CommanderBond.net
  1. Out of the blue: Skyfall’s 007th Minute

    original artwork by Mike Mahle/mikemahle.com (c), used with kind permission

    original artwork by Mike Mahle/mikemahle.com (c),
    used with kind permission

     

    So here we are, in the end, reaching our destination after a journey of 14 months, countless blunders on my side and a few prematurely published ‘drafts’. The water surface is coming nearer most rapidly. This is now definitely the moment to make an impact. If not now, when?

    This final 007th Minute comes to you with original artwork by designer & illustrator Mike Mahle. Further works from Mike can be found at his own site. Grateful acknowledgements for the kind permission to use this marvellous image.

    Oh, opinion. Jim’s. Yours can be aired here. Thank you for flying with CommanderBond.net.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This is the end. Beautiful friend.

     

    Hold your breath and…

     

    No, don’t. Asphyxiation might be your jolly – not judging (I am a bit) – but you’d be tucked up in dead before you finished this; it has girthbloat. If bidding for oblivion, bore yourself to death reading it. Still, I don’t want your sticky end on my hands (fnarr). The guilt I’ll cope with, via the medium of indifference; it’s that I’ve always found grinding my heel into an upturned face far more satisfying. Or, as I age, paying someone else to do it. It’s murder on the knees.

     

    Judi Dench snuff movie Skyfall is where we start. A billion-dollar Bond behemoth, so one little prick on the internet (hi there) isn’t going to burst it. Still, all that tremendous, oddly heartwarming success (albeit having had no stake in the film beyond “going to see it”) does lead me to contemplate blockbusters. Or, more precisely, Blockbusters.

     

    For those blessed with ignorance, Blockbusters was a tiffin-time British quiz programme of the 1980s, broadcast via the harlotry of commercial television, aimed at a beteenaged audience. One could tell that because of the prizes, habitually a “programmable” ZX Spectrum (48K “ram”, no less), a box of coloured pencils or a cultural weekend in tropical Cannock (go for the pencils). Doubtless a modern equivalent would have to dole out fake tan, mobile telephones or Tablets. Can’t help feeling tablets in those days were more fun: when one dropped them, it wasn’t the machine that got itself shattered. Halcyon days. If only I could remember them.

     

    continue reading…

    Helmut Schierer @ 2013-11-22
  2. Quid pro Quantum – DRAFT, THIS TIME REALLY DO NOT PUBLISH!!!

    image (c) ‘Mitwa17′

    After the fuss about last 007th Minute’s headline (see here), I decided to just try the same trick a second time. It’s a good deed in a bad world and everyone will be happy about it.

    Or maybe it’s a not-so-good deed in a less-than-fabulous world and nobody is going to notice it…

    Anyway, here goes. CommanderBond.net’s resident ‘No Precious Oil for Bleak Water!’ expert examines the 007th minute of ‘Quantum of Solace’. Opinion aplenty, all of it Jacques Stewart’s very own – though you may share a slice of his – and none of it without the odd grain of irony.

     

    Debate the veracity of his observations here

     

     

     

     

     

    Revolution, evolution, resolution. Revelation.

     

    Perhaps.

     

    The origin of the specious, Casino Royale misled some that what was to follow would be as previously begat. A mild dabble in black & white, realism (pfft) and moody mirrorstaring now out of Eon’s system, the Bonds would surely settle into comfy routine, the backstory done. Casino Royale wasn’t as startling as the demented fire & brimstone trollpreaching lead anyone simple enough to believe, to so believe. Bond was complete – must have been; said his name, earned his theme – so steering complacent passage beckoned. We’d seen it before.

     

    We knew.

     

    We were the Bond-Knowers, a tremendous way to use up the only life one lives. To do anything else but give us “a Bond film” would be heretical and lead to purges or at least be anonymously commented on most tartly with brave spelling solutions and voluntary exposure of the quality of one’s education. If creating Bond was what Eon was now up to, we were entitled to see the creation come forth in the way oodles of films and umpteen books had taught us. If I’ve understood it correctly – questionable – creationism manifests itself in a variety of ways. The Word that is Bond was written by Fleming in the 1950s. The Word that is Bond was written by Fleming in the 1960s. The Word etc was the Connery films, or at least the ones where he’s not morbidly obese. If undereducated, the Word – word, bro – is something with the Pierce Brosnan gentleman. It appears that creationism is as susceptible to evolution as anything else. The Bond series not having been overburdened with originality since the 1960s, there was an understandable view that the first Craig having created the world, all would then come to pass as given and bode well in 00-heaven. Amen.

     

    Until one encountered the Anti-Bond.

     

    At which juncture, “persons” were upset, gnashing teeth, mashing keyboards, their heads spinning as they wrote in tongues, vomiting us a “view”, blaming the convulsions on trying to follow the editing. Expressing themselves in a way that witchburning used to satisfy, Quantum of Solace shook various clashing faiths in Bond, whichever version one considered gospel.

     

    Some raged at the lack of explicit/explosive “closure” (ugh) of the Vesper “arc” (ugh ugh), others at the milky villainy or the inconclusive approach to Mr White and chums. For many, jiggycam confused (James Bond is in a chase and he wins; is this hard?) and for a select bunch, the undergraduate realpolitik didn’t appeal. The song’s apparently dreadful, the ‘plane fight crashlanded in from another film, Bond shoving Mathis in a skip epitomises what should happen to the film and what goes on, goes on too quickly to engage. And the gunbarrel’s all done wrong, inevitably. For a few hardy troglodytes, Mr Craig remained a problem, but most evolved people seemed to have pushed themselves up by their hairy knuckles and overcome this. Many told the world that it wasn’t could have been better (surely the fate of all Bonds once the glee erodes) but should have been better. Should of. Or longer (albeit plumped with what has never been satisfactorily fingered).

     

    However, it seemed rare to dislike all these (and other) allegedly negative attributes, and the gnawing seemed not so much between those who liked it and those who didn’t, but between those who loathed it for X seeking dominance over those disliking Y. For the poor sods who admired it (hi), all one could do was watch. Not in (much) superiority but, for one’s own part, in bewilderment at how vicious it became, humanity and consideration of one human for another, gone. How apt.    

     

    Now easily (too easily) perceived as the go-between of two “bigger” Bond films, Quantum of Solace undoubtedly establishes that each unhappy Bond fan is unhappy in their own way.

     

    Good.

     

    continue reading…

    Helmut Schierer @ 2013-10-26
  3. The Reboot of the 007th Minute – DRAFT, DO NOT PUBLISH!!!

    Bond fan workshop “hairdressing and film editing”, Ulan Bator 2006, image (c) ‘Monkeypainter’

    On my way to the advanced course ‘Pre-neolithic Cinema in 7454 Easy Steps – Chapter 4: Impact of the Cave Wall’. The usual droves of bondnotbond-protesters clogging up the streets between Salzburg and Liverpool, a considerable percentage of them merrily sloshed on Zero-Seven beverage, White Russians or the evening news. Or any combination thereof. Cabbie thinks it’s helping if he’s hooting at them like mad, so I leave him to his fun, settle back comfortably in the slashed faux leather upholstery and unfold the ironed copy of today’s CommanderBond.net.  Right on the front page – above stories about book covers, knotted ties and plots, pictures of mysterious traces in the snow, a colour-enhanced Dorchester hotel and a slightly-older-than-17 Sean Connery – there’s a piece by CBn’s resident West Albion Bromwich supporter, Jacques Stewart, that catches my eye. It’s titled ‘The Reboot of the 007th Minute – DRAFT, DO NOT PUBLISH!!!’, and that’s a most curious title, even for that eccentric guy that puts up their main page stuff.

    So I read on…

     

     

     

     

    Time for a reboot.

     

    Casino Royale is good, if long. It bothers to tell a story, rather than simply mine long-exhausted seams.  Its 007th minute exemplifies something. Blah blah blah about the dog and overwritten whimsy. James Bond will return in the 007th minute of Quantum of Solace and Jacques Stewart will refer to himself in the third person, because that’s the sort of prat he is. Some nerve to accuse Bond of being formulaic; what a hypocrite. I prefer the ABC game anyway. It learns me spell good.

     

    Ah ah ah, not so fast, poppet. 

     

    It’s not that radical, is it? There’s M, there’s gunbarrel (the law), there’s climactic action that goes on well past forever’s bedtime , there’s Bond theme, there are ghastly watches, lovely Aston Martins, booze, ladies of acceptable architecture, dinner jackets, carrrrddds (with the excitement that brings), there’s still an infantile grasp on political and geographical reality and there’s fighting, explosions, destruction, kissing, weak sex jokes and general daftitude.

     

    Disappointing. Not what I was promised.

     

    For at least a year in advance the internet told me – betrayed me, for internet is truth – that Casino Royale would be a disastrous experimental art project starring a deformed, flappy-eared, asexual, trades-faced mendicant dwarf with a head like a Belisha Beacon driving an automatic Fiat Panda, the highlight of which would be witnessing conjoined mutant step-siblings defecating glistening, maggot-riddled pusblistered-stools onto a plate of wilted broccoli. All so very Belgian. Although you might have a view of the sort of “person” what I am, you still can’t imagine how much I was looking forward to watching that.  So many profound commentators who knew things stated their predictions as Total Unadulterated Fact.  Everyone they knew (might be true, poor souls) agreed with them. Religions kill for such concord.  The hu-mil-i-a-tion was going to be fantastic.

     

    What a chuffin’ let-down.

     

    Instead of the guaranteed cataclysm, what Eon put me through was an exercise in finally grasping the bindweed their complacency had let choke the creative development of the series for twenty-five years and – clever, this – not removing it all, a slash-and-burn policy being a step too far, but selecting the bits they actually needed to tell a story, rather than obliged to shoehorn them in. No Moneypenny, no Q, no rubbish that came with both, no complaints from me. Albeit not a perfect film, propelled by a compelling lead performance and evident thought about what they were doing beyond shaking our memories until more money fell out, it’s the closest to a proper film for decades. Story first, statutory Bond bits second: Die Another Day reversed. Disconcerting. Who knew that this was going to happen? Who knew that the internet was so full of expertise about how it couldn’t?

      continue reading…

    Helmut Schierer @ 2013-08-31
  4. 007th Minute Dies Another Day

    Aston Martin in stealth-mode chasing a Mini Cooper with caravan (image (c) Mrs Suzie Cue)

    Blah.

    Blahblah,

    blahblahblah.

    Blah.

    Blah.

    Blah.

     

    Now that the usual formalities are out of the way we finally approach the 007th Minute I’ve been waiting for since this project started. Without further ado you now get opinionated, articulate, fine-tuned-to-the-point-of-irony observations  by Jacques Stewart.  

    Your own observations, comments, your personal defence or damnation of the film is welcome here.

     

     

     

    I’m forty this year.

     

    The… Mrs Jim (I struggle for an adjective adequate) has asked/told me how I want this marked. My initial answer – “not”, can’t make me, you’re not the boss of me (that’s a lie) – was met with her patented benev-iolence because the children want to “do something”. My wishes and “incidental” are in the same bit of the Venn diagram; whatever emerges has to involve the offspring in its organising (doubtless not in the “paying”) meaning they’re invited too. What utter bottom.

     

    Therefore, a choice of:

    • a family holiday away from “it all”, the brood ignoring their presence as a permanent feature of that bracket. Favoured suggestion is a bivouac in mid-Wales (where?) without telephone, television or internet. It has board games, meaning arguments, and books, meaning my sons won’t read them, and opportunities for mud, meaning I bet the boiler bursts. Straw Dogs beckons. I suppose we could pretend it was a temple in South Korea; or

     

    • a New-Age retreat where one can detox the body and soul (it says here) and commune with one’s future through paradigms of guided holistic meditation (it also says here), perceptions of the developing One becoming a springboard into the next stage of life (it does go on a bit) and embracing the sort of inner peace and smug self-satisfaction that usually arises five minutes after a really satisfying vomit (it doesn’t say, but means); or

     

    • sodding that for a load of old halleberries, blowing a stack of (my) cash and inviting everyone who’s ever heard of me around and spending far too long revisiting tired anecdotes of past glories, tales they’ve already heard n million times before, perhaps with a few flourishes to pretend they’re new, in the hope that it comes together as a unified whole but will probably spiral totally beyond control and fizzle out well before its end, leaving all those who witnessed it in denial, upset and dissatisfied.

    None are fitly defined by the phrase “a good idea”. The first is boring and I know we’ll end up cannibalising each other. It’ll be “Devon 2005” all over again: tchoh! The second is patently going to involve scented candles and is probably a front for pushing “relaxation herbs”. The third is Die Another Day and not so much a fortieth birthday party as a wake.

     

    Which it is.

     

    They were killing off the “James Bond” we knew/they were bored of making, and inviting us to the world’s most outrageously gem-dripped post-dispatch piss-up. Mix me a mojito, pass round the individual pork pies and let’s reminisce with a moistened eye about how fine it used to be. Self-indulgence excused because we’re still in shock about witnessing it collapse in front of us last time out, overstretched, wheezy and attempting things way beyond its strength and ability, painful exertions it wouldn’t have dared try (or needed to) at half its age.

     

    140 gazillion dollars spent on (at best) questionable artistic decisions, DAD is a costly public euthanasia solution (I would have gone for the pillow and/or canine bolt-gun option) but disappearing up its own AFRICAN CONFLICT DIAMOND-encrusted backside is possibly still cheaper than disappearing into a warehouse on a Swiss industrial estate. Plumping for Indignitas instead, it’s not a celebration, it’s a commemoration. Commiseration, maybe.

     

    The series had keeled over and its damp corpse was being nimbly – if jitteringly – stepped over by The Bourne Improvement. With this sort of rubbish, Eon left the door wide open for it to do so.  Barbara Broccoli is on record that September 11th 2001 changed everything, but DAD was filmed after that. I know these things take years to develop but questionable not to reconsider the approach whilst filming; the “Making of” indicates that much outlandish stuff came about as they went along. Whilst it’s noble of Ms Broccoli to react, I suspect it’s the events of June 14th 2002 that really made them wonder, waking to the realisation that it was too late to reverse decisions on the DNA replacement therapy, Bond stopping his heart, the dialogue, the invisible car and the CGI kite-surfing, all that money blown and Matt Damon in an old Mini had just driven right through the whole sorry circus. Why bother? So they didn’t. DAD’s lasting impression is as a series end filler clip show where, surprised that it’s gone on so long, they forgot to commission a script and just have people sit around foreshadowing “best bits” by saying “D’you remember that time when…”, mould passed off as fresh. There was nothing left to chivvy from the bottom of the barrel.

     

    continue reading…

    Helmut Schierer @ 2013-08-07
  5. 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.

     

    continue reading…

    Helmut Schierer @ 2013-07-30
  6. Tomorrow’s 007th Minute – brought to you today!

    No, we’ll not just post anything these days. Only stuff that matters. As such this 007th Minute was long overdue. Here now is, for your merriment, Jacques Stewart’s take on ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’, specifically its seconds 421 through 480.  Clocked by CBn’s resident timekeeper and put to the acid test by the same. As per usual in the most opinionated manner.

    May contain traces of sarcasm and nuts.

    Have your say here

     

     

     

    Lost at sea.

     

    Adrift.

     

    Torpedoed by GoldenEye leaving little more to say credibly about this James Bond, but kept afloat by creating great art screwing money out of us, here come the James Bond Wilderness Years, a.k.a. the ones that aren’t GoldenEye, a.k.a. did he do any others? Oh yes, I remember, aren’t they meant to be really dreadful?, a.k.a Them Other Brosnan Films What Got Washed Up.

     

    Flotsam, jetsam, any old junk, grimly oily, bloatydead in the water and looking like they smell real bad, grim rubbery matter one’s Labrador – not a fussy eater – masticates and subsequently resplendently emits from a smorgasbord of damp orifices; directionless, noisy , violent but unarguably vivid, memorable and, in their own way, expressive art.

     

    A musing. [N.B. Read not as “amusing” – wrong place. “Amusing” is telling one’s offspring that Hodgepile (guinea pig) has been eaten by the dog. “A musing” is contemplating how children can contain so much crying. A further musing is whether this will cause the ghastly sprogs horrendous trauma for years to come. “Amusing” is knowing it will]. My musing is whether Tomorrow Never Dies –the series’ most apparently superficial enterprise, an achievement given solid competition – would be missed were it not to exist; a secondary musing is whether art needs a purpose in order to “be”.

     

    I’m not wasting time on the second one; a pretentious stumble through misunderstood theories. To experience that, watch the aggressively emetic The World is not Enough. However, the first thought may justify a brief (-ish; it’s me) ponder. Tomorrow Never Dies does seem to have a reputation of… actually, what is its reputation?

     

    continue reading…

    Helmut Schierer @ 2013-06-24
  7. Digital Bits invites Big Ten – heavyweights in Bond expertise talk shop

    Over on The Digital Bits Michael Coate’s initial idea last year had been to round up the Champions League in Bond history, have them talk 007 and eavesdrop on the discussion for possible later use – for an article, not for a show trial. However, real-life circumstances prevented the plan. That didn’t stop Coate. He simply settled for individual debriefings – cleverly disguised as ‘interviews’ – and edited the result into round-table format. Here now is what the cream of professional Bond enthusiasts has to say about the appeal of the Bond series, its cultural resonance, the driving forces behind its creators Fleming and Broccoli, and the passion that made them write their own books.

    Them?

    Well, with Jon Burlingame (The Music of James Bond), John Cork (James Bond – The Legacy, amongst others), Bill Desowitz (James Bond Unmasked), Paul Duncan (The James Bond Archives), Mark O’Connell (Catching Bullets), Lee Pfeiffer (The Essential Bond, amongst others), Steven Jay Rubin (The James Bond Films – A Behind The Scenes History, amongst others), Bruce Scivally (James Bond – The Legacy with John Cork, Billion Dollar Batman), Dave Worrall (The Essential Bond with Lee Pfeiffer,  Cinema Retro magazine) and Charles Helfenstein (The Making of OHMSS, The Making of The Living Daylights) Coate assembled ten of the biggest and most respected names in the field of Bond expertise. The resulting four page article is a magnificent celebration of Bond fandom.

    Read it here.

     

     

    Helmut Schierer @ 2013-06-11
  8. Swords to ploughshares, spelling to confetti – 007th MinUte-fun with GoldenEye

    Image ‘Goldeneye’ by ‘Theen’ (c), eye model tomcat ‘Jester’

    As we cautiously approach the modern era of Eon’s Bond series we encounter  previously unheard-of hardships: a five year gap between films, a new actor that was – almost – his own predecessor, a monumentally ugly villain’s lair that turned out to be the real-life home of British espionage and a major London landmark, a new M, the Secret Service being called MI6, chilling new interpretations of orthography… the list is endless. CBn’s resident notary Jacques Stewart sets out to chronicle the most inteResting examples in the 007th Minute of ‘Goldeneye’. As always opinionated.

    Agree or disagree in this thread.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The 1980s. Custodian of my childhood. Bringer of the Austin Montego, Kevin the Gerbil, acid-washed jeans and absolutely nothing else. Remover of Charles Hawtrey, the Ayatollah Khomeini and tolerable Doctor Who.

     

    Apologist for four-and-a-half duff James Bond films.

     

    That exquisite first hour of The Living Daylights almost compensates, but has no real prospect of succeeding against James Bond XII: Underage, Undershaven, Underwater and Under a Geriatric; James Bond XIII:  The Jewels ‘n’ the Clown; James Bond XIV: Aching, Baking and Earthquaking; James Bond XV: The Usual Letdown and James Bond XVI: Really Don’t Bother.

     
    Quite a bit to put right, then.

     
    With awards-bothering Skyfall laying waste to all that dares cross its path, be it ‘Obbitses, vampires or narrative coherence, it can be hard to recall – or recognise – GoldenEye’s achievement. Given the parlous state of Bond at the time, the films exhausted and unpopular, Mr Gardner grinding out his contractual obligation in ever more contractually-obliged ways, there was considerable doubt whether Bond films would return, could return, whether they would find an audience, whether there was any point. Whilst its supporters would claim that Licence to Kill wasn’t a disaster given that it recouped five times its budget , five times sod all is sodallsodallsodallsodallsodall (science fact). If the 1980s taught us anything – apart from never rub another man’s rhubarb – it’s that with Bond films, chuck money abite. Cheapo Bond gets noticed. You can’t make it with donkeycock, roadkill and offcuts of sickly bald Romanian orphan and not be found out. Speculate to accumulate, and spending lots on GoldenEye must have been pretty blimmin’ speculative. Change required.

     
    Artistic merits of the decision aside, on a business basis Timothy Dalton had to go. Nobly, he went. Save for how he enunciated his Ts, he hadn’t clicked, and MGM/UA had shareholders to feed and receivers to fend off with a rickety chair and a whip. What was needed was a Bond built by a corporation to appeal to every demographic but not too strongly in any direction otherwise it could alienate, a Toyota Corolla of a James Bond, a reliable mass-market unthreatening consumer good, an item.

     

     

     

    Gambolling off the conveyor skipped something calling itself a Pierce Brosnan. Halves of everything, Fate having associated him with Bond for many years in the PublicEye, and Luck not having exposed to the mass audience his astonishingly recondite talent beyond the challenging role of Man What Gets Fruit Thrown At Him in Mrs Doootfiah, subject to any prior demands on his time with knitting catalogue shoots, he was patently the chap. Bros-Nan, with GoldenEye as his definition, was a brilliantly populist strategy, bringing us something for everyone along with absolutely nothing for anyone looking for anything specific.

    continue reading…

    Helmut Schierer @ 2013-03-20
  9. Thespian Delights – which 007th Minute is this about?

     

    In order to live up to our educational mandate and to keep our readers intellectually in top condition CBn decided to include various (read: 2) slight-to-mid-serious hurdles in this episode of the 007th Minute. Should you experience difficulties in deciphering this text and connecting it to a popular work of entertainment of 1987 you ought to spend more time at CommanderBond.net.

    As always: Jacques Stewart’s opinion, wording, turn-of-phrase, summary. 

     

     

     

     

     

    I come no more to make you laugh: things now,
    That bear a weighty and a serious brow,
    Sad, high, and working, full of state and woe,
    Such noble scenes as draw the eye to flow,
    We now present.

     

    A worthy aim, even if it won’t quite come off. [If you don’t want to read on, assume that comment encapsulates this 007th minute’s “plot”. It does lose itself in cellos and diamonds and tips for Mujahidining out; I know an appalling restaurant in Karachi, gave me a right case of the d’Abos and no mistake].

     

    It’s product placement time, gang (don’t run, it’s not “watches”). Not subtle; I’m busy and am not shaped for sportive tricks and have emergency sitting down to do, contrived flippancy to mash out and humpbalm to apply. So, here it comes; see if you can spot it. Buy Charles Helfenstein’s book The Making of The Living Daylights. Do that. Do it NOW. If you’re more of a “visual learner” (i.e. you can’t read), imagine me holding it up and pointing at it as if t’were shiny coin – try not to be distracted by my “face” although you’re only human (or vaguely so). If you truly cannot read, your gawping at this nonsense is odd but, even more so, the book’s jawtofloor stupendousness will be lost on you; still, there are nice pictures. You could colour them in; I’m assuming your keeper allows you felt-tip pens, if only to sniff. If you can, though, read it. You have nothing better to do. You can’t have; you’re reading this. You were taught to read for stuff like Mr Helfenstein’s work, not to waste it on shallow guffbombs. Value your teachers, value your dignity, give yerself a treat and buy it and read it and learn and become a better person. It’ll improve you and make your willy ginormous. That’s (probably) untrue but it holds with the mendacious subtext of James Bond product placement, be it grotty watches or naff mobile telephones or nasty lager or delicious Huw Edwards.

     

    So, that’s The Making of The Living Daylights.

     

    This is not its unmaking.

    continue reading…

    Helmut Schierer @ 2013-02-13
  10. Off-‘Licence to Kill’ – The Spirit of its 007th Minute

    image by ‘London looks’ (c)

    February already? High time CBn’s resident food critic Jacques Stewart had himself a taste of Eon’s famous 1989 recipe ‘Licence to Kill’ (readers confused by the strange spelling can get help here).

     

    Gourmet readers will find healthy doses of opinion and science-fact in this recipe. CommanderBond.net suggests a claret to go with this grand meal...

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Bituvva scandal in 1989 at the moment about aJames Bond film value-brand “hamburgers”, whatever they might be, being cut with last gasp desperation for dollars horse meat; popular if uninspired product, delivered on a reduced budget, mixed with the unpalatable. At first glance this seems unfair on Eon Tesco, with its record of being reliable, if slightly insipid, with patches of quality – their lead character own-brand meatballs are the dog’s bollocks, for example. Still, unwise to mash up suspect ingredients and pretend everything’s OK, business as usual and this is in some mysterious way defensible. The consumer may well rebel. Or vom.

     

     
    Perhaps we’re so spoilt by recent Gourmet Bond that it’s too easy to sneer at the cheap brands, too easy to buy identical ready meals equally questionably produced but sold in a nicely fonted box that smelly riff-raff cannot read – science fact, French Script MS causes scutters to immolate. Too easy to become the father who proclaims that his offspring go anaphylactic at the merest suggestion of a fishfinger and can only eat Danish pomegranates, Nepalese sushi and Egyptian Cotton. Taste the Difference CraigBond, all fancy and theme-y and hand-reared by posh directors rubbing the finest organic artisan jus into its skin to soothe it, relaxing it into production by giving it its own thoughtyurt and feeding it honeysuckle gravy with a hand-carved Inca lovespoon, or something, is it really going to be any better for your straining, time-bound heart than some reconstituted old bollocks blatted together by a greasy robot? It all comes out as light entertainment in the end.

     

    There’s an argument that the cheap product is a more honest conspiracy between producer and consumer than asserting that because one’s Bond comes with shavings of free range, corn-fed cin-eh-mahhh on it, it’s better. If one acknowledges it cost tuppence to make then one is braced for it to be foul and there’s no point whining. How can it disappoint? You know that the film you’re masticating through is fungal gristle chivvied from the crevices of the Bond factory floor, bulked up with mechanically-separated violence; horrid, but still you partake.Perhaps it’s a guilty pleasure; there you go, pretending to like quadruple-fried free-range yam croquettes and Swiss Lobster when what you really crave is Scampi Fries and a box of damp Micro chips. In white bread. With marge.

     

     

    It’s fatuously snobbish – and eyegougingly ironic, given the source of the comment – to liken some Bond products as being savourable at Sardi’s and others munchable at McDonald’s. I am fatuously snobbish. C’mon, you’d guessed. Even knowing full-well that Bond Sixteen wasn’t dealt a happy hand from the get-go, even knowing full-well that as a result I should be more forgiving and try to emphasise the points at which it outshone its meagre origins, even knowing full-well that I should accept that it was going to be dreadful and therefore spare all of us, myselfincluded, pointing that out at overconsiderable length, taking all those potential excuses into account it’s still, without doubt, one of the most disappointing films I’ve ever sat through.

    continue reading…

    Helmut Schierer @ 2013-02-13
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