Book: A Close Look At 'A View To A Kill'

edited June 2012 in Literary 007 Posts: 32
Hi, I have been meaning to introduce myself and the book I have written, “James Bond In Our Sights: A Close Look At A View To A Kill”. You may already be aware of it through other 007 forums, or through the “Customers who bought this, also bought…” function at amazon.com. The book was published mid-December 2011.

It analyses the four principal characters (not that I’m suggesting for a moment that ATVAK is a character study!) and then analyses the film scene-by-scene. The final chapter looks at how qualities in AVTAK have made their way into subsequent Bond films. The book also takes into account the critical reception that met AVTAK, and covers such issues as Moore’s ‘seasoned’ Bond, Walken’s uniqueness as a Bond villain, and the harder edge of the film’s violence.

While the book is a study of ATVAK, I didn’t want it to be too academic, but rather accessible for all. It is an 'unofficial' print-on-demand book (through Xlibris Corp.). I had considered taking the manuscript to 'regular' publishers, but felt that the book’s focus – concentrating on ONE Bond film (and not a ‘classic’ one) made 27 years ago – was a bit too specialist.

Anyway, if you’re interested, some excerpts can be read at the Facebook page –

Introduction
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.221457254604582.55621.200481546702153&type=1

From Chapter 5
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.292983404118633.70199.200481546702153&type=1

Cheers!
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Comments

  • Posts: 1,778
    Sounds interesting. I'll definatly have a look at it.
  • Posts: 1,778
    Can I ask you a question? Of all the Bond films to devote an entire book to, why choose A View To A Kill? I personally think its underrated. Im curious.
  • Thanks for asking. Yes, I certainly feel AVTAK is underrated, too.

    I think it has a lot of interesting and effective qualities that have been unrecognised (or maybe under-recognised is the more appropriate term), thus the necessity to give the film some extra recognition through a book.

    I’ll just attach something I wrote for commanderbond.net a while back that may be of interest…

    ***

    In terms of examples of why AVTAK is worthy of analysis and appraisal, here are some below. (Of course in the book I can write in much greater depth as to why I think these qualities – that at face value may seem small – are as effective as they are.)

    For example…
    - the dynamic of older Bond/younger supervillain (a dynamic that is also seen in NSNA, but I think is more interestingly conveyed in AVTAK)
    - Zorin is an atypical supervillain in many respects, and his brand of capitalism and sense of entitlement are more ‘recognisably real’ than usual
    - AVTAK’s violence is a little harder to shrug off than the majority of Bond films (the book examines why)
    - Bond is continually bested by May Day (this issue is explored)
    - Bond’s paternalism (and gallantry) towards Stacey is an effective counterbalance to Zorin and May Day’s amorality.
    - The film is not as dependent on action sequences to create its intrigue (a la, OHMSS, CR 2006)
    - While the film has its humour there is a darker tone to proceedings than many a Bond film (the book looks into how this achieved)

    Looking at these examples, the response might be ‘so what?’ but again the book goes into more detail as to why such qualities (often subtle) are effective. (Some of these qualities are of course seen in other Bond films, but I think they are often more clearly expressed in AVTAK.)

  • edited June 2012 Posts: 5,747
    Thanks for asking. Yes, I certainly feel AVTAK is underrated, too.

    I think it has a lot of interesting and effective qualities that have been unrecognised (or maybe under-recognised is the more appropriate term), thus the necessity to give the film some extra recognition through a book.

    I’ll just attach something I wrote for commanderbond.net a while back that may be of interest…

    ***

    For example…
    - The film is not as dependent on action sequences to create its intrigue (a la, OHMSS, CR 2006)

    I feel your ignoring the unique dynamic to these films. That being Bond falling in love. I think the 'allure' of both of these films was not the action sequences, but also Bond in love. Especially OHMSS. CR was advertised for its action, but I think it also was attractive for its love story and the 'Bond's beginning's' dynamic.

    IMO, Bond in love is far more intriguing than old Bond and his aching issues.
  • Posts: 5,651
    I don't want James Bond 'falling in love'

    Too unsavory for the film character
  • Posts: 5,747
    I don't want James Bond 'falling in love'

    Too unsavory for the film character

    That's not the topic. I was simply stating you can't say 'action' was the only notable Bond dynamic in CR and OHMSS.

    AVTAK did have a few interesting things, but their not ones I'd like to see either. However, that's not the topic. I was simply pointing out what I see as a flaw in his example/comparison.
  • Sorry, let me rephrase (I actually agree with what you're saying about CR and OHMSS) -

    Like OHMSS and CR, AVTAK is not as dependent on action sequences to create its intrigue.
  • Posts: 5,747
    Sorry, let me rephrase (I actually agree with what you're saying about CR and OHMSS) -

    Like OHMSS and CR, AVTAK is not as dependent on action sequences to create its intrigue.

    Ah, I understand now. Apologies. The way I read it made it seem you intended to mean CR and OHMSS were dependent on the action, but it's clear now.

    Thank you.
  • Posts: 1,778
    Thanks for asking. Yes, I certainly feel AVTAK is underrated, too.

    I think it has a lot of interesting and effective qualities that have been unrecognised (or maybe under-recognised is the more appropriate term), thus the necessity to give the film some extra recognition through a book.

    I’ll just attach something I wrote for commanderbond.net a while back that may be of interest…

    ***

    In terms of examples of why AVTAK is worthy of analysis and appraisal, here are some below. (Of course in the book I can write in much greater depth as to why I think these qualities – that at face value may seem small – are as effective as they are.)

    For example…
    - the dynamic of older Bond/younger supervillain (a dynamic that is also seen in NSNA, but I think is more interestingly conveyed in AVTAK)
    - Zorin is an atypical supervillain in many respects, and his brand of capitalism and sense of entitlement are more ‘recognisably real’ than usual
    - AVTAK’s violence is a little harder to shrug off than the majority of Bond films (the book examines why)
    - Bond is continually bested by May Day (this issue is explored)
    - Bond’s paternalism (and gallantry) towards Stacey is an effective counterbalance to Zorin and May Day’s amorality.
    - The film is not as dependent on action sequences to create its intrigue (a la, OHMSS, CR 2006)
    - While the film has its humour there is a darker tone to proceedings than many a Bond film (the book looks into how this achieved)

    Looking at these examples, the response might be ‘so what?’ but again the book goes into more detail as to why such qualities (often subtle) are effective. (Some of these qualities are of course seen in other Bond films, but I think they are often more clearly expressed in AVTAK.)

    Sounds like something I'd like to read. I'll be buying a copy tomorrow over amazon. ;)
  • Thanks! Hope you enjoy the book and find it of interest. Feedback always welcome...well, unless you really dislike it, I suppose! Hehe.
    JWESTBROOK wrote:
    Sorry, let me rephrase (I actually agree with what you're saying about CR and OHMSS) -

    Like OHMSS and CR, AVTAK is not as dependent on action sequences to create its intrigue.

    Ah, I understand now. Apologies. The way I read it made it seem you intended to mean CR and OHMSS were dependent on the action, but it's clear now.

    Thank you.

    No probs. I understand how the sentence can be read that way (and I think the revision is clearer!). Cheers!


  • Hi. Just attaching a nice display of quotes from the book...
    547032_370605963023043_1273476943_n.png
  • Posts: 1,548
    If this is what can be produced based on one of the low points od the series,imagine what could be done with a classic Bond like Goldfinger, Casino Royale or Skyfall? Good work sir!
  • May I say, that you cover doesn't really look good? If you want I could've done it for free ;)
  • LeChiffre wrote:
    If this is what can be produced based on one of the low points od the series,imagine what could be done with a classic Bond like Goldfinger, Casino Royale or Skyfall? Good work sir!
    I’m certainly aware of critical and fan response to AVTAK, but I’ve always felt there were many interesting and effective touches in the film that deserved discussion and recognition.


  • Just a small excerpt for Chapter 5 for anyone interested...cheers.

    155475_292983797451927_622852374_n.jpg
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  • Very cool. I look forward to taking a look at your book. While AVTAK is well out of my top ten it's always a film I have admired - partly because I became a huge fan of Bond in 1984 (after we got our first VCR and I saw all the films on VHS) and this was the first 007 film that I anxiously awaited seeing in the theatre. I've always believed that the film is unjustifiably criticized, with so many fans putting it at the very bottom of their list. Are you kidding me??? Have they seen DAD, QOS, LALD to name a few??? Yes, Stacy Sutton makes me want to hang myself, the sequence with the cops in San Francisco is vomit-inducing, and Roger is old and so SLOW in this film that it's hard to believe he can ascend a flight of stairs, much less tangle with assorted hooligans. But Zorin is one of the best villians, the PT sequence is AWESOME (including the California Girls bit) and the fight on the Golden Gate is a classic!!! I'd honestly say that this film is about at the same level as Skyfall, which is quickly becoming the most overrated Bond film in history.
  • Great. I hope you like it! Yes, I too find there's an awful lot I admire about AVTAK, and it offers a lot of interesting variations on the established Bond formula...probably starting with Zorin himself. Yeah, and the Golden Gate finale is great!! Cheers!
  • DragonpolDragonpol "Killers be serial, Copperfield material."
    Posts: 13,026
    Great book on an undeservedly overlooked James Bond film I actually really admire! Keep up the great work, Andrew!
  • Thanks very much. Very happy to hear the book was a positive read for you. Best wishes!
    And if there's anything you'd like to ask/comment upon about the book, feel free! (Well, as long as it's not too hard to answer!)
    Dragonpol wrote:
    Great book on an undeservedly overlooked James Bond film I actually really admire! Keep up the great work, Andrew!
    chapter+list.png

  • Here are links to a couple of short articles at the blog for "James Bond In Our Sights". Hope they're of interest. Cheers!

    Skyfall joins "Evocations of a Kill"
    http://jamesbondinoursights.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/skyfall-joins-evocations-of-kill_4992.html

    Looking at the Sunset with Death on the Horizon
    http://jamesbondinoursights.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/looking-at-sunset-with-death-on-horizon.html

  • DragonpolDragonpol "Killers be serial, Copperfield material."
    Posts: 13,026
    Here are links to a couple of short articles at the blog for "James Bond In Our Sights". Hope they're of interest. Cheers!

    Skyfall joins "Evocations of a Kill"
    http://jamesbondinoursights.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/skyfall-joins-evocations-of-kill_4992.html

    Looking at the Sunset with Death on the Horizon
    http://jamesbondinoursights.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/looking-at-sunset-with-death-on-horizon.html

    Interesting articles as always, Andrew! Great book - just finished reading it last night!
  • Dragonpol wrote:

    Interesting articles as always, Andrew! Great book - just finished reading it last night!

    Thank you Brian ... and I noticed your comment at the blog ... I completely agree that the frustration of not being able to find a source can feel like the onset of madness!
  • DragonpolDragonpol "Killers be serial, Copperfield material."
    edited July 11 Posts: 13,026
    Dragonpol wrote:

    Interesting articles as always, Andrew! Great book - just finished reading it last night!

    Thank you Brian ... and I noticed your comment at the blog ... I completely agree that the frustration of not being able to find a source can feel like the onset of madness!

    Yes, in my case it comes from having way too many books and articles on the literary and cinematic James Bond around about me! I can truly sympathise with you on that!
  • Good reading. I guess in previous films the death count seemed in the context of Second World War movies, and somehow 'acceptable', whereas here there is a nasty foreshadowing of the loony with a gun who offloads into a cinema audience, or class of kids, for his own amusement. For nobody figured that Blofeld and his ilk actually wanted a battle, or were doing it for their own amusement. They were hoping to get away scot free.

    It is similar to the mass shooting by Onatopp in GE, which really could have gone wrong, anticipating the Dunblane shooting by just a couple of months, I think. Had it come out the same time, they would have been in deep doo-doo. Again, it is made clear that Onatopp really enjoys the deaths, and it seems like an even more sadistic version of Schindler's List, it really did not sit well with me.
  • DragonpolDragonpol "Killers be serial, Copperfield material."
    Posts: 13,026
    Good reading. I guess in previous films the death count seemed in the context of Second World War movies, and somehow 'acceptable', whereas here there is a nasty foreshadowing of the loony with a gun who offloads into a cinema audience, or class of kids, for his own amusement. For nobody figured that Blofeld and his ilk actually wanted a battle, or were doing it for their own amusement. They were hoping to get away scot free.

    It is similar to the mass shooting by Onatopp in GE, which really could have gone wrong, anticipating the Dunblane shooting by just a couple of months, I think. Had it come out the same time, they would have been in deep doo-doo. Again, it is made clear that Onatopp really enjoys the deaths, and it seems like an even more sadistic version of Schindler's List, it really did not sit well with me.

    Yes, and then there's Stamper gunning innocent sailors while it's being filmed in TND - both this and Xenia in GE seem to be legacies of Zorin in AVTAK - I'm planning an article on this that will appear on The Bondologist Blog in due course!

  • I think Renard does a bit of shooting of the innocents as he flees his mine, too.
  • DragonpolDragonpol "Killers be serial, Copperfield material."
    edited February 2013 Posts: 13,026
    I think Renard does a bit of shooting of the innocents as he flees his mine, too.

    Yes, as does Silva of one of his own "policemen" in the Court of Inquiry scene in Skyfall - if my one viewing serves me correctly!
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    it is made clear that Onatopp really enjoys the deaths, and it seems like an even more sadistic version of Schindler's List, it really did not sit well with me.

    Gentlemen, in your fevered attempts to try and intellectualise the Bond world please don't cross the line into crassness with ill judged comments just tossed off with no thought.
  • Good reading. I guess in previous films the death count seemed in the context of Second World War movies, and somehow 'acceptable', whereas here there is a nasty foreshadowing of the loony with a gun who offloads into a cinema audience, or class of kids, for his own amusement. For nobody figured that Blofeld and his ilk actually wanted a battle, or were doing it for their own amusement. They were hoping to get away scot free.

    It is similar to the mass shooting by Onatopp in GE, which really could have gone wrong, anticipating the Dunblane shooting by just a couple of months, I think. Had it come out the same time, they would have been in deep doo-doo. Again, it is made clear that Onatopp really enjoys the deaths, and it seems like an even more sadistic version of Schindler's List, it really did not sit well with me.

    Thank you. Yeah, Onatopp didn’t sit well with me, either. As much as I liked Famke Jannsen’s performance (a very brave soul), to me the idea of a psychopath who is sexually aroused by killing people was really a step too far for the Bond “sadism for the family” series. The massacre at Severnaya could have been disturbing if not for Onatopp’s teeth gritting and heavy breathing…but with those elements it feels like an excursion into Tarantino-esque cool. The look on Ouromov’s face however is priceless.

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