Perhaps one of my worst habits with this blog — besides not being timely about watching all the Bonds in the first place — is my growing tendency to not write the reviews right away. As a result, I come back to notes I took during the movie and see things like:
House on wheels!
…and I have no idea what the major plot points were. Yeah. So sorry if this review is a little disjointed, folks. I’m going to get back on track with the blog, really. Just gotta get through T.D., and then we’re on to Pierce Brosnan. It may shock longtime ATB readers that I’ve never watched any of the Dalton or Brosnan movies, but that was a huge motivation for doing this project in the first place — to have real bona fides during tipsy bar-guments ranking the best to worst Bonds.
First impression of Timothy Dalton: Dude doesn’t look like Bond. I made the mistake of saying this out loud, and Fiance argued that No Way, He Totally Looks Like Jon Hamm. I guess he could be right.
Plot in twenty words or less: A cello player is not who she appears to be, and Bond continues to protect the West from the Soviets.
How it’s aged: Like many Bond movies, this one does not lack for KGB agents, glimpses of the hammer and sickle, and the occasional poster of Lenin. That alone, of course, does not age a Bond movie because the majority were made while the Soviet Union still existed. And this brings me to a random thought I had during the movie — how come so many Bond movies prominently feature THE SOVIETS!!! but none of the recent Bond films explicitly tie terrorist villains to Al Qaeda? Of course, if anything dated this movie, it was the reminder that the mujahedin were once upon a time seen as the good dudes, before they became the dudes better know as the Taliban.
Something that was just weird and/or WTF y’all: There was a scene when Bond ripped a lady’s clothes off in a pretty rapey manner. Problematic, dude.
Obligatory feminist commentary: This was the first Eon film in which Lois Maxwell did not play Moneypenny. I have mixed feelings about that, especially in light of the fact that wonderful Desmond Llewellyn was still around with his gloriously Andy Rooney-like eyebrows. It seems like in the Bond landscape, women must be villains or sex objects until we get Judy Dench as M, which I guess is why her casting was such a BFD. Given that Moneypenny was turned into a frump over the last few movies, I can’t say I was shocked that they replaced her in this movie.
I’m generally fascinated with the changing role of Moneypenny, and this is the first time that I can recall where Moneypenny was more than a flirtation accessory to James (though she did drop that pretty awesome hint about listening to her Barry Manilow collection, lolz); she actually performed a minor research role for Bond’s mission. I’m looking forward to the evolution of Moneypenny, especially given her transformation at the end of Skyfall.
Completely hypothetical cultural reference points: I think it’s a law among movies that if someone has a valuable string instrument IT MUST BE A STRADIVARIUS!!!!#!@!! I saw that one coming from about 50 miles away.
Superficial Thing that did not Amuse Me: I know that we started getting into major product placement a while ago, but having Felix drinking Jim Bean was mildly uninspiring. Couldn’t he at least drink some Maker’s or something? It appears that Jim Beam has a long relationship with Bond.
Superficial Thing that highly Amused Me: Getaway scene by sledding in a cello case = brilliant.
Interesting and possibly dubious thing I learned from Wikipedia: Pierce Brosnan came quite close to landing the Bond role for this film
Administrative information concerning this viewing:
Drinks consumed: A Pimms-bourbon cooler with mint-thyme syrup (if it sounds odd, it’s because I made it up. It was drinkable)
Food eaten: Bulgur wheat, tomato and cucumber salad with crispy za’atar pita chips
Viewed on: June 8, 2014
Viewing Partner: Fiance + Cat