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Posts Tagged ‘James Bond’

THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS – John Barry

August 10, 2017 Leave a comment

THROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Living Daylights is the fifteenth entry in the James Bond film series and the first to star Timothy Dalton as the British secret agent. Dalton took over the role from Roger Moore, who had retired from the part after A View to a Kill in 1985, but only after a long and protracted period of negotiations in which the original choice, Pierce Brosnan, was eventually blocked by producers of the American TV show Remington Steele. The film was intended to be a return to the grittier feel of Ian Fleming’s original novels after Moore’s previous few films were criticized for being too tongue-in-cheek and self-aware. The plot initially concerns the defection of KGB officer Georgi Koskov, which Bond helps facilitate, but quickly turns into an international conspiracy involving a beautiful Czech cellist named Kara Milovy, a megalomaniacal American arms dealer named Brad Whittaker, and an attempt to undermine the slowly thawing relationship between the Soviet Union and the West with nuclear weapons. Directed by John Glen, the film co-stars Maryam d’Abo, Joe Don Baker, Jeroen Krabbé, and Art Malik as an Afghan mujahedeen leader who helps Bond in his hour of need. The film was generally well-received, and I personally have always felt that Dalton was an underrated Bond, who successfully captured the darker, more dangerous side of Fleming’s character which had been missing from the franchise for too long. Read more…

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SPECTRE – Thomas Newman

November 13, 2015 1 comment

spectreOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The 24th official James Bond film, the fourth starring Daniel Craig, and the second directed by Sam Mendes, Spectre apparently concludes a four-movie storyline, bringing together the plots of the three preceding films – Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall – and re-introducing Bond to his greatest nemesis. As he globe-trots around the world from Mexico to Rome, to Austria, and beyond, Bond gradually discovers the existence of a shadowy organization which appears to be orchestrating a series of terrorist events, including the ones Bond investigated in the previous films, and whose leader may be a figure from his own past. The film co-stars Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Monica Bellucci, and Ralph Fiennes, and in many ways is a love letter to the entire James Bond franchise. Not only is this Bond a touch more light-hearted, with a little more emphasis on the gadgets and the girls than the previous films, there are innumerable nods and winks and in-jokes for the Bond connoisseur: the mountaintop clinic is straight out of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the “hollowed out volcano” in the desert is from You Only Live Twice, the car from Goldfinger makes a spectacular return, the fight on the train has echoes of both From Russia With Love and Live and Let Die, the “funhouse” in the remains of the MI6 building recalls The Man With the Golden Gun, and the monosyllabic henchman Hinx is clearly modeled after the similarly taciturn Jaws. The whole film is a loving homage to everything preceding it, and delighted this long-time fan of the genre, although of course you have to overlook the contrivances and plot holes that always come with this territory. Read more…

A VIEW TO A KILL – John Barry

May 14, 2015 Leave a comment

aviewtoakillTHROWBACK THIRTY

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A View to a Kill is the fourteenth official film in the James Bond canon, and the seventh and last to star Roger Moore as the fictional British secret agent. In this wide ranging story which spans the globe from Siberia to Paris to San Francisco, Bond locks horns with the psychopathic industrialist Max Zorin, played by Christopher Walken, who hatches a plan to destroy Silicon Valley in order to gain a monopoly in the worldwide microchip market. Bond is assisted in his assignment by wealthy geologist Stacey Sutton, played by Tanya Roberts, who helps uncover Zorin’s dastardly plan after he tries to strong-arm her into selling her family’s oil company, and there is the usual cast of supporting characters, evil henchmen, beautiful women, and ingenious gadgets. The film was directed by John Glen, co-stars Patrick Macnee and singer Grace Jones, and has an original score by John Barry, the tenth of his eleven works in the series. Read more…

SKYFALL – Thomas Newman

November 20, 2012 9 comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Coming in to write the music for your first James Bond movie must be a massively daunting task. In composing the score for Skyfall, Thomas Newman – the multi-Oscar nominated composer of such seminal scores as American Beauty and The Shawshank Redemption – not only had to cope with 50 years of cinematic history after Ursula Andress first slinked out of the Caribbean sea in Dr. No in 1962, but legions of fans who treat the movie franchise as sacred property, and the legacy of the legendary music of John Barry and his heir-apparent, David Arnold. The ‘James Bond sound’ is so iconic and so well-established that it presents a composer as unique as Newman with a dilemma: does he abandon his own sound in an attempt to fit in with the overall sound of the series, risking giving up the very thing that makes him him, or does he compose music in his own inimitable way, establishment be damned, risking the wrath of those who would then surely accuse him of not being ‘Bond’ enough? It’s a challenging tightrope, and one which Newman had to skillfully navigate. Read more…

QUANTUM OF SOLACE – David Arnold

November 14, 2008 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The re-boot given to the James Bond franchise with Casino Royale in 2006 was possibly the best thing that could have happened to 007. The film itself was arguably the best Bond movie since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969, and Daniel Craig’s gritty, wounded portrayal of MI6’s finest brought him firmly into the new millennium. Quantum of Solace, the second movie in the new rebooted series, continues the story from the immediate point where Casino Royale concluded; it’s essentially a revenge film, with Bond attempting to bring the killers of Vesper Lynd from the previous film to justice, while locking horns with a new adversary – evil multimillionaire businessman Dominic Greene (Mathieu Almaric). The film is directed by Marc Forster, also stars Olga Kurylenko and Gemma Arterton as the new Bond girls, Camilla Montes and Strawberry Fields, and features Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright and Giancarlo Giannini in recurring supporting roles. Read more…

CASINO ROYALE – David Arnold

November 17, 2006 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

When you think about it in terms of numbers, the James Bond franchise is pretty damn impressive. 007’s screen history reaches back 40 years, comprises 21 movies, and has a combined box-office gross of over $1.3 billion (or $3.3 billion if you adjust it for inflation). No wonder the franchise is considered to be amongst the most successful and important in all of cinema. We’ve had ten directors, nine composers, and now we’re on to our sixth leading actor: Daniel Craig, stepping into the sharp tuxedo vacated by Pierce Brosnan at the end of Die Another Day, and ordering the vodka martini with a broader, brusquer accent than heard in many years. Read more…

DIE ANOTHER DAY – David Arnold

November 22, 2002 Leave a comment

dieanotherdayOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

You know, I’m beginning to think that David Arnold is running out of ideas. When he burst onto the film music scene in 1996/97 with Stargate, Independence Day and so on, he was a breath of fresh air, bringing new life and orchestral acumen to a genre which generally suffers from a lack of emerging talent. When he took over from Eric Serra after the lamentable GoldenEye as the composer of choice for the Bond movies, it was heralded as a step in the right direction, and he has proved himself to be the only composer to “get” the series in the way John Barry did. Die Another Day is Arnold’s third Bond movie score. It is also, by a long way, his weakest. Read more…