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2013-06-22: Transfered all of my 2011 "My Year in Music" posts from Facebook.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Superficial Bond Reviews --- #10: The Spy Who Loved Me

* The Spy Who Loved Me starts off strong, with a bunch of nuclear submarines vanishing without a trace. Good buildup. Nukes are good.

* We're also presented with a super hot, Russian female agent that could prove to be a worthy counterpart to 007. Or maybe not - she always seems to be half an inch away from a nip slip, and she has a stupid agent handle: XXX. How very porn. Why not call her Sukja Fukokova while you're at it, boys?

* There's a ski sequence - again - and it's not even half as good as the ski sequences we were treated to only four movies back. The Union Jack parachute thing is legendary, though I think I'd enjoy it more if my brain weren't twisting in pain from the shit music they put on top of this sequence.

* Then, while listening to Bach, this movie's bad guy watches some dude get eaten alive by sharks.
The baddie is a white-haired, Caucasian male with a German-sounding name (Karrrl Strrrrromberrrggg!), which means he's instantly believable as an evil, evil man. Plus, he's insane in that good way: the ambitious way.
He will later also utter such idiot phrases as "let them get to shore - and then kill them" (why!? Kill them now!), and he's got a zillion minions in stupid uniforms working for him.
Now this is more like it! He's a proper Bond villain, not some second-tier thug who grows pot in the jungle (see Live and Let Die). He even has a lair, an underwater lair, making him some kind of unholy hybrid between Hitler and captain Nemo.
Too bad I start to giggle every time I see it, while the words "it's only a model!" echo through my head. Whenever this lair rises from under the surface of the sea, it really looks like it's about ten inches in diameter. Hot tip for future filmmakers who want to do Bond movies: Don't hire exchange students to do your miniatures.

* Roger Moore tries to fight again, this time on a rooftop, and I'm starting to believe his freedom of movement is impaired by brittle bones or gout or something. He looks awful.
Then, from out of nowhere, one of the best little scenes in the entire Bond series emerges: what I call the Tie Interrogation Scene. To put it short - 007 gets vital info from some bad guy in return for sparing his life... and kills him instead.
In the blink of an eye, Moore's 007 manages to be believable, über-cool and pretty darn cold and frightening. I'll go ahead and say it: It's an even better moment than Dr. No's "you've had your six".

* Oh, and then there's Jaws - the Bond series' henchman #1; universally loved, metal-mouthed maniac. I guess he's kinda cool - visually, at least - but the more I see of him, the more irritating he becomes.
First of all, he's so incredibly stupid that I don't believe for one second that anyone would use him as an autonomous contractor. As a bodyguard - maybe, but letting him use independent thought? Never. When you fail to kill two people who are already locked inside your van, you have no business working in crime.
1) Back your vehicle into a wall, blocking the doors. 2) Set fire to vehicle. 3) Watch while vehicle/enemies burn.
Christ, the guy has to be at least a half-tard, if he isn't a full-on 'tard - and this leads me to the other thing I dislike about the Jaws character: His crazy-ass strength.
It's not like I expect him to be 100% believable, but he does have to operate within the framework of the real world. If he had retard strength in addition to his colossal size, and was on steroids, aaand we added 25% for stylistic purposes, he still wouldn't come close to what's presented to us here. I mean, he's even beyond chimp strength, and approaching Spider-Man strength, tossing stone blocks around and tearing cars apart with his bare hands. Sorry, I just won't accept that - it doesn't match the rest of the 007 world.
Did I mention that he's slow, too? Well, sometimes he's fast enough to catch Bond, but whenever he goes in to bite someone, he slows down to Bela Lugosi-Dracula speed. Why? It's not like anyone's strong enough to withstand his retard/Spider-Man/gorilla strength, anyway.

The Ron Jeremy of orthodontists' porn

* And would you believe it - there's another fight on a train! That's three train fights in ten movies. I have to check if this trend of being painfully unoriginal continues into the next Bond adventures.
Anyway! This time, it's Jaws who fights 007, and never mind that he has to be about five hundred times as strong as Bond - our hero prevails through being slightly less slow, I guess.

* The dynamic I hoped for between XXX and 007 just doesn't happen, and that's a shame. The reason it doesn't happen, is that the writers don't give a shit about building it up, maybe just thinking "whatevuh, it's a Bond movie. The chick is there, Bond is there. They bang". One moment, there's just a bit of (genuinely good) banter going on between the two agents - the next, it's all "oh, James!" and they start sucking face.
If you object to the phrase "suck face", just try to watch Roger Moore pretend-kiss on film. He really sucks his cheeks in, for some ungodly reason - I guess it's something he picked up back in the silent movie era, when he made his debut. Either way, it makes me want to puke.

* Some people may have an issue with 007's car - the Lotus Esprit.
It's not exactly an elegant and suave car, and may not suit James Bond as a character in that respect, but I do like that it sort of looks crazy, like the deLorean in Back to the Future. You believe in it when these cars start doing crazy shit, like turning into a sub or escaping a helicopter. Classic Bond, if you ask me. And you should.
Plus, it's an English car. Just imagine if the arch-English James Bond, on Her Majesty's Secret Service, were to use - ha ha ha - a German car or something as his Bondmobile! Ha ha ha! *Cough!*

* Towards the end, everything goes apeshit, in an entertaining way.
There's a huge tanker that opens up and swallows submarines - which is nothing at all like that huge spacecraft that swallows the smaller space pod in You Only Live Twice. Because this is a tanker, see. And it's not in space.
Anyway - there's a huge shootout inside, that lasts hours and hours, and more people are killed every two minutes than in the previous Bond movies combined. It's epic.

* Then Bond goes off to face Blof... Stromberg, and the scene where he disposes of him is another great Bond moment, in my opinion.
Bloberg tries to kill Bond, but fails, and Bond pops four caps in his ass. Yeah, you read that right: 007 shoots the now disarmed Stromfeld four times while the old man is still sitting down in his chair, to make sure he's dead. He's come a pretty long way from letting criminal masterminds hang slightly bruised from tree branches.
This is something you normally see bad guys do on film, but here, it's a reminder: our hero is a cold, merciless assassin if he has to be - as long it's for queen and country. We need this reminder, in the middle of the submarine cars, the Russian tits and the exploding henchmen, just to ground us a little.

* To ground us even further, 007 lifts Jaws with a giant magnet and drops him into a shark tank, then Jaws bites the shark to death and swims five thousand miles to safety.

* Note that the strong and independent Agent XXX gets captured and held hostage, so that the mighty Prince Bond can come and rescue her from the villain's castle.
This is the reason there's no International Feminist James Bond Appreciation Group.

* All in all - a great Bond movie!
No, I'm not kidding. I find it very entertaining, and the fun parts completely outweigh the stupid, annoying, and unoriginal parts.
For once, the standard two hours of James Bond fly by, and it's not even necessary to empty a bottle of single malt to make it happen.

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