Wednesday, 7 November 2012
A Lack Of Permutations
In which the mission of the new Bond films is made clear: remake all the shit ones but make them interesting.
This time round, it's Goldeneye combined with The World Is Not Enough; former agent turns traitor (the former) and goes after M (the latter). It's got imagination to spare in the set pieces (though the fortuitous placement of a bulletproof JCB was a little too much to swallow), which is good. On the other hand, there's nothing in the plot that isn't blindingly obvious, or even outright lazy (thank God only three men in the world use that type of bullet! How fortunate that assassin carried a embossed gambling chip whilst out on a job!). Indeed, the most surprising thing in the whole film is there is the obvious plot twist they decided not to bother with.
Without saying too much, though, that's largely because of another aim of the film, which is to bring in some of the more familiar elements of the series. It's not entirely successful in this regard, mainly because the Craig Bond films are already deeply confused as to whether or not they want to have any thematic association with it's forebears, and with this film the uncertainty reaches the point where it's introducing Bond to characters already familiar from the previous series, whilst porting over artifacts from those films implying this Bond was the one who used them. I'm also not sure what's up with all the references to how long Bond's been at the job, given it was only two films ago that he earned his double-0 rating.
Of course, maybe once Judi Dench was ported over from the Brosnan era, they figured that continuity was irredeemably fucked in any case (it's explicitly made clear here that James Bond is the characters real name and not, as could previously have been argued, no less transferable an identity than 007). Speaking of Dench, her central role in the proceedings means that to all intents and purposes she's this film's Bond girl, which is a wonderful development, even if it does mean Naomi Harris and (particularly) Berenice Lim Marlohe get somewhat wasted. Not that there's absolutely no rumpy-pumpy; it wouldn't be a Bond film without sexytimes, though it's rather unfortunate that there's one scene in here that's easily as stalkerish/rapey as anything Bond did back in the day. Maybe that's the price you have to pay for Bond's first dalliance in homoerotic flirtation, which was a nice surprise (mind you, the last time he was tied to a chair by a villain he got a club to the blokeberries; I'd imagine just being cracked on to must be a significant relief).
So, bonus points: action sequences, Judi Dench, gay flirting. Minus marks: lazy plotting, too little for non-Dench women, and a shower scene that would frighten any sane woman. Looks like a draw. Except; who's this arriving to break the tie?
That would be Javier motherfucking Bardem. And thus is victory declared.