Saturday, December 15, 2012

An Unexpected Review

So we had the pleasure of seeing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at the midnight showing last Thursday. After 9 years off Peter Jackson has returned to Middle-earth to tell us the tale of Bilbo Baggins and his adventures with the one ring before Frodo's adventures in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Before we get into my thoughts, Spoiler alert! I'll probably end up talking about some specifics of the movie.

First things first, I love Kevin Smith's work and he has one of the funniest reactions to the LOTR trilogy ever. In case you haven't seen it here you go:

Now this is a very satirical look at the films, and I'm not knocking the quality of the trilogy as they are cinematic masterpieces and deserved every award they received. Bring this up, not only because it's a hilarious look at the trilogy, but because I was afraid that the Hobbit was going to also be more walking. So immediately when they got their quest and Bilbo agreed to be their thief and they ride off on ponies, I thought it would be a movie about riding instead. Thankfully, there were plenty of action sequences. The way they managed to get a trilogy out of the shortest book is by using stories from other stories and appendices to fill in some things that happen off page from the book and provide more backstory as to the rebirth of Sauron that leads to the LOTR trilogy.

Anyways, the premise is Bilbo writing his story into the book, which serves to tell the background needed to get the story rolling. They show the dragon Smaug desecrating the town of Dale and overtaking the kingdom of Erebor under the Lonely Mountain. There's an unnecessary cameo of Frodo as Bibo finishes writing for the moment. He runs off and we flash back to Gandalf arriving to get young Bilbo to go on an adventure. The interplay between Gandalf and Bilbo is fantastic at this intro scene. Several dwarves show up to Bilbo's house for a meeting and they eat all of his food and discuss their journey. They plan to trek to the Lonely Mountain to reclaim Erebor in the name of the dwarves. Bilbo contemplates and eventually decides to go along.

As they journey, they tell some tales of others and provide some of the extra story. We meet an eccentric wizard Radagast, who serves to bring the bad news of the Necromancer, a mysterious being that has brought the wicked witch king back from the dead. The group manage to get away from a trio of trolls and find some good weapons at their hoard. They get chased by a pack of orcs led by an albino Orc lord with a grudge against Thorin Oakenshield, the leader of the group until they find themselves in Rivendell. They leave there and get captured by some Orcs in a cave under the mountains. Bilbo gets separated and finds Gollum, and manages to steal the One Ring and meet up with the group after they make their escape. After a showdown on a cliff, Gandalf calls on Galadriel for help and they fly off on Eagles. The movie ends at the top of a mountain as they look off to see the Lonely Mountain in the distance.

The opening scene showing the background story was brilliantly done. They pull a bit of Jaws by not showing the Dragon fully as we catch glimpses of him as the fires rage and destroy the town. It was beautifully done and I applaud them for their selective reveals. The Frodo cameo was a nice touch as it gives context to put it in the same world as the trilogy. However, it was about twice as long as it should be and the only purpose it serves are the cute nods to the trilogy with Frodo hanging the sign on the gate and then going to meet Gandalf on his way into town. Being introduced to the Dwarves is amusing as they are frantically running around and eating and all around fun, jolly folk.

The scene with the Trolls is one of the strongest story telling moments due to the physical humor and the characterization of almost all the characters. The first hour or so of the movie was pretty stale as it's just starting the journey, but also it is just them riding along then stopping to tell a tale and so on. It works to break it up a bit, but gets repetitive. Mostly this movie works to set up the world of Middle-earth and give back story to the original trilogy while setting up for the next 2 films. That being said, the action scenes were pretty well done and exciting enough to keep me awake until 3 in the morning.

In this movie we get a cameo of the hilltop where Frodo gets stabbed in Fellowship, as well as the the origin of the elf/dwarf rivalry. When the Dragon was decimating Erebor, the Dwarf king looks up to a hill where the Elf king turns and walks away with the army, offering no help.

The scene between Bilbo and Gollum is a battle of wits where they try to trick each other with riddles. It is really well done all around, but I was pretty burnt out on Gollum as a character from the trilogy.

Now the biggest problem in this movie is that the group escapes on some giant eagles after being cornered and backed to a cliff edge. The eagle then drops them off at the top of an odd mountaintop, within sight of the lonely mountain! Why didn't they just fly them to the Lonely mountain! It was right there!!! The only part of this movie that I think wasn't up to par was the use of CG to create all the orcs. The trilogy had a lot of make up on actual characters and only used CG to fill in the huge battle scens and such. It was definitely noticeable that the orcs were CG and not actually there.

All in all this was a very well done movie as expected. The performances are great, especially Martin Freeman and Sir Ian McKellan as always. I'm excited to see the latter two films and hope they get better as they go. My final thought is this: I'm glad this was a movie not about walking, but rather about running as the group is continually running from the orcs. Definitely a great movie and you should all go see it in theatres.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Marvel Vs. DC movies

Now this is going to be an interesting post. I came across this image yesterday over at

This got me thinking about all the problems with this statement. I see what they're trying to do, but I didn't trust the result so I did some of my own calculations. Now, this doesn't take into account several factors. The biggest of al is that all of these DC movies were produced by Warner Brothers, while the Marvel ones are divided. Universal Studios has Howard the Duck and Hulk, while New Line has the Blade movies, Fox has the X-Men franchise, Daredevil, Elektra, and the Fantastic Fours, Punisher belongs to Lionsgate, and The Spiderman and Ghost Rider Movies are with Columbia. After Disney bought Marvel, then Marvel Studios had the Money to make their own films starting with Iron Man and leading up to the Avengers. So is it fair to compare the 19 films put out by Warner Bros. for DC with the 28 movies put out by the 6 different studios?

I don't know the answer, but I did figure out what I could. I went over to to get all the domestic lifetime grosses of the movies. I went over to to convert the grosses to what it would cost today. I then used those figures to come up with the averages. The averages (just the movies above) I came up with overall are DC: $211,266,988.82 and Marvel: $203,904,841.47 which matches their claims. 

Now, I'm sure a lot of you are thinking, hey what about those other, less popular movies. Why aren't V for Vendetta, or Road to Perdition, or Men in Black on the list? Well maybe not, but I was thinking that. Here's where it got a bit trickier. The Men in Black movies and Kick Ass are based off a comic that is now owned by Marvel. On the DC side they also have Road to Perdition, League of Extraordinary, History of Violence, Constantine, V for Vendetta, Stardust, The Spirit, The Losers, and RED.  Factoring these in we get averages of DC: $165,287,168.47 and Marvel: $204,546,738.69.
Interesting that DC drops so low on the average. One could argue that only Constantine, V, and the Losers were produced by Warner Bros. Using the average from all the Warner Bros. DC movies we get an average of $183,156,576.28 per movie.

Anyways, let's take a look at which Studio on the Marvel side is winning. Lionsgate only has the punisher movies and is struggling at $25 million per film. New Line Cinemas has their Blad films averaging around $90 million. Who knows if that will continue once Snipes serves out his jail time for tax fraud... Universal, with their Howard the Duck and Hulk films average around $100 million. 20th Century Fox with their X-Men franchise, Daredevil, Elektra, and Fantastic Fours average around $175 million. Spiderman is holding up Ghost Rider to just below the $300 million mark at Columbia. Marvel Studios managed to learn from all the others and are sneaking by just above a $300 million average. Just out of curiosity I averaged the Spiderman movies alone, which came out to a little over $400 million. Interesting that the best franchise in Marvel is not done by Marvel Studios. The Men in Black movies are averaging just over $200 million.

Over in DC the Batman Franchise is averaging about $315 million while the Dark Knight Trilogy alone is at $420 million and Superman as stuck at $230 million.

As to who is making better movies, DC has 7 films over 80% on Rotten Tomatoes and 13 over 70%, and 13 under 60%. Superman and The Dark Knight are the only 2 to break 90% at 95 and 94 respectively.

Marvel has 8 over the 80% mark, 14 over 70%, and 15 below 60%. Spiderman 2 (93), Iron Man (94), The Avengers (92), and Men in Black (90) all broke 90%.

Who's the winner? Hard to say. Well not really. Both companies are kicking ass in Box office numbers with a combined domestic total over $11 billion. I'm sure the worldwide numbers are similar and probably wouldn't change them too much. If somebody wants to compile the list of Worlwide grosses for me, I'll do the analysis again. I'm too burnt on the topic to go look them up.

Side note. DC also had Swamp Thing and Return of Swamp thing, but I couldn't find any box office for the former, so it didn't seem right to add the inferior sequel without the original.

Here's my notes on the subject:

Now onto my thoughts on the films. Really Dan? All that and you're just now getting to your thoughts? Hey, you're the one reading it. 

DC. I definitely love the Dark Knight Trilogy the best. While I do have a great respect for the first 2 Superman and Batman films, I don't think they are as quality as Nolan's iteration. Low on the scale of ones I've seen are the Steel movie and the latter two 90s Batmans. I think Watchmen, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and The Losers are all solid movies and underrated by most. 

Marvel: I tend to stand out over here as my opinion often varies from other people. I like the Blade movies pretty well. I think Spiderman was the best of the original trilogy and that the Amazing Spiderman is better than that. Loved the X-Men movies, but they went downhill after one, until First Class came out. I love the Men in Black movies, as they are right up my alley. Once we get into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I like all of the movies. Incredible Hulk is the least favorite and Avengers is right at the top. 

Pitting my favorites against each other I would have Dark Knight, Superman, and V For Vendetta versus Avengers, The Amazing Spiderman, and X-Men. I think that DC has the better movies, but I would easily choose to watch several of the Marvel movies, depending on the day. Basically, they all have merit (arguably) and I am really glad I don't have to choose between Marvel and DC. Well that's enough of a post for now. Who do  you guys think has the better movie selection?

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Back to your regularly scheduled program. I'm sure very few of you have ever wanted to know what goes into podcasting. That being said, I'm still going to do a post about it. Now I'm not an expert as I've only been doing this for 3.5 months or so, but I've been doing it for 3.5 months so I have some idea of what's going on.

Step 1: First things first, you need a subject. Usually it's something you enjoy greatly and wouldn't mind talking a lot about. For example, I love the 90s cartoon ReBoot, so that was the first podcast; I've been looking for an excuse to watch all the DVDs I have, hence the Cinemasters; and after watching the pilot episode of Arrow, I decided we needed to do one on that show.

Step 2: Now that we have the what, let's get to the why. Why do you need to do it? Hopefully it is something you will enjoy doing as you will run into problems. That's the nature of the beast of technology. You will hit some speed bumps such as your feed not working, randomly losing data that you just recorded, or running out of space and bandwidth. So if you want to start a podcast, look into it  and learn as much as you can about it.

Step 3: Finding co-hosts. Now this isn't a necessity as I have heard some podcasts with one host that are actually very well done, but most of the time it just leads to a boring, one-sided show. Exceptions that prove the rule are the Bailey's Batman Podcast where Michael Bailey doesn't always have a guest host, but he's done enough podcasting to know how to keep it interesting by himself; and Taking Flight where Tom Panarese manages to keep it short and sweet while he talks about the adventures of Dick Grayson during his time as Robin and Nightwing in the comics. Now if you still want cohosts the easiest way to do that is ask your friends. My friends are nerdy so it was easy to find people interested.

Step 4: Plan your first episode. Get some notes on what you're going to say and how you're going to say it. If your show calls for it find what segments you can use. Set up your website/blog, an email address, and whatever social media you want and have them at the ready so you can send your audience there to leave you feedback. (It's important to talk about your feedback as it shows the audience you care about them and also encourages other audience to leave their thoughts as well. It's always nice to have open communication with your audience.

Step 5: Whew! Already 5 steps in. Why don't we get to the actual recording? Once you have an idea of how you want to go about doing the podcast and you have everybody, it's time to do the recording itself. Now there are several ways to go about this and it depends on location. If all your co-hosts get together to record in one room, then all you really need is one condenser style microphone with a cardioid or omnidirectional pattern. Using a usb microphone you can then record into the free program Audacity, which is super easy to use and completely free. If they are not in the same room, you can do it over skype or Google+. Skype has a plugin that's not horribly expensive that will record the conversation for you so you can download the mp3 and then edit it from there. Likewise Google+ can do the same thing for free with Hangouts  on air and Youtube. Those are two easy, and inexpensive ways to do the recording. I went and bought a Pro Tools system that allows me to record 2 tracks at once so I record my voice on one track and Everyone else I'm in a Google+ Hangout with. If you want to talk more about this stuff, let me know and we'll make it happen.

Step 6: Editing. Now is where you want to go through the file and put in any clips from the show if you want or to add announcements, tags, or commercials. I usually add a clip or two to separate the segments from each other and enhance the listening experience. Depending on how in depth you go, this process could take a few minutes to a few hours. Once you are finished and have it how you want it, you'll have to convert it or "bounce" it to a different format, usually .wav. Then it's smart to convert to mp3 to take up less space and make it quicker up/download time. This is easily done with iTunes.

Step 7: Once you have the mp3 file finished, it is now time to find a site/server to upload to. This was the most tricky part for me. There are a lot of things to pay attention to. Some sites have a limit to how much data you can store each month and others are even more annoying and limit the bandwidth as well. This is particularly annoying as it limits how many people can listen to and download the podcast. If you are trying to do 1 podcast with only one or two episodes a month, then is a good place to start, but they limit the bandwidth for you. What I am currently using is hipcast which does cost, but the interface works quite nicely and it's easy to use. I've heard the best one to use is, but it does cost more than hipcast so I went for the other option.

Step 8: Now that you have the mp3s properly hosted on the web we can get started with the blogs and the feeds. Most shows have a companion blog to go with them where they can put pictures and other notes about things they talk of, so definitely think of doing that. For some examples you can check mine out in the links on the right side of this page. Feeds on the other hand, are necessary. They are essentially the links to the media that you then subscribe to. A lot of podcast hosting sites have a way to set up this feed by themselves. However it is smart to send it through a site like so
if you need to change hosting sites for whatever reason, it is quite easy to do so.

Step 9: Time to get the word out. Publicize your podcast by submitting it to iTunes, Stitcher and all the other big podcast libraries to get some more viewers. Then send links to all the friends you have to get as many listeners you can. Send feedback to other podcasts and network with them so you can reciprocate some promotional materials with them. Have them give you a shout out and in turn you can shout out to them for theirs.

Some things to remember: Podcasts aren't really a competitive medium, especially at the lower end of the spectrum. Probably the best way to gain audience is to find a podcast with a good number of listeners and have them shout out to you. Podcasting can be addicting, so get settled in your podcast before starting more. I tried to start three at one time after the first one, which almost made me stop them all, so I stepped back and slowed down a bit and now I'm getting into a good rhythm with all three that I currently have.

Anyways, the point is that podcasting is stressful, and sometimes overly complicated, but also quite fun and exciting. So yeah... Podcasts. Check them out on the right. Thanks for reading!

-Daniel Janes

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rise of the Guardians

Devon and I went to see Rise of the Guardians yesterday, and I think that every one of you should go see it. This movie follows the induction of Jack Frost into the elite group of Guardians whose purpose is to protect the children of the world and consists of the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman and of course Santa Claus.

From here on out there will be a few SPOILERS so go see the movie first then come read this.

The movie starts with Pitch, the avatar of fear, taunting Santa at the North Pole. Santa gathers the Guardians to discuss what to do when the moon tells them to find Jack Frost who is off playing with kids on a snow day.

Anyways, Pitch turns kids' dreams into nightmares and after stealing all the teeth from the tooth fairy's lair, manages to wipe out Sandy completely. After a cat and mouse chase throughout the realms of all the Guardians, they enlist the help of the last child who believes and his friends to defeat the Boogeyman and save the day.

It is an all around great movie. The animation is fantastically beautiful, the story is complex enough to be interesting, while still being geared toward children and understandable for them. There are a whole lot of things that are awesome about this movie. There is an inherent dislike shared between the Easter Bunny and Jack that eventually gets resolved as they go through the movie. The interplay between the characters is wonderful. On top of Easter Bunny and Jack's bickering, we also have the tooth Fairy's little minions who flit around joyfully and they along with Tooth are very fascinated by Jack's teeth as they are white as snow. This minor plot point is extremely hilarious and not over done, even though it would have been super easy for it to get to that point.

Throughout the movie you find yourself caring more and more for each of the Guardians and hoping that Jack will be believed in as he starts as being invisible to humans since they don't typically believe in him.

As it is a kids movie, everything turns out alright for a happy ending. However it is easy to get lost in the action and enjoy the action and the characters as they progress. The take on the North Pole is fantastic. It is almost a steam punk masterpiece of a fortress with tons of yetis around making toys and elves wandering around and getting in the way. The elves are a great source of comedy throughout as they are almost the same as the minions from despicable me, though much less annoying.

The voice acting is brilliant throughout. While most of the characters are voiced by very well known actors (Minus the voiceless Sandy), their voices are in character enough to not be distracting. The Easter Bunny being Australian is a great touch that makes you think why it hasn't been done before. While the plot is actually quite dark when you think of it, Pitch turning children's dreams into night mares.

The path of Jack is that he needs to find his center, his motivation, what drives him to do what he does. After a dark origin story where he finds his teeth and "Baby Tooth" helps recover the memory from it, he realizes he used to be a kid and fell into a frozen pond while saving his sister from the same fate. He distracts her from the fear by having fun, which is what becomes his center just as Santa's is wonder and Pitch's is fear.

This movie takes you on a roller coaster of excitement and keeps you intrigued throughout. I believe it will become an instant classic and I am perfectly happy with that. I think it is the best children's movie since Toy Story. I would have to give this movie a 10 out of 10 as there weren't any problems I had with it on the first viewing. I'd love to hear what other people thought. Leave your reviews below. Thanks for reading!

-Daniel Janes

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Life, The Universe, And Everything

So Thanksgiving has come and gone and it is now onto the holiday season. The time of year where people tend to forget about pretty much everything except for the commercialization of the Christmas holiday. Now some of you may know that one of my best friends as a kid passed away just before thanksgiving. He was the kid I spent the most time with while growing up, so it was naturally very tough for everyone involved. Anyways, I don't want to get too depressing about it. Mostly I just want to remind people of the true meaning of the holidays. I'm not talking the religious meanings as I don't want to be that guy. I'll go with something more down to earth and straightforward. Enjoy your family and your friends. Holidays are a great excuse to get together with those that you care about. Life's too short to let crappy, petty arguments get in the way of relationships with those you care about. And also grrreeaaat food! Enjoy the family home cooked meals really make the holidays worthwhile, especially when you enjoy them with those loved ones.

Soap box aside, things are going well for me. I'm living with Devon in Flagstaff now and it's fantastic! The only real downsides are that I have to look for a job again and that we live on a freshmen girls floor of the Res. Hall she works in, which is odd and loud at times. We've been enjoying relaxing together and watching TV in our spare time. We are currently working through Angel and it's getting into the middle of season 3 and it's really good. We have also watched Sherlock which is fantastic! The BBC really kicked major ass and pulled out all the stops on this show. There's a lot of times where I flash back to the battle of wits scene from The Princess Bride and Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock as well as Jim Parsons plays Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory. Holmes is a fantastic character who has the classic ramblings of how he came to his conclusions and the way they portray his recognition of the clues is fantastic! The portrayals of John Watson, Mycroft Holmes, and Jim Moriarty by Martin Freeman, Mark Gatiss, and Andrew Scott respectively are all top notch and along with the very complex stories pushed this show to the top of my favorite shows list.

Apart from watching TV and filling out job apps, I've also been doing several podcasts as you have probably read about if we're friends on facebook. My next post will be an overview of what goes into doing that. Until then, if you are interested in checking them out there are links on the right side of this page. I do Rogue Arrow Podcast which talks about the CW show Arrow as each episode airs, Mainframe Chronicle where we review a few episodes of the 90s cartoon ReBoot each podcast, and Cinemasters where we talk about movies. We're still working on getting Cinemasters really up and running, but the others are one a more regular basis now that Joey (Mainframe Chronicle cohost) is done working on the election. I was also a guest on the Geek Fights podcast where we discussed which was the best fight in many different movies and comics. That can be found here. It's pretty hilarious so you should definitely check it out! Anyways, that's all for now. Looking forward to the Christmas movie season as Rise of the Guardians, The Hobbit, Les Mis, and Django Unchained all look fantastic.

-Daniel Janes

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Sky Fell

Yesterday I was finally able to go see Skyfall. My one word review would have to be "underwhelming." Now don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this movie greatly and I will get into more detail as to why, but I want to do a review sans spoilers for those who haven't had the opportunity to see it. The best way to describe this movie are that it's a fantastic 50th anniversary celebration of 007. LYT over at Nerdist has a great review where he takes the contrarian point of view. I echo his sentiment that this movie's biggest problem is that is simultaneously trying to complete the reboot/origin that the Craig films set out to do, while also trying to go the Lethal Weapon "Too old for this shit" route. There are many references to Bond and the MI6 itself being outdated. While sitting through the movie at the theatre I had this feeling that something wasn't right throughout. It wasn't until after I thought on it for a day and read Thompson's review that I realized this was the problem. 

All in all it was a good movie with solid action, a story that was pretty good, if not overly original, and a lack of silly gadgets. While not as excellent as Casino Royale, Skyfall is definitely a strong movie and as of right now I will give it a 7 out of 10. 

SPOILERS: Now I will go into specific reasons and examples of the film. So stop reading if you don't want to ruin it for yourself. Sorry for the length, got onto a bit of a rant. 

So the movie begins with a beautiful shot of a blurred silhouette of Bond. He walks towards the camera and into focus with a conveniently placed pin spot on his eyes. At this point I'm thinking to myself, "This is going to be awesome." This was of course before I knew that almost every other scene would have an artistic silhouette shot in it. And before I knew how many obvious references to not only previous Bond films, but also other movies. We find out that an MI6 agent has been killed and Bond and agent Eve are chasing the killer who is in possession of a list of all the MI6 agents in the field. Within minutes we get a pretty quick car chase that leads to a small shoot out, then a mororcycle chase across the rooftops of a bazaar in Istanbul (Not Constantinople). Shortly thereafter Bond is on a train chasing the mercenary, Patrice. Eve follows on road in the company jeep. The fight on the train is the first blatant reference to classic Bond as there have been many train fights since From Russia With Love. I don't remember ever having a fight on top of the train though, so in that sense this is a first for Bond movies. Bond gets in an excavator to protect himself since he's out of bullets, but he gets shot in the shoulder (Convenient plot point for later). We see the scene of Bond using the excavator to hold the cars together while Bond can jump to the next car before the excavator pulls off the back of the car. Great moment and a beautiful shot. I don't mind that they use construction equipment again (used in Casino Royale in a similar fashion). 

Here is where the chase goes on the roof. The train goes through a tunnel, as has been seen in almost any train roof fight scene. Patrice finds spare piece of chain just sitting on top of the train (what?) and starts fighting with it. Eve runs out of road and pulls out a gun to take a shot, as the list is top priority and cannot get out of their hands. Bond and Patrice are fist fighting in close combat and Eve is asking M if she should take the shot. After an intense while, after talking through far too many options, she says to shoot. Eve shoots as the two break apart. Eve hits Bond and not Patrice, so he is considered dead and the list is lost. 

M should never have trusted Eve's ability to shoot the right man on top of a moving train over Bond's ability to beat the man in a fistfight. This is acknowledged, but tossed aside quickly after Bond returns. Anyways, Bond is presumed dead but is actually just hanging out with some babes and some booze. After seeing a CNN report on an attack of the MI6 headquarters, both hacking and an explosion. Bond goes back to see M and is told he has to pass the tests again before he can go out on active duty. Bond performs badly in all the tests as he is being briefed by Bill Tanner M's aide. He cuts some shrapnel out of his shoulder that is used to identify Patrice and after an odd meeting with Gareth Mallory, M and Tanner where Mallory doubts if Bond is ready then M lies and says that he is ready and passed the tests. When M and Tanner are alone M admits that Bond hadn't passed any of the tests. This is a conflict of character. If Bond is so highly thought of by M, why did she have Eve take the shot? In the first meeting of Bond and M she implies that he's the best. 

After a meeting with Q where he gets a gun encoded to his palm print and a radio tracker, Bond hunts Patrice down with a tip from the CIA and goes to Shanghai. He follows him up a skyscraper and watches as he assassinates someone. They then fight and Bond pushes him out of the window. He then finds a gambling chip that leads him to Macau. The scenes in Shanghai and Macau are classic Bond moments. We have gambling, drinking, fighting, and near death experiences. Had the entire movie been like this it would have been much cooler! After meeting with Sévérine and having drinks and a fight, he heads to her boat that will take her to Silva. Here is where we meet Javier Bardin as one of the best Bond villains to date. He is an ex MI6 agent who has gone rogue and blames M for his misfortunes (see Goldeneye and The World Is Not Enough). He is flamboyant, and menacing and creepy in the most excellent way. He has taken over a whole island and is hacking things around the world from there. 

Bond activates the radio, Silva tells him how M lied to him about the test scores and tries to convince him of her badness. In another solid, tense scene Silva has Bond try to shoot a shot of scotch off Sévérine's head to see if his aim has improved. He misses, so Silva shoots her dead. Bond takes out the 5 guards or so then the cavalry arrives and they take Silva back to the new, underground headquarters of the MI6. After some exposition, M goes to a meeting with the PM where they discuss how badly M is doing with the list getting out and going public so their agents are getting killed. Q is hacking Silva's computer and too late realizes that he just opened up the MI6 server for Silva's computer. He escapes and disguises himself as a cop and heads to find M. 

Bond arrives in time to stop the assassination and get M out. They head out of the city and go up north to Bond's family estate, Skyfall where they meet Kincade, the gamekeeper, and start to set up to defend against them. Following the trail Bond had Q set up. A massive fight ensues and culminates with Bond throwing a knife into Silva's back and then having to watch M die from a gunshot to the side. Back in London Bond talks with Eve and they go into the office. Eve introduces herself as Eve Moneypenny and Bond goes in to talk to Gareth Mallory who is the new M. 

Now here's the problem. On the one hand, they are trying to introduce us to Moneypenny and the new M. But they get Bond's hidden Aston Martin complete with ejector seat and machine guns in the headlights from Goldfinger et. al. You can't reboot something and homage it's predecessors at the same time! it doesn't work. They confused the chronology of all the Bond films by doing so. This is the same problem with the X-Men film continuity, they tried to redo it, but then had the main character from the other films make a cameo. I think it was a mistake for them to kill M. It works okay for the story, but it feels that they just wanted to get a new, male M. I liked the quips between Bond and Q, "What do you want, an exploding pen?" Those played well. I honestly think that had they not killed M, this movie would have worked a whole lot better. It would not have felt as much like the continued reboot as it would just be introducing Q and Moneypenny as opposed to recreating the entire supporting cast. If they recast Felix Leiter (who was absent in Skyfall) in the next film, I will be very sad. Another problem is that several times they mention Bond being old, yet this is really the 2nd mission he is on, as Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace are so closely related. The final showdown at the Skyfall ranch feels very Home Alone with their setting up. It tuns out to be a great scene overall and includes an underwater fight (another repetitive event from the classic films). 

All in all it was a very fun, amusing movie and the biggest problem I had with Skyfall was my high expectation for the movie. After the new direction of the Craig films, I was super happy with the direction and the trailers made this look as if it was going in the same direction. I like that they tried to continue that path and I love that they homaged the classics, but I hate that they tried to do both, without something to make it make sense. Mostly, it was silly of me to expect it to meet my hopes for it. It is a Bond movie after all. And a fun one at that, go see it if you haven't.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Bond Re-watch Recap.

Well I have finished my James Bond marathon re-watch and Skyfall has come out. I will do a review of it once I get the chance to go see it. The first thing to note is that I am pretty sure I have seen all the bond movies all the way through before this, some more than others. Any mention I give there is from the podcast For Your Ears Only. A great podcast where 2 British guys talking about each of the Bond films. It's a great podcast and you should check it out here! As a quick disclaimer, I have seen the films, but I have never read a book, something I intend to remedy before the 24th movie comes out. Anyways, as Linkin Park says, It starts with one:

1. Dr. No - The first time I recall seeing this one was at my grandparents' place in Arizona. Now I may have seen it before, but that was the first memory of it. I remember being creeped out by his replacement hands. Anyways, this film starts many iconic Bond staples. The gorgeous Bond girls, the "Bond...James Bond.", the gun shooting at the screen at the start of the film. While I find the plot of this movie silly (Who really believes in dragons?) I can pass it off as the naïveté and lack of experience with machines and vehicles. We get introduced to Sean Connery as the smooth spy who has a way with the ladies and with weapons, as well as the first mention of SPECTRE (SPecial Executive of Counter-Intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion). Spectre is a playing factor in the next several movies, as well as M and Felix Leiter (The head of the British Secret Service and Bond's often ally in the American CIA). Likes: Definitely Honey Rider, the prototype of one of the greatest roles ever, the bond girl. Connery as Bond is iconic as most people will say. The introduction of the staples of Bond, including the legendary theme by Monty Norman. Dislikes: Plot isn't the best thing ever, but it's a solid action movie, but the final fight scene is pathetically short and not very well thought out.

Rating: 7 of 10. as it started the franchise and according to the Formby Corollary (See Geek Fights Podcast), the franchise wouldn't exist without this film.

2. From Russia With Love - This film is one that I don't remember in general from my childhood. As I watched, some of the scenes seemed to ring a bell. This story takes place mostly in Turkey and we get a lot of great scenery shots. This movie also introduces the pre-credits sequence where they show a bit of a preview almost that has a little to do with the story of the film, as well as the stylized credit sequence with naked dancing women and the theme song of the movie. We get a better view into the evil of SPECTRE and introduced to the number one man Ernst Stavros Blofeld who exists for several movies.  We also get a brief introduction of Q and the James Bond gadgets. We get briefcase that has tear gas cartridges, a rifle, ammo, money, and a throwing knife. Bond uses all of these and they come in handy a lot at the end during the first of many fights on a train. Likes: This one was sort of a fresh watch for me as I remembered very little of it prior to watching. It was nice to see a solid Bond film that was fairly low on the ridiculous level, although there was a periscope for the MI6 to spy on the Russians. While the plot of trying to get someone to start a war with Russia is over done now, it feels quite organic in this film. Dislikes: There are a few scenes that seem unnecessary, such as when they go to a friend's gypsy camp because it's safe and the Russians show up and a fight ensues, yet the SPECTRE agent is protecting Bond with his sniping. Slightly strange but doesn't damage the movie at all.

Rating: 8.5 of 10. Strong story, solid acting. Unfortunately squeezed between the first and one of the most iconic films.

3. Goldfinger - This is inarguably one of the most popular and iconic Bond films and villains. This is where we get a few great lines: "No, Mr. Bond I expect you to die!" as well as the classic girl completely covered in gold as a form of murder. Now Bond spends most of this film in captivity of Goldfinger. Given that, there were many, many timest in which Goldfinger could have killed Bond and only one potential time that it's good he didn't. This is why I don't think he is a very good villain at all. Had he just offed Bond at any of these times, he couldn't seduce Pussy Galore into helping out. The plot is okay at best. Irradiating the American gold supply so that it becomes useless would be devastating to the world economy and would definitely cause some chaos. If Goldfinger had a bit of brains, he could have pulled it off easily. Likes: Definitely has some of the most brilliant, iconic lines from the franchise as well as one of the best henchmen in Oddjob. Dislikes: Goldfinger is a pretty awful villain when you think about it. A few minor plot issues but not too damaging.

Rating: 8.5 of 10. Certainly an iconic Bond film, but definitely lacking on the villain end. However add a few points for Oddjob.

4. Thunderball - This is certainly an interesting film. It can easily be argued that this is the film that started the ridiculous trends in the films. The gadgets are crazier, the stunts are weirder, and the fight scenes are under water-er. Yes, this is the first of a lot of Bond films that have to do with water. I found it interesting how many of the movies take place on/in/under an ocean somewhere, and watching them all in a row definitely makes that apparent. This one takes place in the Bahamas so it's definitely a gorgeous film in the scenery department. The pre title sequence has Bond taking out a SPECTRE agent after the agents own funeral as he was disguised as his own widow. Bond kills him then makes an escape by donning a jetpack and flying down the block to a getaway car. Definitely the silliest scene to date. Likes: The underwater fight scenes were pretty cool as well as the gadgets. Dislikes: Once again the villain is beat only with the help of a seduced Bond girl. While I'm all for women having power and whatnot, I find it weird when Bond doesn't triumph.

Rating: 7.5 of 10. While still a strong action movie, there were too many ridiculous things that the Connery era wasn't suited for and so it didn't work for me.

5. You Only Live Twice - This movie starts with James Bond apparently getting killed. We find out later it's just to throw off SPECTRE as they know his appearance by now. Bond goes to Japan to investigate some disappearing spaceships that keep disappearing. The Americans blame the Soviets due to the cold war. Bond "turns Japanese" through prosthetics and then trains to be a ninja. We get introduced to Blofeld portrayed by Donald Pleasance. He is a pretty iconic villain and gets parodied quite a bit (Dr. Evil, Dr. Claw, Dr. Robotnik, Giovanni, etc...). The story is very topical and works very well. Bond only gets caught right before a ninja invasion of a SPECTRE base rather than being held captive for the majority of the film. Likes: This is Blofeld's best film and he has a volcano base. Bond is on the top of his game here and it leads to a solid film. Dislikes: Bond manages to find the self destruct button in order to win this battle, which is a little Deus Ex Machina for me and him turning Japanese is odd, but the rest of the movie works.

Rating: 8 of 10. Bond is on his A game in this film and the villain is very well played by Pleasance.

6. On Her Majesty's Secret Service - I am torn on this film. it is one of the most closely adapted films from the novels. As such the plot behind it is great. This film marks the one and only appearance of  George Lazenby as 007. Bond disguises himself and for the majority of the film is in the Piz Gloria resort where Blofeld is brainwashing many women to distribute bacterial warfare to kill the crops and livestock. Bond meets Tracy di Vicenzo here and they are eventually married after Bond destroys the Virus production lab. Likes: The plot is very solid and it's interesting to see the womanizing spy actually fall in love. Blofeld reveals himself to not be dead by showing up and killing Bond's wife in a drive by, thus causing Bond to be emotionally torn up throughout the rest of the franchise (Until the reboot). Dislikes: The majority of the time at Piz Gloria, Bond is pretending to be Sir Hilary Bray. During this time, his voice is dubbed over by the actor who played Bray. This bugs the crap out of me. Just have the actor disguise his voice. It would be so much better and a lot more realistic. Also, Bond and Blofeld meet face to face in the previous film. The only explanation for Blofeld to not recognize Bond is that he was "Japanese" when they met.

Rating: 6 of 10. Great plot hurt severely by poor acting and a poor choice to dub Bond's voice.

7. Diamonds Are Forever - Boy oh boy. This one is a treat. Definitely the worst out of Connery's legit Bond films. The reason for this is they raised the campiness level for this one so that it was hard to take seriously. There's a Bond girl called Plenty O'Toole. The evil plot is to make a laser capable of destroying nuclear weapons from space that's strengthened by diamonds. Silly movie overall. Likes: One piece of camp that works is when Bond is trying to hide the control tape from the satellite, so he gives it to Tiffany Case who proceeds to switch it back. Realistic possibility thats fairly amusing to see. I also like when Bond is facing apparently 2 Blofelds and uses the cat to find out which one is real. Unfortunately it is not the right cast and as such not the right villain. Dislikes. Moon Buggy chase scene. MOON BUGGY CHASE SCENE!

Rating: 4 of 10. Awfully campy yet still Bond and was amusing as a kid so it still gets some points.

8. Live and Let Die - Ah yes. This is one that I really wanted to watch again. I remember enjoying it as a kid, but I didn't remember much about the film. I think I was mostly fascinated with the cajun feel to the film. This one takes place in the Caribbean and New Orleans. The plot of a heroin monopoly in the States is a bit ridiculous, but it's the Moore era. He can get away with that kind of thing. This movie has some pretty cool henchmen; Baron Samedi, Tee Hee and Whisper. This is a solid example of Bond films reflecting the times as this was during the era of Blaxploitation films and was very much influenced as them. There's a pretty cool chase scene through the swamps of Louisiana. It's very cool to see, but we are introduced to J. W. Pepper. A comic relief sheriff that can be seen as a predecessor to Sheriff Buford T. Justice of Smokey and the Bandit fame. While a hilarious archetype, it doesn't help this movie at all and is around almost long enough for it to hurt. Likes: The overall feel of the whole movie as well as the voodoo aspects here and there. Dislikes: Sheriff Pepper and Bond running across a line of crocodiles to escape.

Rating: 7 of 10. Plot is okay at best, but the feel of the movie overcomes the silliness involved.

9. The Man With The Golden Gun - A movie that from the title is a set up to pit Bond against Scaramanga who assassinates people for a million dollars using a golden gun. They are both very good at what they do. They share a professional respect of sorts for each other and the movie culminates in a pretty awesome shootout in Scaramanga's wild west themed shoot out obstacle course type thing, like a laser tag court. This is a pretty iconic film in the franches, but it seems a bit unnecessary. From the title onward, the film leads toward a showdown between the two. The plot has no real reason for them to do so. Their confrontation seems convoluted to an extent that it's just weird for them to get there. It must be mentioned that Scaramanga is played phenomenally well by Christopher Lee. This man has one of the most impressive resumes ever as he is a bond villain, a LOTR villain, and a Star Wars villain. Not somebody you'd want to cross. Likes: There are some really cool fight scenes, especially in the funhouse. Nick Nack is an interesting henchman and definitely fun, especially when I was a kid. Dislikes: Lacking in the plot area, but not too bad. J.W. Pepper makes a small appearance. He is comic relief, but it doesn't really work.

Rating: 7.5 of 10. While the plot is totally contrived, the action is good enough to overcome it.

10. The Spy Who Loved Me - This movie has probably the best pre credits scene, a ski chase scene that ends with Bond jumping off a cliff and deploying a parachute with the Union Jack symbol on it as the chute opens up, the Bond theme plays. This movie has Bond fighting a man who has created an underwater city that he plans to survive on after instigating a global nuclear war. This is the first appearance of Jaws, the giant henchman with metal teeth and seemingly superhuman strength. He makes a good fight against Bond as it forces him to out smart the man instead of just using overt strength. The Soviets and British work together by sending Bond and agent Amasova (Triple X) to retrieve the plans stolen by Jaws. Somewhere along the way, Bond has killed Triple X's lover and she vows revenge. After taking out the vile Stromberg, she forgives Bond and they copulate in an escape pod from the Atlantis. Likes: Very excellent cat and mouse game between the spies and Jaws. Solid action and plot, even if it's cliche a bit. Dislikes: The cheesy making up between Triple X and Bond after she swears to kill him. I understand it's to fulfill the womanizing nature of the character.

Rating: 8 of 10. Solid movie, but nothing that makes it stand too far above others.

11. Moonraker - A low point in the Bond franchise. Although it remains one of the highest grossing to date, it was merely a response of the sci fi boom in the 1970's. This movie has it all, a ridiculous murder attempt in a g force training gyroscope, a poorly engineered murder attempt while hunting in a wide open field, an obnoxious fight scene with Jaws on top of a pair of cable cars that go up a mountain, and it concludes with a laser gun fight on a space station. Never mind that the plot is essentially the same as The Spy Who Loved Me except Drax is sending people to space to repopulate after he kills every one instead of underwater. Likes: There's very little to like about this one, but I totally loved the Star Wars-esque fight when I was younger. Dislikes: Just about everything else. Especially Jaws falling in love.

Rating: 2 of 10. Not sure it deserves both of those, but it has nostalgia going for it.

12. For Your Eyes Only - Where Moonraker took the camp to a whole new level, FYEO went the opposite way. It took a much more gritty realistic approach and had a bit of a revenge plot to it. The opening scene shows Bond killing a man who is unnamed but is hinted at being Blofeld who killed Bond's wife earlier. This one isn't overtly memorable. The villain has stolen the ATAC which is used to  communicate with the Royal Navy's fleet of Polaris subs and tries to sell it to the soviets. Likes: As I said, there's not a lot memorable here. The enemy cliff-side base (St. Cyril's monastery) is pretty cool looking. Dislikes: Bond gets saved by one of his helpers in the big climactic scene, and he only succeeds by throwing the device off a cliff.

Rating: 5 of 10. Nothing memorable, but not a bad film.

13. Octopussy - Some people refer to Roger Moore as the clown version of Bond due to the campy nature of his films. In this one he actually dresses as one for a while. In this film, Bond is sent to investigate the death of agent 009 as well as a missing Faberge egg. He manages to switch the egg with a fake one at an auction and ends up pissing off the man who actually buys it. He discovers that the buyer is working with a renegade Soviet general, Orlov. Bond finds a cult of women thieves led by a woman called Octopussy. She is in league with Kahn, the buyer and is helping smuggle out priceless artifacts. Bond finds that Orlov has betrayed Octopussy and everyone by switching some diamonds with a bomb in a circus that's going to perform and then explode at a US Air Force base in West Germany. Since they are crossing the border in the train with the bomb, no one would suspect the Soviets and would assume that it was just a malfunction of one of the American bombs. Bond disguises himself as a clown to get past the guards and find the station chief. He deactivates the bomb and Bond and Octopussy and her cult go back to take out Kahn and his people. Likes: Octopussy's group is pretty badass and I like that this starts with a 00 agent getting killed. Dislikes: Bond as a clown, the entire circus scene climax is pretty well done overall, but it takes the Americans way too long to release the captured Bond after they realize he's telling the truth about the bomb. One of Kahn's henchmen has a chainsaw yoyo which is pretty awful.

Rating: 7.5 of 10. Solid film. A few things that I would change, but very enjoyable over all.

14. A View to a Kill - This is the movie that I remember liking the most from my childhood. This movie has Christopher Walken as the villain, Max Zorin. And he is awesome! There are a few moments he has that are pretty bad, but it's mostly due to moderate dialogue. His plan is to monopolize the microchip market after destroying silicon valley with an earthquake. The action in this movie is solid as well as the overall story. Zorin's henchwoman, May Day is pretty awesome at what she does and is loyal to the end. Well until Zorin leaves her for dead in the mine where the bomb is to go off. She takes the bomb out of the mine and then sacrifices herself to keep the brake on the cart off. Bond manages to grab hold of the mooring rope of the airship that Zorin is escaping on. They make it to the top of the Golden Gate Bridge and commence to have a very cool, yet ridiculous fight. Likes: There's a ridiculous car chase where Bond steals a car and chases the parachuting May Day from the Eiffel Tower and his car gets chopped in half vertically and the back half is taken off. It's incredibly cheesy, but I loved it when I was a kid. Dislikes: Zorin would have won had he not abandoned May Day. The one mistake he made as the villain.

Rating: 8 of 10. Roger Moore goes out with an excellent movie with an excellent villain.

15. The Living Daylights - Onto the most underrated Bond in my opinion. This movie is excellent! Bond is sent to investigate the systematic killing of American and British spies. I don't remember much of anything from this movie. I'm not even sure I had seen this one before watching it here. This one is full of many different betrayals and trickery. There is a bit of revenge involved as we see 004 get killed in the beginning sequence. There is a big conspiracy behind the assassinations and the man behind it is framing Bond's soon to be ally. They fake Pushkins assassination so they can trap Koskov in his scheme. His partner who was using embezzled KGB funds to buy opium gets killed by Bond and he crashes the plane carrying the Opium. Likes: I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Dislikes. The shooting a guy through a pipeline was odd, but not damaging to the movie.

Rating: 8.5 of 10. While not having much wrong with it, there's also not a whole lot that stands out.

16. Licence to Kill - This movie opens with Bond attending Felix Leiter's wedding, shortly followed by his new wife getting killed and Felix getting severely hurt by a shark. Bond is forbidden from going after Sanchez, who is responsible. So he resigns and goes out on a revenge mission. That's the plot of the movie: Bond gets revenge. It is very gritty and intense. Bond skillfully plays Sanchez against his partners in crime and has them killing each other off until he gets to a standoff with Sanchez himself. Likes: I definitely like Dalton's grittier Bond especially as he takes revenge. A very excellent film. Dislikes: Very few. Sanchez kills a man by cutting the pressure in a pressurized room and he inflates and explodes. Bond also pulls some ridiculous stunts using a semi truck which are absolutely silly.

Rating: 9.5 of 10. Fantastic movie. Great to see Bond on an all out revenge plan that's motivated by the attempted murder of such a lovable character.

17. Goldeneye - This is a classic. Probably the story I know best due to the ever popular video game. The movie is a very solid one overall. The story is great, a supposedly dead 006 becomes Janus, the head of a crime syndicate. He uses General Ourumov of the Russian Space Division to steal the keys and controls to the Goldeneye Satellite. We meet Felix Leiter's replacement, Jack Wade. Bond follows the leads as usual and we see one of the greatest Bond chase scenes, where Bond is in a tank trying to rescue Natalya, that ends with him blowing up a train and saving her as Alec (Janus) and his henchwoman Xenia escape via helicopter. The movie ends with an awesome fight on a giant satellite dish antenna in the caribbean. Likes: This movie is incredibly memorable due to the countless hours of childhood spent playing the game. We are introduced to Dame Judi Dench as M and she is fantastic! Her small stature doesn't matter as she still commands plenty of respect from everyone in the room. The performances all around were quite good in this film. Boris is quite amusing with his "I am invincible!" catchphrase. Dislikes: Not a lot bad with this movie. It mostly just made me want to pull out the N64 and dust it off to play the game.

Rating: 9 of 10. Definitely the strongest first movie of the Bonds so far. Probably due to the recasting of the supporting characters and the overall new direction taken.

18. Tomorrow Never Dies - The first memory I have of this one is in a hotel room watching it pay-per-view with my family. This plot is reminiscent of The Spy Who Loved Me. The difference is Elliot Carver is trying to start a war to incite a Chinese revolution so that he can get a better broadcast empire, as opposed to making a master race. That being said, Johnathon Pryce's performance as Carver is fantastic, and probably the best part of this movie. There's plenty of solid action scenes as to be expected from a Bond movie, including a scene where Bond and the Chinese spy working the case are being chased on a motorcycle by a helicopter while being handcuffed together. Likes: Most memorable scene for me was when Bond uses his remote controlled BMW to take out a bunch of guys. Also, the drill they use to destroy ships is quite awesome. Dislikes: While I thoroughly enjoyed the idea of a stealth boat when I was younger, I now recognize how ridiculous it is.

Rating: 8 of 10. Pretty great, but not quite as good as Goldeneye.

19. The World Is Not Enough - Another movie with a game that I played a lot. This is an interesting case. I remember not enjoying it very much, but as I watched it this time, I was very happy with it. The opening chase sequence after an explosion hits the MI6 headquarters. This movie has a pretty good twist in it as Elektra turns out to be in league with her previous kidnapper. The performance from Robert Carlyle as Renard is fantastic as usual. We get a nice call back to Goldeneye as Valentin Zukovsky plays a part in helping Bond. Likes: Performance from Carlyle is excellent! M gets captured and we get to see her brilliance as she figures out a way to turn on the tracking device she has. Dislikes: Elektra's schemes are just devices of her severe daddy issues. There are a few scenes that are pretty odd as well (i.e. the pipeline bomb defusing scene, the fight with the tree trimming helicopter, and pretty much the whole scene with Elektra after capturing Bond.) And whose idea was it to cast Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist?

Rating: 7.5 of 10. Fun movie, but has some problems that make it not the best.

20. Die Another Day - I must say that the best part of this movie is that I think it's the first one I saw in theatres. This is definitely on the low end of Bond movies. That being said, it starts off with a pretty cool hovercraft chase scene in the opening sequence. There were definitely issues with it, but it was a cool way to do something new. The idea of having a satellite that fires concentrated sunlight to be used as a laser kind of thing is quite silly. Not a lot to say about this one. Likes: The aforementioned hovercraft chase and a really awesome cat fight towards the end. Dislikes: Most everything else about the film. Bond is captured within minutes and then tortured for 18 months or so before M makes a trade to get him out. This not only seems out of character for M, but is also boring as far as story goes. Bond should be able to get out of that situation by himself. There's a fight scene that starts with a cool fencing match. It gets out of hand and turns into a sword fight that travels around the mansion.

Rating: 2.5 of 10. A point for Judy Dench, a point for John Cleese, and half a point for the cat fight.

21. Casino Royale - A reboot of sorts. A fantastic movie all around. A new look at every thing and a completely new cast except for M. Judy Dench is too great as M to be replaced. While we don't meet a Moneypenny or a Q, we do have a new Bond who is fantastic, a new Felix Leiter who is almost perfect in the role, and a new take on Bond girls. Vesper Lynd shows up and there's a battle of wits between her and Bond. The opening sequence is a glorious flashback to Bond's first 2 kills that are needed before becoming a 00 agent. This is where we start to see the gritty brutality of the new version of Bond. We see another great action scene after the credit sequence where Bond is chasing a man through Madagascar to an embassy and then blowing it up. Bond proceeds to go to the Bahamas and Miami before going to compete in a tournament in Montenegro. His objective is to win all the money and beat Le Chiffre so that he has no place to turn to except the British government since his employers are expecting their money. He loses, but buys back in after being spotted by Leiter and eventually takes all the money. After being tortured some, Bond wakes up and goes with Vesper to Venice to vacation for a while. Bond realizes that Vesper is stealing the money and leaving him alone which leads to a pretty awesome fight scene in a floating building that is now sinking into the canals. Vesper ends up dying, leaving Bond distraught. Likes: Almost everything about this movie is very well done. Taken in a nice, fresh direction that is reminiscent of Dalton, but taking it to the next level. The performances all around this film are excellent. Dislikes: The movie is a little long, but I'm not sure anything really could have been cut out without hindering the film. There is one scene where Bond is showing his humanity and sorrow for putting Vesper through the violence where they are in their clothes in the shower and Bond sucks her fingers. It's just weird.

Rating: 10 of 10. Not quite a perfect movie, but it exceeded all expectations and renewed the entire franchise.

22. Quantum of Solace - Now this movie got a lot of bad rap and I'm not sure why

I think it may be because it's pretty much the second part of the two part story of how Bond becomes the James Bond we know and love. Which it definitely is, but I think they both work separately as their own story. This movie is definitely different than other classics in that it picks up like an hour after Casino Royale. The plot of this movie is the villain (Dominic Greene) is damming up aquifers in Bolivia and then staging a coup d'état and selling the water to the new government to make a fortune. Most importantly, this movie introduces us to the Quantum organization. Quantum is like a modern take on the classic SPECTRE, a worldwide organization with many people in powerful positions all over the world. All in all this is a solid action film and it brings the rebooted story to a point where we can have new Bond movies that are more like the classics. Likes: Solid action scenes. We see the CIA being corrupt, except for Felix who is helpful to Bond. The finale is Bond and Camille invade Greene's compound with a few pistols, which is badass and totally something a classic Bond would do. This is also a revenge tale like Licence to Kill since Bond is going after Vesper's killer and finally catches him at the end. Dislikes: The Bond girls aren't too exciting. The better one in my opinion gets killed off way to quickly.

Rating: 8 of 10. Not the best, but still a great movie that's fun to watch.
Favorite movies overall:

So that's that. From the trailer, Skyfall looks to be a fantastic movie. It may even be my favorite, but we shall see. I'm wanting to do a recap of favorite moments and such, but there's so many so we will see how it goes. 

Here's the order of how I rank the films.
1. Casino Royale
2. Licence to Kill
3. Goldeneye
4. From Russia With Love
5. Goldfinger
6. Living Daylights
7. The Spy Who Loved Me
8. You Only Live Twice
9. Tomorrow Never Dies
10. Quantum of Solace
11. A View to a Kill
12. The Man With The Golden Gun
13. The World Is Not Enough
14. Thunderball
15. Octopussy
16. Dr. No
17. Live and Let Die
18. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
19. For Your Eyes Only
20. Diamonds Are Forever
21. Die Another Day
22. Moonraker

Sean Connery was a great Bond as he was the first. His portrayal was excellent as the suave spy who was good in a fight and in bed. He earned his place as the iconic 007.

George Lazenby was okay. I think his movie would have been a lot better had his voice not been dubbed over for the majority of the film. 
Roger Moore took the suave side and the light-hearted joker side of Connery's Bond and played it up a lot Moore (haha) to the point where he becomes the sort of clown of Bonds.
Timothy Dalton was the 80s version of a down to earth, hardened Bond who had the ability to score with the ladies and come up with the quips. 
Pierce Brosnan played an amalgamation of the previous Bonds. Makes a pretty good one and the image I was most experienced with due to the Goldeneye game. 
Daniel Craig plays the modern version of the gritty realistic Bond. Definitely a great version. May be my favorite, but I'm witholding judgement until Skyfall. 

Bond Staples throughout the years: 

Sexual tension with Moneypenny
Quip exchanging with Q
Train fight scenes
Underwater scenes
Car/boat chase scenes
The hot Bond girls, usually one who dies midway through and one who is present at the end fight.
Q's gadgets that often act as a deus ex machina for when Bond is in trouble. 
Bond often gets captured and uses gadgets or the villains stupidity to escape. There are probably more, but I can't think of them at the moment.

My favorite Bond gadget is probably the Little Nellie in You Only Live Twice. A tiny helicopter that's super compact and can be transported easily. 

My favorite scheme would have to be from Live and Let Die where Kanaga plans to make a monopoly on Heroin in the US. 

Favorite theme is a bit tougher. I love the most recent two, but Goldfinger is iconic. Goldeneye is great as well. Live and Let Die is most likely the most popular in the zeitgeist of the last almost 40 years. I think the one I enjoy the most is View to a Kill. It's just so catchy and upbeat. 

Anyways, it's been a great 3 weeks of Bond. Cannot wait to see the new one. I will be back soon with other posts. Thanks for reading!

I'll leave you with this video. It's a mashup of all the movies. Taking 5 minute clips from each movie in order. I haven't watched it yet as it's about 2 hours, but I hear it almost makes a good narrative.