Of Inhuman #Bond_age_

  1. Of [In]human #Bond_age_ #18: Chekhov’s Gun and Q Branch Expectation and Narrative in Tomorrow Never Dies

    This is the 18th essay in a 24-part series about the James Bond cinemas co-created by Sundog Lit. I encourage everyone to read the other essays, comment and join in on the conversation about not only the films themselves, but cinematic trends, political and other external influences on the series’ tone and direction.

    Of [In]human #Bond_age_ #18: Chekhov’s Gun and Q Branch Expectation and Narrative in Tomorrow

    Never Dies by James David Patrick

    Tomorrow Never Dies poster

    “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.”

    Anton Chekhov’s oft-cited dramatic principle has become the fiction writer’s favorite mantra. Thoughtful aunts have cross-stitched the phrase onto throw pillows and wall hangings. Those wall hangings hang next to MFA degrees and ornate lithographs of Ernest Hemingway’s ever popular “The first draft of everything is shit.” In addition to his plays and short stories, Chekhov was also a prolific letter writer. And it was in a November 1889 letter to Lazarev-Gruzinsky, a one-time collaborator, that he first detailed the “Chekhov’s Gun” theory – though he lacked the foresight and egotism to dub it such upon conception. The principle functions as a reminder to every would-be writer about the importance of brevity and managing audience expectation. Chekhov uses a gun, an inherently dangerous item, in his example specifically because it solicits an audience’s immediate attention. Attention breeds expectation. Expectation can be skillfully usurped (a red herring) or met (the firing of the gun), but not ignored. The gun must be literally or symbolically fired.

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  2. My Favorite #Bond_age_: Casino Royale by Gregory Sahadachny

    The Sex Panther Prowls Again: Dalton, Craig and the Promise of a Serious Bond in Casino Royale

    by Gregory Sahadachny (@MisterGreggles)

    An amazing FRWL-inspired retro poster for Casino Royale by Jeff Chapman.

    Sitting in a theater, there was a great sense of excitement in me. A new Bond. I had heard that this outing would be a “serious” take on the suave secret agent/action hero we all grew up on; that this installment would set the series apart from the silly, over-the-top, pun-heavy detours of the previous keeper of the flame. Bond has become a work of folklore, of socially disseminated tales and shared cross-culture memory the world over, especially in the West. And, for me, he is a hero just like Batman or Superman. Was I ready for this “serious” take though? Was I going to get the necessities? The shaken-not-stirred martini? The “Bond. James Bond.”? The gadgets? Or was this going to break from formula? What about the one-liners? Was I going to even recognize the Bond I grew up with? That was at least a part of my excitement, sitting there in the theater that night. Then, the lights went down. The opening was memorable. Parachuting in to Felix Leiter’s wedding? The awesome cherry-on-top to a noticeably Hollywood-influenced action scene. (It was like a damn episode of Miami Vice.) But this dark-haired, heavy-browed thug with piercing eyes? I wasn’t so sure about him. This was the summer of 1989. And my Bond was Timothy Dalton.

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  3. My Favorite #Bond_age_: Die Another Day by Michael Cavacini

    Sex for Dinner and Death for Breakfast: Why Die Another Day Deserves Another Look

    by Michael Cavacini (@MCavacini)

    Die Another Day Japanese artwork

    In 2002, I saw my first James Bond movie in a theater, Die Another Day, which was the 20th in the series and marked the 40th anniversary of the 007 film franchise. Despite the negative reviews, Die Another Day is still one of my favorite James Bond films. Before you change the channel, give me a chance to explain. Die Another Day was Pierce Brosnan’s fourth foray as 007, and in this film he seemed extremely comfortable in the role. He oozed charisma, delivered humorous one-liners with aplomb and panache and stole the show during a spectacular sword fight with the film’s villain, Gustav Graves.

    Speaking of Gustav Graves, Toby Stephens, the actor who played him did a serviceable job in the role, but he wasn’t particularly memorable. Rosamund Pike as Miranda Frost, on the other hand, was far superior; she was mysterious, beautiful and believable. Pike would go on to star in many prominent roles while Stephens seemingly disappeared into obscurity, further validating my aforementioned point.

    Halle Berry as Jinx, Bond’s pseudo-sidekick, was effective in her role and the chemistry between her and Brosnan was palpable. Other noteworthy performances included the always-excellent Judi Dench as M and John Cleese as Q. In the case of Q, it’s a shame that Cleese didn’t get a chance to reprise the role as he seemed like a natural fit for it.

    I also enjoyed the music for this film. The title song by Madonna wasn’t classic Bond, that’s for sure, but it worked with the futuristic score composed by Bond mainstay David Arnold. Unlike Goldeneye’s score, Arnold struck a balance between old and new by celebrating the history of the franchise with the iconic melodies it had become known for. He also modernized some of the music so it fit the high-tech nature of the storyline and set pieces, but he treated it with enough reverence so as not to upset the Bond faithful.

    Die Another Day is a great James Bond film that doesn’t get the credit it deserves. It was one of my favorite Bond movies with Brosnan at the helm, and it introduced me to the series on the big screen, so it can’t be all that bad, right? If you haven’t seen it, give it a shot. If you have, give it a second chance. If you don’t take it too seriously, you might find yourself smiling in the end. In addition to the movie trailer, below are some of the numerous references Die Another Day made to previous Bond films, according to BondMovies.com:

    Dr. No: Halle Berry wears an orange bikini when she comes out of the ocean in a scene reminiscent of Honey Ryder in Dr. No.

    From Russia with Love: The attaché case is seen in Q’s workshop, along with shoes with poison daggers protruding from them.

    Goldfinger: The betting of Gustav’s diamond for the fencing duel was similar to when Bond bet Goldfinger his gold bar for the golf game.

    Thunderball: Bond eats the grape after cleverly avoiding the guards at the DNA clinic, just as Connery did in Thunderball.

    You Only Live Twice: Jinx descends from the ceiling of the fake diamond mine on a rope system similar to that of the ninjas in the volcano crater lair.

    On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: “OHMSS” is written on a CD on Moneypenny’s desk as she types a report at the end of the film.

    Diamonds Are Forever Before the sword fight, Gustav Graves says “Diamonds are forever. But life isn’t.”

    Live and Let Die: The scene where Icarus blows up the minefields is similar to the scene where Mr. Big’s drug crops blow up.

    The Man with the Golden Gun: The Icarus controls looked a bit like the controls for Scaramanga’s laser, and when Bond goes through the secret entrance at the DNA replacement hospital, he passes through a room with colorful spinning mirrors, reminiscent of Scaramanga’s hideout.

    The Spy Who Loved Me: Graves lands outside Buckingham Palace in a Union Jack parachute similar to Bond’s in the opening scene of The Spy Who Loved Me.

    Moonraker: Moon’s hovercraft falls down by a large waterfall in a manner similar to Jaws’ boat going over the Iguaçu Falls.

    For Your Eyes Only: The scene as Bond hangs onto the ice cliff (before it collapses) resembles the climax near the monastery, especially as the rope slips and Bond drops some distance further down the cliff, although this time it was all performed from a vehicle.

    Octopussy: The acrostar jet and the crocodile sub are in Q’s workshop.

    A View to a Kill: Graves watches over the destruction that he wreaks from the front windows of his aircraft in the same way that Zorin watched Silicon Valley from his aircraft before it flooded.

    The Living Daylights Cars fly out of a plane in mid-air, like the jeep does in The Living Daylights.

    License to Kill: M says, “License Revoked” - the original title of License to Kill.

    GoldenEye Jinx’s backwards dive looked similar to Bond’s from the dam, the bullet flying at the audience in the gunbarrel opening, and Bond goes to Cuba.

    Tomorrow Never Dies: Bond calls his invisible Aston Martin Vanquish towards him, like he did with the BMW in Tomorrow Never Dies.

    The World is Not Enough: As Bond dives to safety from Moon’s flamethrower on the hovercraft, the shot of his dive from in front is almost identical to another scene where Bond is diving from an exploding bomb with Christmas in The World is Not Enough.

    Michael Cavacini is an award-winning communications professional and writer who runs MichaelCavacini.com, an arts and culture blog that covers books, movies, TV shows, music, electronics, and, of course, James Bond.

    First Bond Movie: Die Another Day on the big screen; GoldenEye on TV

    Favorite Bond Actor: Roger Moore

    Favorite Bond Girl: Eva Green to marry; Rosamund Pike for a fling.

    How I discovered #Bond_age_: Through a fellow blogger and Bond fan


  4. Proto-#Bond_age_ Vol. 2: The Sherlock Holmes Double Feature

    Join us for the Sherlock Holmes Double Feature Live Tweet, hosted by #Bond_age_’s Holmes experts in residence @MiddParent and @NitrateDiva on Wednesday, January 1st (TONIGHT!) at 9pm EST. Follow #SherlockBond hashtag. Our features tonight are available via the Amazon Prime Streaming Video service and on YouTube (embeds below for your convenience). Happy New Year, everybody!



    The Secret Weapon

    Terror By Night


  5. Tomorrow Never Dies Live Tweet Digest (Wraparound)

    One whole year! A whole year of good #Bond_age_! The gang all came out to celebrate the #Bond_age_versary and give the Tomorrow Never Dies Live Tweet Digest the old how’s your father. We revisit some old memes… PUMPING! and Brosrunning, MITCHELL! and Party Moore… and uncover some new ones… THAT’S WHAT BOND SAID and Gupta Laws. We swoon at Brosnan’s Commander blues and Michelle Yeoh’s judo chops. It’s a goddamn party, people!


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  6. Ffolkes Live Tweet

    Do you miss Party Moore? Do you wish we could bring him back, just because? Well, you’re in luck because we’re doing just that! It’s time for #Bond_age_ IMPOSTOR #7: the FFOLKES live tweet!

    Lucky number seven brings us a seafaring daring-do starring Roger Moore, James Mason (Archer’s spirit guide!) and Anthony Perkins, not to mention THE David Hedison (aka the other Leiter that didn’t suck). Screenwriter Jack Davies also penned Those Magnificent Men in Those Flying Machines (for which he was nominated for an Oscar) so you know we’re talking quality. From the IMDB page: When terrorists take over two oil rigs and threaten to explode them if their demands are not met, a unique commando unit is sent in to stop them. INDEED! Give Ffolkes (aka North Sea Hijack) the warm #Bond_age_ welcome Wednesday at 9pm EST. Follow #Ffolkes hashtag. Ffolkes is available to watch through Netflix streaming.

    Since I couldn’t find the trailer to embed, he’s a slice of the film itself.


  7. #Bond_age_ #17: From the Ashes: The Twisty Tale of GoldenEye’s [Un]certain Success

    This is the 17th essay in a 24-part series about the James Bond cinemas co-created by Sundog Lit. I encourage everyone to read the other essays, comment and join in on the conversation about not only the films themselves, but cinematic trends, political and other external influences on the series’ tone and direction.

    Of [In]human #Bond_age_ #17: From the Ashes, The Twisty Tale of GoldenEye’s [Un]Certain Success

    GoldenEye poster

    Although the popularity of the Bond franchise has endured 50 years, that popularity has not been without its share of crescendos and diminuendos, ebbs and flows and disappearances. The critical mass has called for the series’ demise on a number of occasions, and MGM’s ongoing financial crisis has regularly thrown monkeywrenches into the gears of the finely tuned machine. The six-year delay after Licence to Kill led many fans to believe that Bond had officially retired after going off the reservation in Licence.Disillusioned by the bureaucracy, the agent formally known as007 living out the remaining years of his life running a bail bonds/chicken wing joint in Jamaica. But what transpired during that dark, uncertain time period may have actually revived the franchise. Licence to Kill tanked at the box office. Perhaps as a result of the drastic tonal shift, perhaps as a result of box-office competition from a jam-packed multiplex. Licence opened on July 14th, 1989, drawing only $13 million that week and finishing fourth at the box office behind Batman (total gross: $251 million), Lethal Weapon 2  (total gross: $147 million) and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Ghostbusters II, released the month prior, pulled almost $7 million… and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, two months after it’s release, earned $7.38. By the week of August 4th -10th, LtK had dropped out of the Top 10, trailing all of the aforementioned movies except Ghostbusters II. Adjusted for inflation, the film’s return ranks dead last among Bond films, and Dalton’s other effort, The Living Daylights, bests only A View to a Kill and Licence to Kill.

    I wouldn’t be too quick to demonize The Smolder just yet, however. The bottom four Bond movies ranked by adjusted gross were all released during the 1980’s. It wasn’t that moviegoers had necessarily disconnected with Timothy Dalton (though he regularly plays the patsy); moviegoers had just disconnected with Bond altogether. The rise of the blue-collar action hero shoved our dapper spy back into the shadows. The new guard, the John McClanes and Danny Murtaughs, average Joes who woke up one day with their localized world falling apart, latched onto a zeitgeist and dominated the domestic box office.

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  8. GoldenEye Live Tweet Digest (Wraparound)

    Always aniticipated, the GoldenEye Live Tweet drew a sizable crowd of active twatterers, onlookers and hop-ons merely reminiscing about the N64 video game. Over the course of this live tweet we’d bust out references, obscure and not, and find time to toss about the usual Austin Powers and MITCHELL! lines and question the amount of suspension of disbelief required to accept the fact that Natalya survives the destruction of a secret Russian military base, a train crash and incarceration without a rip in her tights.




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  9. My Favorite #Bond_age_: GoldenEye by Nicolás Suszczyk

    GoldenEye: The First Resurrection

    by Nicolás Suszczyk (@NSuszczyk)

    GoldenEye artwork

    In Skyfall, Daniel Craig’s James Bond says to an overjoyed Silva his hobby is “resurrection”. Of course he resurrected in Skyfall after a not so bright Quantum of Solace and in Casino Royale after the somewhat grotesque Die Another Day. But the first resurrection 007 has ever had was, without a doubt, the 1995 film GoldenEye.

    I was seven and a half years old when I saw a graphic ad in Buenos Aires announcing the cable TV premiere of GoldenEye in December 1997 or January 1998. Against a white background, there was a good-looking fellow in a tuxedo holding a silenced Walther PPK handgun, in an image lifted from the film’s teaser poster under the tagline “you know the name, you know the number.”

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  10. My Favorite #Bond_age_: GoldenEye by Becca Andrews

    GoldenEye: Propelling Bond into the Future Since 1995

    by Becca Andrews (@R_ViewMovies)

    goldeneye GoldenEye artwork by Alistair Rhythm, Carl Edwards and Mike Mahle

    From 1989 to 1995, the world went six years without a Bond movie. Timothy Dalton hung up the Walther PPK after just two films. Pierce Brosnan was cast as his successor, with Martin Campell directing. GoldenEye proved to be a sure fire hit, rebooting the long running spy franchise and cementing James Bond 007 as the man for the moment (or last three decades) once again.

    GoldenEye added a new ingredient added to that famous 007 recipe for success. If you feel that things have grown stale, simply wait 4-6 years for the global cultural/political stage to shift slightly, cast a new face in the role of Bond and get Martin Campbell to direct. Your Bond film will be a success!

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