Ian (lovingboth) wrote,

While I am reviewing stuff...

Taking advantage of Compare the Market's '2 for 1 on Tues/Weds' cinema offer (if you don't otherwise qualify, book travel insurance for a one day trip in the UK - mine cost about £2 - and you save more than that on first use) recently, what have I seen?

Spectre: I can't remember who it was who had a review of Spectre under a cut tag. As I was away in Venice when it came out, I didn't read it but I saw the film in its third week. It's no Skyfall, is it?

What it made me think was that the Mission Impossible film franchise and the Craig Bonds are following a similar trajectory.

The first one was memorable, with some iconic moments.

The second one had a few good action scenes but is otherwise a mess.

The third one was surprisingly great, if you could suspend your disbelief (in Skyfall's case, that the villain's master plan involved knowing that MI5 wouldn't put him in a cell with an ordinary lock. If they had, the film would be an hour shorter...)

And the fourth one is... wrong on several levels. In MI: Ghost Protocol, they might as well not had a villain. Here, we're played with for over an hour before Bond's sort-of-adoptive brother announces that he's not dead, just changed his name from Franz to, erm, Ernst Stavro Blofeld because... because...

(The real reason is that the copyright lawsuits with Kevin McClory* ended in 2013 after his death, so the Eon films can use SPECTRE and the associated names without running up more legal fees!)

... and has been the real villain behind all of the other Craig Bond films. Sorry, when the screenwriter clearly doesn't believe it, I'm not buying it either. That leaves a couple of good action scenes (but at least one too many helicopter-based ones) and not much else.

So it's the third best Craig Bond film. That still makes it better than some of the later ones from other actors, but overall it's a distinct disappointment.

I'm now wondering if it's possible to cut Skyfall and Spectre together, so that the loss of the MacGuffin in the former is the reason for getting rid of the double-Os in the latter, losing the silly bits of both.

The Lady in the Van: I saw the original run of the play, and I'd have been tempted to retain having two different actors. That aside, it's a very British comedy of embarrassment. More elsewhere.

Bridge of Spies: The latest 'worthy but dull' film. (See also Good Night, and Good Luck, Changeling, and The Monuments Men... but not more than once.) The Coen brothers apparently did enough work on the script to get co-writing credits. If they hadn't, you'd never guess unless they were responsible for Mark Rylance's lines. That leaves the art direction as the other reason to see it.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: No, I haven't seen SW:VII yet and I'm not rushing to do so either, but since I've mentioned MI:III...

Anyone who suffered the utter crap that was the prequels** will cheer that these have a minimal involvement for George Lucas. But in the JJ Abrams film list it'll probably be closer to 'Star Trek the Star Trek' reboot, i.e. turning the wham! pow! up while throwing logic out of the airlock for an 'on rails' plot. It'd be nice to be wrong.

* McClory was the co-author of the screenplay that became Thunderball. It introduced SPECTRE and Blofeld, and McClory and another co-author sued Fleming when the book was published without crediting them. They were given rights over the story and plot elements, which McClory later used to remake Thunderball as Never Say Never Again.

** If you have forgotten how bad they are, see the Plinkett reviews (TW: sexual violence and general bad taste humour) whose four hours(!) almost make seeing them worthwhile. Almost.

This entry was originally posted at http://lovingboth.dreamwidth.org/553902.html, because despite having a permanent account, I have had enough of LJ's current owners trying to be evil. Please comment there using OpenID - comment count unavailable have and if you have an LJ account, you can use it for your OpenID account. Or just join Dreamwidth! It only took a couple of minutes to copy all my entries here to there.

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