Film Review: Spectre

Posted on by 5WC in Film

Bond is back, and so are Daniel Craig and Sam Mendes. Looking to follow up the phenomenal success they had together on Skyfall; Spectre, the 24th instalment in the Bond franchise, has always been stuck slightly in predecessor’s shadow with a weight of expectation to deliver upon its shoulders far greater than it really deserved. In fact, it’s fair to say that aside from Star Wars: The Force Awakens no other movie this year has been waited for with such anticipation, and I’ll admit, I am one of those piling on the pressure to deliver, after all, I named it in my 10 movies of 2015 I couldn’t wait to see.

Sadly though for me, it just doesn’t deliver. It’s not a bad film, it’s purely a case that there are more negatives than positives to come from it. My biggest complaint against it is that nothing really makes sense. The plot appears to be individualistic yet formulaic. This is the story of Daniel Craig as Bond and so, all too often, it’s trying to tie up ideas and clarify characters from any one of his previous three outings into a story that is meant to come together and complete the tale. It’s a back to the future plot. A completing of the circle. Read more

Book Review: Solo By William Boyd

Posted on by 5WC in Book
Solo By William Boyd - Header

I really don’t know whether to call myself a huge James Bond fan or not. You’ll be able to see from my blog that I’ve watched all 23 films and currently wait the 24th with anticipation. I also rowed many, many anorexic miles listening to the books of Ian Fleming narrated by a variety of different stars and I’ve even read Devil May Care by Sebastian Faulks. Yet I’m not instantly drawn to the character and his stories. I’m interested in them more through celebrity and routine than passion and love.

William Boyd’s attempt at a writing a new James Bond novel has been hailed by many to be a close and fitting tribute to the style and ideas designed by Fleming. And it was also the fourth book recommended to me by my Father on his list of “books I should read”. Everything adding together to bring back to life a character that I enjoy spending time with in a style the fits the mental imagery I already hold. So it’s fair to say that I was actually looking forward to reading it. Read more

Film Review: Quantum Of Solace

Posted on by 5WC in Film

And so, the end is near. I can now officially say that I am part of a very nonexclusive club of people who have watched every Bond film. I’ve shared 23 missions with Britain’s best loved spy. And while we’ve had some impressive ups, some seriously low lows and a lot of filler in between, the friendship is strong and continuing.

Annoyingly though, our time for now is drawing to a close with Quantum of Solace. The last film in the “50 years of Bond” box set and therefore, until the 24th and as yet untitled film hit’s cinema’s in November 2015 is likely to be my lasting remembrance of Bond as Skyfall, arguably his and Craig’s finest outing, being a cinema treat rather than a home DVD experience.
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Film Review: Casino Royale

Posted on by 5WC in Film

In my view Casino Royale is arguably the most important James Bond film there has ever been. This really is the live or die moment for the franchise. The Pierce Brosnan era had sunk the franchise lower and lower. It struggled to let go of the past and through Brosnan’s uncomfortable miscasting and the even worse judgement in attempting to continue “Q Branch” with John Cleese had created a scenario where by the writing was seriously close to the wall.

And then along came one man, holding firmly in his grasp the nails and hammer to Bonds coffin. And before you jump to conclusions I am not talking about Daniel Craig. I am in fact, talking about Paul Greengrass. He was the man who took Doug Liman‘s massively successful The Bourne Identity and turned Jason Bourne into the spy to which you now had to complete. Essentially Liman raised the bar on the spy genre and then Paul Greengrass set it in stone and said this is 21st Century spying.
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Film Review: Die Another Day

Posted on by 5WC in Film

Well I knew this day would come. It’s been creeping up on me, getting closer and closer, until last night, it finally arrived. I had reached Die Another Day. I don’t care how many Bond movies you watch, whether you secretly love Pierce Brosnan, or if you simply have the most masochistic personality possible, there is nobody out there who can possibly think Die Another Die is a good film. Because it isn’t.

Everything about it is just wrong. It was released in the middle of The Matrix trilogy at a time when film making, special effects and stunt works had essentially been turned on its head and revolutionised as a result of Neo dodging bullets and a 360 camera pan. As a result, you can see that the production team tasked with creating Die Another Day felt a need to embrace these new principles, to make Bond feel up to date and fresh in it’s style and cinematography and yet, they’ve failed so spectacularly that it doesn’t just ruin the movie, it makes it feel cheap.
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Film Review: The World Is Not Enough

Posted on by 5WC in Film

I have a problem with The World Is Not Enough. This movie is simply two things smashed together in the vague attempt to make a film that works and as shocking as this may seem, it doesn’t. There is a simple reason though why it fails so spectacularly to work. The two parts they chose to place together were the sound bite and the action stunt. So we have a film that limps sadly from stunt to stunt using a plot that wants to stand the test of time and leave you shaken not stirred.

Even the title demands to get in on the action.

But you shouldn’t be surprised by this. After all, the opening sequence to the film sees Bond making one lines jokes about Swiss bankers and sexual innuendos about their female PAs which rather than pass flirtingly by, would these days have Bond arrested for sexual harassment in the workplace. Occasionally with a Bond film the opening sequence that feeds into the main titles can end up serving no relation to the rest of the plot and acts more as closure to previous story lines, but annoyingly this isn’t one of those times.
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Film Review: Tomorrow Never Dies

Posted on by 5WC in Film

Well the 18th “mission” for James as the DVD likes to refer to it and amazingly enough, against most critics opinions, I think Pierce Brosnan brings Bond back to the screen in a way that works. Unlike GoldenEye where he seemed to be channelling his over the top inner Roger, this time his return is toned down and matured. This feels like a decent portrayal of 007. This feels believable.

Sadly though, where Brosnan improves other parts of the film falter. Mainly through the casting. Geoffrey Palmer as Admiral Roebuck is just one example. I’m sure that it’s a conscious decision with Judi Dench playing M, head of the Foreign Intelligence wing of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, that Palmer is used as the head of the British Navy but it does instantly force As Time Goes By into your head and that serves not as the lightheaded, pleasant nod of appreciation that I’m sure it is intended as but rather, as a distraction that lightens what should be a serious start as they set up the story and plot of the entire movie. They could only have made it worse by walking Phillip Bretherton out as Alistair!
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Film Review: GoldenEye

Posted on by 5WC in Film

As quickly as things improved Timothy Dalton departed and in walked Pierce Brosnan, and sadly, Timothy forgot to hand back the blueprints for how to make a good Bond film. The opening title sequence to Brosnan’s reign, as he bungee jumps down the Dam before breaking into the Russian base just sum up exactly what type of Bond he plans to bring to the screen and sadly, it’s going right back to the bad old days.

It’s such a shame though because at the time, Brosnan was arguably one of the most realistic looking actors to play Bond. He looks like a soldier: he looks trained and he looks right. But then he throws this perfect fit away by channeling his inner Roger. The stunts become over the top, the one liners and stupidity become too much, and by the time the ubiquitous naked girl appears to usher in the opening titles everything has been ramped way beyond even 11 that you really question how they thought anyone would buy this. It’s just too unbelievable to be true.
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Film Review: Licence To Kill

Posted on by 5WC in Film

Bond goes rogue and I absolutely love it. Timothy Dalton has completely destroyed any effects Roger Moore has had on my love for James Bond. He’s essentially done what Daniel Craig was Lorded for doing and revitalized Bond in stunning fashion. It’s just beyond a crying shame that as quickly as he appeared and we’re parting ways because, for me, until Daniel Crag arrives, Timothy Dalton is James Bond!

Licence To Kill sees Bond turn rogue to capture a Cuban drug dealer and avenge the attack on his friend Felix Leiter. It should be pointed out at this point that to start with it’s the first Bond film not to take its title from an Ian Flemming novel, but instead, and almost bizzarely, borrows source material from its plot from a number of short stories and most noticeably the 2nd Bond novel “Live and Let Die”. This meant that when the film started I actually got slightly confused. I sat there watching the action unfold thinking “I know all of this – I’ve read this book, but if I’ve read the book why didn’t I watch the film” which was annoying because it was an unwarranted distraction to the movie.
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Film Review: The Living Daylights

Posted on by 5WC in Film

The King is dead long live the King, and so for the second night in a row I settled down to watch James Bond save the world again. However, this time is wasn’t with the over the top suave and womanising of Roger Moore that I waved goodbye to with A View To A Kill but rather, the introduction and start of Timothy Dalton bringing a new tone and style to Britain’s most famous spy.

I have never seen Timothy Dalton as Bond before and so, everything was new, unfamiliar and for a while almost too much. I think it’s a case that where as normally you would have a decent break between Bond films, I’ve seen 5 in 2014 already and as stated, two in two days. I’ve become used to a face, a voice and however much I dislike it, a style to the character that was suddenly gone. Suddenly, I’m having to relearn and reappraise who Bond is and how he acts, and most noticeably how he sounds.
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