bond

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) Review | Jamie Daily

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
50th Academy Awards 1978
2/5 Stars
Nominated for 3 awards.
Nominated for Art Direction (Ken Adam, Peter Lamont, Hugh Scaife), Music-Original Score (Marvin Hamlisch), and Music-Original Song “Nobody Does It Better” (Marvin Hamlisch, Carole Bayer Sager).
Watched November 4, 2012

  

The reviews are positive, but my views are different.  Granted I have not paid much attention to the 007 franchise prior to Daniel Craig and thus my opinions will be incredibly jaded, I was not a huge fan of The Spy Who Loved Me.  I find that I am having trouble looking past the dated 70s styles.  However, it has been pointed out by many reviewers that the film did exactly what it was supposed to–it was never created to be film noir but a mindless entertaining film that all one must do to enjoy it is sit back and relax while James Bond does all of the hard work.  I will admit that, for the most part, The Spy Who Loved Me does that successfully.

 

This generation’s Bond is played by Roger Moore, who is following Sean Connery, but he apparently does much better in this film than the previous Bond flicks he had starred in.  He is smarmy, with a classically good looking smirk, and a hidden pain of lost love that makes him attractive.  Not to mention his mad skiing skills that are said to be one of the best openings to a Bond film–ever.

 

In this storyline, the bad guy, Karl Stromberg (Curt Jürgens) has been tracking and trapping nuclear submarines from all sides, which is why 007 and the Russian Agent XXX (Barbara Bach) suddenly find themselves working together.  Bond and Major Anya Amasova have significantly different feelings about working with one another.  Bond is of course attracted to the feisty female agent, while she resents his typical pig headed manliness and pushes against him in an attempt to not be overshadowed by a man.  Through their adventures she begins to soften toward him, until she finds out that he killed her love just weeks before, which of course means that she has to kill him once they save the world from nuclear destruction.

  

Complete with excessive explosions and gunfire, underwater cities, and women in bikinis, it is a true Bond film.  In comparison with today’s franchise, the cinematography has zero creativity.  There is a serious lack of angles.  The editing is a bit slow, and the sound design was perplexing.  The lack of a sound track fails to disguise the terrible foley art during the fight scenes, not to mention how very choreographed every punch felt.  Somehow, Amasova did not come off as intelligent as she was supposed to be, probably because she kept making dumb decisions and relying on Bond to save her.

 

The acclaimed villain who everyone loves–Jaws (Richard Kiel)–would have been a lot more intimidating had the editor not had a preoccupation with dwelling on his metal-mouth grimace.

 

All in all, I would consider it another TV movie entertainment date, but not necessarily for the main Friday night event.  In my mother’s words, it’s quite “campy” and outdated, but I did enjoy the last half hour that is spent completely devoted on freeing the submarine crews and saving the world.  Many reviewers disliked this part, but to me it was my favourite because it embodies Bond so well.  There is very little attempt at serious story telling and just straight entertaining, unrealistic action.  Perfect.

Skyfall (2012) Review | Jamie Daily

Skyfall (2012)
85th Academy Awards 2013
5/5 Stars
Nominated for 5 awards, of which it won 2.
Nominated for Cinematography (Roger Deakins), Music-Original Score (Thomas Newman), and Sound Mixing (Scott MillanGreg P. Russell, Stuart Wilson).
Won Music-Original Song “Skyfall” (Adele Adkins, Paul Epworth) and Sound Editing (Per Hallberg, Karen Baker Landers).
Watched September 3, 2013.

After 50 years and 23 Bond films, I was mildly surprised by this latest installment in the franchise.  I saw it last November in theaters and the film was so far off from what I had come to expect from 007 that I didn’t quite like it.  However, after watching it a second time I have come to appreciate it much more as a stand alone film.

 

What is great about Bond is that if you have seen none of the films before, you can jump right in and know what is going on.  It doesn’t generally have a complex plot that stretches through the years of films, but each installment focuses on its one story alone, with perhaps a little bit of carry over that isn’t too hard to figure out.  What makes Skyfall so unique is its story, its ending, and the fact that it dwells on characters that we don’t usually get to spend this much time with.

 

The tradition in the last three Bond films, which feature Daniel Craig as said hero, has been to go a bit more deeply into 007’s emotions and past than is normal.  The 20 films preceding them generally followed the same formula while having similar elements–ie. the Bond girl, the bad guy, and the gadgets.  These recents films, instead, have focused more on Bond himself and have only brought in the other three factors when prudent.

 

In Skyfall, MI6 itself is under attack, both from the Prime Minister and from a super genius computer hacker by the name of Silva (Javier Bardem) who has been slighted in the past by MI6 and M.  Having been attacked on their home turf, the secret service shows a remorse for loss of life that has rarely been seen from the franchise.  We see more from the home front than we do on location and the opening sequence, which of course includes a car chase, guns, and a fist fight atop a moving train, are punctured here an there by tense moments with M at headquarters helping her agents make tough decisions.

 

Bond’s loyalties are put to the test in this thriller, and although Bardem’s villain as well as performance has been compared to the late Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight, his psychological and physical attacks are much more direct.  Having been an agent and a favourite of M’s in the past, he is bitter that he was not considered more important and determines that one person is to blame.  It becomes Bond’s task to stop Silva at all costs.  These attacks and action sequences are much more personal than normal, and as such, we get to know Bond and his past a lot more than we have before.

 

Judy Dench as M has always been a wonderful pairing, and being one of the greatest actresses of our time, she finally gets to show her incredible skill in Skyfall.  While the special effects, editing, cinematography, directing, and over all vision of the film are exquisite, the acting sets it over the top.  While one might expect the Bond films to merely be guy flicks with guns, explosions, and hot women, this 2012 favourite has taken the franchise to another level.

 

As I mentioned before, it follows a slightly different formula than normal, which is why I did not care for it very much at first.  I had expected some light hearted entertainment, whereas I got something much deeper.  Without spoiling it, I didn’t much care for the ending and felt the entire film unnecessary because of it.  However, disregarding the outcomes of Silva’s rampage, the entire film was pieced together so well that you can’t even see the stitches.  Sam Mendes’ first action film is a success.

 

I would certainly recommend Skyfall, not just as a James Bond flick, or a 50th anniversary celebration, but as an excellent film that deserves some attention.