Saturday, October 27, 2007

Shaken Not Stirred

I would like to discuss James Bond. I know many people are not fans of the series claiming it is stupid and fake. I also have some issues with it. 007 is a womanizer, drinking, gambling, assassin. I will admit he is not the ideal role model but I still like James Bond movies.

Sean Connery was the original 007 and probably the most charismatic and confident. He was also the most physically intimidating. (with the noted exception of Diamonds are Forever where he wore a toupee and had a gut since he was well past his prime). He was in seven Bond movies if you include the Renegade Never Say Never Again which was produced by another studio. I have found that he is "the real" Bond for the old school crowd (People over 45).

George Lazenby was Connery's successor and is more of a trivia figure since his only move was On Her Majesty's Secret Service. He was very physical but had a hard time living up to his predecessor. The clothes he wore in his movie were ridiculous. The fashion in this movie is what Austin Powers makes fun of. Overall he wasn't bad for an Australian used car salesman who got a one time chance at a big movie. It is also probably the only movie in which you will see James Bond cry.

Roger Moore was more suave than the rest. He was a gentleman and well mannered, despite the fact he cracked more of the stupid puns and innuendo than the others. He was also cockier and more smug than the rest. He relied heavily on gadgets since we was not too intimidating. He was one of the smarter ones who seemed to know everything. The first Bond movies I saw were with Roger Moore. He was also in seven Bond movies before leaving the series.

Timothy Dalton was a nice change after Moore got too old to be convincing, but Dalton came across as being too serious and brooding. He was the pissed off James Bond. That may be why he only lasted two movies. I didn't dislike him but he was one of my least favorite.

Growing up I hated Pierce Brosnan. I thought he was the world's biggest wimp on Remington Steele. I was glad when he lost the part to Dalton in the 80's, but I have to admit he surprised me and is one of my favorite Bonds now. He relied heavily on gadgets and tricks and didn't have a big physical presence, but he was very convincing. I thought he did a good job in the four movies he was in. I was actually sad to see him be replaced.

A few years ago I had never even heard of Daniel Craig. When he was named to be the new Bond for Casino Royale I looked him up and was surprised that he was not visually appealing. However; After seeing Casino Royale I was totally impressed with his performance. I thought he was the most exciting 007 so far. He is not as polished as Connery, Moore, or Brosnan. He has the toughness and short temper of a Dalton and the physicality of Connery and Lazenby. I know they intentionally portrayed his character as being unrefined since he was a rookie to the role, but it was refreshing to see Bond make mistakes and have bad judgement for a change.

There have been over 23 Bond movies, and these are some of my favorite:
Casino Royale
Die Another Day
For Your Eyes Only
The Living Daylights
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Tomorrow Never Dies
From Russia With Love
Dr. No

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Motivational Movie Endings

I thought I would address one of the most inspirational, yet over used and formulaic movie themes we have all seen. It happens at the climax of a movie when everyone gets involved (chanting, clapping, etc.) to help the main character to achieve their victory. I think it is time to name this occurrence so we can better identify it in the future. For now I will call these "buzzer beaters". I love many of the movies that employ this technique, but it looses its impact the more you see it. Here is a list of some of these movies:

Spartacus- The slaves standing up one by one saying they are Spartacus in order to protect him.
Rudy- The crowd all chant his name in unison to get him in the game so he can make the final play.
Dead Poets Society- The entire class standing on chairs and saying "Oh captain, my captain" to show their respect.
Strictly Ballroom- The dad claps after the judges pull the plug. The crowd joins in so they can finish their number.
Karate Kid 2- The villagers playing their spin drums to give Danielson the strength and guidance he needs to defeat the bad guy.
Iron Will- The people at the finish line whistling the special melody to make the dogs run fast enough to cross the finish line.
On the Waterfront- The final scene as Terry Maloy confronts the union boss after being beaten and all the dock workers stand in solidarity.
Cool Runnings-When the Jamaican team wipes out and they carrying their sled towards the finish line. One person starts with the strong, slow, deliberate clap and it catches on until the crowd erupts once they finally cross the finish line.

I'm sure there are many more, so please send me your suggestions.