ALWAYS KEEPING AN EYE ON HOLLYWOOD!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

JER'S TURN: 50 YEARS of BOND... JAMES BOND!

  JER: “My name is Bond, James Bond.” Vodka martini: shaken, not stirred. A ladies’ man. A Double- O agent for Britain’s MI6 division. The driver of an Aston- Martin DB5. A professional Baccarat and other card games’ player. His supervisor’s name is M and he is supplied with the latest gadgets by Q. I cannot say that it hard for me to believe that 50 years of James Bond is being celebrated with the release of the franchise’s 23rd film SKYFALL this year, but I am glad that the series is strong and has survived many blockades throughout the years. In fact, an affirmation is made at the end of SKYFALL by informing its audience that, in bold capitalized letters: BOND WILL BE BACK! Because of this, I feel it only right that the timing has brought me to talk about my personal favorite character and the many embodiments that have happened to bring to the silver screen: the world of James Bond.

Author & Creator of James Bond: IAN FLEMING
ORGINS: The character of James Bond was created in the mind of British author Ian Fleming in 1953. Based on research and the tales known of Fleming, James Bond would seem to have a lot in common with his creator than mere fiction would have. Fleming was a womanizer, having had many short- term affairs with women even when he was married, like Bond, he also enjoyed gin and was considered a very dashing and worldly gentlemen who spoke four different languages. Fleming also dabbled in the world of espionage and the British Intelligence.

In 1939, Fleming began a more formidable attachment to British secret service when he began working for Naval Intelligence. During the last year of the war, he traveled to Jamaica for a Naval conference. It is then that he discovered his personal tropical paradise and as soon as the war was over, he returned back and purchased property and designed his own home: he gave his house the name of “Goldeneye.”

Over the next few years, Fleming would flesh- out a character that included many of his attributes and personal/ professional experiences into a defined ‘gentlemen’s gentlemen’ role. He had to be dashing and in control, he could both woo a woman and put her in her place as he saw fit, he needed to be internationally prepared in various languages, techniques of gambling and drinks and go about without raising a suspected eyebrow. He would carry honor and the love for his country and would be prepared to do anything at the call of duty. The first literary appearance of James Bond was in “Casino Royale” which was published in 1953. The rest, as they say, was history.

Producers: (l) HARRY SALTZMAN & (r) "CUBBY" BROCCOLI
THE BOND/ SEAN CONNERY EARLY YEARS (1962- 1967): Throughout the history of radio broadcasts and film, many different variations have come about using the name James Bond. The general focus that will be placed here is on the “official” James Bond films released through Eon Productions: a private and family- owned company created by film producers Harry Saltzman and Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, based in London that also operates from the Pinewood Studios in the United Kingdom. It is a subsidiary of Danjaq LLC, the holding company that officially owns the copyrights and trademarks to the Bond character and events portrayed on the screen. Broccoli’s name is essential to the Bond storytelling, since his name virtually appears in the opening credits of every Bond film since 1962. Albert passed away in 1996, however his daughter, Barbara Broccoli, continues on the legacy by co- producing the Bond films since her father’s death.

SEAN CONNERY
The first actor to bring James Bond to the silver screen was an Irish actor named Sean Connery. Born on August 25, 1930 in Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, Connery joined the Royal Navy but was discharged due to medical conditions. When he turned 23, he had a choice of either becoming a professional football player or an actor… he chose acting and said it was one of his most intelligent moves. He had a flourish career as an actor for both screen and television, but his major breakthrough would come in the way of portraying 007. The choice of casting Connery in the role was not the producers’ first, however, their attention was caught from Connery’s strong- willed temper for not standing down during points of the audition process. 
DR. NO would be both Bond and Connery’s first embodiment of the role, making its debut on October 5th 1962. Budgeted at an estimated $1,100,000.00, the film took in $59 million worldwide. Popular television actor Jack Lord (the original HAWAII 5-0) portrayed CIA agent Felix Leiter: a character that would become both an ally and a friend to Bond throughout the franchise’s story arc and the first “Bond girl” Ursula Andress as Honey Rider rounded off the cast. Andress won a Golden Globe in 1964 for “Most Promising Newcomer- Female” beating out Tippi Hedren for THE BIRDS. 
An exciting trailer for the first Bond film: DR. NO


FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (1963) had Sean Connery returning back as Special Agent 007 as he goes on the search for a Russian decoder machine. This is also the first film that introduces Bond enthusiasts to the evil SPECTRE organization, which will continually build a storyline arc for a number of films to come as the company that vows to destroy the British Secret Service division known as MI6 and James Bond himself. Rounding off the cast is Robert Shaw (JAWS) as the muscle- bound Russian baddie, Grant. This is also the first film to introduce SPECTRE’s evil leader, Ernst Blofeld, played by Anthony Dawson. Mike Myers would parody this character as Dr. Evil in the AUSTIN POWERS trilogy. Given a rise in budget, the production came in at an estimated $2 million dollars with a return gross of $79 million worldwide. It would seem as if Bond has created quite the name for himself with many more stories to be told!

Third time’s a charm for both Bond and Sean Connery, as GOLDFINGER (1964) is released and becomes an instant hit with the fans, some claiming to be the best of the franchise. Beginning with the popular characters that appeared in the film including actress Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore, Harold Sakata as the evil hat- throwing ‘Odd-Job” and Gert Frobe as the menacing Auric Goldfinger, the world of Bond was quickly establishing memorable villains and Bond girls to come. Making a budget jump to an estimated $3 million, the returns worldwide would appear as a lucrative $125 million worldwide. Yes, Mr. Bond, you are definitely becoming the international man you set out to be! Gold would definitely come to GOLDFINGER in the way of an Academy Award win to Norman Wanstall- Best Effects, Sound Effects.

Without hesitation, Connery would slam down the martinis and the villains in the fourth installment in the series in 1965’s THUNDERBALL. This time round, Bond’s mission is to head down to the Bahamas to recover two stolen nuclear warheads in the possession of SPECTRE. The film introduced both Claudine Auger as Domino and Italian actor Adolfo Celi as SPECTRE’s evil Emilio Largo into the world of Bond. The film used a number of different special effects and live- action photography for its underwater action sequences.
With an estimated budget of $9 million, THUNDERBALL came back with a strong $141 million. It, too, won an Academy Award: John Stears- Best Effects, Special Visual Effects.

Donald Pleasence as Blofeld
YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (1967) once again having Connery as 007 in this fifth installment. Bond’s mission, this time, takes him to Japan as he works with the Japanese secret service ninja force to stop a series of ‘spacejackings’ before a nuclear war is provoked by SPECTRE. The character of Blofeld returns with more enfaces placed on his evil plans for world domination. Blofeld is played by fame character actor Donald Pleasence (HALLOWEEN). Budgeted at an estimated $9,500,000.00, the film grossed approximately $112 million. After production, Sean Connery felt that he was done as James Bond and told producers that he would never play the secret agent again. With that said, producers looked into the horizon as Bond was about to take another step forward in the growth of child to adolescence.

GEORGE LAZENBY
THE BOND FILMS: GEORGE LAZENBY/ SEAN CONNERY FINALE (1969- 1971): With Sean Connery out of the picture, a worldwide search was conducted: enter George Lazenby. Born in Australia on September 5th, 1939, Lazenby made a move to London, England in 1964, after serving the Australian Army. He was cast as James Bond in 1968 based off a screen test fight scene, the strength of his interviews and fight skills. The new Bond would make his debut in ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE in 1969.

On a brand new mission, Bond takes to the Swiss Alps in ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE. Bond lays down the charm with lots of thickness as he woos a mob boss’s daughter and goes undercover to find out more information about Blofeld’s secret heavily- guarded Switzerland chalet. What’s this? England’s most eligible and untamable bachelor gets married? The bride is Diana Rigg (Emma Peel from TV’s THE AVENGERS) as Tracy. The honeymoon, however, is cut short, thanks to the doings of Blofeld, this time played by Telly Savalas (TV’s KOJAK). So, how did the new Bond favor in the box office? At an estimated cost of $7 million, the film’s returns grossed about $87 million. Lazenby actually quit the role of Bond right before its premiere night, claiming he could get other acting roles as well as stating that the Bond contract was too thick and too demanding on him.
The exciting trailer for ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE


Rumor has it that David Picker, the head of United Artists at the time, made an offer that couldn’t be refused when he enticed Sean Connery to making his encore performance as James Bond in the seventh installment to the franchise. Connery agreed with the inclination that he would ‘never’ play Bond again!

DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER (1971) brings the return of 007 at his new mission in the investigation of who is smuggling diamonds, which are being stolen in the process. Ernst Blofeld might have changed his physical appearance and Bond is left wondering if he might have anything to do with the recent thefts. Television and film actress Jill St. John plays the latest Bond babe as Tiffany Case and character actor Charles Gray (“The Narrator” in THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW) as the newest embodiment of the ever- changing Blofeld rounded off the cast. How did audiences take to Connery’s return as Bond? At a budgeted $7.2 million, the gross was an estimated $116 million.

ROGER MOORE
BOND IS BACK: ENTER ROGER MOORE (1973- 1985): Roger George Moore was born on October 14, 1927 in Stockwell, England and had been an earlier contender as Bond’s successor before Lazenby’s casting and Connery’s return, but Moore’s schedule on British television’s THE SAINT (1962- 1970) didn’t allow him the opportunity to pursue the role. The timing was right when producers offered the role of 007 with Moore’s acceptance. According to Moore’s autobiography, he had to lose weight and cut his hair for the role. Although he resented it, he was finally prepared to put his own spin on the Bond character.  

Arguably, fans have debated that Sean Connery set the bar high in the representations of Bond. In agreement, there weren’t any other actors to compare his interpretations to. There is something to be said about Moore’s take on Bond: there were women for Bond to seduce in those years, Moore brought a regal and dry wit to his mannerisms and played 007with a proper English accent as apposed to Connery’s signature Scottish tones.

LIVE AND LET DIE was released on June 27, 1973. Bond’s latest adventure pit- stops in New Orleans as he investigates the deaths of several British agents. While traveling deep within the world of the Cajun community, Bond encounters voodoo, witch doctors and black magic along the Bayou way. Yaphet Kotto (ALIEN) played Mr. Big, a self-made heroin controller along with Jane Seymour (TV’s DR. QUINN: MEDICINE WOMAN) as the mysterious tarot card- reading Solitaire helped round off the cast. Budgeted at an estimated $7 million, the film went on to gross approximately $125 million in box office receipts. Looks like audiences still loved James Bond, no matter who played him… so far.

Moore’s second role as Bond would be in 1974’s THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN. 007 is led to believe that he is targeted by the world’s most expensive hit- man, Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) who charges a million dollars per job. Can Bond stop him before it’s too late? Bond deals with twice the babes with Britt Ekland as Goodnight and Maud Adams as Andrea… he also has to avoid Scaramanga’s right- hand man, Nick- Nack (Herve Villechaize: Tattoo from TV’s FANTASY ISLAND). The most expensive budget to date, the film’s cost was an estimated $13 million with an estimated $98 million in returns.

The year is now 1977 and Bond is celebrating fifteen years since DR. NO's release. To coincide, the tenth adventure is released on August 3rd as THE SPY WHO LOVED ME. (This critic’s favorite film of the franchise). With Egypt as the backdrop, Bond is united with a KGB Russian secret agent, Major Anya Amasova/ “Triple XXX” (Barbara Bach) to investigate the hijacking of British and Russian submarines carrying nuclear warheads taken by mastermind Karl Stromberg (Curt Jurgens). Along with Stromberg, he is joined by his henchman Jaws (Richard Kiel), the man with a mouthful of metal teeth. Moore really comes into his own as Commander Bond with quick- thinking one- liners and biting wit with the charms of the gentleman in wooing quite a few eligible Bond babes throughout the film. Raising the bar slightly, the budget inflates to an estimated $14 million and grossing a well- received $186 million! Songwriter/ composer Marvin Hamlisch provides one of the best soundtracks provided for a Bond film. 
Carly Simon's opening theme to THE SPY WHO LOVED ME


At the end of a decade, 1979 marks the release of MOONRAKER. The typical exotic locations are put aside as Bond takes to outer space in an adventure that has him investigating the mid- air hijacking of a space shuttle that leads him to the rocket’s creator, Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale). Lois Chiles is the brainy Bond babe playing Dr. Holly Goodhead along with the return of henchman Jaws, he drew popularity previously. Bond did not want to fall behind in the film industry’s love for sci- fi/ space films (STAR WARS, ALIEN) and in keeping up, the budget grew to a whopping $34 million dollars with a high- end return of $210 million worldwide… the largest return on a Bond film yet!

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY rang in the 80’s with its 12th strong entry into the series. Roger Moore returns for his fifth appearance as James Bond to date. The mission: to recover a communications device before it slips into possible Russian hands. Could this be the end of Bond’s evil nemesis, Blofeld? One needs to see the opening sequence to see for yourself… but Bond is in good company as a bevy of Bond girls make their way into his crosshairs while on his mission. Carole Bouquet is the lead Bond girl as Melina Havelock and Lynn- Holly Johnson (ICE CASTLES) is the figure- skating Bibi Dahl. The name Bond continues to present a strong draw for the box office as its estimated budget of $28 million draws in an estimated $195 million worldwide.

MAUD ADAMS is OCTOPUSSY
OCTOPUSSY was released on June 10, 1983 as Bond’s next mission sends him to the circus! A British agent is murdered and found clutching onto a priceless Faberge egg. A collector purchases the egg at an auction, but Bond becomes suspicious as the buyer meets up with a Russian General. Soon it is discovered that both men are plotting to blow a nuclear device in an American Air Force Base. Maud Adams makes a very unheard of appearance as the second time a Bond girl is repeated in two different films playing a different role. Maud Adams from THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN plays Octopussy this time, the owner of the traveling circus Bond uses to get close to the Base. Budgeted at $27.5 million, the multi- hands of OCTOPUSSY rakes- in $187.5 million worldwide.

The mid- eighties is met with the high- action adventure A VIEW TO A KILL in 1985. California’s Silicon Valley is the target of a microchip corporation headed by Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) with his private bodyguard, May Day (Grace Jones). Bond must investigate Zorin’s plans to use the chip to wipe out the Valley with a mega- earthquake. Tanya Roberts (THE BEASTMASTER) plays Bond’s lead female, Stacey Sutton. Including some dazzling effects and action, the $30 million budgeted cost brought in an estimated $152.4 million. Roger Moore made a record- breaking seven appearances as 007, the highest of any actor to portray James Bond. A VIEW TO A KILL would mark his final appearance of the secret agent… with only anticipation left for producers and fans, alike, to ask the inevitable question: Who will play James Bond next?

TIMOTHY DALTON
SHAKEN & STIRRED: TIMOTHY DALTON (1987- 1989): Next to George Lazenby’s 1969 ‘one- stop shop’ portrayal of Bond, Dalton’s would be the second shortest, but equally controversial, appearance as the famous British agent. Unlike Moore’s more playboy approach to the character, Dalton presented a darker interpretation, which may have been the cause for a premature ending to his Bond contributions…

Timothy Peter Dalton was born on March 21, 1944 in Colwyn Bay, Wales and had achieved many appearances in British television on many BBC programs as well as stage performances. Dalton was approached twice by the persuasion of the producers to play Bond before agreeing to the role, now having been freed- up from his earlier theatre obligations. The studios were ready to unveil a new James Bond for a new era!

Ironically celebrating its twenty fifth anniversary and its fifteenth installment, Dalton suited up for his first Bond appearance in 1987’s THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS. Dating itself, the film still focuses on the ‘Cold War’ with Russia as the plot deals with an arms dealer who is looking to start another world war. Locations from the exotic Morocco desert landscapes and the freezing Austrian streets paint the backdrop for the seven continents Bond travels through in his latest mission. Again, how did audiences feel about a new Bond? Estimated at a cost of $30 million, the film grossed a worldwide total of $191 million! Maryam d’Abo is the latest Bond Leading Lady as Kara Milovy. 
A thrilling trailer for Dalton's THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS


LICENCE TO KILL (1989) represents a more personal Bond story similar to ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE back in 1969. Instead of dealing with a topic of love, Bond becomes a man seeking revenge after his CIA friend Felix Leiter is left for dead in the hands of drug kingpin Franz Sanchez (Robert Davi). The story is intense with Bond even leaving the Secret Service to avenge his friend in this installment. Dalton was signed on to do three Bond films, but legal entanglements delayed production on the next film. It wasn’t until 1994 that Dalton officially resigned from his contract, much to the dismay of the producers. The understandings were presented and both parties made their clean break… it was time to revisit an old friend who had been previously approached!

PIERCE BROSNAN
21ST CENTURY BOND: PIERCE BOSNAN (1995- 2002).  Pierce Brosnan was born on May 16, 1953 in Navan, Ireland. After Timothy Dalton was unavailable the first time through, Brosnan was approached to play Bond in 1986. Obligations to his hit television show, REMINGTON STEELE, didn’t allow him to pursue until NBC cancelled the show. Once Dalton was out, the producers were ready to get back into the game after almost six years of hiatus.

GOLDENEYE was released on November 17, 1995 with much anticipation from fans. Anyone who knew Brosnan’s work on his previous television show could already see the good- looking fellow as Bond. The new adventure takes place during the closing of the ‘Cold War’ as Bond teams up with the lone survivor of a destroyed Russian research center… but Bond might finally meet his match as a former agent, thought to be dead, might be controlling the entire operation. A Bond first, as Judi Dench takes the office of MI6’s Director (and Bond’s boss) “M”… a role commonly played by male actors in the previous sixteen films. An increased budget of $58 million spared no expense in presenting action and adventure to its fullest… the payoff? How does the returned grosses of $351.5 million worldwide sound? Bond is definitely back!
Captivating Tina Turner's GOLDENEYE theme!


TOMORROW NEVER DIES marks the eighteenth Bond film and was released in 1997. Brosnan returns as Bond who tries to thwart the plans of a media mogul who is trying to provoke war between China and the U.K. only so that he can obtain exclusive rights to the coverage. Bond girls include International superstar Michelle Yeoh (CROUTCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON) and Teri Hatcher (TV’s DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES). Probably considered to be the weakest film in the series by many, the film went on to gross an approximate $221 million worldwide.

THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH marks the end of an era as the last film released in the 20th century on November 19, 1999. With the aid of Bond girls Sophie Marceau (BRAVEHEART) and Denise Richards (WILD THINGS), Bond uncovers a nuclear plot while protecting an oil heiress from a former kidnapper. The world still has not had enough of Brosnan nor Bond as the worldwide gross comes in at a healthy $225 million.

DIE ANOTHER DAY marks the return of Bond in the new millennium with a release date of November 22, 2002. This would mark Bond’s fortieth anniversary (20 films total) and Brosnan’s fourth and final appearance as 007. Bond takes a serious beating as he is sent to investigate a North Korean terrorist, however, he finds himself betrayed and captured. Because MI6 cannot interfere, Bond is held hostage and tortured for 14 months before he is set free. Bond must find out who his captures were as he finds out a diamond mogul is funding the construction of a space weapon. Joining the ever- growing exclusive list of popular Bond girls is Academy Award winning actress Halle Berry (MONSTER’S BALL) as Jinx.  One last send- off for Brosnan’s Bond? A whopping $142 million was spent on the budget bringing in a grand total of $432 million worldwide! A new Bond waits in the wings… yet again.

DANIEL CRAIG
A TOUGHER BOND: DANIEL CRAIG (2006- PRESENT). Daniel Wroughton Craig was born on March 2, 1968 in Chestire, England and is now the sixth and most current actor to play Bond. Craig is also the first blond of the otherwise dark- haired 007. Craig was considered an unfit choice by the producers by the fans… to the degree that groups were forming to boycott seeing his first entry and riddled the internet with unkind words about the upcoming Bond. The producers backed their decision and moved forward with a multi- media blast to introduce the new James Bond to the world! A re-boot, of sorts, was now taking place with Bond… denying him of his signature catch- phrase, “My name is Bond, James Bond” and providing him with more agile skills and a rough- around- the- edges demure.

CASINO ROYALE would be released four years since Brosnan’s DIE ANOTHER DAY. The date was November 17, 2006. A “prequel” of sorts, as both a new Bond and actor is introduced to his first mission (just like Ian Fleming’s first book with the same title) by winning a poker game at the famed Casino Royale in Montenegro. He plays the gambler to stop a criminal who finances various terrorists around the world. We see a Bond that actually makes mistakes, who possibly gets people killed and who even takes a beating from thugs. Eva Green (KINGDOM OF HEAVEN) joins the Bond girls’ list as Vespa Lynd, a new love interest for Bond that leaves quite the mark on him! Jeffrey Wright plays the incarnation of CIA friend Felix Leiter, as they meet and work together for the first time. Budgeted at an approximate $150 million… the fans seemed to have accepted the new Bond as the film took on a worldwide gross of $594 million! The biggest draw to date for a Bond film. Certain events occur (no spoilers here, you just have to see it for yourself…) that continue on where things get left off in the next chapter…
The exciting trailer to Craig's CASINO ROYALE


QUANTIUM OF SOLICE (2008) literally picks up where CASINO ROYALE left off… Bond is out for revenge and fueled with anger and fury. He defies “M”’s (Judi Dench) request to not pursue forth, but reluctantly agrees that Bond is the only agent who can stomp out an environmentalist from taking the country’s most valuable resources. A’la LICENCE TO KILL, Bond lets his emotions take the best of him, but he quickly learns to be the professional agent and stay on target of his mission in the end. A budget first: At a cost of $200 million, the film brings in a lucrative worldwide gross of $586 million!

We now come full circle in 2012 as Bond celebrates a landmark fifty years with the release of its 23rd film, SKYFALL released November 9th. Bond’s loyalty to both “M” and the MI6 organization is tested when several agents’ identities are being revealed to terrorists after an encrypted file with personal information is stolen. 007 must track down the person responsible, as it may turn out to be someone in M’s past in the form of a very menacing Javier Bardem (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN) as Silva. Craig has clearly taken over the role and has brought back the famous line… with a possible return to an ‘old school’ Bond with both the celebrated Aston Martin vehicle and the classic PPK gun! SKYFALL pays many respects to Bond’s career and the times that have stripped away at him. Could Bond start to show the early signs of age? Should he hang- up the old PPK gun? Box office would tell a different tale…with an estimated budget of $200 million… the film has already grossed $161 million in just nine days of its release. Craig is contracted to another untitled Bond film set for 2014. Only time will tell as events turns the world of MI6 into a whole new underground development with new faces doting the world of Bond, James Bond… there would seem to be no end… and let’s hope there is no end any time soon!

I will now pass the baton over to my "counterpart" JOHNNY CHAZZ for his take on the subject...

 
JOHNNY CHAZZ: In response to this week's topic, I will offer my insight into the James Bond movies over the years. I cannot possibly reply with the length of writing offered by JER this week, but I will address some key points of relevance with respect to the topic.

Was CONNERY the best BOND?
The highlights of Bond films are narrow, yet probably include: "Dr. No", "Goldfinger" and "From Russia with Love". The rest remain marginal at best.

As for Sean Connery, he was certainly the Bond that everyone since has tried to live up to - and perhaps someone did. That issue remains debatable.

Pierce Brosnan as Bond was a nightmare. Bad years, bad movies, horrific scripts and lousy casting. Case closed!

The sound scores are also an issue of ongoing concern. Soundtracks for Bond films are generally worth listening to when they are instrumental only (“Goldfinger”, “Casino Royale” and “Dr. No” offer some entertaining non-vocal trifes). However, on the flip side, Tom Jones gave us a tune that was reckless to say the least in "Thunderball" and even Madonna’s efforts were abysmal later on (“Die Another Day”). I loathe at the thought of being subjected to the hard and rapturous scuff that is sung in the current "Skyfall" movie by Adele.

Roger Moore, as JER mentioned, offered that witty and polished Non-Scottish flair - one that was British: clever and very, very UK. This worked - and in all actuality, it is not surprising why most countries outside the USA preferred Roger Moore as the "true" Bond.

SEAN CONNERY stands next to the iconic Aston Martin
Bond films have weak scripts and can only feed eye-candy to audiences that require this. Fast cars, fast women and rushed cuts from one shot to another. Gadgets (the poison gas releaser grew old after the first glimpse) and car chases are boring and the casting lacks tremendously on a consistent basis. There is no "art" or "craft" really at work other than what we see captured in every other movie setting box-office records these days. How dull - how insulting.

British actor Daniel Craig’s “Skyfall” is generating close to $1 billion worldwide and some are claiming it is the best Bond movie to ever hit the screen in the past 50 years. Perhaps it is - but there is a segment that just does not care. I fall in that group.
The International trailer for Craig's 2012 SKYFALL


The truth is, everyone likes what is new and hip and this film might rank in the top 3 or top 5, but I highly doubt that when you look at films such as “From Russia With Love,” “Dr. No,” “Goldfinger”, your opinion might be compromised.

DANIEL CRAIG...not hip enough???
It appears as though we are discussing box-office revenues this week and there are two angles at which to examine that. One: Bond films make money - ok. Two: Bad movies also make money. So what is the point in discussing box-office revenues if the movies do not provide the substance that the discerning segments of film-goers demand? A mute point.

So here is the "Counterpoint". I am not into Bond movies - and never really was. The films are no longer "hip" and they can never be retro since Daniel Craig is not an old-school type and 'you just can't go home' as they say. Will I go see “Skyfall”? Absolutely not. Why? I would rather take a walk; grab a Rueben at the deli and Skype a friend. I simply have better ways to spend my time and my $10.

It sounds harsh, but there it is so, so much more in the world of film to examine that it is mind-boggling that we even think about meddling with movies such as the Bond movies - and they seem to never, never end.

JER: Harsh, indeed! No one, including myself, is trying to put the Bond films on a pedestal higher than well- deserved films that are related to both “art” and true cinema. With all due respects to my “Counterpoint” partner…I feel that there is an ignorance on your end, JC, for not really grabbing (or even trying to grab) the real essence of what the films have portrayed and continue to do so over the last 50 years.

ROGER MOORE= COOL!
The Bond films, by my perception, still represent a sense of shivery long lost in films today. 007 is a ladies man, wears the best suits and tuxedos, drinks from glasses and not bottles or cans and drives the best vehicles and has the coolest gadgets. It is hard for me to accept the fact that anyone can look at the entire franchise and sum it ALL up with the phrase: “I am not into Bond films.”

We have talked about how films that do well in the box- office do not define a film’s greatness in the past... I am not implying that by including the numbers at the end of each film’s segment. What I was trying to illustrate was the continued success the entire franchise has accomplished and the strong legs it has created to continue on with more films. So, if there is a 'segment' that doesn’t care, your number is outweighed by, thank God, people who do want to see an action film with interesting characters, villains and beautiful women… and I am proud to say I am one of them in those numbers! Should I dare say that SKYFALL is considered the best of the Bond films within the last 50 years? What would be so wrong as to say “yes”? All I can say is: don’t knock it if you haven’t seen it!

JOHNNY C brought up a good point about the soundtracks and the distinctive songs that have been a part of pop culture since 1962’s Monty Norman/ John Barry’s “James Bond Theme”. We at CINEMA: COUNTERPOINT dedicated a blog page to that very topic… if interested in reading what we had to say about it, please visit us at the following link:  http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=298232811241447037#editor/target=post;postID=8417228204175375841

Everyone is entitled to their opinions and that is what I feel makes CINEMA: COUNTERPOINT work! JC and I have two different opinions at times and we agree completely in others… we have found the right balance that makes this page work the way that it does. We are not obligated to lie or falsify our thoughts just to jump on the band wagon or by getting into the flavor of the month. More than anything, I believe that both JC and I spoke on behalf of two opposing sides that do, in fact, exist out there in the real world...those who care and those that don't...

As the reader, what side do you fall on? Do you care to see more BOND films or has the series ran its course years ago? We would like you to voice your opinions and comment back to us with your thoughts... we will always reply to every posting!

Make sure you check back with us on WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 19TH, 2012 for JOHNNY CHAZZ' END- OF- YEAR BLOG TOPIC... afterwards, we will take time- off for WINTER BREAK and return back in 2013!

ALL OF US AT CINEMA: COUNTERPOINT WANT TO WISH YOU THE HAPPIEST AND SAFEST OF HOLIDAYS THIS YEAR!



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6 comments:

  1. Hello,
    I read the blog from time to time here on your site and wanted to add something this week to it. I do like a lot of the subjects you both discuss with film and movies, but this week I do agree that too many people are making too big of a deal about the Bond movies. They are not that great really and people and audiences are only comfortable with what theyr are most familar with. Please do not offend to what I say here, but most movie going audiences like easy and mindlesss garbage and critic JCHAZZ stays true to his opinion which I really respect. You guys should spend more time conversing about the truly great films and less time with the same, rehashed stuff that we are subjected to these days. Also, Jer you said that CHAZZ makes a good point with soundtracks in Bond movies, but his point was meaningthat the music is really terrible when vocals are present. Calling another critic ingorant was a bit of a stretch and this coming from someone who recommends Bond movies as being great? I don't think so. PHIL, Big Bear, CA.

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    1. Hi Phil and thank you for your comments and for checking our site out...this is JER and let me see if I can shine a little light on what you shared. For one, JCHAZZ and I went into creating this site ONLY if we would individually stay true to our respected opinions and express them fully, with that comes along a rash of name- callings and raised tempers but we still walk away with the utmost respect for each other. My claiming ignorance only means what it was defined as in its text: that JCHAZZ has to realize that not ALL films are going to be art or fabulous cinema and that the occasional "fun" film is OK! I will not go see a Tyler Perry film or anything by Kevin James...however, there is still an audience for anything out there...thus the reason we have choices...today's topic might not be of your taste, but that doesn't mean something more pleasing isn't on its way! Thanks again!

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  2. The Bond movies were cool when I was growing up and some of them like 'Skyfall' are still keeping the image of Bond alive. I liked it but I don't know if I would go as far to say it was one of the best Bond movies. Maybe the Bond movies did run their course but people still find a way to go and see them year after year.

    Russ from Allen Texas.

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    1. Hi Russ and thanks for checking in from Texas! Numbers is the name of the game...just look at how many Martin Lawrence/ BIG MOMMA movies do we have to see get vomited out year after year... however, an audience creates a fan base and the numbers speak louder than taste sometimes. My taste happens to enjoy a great BOND film, for others, not so much. Look, as long as it is done right and I feel like I got my money's worth, than I can say that it was a great show... as should anyone who makes the trek from out of the house to see something they hope will be entertaining: no matter what that may look like to someone else!
      Thanks again!

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  3. The Bond movies used to be pretty good to watch. I think over time they have just gotten kinda old and they remake the same idea over and over. I think there is a lot better stuff out there for movie-lovers to go and see.

    Adam (MO)

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    1. Hi Adam,
      Thanks for your thoughts on BOND... it would seem as if the general review is that the series is getting stale. This surprises me, considering how well SKYFALL has been doing worldwide...even ranking as the top- grossing film in UK overall! I don't think that I am personally ready to have them close the series off yet...that's just my opinion! :)

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