Tag Archives: 007

Skyfall Official Teaser Trailer…Deconstructed

22nd May 2012

The first Skyfall (next installment of Daniel Craig’s James Bond) teaser trailer was released yesterday on www.007.com, and I immediately checked it out. Casino Royale was the promising start of Daniel Craig’s psychological James Bond, who, though good with the ladies, was not exactly the double-entendre-spouting Sean Connery Bond or the debonaire, light-hearted Pierce Brosnan of years past. Casino Royale was much truer to Fleming’s original novel, which I had a great time reading and discussing through Lit Housewife’s Shaken Not Stirred Challenge, and I was eager to see where the franchise would go. Unfortunately, Quantum of Solace was a dud. It boasted a half-hearted story line, an oil-slicked dead girl, and a nonsensical plot.

Since then, I’ve waited impatiently for the next film. Monday’s teaser trailer was…well, just a tease. As is typical with these trailers, you really have no sense of “story” – instead, you just get to see some action shots in no particular order. Make sure you check the teaser trailer out first, but I wanted to go through it for fun to see what we can expect come November.

The script:

Country…England

Gun…Shot

Agent…Provocateur

Murder…Employment

Skyfall…Done

[Lot of loud, staccato music but no Bond theme.]

“Some men are coming to kill us. We’re going to kill them first.”

Yeah, I really don’t like that weird word association business. I feel like I’m studying for the GRE. I almost thought it was a joke at first. But no. And then the classic Bond, calm and calculating in the last line. Now to the images:

Bond in London, a company man watching over his city much like a caped hero. Requisite tourist landmarks in full view. Union Jack flying high.

There we go. Good job, trailer-making people. You know what we want to see. Bond in profile. Strength and masculinity on display.

This guy doesn’t look all that dangerous. Oh, wait. He’s not real, it’s just target practice, but if this is Bond’s work I’m scared as the shots are far from the target.

Interrogation room. Stark, cold light. If this old dude is the villain, I think we’re ok. Interrogation room almost looks like a hospital, and thus I am creeped out because it feels like the beginnings of a horror flick. Moving on…

Ralph Fiennes is giving M a look. No, He Who Must Not Be Named! She wasn’t in HP; that was Maggie Smith. Leave her be!

Because don’t you stand like that in your dress clothes, hair whipping away from your face in an exotic locale? No? Just me. Alrighty then.

Get ’em, Bond. Is it me, or does that look like headquarters? Brandishing a gun there doesn’t seem smart, 007. M is going to be pissed…

Yikes. That’s a lot of Union Jack and a lot of coffins. Really great shot, particularly with the bright colors, and the flag lining up all the way down between the columns and one dark figure off center.

There’s the exotic locale of earlier. Swank, debonaire, tuxedoed Bond arriving with fanfare. Fireworks, Chinese lanterns and dragon. Chinese New Year, perhaps? Great, great shot, even if it is a bit cliche. Fits into the Bond trope well, though, exoticising Asia and its cultures.

She certainly doesn’t look dangerous. P.S. Her name is Eve. Watch out for the golden apple, James.

Back in Britain. Run, James, run. Heaven forbid you do that in a jogging suit on the sidewalk.

Falling….

Skyyyy….

Skyfall…

Isle of Skye. Ok, really I have no clue where this is, but isn’t it lovely? M and Bond, what are you up to?

Destruction.

This reminds me of the “floating head” portraits of the 80s. Then again, I love the light on Bond’s face. Casino Royale made great use of lighting, and shots like these emphasize the “thinking Bond” – as I like to call him.

More destruction. Not Bond. How do I know? DC doesn’t do shaggy. Ahh, this must be Javier. This could also be Edward Fairfax Rochester watching Thornfield burn..whoops, wrong film.

And there we have it, folks.

Wait! Not yet. We need some crazy graphics and a big gun and silencer before we go.

And an Angry Bug Volkswagen game. Slug bug, no returns!

Bond isn’t passive aggressive. This time it’s SkyJUMP.

There’s that chiseled jawline. It’s time to get down to business. Of course, I have no idea what that business is.

And…scene.

It’s interesting to watch these teaser trailers. I’d almost rather wait for an actual trailer to have a better idea if I’m looking at a Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace, but I guess I’ll have to wait a bit. Either way, I’ll see it. Even though QoS was, in my opinion, a really bad film, I still enjoy the interpretation more than any of the other films to date. There’s none of the spoofy, 60s schtick, which thus far, I haven’t seen in Fleming’s writing. If you’re at all interested in reading the novels, make sure you head over to the Shaken Not Stirred Challenge blog.

So what say you? Any insights? Thoughts? Ramblings?

Other Picky Girl Posts on Bond:
Dr. No by Ian Fleming
Diamonds Are Forever by Ian Fleming
Moonraker by Ian Fleming
Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming
Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

Diamonds Are Forever by Ian Fleming

6th October 2011

With its two fighting claws held forward like a wrestler’s arms the big pandinus scorpion emerged with a dry rustle from the finger-sized hole under the rock.

There was a small patch of hard, flat earth outside the hole and the scorpion stood in the centre of this on the tips of its four pairs of legs, its nerves and muscles braced for a quick retreat and its senses questing for the minute vibrations which would decide its next move.

The moonlight, glittering down through the great thorn bush, threw sapphire highlights off the hard, black polish of the six-inch body and glinted palely on the moist white sting which protruded from the last segment of the tail, now curved over parallel with the scorpion’s flat back.

The scorpion had decided. Greed had won over fear.

Thus begins Diamonds Are Forever. Quite a vivid image and quite a lot of symbolism as well. With Simon Vance once again narrating in perfect pitch, I was immediately ready for this fourth installment of Bond’s adventures. Diamond mining, mob activity, scorpions, and more Felix Leiter…what could possibly go wrong?

The premise: M sends Bond on a mission to help smuggle diamonds into the States, to try to infiltrate the pipeline and gather information in order to shut the operation down. Taking on another’s identity, Bond meets with Tiffany Case to get his instructions. Case, with a backstory of her own, is wary of Bond but fills him in on how he should proceed to get the diamonds out of the country. Once he’s there, he’s to hook up with one half of the Spang brothers, a mob outfit running diamonds. There he meets up with Felix Leiter.

If you’ve followed any of my other posts on Fleming’s Bond series for the Shaken, Not Stirred Challenge, you know Felix Leiter is a favorite character of mine. We last saw him in Live and Let Die, and after the number done on him, I wasn’t sure we’d see him again. Thankfully, he’s back, but his injuries have relegated him to Pinkerton’s, working in the private sector.

Bond and Leiter have a great relationship, and other than Bond’s relationship with M, it is really the only fleshed-out friendship we see. It is certainly nice to have some continuity. Leiter is trying to take down the Spang brothers because of some rigged gambling. The two decide to tackle their own assignment, helping each other if possible.

The problem with Diamonds Are Forever is that once again, Fleming takes us on what feels like a Disneyland tour of the States. He did it with Live and Let Die, too, so I wonder if it’s because he’s less familiar with the locale. On his home turf, Bond is relentless, intelligent, and meticulous. In the States, he’s a bit lax, taking risks that British Bond would not. From New York to Las Vegas, Bond trips along, and honestly by the end of this book, I knew he would get out of whatever fix he was in, saving Tiffany Case along the way, leaving me with the question: Why is he there? He’s 007, for Pete’s sake. Shouldn’t there be some international intrigue? Shouldn’t the Spang brothers be connected to the Soviets, producing massive warheads? I don’t know. It just felt off, and after such a promising beginning, I was disappointed.

As for the film, do we even need to go there? Just know that after Casino Royale and the edgy Bond we were treated to…well, even Connery can’t stand up to it.

Next up: From Russia with Love , which I hear is quite excellent. Can’t wait…

The Name’s Bond: Casino Royale audio/film review

21st June 2011

Can I gush?

For years now, I have thought about reading Ian Fleming, but all I knew of Bond were the oversexualized, often-ridiculous films of my (or more likely my parents’ and grandparents’) generation. However, after really, absolutely loving the newly-conceptualized, rugged Bond in the film Casino Royale (like, I’ve seen it half a dozen times), I revisited the idea of reading Ian Fleming. After Jennifer at Literate Housewife posted her Shaken Not Stirred challenge last week, I immediately downloaded the audiobook, narrated by Simon Vance. (And, may I say, his narration is seamless).

In this, the first of the James Bond novels, Fleming tells the tale of Le Chiffre, a pawn of SMERSH, a Soviet operation comparable to the KGB. Le Chiffre is bankrupt and arranges a Baccarat game at the Royale Les Eaux casino to win back the money he owes SMERSH. M, head of MI6, sends Bond in to stop Le Chiffre with another agent, Vesper Lynd, assistant to agent S (with Soviet relations). His cover is to be that of a Jamaican millionaire, thus, the beautiful woman on his arm. French agent Mathis orchestrates much of the game play, while Felix Leitner, a CIA agent, watches anxiously. No one is eager for Le Chiffre to win, and when Bond goes bankrupt in the first few hours of play, Leitner ups the ante, passing over his money for Bond to play. When Bond wins, Le Chiffre raises the stakes, and Bond falls victim to a ruse. His subsequent torture is only stopped when a SMERSH agent takes control of the situation.

The genius in the novel is not the plot, though it is tightly woven. Instead, Fleming relies on observation and his relation of that keen observation to satisfy and grip the reader. I listened at work, in a bubble bath, and in the car, and still I couldn’t leave the casinos of the French coast, which Fleming describes as “nauseating at three in the morning.” The game of Baccarat with its rules and odds kept me edgy, and Le Chiffre’s desperate move to recapture his losses was brutal.

What most surprised me was Bond’s humanity. He remarks early on that Lynd is a “silly bitch,” and he is displeased to have to work with a woman. However, by the end of the novel, he has decided to throw in the towel after a particularly horrific torture session and open himself to her. Whether or not he can trust her is another matter entirely.

Keep in mind, because I have seen the film several times, I was curious to see how closely the two would align. Surprisingly, even with the difference in decades (the novel was published in 1953), the film was very true to the book. The conflict is adapted from the KGB to arms dealers and Baccarat is traded in for Texas Hold ‘Em, but much of the story remains the same, including Vesper’s role.

One of my favorite lines, however, is missing. When Bond first meets Vesper Lynd (who provides the bank line for the gambling) on the train, she strides toward him in her masculine attire (which Fleming’s Bond girls were known for) and says:

Vesper Lynd: “I’m the money.”

James Bond (looking her up and down): “Every penny of it.”

Isn’t that an absolutely fantastic line? This is also the book introducing Bond’s famous martini:

James Bond: “Dry martini.”

Bartender: “Oui, monsieur.”

James Bond: “Wait. Three measures of Gordon’s; one of Vodka; half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it over ice; add a thin slice of lemon peel.”

I’ve actually attempted to replicate this martini, and let’s just say, I understand why Bond only had one…

All in all, I was highly impressed with the book and its adaptation and cannot wait for the Twitter viewing party June 30 at 9:30 p.m. EST (using hashtag #shakennotstirred).

Will you be joining us, either by reading the book or attending the viewing? If so, leave a link to your post, and I’ll add it here.

jenn aka the picky girl