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.
[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:
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…
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.
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.
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?
And I must say, I’m not at all sad to see the back end of 2011. It was a very tumultuous year, and I am very happy to be ringing in a new year this evening with a mini-readathon cooked up by two other bloggers (Becky and Tasha) and myself. There will be champagne, so in the infinite wisdom and singing voice of Bing Crosby, let’s start the new year right.
But. Before we get to that, I wanted to do a year end post. As of midnight on December 30, I have read 121 books. Of these, 46 were written by men and 75 written by women (wow!); 109 fiction and 12 nonfiction. This year I read 9 audiobooks, and considering I read none last year, that’s quite a jump. Also, just so you can see my habits, 42 of these books came from the publisher/author/publicist, but I bought 52 and checked out 26 from the library, a pretty decent statistic. Now down to brass tacks….
Least favorite books of the year: Let’s just get this one out of the way. I only really disliked two books this year, and if you’ve been around for a bit, you can probably guess the first one: The Magicians by Lev Grossman. The other I just finished this morning: Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me by Ian Morgan Cron. I’ll put up a review next week with details. Suffice it to say, memoirs are tricky.
Best New-to-Me Series: Well, obviously I love the Patricia Wentworth Miss Silver books, but seeing as they were written in the last century, I won’t call them new. If you’re looking for a vintage mystery, give these a go. Also consider joining me for Miss Silver Saturdays through 2012.
Best New Series: I just finished Discovery of Witches and am pretty much in love with it. I can’t wait for the next one. Many compare it to Twilight, but for me, it was much more reminiscent of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I loved it!
Best Dark Comedy: Funny Man by John Warner. I’m really surprised this book hasn’t gotten more attention, as I think it’s pretty genius in a lot of ways. I’m really eager to see what else Warner writes.
Book that Made Me Think Rainbow Rowell stole my life and wrote about it: Attachments. Runner up for funniest book of the year, it was just so perfectly me. Sadly, many other bloggers have said the same thing, so obviously I ain’t anything special. Distinctive? Pshaw.
Book That Seriously Creeped Me Out and Blew My Mind: The Magus by John Fowles. Review next week, and boy howdy, what a book. Thanks so much to Sean at Read Heavily for the gift.
Book that Made Me Cry: Thankfully there were only two of these this year (one sparked this post about crying in reading). The other is A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead. This is nonfiction and about the women of the French Resistance. It’s incredibly moving to see just how much the human spirit can endure.
Most Beautiful Book: The Paper Garden by Molly Peacock. This is physically just a beautiful, beautiful specimen of a book. The cover art, the inside art, the paper. It’s technically the biography of a woman artist, but it’s so much more than that.
Biggest Surprise: Ian Fleming’s Bond series. Yes, he can be a misogynistic, slightly-racist ass, but damn, these books are good. If you think you know Bond from the films, think again and join Lit Housewife’s Shaken Not Stirred challenge. You won’t be disappointed.
~and last but not least~
Best Book of 2011: Galore by Michael Crummey. I read this book in April, but it will not leave me. The story is timeless, the writing superb. If you haven’t read it, make sure you add it to your list for the new year. I compare it to East of Eden by Steinbeck and House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. One of my favorite passages from the book is below:
~Watching Judah emerge from the whale’s guts, King-me felt the widow was birthing everything he despised in the country, laying it out before him like a taunt. Irish nor English, Jerseyman nor bushborn nor savage, not Roman or Episcopalian or apostate, Judah was the wilderness on two legs, mute and unknowable, a blankness that could drown a man.
So that’s my list. I wish you all the best in 2012 and hope to see you back here. Thank you all for reading, commenting, emailing, etc. I so enjoy your company.
And on that note, what was your favorite book this year?
Bond is in the doghouse because of a botched assignment in From Russia With Love. Of course, being in a British doghouse involves M staring daggers at Bond and speaking in harsh metaphors, along with sending him on an easy case in Jamaica to lie in the sun and hold down the fort after two agents disappear.
Strangways and the other agent are thought to have run off together, but having met Strangways on a case in Live and Let Die, Bond isn’t so sure. When he discovers Strangways was investigating several odd deaths in connection with Crab Key Island, Bond’s suspicions are increased.
The island is home to Dr. No and a natural moneymaker – guano – along with a small reserve home to roseate spoonbills, owned by the Audubon Society. Dr. No is not someone you want to mess with. Quarrel, another recurring figure from Live and Let Die, and Bond encounter trouble right away: auto accidents, poisoned fruit, and what is one of the most tense scenes I’ve read in a while – a killer centipede.
Dr. No is one of the best-paced Bond novels I’ve read so far, with Bond and Quarrel prepping and investigating before checking out Crab Key in person. Once on the island, they meet Honeychile Rider, who is innocently trolling for shells. Quickly, they are discovered and have to fend for themselves in Dr. No’s deadly island traps.
I enjoy this challenge more and more as time passes, and honestly Simon Vance is the voice of Bond for me. I don’t even want to pick up the print copies because I miss his voice reading to me. I know Jennifer of Literate Housewife agrees. 🙂
If you want to join in the Shaken Not Stirred Audiobook Challenge, we are most likely taking December off – join us!
See my other Bond reviews here:
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 scorpionâ€™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…