Casino Royale

Casino Royale (2006) got a look in over my Christmas break, and rounds out my mission to watch all 21 official James Bond films in a year truly fitting for such an endeavour, 2-007!

This, the 21st Bond film, is the first to star Daniel Craig as James Bond who pulls off the role superbly – bringing a tough grittiness to the character.

In the film we are introduced to Bond before he achieves his “00” status following his first two assassinations. After foiling a terrorist attack at Miami airport, Bond is then tasked with preventing a banker by the name of “Le Chiffre” from winning a high stakes poker game at the Casino Royale in Montenegro and thus restoring lost funds for his terrorist clients…

Craig delivers a more serious Bond with less innuendo and gadgetry than the norm, but given that the film kicks off the saga, it actually works quite well. Other notable absences are Q (which also makes sense given he wasn’t in Dr No) and Moneypenny.

In lieu of gadgets to mention, here’s a few lines for ya,

M: “I knew it was too early to promote you.”
Bond: “Well, I understand double 0’s have a very short life expectancy… so your mistake will be short-lived.”

Bond: “The job’s done and the bitch is dead.” (!)

Bartender: “Shaken or stirred?”
James Bond: “Do I look like I give a damn?”

I thought the film rocked and is well worth a look. IMDB users rate it at 8/10 and Rotten Tomatoes gives it a high 94% “certified fresh” rating. For more info and trivia, see Wikipedia.

Die Another Day

Die Another Day (2002) is the 20th James Bond film, released 40 years after Dr No and is the last outing for Pierce Brosnan as James Bond.

From Wikipedia: “In the film, Bond is betrayed after killing a rogue North Korean Colonel and captured. Once released in a prisoner exchange, he must follow a trail of clues in an effort to reveal the MI6 leak and soon learns that the villain he is pursuing is the same North Korean Colonel he supposedly killed. James then must prevent a satellite from igniting a war between North and South Korea.”

The film features two ‘Bond girls’ – Halle Berry as “Jinx” and Rosamund Pike as “Miranda Frost”. Fans of the saga will immediately recognise Berry’s first screen appearance as a homage to the first James Bond film Dr No where, like Berry in this film, Ursula Andress (as Honey Rider) walks out of the sea in a bikini. This is fully intentional, and throughout the film homage is paid to all of the previous 19 films – through repeated scenes, re-used gadgets and character lines. Also, Q gives 007 a new watch, describing it as “your twentieth”.

A few good lines crop up in the movie, including,

Frost: “I take it Mr. Bond’s been explaining his Big Bang theory?”
Jinx: “Oh yeah, I think I got the thrust of it.” 😉

Gadget wise, Bond’s watch contains a laser cutter and his ring is an “ultra high-frequency single digit sonic agitator unit” that can shatter any glass surface. More notable however would have to be the Aston Martin V12 Vanquish which is capable of becoming invisible along with having the usual rockets, guns and ejector seat. Another piece of high-tech wizardry to feature is a virtual combat simulator which 007 uses for realistic weapons training and Moneypenny uses for a bit of Bond one-on-one fantasy…

The film was enjoyable, but the special effects were a little over used at times – especially when the satellite weapon was fired up in Iceland and Korea. The first Bond of the new millennium has all the expected elements, from fast paced action with witty dialogue to girls, guns and gadgets. I’d have to place it third best of the Brosnan entries, pushing Tomorrow Never Dies to #4.

Links for more info: Wikipedia and IMDB (6.1/10).

The World Is Not Enough

No, not a foolish sentiment, but Bond’s family motto!

The World Is Not Enough (1999) has James Bond tasked with protecting an oil heiress, leading him to uncover a plot by a Bosnian terrorist (with a bullet permanently lodged in his brain!) who plans to disrupt oil supply with a nuclear sub meltdown in Istanbul.

Plenty of adrenalin pumping chases and stunts in this one including a boat chase on the Thames from MI6 headquarters to the Millennium Dome where Bond smashes Q’s retirement fishing boat! Sadly this is the last appearance of Desmond Llewelyn as Q who died in a car accident just one month after the release of the film. His replacement, portrayed by John Cleese, has a fitting introduction in the film,

(after Q introduces his successor…)
Bond: “If you’re Q, does that make him R?”
R: “Ah yes, the legendary 007 wit, or at least half of it.”

The stand out gadget this time would have to be a pair of x-ray specs allowing 007 to check for concealed weapons… and lingerie! 😉

While on that subject, Denise Richards plays Dr. Christmas Jones – a nuclear scientist that ends up helping Bond – and as you’d expect there are a few good lines that crop up,

Bond: “I need to know who’s in charge here. ”
Dr. Christmas Jones: “That would be me, Dr. Christmas Jones and I don’t want to hear any jokes.”
Bond: “I don’t know any doctor jokes.”

Bond: (in bed with Jones) “I was wrong about you. ”
Dr. Christmas Jones: “Yeah, how so? ”
Bond: “I thought Christmas only comes once a year.” 😀

In terms of the Brosnan films, I’d have to rate this entry number two – behind Goldeneye but better than Tomorrow Never Dies. Yet again Brosnan delivers a solid performance and the film certainly conforms to the classic Bond formula. Another in the saga that’s well worth a look.

Links: IMDB (6.3/10) and Wikipedia.

Two Bond films to go. Twelve days left in ’07… Bring ’em on!

Tomorrow Never Dies

“You always were a cunning linguist James” 😀

Another day, another Bond flick as I cram the final few in before Christmas…

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) has James Bond trying to stop a crazy media mogul (with a stealth ship) from starting a war between the UK and China in order to gain exclusive coverage and thereby rule the media world.

If you’re after stunts and explosions, this one’s for you! The film opens at “a terrorist arms bazaar on the russian border” where the action soon heats up with 007 stealing a fighter jet, and from there until the end of the movie there’s no shortage of action.

Besides the memorable quote (and scene) above, the following stand out,

Admiral Roebuck: “With all due respect M, sometimes I don’t think you have the balls for this job.”
M: “Perhaps. But the advantage is that I don’t have to think with them all the time.”

(M is of course played again by Judi Dench)

M: “Use your relationship with Mrs Carver if necessary”
007: “I doubt if she’ll remember me”
M: “Remind her, then pump her for information”
Moneypenny: “You’ll just have to decide how much pumping will be necessary James” 😉

The media moguls wife Paris Carver is played by Teri Hatcher, with Bond later teaming up with a female Chinese agent Wai Lin played by Michelle Yeoh (also in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon).

The stand out gadget would have to be Bonds cell phone with a fingerprint scanner, 20,000 volt stun gun, lock pick and remote control for his BMW 750iL (which is naturally tricked out with plenty of Q-branch modifications).

I enjoyed this one less than Goldeneye, but it does cement Brosnan in the role. IMDB users give it 6.4/10 and you’ll find plenty more info at Wikipedia.

18 down, three to go…

Goldeneye

After six years without a Bond flick, Goldeneye was released in 1995 – the first of four to feature Pierce Brosnan as James Bond.

Also new to this one is Judi Dench as M and Samantha Bond as Moneypenny, with Sean Bean starring as 006.

The DVD cover synopsis reads, “when a powerful satellite system falls into the wrong hands of a former ally-turned-enemy, only 007 can save the world from an awesome space weapon”.

I thought Goldeneye was awesome and would have to be my favourite in the series thus far. The film certainly revitalised the saga with Brosnan pulling off the role far better his predecessor Dalton, and all things trademark Bond once again present.

As far as girls and gadgets go, this one includes a henchwoman called Xenia Onatopp who asphyxiates her enemies between her thighs 😉 with Q giving 007 a pen grenade and wristwatch with a laser cutter.

The memorable quotes and one liners are back in full swing including,

Bond: “How do you take it?”
Onatopp: “Straight up… with a twist.”

Bond: “What would I ever do without you?”
Moneypenny: “As far as I can remember, you’ve never had me!”

Q: “And this, I’m particularly proud of – behind the headlights, stinger missiles!”
Bond: “Excellent, just the thing for unwinding after a rough day at the office.”
Q: “Need I remind you, 007, that you have a license to kill, not to break traffic laws.”

Goldeneye is well worth a watch, whether you’re a Bond fan or just after a good action movie. Ratings include 7.1/10 at IMDB and a fresh 84% at Rotten Tomatoes. See Wikipedia for more info and trivia…

Licence to Kill

Licence to Kill (1989) is the 16th Bond movie and the second of two with Timothy Dalton as 007.

Originally scheduled to be released as “Licence Revoked”, this one sees Bond leave Her Majesty’s Secret Service to chase down an evil drug lord and avenge his best friend, Felix.

I thought the film was pretty average, with Dalton again portraying a very serious, and much darker, Bond. This one is more violent than previous films and is a bit lacking in the trademark chase scenes and sly sexual references.

Interestingly, Q gets some extended screentime in this one, with the most notable gadget being a signature camera gun – essentially a camera that converts to a sniper rifle which only fires for the person the hand grip has been programmed for. Yet again Q and 007 have some fun banter, including,

Bond: “This is no place for you, Q. Go home.”
Q: “Oh, don’t be an idiot, 007. I know exactly what you’re up to, and quite frankly, you’re going to need my help. Remember, if it hadn’t been for Q Branch, you’d have been dead long ago.”

For more info and trivia, see Wikipedia and IMDB (6.4/10).

I’m kinda pleased to be done with Dalton and looking forward to re-watching the Brosnan entries. Next up is Goldeneye…

The Living Daylights

Enter Timothy Dalton for Bond #15.

The Living Daylights (1987) is the first of Dalton’s two Bond movies, and features what I thought was a very good pre-title sequence in Gibraltar. While executing a training mission there, an assassin kills two other 00-agents, with Bond giving chase and eventually parachuting off a burning jeep as it plunges over a cliff.

The rest of the film also features some good action sequences, with 007 tasked with stopping a KGB general and an arms dealer who are killing spies in an effort to create a war between the British and Soviet intelligence agencies.

Locations in this one include Slovakia, Austria, England, Morocco and Afghanistan where Bond teams up with the Mujahideen to attack a Soviet air force base and winds up hijacking a plane used to smuggle drugs in Red Cross parcels – something that didn’t go down well with the Red Cross at the time.

Besides a keychain gadget that can pick locks and has stun gas and explosives in it, Q is also seen testing a portable stereo/boom-box rocket launcher leading to the line “Something we’re making for the Americans. We call it the ghetto-blaster”. 😀

The film was enjoyable, following the last from Roger Moore, with possibly the only thing lacking being some cheap trademark Bond humor from Dalton who comes across as a more serious Bond. Also notable in this one is a new, and younger, Miss Moneypenny.

Links: Wikipedia. IMDB (6.6/10).