007 Chatter: Discussing the enduring appeal of James Bond

In case you didn’t know, October is Bond month as the producers are celebrating the UK premiere of Dr. No on October 5, 1962. So, as part of Bond’s 50th Anniversary, I thought I’d invite two of my friends and fellow Bond fan Michael from It Rains… You Get Wet and FC’s staff Ted S. to discuss the enduring appeal of this ultra-popular franchise. Now, on to the Q&A…
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What’s your first introduction to the world of 007? Did you read the Ian Flemming’s books?

Michael: I have my mother’s younger brother, my uncle, to thank for the introduction to the world of OO7. He took me to the movie theater, decades ago during my childhood, for my first ever James Bond film, which turned out to be the third in the series. I’d not heard of the character, nor had I ever read any of Ian Fleming’s novels to that point in time. I wouldn’t read my first Bond book for a couple more years, when I turned teen. That first novel would be From Russia With Love.

Ted: I think it was my father who introduced me to the Bond films, he used to watch them when we were living in the Far East, I was pretty young then.

I read many of the Bond novels, couldn’t name them all but the first one was Casino Royale, I started reading the books after I saw the films.

Ruth: I’ve got to admit I never read any of Ian Fleming’s novels [gasp] I got my first introduction to Bond through the movies, which I’m guessing most people are in my camp. I might take up one of the novels at some point though, I might start with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.


What’s your earliest experience watching a Bond movie? What age and which Bond movie?

Michael: I was age 11 when I saw Goldfinger, and I documented this particular memory in a TMT from last November.

Ted: I don’t remember when I first saw a Bond film but I think it was in my early teens, the first movie I saw was Dr. No and the scene that I always remember was the introduction of Ursula Andress‘ character when she walked out of the water and in that swimsuit, I was instantly in love with her. It’s reason why I tend to date voluptuous women. 🙂

Ruth: I think I was in Junior High when I first saw a Bond movie. I can’t remember the exact movie though, my memory isn’t as good as Michael’s ahah, but I think it was a Roger Moore movie, perhaps Moonraker? So I grew up watching Moore’s Bond movies and to this day, his movies are still fun to watch for nostalgia’s sake.
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This Guardian article said … the key to Bond’s evergreen appeal is that, as well as some enjoyable nostalgia, he delivers the reader a harmless slice of old-fashioned adventure in a readily digestible form.

What do you think about that? Now what appeals to you most about the Bond franchise?

Michael: I think there is some validity to that, but I think there’s more to it. The Ian Fleming novels and short stories that employed the character created a rather iconic niche, primarily with men, when they first came out. The hooks (espionage, gadgets, and sex) being rather obvious. Heck, even JFK read them. Here’s the thing, though. When the character and series were adapted to film, well, both men AND women discovered a lot to their liking. So much so, the appeal became instantly more universal from that point (with Dr. No) forward.

To such a degree you can ask just about anyone, no matter their gender (or age), who is their favorite Bond, or what their favorite flick is, and they will have an opinion. And in 50 years, it’s likely to be long-standing.

Ian Fleming with Connery the set of From Russia With Love

Ted: The reason I love the Bond franchise is because it’s a fantasy for most if not all men want to live, saving the world from the bad guys; dates beautiful women, wear expensive suits and drive super expensive cars. Travel all over the world and eat at fancy restaurants. It’s pure escapism.

Ruth: I think there’s certainly an escapism aspect that makes Bond movies so fun to watch. I mean, real spies are likely closer to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy‘s George Smiley, so they don’t lead a glamorous life, driving fast cars and wooing women all over the world. What appeals to me most is the adventure and awesome scenery we’ve come to expect in each film. I get to live vicariously through his globe-trotting lifestyle fighting bad guys!

As a woman, obviously there’s also a certain eye-candy element to the franchise, I mean Bond is the quintessential dream guy. I mean he’s good looking, stylish, sophisticated, etc. and what girl hasn’t dreamed of being swept off their feet by a man who obviously knows how to woo a woman, even if it’s just for one night! 😉
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How many Bond movies do you own and which one(s) do you watch most often? If you have a Bond memorabilia, do share!

Michael: All of them, for sure, via the Ultimate Edition volumes on DVD. My Blu-ray collection is far from complete, though. My wife can back up  those statements, and perhaps not happily, since she has to live with me (and them) 😉

Ted: Currently I have about 8 or 10 on Blu-ray, I’ll be adding to my collection once more comes out on BD next month. The ones I watched often are Casino Royale, The Living Daylights (on DVD), License To Kill, Thunderball, From Russia with Love, For Your Eyes Only, Tomorrow Never Dies, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (on DVD) and Quantum of Solace (yes I really like this film).

I just bought The Living Daylights and Tomorrow Never Dies on Blu-ray this week so now I have 12 Bond films on that format.

I’m picking up GoldenEye and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service later this weekend and then my Bond collection is complete. I don’t want to get the complete collection because I couldn’t sit through some of the awful ones like A View to a Kill, Live and Let Die, Diamonds Are Forever and so on.

Ruth: I actually don’t have very many of them: I only have Octopussy, For Your Eyes Only, The Living Daylights on DVDs and Casino Royale and Licence To Kill on Blu-ray. That’s it!

I know that over the years my brothers and I probably have bought the same movies several times over in different format, starting with those darn VHS! I’m glad I haven’t bought any of the DVD sets though, as I’m hoping to get those glorious 50th Anniversary Blu-ray set one of these days! I know there are some awful Bond movies I don’t like in that collection but I figure I can watch the special features on them, I’d think those are still fun to watch. Speaking of memorabilia, I wish I could get a hold of all those GQ Bond issues below, and this book on the making of Licence to Kill!


Who’s your favorite Bond actor and why? Feel free to rank the five Bond actors if you so choose.

Michael: It’s who it has always been since that one night back in January of 1965. Sean Connery. I do agree with you that someone like Timothy Dalton was closer to the character Ian Fleming devised and wrote about. But, it’s still Sean blessed Connery for God sakes were talking about! I firmly believe he’s been the most charismatic of all the actors who’ve portrayed this character on film. Plus, he had an aura of physicality that matched his persona (best evidence of that would be the classic fight on the train between him and Robert Shaw as ‘Red Grant’ in From Russia With Love and John Kenneth Muir’s recent piece on The Top Five: James Bond Fight Sequences). This facet only recently approached by another — that someone being Daniel Craig. In other words, Sean remains the yardstick all others are measured against (at least by those of us a certain age, that is).

 And since you asked, here would be my ranking:
1. Sean Connery
2. Daniel Craig
3. Timothy Dalton
4. Pierce Brosnan
5. Roger Moore


Ted:
This is kind of a tough question for me, as for film version of Bond I’d have to go with Connery BUT I believe Timothy Dalton is truer to what Fleming wrote in his novels.

My Ranking:

  1. Sean Connery
  2. Timothy Dalton
  3. Daniel Craig
  4. Pierce Brosnan
  5. Roger Moore

I don’t think we can really judge Lazenby since he’s only appeared in one film.

Ruth: Anyone who’ve read this blog long enough knows who my all time favorite Bond is 😉 In fact I just paid a tribute to him just last Friday. I think as time goes by I like Dalton more and more, and perhaps the fact that he’s so criminally-underrated makes me like him more. I mean he epitomized what I envision a super spy would be (and apparently he’s what Fleming envisioned in his books, too): gritty but NOT thuggish, sophisticated and confident without being cocky, relentless yet loyal to a fault, and his Bond appreciates a beautiful woman but not in a lewd way. Plus he’s just so darn good looking! I mean he’s the ONLY Bond that makes my heart goes pit-a-pat, not to mention Dalton is the tallest Bond with the BEST voice.

I could go on and on but here’s my rating:

  1. Timothy Dalton (natch)
  2. Daniel Craig
  3. Sean Connery
  4. Roger Moore
  5. Pierce Brosnan

Note: I’m not saying I dislike Brosnan, as I like his first two Bond movies. It’s just as time goes by, his portrayal of Bond just seems too cocky to me that it rubs me the wrong way. Plus his Bond movies seems to be the most sexually vulgar (especially his sex scene with Halle Berry) that I find repulsive. Moore might be whimsical but his movies have nostalgic value to me so I just can’t put him as least favorite Bond.


What would you like to see in future Bond films? Or in other words: What’d be your ideal Bond movie be?

Michael: This is both an easy and hard one to answer. Easy because of the likes of actors like Idris Elba, Karl Urban, and your favorite Gerard Butler. Hard due to the fact that someone else, totally unknown to us all, will arrive somewhere down the line and make the iconic role their own. The point is, it’s the character of OO7 that makes the series. What’s obvious is that not one actor has carried the series for all of five decades. It’s Bond that is the brand.

If I could somehow manipulate the space-time continuum, I’d remake one particular James Bond film from the 60s to produce my ideal Bond movie. I’d have Sean Connery star in what I and others consider to be the best story of the entire series, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. I mean, Connery paired with who I consider the best Bond girl ever, Diana Rigg. There’d be no words to suffice.

Ted: I would love to see someone like David Fincher or Chris Nolan directing a Bond film. Bring his character more to reality and well make the film quite violent and brutal; I know that will never happen since the franchise is so lucrative for the studio, they will never risk doing a hard R-rated Bond film.

Ruth: I know we’re supposed to let bygones be bygones… but just looking at the poster below I found the other day, well, ideally Dalton gets to do one more Bond movie! I’d have LOVED to see him in something like Casino Royale where he gets to display his gritty as well as vulnerable side.

But ah well, I better learn to just let it go. Now, for the future, in line with what Ted said, I’d like to see quality directors tackle a Bond movie and put a fresh spin to it whilst still keeping the elements of a Bond film we’ve come to know and love. I don’t know if making it more violent is the answer, I mean it could still be PG-13 but have a really intriguing storyline that puts Bond in a different light somehow.

Well it’s more like a fantasy Bond movie… that is to see Clive Owen, someone I’d have liked to see as Bond, play a Bond villain. For once it’d be nice to see a Bond villain who might look as cool as the super spy himself, ahah. He’s in my actors wish list I’d like to see as a Bond villain.

Another fantasy of mine would be seeing Dalton himself as a Bond villain, that’s never been done before but I think he’d be perfect. And also Alan Rickman, as he could easily play an elegant baddie like Moonraker‘s Hugo Drax. I’d LOVE to hear him utter the words “So long, Mr Bond” in that iconic voice of his! 😀



Thoughts on seeing Daniel Craig in at least five more Bond films AFTER ‘Skyfall?’ Is this a good idea you think or should the producers find someone new after say, 5 years?

Michael: I’ve certainly enjoyed Daniel Craig as the most recent incarnation of Bond. But, I think an actor can overstay their welcome in the role (cough *** Roger Moore). More than two more, beyond Skyfall, and that might be too much 😉

Ted: I wouldn’t mind seeing Craig in one more film but after that the producers should look for a new actor, get a new face and have that actor create his own version of Bond.

Ruth: I definitely think Craig should just do two more Bond movies after Skyfall, tops. As much as I like him, I feel that he already looks so old now that I can’t imagine five years from now. We might get another Never Say Never Again conundrum that Connery faced when he looked more like an AARP rep than a suave super spy!

So yeah, my take is: I want to see a fresh face in a few years. Anyone on this list (save for that guy in the show Revenge) would be a fine choice in my book!


We hope you enjoyed reading our Bond Q&A. Now we turn it over to you… what are your thoughts about this franchise’s enduring appeal?

Spotlight on My Favorite Bond –Timothy Dalton in Licence to Kill

I have James Bond in my mind today, and in case some of you didn’t know, this coming October the Bond franchise is celebrating its 50th anniversary. So for Bond month we’ll have some related posts to mark the festivities. A few sites have started a Bond-related series, such as the Bond-a-thon that MTV Movie Blog is running right now and just yesterday, the movie they highlighted was Licence to Kill, woo hoo!

I’m glad they had something positive to say about it: Unlike the majority of the movies in the series, Bond has a believable motivation. We’ve known Felix Leiter since “Dr. No,” and when something genuinely awful happens to him, we care, and we care that Bond cares, especially when it kicks off a journey for vengeance.

But what got me overjoyed was last Friday my friend Michael sent me a link via Twitter to John Kenneth Muir’s appreciation post on Licence To Kill. I have intimated in more than one occasions that Timothy Dalton is my all time favorite Bond, as you probably have read in this post, but Mr. Muir absolutely nailed the reason why I love him so…

Beyond the stunts, Timothy Dalton absolutely excels as Bond in this film. He’s called upon to undergo a series of personal crises here, and gives the audience a fully human Bond who pushes himself to the limits of human endurance, both in terms of injury (as in the finale) and in terms of control over his emotions.  Some people worried that this Dalton Bond was “too sensitive,” but his is — pretty clearly — the Bond of the Ian Fleming books.  He smokes too much, drinks too much, and when he lets himself feel his emotions, he’s absolutely off the rails.

Oh my! I couldn’t say it better myself! I have seen this film recently and it absolutely renews my appreciation for it. Here’s the Bond resigning clip that shows that Bond has a heart… but still very much a bad ass!



So today I feel like indulging a bit and turn the spotlight on the Shakespearean-trained Welsh actor in his second outing as Bond… in pictorial… because sometimes, pictures speak so much louder than words!

Now, if you think the movie is devoid of humor, then you’d be wrong. Though Licence to Kill is by definition a much darker, grittier tale that’s a departure from the Roger Moore’s Bonds, but there are some fun, lighthearted moments scattered throughout, such as this one when Q shows up in Bond’s hotel room:

How Dalton came to play Bond

Director John Glen on set with Dalton

And for those who ever thought that Dalton was a ‘back-up’ Bond (like one Variety writer said in their recent post), well they need to do better research. The actor had said in The Living Daylights documentary that Albert Broccoli had offered him the role as far back as 1968 when he was only 24! It was Dalton himself who turned down the role, saying he was far too young for the role, “Originally I did not want to take over from Sean Connery. He was far too good, he was wonderful. I was about 24 or 25, which is too young. But when you’ve seen Bond from the beginning, you don’t take over from Sean Connery.”

Wikipedia also noted that he was approached again in the late 70s but he wasn’t keen on the direction the films were taking (this was Roger Moore’s era, natch!). It’s true that he finally accepted the role in 1986 when Pierce Brosnan couldn’t get his contract out of the TV series Remington Steele, but it didn’t mean that he was the producer’s second choice as Dalton was already considered before Brosnan even entered the picture!

In any case, it really is a shame Dalton only got two Bond movies under his belt. I like Daniel Craig, I mean Casino Royale is one of my favorite Bond movies now and you know I’m looking forward to Skyfall. But Dalton’s performance, which was way ahead of his time, will always be the one I remember most fondly. I’m sure glad that it seems that more people seem to appreciate Dalton and his Bond movies more as time goes by. Rightly so!


That’s it folks. Thoughts on Dalton and/or Licence To Kill? Well, let’s hear it!

Weekend Roundup: Comic-con, 007 & Despicable Me

Happy Monday all!

Well I *survived* the Comic-con weekend, that is I haven’t exploded from jealousy from reading all those tweets and coverage of those who were lucky enough to be there!

Dan Fogarty of FogsMovieReviews had an extensive coverage of the event, check out this awesome costume gallery and his thoughts of why Comic-con is so world-renowned. He was kind enough to send me these two pics via Twitter from Hall H where both The Hobbit AND Man of Steel‘s panel were held.

Armitage starring as Thorin in The Hobbit

The unbelievably gorgeous Man of Steel himself … Henryyyyyyyy!

Oh my, I tell you, if I had already been screaming at the top of my head seeing Andrew Garfield last year, they might have to carry me off in a stretcher seeing those Richard Armitage and Henry Cavill back to back! [swoon…]

So thanks Fogs!!

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Well, this week is rather lackluster movie-watching for me but hey, we did secure The Dark Knight Rises IMAX tickets for next Saturday night at 7PM, woo hoo!!

I figure it might be less crowded than Friday night, but so far about half of the tickets are sold for Saturday so I think it’ll be as busy. I heard from my buddy Ted that the Man of Steel trailer WON’T be in front of the IMAX showings of the latest Nolan’s trilogy because the film itself is already too long at 2 hrs and 44 minutes. Bummer!! I hope that isn’t true!

Ah well, I can’t wait for Saturday already. This is gonna be an epic weekend alright! So did you all get YOUR tickets yet?

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I’ve also been in a Bond mood as I had just finished another post for the 007 Chatter series. So I re-watched The Living Daylights, one of my favorite Bond movies is Timothy Dalton’s debut. After all these years I still LOVE this movie (yes despite Joe Don Baker as a lame villain) solely because of Dalton’s performance. Right from that rousing opening sequence and the clever way he’s revealed the first time as the then new Bond, I was done for. I like my James Bond dark and gritty, but Dalton is also such eye candy. Now why wasn’t there a gratuitous scene of him emerging from the water like Craig did in Casino Royale?! 🙂 I even like the sub-plot with the Afghan Mujahideen, that last half hour is exhilarating-ly action-packed and the plane fight scene shows Dalton’s physical prowess.

Then after that, I started watching Dr. No…. the film that started it all. I saw it ages ago but have forgotten much about it. I do remember liking Connery in the role. I was reading the EMPIRE 007 special edition and there’s an article on Dr. No. One of the producers was saying how when Connery left their office, they’d go to the window and watch him walk. They all loved the way he moved and I’d have to agree. There’s such inherent machismo and playfulness that’s so effortless, it’s not manufactured in any way. I LOVE the scene when the famous line ‘Bond, James Bond’ was introduced.

Wouldn’t you know it, it was all inspired by a woman! ‘Trench, Sylvia Trench.’

Anyway, here’s my mini review of…

DESPICABLE ME

Truth be told, I wasn’t all that interested in seeing this movie. The trailer looked fairly generic, and even with the great reviews (81% on Rotten Tomatoes) I kind of forgot about it. But then I saw the trailer for the sequel with those adorable minions singing ‘Ba ba ba ba ba banana… ‘ and I just couldn’t wait to see it!! So yeah, the main draw for me is really those yellow minions in denim overalls and they did not disappoint.

Starring Steve Carrell as Gru, a criminal mastermind whose grand mission is to steal the moon with the use of a shrink rays weapon. His life takes an unexpected turn when he adopts a trio of orphan girls as pawns against his main nemesis, Vector (Jason Siegel). The story itself is nothing special, in fact it’s pretty predictable all around but still it’s quite entertaining. Some reviews compared this to a Pixar movie and though there are some tender emotional moments between Gru and the girls, the plot in this one is far more frivolous and not nearly as tightly-written as say, Toy Story.

I’ve always loved Steve Carrell and his brand of humor shines here in his voice work, even though his Russian-ish accent sounds odd at times. The three orphan girls are such darling and you truly feel for their desire to be loved. In fact, I teared up during such of those moments, yes even despite its predictability that beneath the cold-hearted exterior, Gru is a softie. But to me my favorite characters are those minions!! They didn’t quite overpower the story but definitely a delight every time they appear on screen. Seems like the way the sequel’s trailer is centered solely on them, they might have more screen time in Despicable Me 2? I certainly don’t mind it, I could watch those helium-voiced yellow creatures all day!

Final Thoughts:

I think the idea of villains vs. villains is quite fresh and boasted by wonderful, endearing characters, it makes for quite a pleasant movie for both kids and adults alike. Whoever think of those minions is a genius, I can’t get enough of them! 😀

Three and a half stars out of Five
3.5 out of 5 reels


Well, what did YOU see this weekend, folks? Anything interesting?

007 Chatter: Our picks of Best & Worst Bond films from each decade

In anticipation for Bond 23, a.k.a. Skyfall coming on November 9th, 2012, Ted and I are starting a new monthly series called 007 CHATTER… look for it sometime in the first week of each month.

I’ve also added a new category for this, so click on 007 Chatter on the category drop-down menu for all Bond-related posts.

As the new batch of Skyfall new pics have just been released (you can see some over at Castor’s blog), it’s time for another 007 Chatter post. This time, both Ted and I take a look at our best and worst Bond films from each decade. Now, as I haven’t watched ALL of Sean Connery’s Bonds, my list will start from the 70s and up.

TED’s LIST

The 60s:

Many Bond fans will agree that this era contains many great Bond flicks so it’s quite a challenge for me to pick the best Bond film from this decade. Here are my choices for best and worst Bond film from the 60s:

Best: Thunderball (1965) –  It was hard picking this one over On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Goldfinger and From Russia With Love but Thunderball is still my favorite Bond film of all time. As I stated previously on my Best Bond films post, Thunderball has everything you ask for in a Bond film: pretty girls, beautiful locales, good action sequences and of course a villain who’s trying to destroy the world.

Worst: You Only Live Twice (1967) This is probably the only Bond film from this decade that not many people talk about and it’s for a good reason. It contained probably the dumbest idea ever put in a Bond film and there were a lot dumb stuff that appeared in many of the Bond films, this one tops them all. Sean Connery put on a make-up so that appears to be Japanese, not only did the make looked awful and Connery looks nothing like an Asian person, it was quite offensive in my opinion. Now it wasn’t as offensive as Mickey Rooney’s portrayal of an Asian man in Breakfast at Tiffany’s but it’s still quite bad. Besides being offensive, this Bond flick just wasn’t that interesting. The cinematography was awful and the script was badly-written. It’s the worst Bond film of this decade by far.

The 70s:

After the poor box office returns of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service which has a more serious tone, the producers were afraid the audience might lose interest in the franchise. So they’ve decided to make Bond films into more of a light action/adventure and as a result, many of the Bond films from this decade were pretty dreadful.

Best: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) – Out of Roger Moore’s entire Bond films; this may have been his most serious Bond. It’s not perfect but the film was a lot of fun, it was beautifully-shot by Claude Renoir and had some cool action sequences for its time. Also, it was tightly-edited by John Glen who would later direct five Bond films in the 80s.

Worst: Diamonds Are Forever (1971) – So this was the film that kick started the silly comedic tone of the franchise and they convinced Sean Connery, well actually the producers paid a then unheard-of $1.25mil to him, to come back and play Bond again. In a rare occasion, most of this film took place mainly on US soil and it has the first American Bond girl, Jill St. John. With the exception of a nifty car chase through the Vegas strip, this film was quite dreadful. It wasn’t fun or exiting, the plot made little sense to me and Connery looked like he’d rather be somewhere else than playing Bond again.

The 80s:

So the 80s was interesting as far as Bond films are concern, we saw three different actors portrayed the secret agent and it contained two of my favorite Bond films ever. But the decade also released some really bad Bond flicks.

Best: It was toss up but I have to go with License to Kill, my other favorite from this decade was For Your Eyes Only. I thought License to Kill (1989) was a better film because it was a more realistic take on the character and oh yeah, Timothy Dalton was great as Bond. I know many Bond fans hated him but I thought he’s closer to what Fleming had written on the novels.

Worst: Again a toss-up but the worst Bond flick from this decade was A View To A Kill (1985), but my other choice was Never Say Never Again. A couple of reasons why I chose A View To A Kill: first, the film was boring and how could you cast Christopher Walken play a villain and yet his character was so weak and nonthreatening? Second, when Never Say Never Again opened in theater back in 1983, it wasn’t considered the official Bond film because it was produced by another movie studio, Warner Bros., so for that reason it gets a pass from me. It’s now considered part of the Bond family because MGM bought all the rights from Warner back in 1997.

The 90s:

Well, it took a few years before we finally saw a new Bond flick back on the big screen in the mid 90s when GoldenEye opened in 1995. A new actor took over the role of the super secret agent. There were only 3 Bond films that came out in that decade, 2 good ones and the other was quite bad.

Best: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) – I’m quite sure many people would’ve chosen GoldenEye over this one but to me this film is a lot more fun. As I mentioned in my previous article, I thought Pierce Brosnan didn’t look comfortable in his first outing as 007 but he looked like he had a lot of fun in this one and was very comfortable playing Bond. The film has some really cool action sequences, such as the shootout/car chase scene in the parking ramp and the motorcycle and helicopter chase through the streets of Hanoi (it’s actually filmed in Thailand). I also like the villain in the film, he’s not another Russian who wants to take over the world, he’s just a greedy media mogul who wants to start world war 3 so he can make more money.

Worst: The World Is Not Enough (1999) – When it was announced that Michael Apted was going to direct the next Bond flick, I thought to myself why did they hired a director whose films were mostly dramas? (Okay I’m hoping Sam Mendes would prove that a dramatic director can make a great action film with Skyfall) Well, my fears came true when I finally saw it and walked out of the theater feeling like the franchise is going downhill fast. Not all of it was Apted’s fault but he directed some really boring action sequences in the film, the plot was a snooze fest and the villains were quite weak. Oh did I mention that Denise Richards played a scientist in this film? ’nuff said.

2000s:

Well in the last decade, Brosnan starred in one Bond film and we were introduced a new Bond later in the decade.

Best: Casino Royale (2006) – After a couple of very bad Bond films the producers decided to reboot the franchise, even though the last film was the highest earning Bond film ever. They cast a younger Bond in Daniel Craig and went back to his early years as a reckless secret agent. The film received great reviews and was big box office hit. It’s my second favorite Bond film of all time and Craig did an amazing job playing 007.

Worst: Die Another Day (2002) – This was the film that resulted in the reboot of the franchise. It was a huge box office hit but critics and fans all agreed that it was one of the worst Bond films ever made. To be honest, I actually enjoyed the first half of this film but the rest of the film was a disaster. I’m not a huge fan of Halle Berry so I thought she was one of the worst Bond girls ever. You might remember, MGM actually considered expanding her character into a stand-alone film. Fortunately her Catwoman film tanked so bad, the idea was scrapped. Also, Brosnan looked like he’d rather be somewhere else than playing Bond again.

RUTH’s LIST

Since I haven’t watched all of Sean Connery’s Bond flicks, I’m going to skip the 60s and goes right to the following decade.

The 70s:

Best: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) – I totally agree with Ted on this one, and interestingly enough I had just read this awesome review by Dan over at FogsMovieReviews and I wholeheartedly agree it’s certainly the high point of the Moore era. If you saw my post about Mozart a few weeks ago, this is actually the movie that introduced me to Mozart’s music, ahah, what do you know right? 😀 I think I’m partial to Moore’s Bonds that have Jaws in it and he’s got quite a bit of screen time here. I also like Barbara Bach as the sexy but sophisticated Bond girl, waaay too much cleavage but I’m sure the boys don’t mind. Oh and that amphibian car is way cool even today!

Worst: It’s a toss-up between Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun – but if I have to pick just one, I’d have to go with the latter as I’m really creeped out by the dwarf from Fantasy Island as the henchman to Christopher Lee’s Scaramanga. Lee made for a pretty sinister Saruman but he’s a pretty lame Bond villain as well. Overall this just wasn’t a memorable Bond flick to me, I mean I don’t even remember who the main Bond girl was, I just knew that Maud Adams died in this one but she’s of course had a much bigger role in Octopussy.

The 80s:

As I grew up watching a bunch of Bond movies in this decade, it’s really going to be tough to pick just one favorite. This is a special year for me as there are four Bond movies I like released in the 80s, two from Roger Moore and two from Timothy Dalton. Octopussy is more of a guilty pleasure though.

Best: I LOVE The Living Daylight as it’s Dalton’s first outing as Bond, but given the awful villain in that movie (Joe Don Baker, seriously??), I’d have to agree with Ted and pick Licence To Kill (1989). Dalton is even more bad-ass as the rogue spy, but he’s tough guy with a heart as you could still see his broken heart over what happened to his friend Felix. I do think this film is so massively underrated as now people are praising Daniel Craig being so ruthless and hard-edged, but Dalton had done exactly that and more. Plus I think he looks far sexier with wet hair (well just sexier overall) 🙂 It’s also got two bonafide villains, Robert Davi and his henchman Benicio Del Toro (you can hardly recognized him as he’s so much leaner then with no heavy bags under his eyes). Davi is especially charismatic as the suave but sadistic Sanchez, and his friendly scenes with Bond up until the brutal truck-chase finale is fun to watch.

Worst: Never Say Never Again (1983). Really, there’s no contest here as Connery should never have accepted the role as Bond as he looked more like grandpa Bond, which made it all the creepier seeing him wooing Kim Basinger who’s 23 years his junior! It’s also a non-EON production so it’s not an ‘official’ Bond flick, which is why there was no James Bond theme or the gun-barrel opening sequence in this one. I saw this long ago and can’t recall much about it, just as well as it surely wasn’t worth remembering.

The 90s:

Best: Goldeneye (1995) – Though Pierce Brosnan doesn’t rank high on my favorite Bond list, I actually quite enjoyed this one. I like Sean Bean as the villain with a personal vendetta (one of my fave Bond villains in fact), and Famke Janssen certainly made for an indelible villainess with an unforgettable name, Xenia Onatopp (really, it’s right up there with Pussy Galore!). But most of all, I like this one as it’s the first time we see Judi Dench as M (love her spot-on description of Bond as a “sexist, misogynist dinosaur”), which is perfect casting that continues to pay off to this day! The action scenes are pretty well-done and the customary car chase of Bond’s Aston Martin vs. Onatopp’s red Ferrari delivers its optimum good fun. Even the preposterous tank chase through the streets of St. Petersburg is massively enjoyable.

Btw, the reason I pick this over Tomorrow Never Dies (though I love Michelle Yeoh as a kick-ass Bond girl) is that I can’t stand Jonathan Pryce as the villain. The idea of making the Bond villain as a media mogul is inspired but I wish they had cast a more compelling actor for the part (someone more convincingly sinister like Terrence Stamp perhaps?)

Worst: The World Is Not Enough (1999) – There are only 3 Bond movies in the 90s and hands down this fares as not only the worst of the decade but one of the worst of ALL Bond movies! As Ted already mentioned, not only is Denise Richards plays a rocket scientist, her name is Christmas Jones… Doctor Christmas Jones!! I do like Sophie Marceau as the mysterious Bond girl Elektra, but Robert Carlyle as the bullet-infested Renard is lackluster at best. He’s the least sophisticated Bond villain ever, a far cry from the regal but deranged tycoons like Moonraker‘s Drax or The Spy Who Loved Me‘s Stromberg. Mostly though, it’s just unbearable watching Denise being so far out of her elements, I really have no clue what Michael Apted was thinking casting her. Definitely THE worst Bond girl ever!

2000s:

Best: Casino Royale (2006) – I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this movie. It ranks perhaps as my favorite Bond film ever, which is such a pleasant surprise given my initial doubts about Daniel Craig. This is perhaps the most-watched Bond movies as I’ve seen it a half a dozen times and still love every minute of it. It’s not only a great Bond film, it’s a great film, period. The story is well-written, it’s got a sexy & smart Bond girl played by the stunning Eva Green, and it boasts an amazing scenery, especially the Italian location, especially the one in Venice. I know that Le Chiffre isn’t the strongest Bond villain, but I actually like Mads Mikkelsen as an actor.

Worst: Die Another Day (2002)This movie is just ludicrous from start to finish with absolutely no redemptive value whatsoever. Terrible villain, lame Bond girl (I thought the gratuitous sex scene with Halle Berry is much too vulgar for a Bond flick) and there’s the invisible cars to make the agony complete! Oh and did I mention Madonna is in this also? This movie also has the most product placements in a Bond movie, from no less than 20 companies (per Wiki).


Check out Ted’s profile and links to his other posts


Well those are our picks for best and worst Bond films from each decade. What are YOUR choices?

Top 5 WORST James Bond Films Ever Made

In light of news for the upcoming James Bond film titled Skyfall, I’m teaming up with my pal Ted S. to list five WORST James Bond films ever made.

Ok so the likelihood of Oscar winner Sam Mendes’ Bond film would end up on this list is pretty slim. For sure this one is off to a flying start with the most award-winning Bond cast ever — Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney & Ben Wishaw joining Daniel Craig on his third outing as 007.

Craig with new Bond girls Bernice Marlohe & Naomi Harris

Ted: I think most film lovers have seen some or maybe all of the James Bond films; even if you’re not into them, I’m quite sure you’ve seen one or two Bond films in your lifetime. As for me, I considered myself a Bond fanatic, I mean come on now, the dude looks good, gets to sleep with beautiful women, drives a super expensive car, blow a lot of stuff up and save the world from the bad guys. It’s a fantasy for every male out there, okay maybe some would rather be Batman or Superman but I digress.

I’ve seen all of the Bond films and read most of the books, so I guess I’m qualified to give MY list of the worst Bond films ever produced. Just remember films are subjective, so don’t get mad at me if I included your favorite Bond films on my worst list.

Ruth: James Bond is huge in my household growing up. I used to watch the older Sean Connery Bond movies with my brothers who were both 5 years older than me, but the Bond I grew up with were Roger Moore & Timothy Dalton. I think Bond movies are the quintessential escapist entertainment — cool actions, exotic locales and our suave hero hardly ever gets hurt. But out of 22 Bond films, there are definitely quite a few duds.

Ted gave me this list a few months back and guess what, apparently we share a similar taste when it comes to Bond movies as I also regard these as my least favorite. We differ on one that I include on the honorable mention though, but let’s get to the top five first:

1. Never Say Never Again

Ted: There are several reasons why I think this is the worst Bond film ever. First off, this one wasn’t considered part of the Bond franchise since it was produced by Warner Bros. (MGM bought the rights a few years ago but it’s still considered the black sheep of the franchise) and also it was a remake of a much superior Bond film, Thunderball. Yes, it starred Sean Connery but he was in his late 50s around this time and when you paired him with the young Bond girl, Kim Basinger, it was kind of creepy.

The villain was pretty weak, in fact I thought the actor who played the villain was very dorky looking and every time he appeared on screen, I started laughing. Then there’s the action or should I say what action? There were two major action sequences in the whole film and they were badly directed by Irwin Kirchner, this is the same man who directed The Empire Strikes Back; not sure what happened there. In an interview, Kirchner said he didn’t want to direct those action scenes, so I guess that’s why there were so badly shot. And lastly, the film was just plain boring.

Ruth: An elderly, balding Bond just ruins the image of the super spy. You know the phrase, quit when you are ahead? Well, Connery definitely overstayed his welcome with this one.

2. A View To A Kill

Ted: You know the film isn’t any good when you have Christopher Walken is playing the villain and yet he’s boring as heck. Also, Roger Moore wasn’t such a young man anymore; he looked bored and probably wanted to be anywhere else but on the set of this film. Oh yeah, Grace Jones was probably the most scary Bond girl/henchwoman ever and not scary in the good way.

Ruth: Grace Jones aside, this movie also had one of the worst Bond girls ever. I realize some Bond girls are merely serve as ‘damsel in distress’ but Tanya Roberts took it way too literally. She came across ditzy and whiny, I mean saying the word ‘Oh James’ multiple different ways doesn’t exactly count as acting!

3. Diamonds Are Forever

Ted: So Connery was basically begged to come back and play Bond again since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was a box office disappointment. They even paid him a then record $1.2 mil to reprise his most famous role. This was the film that kicked off the comedic tone in the Bond films throughout the 70s and 80s, the dark ending of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service made the studio very nervous so they asked the filmmakers to tone done the seriousness of the film. I think this film has probably the worst Bond girl ever, Jill St. John’s character was badly-written and she didn’t really do much in the film besides showing off her body. But what I do I know; the film was a huge success.

Ruth: I think I must’ve dozed off when I saw this one with my brothers but there was hardly anything memorable in this film. I think the only worthy thing about this one is the theme song sang by the inimitable Shirley Bassey.

4. You Only Live Twice

Ted: This film does have some cool action scenes but when Connery put on fake slant eyes so he could he disguise himself as a Japanese man, it was the low point in the Bond franchise. But this was back in the late 60s so I guess I can forgive the filmmakers for coming up with such an offensive idea.

The concept for the film was decent, but the execution just wasn’t there. The directing was sloppy and the editing was even worse. Another thing that surprised me was how bad the film looked, I mean this was a big-budgeted film for its time and it looked pretty ugly. The other Bond films in that same decade looked spectacular, maybe the director and cinematographer wanted to give the film a new look but in my opinion they failed.


Ruth: I don’t think I have anything else to add. Having a 6’2″, ultra-tanned, hairy Scot pretending to be an Oriental man is more than enough reason to include this on the worst list. I mean, seriously, it doesn’t get any more absurd than this, I don’t care what era it’s set in, there’s just no excuse for it. Oh and the villain Spectre was basically laughable, no doubt this is where Austin Powers got most of its inspiration from for Dr. Evil.

5. The World Is Not Enough

Ted: Denise Richards played a scientist. Again, Denise Richards played a scientist in this movie. The very same Denise Richards who was married to Charlie Sheen and she played a scientist! I guess I made my point, but Denise was not the only problem in this movie. The plot was lame and Brosnan look bored in the entire film. Michael Apted was not known for doing action films and it showed because most of the set pieces were so boring. The only best action scene in the whole film was the boat chase in the beginning. One critic said it best when she reviewed the movie, “The spy who bored me.” I totally agree.

Ruth: If casting could kill. Never in the history of a Bond film has there been a casting decision as ludicrous as this one. Not only did this one boast the most idiotic Bond girl name ever conceived — Dr. Christmas Jones (as if adding Doctor in front of it would make it better??) — there are lines like this, “I thought Christmas only comes once a year.” I rest my case.

Honorable mentions:

  • The Man with the Golden Gun
    Ted: The film almost destroyed the franchise because it tanked at the box office so bad that United Artists considered pulling the plug any future Bond projects. But when they looked at the world wide box office numbers, they decided to keep going with it. The film only earned around $20mil here in the states.
  • Die Another Day
    Ted: The film that ended Pierce Brosnan’s run as Bond. I actually enjoyed the first half of this one but wow, the rest of the film was awful. Bond surfing in the beginning then later he surfed again? It was bad.
  • Moonraker
    Ted: I believe the tagline for this film was, ‘James Bond in space.’ I guess most of the big budgeted films around this time were trying to cash in on the Star Wars craze and so why not send Bond into space right? I think out of all of Roger Moore’s Bond films, this one ranks as the most ridiculous one in my opinion. I didn’t include it on my top 5 worst list is because I enjoyed most of the film, while I hated everything about A View to a Kill.

  • Live and Let Die
    Ted: Roger Moore’s first outing as Bond was a pretty weird movie, the film hardly had any action in it and the villain again was quite weak. The reason I didn’t include it on my top 5 list was because Jane Seymour was so gorgeous in this one, she’s one of my favorite Bond girls.
  • Quantum of Solace
    Ruth: Now this is my pick as Ted quite like this one. I really, really want to like this film and yes I did have a high expectations considering how fantastic Casino Royale was. But really there was just too much fighting in this film and the action sequences were too choppy and too brutal for what I expect a Bond film to be. Dominic Greene may be a good actor but he just makes a dull and lackluster villain. Add the overly-serious Olga Kurylenko who’s all business and no fun, it is the audience who is in need of a bit of solace as we’re ripped off some good escapist fun at the movies.


So what do you think of our list? Share your thoughts and name your own picks of worst Bond flicks in the comments!

Hollywood Movie Draft Pitch III: Untitled Sci-Fi by Duncan Jones

As part Anomalous Material’s Hollywood Fantasy Draft blog event, I posted my dream cast last week. Now check out the movie pitch below… tentatively titled …

The Renovaré Project

(Renovaré is Latin for “to renew” or “to restore”)

Photo by thmc | deviantart.com

LOGLINE:

In the year of 3020, a fraction of the earth population are now living temporarily in a distant planet. A young military protégé on a mission back to earth discovers that everything he knows about the apocalyptic event is not what they seem.

BACKGROUND:

This untitled sci-fi drama is a mix of NBC’s The Event and the ‘V’ miniseries with elements of Equilibrium thrown in. It’s a story of overcoming unspeakable deception and the courage to fight against insurmountable odds in the name of humanity and love. Because of the nature of the storyline, the film will have more of an open-ended conclusion. I envision this to be a two-part or trilogy series.

It’s a post-apocalyptic setting… most of the world as we know it has been destroyed by a catastrophic meteor shower two years prior. Humanity is facing extinction on earth as only a select few of surviving humans are now living temporarily in a distant planet called Bhumi, a dystopian society that are far more structured and sterile-looking environment where diseases are rare and conflicts are minimized as the citizens have been “programmed” to obey and please authorities without question nor protest.

The Bhumi authorities are in fact an alien colony called the Luciens who are responsible for the meteor attacks. They are a highly-intelligent and technologically-advanced creatures who have shape-shifting abilities. They live off of minerals similar to what exists at the earth core, and their government is totalitarian in nature. They’re a slow-breeding race, so their population only numbering in the hundred of thousands. On top of that, the shrinking mineral resources on their planet slow down their reproduction ability even more.

A new leader in their society, who goes by the name Damien, wants to solve that problem, as well as create a perfect world of hybrid race of Luciens-humans who’d submit to him. The Luciens can’t simply invade earth because the high air pollution in the earth atmosphere endanger their health in much bigger impact than they do humans. Therefore, instead of a full-on invasion, the Luciens think it’s more effective to do it strategically and in phases. They’d obliterate most of the earth population (using their own bombs that are made to look like meteor attacks), sparing only those they deem intelligent enough to match their kind. These men and women are the chosen ones who were ‘rescued’ and trained months before the catastrophe happened, as they possess the skill set needed for the Renovaré project. The purpose of that is two-fold: One, to help rebuild earth once the effect of the meteor shower have subsided; and two, to be mated with their own kind to start the ‘perfect’ breed. The Luciens’ shape-shifting power enable them to blend in with humans and they use their supreme intelligence to gradually brainwash various earth leaders into believing meteor attacks are imminent and the only way to save what’s left of humanity is to create a temporary living quarter in a different planet.

The Luciens’ grand vision of the new earth

All the human survivors now living in Bhumi have been brainwashed to think that Renovaré‘s main mission is to reset the world as we know it to improve or make it better. The film’s protagonist, Joshua Prescott, has been made leader of one of the ELITE team of the Renovaré Project because of his intelligence and military prowess. The team created by Bhumi’s new government to clean up and rebuild a new, better environment on earth. Bhumi is a relatively-small planet that will not big enough to accommodate Bhumi’s targeted population of the hybrid race, but they have to make sure the climate is ready for them to move in. It’s whilst on a mission back to earth that Joshua slowly learns the truth about what he’s been conditioned to believe…  and suddenly he’s faced with a darker reality that is even more bleak than he’s ever thought or imagined.

DIRECTOR:

Duncan Jones
The 40-year-old British director may be a relative unknown to most moviegoers, but in just the past 2 years, he’s directed two critically-acclaimed movies. His directing debut Moon won Best British Independent Film in 2009. I feel that he’s got the chops to create an emotionally-engaging sci-fi flick that is heavy on the plot and character-development and less about the bombastic action sequences. I also think he can handle the romantic aspect of the story, based on what I’ve seen in Source Code.

CAST OF CHARACTERS:


Chris Hemsworth is Joshua Prescott, the film’s 31-year-old protagonist. Prescott is an aerospace engineer who’s also a pilot, tall and handsome in a grizzled kind of way, and a charismatic leader. He had just proposed to his long-time girlfriend Lena Bouvier when he’s recruited by the Luciens for the Renovaré project.


Viggo Mortensen is Bhumi’s Commander in Chief Damien and the film’s main villain. He’s the leader of the alien beings who are highly-intelligent and has shape-shifting abilities. Damien has the appearance of a man in his late 40s, charismatic with a quiet grace but is relentlessly ambitious to create a perfect ‘breed’ between his own kind and the ‘best’ of the human race.


Emily Blunt is Lena Bouvier, Joshua’s fiancée who survives the meteor strike and is a member of the remaining resistance group who knows about the Luciens and that they are behind the meteor attack. She is a nurse who’s in the middle of a night shift when the attack happens, but fortunately her father gets to her in the nick of time to bring her to safety.


Hugo Weaving plays Lena’s father, Léon Bouvier, a scientist who has been skeptical about the real cause of the meteor attack. Deeply distrustful of the government that grows increasingly strange in the months leading to the catastrophe, he builds a secretive underground scientific chamber for his research as well as hiding place. When Lena’s mother is killed in the attack, he grows even more vigorous in his quest to uncover the truth.


Romola Garai plays Saffron, the Lucien girl chosen by Damien as Joshua’s mate in Bhumi. She is one of the few female members of Damien’s ultra-secretive science program and is fiercely loyal to him and his cause. She’s been instrumental in the brainwashing process of Joshua and his team.


James Purefoy is Seth Jones, the leader of the earth’s resistance group in Europe. He lives in the same Scottish castle ruin where Lena and the remaining earth survivors dwell in. He’s a British air-force pilot whose family is killed during the meteor attack and shares Léon’s conspiracy theory of what happens on earth. He has feelings for Lena and after two years being heartbroken about Joshua, she finally opens up to him… that is until Joshua suddenly reappears.


Idris Elba plays Andrew Cudjoe, a former executive of a Global Natural Resources Corporation based in London. Because of the company’s main focus in mining, processing, and energy operations, the Luciens have surveyed his company for information even a year before the meteor attack. Andrew is Vivien’s husband, but they were separated when she got recruited by the Luciens. He’s now become Seth’s right hand man in the resistance.


Thandie Newton plays a sculpture artist Vivien, whose beauty catches Damien’s eye. She has been Damien’s lover in the past two years though like Joshua, she too has been haunted by dreams of a man she doesn’t remember. She has become attached to Damien but somehow can’t shake the feeling that there is something strange about life in Bhumi and that Damien might be keeping something from her.


Sir Sean Connery plays an ailing Protestant pastor Charles Wilby, whose son is also recruited by the Luciens. Even though he’s injured in the meteor attack, he’s been ministering the group of people to remain hopeful of a better reality despite the circumstances. He dies shortly after Joshua tells him that he’s met his son who’s one of the engineer in Bhumi’s central station.


ADDITIONAL CAST:
Jamie Bamber – Michael, Charles Wilby’s only son
Sean Bean – A Lucien general, Damien’s right hand man
David Bowie – Cameo as a Lucien cleric


SYNOPSIS:

Two years after the meteor strike, a dozen group consisting of about 24 people are sent to survey various areas of earth. They’re tasked to make sure earth is ‘ready’ to be rebuilt and report back to Bhumi’s authorities. All the human survivors now living in Bhumi have been brainwashed to think that Renovaré’s main mission is to ‘reset’ the world as we know it to improve or make it better.

Joshua Prescott is the leader of Faction 316 consisting of eight men to survey the area of formerly the UK, and set up their station in a Scottish moor. In their sixth day, they come across a group of survivors living in the basement of a castle ruin. They survive on canned foods and water they’ve managed to collect just before the meteor strike. Prescott and his team have orders from the Renovaré general to execute survivors because of threat of meteoric ‘poison’ that will potentially contaminate the area and endanger the lives of the survivors who’d later occupy the space. Prescott normally have no problem obeying orders, as he believes that sacrifices have to be made for the greater good. But when he meets Lena, a beautiful woman who’s rumpled and scrawny given the circumstances, it’s as if he’s seeing the woman in his dreams, so he’s unable to kill her and her friends. He orders his team not to harm the group.

Apocalyptic depiction of a future London by German artist Marco Bauriedel

It turns out there are imperfections in the Luciens’ memory erase program. On some individuals, the procedure has ‘leaks’ in that the subject will recall bits and pieces of their past in the form of dreams. In the last few months leading up to the mission, Joshua has been dreaming more frequently of Lena, but he has no idea who she is. The fact is, Joshua and Lena had gotten engaged just months before he’s recruited by the Luciens and had his memory wiped out. In Bhumi, Joshua has been involved with another woman, Saffron, a Lucien chosen by Damien specifically for him, yet he can’t help feeling drawn to Lena. Joshua doesn’t remember Léon even though he was pretty close with Lena’s father prior to being recruited. This convinces Léon even more that something has been done to these human recruits that causes them to lose their memory.

Seth sees Joshua as a personal rival as well as a threat to his group. The next day, he and a few of his loyal men launch an attack against Joshua, which results in several of Seth’s group getting killed in the process. Léon begs Seth for cease fire and tells him that that he believes Joshua is the key to knowing the truth about what really happened. Joshua is the only one who can provide proof of the Luciens’ existence, besides, the resistance is no match to the much more well-equipped Renovaré team. Seth reluctantly agrees.

Meanwhile, Joshua’s dreams of Lena are getting more intense ever since he came back to earth, to the point that he would wake up weeping uncontrollably. Frantically, he goes back to see Lena and Léon and find them in the middle of a praying session with Charles, whose condition is getting worsened because of the injury he sustained during the meteor attack. Yet his eyes are still full of hope as he reaches for Joshua’s hands to calm him down. He tells him about his son Michael who’s about the same age as Joshua and proceeds to show him a torn picture of him that Charles carries with him at all times. Joshua recognizes Michael as one of the engineers working at Bhumi’s central station and when he informs Charles this, the ailing 75-year-old makes Joshua promise that he’d make things right and help the survivors find the truth. The next day, Charles dies.

One of the Renovare’s team’s earth-bound stations

Joshua now feels torn between his allegiance to Damien and a life he’s grown accustomed to in Bhumi, and his strong feelings and deep empathy for Lena and the resistance group. Despite what he’s learned on earth, he still can’t fathom that Bhumi is ruled by an alien race as they look and behave just like humans. A week later, right before he makes a quick trip to Bhumi to report to Damien, Andrew finds Joshua behind Seth’s back and tells him about a strange visit he encountered in his office just weeks before the meteor attack and how his guests were very interested about the iron ore-grade commercial mining operations in various parts of the world. He doesn’t know what it all means, but figures that it might provide a clue to the origins of the Luciens. Joshua notices a tattoo of a woman’s face on Andrew’s arm, she is the splitting image Damien’s lover but he refrains from saying anything.

Back in Bhumi, Joshua and Saffron are invited to dinner by Damien at his compound. Damien is very fond of Joshua and tells him of his grand vision for earth. Joshua does his best to pretend everything is ok, but every time he looks at Vivien, he can’t help wondering her connection with Andrew. He also feels incredibly uneasy to share a room with Saffron because of his feelings for Lena, and refuses to sleep with her. In the middle of the night, he leaves his room to get some air in a secluded lake. He finds Vivien there and Joshua uses the opportunity to ask her about Andrew. Sure enough, Joshua’s description of Andrew fits the picture of the man in her dreams. Joshua tells Vivien what he learns from earth and Vivien breaks down in tears and Joshua consoles her in his embrace, telling her to make sure to keep this a secret for now. At this point, Saffron sees the two of them and thinks they’re having an affair.

The next day, Saffron confronts Joshua and threatens to tell Damien about the affair. Joshua denies it but Saffron refuses to believe him, and in a moment of panic, he lunges at her and accidentally knocks her unconscious. That night, he drugs Saffron and takes her to earth to be examined by Léon. Indeed he finds an alien DNA in Saffron, thus proving his theory. Joshua goes berserk realizing he’s been utterly betrayed and lied for the past three years, and immediately wants to return to Bhumi to kill Damien. But Lena stops him, telling him that being brash about this might actually cost them dearly. Damien is so powerful that he not only would kill Joshua but could also wipe out the surviving earth population. Right now, the human population controlled by the Luciens in Bhumi outnumbered the survivors, so the only way to fight against the alien colony is by setting the humans free of the Luciens’ ‘spell.’

Joshua realizes there is not a lot of time before Damien finds out about Saffron and his team members to grow suspicious of his activities on earth. It turns out there is a mole on his team who saw Joshua sneaks Saffron to earth. He alerts Damien immediately unbeknownst to Joshua who’s on the way back to Bhumi. Damien is furious and in his wrath, he trashes Joshua’s compound. Vivien tries to provide an alibi for Joshua but Damien accuses her for conspiring against him and in his rage, he chokes her to death.

City Chase by Tiger 1313

Damien orders his subordinates to capture Joshua who’s still en route to Bhumi. Joshua notices there are three military planes trailing him, and an intense air chase ensues. Joshua’s plane is hit but he manages to land about twenty miles from his earthbound station right in the middle of a thunderstorm. But by now he can’t go back there because members of his Faction are loyal to Damien. He has no way of contacting Léon to run away, so he must kill his former team mates because they know the location to the resistance group’s hiding place. He gets into a shootout with members of his Faction, which leads into a chase across the hilly Scottish moor. Joshua is the best-trained shooters in Bhumi, so he manages to kill them all but he does get shot in the left shoulder. Seth ends up finding him unconscious just a mile outside of the compound and brings him inside. When Joshua wakes up the next day, Lena has treated his wound and tells him Seth rescued him. She tells Joshua she was terrified of losing him again. Though he still doesn’t remember her, he falls for her all over again and they share a kiss.

Léon is ecstatic that his future son-in-law has returned and he tells the group a new hope has arrived. The resistance group welcomes Joshua with open arms, and even Andrew who’s been Seth’s best friend, proclaims that he could be the group’s new leader. Joshua suddenly realizes Seth isn’t amongst the crowd. Joshua searches for Seth to thank him for saving his life, but finds neither he nor Saffron are in the compound.

EPILOGUE

Joshua and Lena marry in a small ceremony. There is a new hope for the resistance group now that Joshua is on their side. But it’s no time for celebration as they have to move to a different hiding place in case the Luciens find out their current whereabouts. There’s also a whole new uncertainties concerning Seth and Saffron.

© 2011 FlixChatter.net – All rights reserved.


What do you think, folks? Would you be interested to see a sci-fi movie like this one? If you have any ideas/suggestions about the plot or title, please let me know.

Hollywood Fantasy Draft Pitch III: My sci-fi movie’s dream cast

My pal Castor has created quite an addiction with his annual Hollywood Fantasy Draft event. Every year, we movie bloggers get to indulge in our fantasy of creating our own movies with our favorite actors. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, chances are you’ve read my first movie pitch Hearts Want, a romantic thriller starring Timothy Dalton, Helen Mirren and James McAvoy; and the second one which I adapted from a novel of the same name, Last Voyage of the Valentina starring Rufus Sewell, Michael Fassbender and Charlize Theron. Yep, I have drafted the leads of X-Men: First Class previously, now you see why I’m super excited for that movie 😀

Starbuck & Apollo in BSG

Well, this time I’m going back to creating an original story like I did with Hearts Want, I’m not going to reveal the story yet except to say that it’ll be a sci-fi set in a post-apocalyptic world of the future. Yes, there’ll be droids and spaceships, etc. but at the heart of it will be a love story. I’m a romantic at heart, don’t cha know, besides, a lot of sci-fi movies I like (i.e. Blade Runner) are actually quite romantic. I also adore Battlestar Galactica series — the contemporary one, not the original — and there are plenty of intertwined romances in that one, and plenty of um, pent-up passion that rival any soap opera. The scorching chemistry between Katie Sackhoff and Jamie Bamber as the star-crossed lovers Starbuck and Apollo is one of the main highlights of the sci-fi series.

Anyway, as I mentioned in my weekend roundup post, I spent hours a couple of weekends ago bidding for the major cast for my movie. I’m happy to say that I get most of the actors I wanted, with the exception of Carey Mulligan who’s my first choice as the female lead, but Castor snatched her! But it’s ok, I actually have another replacement who’s actually one of my favorite actresses and she’s on my list of top five noteworthy young actresses!

So without further ado, let me present you …

My dream cast:


My director pick is Duncan Jones. Originally I went with Matthew Vaughn but I figure he might be too busy (and too expensive) after the success of X-Men: First Class. I feel that Jones might be a better fit for my story having just seen Source Code and hearing all the great things about sci-fi drama Moon. He’s only done two feature films so far but both are very well-received by critics and audiences alike. I just realize that all three of the directors I’ve drafted so far are Brits! And guess what, I just realized Jones is David Bowie’s son, so you can count on having Mr. Bowie to have a brief cameo in my movie 😀

Viggo Mortensen is the most expensive cast I bid for, but he should be worth the money. I need someone of his acting caliber and popularity for my movie. Mortensen is a fine actor with the kind of screen intensity and emotional depth. He also has this quiet grace about him that is unpredictable. Those who’ve seen him in History of Violence and Eastern Promises know he can be quite menacing as well, which is perfect for the role I have for him. He’s also never done a full-blown sci-fi movie, yet.

I hadn’t planned for a Lord of the Rings reunion here, it sort of just worked out that way. Hugo Weaving has always been an actor I admired, he’s my top ten favorite Aussies and his masked performance in V for Vendetta is utterly impressive. He’s also amazing in the little-seen Aussie indie Little Fish where he played a junkie, and this role would require more of that raw performance rather than his cool, bad-ass rendition of Agent Smith in The Matrix.

For the female lead and the protagonist’s love interest, I need someone who is beautiful but with an earthly quality as well as intelligence. I’ve seen Emily Blunt in several films, and she always impresses me. I especially like her performance in Young Victoria so for sure she can handle emotionally-complex roles.

For the movie’s protagonist, I wanted someone who’s young and can handle the fight sequences believably. After seeing Chris Hemsworth in Star Trek and THOR (twice!) within one month, I’m convinced he’s the right man for the job. He’s definitely got a strong screen presence, as well as being very easy on the eyes without looking like a frivolous male model. I also wanted someone who’s a natural leader with the credibility to lead a big group of people to fight for the cause he believes in. In the two films I saw him, he could also pull off the romantic scenes which makes him a compelling ‘romeo’ on top of being a bad-ass fighter.

I’ve been a fan of James Purefoy for quite some time. He seems to be somewhat typecast in period action pieces like Iron Clad and Solomon Kane, perhaps because of his astounding turn as Marc Antony in HBO’s ROME. But I know this gorgeous and soulful Brit is capable for more! I need a strong male character who’s powerful enough to go against the grain, but also one with the good sense to choose where to place his allegiance.

The fact that Romola Garai is not a household name is beyond me. The 29-year-old Brit is not only drop-dead gorgeous but is massively talented to boot. You’ve likely seen her in Atonement as the adult version of Briony (who’s played by Saiorse Ronan as a kid). People talk about Ronan and Vanessa Redgrave (who plays the older version of the same character) a lot but Garai is equally compelling as both of them in that role. She is also great in Amazing Grace and in the BBC miniseries Daniel Deronda. I don’t believe she’s done a sci-fi flick yet, so she’ll be playing a role she’s never done before in this movie.

Ever since I saw Idris Elba in Rocknrolla as Gerry Butler’s BFF, I immediately notice the magnetic quality about the tall, London-born actor. He’s also great as Hemdahl in THOR as someone who’s revered but loyal and compassionate. Elba has a natural swagger about him but he also has a comedic side that’d work well as comic relief in my movie.

I first notice Thandie Newton in Mission: Impossible II as Tom Cruise’s love interest. She has kind of an otherworldly look about her — beautiful, mysterious but also can appear vulnerable. She’ll play Viggo’s lover who later has a change of heart towards the end of the film.

Now, as you know I like to cast a seasoned actor in my movies 😀 This time we have another James Bond actor who’s reportedly already retired, but I hope that Sir Sean Connery would agree to do a small but important cameo in this movie. Not only will we’ll give him a hefty paycheck for a mere few days of work, but the filming location will be in the Scottish Highlands which should appeal to him on a personal level.

Possible Additional Cast:

  • Karl Urban
  • David Bowie

Well, what do you think of my picks? Would you be interested to see a movie with this kind of cast?