Reviews written by registered user
|21 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I thought Batman Begins was a very well conceived and put together movie. We finally get Batman as a fully rendered character. We gain new insight into his motivations and the variables he must contend with in his role as protector of Gotham. We get to see Gary Oldman as an honest-to-goodness good guy. And we get to see Liam Neeson conducting perhaps his strangest facial hair experiment yet. But after seeing The Dark Knight, Batman Begins will forevermore be viewed (by me at least) as a handy little prologue to a FRICKIN' MASTERPIECE of a superhero film. To say it's the deepest mainstream comic adaptation ever produced would be akin to calling the Nolan/Ledger Joker 'a bit eccentric'. While watching it, I found myself thinking it was very long, which is usually a sign that it's TOO long, and therefore boring. But that's not actually the case here. The script is bulging with ideas, philosophical musings, THEMES, which Christopher Nolan is not content to gloss over in favour of cool set-pieces (as many comic adaptations are), but wants to explore, wants to allow the characters to explore, at a logical pace. So, what I guess I'm saying is, considering what it sets out to do, the movie is long ENOUGH, while still constantly holding the viewer's interest. And that's not to say the thematic exploration comes at the EXPENSE of big action, either. On the contrary, there is some truly awesome stuff going on here. The chase with the truck, for example, is fantastic, and there's some great hand-to-hand stuff too. But what engages us most is the characters, and, while the script is brilliant (the dialogue is sharp, and quite funny for the first two-thirds, before the drama really kicks in), this mainly comes down to the cast. Christian Bale. Taller than Michael Keaton was. More menacing than Val Kilmer was. Less like Adam West than George Clooney was. Solid and committed as always. He gives the character LIFE, and actually makes us feel for him. The word 'tortured' keeps coming to mind...and I suppose it's pretty appropriate. Heath Ledger. Y'know, I'd heard talk of an Oscar nomination, and thought it sounded a bit dubious. A Batman villain? Winning an Oscar? Is that what it's come to? Then I thought, is it because he didn't get one for Brokeback? Or more dubious still...is it because he...died? But...well...how can I put it...? It seems a bit blasphemous to compare Jack Nicholson to Cesar Romero, but after seeing Heath at work...Jack (who once seemed so awesome) just looks...well...lame. If you've seen it, you hopefully get what I mean. If you haven't...you need to. You will discover the true definition of commitment. Maggie Gyllenhaal. I didn't have any problem with Katie in the first one (at the time), but I doubt she could have pulled off the more emotional stuff Rachel goes through here. Seeing recasting was necessary (does Tom have a problem with his wife being involved with Batman? Too many bad memories perhaps? Why am I even talking about such garbage here?) they could have done a butt-load worse than Maggie. She rocks. As does Aaron Eckhart. But I'm not giving ANYTHING away. Suffice it to say my mind was blown...AGAIN. Makes Tommy Lee Jones look like...you get the idea. Michael Caine. Still one of my favourite actors. Alfred is the shiz. Morgan Freeman. Morgan Freeman. AOK. Gary Oldman. As in BB, no mania. No psychosis. No nervous tics. Absolute subtlety. Manages to hold his own alongside Christian, Heath and Aaron without resorting to parlour tricks. Sign of spectacular talent. Go Gaz. Eric Roberts! William Fichtner! Michael Jai White! Tiny Lister! The whole thing is just a big bag of thoughtful, well-executed entertainment. It's equal parts cerebral and visceral. Ideas and action. I've liked every Batman movie so far (okay, besides Batman & Robin), but this one makes them all look pretty bloody ordinary.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film is deeply flawed in certain ways. It's much more convoluted
than its predecessors, and nowhere near as cohesive. It seems like Sam
has tried to fit too much into the film. Three villains as well as
Peter's own inner demons, tension with MJ, problems at the Bugle...how
much can one superhero handle? Sure, everyone has their own part to
play...but introducing all those new characters, and having their
individual arcs play out to a satisfying extent - it's a big job, and
one that doesn't quite pay off - or, at least, pays off at the expense
of smooth narrative flow. We end up with some terribly clunky lines of
expository dialogue such as Eddie Brock's line to Chief Stacy, which
goes something like 'I'm the new photographer at the Bugle...oh, and
I'm dating your daughter' - that will make you spit goo in annoyance
(or, whatever it is you do when you're annoyed - I spit goo) The many
mental/emotional shifts Harry (poor, poor Harry) goes through are
handled in a pretty ham-fisted way, too. I can see what Sam is trying
to do...but it just seems a bit...well, the word 'clunky' keeps coming
to mind. There are also a couple of very 'sequelly' bits, which seem a
little inconsistent with the other films. I'm not talking about the
whole 'Flint-Marko-killed-Uncle-Ben' thing that was actually handled
surprisingly well. The most memorable example of what I mean is
Bernard's little word in Harry's ear concerning Norman's cause of
death. Umm...so, why couldn't he have mentioned it EARLIER?! Like,
y'know, at the start of Spidey 2 for instance! It would have saved
Harry a LOT of grief - not to mention Pete and MJ.
Narrative flaws and rough edges aside, however, this succeeds in being far-and-away the most entertaining film of the three, based purely on action and laughs. It is the darkest, the most action-packed, and by far the FUNNIEST Spider-Man yet. This, I suppose, is the upshot of Sam Raimi himself writing the screenplay (with brother and Army of Darkness co-scribe Ivan). The sequence in which Peter turns into the lamest bad-boy in history is a total crack-up. The looks on the faces of the 'laydeez' as he struts along the street like a nerdy, emo-midget Travolta are absolutely priceless.
The chase/fight sequence between Peter and Gobby Jr. is brilliant. We fly and fall through the air, not knowing which way is up half the time. Only Sam Raimi could disorient an audience to that extent while still allowing us to keep up with what's going on - AND manage to inject the scene with such style, humour and gravity, all at the same time.
Both Sandman and Venom are great to watch. Yes, the special effects are awesome, but it mainly comes down to the fact that both characters are so well cast (no surprise really, given the casting in the previous films). Thomas Haden Church (a very BUFF Thomas Haden Church, I might add) brings real humanity to Flint Marko. We actually empathise with him. Topher Grace is great, too. He has fantastic comic timing, and gives us a very slick, smarmy, but perversely likable Eddie/Venom. He gets some of the best lines (as well as some of the worst).
The established cast are all as good as ever, and have now grown nicely into their roles. They all seem comfortable, with the possible exception of James Franco - just because his character has been messed with a bit. But he does a good job considering.
And then there's Gwen.
Bryce Dallas Howard.
Nothing much to say, really.
I suppose I could say that Gwen would never make it as a model, because she's far too healthy-looking and altogether too attractive.
But that might be a little cynical of me.
Bryce has a big future in movies. She's a very capable actor, and is obviously extremely photogenic. She just needs to stop doing bad M. Night Shyamalan films. And keep doing good Sam Raimi ones.
Speaking of capable, extremely photogenic actors who keep doing Sam Raimi movies, it's good to see Bruce Campbell in a slightly more memorable part this time. I'd never imagined him playing a cheesy French Maitre'D, but he gives a hilarious turn in a classic scene.
Yes, this film has problems, but if you just sit back and soak it up, they don't really matter that much. The movie looks great, will make you laugh, and will thrill you as well as move you.
I can't really speak for everyone. I mean, you might be one of those unfortunate people without a soul.
But I love it, in spite of its flaws, and I still think Sam Raimi is one of the best high-profile directors in Hollywood - because he's all about having fun. And that's what it all comes down to with Spider-Man 3.
While Sunshine is a great sci-fi movie experience (particularly on the
big screen), it reminded me just a little too often of certain OTHER
great sci-fi movie experiences in particular 2001, Alien and Dark
Star. Sunshine's premise is unique (far-fetched, but on the watchable
side of ridiculous), but there were certain technical and stylistic
elements that reminded me a bit too much of these other films. In this
time of postmodernist or post-post-postmodernist 'homage', perhaps that
is what I was witnessing: intentional references to genre classics. But
I'd gone in hoping for more.
It wasn't as good as 28 Days Later that other Boyle/Garland/Macdonald/Murphy collaboration either. That won me over because it succeeded in setting itself apart from other examples of its genre. This is something Sunshine obviously did not achieve.
However, like I said, it is still a very good film, primarily due to the fantastic visuals. Danny Boyle's visual sense is extraordinary, and creates the perfect atmosphere for the drama to play out in. The philosophy behind Alex Garland's script is also interesting (uncomplicated, but providing some food for thought), even if it gets a little lost among the pretty pictures.
While the characters are barely-fleshed-out stereotypes (all you want in a movie like this - it's not really ABOUT the characters, after all), they are given life by a very good group of actors. In fact, the main reason I had looked so forward to Sunshine was the cast. I had never seen such a small cast that included so many actors I was already a fan of. I was like...
'Oh, so Rose Byrne's in this. Hey, Cliff Curtis, too. Cool. Wait! AND Michelle Yeoh? AND Cillian Murphy? AND Chris Evans?! THIS IS GONNA BE SOOOO GREAT!!'
...or something like that.
Anyway, they didn't disappoint me. Although I have to admit, I did have some reservations about Chris Evans. I like him, but the other things I've seen him in (Fantastic 4, Cellular, etc.) were a lot lighter in tone than this, and I wasn't sure if he was up to SERIOUS acting. But he did a great job. They all did.
My one little gripe about the cast (or maybe the characters - I'm not sure) is that for such an international group of actors, the Icarus II crew was disappointingly...well...American, I guess. Not that I have anything against Americans, it's just that this is a trip to save the WORLD, and, while there were several Asian countries represented, five of the eight crew were American and, ironically, three of those five were played by non-American actors. I assume they made Cillian, Rose and Cliff use American accents in order to appease US audiences, but would they really be THAT bothered by having an Irishman, an Aussie and a Kiwi on the spaceship? (hey, I think there's a joke in that...) I mean, there are still two perfectly good Yanks there (well, maybe one) to take care o' business. All I'm asking for is a bit of DIVERSITY!!
But, as I said, it's only a LITTLE gripe.
Anyway, while Sunshine falls disappointingly short of 'classic' status, it's still a great watch for the visuals alone (a bit of space...a close-up sun...Rose Byrne...). But try and catch it on the big screen if you can. I mean, it'll play on DVD or whatever, but it looks SO great on the giant cinema screen that you really shouldn't miss it.
Just don't forget your shades. ;-)
I know a comedy's working if I can't bear to laugh anymore because of
the pain. Borat is the only movie this year that's had that effect on
me, and it's not because I have a particularly puerile sense of humour,
or enjoy watching fat, hairy, naked men wrestling. One thing I do like
is to see pretentious people have their pretensions tested in the face
of such a formidable adversary as Borat, who will push their airs and
PC-pretences to the limits of endurance. The etiquette coach, the
society diners, the humour coach (honestly! The very IDEA of a guy
getting PAID to explain the subtle nuances of the 'not' joke offends
ME!) are all exposed for the highfalutin buffoons they are.
Along the way, we also get some painfully honest opinions from ordinary Americans (the rodeo organiser - the only true racist in the movie - and the misogynist frat boys come immediately to mind), which were the only bits I found really offensive, because they were obviously true. Rather than suing the producers, perhaps these people should treat the experience as a lesson: If you don't want people to know you're an a-hole, don't behave like one in the presence of a movie crew.
As for Borat's antisemitism, sexism and other offensive personality traits, they are aspects of a CHARACTER. Borat is not a real person. The things he says are simply designed by SBC to elicit responses from those he encounters. If anyone should be offended by this film, it is the population of Kazakhstan, who are made to look like superstitious, incestuous bumpkins. Perhaps Sacha could have INVENTED an '-istan' (a la Austin Powers' Creplakistan) as a point of origin for his character, meaning he could have done all this without offending ANYONE (at least anyone with intelligence enough to see what is really going on in this film) Of course, by 'offending', I mean offending them personally. Anyone who gets squeamish easily or doesn't like seeing people in embarrassing situations might justifiably run screaming for the hills after watching a few minutes of this movie.
As for me, there were a few moments when I was thinking 'that is SO wrong' - but I was laughing too hard at the time to really care.
The humour in the movie is not for everyone. As (I'm sure) the humour coach would tell you, everyone's sense of humour is different. But most of the stuff people seem to find offensive about this movie is stuff they really shouldn't, because it is the opinion of a man who does not exist, who comes from a culture that probably does not exist (despite his claiming to come from a real place). He is there as a device to upset the sensibilities of some, and to bring out the bigotries of others - to cut through the crap and show people as they are.
Naked. Hairy. Ugly.
Casino Royale is like a minty-fresh mouthwash, eradicating the vile
taste of that CG puke-fest known as Die Another Day. I literally felt
CLEANSED after seeing it. I'd gotten so used to the same old same old
that I had ceased to think something like this could happen. Mike and
Barb - with an assist from Purvis/Wade, Haggis, Campbell and DC - have
given Jimbo a long-overdue spring cleaning - made him more real, more
relevant, and ultimately more INTERESTING.
I really liked Brosnan's Bond at the time. I think it was the hair. With GoldenEye, the Bond 'do' definitely reached its peak. Pierce was good in the part, too - convincing as a heavily Rodge-influenced (but slightly darker, more athletic) 007, spouting unfunny Bruce Fierstein-penned quips about frequent-flier mileage. Certainly, he seemed equally adept at coming to grips with a Kalashnikov, a Smirnoff or a Scorupco, but it is now clear (given fresh perspective) that by the end of his tenure both Pierce and the EON crew had LOST their grip on the character of JAMES BOND, as conceived by Ian Fleming.
DC has OPENED MY EYES. Sure, he has taken the Bond 'do' to a disappointing low (the flaxen hue doesn't bother me so much it's just a bit scruffy), but the character has been roused from his torpor, woken from his coma, resurrected from the dead - a bit like his literal 'resurrection' in a scene from this movie. Given the new toned-down realism, the handy in-car defibrillator seems a tad convenient (and therefore unrealistic), but at least he's able to FIND HIS CAR this time. Imagine if a drugged, cardiac-arresting Brosnan-Bond had staggered out of Gustav Graves' ice palace, looking for the one thing that could save his life...
'Now, where the bloody hell did I PARK that thing? DAMN YOU, Q-BRANCH! LIGHT-EMITTING POLYMER MY TWITCHING, BLOODSHOT EYE!'
DC's Jimbo has a real 'no bulls--t' vibe to him, which is one of the major differences between him and Pierce. He isn't worried about rumpling his absurdly well-tailored clothes. If you prick him (or punch, shoot or stab him) he bleeds, and wears the marks for longer than one scene. His knuckles are scabby. His face is scratched. If Pierce's Bond was a prize poodle, DC's is a fighting pit bull in comparison.
But it's not only DC's acting skill and grasp of the character that make this movie great. It helps that they've got Fleming back as a foundation - which, considering how unlike any of the recent movies this is, only goes to show how far from Fleming's creation the films had strayed.
I do not lament the loss of Dr. Evil-style lairs or idiotic gadgets or one-note henchmen or stupid Bond-girl names...
...or TERRIBLE clunking puns! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE a good pun. A well-considered and subtle play on words really gets me going. But after forty years' worth of increasingly insipid wordplay, it's refreshing that the writers this time resisted the urge to try and squeeze the unlikeliest of lines from the least conducive of situations. Sure, it's disorienting at first, so accustomed are we to the dodgy one-liner as a fundamental law of the Bondiverse. Upon my first viewing I sensed awkward gaps after murders and close calls, the only sounds being the chirping of crickets and the expectant intake of breath from an audience bracing itself for something lame. But it never came. Wonderful.
Eva Green is a fantastic actor, and the script actually allows her to give a performance worthy of her talent. Let's face it, even the more accomplished Bond-girl actresses have come off looking a little superficial in the past (eg. Dame Diana, Carole Bouquet, Halle B). But Vesper is given a depth almost equal to that of Bond - and their relationship is more compelling for it. And it doesn't hurt that Eva is one of the most aesthetically-pleasing life forms ever to exist in this or any parallel universe.
Mads brings depth and humanity to the blood-weeping, asthmatic Le Chiffre. Yes, Bond Villains can be realistic AND have cheesy gimmicks.
Jeffrey Wright is excellent - but criminally underused - as Felix. I hope he's here to stay awhile (which would be another trend-breaker).
Caterina Murino: Yum.
Judi Dench: Scary - but it's her best M performance yet.
David Arnold's score is far less ostentatious than his previous efforts. His restraint with the Theme is very clever and far more sensible than I thought he could be.
You Know My Name: best theme song since Live 'n' Let Die.
Chris Cornell: cooler than Wings.
The action scenes are all superb - you can almost smell the blood and sweat. Sebastien Foucan is a superhuman freak.
The title sequence is fantastic. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it's the best yet, despite the absence of naked female silhouettes. But who needs naked female silhouettes when you've got Eva wearing...
...THAT DRESS. I damn-near wept blood MYSELF when I saw her in that thing!
What more can I say? I LOVE this flick. Is it my favourite? It's too soon to tell - but it makes Pierce's movies look like Rodge's movies, and Rodge's movies look like - like - Peter Sellers' Casino Royale!
Bond has begun, and I can't wait to see where he goes next.
It's a much sparer film than many of Luc's others (particularly his
subsequent ones), and has a definite small-scale feel about it, which
is a good thing. It's brilliantly scripted and directed, and superbly
paced...long periods of calm, leading up to bursts of intense action.
The humour works well, too.
Jean Reno is absolutely top-notch as Leon, the awkward, shy guy who becomes an invisible killing machine whenever he goes to work, and exhibits a sort of childish glee when watching Gene Kelly on the big screen. He's funny, deep, mature and childlike all at the same time, and it's a pleasure to watch.
Nat, too, is simply amazing. It's her first movie, and she's only around twelve or thirteen, but I don't think she's given a more accomplished performance since (at least, not in a movie I'm willing to watch). The bit where she's standing at Leon's door sobbing her little eyes out kills me every time.
It's nice to see Gary Oldman playing a villain for once ;). He's in peak form here, as a linen suit-wearing, pill-popping, Beethoven-loving, ultra-violent sociopath. He's a total nut-bag, but very cool with it. Even when he's slaughtering innocent women and children, you can't help but like him.
Or, is that just me...?
Eric Serra's score actually WORKS this time. In some movies I find all that weird, French, electronic stuff distracting. Not here.
I'm trying to think of bad points about this film, but can't come up with any. I guess that says it all really.
Comic books (or graphic novels, or whatever you want to call them)
don't particularly interest me. Never have. It's not that I necessarily
dislike them, I've just never felt the urge to shell out money for
them. I'd much rather watch movies. Strangely though, I seem to really
love movies BASED on comic books. Particularly the recent ones.
Spider-Man 1 & 2. X-Men 1 & 2. Batman Begins. Hulk. I even like that
rubbish Tank Girl movie, mostly because of Ice-T's brilliant turn as an
ex-cop-turned-kangaroo-mutant. It is the absolute BEST portrayal of an
ex-cop-turned-kangaroo-mutant you will EVER see on film. Lori Petty
wasn't bad, either.
But none of them come close to matching Sin City for sheer movie badness (meant in a positive way, like the way the hip kids say it. Actually, 'sickness' is probably a more appropriate term). This is a grand day in the history of film-making. It is without a doubt the BEST movie Mickey Rourke has EVER been in. And Brittany Murphy, for that matter. It's really, REALLY good. Just don't let the kids see it, and don't watch it with your Mum. Trust me, I speak from experience. My Mum likes NICE movies. And this one's anything but.
As implied above, I had no prior knowledge of Frank Miller's books. I'm sure they're great, and, from what I've heard, the movie's style is very true to them. But, with respect, that means little to me. I'm just looking at Sin City as a movie. And a damn fine one it is.
First of all, the visual style of the film is breathtaking. But there's been enough said about that already, and I can't really add anything new, except that I dug Dwight's red shoes. Yay red shoes!
The dialogue is brilliantly corny. It's original, but phrased in that old-fashioned, clichéd, b-grade film-noir way. And it sounds great, particularly when coming from the mouths of such talented actors. Even the above-mentioned Mr. Rourke and Ms. Murphy - who I usually wouldn't touch with the narrow end of a broom while wearing a radiation suit - are superb in their roles. In fact, Marv is the best character in the film, and Rourke's portrayal stands out above the stellar ensemble surrounding him. The other two 'leading men' - Clive Owen's Dwight and Bruce Willis's Hartigan - are also very good, but lack Marv's beautiful, brutal simplicity. Plus their chins are nowhere near as big, and their coats nowhere near as fine-lookin'.
I was impressed by EVERYONE's performance, even those from actors who no longer impress me, due to the fact that they always impress me (Don't worry, I know what I mean). I'm not going to go into WHY everyone was so good, as there were so many actors who were so good in so many different ways. From A-for-Alba to Z-for- um - Wood, I loved 'em all.
Elijah Wood as the CREEPIEST villain in recent movie history? Didn't see THAT coming!
And was that REALLY Carla Gugino? I'll never look at Spy Kids the same way again, that's for DAMN sure! Zoinks!
Robert Rodriguez, you film-making pioneer, you. You DEADSET LEGEND you! I used to think Once Upon a Time in Mexico was your masterpiece. How incredibly silly I now feel.
What more can I say? Nothing really, except...
...give me sequel! NOW!
The first half of this movie is fantastic. Bond is TORTURED! You'd
think having to listen to Madonna for 14 months straight would crack
ANYBODY! I reckon I'D be clawing my eyes out, screaming, "Okay! I'll
talk! Just make the bad lady STOP!" Not Jimbo, though. Stiff upper lip
to the last. Not only is he tortured, but he's tortured by one of the
HOTTEST evil lady torturers I've ever seen (not that I meet a lot of
them, granted). But that's Bond movies for ya, I suppose. Then he goes
renegade, and runs off to Cuba, via Hong Kong. After causing some havoc
in the Caribbean, Jimbo heads back home to London, and gets into a
highly entertaining sword fight with the bad guy, before being accepted
back into the fold. He's then dispatched to Iceland...
...and it's about here that the whole movie goes pear-shaped. The moment we reach Graves' ice palace, it turns into sub-Moore-era drivel. It becomes a boring, implausible CGI-fest which slides out of control in a worse way than Bond's Aston (great car...shame it's INVISIBLE most of the time!) on the ice.
Pierce is, as usual, fine as James. Nothing much more to say about him. He's great.
Halle Berry, though, is really the most watchable part of this film. She's obviously gorgeous (and has a great wardrobe...I still dream about that orange bikini), but she's also very COOL. I think Jinx is possibly the coolest Bond girl yet. She's definitely one of the best (and, at the risk of having pointy things thrown at me, she looks WAY better coming out of the water than that grossly-overrated Andress chick EVER did).
Rosamund Pike is also very good as Miranda Frost. She too is absolutely gorgeous, and her "Ice Queen" persona contrasts well with the "Red Hot Mama" that is Jinx. The scene where they face off on the crashing plane at the end is VERY entertaining. Oh YEAH!
It's great to see Michael Madsen as the grouchy CIA guy. "Damian Falco" is a great name, too. Hope he returns in future instalments. He's way cool. WAY.
Kenneth Tsang! Yay!
John Cleese is terrific as Q. His scene as "R" in TWINE was pretty ordinary, but this time he's stepped into the Quartermaster's role, and does a fantastic job. He maintains Desmond's disdain for Bond, and bolsters it with a touch of Basil Fawlty-ish snobbery. It works a treat. The scene in the old gadget storeroom is great, and the only part of the "Bond's Greatest Hits" thing that I liked. This one small reference to the other movies (along with the "20th watch" bit) is all that was really necessary to acknowledge the double-milestone (20 movies, 40 years). The rest is overkill.
Toby Stephens as Gustav Graves...I CAN'T STAND the smarmy git, and every time he's on screen I want to PUNCH HIM IN THE FACE! That HAS to be the sign of a good villain!
The sword fight is outstanding, even though the scene is contaminated by the presence of MADONNA, whose character unfortunately escapes decapitation during the ruckus.
And what was the deal with Graves' electro-suit thing? Who the hell came up with THAT crappy idea? Ditto the rocket-car / para-sailing scene. There should not be ANY CG in a Bond movie. Especially when it's THAT BAD.
The scene in the laser room: Poor.
The helicopter scene at the end: Poor.
The VR training simulator: up there with TWINE's x-ray glasses as one of the dodgiest gadgets yet. It WAS funny when Moneypenny got sprung abusing it, though.
Rachel Grant as the masseuse. Mmmmmm...
Rick Yune as Zao. Yawwwwwwn...
How did they find room for ENGINES in the Aston and Jag? FAR too much emphasis on gadgets in the car chase, and not enough on DRIVING, which is usually what makes a GOOD car chase. The VANISH?! PLEASE!
Some of the dialogue is pretty weak. Miranda's line, "I enjoyed last night, but it really is death for breakfast," should have been something like "Dinner was great, but now it's time for breakfast." The joke had already been set up. It didn't need to be explained. We are not imbeciles. As it is, it just sounds DUMB.
Graves' diabolical scheme is RUBBISH. It seems to have been thought up ONLY as a way of filling the movie with references to other Bond films. Maybe they should have just had Graves invent a machine that creates an originality vacuum, sucking up new ideas and leaving all the dodgy old ones. Like Wilson & Broccoli did in planning this movie.
I can't see that being the WRITERS' fault. Surely writers ENJOY coming up with new things.
So, while I started out loving this flick, as it went on I found myself wishing it would just FINISH. It completely falls to bits in the second half. As for the "best of" idea, in 20 years, who's gonna care? They'll just see it as ANOTHER bad Bond movie.
That's a pity, when it could have been so good.
This came as a surprise, even to ME. But when I really think about it,
Daylights is second only to OHMSS on my "Best Bond Movies" list.
Tim Dalton is unfairly criticised by a lot of people. They say he's too serious, but he's really not. The truth is that, unlike Sir Rodge, he's SERIOUS ENOUGH. I once read an interview with Moore in which he said his reason for playing Bond in such a "silly" way is that he doesn't believe in heroes, so he can't take them seriously.
Perhaps if a CERTAIN hero didn't stroll around grinning like a TOOL, it might be easier to believe in him, and therefore take him seriously. Eh? EH?!
Tim, unlike Dodgy Rodge, DID treat the character seriously, and this approach makes even the most far-fetched parts of the movie seem believable. And THAT's what these movies should really be about, making the unbelievable seem real. Another great thing about his serious take is that his deadpan delivery of the one-liners actually makes them seem FUNNIER than they would if he'd been walking around with a silly smirk and his eyebrows raised. Like Rodge.
He's also great in the action scenes. Very quick and agile. Unlike Rodge.
The script (of which only the opening 'sniper' sequence is Fleming-based) is excellent. Great gags and action sequences woven through a detailed, complex (but in no way convoluted) story, which, unlike many Bond flicks, is quite unpredictable.
The characters are more realistically portrayed than many Moore-era ones (except maybe Necros, who's very much a Bond-movie henchman, though a good one). The only thing which doesn't really click is Whitaker and his wax museum. The way Joe Don plays the character works well in the context of the movie, and it makes sense that a guy like him would be into military tactics and stuff. But the whole 'vanity waxwork' thing seems more in keeping with a raving maniac-type Bond villain, like Hugo Drax or Karl Stromberg. Call me pedantic if you like, but that's what I think.
Jeroen Krabbe injects Koskov with heaps of charisma, and you really don't know whether to like him or hate him. He's one of my favourite Bond baddies. Art Malik is very cool as Kamran, a very cool character. John Rhys-Davies is...John Rhys-Davies. But with a Russian accent. And that's just fine.
Maryam D'Abo is good as the lone "Bond girl". Kara seems like a sort of model of purity and innocence (gullibility?) in a world of bastards, and Maryam plays her excellently. I used to think the bit where she suddenly grabs the machine gun and goes all kick-arse was a bit inconsistent, but I think I get it more now. The fact that she still doesn't really know what she's doing makes it seem less jarring than it could have been.
Caroline Bliss IS pretty awful as Moneypenny, but at least she's English, which is an improvement on Lois Maxwell (who would have been fine if she'd made more of an effort to disguise her Canadian accent). Samantha Bond is far better, though.
Robert Brown is the crabbiest M of the lot (not just sarcastic like Dame Judi). He doesn't have the presence of Bernard Lee, but his pure CRABBINESS makes his portrayal very entertaining to watch.
The Aston Martin is awesome! Missiles! Lasers! A rocket motor! Oh yeah!
John Barry's 80s-electro-assisted score hasn't dated as badly as I thought it would. The Pretenders song playing on Necros's Walkman is well-used as a kind of harbinger of impending doom.
The theme song by a-ha is one of the catchiest, most fun-to-sing-along-to Bond themes yet. It's not as good as the Duran Duran one from A View to a Kill (one of only TWO good things about THAT turkey), but it's close.
The scene at the end of the movie with Kara playing her cello--complete with single bullet hole--is one of the great iconic images of the Bond franchise. It's up there with Ursula Andress's bikini and the golden Shirley Eaton. But like a lot of great things about this movie, it's often overlooked or ignored. And that's a shame, because when you really look at it, The Living Daylights is one of the most absorbing, entertaining, and (considering it's the 15th movie in the series) ORIGINAL Bond flicks ever made.
You know, I think I'm gonna go watch this movie again.
It's just a tad better than the first Mummy, and it wees on Van Helsing
like an incontinent dog.
When I first saw this movie, I had no idea what to expect. I was at the cinema one night, I'd just come out of a movie--can't remember which--and I saw the poster. The tagline, "Full Scream Ahead", seemed corny enough that it might be good. Then I noticed Famke Janssen was in it. Bonus. And it seemed like a good late-night B movie, to follow the one I'd just seen. I was there with a mate of mine, who was kind of indifferent. I twisted his arm, and he agreed.
Two hours later, I walked out, grinning like an idiot. It's silly, cliché-heavy, and utterly predictable. This movie rocks.
See, Sommers, and all the actors, KNOW that it's silly, cliché-heavy and predictable. In fact, THAT'S THE IDEA. It's also full of spot-on one-liners and gags, and the horror bits seem more intended to "gross-out" than to actually scare (the bit where a half-digested member of Hanover's team bursts out of one of the monsters--still alive, despite half his head being missing--is not for the weak of stomach). Most thrillers and horror movies set out to keep you "on the edge of your seat", but with this one I was too busy falling out of it with laughter.
Treat is...well...a TREAT as Finnegan, the rugged, all-American adventurer type. For a while I was disappointed that Bruce Campbell wasn't cast in the role, as it would have suited him perfectly. But I've since decided that Treat does a bang-up job, and deserves full praise. If he did more movies like this, I might become a fan.
Kevin J. O'Connor is hilarious as the sidekick grease-monkey (and performs all the better for not having to put on a stupid accent). He gets most of the best lines. Famke is great as always. Sexy, funny, and capable in the action scenes. Anthony Heald, as the villain, is hammy and over the top (in a good way) and Wes is...well, Wes. All the goons are fine, particularly Jason Flemyng and the late Trevor Goddard. It's nice to see a good mix of nationalities in there, and the playful in-fighting amongst them is a nice touch. Their assault rifles are cool, too. Funny though, I never noticed anyone reloading...
The special effects are just bad enough to work in this context, without appearing TOO lame. A few years before this movie was made, they'd have actually been considered brilliant. But Sommers realises that sometimes it's best not to actually SHOW the monsters. They swim along under the knee-deep water, the walls of the corridors buckle and threaten to collapse, gratings fly out of the floor directly behind the running characters...very effective.
The climax is about as far-fetched as it's possible to get. But it's done so well that, like all this movie's flaws, it doesn't matter.
If you're easily scared, this'll do the job. If you like tongue-in-cheek, B-grade action flicks, this is one to see. If you like movies that force you to think, make you change your outlook on life, and move you to tears...yeah, you should REALLY watch this. TO SEE WHAT YOU'RE MISSING OUT ON!
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