SPECTRE

Monday, December 7, 2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

He Was Just Re-Enacting The Teaser From Goldeneye

Some folks are just born to be Bond (Story from MSN):

Pierce Brosnan saved Uma Thurman from a runaway minivan.

The Irish actor, who was on location filming new movie 'Percy Jackson', spotted the out-of-control vehicle speeding down a hill straight towards his blonde co-star.

A source said: 'No one was aboard the runaway van as it barrelled towards a grassy area where Uma was relaxing with cast and crew. Pierce yelled, 'Get out of the way!'

'He raced after the van, wrenched open the driver's side door, jumped in and slammed on the brakes.'

Before the actor - who played iconic British spy James Bond in four movies - managed to stop the vehicle, it hit a curb and crashed into rubbish bins - sending cast and crew running in all directions to avoid the collision.

The source added: 'Everyone scattered out of harm's way. Pierce got kudos and hero 007 jokes from Uma. The transportation crew were in trouble for not setting the van's emergency brake.'

You know damn well the Monty Norman theme was playing in his head...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

All Hail The Titan Omnibus

It's a wonderful thing when two of one's obsessions are joined together in one package. Namely, James Bond and comics.



More specifically, the Daily Express James Bond comic strips, which ran from 1958 through 1983 in England (with a hiccup here or there). They're adaptations of Ian Fleming's novels, rather than the films...in fact, most were published well before the film versions of those same stories. Eventually, they ran out of Fleming stories, and branched off into all original tales. You can read much more about their history and chronology here or here.

These were strips about about James Bond the spy, not James Bond the cartoon super agent. Numerous writers and artists worked on the adaptations and originals, including Peter O'Donnell prior to his Modesty Blaise work. They were a grittier, more realistic Bond than we're used too, as well as a good example of an art form that has since died out, at least in America: the daily adventure comic strip.

The good news is, Titan Books has done an splendid job of releasing the strips in the U.S. The bad news is, it's damnably expensive to collect them all.

But the ultra-good news is, starting in September, Titan will begin releasing them in Omnibus editions. The first one consists of their first 3 collections: Casino Royale, Dr. No, and Goldfinger. To purchase those individually on Amazon would run you about $45. To get the omnibus? $10.17. Winnage.

So if you're interested in Bond, or in classic adventure comic strips, happy days are here again.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Special Guest Post--Star Trek XI: No Subtitle

Bond friends...excuse the cross post, but this is a review of the new Star Trek movie that I just put up on my comic book blog...I realized that it had the same annoying long, frustratingly tendentious tone of my Bond reviews, so I thought you might like to see it. If not, no biggie. Contains major spoilers...

**********************************************************************************

Well, the results are in, and approximately one billion percent of critics and viewers gave a huge thumbs up to the new (numberless and subtitle-less) Star Trek film. Which leaves me in the distinct minority.

OK, let me be clear...I'm not giving it a thumbs down. But it's a movie I'm fairly divided about. As a mindless summer rock 'em sock 'em CGI adventure film, it's a fun enough ride. But as a Star Trek film...not so much.

I'll discuss why, but man, I'm going to spoil the frak out of this film. And if you haven't seen it yet, there are indeed some surprises you don't want to have spoiled--trust me. So if you haven't seen it yet...don't read this. After the plethora of Trek photo below, there be SPOILERS.

Who knew Arena took place on Vulcan?? SPOILERS COMING!!

SPOILERS? I relish them?!?

What do you mean my shirt never ripped the entire movie?!?

Scotty--not drunk yet, just annoying comedy relief!!!

Last chance!! SPOILERS commencing in 3

2

1

SPOILERS

The review that comes closest to catching my viewpoint comes from Christopher Orr in The New Republic. He seems to share my ambivalence, thinking "yeah, it was fun, but..." Allow to me quote form his concluding paragraph:
Yet, for all the amusement Star Trek provides, it's hard to shake the sense that something has been lost in translation. Abrams's film is in some ways a throwback not to the original series, but further still to the pulpy exploits of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, in which sneering villains were forever threatening to blow up the heroes' home planets. Gene Roddenberry's original "Trek" aimed higher than such space opera, toward the moral, political, and technological sophistication of Asimov, Heinlein, and Clarke. It didn't always succeed--and, when it did, it wasn't always terribly exciting--but it was something new, and important, in the pop-cultural universe. For his rookie outing at least, Abrams has focused on simpler cinematic diversions. There's no question that his Star Trek radically revitalizes the franchise; but it does so in part by setting aside what distinguished the show in the first place.

Amen. This film isn't "about" anything, except putting the band back together, or together for the first time, or whatever...

That's why it has no subtitle--it's not really about anything. It's as if J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman had never actually seen any Star Trek...they knew the character archetypes from the cultural genetic memory, but couldn't be bothered to actually realize that Star Trek is generally something more than whiz bang battle scenes. The only theme of this movie is "yay, we're rebooting the franchise!" Shallow indeed.

And considering that the only goal we have is to reboot the franchise, to make it more "accessible" to everybody in the 21st century and get the kids and blah blah blah...considering how much Paramount et al have riding on this and how unambitious the storytelling goal is, we get one of the most godawful scripts ever to grace Trek. Maybe not Spock's Brain bad...but at least Omega Glory bad.

[Let me emphasize, I'm not kvetching about the reboot itself. I've said my piece about that, and I mourn the fact that Star Trek is no longer a forward-looking franchise. But I've come to grips with the fact. No, my complaints are all focused on how clumsily and stupid the actual execution of said reboot was. ]

Let's begin with the fact that, in the most crucial Trek film in, say, ever, the writers couldn't be bothered to come up with an actual villain. I've seen this film twice now, and I swear that Nero has no more than 2 minutes of screen time. Seriously. I'll bring a stop watch next time. He's barely in the movie. He's a non-entity, a MacGuffin who's not fleshed out in the least. Add that to the fact that the bizarre decision to make him look EXACTLY like all his Romulan cohorts, and that the script doesn't give him even one quasi-memorable line, and Nero is easily the most ineffectual, forgettable villain in Star Trek history. And that includes Insurrection.

And the more I see Eric Bana, the more I'm convinced that maybe acting shouldn't be his day job. I'm just saying.

OK, so the villain is lame...what about his plan? Assuming that an audience member hasn't read the movie prequel comic from IDW, all they get a brief whip-cut-try-to-follow-along-flashback/exposition-via-mindmeld sequence that does a hideous job of actually explaining anything. In theory, they've been building up suspense for 2/3 of the movie, waiting for an explanation of who Nero is and what his plan is. And what we're given is completely ridiculous and nonsensical. Why does Nero blame Spock? Where do Nero and the huge Ship O' Death hang out for 25 years? Why is a mining ship essentially tougher than the Death Star? Does Nero have any motivation besides "Grrr, I'm nuts?"

And instead of answering any of the questions, we're given the film equivalent of the Federal Express guy reading the Oscar rules. We're firmly into Snell's First Law of Movies: If the creators themselves can't be bothered to actually care about the plot of their movie, why should we?

You know what else really amazes me? How many of the reviews about this film claim that it eschews "technobabble." What a crock. Red Matter? Trans-warp teleportation formulas? A single supernova that (somehow) threatens to destroy the entire galaxy? A drill whose operation somehow interrupts communications and transporters (but not Nero's communications!?!) That's the very definition of technobabble--pseudoscience that's necessary to set up the plot, which can only be resolved with more pseudoscience. And this movie is technobabbliscious, in spades. The plot and resolution DO NOT EXIST without technobabble.

So why does everybody say the movie doesn't rely on technobabble? That's Snell's Second Law of Movies: people only complain about "technobabble" when they already dislike the movie. If they like the movie, they just let the pseudoscience slide by, not even noticing it. So technobabble is never really the problem, its just an excuse for bitching by those who can't think how to express their artistic likes and dislikes.

OK, we have a nonexistent villain, terrible plot, and technobabble out the ass. So what do Abrams and Orci and Kurtzman give us? Simple: they latch on to Wrath Of Khan like a remora, recycling bits of that movie with the glee of Manfred Mann pillaging Bruce Springsteen's back catalog. Let's see what we've got. A) Of course, we've got to revisit Kirk's cheating the Kobayashi Maru; B) We've got an emergency and the fleet is elsewhere (and they don't even bother to give you a reason why.."just because I said so") so we have to send out a ship full of cadets; C) Our villain puts a Ceti Alpha eel--oops, a Centauri eel--into a Star Fleet officer's body to control his brain to get information; D) Let's trot out the "I have always been, and shall always be, your friend" line again, because apparently Spock has a very limited supply of sentences with which he can express friendship; E) the scene of the Enterprise rising out of the mist is pretty much a straight re-do of the same shot of the Enterprise rising out of the nebula mists behind the Reliant; F) Let's reprise the "You lied. I exaggerated" bit one more time...I could go on. Our creators have Khan-envy pretty bad; too bad they have none of the writing talent of Nicholas Meyer et al.

Well, how about the characters? For all the talk of a reboot, all the talk of a fresh start, we get...well, exactly the same characters we've always had. Or rather, the vague outlines. Sure, they give Kirk daddy issues...but the end result is still the same cocky womanizer we've always had. Hey, Sulu knows fencing...oh, wait, we already knew that. Hey, Spock had a conflicted childhood...or, wait, we already knew that, and in fact even the animated series did a better job of expressing that. Hey, Uhura is ultra competent at communications...but we already knew that, and in TOS Spock told her "no one was better equipped." McCoy? We learn nothing new about him (note to Karl Urban: slavishly imitating DeForest Kelley's cadences and intonations does not actually equal "acting.") Chekov? Well, they made him magically good at transporters (why is he better than the people who are assigned to transporters? Never explained...except to give Chekov something to do). Scotty? Well, a love for food replaces the love for booze, but otherwise there's no note here that wasn't hit before. Seriously, aside from Kirk's backstory and Spock and Uhura making the beast with two backs, there's not one original character note here, not one thing that's any different than we've already been told multiple times in TOS or the earlier movies. Repeating tidbits from TOS might make for nice fan service, but it's not characterization.

Consider this: would anybody have been enthused about the reboot of Battlestar: Galactica if they had just made Starbuck and Apollo and Adama exactly the same as before, just with younger actors?? Well, that's what they give you here...a reboot without the courage to actually reboot, the same characters on prettier sets.

OK, so we get the EXACT SAME CHARACTERS (just younger & sexier), a nonexistent villain, a laughable "plot," and technobabble out the yim yam. I'm still not quite seeing how "this is not your father's Trek."

How about the insipidity of the movie trying to have it both ways? They want to show our crew as young cadets, but we somehow have to have them in their expected positions by the end of the movie. So we have Kirk graduating from the Academy and skipping straight from cadet to captain. Because that's exactly who I would want captaining my ship. Really...old Kirk made captain faster than anyone in history in TOS, but that was still too slow for this film. A cadet is intercepting and decrypting top secret Klingon broadcasts--and no one in the senior staff knows a thing about it? Scotty comes in out of "exile" and is immediately made chief engineer, regardless of rank or experience with the type of ship (of course, for that to work, they had to have the old engineer pull the stupid kamikaze stunt on the space drive...)? (And by the way...why exactly did Kirk take Scotty along with him to the Enterprise??) Chekov is better at transporters than transporter technicians?

Nope...no apprenticeship periods, no learning the ropes, no serving aboard other ships learning protocol and how to be officers--our crew is magically, instantly better at their jobs than everybody else, even though they're all about 22 years old, and are immediately promoted above thousands of others, no matter their qualifications or experience (at least we now know how Janeway made admiral...). Because our creators want them young & sexy, but they also wanted the instant gratification of getting them all back together and on the bridge as soon as humanly possible. And if you want to believe that they all came together on the flagship because they're all the best at their jobs, you're required to accept that Star Fleet had previously had the ship staffed with incompetent morons.

So on just about every level, a stupid, stupid, STUPID script. Let me ask you: if this film didn't have Star Trek as the title, and had the exact same plot and characters except not named Kirk and Spock--would anybody be gushing over it? Somehow, I suspect that if the movie were called Space Journey and featured Smith and Quimby, the reviews would be much more negative, complaining about how air-headed and and insipid it was, giving us whiz-bang CGI and explosions while giving us little character and plot. That's my theory, anyway. It's a mindless summer flick, using Star Trek's name and cachet to coast in place of developing plot or character.

All of which, let me emphasize, just spotlights how good Abrams' direction is. He keeps us hurtling along, keeps us on the edge of our seats, and makes us miss a lot of the flaws. The movie never feels like two hours (well, almost never), the action is well directed (well, mostly), and keeps us stuffing our mouths with popcorn.

I know I've sounded relentlessly negative...but considering I'm outnumbered 96-1 in my opinion, I felt justified in emphasizing why I felt the way I do. It's certainly not a bad movie. It's as entertaining as heck, and doesn't bother to make you think at all. But it's still just a mindless summer movie. On that level, Star Trek XI: No Subtitle succeeds admirably. But as a Star Trek movie? I expect more from that than I would from a Michael Bay flick. When you look at this film, not just as any movie but as a Star Trek movie? It's the Never Say Never Again of Trek movies.

SNELL'S RANDOM NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS

**All along, I was saying, man, the one thing Star Trek movies never had was product placement! Please, more Budweiser references!!

Someone needs to be strung up, is all I'm sayin'.

**Not to mention, all Star Trek soundtracks have been missing a Beastie Boys song!! Yeah, because so many kids today are listening to Mozart on their iPods.

And how come no one in Star Trek ever listens to contemporary (ie, future) music??

**Didn't you just know that nothing they could show us could live up to what our imaginations and ST II told us about Kirk's Koybayashi Maru? Sure enough, this was pedestrian and lame, with no tension or surprise. And don't you think Kirk would have reprogrammed the simulator to, oh, I don't know, make him look good, like a good captain and competent officer? Instead it tossed up a scenario Captain Dunsel could have solved, while he just preens like a jackass...

Besides, how can you do a Kirk at the Academy story without Finnegan?? Oh, that's right, he was never mentioned in Wrath of Khan...

**Nero's ship is another creaky plot device, conveniently powerful and powerless, depending on the plot needs of the moment. It's tough enough to completely destroy a Federation fleet over Vulcan in less than 5 minutes...but somehow can't destroy the Kelvin alone in 10 minutes, or keep it from ramming them at full speed? When old Spock's ship shows up, they capture it effortlessly, apparently without a shot being fired...yet that ship and the Enterprise can smash it up when 7 Star Fleet vessels are reduced to debris?

**Love the design on the new Enterprise, great bridge, but...ye gods, what's up with that engine room? It looks like it was filmed in the basement boiler room of a 1960's industrial site. Seriously, it looks absolutely NOTHING like the rest of the ship, all stairs and railings and boilers...it's not even from the same movie! Did they run out of money? Imagination?

**Speaking of design, I'm glad that the Romulan ship follows the George Lucas theory of ship design, with lots of catwalks leading nowhere and no railings over vast yawning spaces with no purpose...

**A number of people have complained how stupid it was to physically exile Kirk from the ship onto a hostile planet, when they could have just stuffed him in the brig. Please, people, please: the writers couldn't think up any other way to get Kirk and Old Spock together, so they had to resort to nonsense...that's how screenwriting works!!

And exactly how close was Delta Vega to Vulcan, that Vulcan appears that huge in the skyline, yet Delta Vega is untouched by the effects of the resulting black hole?

And if there was a Federation outpost on Delta Vega, couldn't they just have used their communications system to call Star Fleet and warn Earth?!? (And before you blame the black hole, the transporter was still functional...)

I tell you--SCREENWRITING!!!!!

**Kirk sure gets choked a lot in this film. Didn't the fight choreographer have any other moves in his portfolio? I'm just sayin'.

**Yes, blowing up Vulcan really, really proves that you're not our fathers' Star Trek. Gee, who'd want to tell stories about a rich alien culture? If they had any balls, they would have blown up Earth...

But remember how every review tells us Star Trek is positive and optimistic and hopeful...despite 2 galactic civilizations being irretrievably lost. Gee, I'm glad we're not in a bleak future or anything...

**Just how incompetent is...uh, was...Vulcan, anyway? They send out a distress call about seismic activity, but they somehow couldn't see that there's a freaking huge unidentified ship in orbit drilling into their planetary core? And they're so clueless they have to have the Enterprise call them and tell them to evacuate the planet--they can't tell themselves their planet's imploding? Think of it as evolution in action, I guess...

**Speaking of Vulcan, its good to see that Vulcan's high gravity doesn't prevent Sulu from doing somersaults over people's head, and that the thin air in no way impedes the intense fight with a couple of Romulans. I guess in this "alternate universe," Vulcan somehow has Earth normal air and gravity...ah, well, it's not like Amok Time can happen now...

**I'm not sure about this "emotionally compromised" regulation (which, since Old Spock quoted it, must exist in the old universe, too). That would have removed Kirk and Spock from how many missions?!? Oh, that's right, without that regulation there would be no conceivable justification for letting violent, lying mutineer Kirk take command...SCREENWRITING!!!!

**You know, instead of giving us a LOOOOONG car chase and an infinitely LOOOOOOONG CGI-monsters-on-crappy-fake-snow-planet scene, maybe we could have invested some time in plot or character development. I'm just sayin.'

**This is merely a matter of taste, but I really don't go in for such physical buffoonery humor in my Star Trek. Swollen hands? Really? A Willie Wonka tube ride for Scotty? Not my cup of tea.

By the way, the tube Scotty beams into is labeled "inert reactant." Water is not an inert reactant. Good things they made this movie without technobabble...

**Seriously, where was Nero for 25 years?

**Hello, Old Spock has traveled this road before, hasn't he? He and Kirk have gone farther back in time, or re-gone back, any number of times, to reset history to its proper course. By ST IV he can whip off calculations for time warp in his sleep. And yet, in the face of this crisis, he doesn't once consider the possibility of fixing this mess with another time trip? He'll let Vulcan die when he was willing to jiggle the past to save Earth any number of times?

**Can someone please find Orci and Kurztman a new gig before the next Trek movie? Thank you.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Quantum Of Solace--Revisited

#22 revisitedWell, it's out. Do I have anything new to say?

First, I should note that it is my first Blu-ray Bond (well, technically a tie, since I purchased it simultaneously with Never Say Never Again). One consequence I hadn't foreseen--my computer doesn't have a Blu-ray Disc player, so I can't do any screencaps. Perhaps by the time The Hildebrandt Rarity comes around, I'll have upgraded my computer.

Secondly, I don't plan to upgrade the rest of my Bond collection to Blu-ray anytime soon. Yes, the picture and sound are fantastic...but unlike the leap from VHS to DVD, the Blu-rays are only incrementally better than the Ultimate Edition DVDs. Particularly with my current AV set-up, which isn't upscale enough to make the fullest use of those incremental upgrades. Plus, the Blu-rays don't feature any additional special features over the UE DVDs. Having already purchased most of the Bond films 4 times already (VHS, widescreen VHS, DVD, Ultimate Edition DVD...damn you, Eon!!), I really can't justify blowing the dollars again for essentially nothing extra. So, until I get a better AV setup and win the lottery, no more Blu-ray for snell.

Finally, I know I'm stupid for not waiting for the next release of a "super ultimate edition" of QoS. But man, this is a disappointingly spare release. No commentary track? Really? No BD-Live support of any kind? Not even a link to a bloody webpage?!? Only 1 teaser and one theatrical trailer?? The "production diaries" are nice, but they were all already available on the internet (for free!), and most are 2 minutes or less in length. Of the 5 "featurettes," 4 are under 3 minutes, they cannibalize each other, and are shockingly light on actual information. For example, despite 2 "on location" featurettes, there's not a single mention of the Chilean mayor who staged a protest to try and stop production. Plus--both "On Location" AND ""Bond On Location" (along with "Start of Shooting") as the titles?? That's pretty typical of the lack of imagination and effort here.

But how has the movie itself aged in the past 5 months? I'll pretty much stand by most everything I wrote back in my original review. That is: good, but far from great. There are flashes of brilliance, and some real excitement.

But like the poster and cover shot on the disc, it's too spare, too bleak, too dry. The movie is so intent on hammering home its themes that it makes no time for dialogue, for relationships, for the Bond panache. Has there ever been a Bond film that has been so little fun to watch?

QoS can't even take time for the proper dialogue. Has there ever been a Bond film so bereft of memorable lines? Has there ever been a Bond film where characters' line just don't sync up with each other or what's going on? Example: in Haiti, Elvis berates the guy guarding the gate, "Pay attention next time!!!" This makes absolutely no sense in the context of the scene. When 007 goes to fetch Mathis, he says "you're the only one I can trust," and Mathis suddenly launches into a soliloquy about the old and the young and right and wrong, which doesn't seem apropos at all to what Bond said. At MI-6, the Forensics Tech starts to tell M, "we've done a forensics analysis of every note and its traceable history," but is interrupted by Tanner, who says "Not in the mood." Everyone steps into the lab, on the forensics tech...proceeds to give a forensics analysis of every bill in Mitchell's wallet. Huh? Did we miss something?? Was a lot of stuff edited out so conversations don't make sense? Or was the script just never properly finished? Either way, you get a sense of a movie that doesn't care about details, and instead is interested in hurtling from Point A to Point B as fast as possible, sense be damned.

Obviously, this applies to the editing of the action scenes, too. I harped enough about this last time. But let me just note that, with freeze frame and slo-mo and rewind at my command, you still often can't tell exactly what the hell is happening. During the rooftop chase with Mitchell, you still can't tell where the characters are in relation to each other--and I still swear that they get their directions reversed a few times. In the fight with Slate in the Haiti hotel room, you can't tell how Slate gets his throat severed--by the fall through the glass? Bond? Accidentally stabbing himself? And of course, in the boat chase, there still no sense at all in how the last boat gets toppled, or what the hell that grappling hook had to do with anything. The garage at the desert hotel just suddenly starts exploding when an SUV backs into a wall...why? If there was a hydrogen cell there, we never saw it (hint, Marc Forster...it's called an "establishing shot"). Either Forster and the editors didn't know how to show us, or didn't care. It was "We've got our action sequence, let's move on!"

Sadly, we also have no relationship between Bond and Dominic Greene, our villain. This is not to pick on Mathieu Almaric...the script just keeps him and Bond apart the whole movie. Don't forget, most of what Greene does the first half of the movie is out of Bond's sight and hearing, and James hasn't heard Camille's sad story yet. So there's no real sense of conflict. They don't even meet until an hour into the movie, and then they don't really share any dialogue...Bond only says "I'm sorry, Mr. Greene, but we have to go" and "I'm sure they do." That's literally it until Bond drops Greene in the desert at the end. It's a wasted opportunity, because I think Almaric could have been quite a good Bond villain. But you just can't keep Bond and his villain separated the entire movie and expect their interaction to be compelling.

Commenter Tags took me to task earlier for not paying sufficient attention to Strawberry Fields. Sorry, Tags, but I still feel there's no "there" there. Again, no fault to Gemma Atherton. But the entirety of her role is show up at the airport, back down to Bond; go to a particular hotel, back down to Bond; act cool, but back down and go to bed with Bond; unnecessarily trip Elvis down the stairs, and die offscreen. The entire role felt pasted on a "hey, we've gotta have someone Bond can sleep with and crack jokes to, let's write a role quickly" feel to it. Had the character not even been in the movie, it wouldn't have made a bit of difference to how the story played out.

Then again, you can say that about most of the rest of the movie's plot devices: "We've got to do something besides having Bond brooding for an hour and a half!" Mitchell goes rogue, it's treated as if that was unbelievable--and never mentioned again. Oh, the poor Bolivians and their water shortage--except Bond would have gone after Greene just as hard if he'd never set foot in Bolivia, and did nothing to stop the villain's plot. Ditto for Camille--she'd have gone after Medrano just as fiercely even if there hadn't been a coup plot and an unnecessary attempted rape scene. Beam gets his comeuppance, and Leiter is promoted, but it's offscreen--just take our word for it. Everything in this movie is just a prop--the villain's plot, the MacGuffins, the water shortage, the coup, everything. They're just there as window dressing , something to pass the time until Bond can confront Yusef. And if Bond and the writers and director don't really care about them, why should we? That's why there's so little sense of danger and urgency to the proceedings, because the filmmakers never invested themselves in what was happening, and let that lack of commitment come through in the final product.

Which is a shame, because there's a lot to admire in this movie. The location work is great (even though we're not always in the actual advertised location, at least we're not in a studio). The opera set piece is good (although the vaguely referred to action sequence is treated as a barely-tolerated add-on). The stunts, when you can follow them, are exciting. The performances are all top-notch, especially given how little the script gives them.

But QoS plays more like an outline for a Bond movie, rather than a full-fledged 007 outing. The wit, the flair, the excitement are all lacking, or dialed down to a near undetectable level. Where are the moments in which you can look at the screen and say, "That's gotta be a Bond film?" Which is what keeps this a middle-of-the-pack Bond film.

SNELL'S RANDOM NOTES AND OTHER OBSERVATIONS:

**The jet and helicopter that chased Bond's DC-3...whom did they belong to? Not the Bolivian government, surely. Did Medrano already control portions of the air force? Does Quantum have their own private air force that operates with impunity in Bolivian airspace?

**I griped about this last time, but it's worth repeating: M, the head of MI-6, goes personally into the field for interrogations in Italy, in Bolivia, in Russia?!? Going into the field was treated as something radical in TWINE...

**Fields excuses herself from Mathis and the police colonel to help Bond...she gets there as Bond and Camille are already descending the stairs. By the time Bond gets to the car, Mathis is already beaten up and stashed in the back, with the motorcycle cops ready to ambush him. How'd that happen so quickly, unless 007 and Camille did a lot of lallygagging on their way out?

**It's right on the screen in M's office, as clear as day: Bond's birthday is April 13, 1968. He was in the Royal Navy 86-96, "RNR Defense" 96-99 (sorry, you got me on that one), and MI-6 99-Present. His SSID# is 94612751. So, let's party next Monday for Bond's 41st birthday, eh?

**While we're on freeze frame patrol, Greene's birthday is July 12, 1964. And according to her Bolivian driver's licence, Camille's full name is Camille Montes Rivero, and her blood type is O positive. No birth date is shown, but her license expires on October 23rd, and that's usually on one's birthday, isn't it??

**Yeah, I know they're doing most of the work underground, but it's not like they're Mole People or something--there must have been ample evidence of Greene Planet's drilling and dynamiting and damning. You'd have to have trucks and heavy equipment and probably helicopters and etc on the surface...yet both the Bolivian government and Medrano appear completely unaware of Green's work out there (on land that he doesn't have the rights to yet!!)...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Small Favors

Thank heavens!!

Yeah, I've been gone awhile. Expect more regular posting in the near future, including a look at the Blu-Ray of Quantum of Solace.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Democracy in Action!!

It's time for Phase 2 of Contest #2. We've had any number of suggestions for titles for Bond 23, and it's time for you, the dear readers, to vote, in the poll on the sidebar at right.

Vote, and we'll see what the teeming masses want as the next Bond title.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Contest #2--Name Bond 23

I hope everybody is recovered well from the holidays, because it's time to get back into the swing of things.

It's time for another contest. Well, not so much a contest, because there are no prizes. First, I'm broker than S.P.E.C.T.R.E. after one of their failed schemes which requires billions in investment for relatively little payoff. And second, we won't know for at least a year or so who's "correct."

So, this one is just for shits and giggles. Let's help Eon out and pick the name for the next Bond feature.

Regular readers know that I'm committed to The Hildebrandt Rarity. Too unlikely, too ugly a title? That's what they said about the idea of using Quantum of Solace a year ago...Of course, Risico is still available. I don't, however, foresee any circumstance which could result in 007 In New York being used.

Or, as someone commented on a post here earlier, many of Ian Fleming's chapter titles in the Bond novels might make for fine Bond film titles. Or, you could take some phrase from one of the novels, as they did in The World Is Not Enough.

I know that doing adaptations of the continuation novels is verboten for complex rights reasons that I don't understand...but what about the titles? I always thought that Nobody Lives Forever would be a fine Bond title.

Of course, it could just be a phrase spun from out of nowhere, but sounding sufficiently Flemingesque, such as Never Say Never Again (hey, bad movie, good title).

So it's up to you, loyal readers. Throw up some suggestions/guesses/brilliant innovations in the comments section. I'll take the best ideas (my arbitrary decision again--go figure) and throw them up in a poll on the sidebar. And if Michael Wilson or Barbara Broccoli or Daniel Craig are reading, hey, who knows?

Have fun, and keep it clean.