23 March, 2007

Double O

I watched the new James Bond movie last night. Well, it isn’t really new, but new for me, and the latest in the Bond series. It was a dud. Twenty minutes in I was waiting for it to start, even after the overdone opening scene, and twenty minutes from the end I couldn’t wait for it to be over.
My wife knitted through the entire thing.
This was my first movie in a while, so I’m not sure what I was hoping for, but this wasn’t it.
It was mostly overlit, that huge softbox feel of people standing in bright sun, but for some reason one side of their face is glowing orange from the warning gels. And, there were too many tight close-ups of Bond’s grimacing face. Okay, we get the point. He doesn’t open his mouth or huff and puff when he runs, and his eyes are like those of a hawk. Great. Most of us don’t run, or can’t run at all and our eyes are shot from too much computer times sandwiched in our tiny, veal-fattening work cubicles. Just more reason I relate so much to this long-running character.
Oh, and the beefcake scenes were just too much. Okay, okay a new Bond, the audience has to get the full review, but please one is enough. When he comes running up the beach in his “Euro” suit my mind flashed to Dudley Moore running towards a dreadlock wearing Bo Derek.
“So relax,” I said to myself, “just let it run and enjoy it.” But when I noticed the main, evil character had a scar on his face and one bad eye I just couldn’t stop thinking of Mike Myers.
I was literally laughing to myself, smiling, and had to say, “Okay, enough you idiot, stop laughing and get serious.” Stop thinking about Doctor Evil!”
And then came the Bond Girls. I think her name, this time was “Ms. Broadchest,” which I have to say might have been the best part of this movie.
I have no idea who this woman was, or the other girl was who slain earlier in the film, but I had to endure the “Honey, do you think she is pretty?” from my wife.
I did what any man watching a Bond movie says, “No sweetie, that woman is grotesque.”
(Knitting needles speed up in the background.)
And the clichés were done as if on a checklist. “Aston Martin, yep, got it.” “Martini, check.” “Bond, James Bond, okay, ya, got that too.” All the gadgets were there too. Really, it had everything but a plot and script, so it was a good start.
I’m not sure who made this movie, or why they made it, and chances are I’ll never get an answer, no matter how many email template pages I fill out. I think this new guy has a chance to be good, but only in the right directorial hands.
They have to go dark people. I mean come on, how many wars are raging around the world right now. People don’t want peace and the good guy. They want the white hat wearing lead to develop a drug habit and get cut down in a back alley deal gone wrong.
This is 2007 and I’m just not sure that the clean violence of yesteryear’s Bond is enough anymore.
You can’t be macho and not deranged at the same time.
My advice is to take a step back, take a breath and stop everything. Take out the explosions, the chase scenes, a few of the clichés, and start with a plot, script and screenplay that are tighter than Yale entrance exam.
Bond needs to be rougher, more real, not some gym dude who is all perfect all the time.
Embrace a modern evil plot and villain. Look around; this won’t be hard. Surprise us. Have TWO changes in the plot…whoa, I know that is a real stretch. But do it anyway.
Or, put Bond into a larger overall plot, like the war in Iraq. A bit player lost in a situation he cannot control.
Okay, that’s it, no more help from me.
I think the good news from all this is that I’m sure it didn’t cost anymore than like 50 million dollars to make, so we all have that going for us.

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