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Non-Review Review: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

This post is part of James Bond January, being organised by the wonderful Paragraph Films. I will have reviews of all twenty-two official Bond films going on-line over the next month, and a treat or two every once in a while.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a relatively low-key Bond adventure. The action set pieces aren’t spectacular, it’s mostly confined to one geographical locale and it features a genuinely moving love story. Coupled with the fact that George Lazenby is replacing Sean Connery, you’d be forgiven for assuming that you’d accidentally been given the wrong video at the video store. It’s not that the changes are necessarily bad (though, to be frank, some of them are), just that it doesn’t exactly feel like the smoothest possible transition.

… And I thought Bond was only married to his job….

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Non-Review Review: You Only Live Twice

This post is part of James Bond January, being organised by the wonderful Paragraph Films. I will have reviews of all twenty-two official Bond films going on-line over the next month, and a treat or two every once in a while.

You Only Live Twice was my favourite when I was younger. It was energetic, witty, bright, colourful and adventurous. The stakes were ridiculously high – no less than the Third World War. Bond’s trip to Japan painted the country as an exotic wonderland to a mind as young as my own. The script was smart and the action was fast-paced – the movie still breezes along even today. The cost of the speed is that the movie is ultimately fairly light – it doesn’t carry anything particularly heavy or thought-provoking. This means that it ends up feeling relatively light-weight when measured against some of Sean Connery’s earlier outings like From Russia With Love or Goldfinger, which worked at least as much with suspense as with action.

Is Bond turning Japanese?

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Who is Bond?

This post is part of James Bond January, being organised by the wonderful Paragraph Films. I will have reviews of all twenty-two official Bond films going on-line over the next month, and a treat or two every once in a while.

If you only count official EON productions, there have been six actors to play the role of suave British Secret Service agent James Bond, 007. However, the continuity of it all gets kind of tangled. Is Roger Moore’s clownish spy the same person as Daniel Craig’s cold-hearted assassin? Has the same agent been in operation since Dr. No (clearly taking place in the 1960s) through to Quantum of Solace (featuring all the technology of now)? There’s a popular fan theory that “James Bond” is just a cover identity, passed down from agent to agent as easily as the number “007” – so each iteration of the character is a different agent given the rank. It actually holds up surprisingly well when you watch the twenty-films in the official series.

What’s on the cards?

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Non-Review Review: The Bourne Identity

It’s strange to look back on The Bourne Identity, knowing that it kick-started one of the most highly-regarded trilogies in cinematic history. I must confess that I was never excessively enamoured with the espionage thriller – I quite enjoyed it, but I didn’t love it. Though my favourite movie of the “Bourne” trilogy is The Bourne Supremacy, regarded as something of an ugly step-child of the franchise, so what do I know?

Bourne's just hanging out...

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Non-Review Review: From Paris, With Love

Mister Morel, I watched Taken, I knew Taken, Taken was a film of mine. Mister Morel, this is no Taken. 

No can do, apparently...

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In Defense of the Sam Mendes and Bond 23 Rumours…

There’s been a lot of to-ing and fro-ing on the next Bond film, provisionally titled as Bond 23. This week has been a bonaza of news about the project, which has been slowly taking shape through dribs and drabs of information. On one hand, we had the official confirmation of what everybody really knew (but it’s nice to know for sure): the movie won’t get made until someone buys MGM or the rights. The other tidbit was much more interesting. Bond has a director: Sam Mendes. I think it’s a great idea.

Things at MGM are so bad that Bond can't even afford dry-cleaning...

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Non-Review Review: Quantum of Solace

It seems that the cast and crew took the entirely wrong message out of the hugely successful (commercially and critically) Casino Royale. A brilliant combination of fancy stunts and grittiness that called to mind the series’ recent challengers in the Bourne series, Royale reinvented Bond for the naughties, in much the same way as GoldenEye did for the nineties. Unfortunately, Quantum of Solace seems to be based around the assumption that the reaction to Casino Royale was based solely around the modern aspects of the film, rather than the fusion of the old with new, so Solace ends up being Royale without the knowing grin. And it’s a shame, because the knowing grin is part of what makes Bond Bond (perhaps moreso than gadgets, gizmos and world domination plots). Don’t get me wrong, the action in the sequel is nothing short of fantastic (possibly surpassing even its progenitor in the action sweepsteaks) and the movie is well put together, but it just lacks the firm sense of identity which defines the best of the Bond movies.

Bond admits he might be getting a bit old for these crazy college nights out...

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