Tag Archives: Spectre

Christoph Waltz Signed For TWO More Bond Films. But ONLY If Daniel Craig Returns.

Christoph Waltz Signs For Two More Bond Films. Will Return Only If Daniel Craig Plays Bond Again

Pinch me I must be dreaming.

I’ve been a big fan of Daniel Craig’s James Bond since he first put on the dinner jacket in Casino Royale and was really worried we might not get anymore of Craig’s Bond after his much publicized threats to quit the franchise after Spectre. I believe the quote was, “I’d rather break this glass and slash my wrists.” You gotta love that stiff British humor.

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One of the highlights of Spectre was seeing Christoph Waltz’s take on legendary Bond villain Blofeld. It was a lot like seeing Craig play Bond for the first time, a modern incarnation of a classic character.

Which is why it was such a shame to hear Craig was ready to drop the Walther PPK while in his prime. Rumors soon swirled around the internet at who should be the next Bond with a large group advocating Idris Elba should be next.

But never count Bond out as Waltz has reportedly signed on for at least two more cracks at Blofeld on the condition that Craig comes back as well.

if this comes to pass, and let’s all hope it does, this would set the current films up for a nice two part story to send Craig’s Bond off into the sunset properly and establish himself as the defacto version of James Bond from now on. Sorry Sean Connery, but your claim to fame may soon be in jeopardy.

Daniel Craig james bond

I never cared for James Bond before having grown up on Pierce Bronson’s increasingly campy 007 films. I just never saw the appeal. To me, Bond was just a hollow smirk wrapped in an emotionless character. Unchanging. Infallible. Boring.

But Daniel Craig’s version of James Bond was the complete opposite in every way. He was a hot head. He screwed up. His trademark confidence became over confidence, and one of his biggest character flaws. He got angry. He actually fell in love. He cried!

Now here was a version of Bond I could, and did get behind. I’m a big fan of all the latest Bond movies since, Quantum of Solace at some good scenery at least.

Recent statements by Daniel Craig seem to suggest he may be backtracking on his slit writs statements, and open to returning to Bond at least once more. But with Waltz in tow two movies, filmed back to back perhaps, may not be much of a stretch.

The Best And Worst James Bonds

The Best and Worst James Bonds

With Spectre having been released and it all but certain that Daniel Craig will not be reprising the role of 007, it got me thinking. Who did the best and worst job as the coolest spy ever? And, who should play him next? Playing the part of James Bond has never been an easy task. Whoever decides to step into the perfectly crafted, expensive shoes of Mr. Bond has to inhabit a man who is suave, sophisticated, intelligent, extremely confident,strong and fearless yet has enough sensitivity to woo women in a more than superficial way. This has been the quandary of everyone from the first Bond to the last. Ian Fleming’s character was already pretty popular after his highly successful novels were adapted into movies with even the Kennedy brothers being huge fans. Therefore, this movie franchise has never been one without high expectations attached to it. So, given that fact and  without further ado, here is my list of the best and worst James Bonds of all time. (I’m excluding films where 007 was parodied like the original Casino Royal.)

The Best And The Worst…

sean conery bond

Sean Connery– This was a bit of a no brainer. Without Sean Connery’s brilliant performance in Dr. No there probably would have been no James Bond. From his first uttering of the phrase “Shaken not stirred,” to his cool demeanor when playing baccarat, he set the bar for everyone who would follow. Not to mention his on screen bedding of gorgeous women and some of the best one liners of all time. When he said,” I must be dreaming,” when he was first introduced to Pussy Galore it set the stage for more great ones to come. Although his movies may seem dated now, they were the most thrilling films around at the time and Connery was a big reason for that. From his first turn as the most famous driver of an Aston Martin in the first installment to Never Say Never Again, Sean Connery was James Bond. In some ways, he always will be.

 

Pierce Brosnan/Daniel Craig– I know that I might get a lot of flack for this choice, but  both of these men made Bond modern and exciting again in their respective eras.

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Pierce stepped on the scene in the mid and late 90’s playing the world’s most famous spy at a time when such people seemed obsolete and made him relevant. In the fool’s paradise that was the post Cold War pre 9/11 world, it was doubtful that the ultimate Cold War hero could mean anything especially since his predecessor’s last few films had been disappointing. But, beginning with the fantastic Goldeneye (The opening scene where he escapes from a Soviet nuclear facility jumps on a motorcycle then sky dives off a cliff and into a plane that is about to crash and then pilots it to safety remains my all time favorite Bond escape.) and ending with Die Another Day. He made the man with a license to kill the debonair, death defying juggernaut he was meant to be all while making it look easy.

 

daniel craig bond

Being upset at Pierce leaving the franchise and knowing very little of Daniel Craig’s work, I had low expectations for the former’s tenure. But, within the first few minutes of Casino Royale he had won me over. His Bond was an upstart strong man who relied more on brute force than charm, was less of a womanizer than his previous incarnations, and who possessed a sensitivity towards women and unease with killing that most of his previous Bonds lacked. This was a Bond for a post 911/Iraq War world. This was Bond rebooted and one that I had begun to think could not materialize. Craig’s interpretation has only been better with each film, Skyfall being a prime example. This is why I’ll miss him when he leaves the fictional MI6, downs his last Martini, and hands over the keys of his Aston Martin DB5 to another.

Both Brosnan and Craig revitalized and reimagined James Bond in  at times when his influence seemed at an end. As a result, they are tied for second in my humble opinion.

roger moore bond
Roger Moore-Taking over the role of Mr. Bond must have been a fairly difficult endeavor after George Lazenby’s turn. Aside from constant comparisons to Sean Connery, Roger Moore had to revive a franchise that appeared to be on life support after On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Beginning with Live and Let Die and ending with A View To A Kill he did so admirably. His Bond and was a handsome, witty chap who got himself out of plenty of scrapes all with seeming ease. He was full of great one liners like the time in one film when an attractive female spy asked him, “Can I get you anything sir?” and he responded, “Well, I’ve had lunch. But I haven’t had dessert.” He was also able to show off the full brunt of Bond’s intrepid nature when he took him into space in Moonraker. In that film, Bond broke new ground not only in how he defeated an enemy, but in how he celebrated with a Bond girl. (All you need to do is see the last scene  and hear Q’s quip, “I think he’s attempting reentry,” to know what I’m referring to.)
Was Roger Moore a fantastic Bond? Maybe not. But, he was very good.

timothy-dalton-bond
4. Timothy Dalton- What can you say about Dalton as Bond? He was just not that good. The Living Daylights and License To Kill were barely watchable. Furthermore, although he gave it his all, Dalton’s Bond just felt bland and too cliched. His time at MI6 seemed awkward like a suit that didn’t fit. I think this was a case of inappropriate casting. I could barely sit through his two films, which didn’t help. Furthermore, the names Timothy Dalton and James Bond just don’t meld. This all seemed to show quite clearly.

george-lazenby bond
5. George Lazenby- In all fairness to the youngest Bond ever, having to step in after Sean Connery must not have been easy. But, that does not excuse the Australian’s horrendously awful turn as the most well known British spy of all time. His portrayal in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is just terrible. It’s the only movie in the series (I’ve seen them all.) that I haven’t been able to watch all the way through. In fact, I was so frustrated that I stopped the movie and immediately started reading the novel, which was fantastic. (If you haven’t seen the film or read the book, you should do the latter. It’s excellent and one I wish they would remake and adapt today.) Lazenby’s Bond didn’t have a license to kill, but instead a license to bore.

And The Next Bond Should Be…
Now that I’ve described who I felt the best and worst Bond’s were, it’s time to look toward the future. It seems that the requirements for the character of 007 seem to be an actor from somewhere in the British Isles or a country with British roots like Australia. He must be handsome, athletic, and have a great deal of charm and likability and exude intelligence. Therefore, although he might be an older version of the icon, I think a great Bond would be… Clive Owen.

clive owen

He fits all the criteria on paper and is an absolutely incredible actor. Furthermore, having Bond be a little older might take the character in an interesting and different direction. The idea of Clive Owen as Bond is a nice prospect and one that I hope Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wison (The producers of the franchise will consider.)

(I should also add that having a female version of the spy like a Jane Bond be the next incarnation would be a great turn.)

So, there you have it. My feelings on the best and worst James Bonds of all time and who should step into the role next. As a huge fan of Mr. Bond, whoever joins MI6 next I hope that he or she is worthy and that James Bond in whatever form he or she takes next, lasts forever.

Who’s your choice for the next James Bond?

Spectre Review

A cluster of goosebumps ran up my arm the moment the legendary gun-barrel sequence crawled across the screen at the opening of the latest James Bond film Spectre. That iconic moment, paired with the equally iconic music, can only mean one thing. James Bond is back. Daniel Craig returns to the role that made him a household name, with director Sam Mendes returning as well after his successes with Skyfall. While not as great a film as Skyfall that came before it, Spectre manages to still entertain despite some glaring problems.

Daniel-Craig-as-James-Bond-on-the-Set-of-SPECTRE

The movie starts with a cold open, as is tradition with the Bond films. We’re dropped smack dab in the middle of the Day of the Dead festival in a well worn, but beautiful Mexico City. Bond, dressed in typical Day of the Dead garb, walks through the crowd with a beautiful woman on his arm. They make their way to a hotel room, but rather than a whirlwind Bond romance breaking out 007 is out the window and on to his mission. It’s a run of the mill assassination for Bond that goes downhill after a building collapses. What follows is a high octane helicopter sequence that, however improbable, is still just as thrilling.

After the Mexico City misadventure Bond returns to MI6 and is scolded for his mess. We’re told MI6 is merging with MI5 and that a new surveillance program will allow all governments access to each others intel and spy networks. It’s the kind of government overreach that’s mirrored by current affairs.

Bond is grounded for wrecking Mexico City, but you can’t keep a good secret agent down. After the death of Judi Dench’s M he’s given clues to follow that lead him to the discovery of the super secret evil organization Spectre. Apparently this organization has been behind all of the conflicts that have transpired in the Daniel Craig Bond films. It’s a bit far fetched, but I went along with it. The leader of this group is an old childhood frenemy of Bond’s named Franz Oberhauser, played with an eery calm by Christoph Waltz. After being outed in a meeting full of these cackling, multicultural evil doers Oberhauser’s menacing henchman Mr. Hinx (Dave Bautista) chases after Bond in a remarkably dull car chase. While both men are driving at top speeds there’s no real danger and neither man seem phased by what they’re doing. It just feels like an 80MPH morning commute. Low stakes don’t make for much excitement, and after the helicopter sequence in the opening this car chase feels limp.

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With our villain revealed we next are introduced to our Bond girl Madeleine Swann who’s given a strong portrayal by Lea Seydoux. Swann is the daughter of Mr. White, a man we met in Casino Royale and later in Quantum of Solace. It was nice having some closure for the Mr. White story, but in the end it felt somewhat forced. We didn’t really need the connection to the past films, but it didn’t hurt the film either. It had much bigger problems.

With all the players revealed the movie unfolds in a typical Bond fashion. There’s a monologue by Oberhauser in his suitably over the top evil lair. There’s a bombastic final showdown with plenty of action, and in the end Bond gets the girl. The Bond formula is alive and well in Spectre, but I genuinely feel it’s not a good thing this time around.

Lea

The past Craig Bond films have been hinting at the traditional Bond ways. Skyfall gave us Moneypenny, Q and a new M with a handful of gadgets but it was all done with a wink and a nod. Specter doesn’t seem to know what it wants. It neither goes all the way into the classic Bond pool, nor does it maintain Skyfall’s subtleties. It’s a shame because a perfect melding of the Casino Royale style mixed with the classic Bond tropes could be really fantastic, but Spectre just isn’t it.

The biggest problem with this film is the writing. Oberhauser is the weakest villain we’ve got in a Bond film since Mr. Green in Quantum of Solace. At least Mr. Green had a clear motivation and reason behind what he was doing. It was all money for Mr. Green. Oberhauser is motivated by petty childhood squabbles. His main motivator is that his father took a liking to Bond and Oberhauser was jealous. To start a giant criminal enterprise with far reaching governmental influence over a grudge seems just plain stupid. There’s also a torture sequence where Bond is strapped to a chair with little drills lined up to puncture his skull. Oberhauser tells him of the grievous affects this will have on Bond. The drills go in, Bond screams in pain, then nothing. There’s no ill affect. There’s no explanation for this other than I assume it would be inconvenient for the rest of the film for Bond to be blind, or unable to remember and recognize faces. There was absolutely no reason for that scene and it instantly pulled me out of the film. I knew something would be amiss when during the opening credits I saw a total of four “written by” credits. Can’t have four writers without something getting lost in the shuffle.

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Ultimately this is a solid Bond film. It’s not the worst of them, but it’s not the best. It’s better than Quantum of Solace, but fails to reach the highs of Skyfall and Casino Royale. As a standalone film it’s not good at all. I think that’s an important distinction to make. Bond has a lot of wiggle room for inane plot problems and overall dopiness. For fans of Bond this is right in 007’s swing zone. All the usual Bond elements are there. I just wish they did more with them.

10 Exciting Fall Movies 2015

10 Exciting Fall Movies 2015

With Halloween around the corner, the Major League Baseball playoffs about to start, and Columbus Day fast approaching, I think that it is safe to say that Fall is in more than full swing. As a result of this fact, I have come to start thinking about all of the films I would like to see during this time of year. This period for me is always interesting as it seems that most major studios and even some independent companies will save what they contend to be some of their best material for this period. Although, it may not be as exciting as in December when the Golden Globe nominations are announced and thus the general public gets to see what the studios consider to be their gems, it still is worthy of more than some notice. Furthermore, some Oscar contenders can emerge now and have in the past. The Insider, American Beauty, and Lost In Translation are three examples that come to mind from previous years. So, I present you with the 10 Fall movies I can’t wait to see.

Matt-Damon The Martian

1. The Martian

As a long time fan of Matt Damon and one who enjoys the occasional Sci-Fi story I’m looking forward to this one. Damon plays Mark Watney an astronaut who is presumed dead and then left behind on a future manned mission to Mars. Watney must learn how to survive on a foreign planet with no way to get home until help arrives.

The concept in itself is very intriguing and quite universal as what is more basic than the need to survive and what some people will undergo to do so.

This idea can only be augmented by what I’m sure at the very least, will be more than adequate direction from Ridley Scott and I’m almost certain of good performances from the likes of Jessica Chastain and Jeff Daniels. Both of whom, I’ve yet to see deliver a sub par performance. More than your average space opera, this movie could have the same far reaching message and excitement as Gravity from 2013. Therefore, I’m not surprised it’s already topped the box office in recent days.


Finally, on a brief personal note being an admirer of his, I would like to see Matt Damon give a great performance (I can’t think of a film where he hasn’t.) and do so in an excellent commercially successful movie. In my opinion, the last great performance of his that I saw was in Contagion and the last big hit I remember him having was the brilliant, Bourne Ultimatum. So, I’m rooting for this one and can’t wait to get my tickets.