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NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are.
THIS WEEK: The long-awaited “new start” from the events of Skyfall. Bond gets a new M, bad guy, car, gal, blood and purpose. MI-6 gets victimized by big government as the bureau’s new boss tries to take control of the world’s surveillance capabilities. And Bond-James-Bond tries to find intel about the secret baddie organization in the title while fulfilling a promise to an old pal.
Written by John Logan and Neal Pervis & Robert Wade and Jez Butterworth. Directed by Sam Mendes.
- Plenty of death-defying stunts and jaw-dropping situations as you’d expect from any Bond flick. The more they do, the harder it is to top the previous ones. This one doesn’t but just maintains the level of quality and insanity, which is plenty enough! The plane and helicopter stunts were all superb.
- The fight aboard the train with Dave “Drax The Destroyer” Bautista (from Guardians Of The Galaxy) was up there with the battle with Jaws from The Spy Who Loved Me. I only wish he’d come back for another! (…and was actually a homage to the incredible train fight with Robert “Quint” Shaw from FROM RUSSIAN WITH LOVE. It even included a sly nod to the fishy Spielberg film – Craig)
- The cars are cooler as ever, though I wish they were onscreen more (focus was more arial). The new DB-10 is awesome as is Drax’s car (a Jaguar C-X75). And there’s a short visit from a previous automotive pal.
- We get some new(?) insight into and history of James’s childhood/upbringing and what happened to his folks. (Personally, I kinda prefer more mystery. Not all characters need an origin story.)
- Bond wouldn’t be Bond without some “chippie action,” and he gets a bit here (see “Cons” below). We get a nice nightie and evening dress scene to show off Dr. Swann’s swell slimness.
- The new M, Ralph “Voldermort” Fiennes, gets to actually do something other than bark orders behind a desk. And the young Q is back and good. Moneypenny is decent but not my favorite. Sherlock’s Moriarty (Andrew Scott) plays a government douche and the blond chick from MI5: Ghost Protocol (Léa Seydoux) is the babe.
- Bond villain Christoph Waltz (also the Bond villain from Green Hornet, just with a beard and louder voice), is a good one but not great, but he’s one of the sickest in terms of torture. Great lines: Bond says, “I came here to kill you,” and he replies, “I thought you came here to die.” Also, a surprise connection to a previous character.
- Cinematography and locations are up to usual exotic and dramatic standards. (The Mexico City crowd scenes were stunning.)
- Decent “relevant” and timely plot regarding the battle for global surveillance and data; refreshing from the usual nuclear-bomb terrorism/world takeover of past JB films. Taking over the world with IT can be just as effective.
- New HQ for MI-6 and gadgets in the car are introduced. Loved the ones in the car. But the only new gadget Bond gets is a watch with a “very loud” alarm. I think they wanted this to be more old school.
- Some nods to older films for the eagle-eyed and eagle-eared. I probably missed half of them. —References and explanations regarding some characters from the previous Daniel Craig films which may (or may not) please the faithful. We get an intro to SPECTRE (MIKE: No relation to the Jim Corrigan DC comics character.) Yeah, they know that, you geek-moron. (Hey!)
- The title credits scene, while very cool visually (lucky octopussy!), didn’t have a great song. The vocals (by Sam Smith) were impressive but the really great songs, like “Thunderball,” “Skyfall” and “You Know My Name,” are those you want to download and play at home. One and done for this tune.
- A big building blows up for no apparent reason. Can’t spoil anything, but after a minor boom knocks a guy off a chair, a few minutes go by and then a major boom. I never saw a bomb planted. Maybe I missed something. (You missed something -Craig)
- Suspension Of Disbelief Dept.: Yeah, I get that the fights are over-the-top and we know by now that any normal guy would be out cold after getting thrown thru walls and tables and getting punched in the face by a gorilla a dozen times. But how do you have Dave Bautista beat on you for several minutes with a dozen smashes and crashes, plus broken glass and splintered wood everywhere, and you don’t even have a scratch on your face? Not a single bruise?! Sorry, man, that’s just too much to force down my moviegoing gullet. Even Connery got boo-boos!
- Craig’s Bond is the still the most humorless I can think of; he’s got as much personality as the Aston Martin. Maybe he’s just weary or whatever, but the wit is as much a part of the character as the warrior. Same with the romance! We miss out on any boobage or buttage. Not even a decent undies scene! Boooooo!
- The final confrontation with the bad guy was not as satisfying as it could or should have been. When a character shows a lot of evil, the audience expects equal payoff.
- No button at the end.
I’m being picky but there’s loads of action and stunts along with a decent story. Negatives aside, every Bond film is better enjoyed in front of a big screen. You’ll appreciate the stunts and explosions that much more. This is a good jump off from Skyfall and leaves enough for the next one without leaving you hanging like the previous one did. I do hope we get a new guy soon, though.
P.S.: Want some cool Bond ART for your wall? A Bond girl? A Bond villain? Or a cool spy car? Pascale draws ‘em good for a good price. Just ask Craig here!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, British intelligence, alien intelligence, artificial intelligence or any intelligence of any kind; nor MI-5, MI-6, MI: Ghost Protocol or M.I.C.K.E.Y. M.O.U.S.E. Bru would make an awesome James Bond as long as he could just drink beer and drive the cool cars without all the other stuff.