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  1. Around The World Is Not Enough – give it another 007th Minute

    (c) Ivan McClellan Photography

    Desk? Check.

    Books? Check.

    Notes? Check.

    Laptop? Check.

    Foxhound, furnishings, food? Check.

    Family? Check.

    Internet connection? Working, surprisingly (scratch a German and you find a Telekom victim).

    Moving from A to B: Mission Accomplished. And I sincerely hope that one doesn’t come back to bite my behind because, you know, history…   

    All systems seem eager to ‘go’, high time for Jim’s next 007th Minute then. The usual CBn conformance marks apply: strictly opinionated content by CBn’s resident 007th Minute expert Jacques Stewart. 

    Italics piffle by yours truly. File your well-reasoned and formulated  complaints, thoughts and ideas here.

     

     

     

     

     

    A limited concept stretched to its nineteenth circumnavigation of the one joke, becoming bloaty, self-indulgent and unfocused; churned out regardless. As for The World is Not Enough, submitting it to a 007th minute could be the unreadable in pursuit of the unwatchable. This may become as turgid as the film it gnaws. I could claim that this is “meta”, if I understood what that was.

    Right.

     

     

    Must I? Cold-blooded murder is a filthy business. I hope you’re not after “constructive”; construction isn’t exactly my speciality. Quite the opposite, in science fact. Still, there’s no point in living if you can’t smugly slag off witless entertainment with zero accountability for its failure to meet specious and whimsical criteria. It must give me pleasure. Remember… pleasure? What brings you pleasure? A pleasure you’d confess to the police or your granny?  Something you’d tell the meltypops choccydrop eyes of your doggy-woggy without abusing its uncomprehending trust, even though the wretched hound is only waiting for you to fall downstairs again so it can eat your face. 

     

    Let’s assume that you haven’t found this balderdash by searching for “abused granny doggy confess police” on a wage-cage colleague’s computer at your salary-farm, avoiding whatever you “do”, marking time until a yumlunch of low-calorie wet chemicals and (avert your soul) bought cake. Assume, let’s, that giddywhirl of super isn’t your day, this only [x] day of [y] 20[zz] you’ll ever live, so a reasonable inference must be that something that has given you pleasure is James Bond.

     

    Whyever not? Breadth of shapes, heights, perversions, fatuous belief systems and smell that the human race tolerates, within the films there must be something that appeals, even if not all of them will, save to a hardened deluded core expressing love via the medium of defamatory whining. If the lazy myth were true, that Bonds are the same thing 23 times, we would never have had 23 times.

     

    They’re designed (some say cynically) (N.B. I am one of “some”) and (ruthlessly) targeted so that core ingredients – Gunbarrel! Explosions! Jiggaboo! Weak jokes! Cars! Guns! Beastly furr-ners! Grr! Cackle! BOOM! DahDah d’DAHHH durdurdur – the rot of continuity, routine that draws in “Bond fans” however much they snivel, the stuff those “fans” neglect to admit impedes the series’ longevity and continued interest for the passing filmgoer – all that tedious dross can be hidden in films actually aimed at those who liked Shaft or Enter the Dragon or Jason Bourne. What is Moonraker other than trying to entice fans of the Jeddy, or whatever it was. Arty-Deety, that gang. And Nazis.  Diamonds are Forever? Supporters of ennui-dripped sneering and Manfrockery. GoldenEye’s patently for the Undemanding Deaf and Die Another Day for the Undemanding Dead.

     

    These aren’t made “for the fans”, locked in their anonymous begrudgery. These are made “for the fans of other things because we want lovely money off them, too”. Taken one look at, say, George Lucas’ billions and thought – let’s devise a film for those accepting such concepts as an elected queen, must be pretty thick, lure them in with equally stilted dire-logue and an invisible car: no less ridiculous. This doesn’t always mean appalling results. If Bonds were actually made “for the fans” they would be impenetrable to the casual viewer who doesn’t give two hoots whether Bond was married, nor that the Skyfall car cannot be the Casino Royale one nor, as it turns out, the colour of Bond’s hair or where a gunbarrel is. Where the producers try direct continuity – Quantum of Solace the obvious example – the sequel aspect is its weakest element. Would civilians coming to watch The New Bond Film have expected spending ninety minutes trying to remember a film they think they saw two years previously, oh she died didn’t she, I remember now, I didn’t expect a memory test, I just wanted diversion from the kids and the perpetual threat of redundancy, what do you mean that’s the end? Bit odd. It just encouraged the more demented “fans” to whine that Bond isn’t wearing the same suit, has lost weight and doesn’t seem that upset. That way lies Star Trek. Bring on an impossible Aston Martin in a London lock-up and make a billion dollars instead. Even implicit continuity can be awful; but that’s the next film’s problem.

     

    Insofar as the Brosnans demonstrate this lust for grooming beyond those with a Pavlovian reaction to a gunbarrel slapped on any old rubbish, already got them, we have Tomorrow Never Dies’ turbo-action, DUD’s Pokemon-strosity and GoldenEye made for those who half-remember bits of Bond films they think they might have seen on the telly but really couldn’t put a name to.    

     

    Which leaves… this.

     

    If the theory holds, the conclusion is that there are organisms that feeble telenovela The World is Not Enough was devised to capture. Capture’s an idea, certainly. Ideally with nets, spears, tasers, CS gas, many grumpy dogs, several particularly splintery planks with rusty nails sticking out of them and a portable guillotine. When I find them, I will kill them. Actually, no, perhaps they’ve suffered enough, but maybe not as much as they should. Why Eon thought it wise to lure the daytime soap opera crowd and feed them their hearts’ desires of stiff melodrama – smelodrama? – unappealing locations and ludicrous performances, defeats me. Presumably the last interest group yet to have “their” Bond film; even paedos have For Your Eyes Only.  

     

    Ooh, “TWINE”. Cool. Twine: hardness, tension. Yeah. Tries so, so hard to be about more than bikinis, bullets, bombs and BOOM. Those who would advocate that the Craigs have introduced a level of pretension that ill-suits an essentially throwaway series of wormfart significance, can’t have watched this one (although, as a judgment call, can’t fault them for that). A taut thriller about betrayal and its consequences, with a wet T-shirt jigglecheb competition. Hmm, can’t be right. A taut thriller about betrayal and its consequences, with a frickin’ moron of a leading character who has (hee hee hee) X-ray perveyspecs. Nope. Tricky. A taut thriller about betrayal and its consequences, with buzz-saw helicopters and weak puns every thirteen seconds and Goldie administering “acting”. Nope. A taut thriller about betrayal and its consequences, where the betrayals are either a ) historical, unseen and poorly described or b ) without convincing impact and, accordingly, the consequences of both prove shruggable. A taut thriller about betrayal and its consequences that seems to have been directed by different people who never met to glue two divergent but equally poor films together. Compared to this, the Niven farce is a study in narrative cohesion. A taut thriller about betrayal and its consequences that, once the pre-credits ends, is flabby, momentum-free and tired.

     

    Perhaps this TWINE’s tension is the type symptomatic of panic, cold feet and a lack of confidence. In wanting not to look silly now that Austin Powers had grooved into view and taken very mild, fond swipes of limited amusement, this film’s thunderous po-face is all the more risible, a teenage strop, only drawing greater attention to this Bond being ill-equipped to carry baggage convincingly. If you try to do something for which this iteration of James Bond isn’t prepared, it’s not a surprise that the nailing of character tics onto the invulnerable super-agent doesn’t render him layered, dimensional and conflicted; instead, insipid, confused and under-educated. Ooh, my hero.

     

    One thing it does answer is GoldenEye’s question – is “James Bond” relevant? Whilst GoldenEye blithely went “Lalala not listening, don’t argue, course he is”, that cannot hold when presented with this. He’s not the same here as in GoldenEye; accordingly, that Bond must have been irrelevant after all. Significant (cough) story shifts in TWINE depend on alteration in the Bond “character”. Laudable that he’s not cruising along blowing things up, but the traits exposed are new to both him and us. Inexplicable flaws in Bond are critical to the narrative, so when they don’t come off, the enterprise collapses. Accordingly, TWINE is vital to the series, demonstrating even more explicitly than GoldenEye the new producers’ ambition– Bond’s character pushing plot rather than riding it – undermined by the materials with which to implement it – the Bond we, er, said was totally up to date two films ago…um, sorry, we were wrong about that and now we’re stuck with him, damn. Look ! Parahawks! Dunno why they appear, but they’ll distract you from the prevailing weakness. Rework, reboot, result. TWINE grasping hopelessly for things beyond its reach shows that they had to go DefCon Craig level of radical shift to meet their vision. Carrying on like this would have wound up the party years ago. You can see why DUD is the way it is – they’d given up and just decided to raid the ideas bin for whatever was left, anything’ll do, it really doesn’t matter as long as we can spend one hundred and forty million dollars ruining everyone’s day. Mrs Jim buying yet more shoes has much the same impact on me.

     

    By the time TWINE’s 007th minute flabs into view, we’ve had abundant Ford Escorts, we have Patrick Malahide in a role unbefitting his magnificence and therefore yet another lost Blofeld (c’mon, he would have been smashing), and Bond delivering some sort of quip or pun in practically everything he’s given to say. Really, just stand aside from this for a moment – wouldn’t this James Bond be really, really irritating, just firing off laboured, smart-alec cack every time he opens his cakehole. You’d want to smack him in that mouth of his, real dead hard. Nowhere in this film does he have what could amount to a regular conversation. He definitely could not say hello like a normal person (a bitterly cruel joke at the audience’s expense, that). Everything’s crafted; everything’s hollow. Even the material that’s supposed to be “serious” sounds glib, which is part of the problem. Whether banging on about Stockholm Syndrome or “plutonic” relationships or “perfectly rounded” figures – bloody hell, the man’s totally unbearable. Just. Stop. It. You. Complete. Psychopath. The (very nice) angry look Bond pulls at one point in the pre-credits was presumably juiced out by Young Master Apted whispering in his ear “…and we’ve decided to go with the name… Christmas…Roll Camera!”, and Mr Brosnan contemplating the truly dreadful things he will be given to say as a result.

     

    What is going on in this scene? Ultimately it’s a means of getting the bomb into the SIS building – which relies on King being there, which relies on Bond not getting killed (for being very annoying), or arrested (for being very annoying), which relies on… I give up. Something about money ‘n’ reports ‘n’ ting. Again mistaking plot for story, it’s a big bag of Yeah, Wharrev-Arh. More amusingly, the notion that a secret service is used as a private hit-team for politically connected resource-gobbling multinationals and those being a greater influence on agents’ instructions and actions than any notion of being a servant of the people… nah, that’d never happen. It’s an interesting line more courageously developed in Quantum of Solace, the courage being to ignore the cries that James Bond films were being corrupted with a liberal agenda from those who had missed the same idea here.

     

    Channelling Connery (the patent boredom, anyway) in the line about hidden asssssheyts (an “exploding gun”, Lord help us – do we really go in for this sort of thing any more?), there’s a fight because there has to be one, it’s the law, and Bond’s life is ultimately saved by a sniper who could just as easily have killed all the silly persons in the room prior to Bond getting there, thus ensuring Bond would get his hands on the briefcase and saving him the life-threatening struggle with the” script”. Bond jumps out of the window – is fun – and lands next to a very large West Highland Terrier – is art – and then the pre-credits sequence is over  – is lies. True, in comparison to the cunning stunts of GoldenEye and the big bangs of Tomorrow Never Dies, leaving matters here would look impotent. However, to make it all more spectacular and not go on for a hour, the banker sequence is patently edited into minimal narrative coherence and the boat chase – still the film’s best bit by a long, long chalk – also seems to have had the snip (the geography’s haywire, for a start). Yet it still goes on way too long. By the time Bond’s tumbling down the Dome towards intermittently convenient injury, one could forget how it came to that. Perhaps that’s best, though. Symptomatic of the film – plot fragile, here comes unconnected action that arguably doesn’t need to occur but we’re going to make you watch it; be entertained. Don’t think; just let it happen. Certainly not arguing that other Bonds are not as guilty, but with one that so explicitly sets out its stall to have a story, the lurches between the talky bits and the blowy-uppy bits are more exposed. It’s like watching an indifferent musical: you know there have to be songs, just as Bonds have to have explosions, but it still jars when singing/exploding breaks out for no logical reason.

     

    Statutory blue/orange with the money and the scanner, masturbation wit with Miss Moneypenny, lines landing like bricks, and a revelation that M and this King creature “read Law at Oxford”; must have been one of the very minor colleges, Brasenose or Queen’s or Trinity, one of those hives. Possibly the polytechnic, given the decision-making on show; arguably St Catherine’s.  It’s only at this point that Thicky Bond sits down and has a think about whassjushappened. Only now he’s wondering why someone wanted him out of the office alive with the money (albeit risking that by making him fight his way out, etc)? Only now? Not, say, on the ‘plane on the way home? No doubts at all that someone you don’t know but is prepared to kill wants you to take that big bag of money all the way back to SIS (albeit assuming that you will do precisely that – but a safe assumption ‘cos you’re a bit dense). None? No suspicions at all, until now, getting pissed up with the boss? You, sir, are an idiot (Cambridge). Still, without Bond being really, really stupid, we would have been “deprived” witnessing:-

     

    • Bond thinking he’s found a proto-Tracy – rich bitch of a morally dodgy father with whom she has ishoos (these are the only people Bond falls deeply for; what an odd man) – and instead “realising” at least a month after everyone else that she’s actually a proto-Blofeld (would have been better as a proto-Scaramanga, at least from a nippular perspective); this could have been a story worth telling and an interesting parallel to Tracy to show how wrong she could have gone when under the influence of a violent psychopath… erm… but the initial emotional attachment is woefully underdeveloped so it doesn’t work;

     

    • Bond failing to contemplate who it is that benefits from King’s death – could it be someone within the family who has undergone trauma that Bond has seen, due to decision-making by her father that he is told about and who must be an insider and who reverses her father’s decisions immediately, which he witnesses? Gosh, it’s such a mystery, innit? Bet it’s… the unarmed security guy so I’ll murder him. At least then I will be able to get insider. Fnarr.

     

    • Naval commander James Bond driving a submarine into a seabed.

     

    0.06.00 – 0.07.00 The Word is Not Enough

     

    I do like M’s lampshades. Not a euphemism. Probably not a euphemism.

     

    Right, so cosy chats with evidently dodgy CEOs – as a taxpayer that’s not what I actually expect the head of the secret service to be doing, although that’s because I’m hopelessly naïve. Corrupt old witch. All of this is your fault, and you get away with it. Rancid villainous hag.

     

     

    So Bond (and the audience) are getting genned up on “the pipeline” and Bond (having the temerity to speak for the audience) proclaims this as “interesting”. No it’s not, and how dare you assume this. It’s not remotely interesting. Of all the laughable rubbish you’ve had to say so far, Thicko Bond, this is the worst. Again the plan comes down to “control of resources” – heartless, greedy and cynical grabbing by underhand means of all the gold/microchips/cocaine/television/oil/water/cinemagoers’ cash.

     

     

     

    No, Jamesey, it doesn’t explain why someone would want you out of that office alive. Very little actually explains that. Why is this only crossing your mind now, you clown? Oh yes; if you had given it a moment earlier, we wouldn’t have the rest of the film. Oh, good call.

     

    Hitting the booze seems a blessed release from having to think, I know, but it’s a bit uncouth to use one’s fingers to grab the ice. The realisation about what’s about to happen largely depends on Bond not having washed his hands since handling a stack of fifties that have been dipped in urea (urr). The mucky pup. Admittedly he didn’t know that they’re doused in hogwee, but still… you don’t know where that money’s been. Even if it has been freshly laundered (sorry).

     

    “Moneypenny! Stop -King!” M’s diction is failing (booze); you can’t quite hear the “wan-“ in that second statement. If you think that’s in questionable taste, bear in mind what they had poor Mr Brosnan and poor Ms Bond say about three minutes ago. Even if this is actually a direction to stop “the man of great integrity” from developing into “a man of substantially less bodily integrity”, query what Moneypenny could actually do – King left ages ago. Oh, here he is, walking all over the SIS coat of arms, which is presumably a metaphor for how big business treats the security service. Can’t think of any other reason why they would a ) need to design this or b ) put it on the floor or c ) show him wandering over it just how he pleases. He deserves death, capitalist pusbag running-dog filth.

     

    Out of the way, you extras! Here comes Bond! Oh look, Q. Now, if you have put yourself through some of the other 007th minutes (sorry) you’ll be aware that I’m not too fond of Q and would advocate that the character exemplifies the worst of the Bond series – trotting out the same old bloody thing every time on the Broccoli Shopping List of Dull “because the audience likes it”, complacent old rubbish around which fragments of story are hung in a desperate attempt to distinguish one film from the other. What ultimately happened to Mr Llewelyn was tragic and the film’s Q scenes here have a poignancy ill-served by John Cleese behaving like a gibbon and Q’s concluding dialogue about “always” teaching Bond two things (the third was acting but it proved futile); where did this “always” come from, then? Whilst it impacts in (sad) hindsight, I remember being very confused by this emoty-Q who now determines, like any bad teacher, that he has told his pupil things even when he patently has not. Perhaps he’s trying a bit of Stockholm Syndrome on Bond. Wouldn’t bother mate: he’s stoopid. RIP Mr Llewelyn: on the evidence of what happens in the next film and Skyfall, you have proved irreplaceable. That it was deemed necessary to replace you is, though, a bit of an issue.

     

    Ooh, a pile of lovely money. Personally I wouldn’t get out of bed for such a paltry-looking sum, but hey ho. Bond is screaming “Stooooopppppp!”; still the proxy audience member, plainly. It doesn’t stop. I’ll apologise on their behalf.

     

    Fings go bang  – a load of money is completely blown, a splendid metaphor for a sorry little film – and the walls of MI6 are decorated a fetching shade of Burnt Daddy. A big hole is blown in the front of the building and the skyfalls in. I suppose this is proof, if proof be needed (it be needed) that the Brosnan M and the Craig M are different women: how, realistically, can the same thing happen and have her still in charge? That the Skyfall explosion does not require dollops of contrivance to get the building to blow is arguably better, although as a demonstration of watertight narrative coherence that film’s not much of an improvement over this one. More on that, “later”.

     

     

    On no! Someone has their red-dot thingy set on Bond, a someone who was entirely reliant on Bond’s lack of personal hygiene meaning that he would guess what was up, chase after King and appear at that point. That’s a high-odds accumulator bet if ever there was one. As the 007th minute reaches its end, we leave Bond poking his head above the ruins of the institution; deliberately metaphoric imagery, one suspects.

     

    0.07.00

    What does the 007th minute of TWINE represent, as an exemplar of a Bond series “feature”? Sometimes it gets too contrived for its own good? Sometimes the script is abject nonsense? Have to think of a positive… Well, I don’t “have to” but it would be nice. It’s a sunny day and…

     

    …struggling. May have come up with something by the end.

     

    As the rest of it stands, TWINE is a film in which a Weirdly-Voiced Hero, played in a over-mannered and stiffly stand-offish way that undermines demonstration of emotional conflict, who is a man both physically and mentally scarred when it suits and to the same extent not, when it suits more, goes up against The World’s Greatest Terrorist, a most unlikely personage who gets his hands on a nuke and there’s a shocking twist with a Duplicitous French Female Villain that everyone else saw coming when she first opened her mouth but our Weirdly-Voiced Hero was so taken with her (unconvincingly quickly and totally inexplicably) that he comes across as a dangerous liability and a one-man exponent of daft.

     

     

    T’riffic.

    Breaking this down further, although it hardly needs my assistance to fall apart:-

     

    • Weirdly-Voiced Hero is injured, and a bit past it if we’re brutally honest, but this is ignored when expedient (=when fighting is required).

     

    • Weirdly-Voiced Hero improvises an abseil down a building. We see this from above. That we see it at all is a momentary thrill. This is about as exciting as it gets.

     

    • Potentially interesting sparky female character eventually – inevitably – turns into another subservient little helper by the end.

     

    • Despite all the build-up, all the talk, the final confrontation between Weirdly-Voiced Hero and The World’s Greatest Terrorist is dull, basically “some thumping”, resulting in a stultifyingly underwhelming death for The World’s Greatest Terrorist. The more entertaining struggle is watching the Weirdly-Voiced Hero at war with the script and patently resenting the rubbish he has to say and disguising his contempt very, very badly indeed.

     

    • Weirdly-Voiced Hero tries his best to draw it altogether via a range of adventurous acting solutions and extraordinary speech patterns and unnatural noises but eventually even he disengages as the film crumbles to a halt.

     

    • Practically every major character goes around speaking Words of Wisdom about how damaged they all are and how crap everything is, because apparently we cannot work these things out for ourselves. The more it has to shout about its depths, the shallower they become. In trying to deny hootsomely camp past, absence makes the heart grow fonder. As an antidote to a penchant for the ridiculous, it becomes an antidote to joy.

     

    • Weirdly-Voiced Hero and Duplicitous French Female Villain commence intimate relationship based on absolutely nothing very much.

     

    • The Duplicitous French Female Villain is the daughter of a Celt. There is no ready explanation for this, but complaining that something is unexplained in this film is a descent into the bleedin’ obvious.

     

    • In retrospect, Duplicitous French Female Villain places herself readily – and mindbendingly incoherently – in mortal danger prior to the due time for her plan coming to fruition.

     

    • Due to the shocking twist everyone saw coming, it’s impossible to credit the Duplicitous French Female Villain as anything other than an underdeveloped cheat of a character. Once you know she’s the bad gal, very little of what she does in the early part of the film makes any sense.

     

    • Duplicitous French Female Villain isn’t a pleasant or sympathetic character to being with, which undermines what twist there is.

     

    • Weirdly-Voiced Hero suffers spinal trauma at villainous hands. Nothing comes of it. He’s OK, everyone!

     

    • The World’s Greatest Terrorist takes control of a nuclear device that was about to be decommissioned. Inevitably, it doesn’t go off with about half an atosecond to go.

     

    • A Creepy McCreep emotional relationship between the Duplicitous French Female Villain and The World’s Greatest Terrorist, born out of captivity. What’s hinted at is interesting, but probably far too dark for a product-placed corporate product of this nature, therefore it remains a gutless hinting.

     

    • Weirdly-Voiced Hero fakes his own death in a bomb blast. This achieves unclear dividends as he hardly goes into hiding thereafter.  Note how “unclear” is an anagram of “nuclear”. This is a digression, but it’s more interesting. Can’t help feeling I left the iron on.

     

    • Weirdly-Voiced Hero hooks up with heroine who is begarbed in slobberclobber aimed at the groin of a fourteen year-old erotomaniacal heterosexual male. But not at his brain.

     

    • Having tried so very, very hard – painfully hard – to state “stuff and fings”, at its close the film comes to no conclusion whatsoever on those points, and just stops.

     

    • Hard to say whether on balance the greater threat is the planned destruction by The World’s Greatest Terrorist, or the haphazard violence brung unto us by Weirdly-Voiced Hero.

     

    • Faithful Retainer overacts in a jawdroppingly pathetic manner in an attempt to engender some audience sympathy; it works not.

     

    • Duplicitous French Female Villain has some serious Daddy issues to work through; unfortunately, we have to watch these.

     

    • Duplicitous French Female Villain is played none-too-happily by an award-winning actress in such a curious manner as to a ) remind one of a distressed hen ensnared in a rusty mousetrap and b ) cast serious doubt on the winning of said award and leave one wondering what the competition must have been like, leading the conclusion that it may have been a three-day-old egg sandwich.

     

    • You’re still left wondering how the three-day-old egg sandwich contrived to lose.

     

    • Let’s be generous and say that the accent delivered by The World’s Greatest Terrorist is “Well-travelled”. Let’s be less generous and say “Uh, youdunwaht, whaaa?”

     

    • The World’s Greatest Terrorist has a freakish physiological set-up that is none-too-fully explained, lest mild scrutiny open it to utter ridicule.

     

    • Familiar faces from British television pop up now and again in a manner that begins as unexpected and very soon becomes unwelcome and at no juncture becomes even a pleasant distraction from the rest of the dross.

     

    • Weirdly-Voiced Hero travels from place to place without too much explanation of how and despite a supposed countdown to carnage, fannies about doing other inconsequential stuff instead.

     

    • The World’s Greatest Terrorist publicly murders a defenceless nuclear scientist turncoat weasel who has outlived his immediate usefulness. Because… um… erm…  is anything else on? Apart from the iron, obviously.

     

    • Flying hover-vehicles. Well, quite.

     

    • The motives and morality of an authority figure are brought into question; the question being “They won’t pursue this very far because this is a nonsense franchise film”;  indeed, they do not. Despite being at fault for a lot of whatever it is that happens, everything’s OK at the end and their shaming culpability is largely forgotten about.

     

    • A city under threat of nuclear incineration because… because… it can be? Because everyone needs teaching some sort of lesson? I dunno.

     

    • It’s as exciting as damp gravel and filmed on a dank series of days. Overcast in appearance, undercast in acting conviction.

     

    • The motivations – and reappearance – of at least one supporting character depend on the audience remembering/caring about events a couple of films prior to this. Whilst this could be “arc”, its execution reveals that this film hasn’t enough story to justify its own existence.

     

    • The overwhelming realisation that one wouldn’t be watching this unless it was part of a series that has previously brought glimmers; were this totally stand-alone, it wouldn’t get away with any of its rampaging inadequacy.

     

    • The Dark Knight Rises.

     

    As for The World is Not Enough, the above, plus The Dench at her most enunciate-y and the lamentable Cleese titting about, making me want to chew my own arm off for a greater guarantee of fun.  This Mr Nolan person may want to make a Bond film; quite why he saw fit to inflict upon us a remake of this one is a peculiar decision and tends to suggest he should, in fact, be kept well away.

     

    I still can’t think of a terribly positive thing that the 007th minute of TWINE exemplifies although its demerits do lead me to one particular positive.

     

    Pierce Brosnan.

     

    A gain – it is a gain – of watching the Bonds for these meretricious pieces, is an enhanced appreciation of Pierce Brosnan and sympathy for the hand dealt him. Not in the ending of his tenure, but whilst ongoing. He promised a splendid James Bond, but “his” films (come now: no more “his” films than Lazenby’s was his; a convenient shorthand) confuse James Bond. I still don’t think Mr Brosnan is much of an actor, but I doubt anyone could cope with The World is Not Enough and actually make it work. If there’s a perception of personal Brosnan-bashing coming through in this stuff, I apologise; he seems a decent chap, game for much, voice a bit odd but otherwise genial. If, however, for “Brosnan” you don’t read the man but as another convenient shorthand, the four films he was in, then I withdraw that apology and categorically deny it ever occurred. They had the leading man they wanted but paid too little attention to the Bond they wanted. When it comes to it, even though what happens in that one minute (or any one minute) of TWINE is total rot, the leading man remained dependable and watchable. Therefore the conclusion must be this: whatever may be going (very) wrong onscreen, you can usually count on the presence of the lead, in a “pulling you along unwillingly like a demented puppy” sense of lead, but reliable nonetheless. They had that with Roger Moore, they had it here. The negative side of that is a sense of invulnerability, that they could get away with any old thing as long as the main role was solid.

     

    Something put sorely to the test with the next one.

     

    James Bond will return in the 007th minute of Die Another Day. Jacques Stewart feels safe, scared, ready, unprepared; it’s parents’ evening again.

    H.Sc. @ 2013-07-30
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