they were tightly plotted in the manner of a classic detective story. Their atmosphere and characters and concepts are almost oneric--arguably they have more in common with surrealist works than detective stories. Fleming would sit down at the typewriter with only the loosest plot in his head; he would type headlong, never looking back for fear that he would lose his pace. The books have the spontaneity and headlong drive of vivid dreams. This also made them easier to adapt to film, the art form most suited to bringing dreams to life.
  • Posts: 616
    Yes, but he moved things along. So, while perhaps not a supreme plotter, at least he was not a plodder....well, I really worked to get to that one, I must say.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 8,404
    echo wrote: »
    My general attitude about this stuff is that I don't tend to mind too much if some amount of contrivance or coincidence is present, so long as it works to the advantage of the villain.

    That's a good point. Villains cheating or getting away with something easily feels very Fleming (and let's face it, tight plotting was not Fleming's strong suit).

    Yet somehow it feels unfair if it's too easy for Bond...LALD, I'm looking at your buzzsaw watch.

    I love the buzzsaw watch as a gadget: it’s such a lovely design idea. But you’re right that it breaks the rule of gadget use: some you don’t have to set up (it’s fine for Bond to pull out his Sharper Image window unlocker credit card without us know about it as it doesn’t get him out of a scrape) but some you absolutely do have to be told about beforehand otherwise it looks too convenient and a magic solution. Sometimes it can come as a fun surprise (underwater Lotus) but sometimes it’s too much of a chest unless you know he’s got them.
  • Posts: 616
    What's all this I read about "Too much of a chest" ? Oh, no, dear ! It is not as though they ever had Russ Myer film veterans in the Bond films...What's that ? Typographical error for "cheat" ? Oh ! Never mind ! (with fondness for the late, great Gilda Radner)
  • mtm wrote: »
    echo wrote: »
    My general attitude about this stuff is that I don't tend to mind too much if some amount of contrivance or coincidence is present, so long as it works to the advantage of the villain.

    That's a good point. Villains cheating or getting away with something easily feels very Fleming (and let's face it, tight plotting was not Fleming's strong suit).

    Yet somehow it feels unfair if it's too easy for Bond...LALD, I'm looking at your buzzsaw watch.

    I love the buzzsaw watch as a gadget: it’s such a lovely design idea. But you’re right that it breaks the rule of gadget use: some you don’t have to set up (it’s fine for Bond to pull out his Sharper Image window unlocker credit card without us know about it as it doesn’t get him out of a scrape) but some you absolutely do have to be told about beforehand otherwise it looks too convenient and a magic solution. Sometimes it can come as a fun surprise (underwater Lotus) but sometimes it’s too much of a chest unless you know he’s got them.

    In defense of LALD's buzzsaw watch, they do set up in the post-titles scene that Bond is getting a new tricked-out watch. I actually rather like that we sometimes see Bond use gadgets that aren't set up during a briefing. Like the watch detonator in MR or the piton and rappelling wire in TWINE. They're fun, surprising little moments, and it makes sense that Bond has some equipment that wasn't invented purely for the one assignment.

    I think it does work better when they pop up mid-action sequence just to give Bond a little edge over the competition rather than as his one way out of certain doom, so I can see why the buzzsaw would feel like a screenwriting cheat, but the moment has never read that way to me. I don't think LALD's climax would have been improved any had Bond used his watch to slice M some fresh biscuits to go with his coffee. ;)
  • Posts: 1,576
    mtm wrote: »
    echo wrote: »
    My general attitude about this stuff is that I don't tend to mind too much if some amount of contrivance or coincidence is present, so long as it works to the advantage of the villain.

    That's a good point. Villains cheating or getting away with something easily feels very Fleming (and let's face it, tight plotting was not Fleming's strong suit).

    Yet somehow it feels unfair if it's too easy for Bond...LALD, I'm looking at your buzzsaw watch.

    I love the buzzsaw watch as a gadget: it’s such a lovely design idea. But you’re right that it breaks the rule of gadget use: some you don’t have to set up (it’s fine for Bond to pull out his Sharper Image window unlocker credit card without us know about it as it doesn’t get him out of a scrape) but some you absolutely do have to be told about beforehand otherwise it looks too convenient and a magic solution. Sometimes it can come as a fun surprise (underwater Lotus) but sometimes it’s too much of a chest unless you know he’s got them.

    In defense of LALD's buzzsaw watch, they do set up in the post-titles scene that Bond is getting a new tricked-out watch. I actually rather like that we sometimes see Bond use gadgets that aren't set up during a briefing. Like the watch detonator in MR or the piton and rappelling wire in TWINE. They're fun, surprising little moments, and it makes sense that Bond has some equipment that wasn't invented purely for the one assignment.

    I think it does work better when they pop up mid-action sequence just to give Bond a little edge over the competition rather than as his one way out of certain doom, so I can see why the buzzsaw would feel like a screenwriting cheat, but the moment has never read that way to me. I don't think LALD's climax would have been improved any had Bond used his watch to slice M some fresh biscuits to go with his coffee. ;)

    Interesting take. What makes that buzzsaw watch gimmick more frustrating is during that opening scene when Bond gets the watch they go out of the way to tease it having the ability to deflect the path of a bullet at long range but does nothing with that and instead produces something we didn't know about and is just too convenient.

    My problem with the rappelling watch is it's hard to accept that there was that much wire to go that far and that it was strong enough to hold two people. The GE version of that gadget was more acceptable.

    You'd have to think Bond would carry a few gadgets with him at any time. But when they seem too convenient is when it becomes a distraction. The worst offender is the artificial volcano climbing gear in YOLT. So Bond woke up that morning to investigate that cave where the poison gas came from and thought it would be good to have that gear with him cause you never know when you may encounter an artificial volcano you'll need to climb from the very top.

    An ironic reverse of that is Bond having the mini safecracker in YOLT that solves the code in about a minute and then reverting to a huge machine in OHMSS that takes a much longer time to solve.
  • BT3366 wrote: »
    My problem with the rappelling watch is it's hard to accept that there was that much wire to go that far and that it was strong enough to hold two people.

    That one only had to hold one person. There are many parts of every Bond film that stretch plausibility. Nearly every gadget produced by Q Branch falls under that category. That's what makes Bond sci-fantasy. This isn't one of the series' many creative liberties I lose sleep over. ;)
  • Posts: 13,257
    Revelator wrote: »
    True. It's also notable that the book Fleming and others regarded as his best--From Russia With Love--is one of his best plotted novels. I also think Thunderball benefits from being based on pre-plotted material, though it still relies on a couple of coincidences.

    But ultimately the Bond novels wouldn't be as memorable or as good as they are if they were tightly plotted in the manner of a classic detective story. Their atmosphere and characters and concepts are almost oneric--arguably they have more in common with surrealist works than detective stories. Fleming would sit down at the typewriter with only the loosest plot in his head; he would type headlong, never looking back for fear that he would lose his pace. The books have the spontaneity and headlong drive of vivid dreams. This also made them easier to adapt to film, the art form most suited to bringing dreams to life.

    I also think it's a generation thing: John Buchan before him was not a great plotter either (his novels were filled with contrived coincidences) and Raymond Chandler tend to get messy with plots.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 8,404
    Yeah if we wanted a real Fleming-style Bond then he would be constantly winning and staying alive by pure luck! :D
    (Which we did get in CR to some extent, but I wouldn’t want that every time)
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython "I want you looking FABULOUS."
    Posts: 4,739
    Some Bond fans that get really fixated over plot points ought to take this advice:



    I have problems with TWINE, but stuff like Cigar Girl waiting for Bond’s head to pop up from the blast hole on MI6 so to shoot at him so to instigate an elaborate boat chase is the least of my problems with that film.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 4,412
    mtm wrote: »
    Yeah if we wanted a real Fleming-style Bond then he would be constantly winning and staying alive by pure luck! :D
    (Which we did get in CR to some extent, but I wouldn’t want that every time)

    Which is ironic considering he fails the mission lol
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    Posts: 8,404
    mtm wrote: »
    Yeah if we wanted a real Fleming-style Bond then he would be constantly winning and staying alive by pure luck! :D
    (Which we did get in CR to some extent, but I wouldn’t want that every time)

    Which is ironic considering he fails the mission lol

    Well, not massively ironic as that's how Fleming wrote it! :)
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 4,412
    mtm wrote: »
    mtm wrote: »
    Yeah if we wanted a real Fleming-style Bond then he would be constantly winning and staying alive by pure luck! :D
    (Which we did get in CR to some extent, but I wouldn’t want that every time)

    Which is ironic considering he fails the mission lol

    Well, not massively ironic as that's how Fleming wrote it! :)

    I just meant that it's ironic he was constantly winning and staying alive by pure luck as you put it, only to fail in the end. Nothing regarding any discrepancies between the novel and the film.
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 6,954
    silva13 wrote: »
    I always here people complain about Silva knowing the exact place to plant explosives to drop the train on Bond but I've always read it as Silva was always going to detonate a bomb in the train station as a way to divert emergency services away from the inquiry- having Bond there was purely a bonus hence why Silva is waiting in the dark for him to catch up!

    That’s how I always viewed it.

    I think many fans read way too into the “he’s planned this for years” line by Q, as if Silva anticipated EVERYTHING to the last detail. Except he never anticipated things like Mallory jumping in front of M to take a bullet.

    Well, there are a few more items, like the doors opening exactly after Q stupidly attached the network cable to Silva's laptop. Rather a stupid mistake tbh, when you work in a highly secure environment, but how would Silva time that one? Makes little sense to me. It would be far more convincing if that didn't happen directly, but i.e. hours later -> then the timing would make sense.

    The timing here never really bothered me that much, it'd be safe for Silva to assume the higher priority would be getting him in that cage, and then he just set his computer to open the doors as soon as it was plugged in, which he could assume would be after they locked him up. Maybe I'm missing something though.

    Well it's this exact timing - q making a rookie mistake - that opens the doors so silva can run to the inquiry which was only set up because of Silva's succesfull attack (or did he hack into that system too to plan an enquiry as well?) so he could on his way there set a bomb to destract emergency services so he could go to that enquiry immediately (which timing, as said, is connected to q's timing of plugging in) and go and kill M. It's just too much, and far from the coincidences Fleming wrote, because here the villains' plot depends on the exact timing of a major character on the opposite side. Fleming only let coincidences safe Bond where they might actually happen.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 4,412
    silva13 wrote: »
    I always here people complain about Silva knowing the exact place to plant explosives to drop the train on Bond but I've always read it as Silva was always going to detonate a bomb in the train station as a way to divert emergency services away from the inquiry- having Bond there was purely a bonus hence why Silva is waiting in the dark for him to catch up!

    That’s how I always viewed it.

    I think many fans read way too into the “he’s planned this for years” line by Q, as if Silva anticipated EVERYTHING to the last detail. Except he never anticipated things like Mallory jumping in front of M to take a bullet.

    Well, there are a few more items, like the doors opening exactly after Q stupidly attached the network cable to Silva's laptop. Rather a stupid mistake tbh, when you work in a highly secure environment, but how would Silva time that one? Makes little sense to me. It would be far more convincing if that didn't happen directly, but i.e. hours later -> then the timing would make sense.

    The timing here never really bothered me that much, it'd be safe for Silva to assume the higher priority would be getting him in that cage, and then he just set his computer to open the doors as soon as it was plugged in, which he could assume would be after they locked him up. Maybe I'm missing something though.

    Well it's this exact timing - q making a rookie mistake - that opens the doors so silva can run to the inquiry which was only set up because of Silva's succesfull attack (or did he hack into that system too to plan an enquiry as well?) so he could on his way there set a bomb to destract emergency services so he could go to that enquiry immediately (which timing, as said, is connected to q's timing of plugging in) and go and kill M. It's just too much, and far from the coincidences Fleming wrote, because here the villains' plot depends on the exact timing of a major character on the opposite side. Fleming only let coincidences safe Bond where they might actually happen.

    I'm not sure what you mean about setting a bomb to distract emergency services, do you mean the train explosion that almost crashed into Bond?

    I don't know, if it takes you out of the story, then it's a fair complaint I'd say but none of it really bothered me that much when I was watching the movie. One true coincidence I suppose you could say is that Q plugged the laptop in and opened the doors giving Silva just enough time to reach the hearing at a very dramatic moment, but this is just dramatic filmmaking; it didn't take me out at all, they were just telling a story.

    At some point we're going to have to depart from this "WWIFD" rhetoric. He's been gone for a long time, and if we want the franchise and the stories to continue, they're going to have to get more and more different, lest we just keep repeating what we have already.
  • mtmmtm United Kingdom
    edited September 3 Posts: 8,404
    mtm wrote: »
    mtm wrote: »
    Yeah if we wanted a real Fleming-style Bond then he would be constantly winning and staying alive by pure luck! :D
    (Which we did get in CR to some extent, but I wouldn’t want that every time)

    Which is ironic considering he fails the mission lol

    Well, not massively ironic as that's how Fleming wrote it! :)

    I just meant that it's ironic he was constantly winning and staying alive by pure luck as you put it, only to fail in the end. Nothing regarding any discrepancies between the novel and the film.

    Well his life is saved by luck there, though. Again, not really ironic- it's just another example of the situations I was describing.
    silva13 wrote: »
    I always here people complain about Silva knowing the exact place to plant explosives to drop the train on Bond but I've always read it as Silva was always going to detonate a bomb in the train station as a way to divert emergency services away from the inquiry- having Bond there was purely a bonus hence why Silva is waiting in the dark for him to catch up!

    That’s how I always viewed it.

    I think many fans read way too into the “he’s planned this for years” line by Q, as if Silva anticipated EVERYTHING to the last detail. Except he never anticipated things like Mallory jumping in front of M to take a bullet.

    Well, there are a few more items, like the doors opening exactly after Q stupidly attached the network cable to Silva's laptop. Rather a stupid mistake tbh, when you work in a highly secure environment, but how would Silva time that one? Makes little sense to me. It would be far more convincing if that didn't happen directly, but i.e. hours later -> then the timing would make sense.

    The timing here never really bothered me that much, it'd be safe for Silva to assume the higher priority would be getting him in that cage, and then he just set his computer to open the doors as soon as it was plugged in, which he could assume would be after they locked him up. Maybe I'm missing something though.

    Well it's this exact timing - q making a rookie mistake - that opens the doors so silva can run to the inquiry which was only set up because of Silva's succesfull attack (or did he hack into that system too to plan an enquiry as well?) so he could on his way there set a bomb to destract emergency services so he could go to that enquiry immediately (which timing, as said, is connected to q's timing of plugging in) and go and kill M. It's just too much, and far from the coincidences Fleming wrote, because here the villains' plot depends on the exact timing of a major character on the opposite side. Fleming only let coincidences safe Bond where they might actually happen.

    I'm not sure what you mean about setting a bomb to distract emergency services, do you mean the train explosion that almost crashed into Bond?

    I don't know, if it takes you out of the story, then it's a fair complaint I'd say but none of it really bothered me that much when I was watching the movie. One true coincidence I suppose you could say is that Q plugged the laptop in and opened the doors giving Silva just enough time to reach the hearing at a very dramatic moment, but this is just dramatic filmmaking; it didn't take me out at all, they were just telling a story.

    Yes I agree: the only problem comes when you think about it afterwards and have to consider 'hang on, was his plan that M would be at an enquiry at exactly that moment? How did he plan that?' but it's not something that spoils it when watching it.
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    edited September 4 Posts: 4,412
    mtm wrote: »
    mtm wrote: »
    mtm wrote: »
    Yeah if we wanted a real Fleming-style Bond then he would be constantly winning and staying alive by pure luck! :D
    (Which we did get in CR to some extent, but I wouldn’t want that every time)

    Which is ironic considering he fails the mission lol

    Well, not massively ironic as that's how Fleming wrote it! :)

    I just meant that it's ironic he was constantly winning and staying alive by pure luck as you put it, only to fail in the end. Nothing regarding any discrepancies between the novel and the film.

    Well his life is saved by luck there, though. Again, not really ironic- it's just another example of the situations I was describing.

    Fair enough I suppose, I'm not really sure what you're original point was. All I was saying is that, in a story where Bond constantly succeeds through luck, and stays alive through luck, and then ultimately fails, is ironic. Bond failing is the irony. I say he fails because:
    • Le Chiffre dies so he can't be brought into MI6 for information,
    • A the end of the film the proceeds of the game end up in the hands of the terrorist organization (even though Mr. White ends up in the hands of Bond).
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython "I want you looking FABULOUS."
    Posts: 4,739
    I always thought by capturing White that meant Bond got the money back. However, we never actually see that happen, so we can’t say for sure if he ultimately lost the money or not. Given how triumphant he seems at the end, I would assume he got the money back!
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 6,954
    silva13 wrote: »
    I always here people complain about Silva knowing the exact place to plant explosives to drop the train on Bond but I've always read it as Silva was always going to detonate a bomb in the train station as a way to divert emergency services away from the inquiry- having Bond there was purely a bonus hence why Silva is waiting in the dark for him to catch up!

    That’s how I always viewed it.

    I think many fans read way too into the “he’s planned this for years” line by Q, as if Silva anticipated EVERYTHING to the last detail. Except he never anticipated things like Mallory jumping in front of M to take a bullet.

    Well, there are a few more items, like the doors opening exactly after Q stupidly attached the network cable to Silva's laptop. Rather a stupid mistake tbh, when you work in a highly secure environment, but how would Silva time that one? Makes little sense to me. It would be far more convincing if that didn't happen directly, but i.e. hours later -> then the timing would make sense.

    The timing here never really bothered me that much, it'd be safe for Silva to assume the higher priority would be getting him in that cage, and then he just set his computer to open the doors as soon as it was plugged in, which he could assume would be after they locked him up. Maybe I'm missing something though.

    Well it's this exact timing - q making a rookie mistake - that opens the doors so silva can run to the inquiry which was only set up because of Silva's succesfull attack (or did he hack into that system too to plan an enquiry as well?) so he could on his way there set a bomb to destract emergency services so he could go to that enquiry immediately (which timing, as said, is connected to q's timing of plugging in) and go and kill M. It's just too much, and far from the coincidences Fleming wrote, because here the villains' plot depends on the exact timing of a major character on the opposite side. Fleming only let coincidences safe Bond where they might actually happen.

    I'm not sure what you mean about setting a bomb to distract emergency services, do you mean the train explosion that almost crashed into Bond?

    I don't know, if it takes you out of the story, then it's a fair complaint I'd say but none of it really bothered me that much when I was watching the movie. One true coincidence I suppose you could say is that Q plugged the laptop in and opened the doors giving Silva just enough time to reach the hearing at a very dramatic moment, but this is just dramatic filmmaking; it didn't take me out at all, they were just telling a story.

    At some point we're going to have to depart from this "WWIFD" rhetoric. He's been gone for a long time, and if we want the franchise and the stories to continue, they're going to have to get more and more different, lest we just keep repeating what we have already.

    For me that really took me out of the story. They could've easily fixed that by making a time lapse in between Silva getting caught and Q plugging in, and him then checking with his crew if the hearing already started. That coincendence I'd have bought. But to me all this is cheap scriptwriting, another 'invisible Aston Martin' for Purvis and Wade to show that they're lazy (or just not that good) scriptwriters.

  • Posts: 13,257
    I always thought by capturing White that meant Bond got the money back. However, we never actually see that happen, so we can’t say for sure if he ultimately lost the money or not. Given how triumphant he seems at the end, I would assume he got the money back!

    I guess it's for the Mandela effect thread, but for a while I could swear White was holding the suitcase with the money when Bond shot him. In any case, I always assumed he picked up the money back.
  • QBranchQBranch Always have an escape plan. Mine is watching James Bond films.
    edited September 4 Posts: 11,541
    In the film, that case of money would've been long gone. I doubt White would've taken it back to his house.

    In the QOS game, you search for the briefcase in White's estate, but it's not there. It is never found.
  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    edited September 4 Posts: 6,470
    QBranch wrote: »
    In the film, that case of money would've been long gone. I doubt White would've taken it back to his house.

    In the QOS game, you search for the briefcase in White's estate, but it's not there. It is never found.

    Yeah I always assumed a decent chunk of time (maybe a day) had passed between Bond getting White's number in Venice and him catching up with him at his estate. The money was long gone.
  • I don't think anyone really knows for sure what happens, in terms of specifics, in the second half of Casino Royale. The viewer gets to sort it out.
  • edited September 4 Posts: 13,257
    QBranch wrote: »
    In the film, that case of money would've been long gone. I doubt White would've taken it back to his house.

    In the QOS game, you search for the briefcase in White's estate, but it's not there. It is never found.

    Yeah I always assumed a decent chunk of time (maybe a day) had passed between Bond getting White's number in Venice and him catching up with him at his estate. The money was long gone.

    I don't know. I always thought he was trusted to keep it close to him until he leaves the country to get it somewhere safe. But then again I thought he was holding the suitcase when he got shot on the leg.
  • MakeshiftPythonMakeshiftPython "I want you looking FABULOUS."
    Posts: 4,739
    Damn those filmmakers for not being considerate enough of audiences to make it explicit if the money was retrieved or not! ;)
  • NickTwentyTwoNickTwentyTwo Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Posts: 4,412
    Damn those filmmakers for not being considerate enough of audiences to make it explicit if the money was retrieved or not! ;)

    :))

    I think the story they were telling was that the money was reabsorbed by Quantum. But yeah, there was no hand-holding with regards to the outcome that way, which I think is a good thing.
  • Indeed, if they're not going to tell you whether Mathis is a baddie, explain how Bond's password could get Le Chiffre the money, or offer a compelling reason for Vesper to hand over the winnings, I don't know why they'd flesh out this aspect! Even in analyzing this movie to try to figure out what's going on, the question of whether the money was retrieved by Bond never even occured to me!
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 9,142
    Well Bond and White both changed clothes between Venice and the final scene. And there's a highway distance of 350 km or more involved.

    As far as what's on screen for viewers: White is carrying the money. No other transfer is indicated. Would he trust anyone else with it, at that point?

    I like the idea of OO7 winning, undercutting the bad guys in the long run every time.

    5aabd7fdfa183f78c1efc267eb7be7388f6ba297.gifv


  • Posts: 787
    I think the money was long gone by the time Bond caught up with White at the end.

    It’s strange how the two films in the Craig era that gets the most praise ( CR and SF ) both end with him failing the mission but he acts like he’s triumphant in the final frame of both!
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