Monthly Archives: October 2021

Superstitious me

Phil: I wasn’t going to write this blog post. At half past seven, I messaged Candice to say, “Oops. Just switched the computer off and realized I haven’t blogged. I need to pack so will do it tomorrow. I’m sure no one will mind!”

I was serious. There’s a lot to pack for tomorrows work, and I had been on the computer quite a bit. The sensible thing would be to chill, get an early night and write something wonderful when I got back home.

So how come I’m typing this at twenty past nine in the evening?

Superstition.

Knawing away at me as I watched The Great British Bake Off, was the thought that if I didn’t write a post, somehow this would bring me bad luck. Something would go wrong tomorrow.

Now, I’m a bit of a nervous driver anyway. I instinctivly caveat any discussion of the future with “if everything goes OK” or “all being well” if there is a journey involved by car. Bring an aeroplane into the equation and I’m refusing to think about the future, because if I do, I’ll jinx it and bad things will happen.

I know lots of people try to tidy things up before going on holiday, so I’m not completely alone, or mad. We all worry about things and then try irrational ways to control them. Just some of us are worse than others.

I’ll “touch wood” for luck, but not in any serious way. Ladders don’t bother me.

But trying to make a deal with fate – I’ll write this blog but keep me safe and make sure my cameras work properly – is daft, I know it is. But then that’s the nature of irrational thoughts – they are irrational.And those little routines we develop to placate the gods of fate, maybe they are just warm, friendly moments that calm our nerves. But then that would make them rational things to do…

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The name’s Bond…. Candice Bond

Candice: So my turn for a review of the new Bond film. I’ve also been a fan of Bond over the years, I was more of a Roger Moore than Sean Connery (influenced by my Mom). I’ve loved the sophistication of the films; the settings, the cars, the clothing. Plus the gadgets, everyone loves a gadget.

Unlike Phil I’m not a Bond buff though, I know my theme tunes and some of the cars but not down to the infinite detail. I just like a good film, with some action, some romance and a nice man at the centre for me to look at. Daniel Craig has certainly helped that over the years…. yum.

I was really looking forward to this film for lots of reasons, Mr Craig was one (Phil found that out when I sighed with pleasure when he came on screen), the escapism was the other. After a year and a half of rubbish in Covid and personal life this was a chance to disappear for 2 3/4 hours into another world. And disappear I did. I loved all the flash, the fun, the intrigue. But with a twist for 2021, the women were stronger, Bond had a weakness (or three), the central premise wasn’t all about him saving the girl (or in this case it was a little girl who just reminded me of my daughter). There were plot holes you could drive a truck (or Land Rover Discovery) through, but who cares, it was fun.

One of my favourite scenes was in Cuba where he and a very able female agent took down a room of Spectre agents. It was old school Bond with new school Bond. Confusing plot and complicated weapon to do a simple job – tick. Multiple Extras in amazing costumes – check. Bond and side kick looking vey dapper whilst taking the room apart – check . (Even though I know about tit tape I am still wondering how she kept that dress on!). Complicated scenes where it is unlikely they will come out alive…but they do – check. All the fun that you want from a film, that still has its tongue slightly in its cheek, though much less that the Roger Moore days.

But this film did have more, it gave Bond a soul. He was more than just a ‘shag beast’ working his way round women between killing off baddies. And it gave him age, at the start he wasn’t the prime candidate, his young female replacement was.

I’m not sure where they will go next (please don’t make him female, that will just ruin it) but I do hope they do keep some of the original elements that make Bond Bond, but add in that extra spice of where the world is now. And even if I get a numb bum again, I’d go and see it just for the escapism.

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No Time to Die – Phil’s thoughts

NTTD

Phil: On the basis that there isn’t enough talk on the web about the new James Bond film, No Time to Die, Candice and I decided we’d add our thoughts having seen the film at the weekend. I’m going first, La Nolan follows up next week. She’s promised not to read mine before putting finger to keyboard too.

Warning: This post contains spoilers. If you haven’t seen the film, and don’t want to know what happens, then stop reading NOW!!!

OK, there is a lot in this film for the Bond nerds. Since I am a nerd, that means I enjoyed it quite a lot and I can see myself getting more from it each time I watch.

For example, there are the cars. Obviously, we start with the Aston Martin DB5 (the silver one) because you can’t have a James Bond film without it. Except the ones where we did, but let’s not pick holes. Car buffs have complained that there’s no way the DB5 could hold it’s own against the cars chasing it, but they forget that Q Branch has rebuilt it several times and may have taken the opportunity to do something about both engine and suspension when fitting machine guns etc. Also, that this is not a documentary.

But, the DB5 is replaced after the opening sequence with the V8 Vantage last seen in The Living Daylights. With the silver machine away for repair, he heads off to a lock-up and whips the cover of this car. In the lock-up is some assorted other junk including the little bulldog Bond inherited in Skyfall. Interestingly, in that film, he had a lock-up with the DB5 in it. Does he have them all over London with every car he’s driven stashed away? Is the submersible Lotus Esprit tucked away somewhere? What about that 2CV?

Anyway, there’s a lot for the book Bond fan here. He retires to Jamaica, just as his did after On Her Majesties Service in the books. Ian Fleming was a resident in the country for a while, which is why his creation loves it so much. He’s a damaged man in the film (broken in the books) and has to be persuaded back to work by his replacement, a (gasp) woman.

The biggest problem for me with the film, is the villain, or at least his master plan. After acquiring a poison containing nanobots (killing Hugh Dennis along the way), he bumps off everyone in Spectre and then appears to be planning to poison the whole world. This requires lots of poison vials to be encoded with lots and lots of people’s DNA. Why bother? In Moonraker, Drax just lobs some poison globes out of a space station with pretty much the same aim, a much simpler scheme. And Drax plans to repopulate the Earth, Safin doesn’t seem to have any real plan, he’s just upset that Spectre killed his family. I mean, it’s sad and all, but you can’t help feeling that he could have done a bit more planning.

Other stuff: Landrover has released a special edition Defender and Range Rover to tie in with the film. There is a lot of product placement for these, but since most of them end up on the roofs or otherwise destroyed, and Bond beats them all in a 25-year-old Toyota Landcruiser, you have to wonder if it’s the advert the boys from Solihull were hoping for.

There’s a lot of fuss about Lashana Lynch becoming the new 007 in the movie, but she doesn’t seem to do that much. Certainly nothing like the fighting that Michelle Yeoh managed to pack in during Tomorrow Never Dies. Even Ana de Armas manages more punch (and some funnies as well) in a rather pointless, but superb, scene in Cuba. Managing to take on numerous baddies in high-heels and not fall out of her dress, is incredibly impressive.

But, the biggie. The ending. Seriously, if you haven’t seen the film, look away now.

At the start of the film, we have the refrain “We have all the time in the world” from OHMSS – the music that comes in just after Bonds’ wife has been gunned down in front of him and George Lazenby gets to emote like no Bond had done before, and wouldn’t again until Craig. At the time, Bond and Madeleine were heading off, very much in love. You might have thought that finally 007 had found happiness again. After all, same woman for several films, so quite a change.

But there is another important takeaway from OHMSS. In the opening sequence of that film, Lazenby says at the end of a fight, “This never happened to the other fellow”. Huh? What other fellow? OK, the actor has changed, and would change back for Diamonds are Forever, but we thought we were watching the same person, even if he looks different every few years.

Anyway, at the end of NTTD, Bond stands on the top of the evil lair, waiting for the missiles to arrive that will destroy both it, and him (told you there were spoilers). He can’t go home for he is infected with nanobots that will kill both Madeliene and his daughter, so sacrifices himself for both of them.

Does this mean the end of the franchise? I think not. You see, if Bond were one person, he’d have been spying for 60 years. I appreciate Roger Moore looked old, but never that bad, not even in A View to a Kill.

So, if we remember Lazenby’s line, could it be that the name James Bond is a codename? That everyone who takes the job gets the name? OK, there is an issue with the history of Skyfall and the books, where it certainly appears that Bond is one person else how could they have that back story? But, in Skyfall, I recall there was a mention that the service preferred to recruit orphans, the lack of family ties making them better agents.

So, I don’t think this is the end for Bond. The clues are in the film, just just have to be nerdy enough to spot them.

 

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