lunes, 6 de junio de 2022

'GoldenEye 007': An Unexpected Window To The World of James Bond

Made by a team of people who had little to no experience in the world of video games, GoldenEye 007 for Nintendo 64 solidified the resurgence of the cinematic James Bond with its source film from 1995, Pierce Brosnan’s debut in the role directed by Martin Campbell. It was also the door to the incredible world of 007 for many 90s kids: not only the game would take you to rent or buy the GoldenEye VHS tape, but using a magnetic watch throughout the Bunker II mission or facing off Baron Samedi and Jaws in the unlockable bonus stages would take you to revisit old movies of the Roger Moore era such as Moonraker or Live And Let Die.


viernes, 27 de mayo de 2022

'Memory': A Liam Neeson Action Flick, But With A Twist


Another Liam Neeson film takes us to the inevitable “Do we need yet another Liam Neeson action flick?” question. I don’t dare to answer that question because, while I am well aware that theatres have been bombarded with these kinds of productions lately, I can’t say I don’t enjoy them although I never saw anything out of this world with them. Until now.

The fact that Memory is directed by the man behind GoldenEye (1995) and Casino Royale (2006) makes it special, along with the fact that the Irish actor is not playing just another action hero but an Alzheimer’s sufferer, which gives an interesting twist to a story Dario Scardapane has adapted from the 2003 Belgian production The Memory of a Killer, itself based on the 1985 book by Jef Geeraerts.


miércoles, 11 de mayo de 2022

Why James Bond Must Survive, No Matter What

Not so long ago I went to buy a couple of DVDs at a store I haven’t been to for a long time, and the manager, who knows I’m a James Bond fan and I have in fact bought him a couple of stuff some years ago made me the inevitable question: “What do you think about the latest film?” Inadvertently, he asked me something whose answer makes me get into trouble with many people because if you have been a Bond fan for almost 25 years, the ending of No Time To Die will not leave you indifferent, as many reviewers have pointed out.

>> READ MORE (Ultimate Action Movie Club) >>

viernes, 18 de marzo de 2022

The 007 Women, Pierce Brosnan Style - How Beauty, Brains and Erotism Can Get Along Very Well


The physical beauty of the James Bond girls always comes up whenever we discuss the 60-year-old franchise. Apart from the gun barrel sequence, the 007 gun logo, the tuxedo and the silenced Walther PPK, probably two of the most iconic images associated with the saga are related to women: Ursula Andress coming out of the water in a white bikini and a belt holding a hunting knife, or Shirley Eaton’s dead body painted in gold, originated in Dr No (1962) and Goldfinger (1964), are continually bought back in magazines or TV sketches and cartoons parodying the saga. 


miércoles, 29 de diciembre de 2021

2022 is coming: and now, what?

After how difficult 2019 and 2020 have been, I guess I should be thankful for a little more stable -yet not necessarily better- 2021. Didn't have the chance to write books outside the updated edition of A View To A Thrill: A Closer Look At The James Bond Trailers as I've been busy with another projects outside Bond. Anyway, I admit I didn't put too much passion on the latter as I had to include "No" Time To Die which, as many people know, has extremely disappointed me to the point of not buying anything related to the film and not watching it or any of the other Daniel Craig movies ever again - or Bond 26, unless it is explicitly indicated that the guy that killed himself in that film wasn't James Bond and an actor looking exactly like Ian Fleming described his hero is playing him.

So, how will I follow after this? Quite simply, I'll stop collecting after the Pierce Brosnan era. I'll keep what I have of Craig, but will sell what I have of "No" Time To Die

As 2022 sees the 25th anniversary of Nintendo 64's GoldenEye 007 game, which was crucial to introduce me to James Bond, I'll go down that road with articles and maybe even a book. There's also the 20th anniversary of Die Another Day and the 25th of Tomorrow Never Dies. Much to my chagrin, I won't deal with the franchise's 60th anniversary unless I strictly talk about Dr No. I want to avoid the chance of talking about The Film That Shall Never Be Named at all costs, because, really, I have no mild or polite words to speak about it. It's not a matter of a "good" or "bad" film. It's insulting. And I'll leave it at that.

Probably many would think after vehemently standing against N,TTD my book sales dropped. Far from that, sales November and December went sky high and people thanked me for being a voice for those who have been disappointed by this film and era.

I also have an idea for a non-Bond project for 2023, maybe late 2022. But you'll hear in due time.

Nothing more to say, other than thanking my friends and those who bought my books. And to everyone that has been there through the difficult things I've been through since 2016.

May 2022 be a wonderful year for all of you - and never forget that the real James Bond never dies!


domingo, 17 de octubre de 2021

"I'm sorry, Mrs Broccoli. I don't dance"


It's been almost three weeks since I watched No Time To Die. Of course, I followed other people's "advice" to watch it more than once so I could "like it or understand it better", because, naturally, it took me 10 watches of GoldenEye and beating the whole N64 game in 00 Agent mode to love both! (I'm being extremely sarcastic, by the way). Long story short: I watched it an additional three times after the premiere, mostly because a friend of mine had tickets of spare. I left the cinema before the final 45 minutes in the other showings except for the IMAX one because I went with him, mostly. The thing is... I didn't understand it better and with each showing, my disliking for this production grew every day more.

That said, I'm surprised to see many "fans" have liked it, but I'll do my best not to judge them. I'll speak about me, not them. For this thing bastardizes James Bond to an insulting point, so insulting that it makes the 1967 version of Casino Royale almost a "proper" Bond film. Well, in fact, three or four elements are taken straight from it: Bond is retired and brought back to active service, Bond has a daughter he ignores, the villain deals with a virus/germ that turns people into weapon, and... here comes da bomb (no pun intended): James Bond dies.

Yes. I'm not kidding. James Bond dies! 

James Bond dies, but, before we get to that, let's go to the proper Dr No homage, which isn't the fact that Safin is Dr No. No, I'm not refering to the coloured dots during the main titles, or the fact that he "plays God", or that he's a scientist or that Jamaica is a location. The biggest homage made to the first James Bond film, that intruduced the gentleman spy with a licence to kill now turned into the misogynist assassin with a licence to die, is that... James Bond acts like a stupid policeman whose luck runs out! Precisely, the way Joseph Wiseman's character described our hero 59 years ago is the way he acts in this film: from vanishing during the bloodless gunbarrel sequence, to letting a valuable asset and person of interest go because he feels "betrayed" (no, she didn't sleep with a soccer player, she apparently sent Bond to a death-trap) and waiting five years before informing the headquarters that the dangerous terrorist he put in Belmarsh prison has apparently made an allegiance with his girlfriend to kill Bond and probably to turn our unsafe world even less safer than what it was. From being functional to Safin's plan by offing Blofeld off by a stupidity he makes, to peeling apples to a little girl he would later learn she's his daughter. From bowing down to a villain Sean Connery would have killed with a single slap, saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I apologize, I apologize, you're right, you're right" to allow that villain to ambush him, shoot him three times in the back (because you know, spies that have been retired for five years forget how to use stealth), infect him with a virus that would kill Madeleine and her daughter by simple touching them - a virus that conveniently has no cure. They could have forced the scientist who developed this virus to create an antidote, but the new 007 felt offended because he told her a racist comment and she kicked him over a railing to a pool of radioactive water. After all of that, Bond decides his life is crap because he wouldn't see the girls he ignored for five years and watches as a couple of missiles come to eviscerate him. James Bond, Her Majesty's Loyal Terrier, "the best they have", Commander James Bond 007, CMG RNVR, commits suicide. The end of the film features M toasting in his homage, reciting a passage from Jack London: "The proper function of a man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them, I shall use my time". In a similar situation, we could read the second sentence in You Only Live Twice, as everyone at MI6 tought Bond was dead but he had just lost his memory and was enjoying some sort of "married life" with Kissy Suzuki. There you go, we have FLEMING. Even if Fleming never killed James Bond, Mrs Broccoli who owns James Bond more than anyone else decides to do what the books, comics and video games never did: killing him. Because, unlike what the far superior 1995 motion picture GoldenEye tried to show us, Bond has no place in this world anymore. He's an assassin, everything he does is wrong, he's exactly like the villain, he's a man, he's straight, you know... he has to die. We move to Madeleine Swann taking over his place: driving the Aston Martin V8 and telling her daughter "the story of a man whose name was Bond... James Bond". Cue to Louis Armstrong's "We Have All The Time In The World" over the end credits.

Remember when people whined at the homages in Die Another Day? That they were too blunt and a fan service checklist? Well, here they appropiate of the musical identity of a much superior James Bond film, eternally associated to the ill-fated marriage between Bond and countess Teresa "Tracy" Di Vicenzo, and subvert its meaning. The lack of originality of EON Productions has reached a point where they have to rip things from the series of films they tried to wipe out from our mind (just see Being James Bond, the Craig documentary where they barely mention "Roger and Pierce" and there's no other reference to the fact that 007 is a series of films dating from 1962!) only to subvert its meaning - just like they have successfully subverted everything James Bond is in this movie!

In No Time To Die, you don't see Fleming's Bond. Or Connery's Bond, Lazenby's Bond, Moore's Bond, Dalton's Bond or Brosnan's Bond. You don't even see Craig's Bond. The Bond you see... is a completely forged Bond. A fake Bond. It's like Evelyn Tremble (Peter Sellers) all over again, the baccarat expert given Bond's name to play baccarat against Le Chiffre (Orson Welles) in the far superior 1967 spoof produced by Charles K Feldman.

Well, I made a much needed catharsis. 

Now that I said that, I want to say the following: I don't care about the future of James Bond anymore. The character no longer represents what I loved in him and the Bond community is no longer my place. They can do anything, cast John Boyega, Idris Elba, Henry Golding, anyone in the role. I won't watch it. I'll stick with the films from 1962 to 2002 and pretend the last time we saw 007 was in Die Another Day. Making a bit of a stretch, I can still pretend Bond left with Madeleine Swann on the Aston Martin DB5 in SPECTRE, another far superior film to Time To Die (no, I didn't forget to write No). I placed Never Say Never Again next to Octopussy, by the way. There's nothing "unofficial" in that film for me now. And while Kevin McClory wasn't exactly a guy I liked and was a shit to Ian Fleming, I affirm that he loved James Bond much more than Barbara Broccoli and Daniel Craig ever did. 

I will cover (No) Time To Die on the updated edition of A View To A Thrill: A Closer Look At The James Bond Trailers coming November. A promise made is a promise kept. I'll be as objective as I can, so don't expect this kind of language there - in fact, I rarely editorialized in the first edition. Then, I have another Bond book for 2022 and after that, I think I'll stop writing about the character save for some articles and mostly focused on the past. I'll try something different for my books, you will see.

I won't buy Time To Die on any home video format, I won't buy the soundtrack, I won't have any poster of that film hanging on my room and I won't give EON Productions my money nor support any of their projects. You know, all of this comes after they have unfairly sent a "cease and desist" notification forcing two very good friends of mine to cancel a freeware project that was recreating the N64 game GoldenEye for PC, when it didn't harm them in any way. They do that and then they kill James Bond! Do you really think I'll be proud to exhibit James Bond's open casket in the form of a Blu-ray disc next to films like Goldfinger, From Russia With Love, The Spy Who Loved Me, GoldenEye and The World Is Not Enough? They don't deserve that.

Who do you think to are to do that? Someone who values his money. Who do you think to are to tell EON what they have to do? Someone who has been supporting for 23 years, telling people who watched Dragon Ball Z and the Marvel movies that I preferred James Bond over them, and that the character is not "someone from the past", but he is still a hero for our days. The one that represents what a man always aspires to become. Ha, ha, ha... do you think Barbara will cry if you don't give her money? She won't, that's for sure. But I don't care. I'm content with knowing she won't have my money. It's like it happens in The Great Escape: the prison camp manager is convinced that their escape plan won't succeed, but Richard Attenborough insists that he's simply happy to have one or two people running away from the prison. The same applies here: even if Barbara gets millions of dollars and can live for two entire years without working, I won't contribute to that. I won't financially support my hero's death.

It all narrows down to another of my favourite movies (and far superior to the first unofficial EON-produced Bond film, although that's an undertsatement): Clear And Present Danger. I'll leave you the clip.

I'm perfectly aware that I may be losing followers and potential buyers for this blog entry. I'm even ready to see very few people buying A View To A Thrill or any other of my books (well, who knows. For every bold decision you take, you lose three friends and win another three), but if there's something both my parents taught me is to put values and principles over all the money in the world.

If you are happy to celebrate the humilliation and death of James Bond, good for you. But I won't.

I'm sorry, Mrs Broccoli.

I don't dance.

domingo, 3 de octubre de 2021

Actions speak louder than words...


Read my No Time To Die review here (MODERATE SPOILERS):

Lean mi crítica de Sin Tiempo Para Morir en español (SPOILERS MODERADOS):