03 March 2008

Guest: Bond, James Bond (closing thoughts)

So. I’ve decided that I like owning all of the Bond films. I get bragging rights, the information contained within feels like Miniature Film School, and even though I purchased the four volumes just after this neat-looking thing came out, I really like having them on my shelf, sandwiching the two Evil Dead Necronomicons with the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

I’m going through all of my reviews right now, in order to keep the byline consistent, and besides a bunch of typos, I’m noticing that this marathon turned me into a dick. I’m so angry. And it’s true, I give films a lot less leeway now. There’s shit I can no longer abide. For instance, I watched Garage Days recently and that film used to make me laugh a whole lot more. Now it seems… kinda lame. It’s saddening.

But back to Bond.

What I learned: formulating opinions is hard! I don’t know how critics do it. Sitting through film after film is one thing, but writing a clear article expressing an open-ended opinion is something quite different, and I for one am not clever enough to think of title-puns (ex. “Matchstick Men Flickers Faintly but Fails to Ignite,” or “Michael Clayton Should Be Disbarred for the Third Act”). Srsly.

I actually finished a long time ago. The lag came from ‘Oh Jesus I have to write something about it. Octopussy, hmmmm, it was so bland that I forget how I felt about it, what the hell?’

It got pretty grueling somewhere in the middle, not so much the movies but the special features. I had to watch Die Another Day a total of four times in a row, the fourth because I wasn’t aware of the trivia track option until I already watched the film with the commentary tracks; torture (blah blah edge of madness) for any 00 agent. And then I had to decipher my stupid notes and write down my stupid thoughts. I have a greater respect for the profession, and of course for ‘rex who also expressed this feeling during that whole MST3K thingy.

There is a fine line between criticism and bitching, and I still haven’t learned where it is drawn.

DVD Special Features:

After putting a disc in and watching the well-done trailer for the Bond Collectors Set, you’ll notice the cool menu designs. Well, design, they remain the same on each disc (except for Casino Royale). Every feature is nicely organized into different submenus that get their own blip of music from each specific film.

This bit of care actually got me a little excited after finishing the films and the commentary tracks, even though I was getting into what was basically information I could read on the IMDB trivia pages. There are some bits of gold in there, like this one thing in Live and Let Die's second disc showing Roger Moore playing Bond in a short SNL style skit, back when Connery had the official role. It’s hysterical.

Included on all second discs are “cliff notes” for Bond films, in the Mission Control submenu, illustrating best-of clips from each of the films. I hate Mission Control. Maybe if they had collected clips from all of the Bond films as a sort of illustrative montage, but no, “Here are scenes from the film you just watched three times.” Way to pad the DVD, fuckles.

Not that it matters, but You Only Live Twice’s photo gallery presentation is awful, matching the quality of the film, shrinking the images onto a badly designed sci-fi frame. YAY?

Where it starts to get a little weird is towards the end, at Die Another Day. The design remains consistent, but submenus are missing, which leads me to believe that none have been specially made for this set, but taken from the initial 2-Disc DVD release. That’s okay, I don’t need to hear the filmmakers endlessly convincing themselves and everyone around them that the hang-gliding sequence looks realistic. Because it doesn’t.

I’m disappointed that Casino Royale has no commentary track. I really wanted to hear what Martin Campbell had to say about this one. Though he remains largely quiet during GoldenEye’s track; his personality reminds me of David Fincher -- someone who doesn’t really like talking about why he does what he does, so unless somebody else is in the room with him and drawing him out of his shell, you ain’t gonna hear much outside of “I like how this part came out.”

Scene-It: James Bond 007 Edition: Mini-Mission

More like Extremely Mini-Mission. There are twenty sample questions from the full game, not enough to validate all of this time and effort, if I had needed it. I did get three wrong, however. The difficulty ranges from ‘that’s so easy’ to ‘how the fuck do they expect me to remember that bitch’s name?’ Yes, I know they’re all puns. And I hate them.

Cold Movie Stats:

Bond skis: 5 times (6 if you count the cello)
Bond shot out of a torpedo bay: 2 times
Bond invents snowboarding: 1 time
Endings over water: 10
Deadly fish usage: 7

The Next Film: Quantum (?) of Solace (??):

I like Marc Forster. His style seems to fit well with whatever film he does. The action genre is new for him, so this will be interesting to see. My biggest worry comes from Daniel Craig stating in an early interview that the film would be returning to the ‘tongue-and-cheek’ style of the Roger Moore era stuff. God. GOD. Why do they do this? Why do they refuse to keep with the serious style? That phrase now strikes fear in my heart. I want my genitals to be tied into bows and pulverized with a knotted rope, not lightly smacked with a carpet beater while being asked if it’s being done too hard. Man. Man.

Going with the pattern, the film will:
1) Not be as good as the previous entry
2) Possess the distinct possibility of being awkwardly shot and clashing with the Bond style set by the previous entry

If Craig sticks around for a third or more:
3) The third entry will be an improvement over the second, either a vast one or a miniscule one
4) tricks and rehashes will be pulled and used to nobody’s chagrin
5) diamond smuggling will be introduced OR Bond will go to Asia, thus ruining the spread
6) Craig will stick around one too many and live to regret it.

After that, the franchise will be reinvented once more for the new generation. By that time, they had better hope that Martin Campbell hasn’t been tossed into a smoke stack from a helicopter.

While plenty of people do it better, the Bond Series is a good franchise for its rare moments of brilliance. I guess.

Now when is Felix Leiter going to get his own?