Movie Review – James Bond, From Russia With Love
There's a new digital format that has come out called high definition. It can be viewed on disks called blu-ray. Just why they are called that I don't know. I presume that the laser that reads them is higher frequency than usual and therefore bluer, but I suspect that I am trying to make sense out of a marketing decision and that way lies madness.
I have watched three movies in this new format and I do enjoy the clear picture it gives. It lets one see important details that one might have otherwise missed, such as just what type of doors were used on trains in 1963. I could have noticed even more important details like this if the Director had the good sense to refrain from placing gun fights in the foreground.
While unlikely to be considered riveting by modern audiences, From Russia With Love, the second James Bond movie, does seem better paced than the first, Doctor No. But, as with all James Bond movies there are a number of things that don't make sense once you think about them, and any number of things that don't make sense without any thought at all.
I wondered what was the point of stealing a code machine if the the Russians will know it has been stolen? Surely this would result in them simply changing their codes? Or is the KGB just an incredibly lazy organisation that couldn't be arsed to change their codes even if James Bond walked out of their embassy with a code machine under his arm? But I suppose the machine could be very useful for decoding messages intercepted in the past even if it was of no use in the future.
But that's all par the course for James Bond. What really made no sense, even for James Bond, was when they suddenly segue from making a spy movie to making a women's prison exploitation movie and two unknown female characters suddenly started having a cat fight in front of Bond. I'm not sure why they thought this was a good idea, but I suppose that it might have happened something like this:
DIRECTOR: ...and then these two actresses will enter left and start making out on the table in front of Bond. Okay ladies, I want to see lots of passion and lots of tongue. Ready? Roll 'em!
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Wait! Wait! Cut! This is a terrible idea!
DIRECTOR: Really? From the looks of it, little assistant director thinks it's a great idea.
LITTLE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: All my fantasies have come true!
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy sapphism as much as the next overtly gay man, but it's 1963! If you put this in the movie it will be banned in so many countries only the Swedes will see it and the only jobs we'll be able to get in the film industry will be feeding stale popcorn to pigs.
DIRECTOR: You mean work in television? Oh god no! But what can I do? I have a really strong artistic urge for these women to get physical together and this is the sort of thing that sells tickets. How close can we get them to making out before we start getting banned? A spanking session maybe? A Romany spank inferno, perhaps?
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: I don't think we can have women spanking each other in 1963, but maybe if they fought each other it would be okay.
DIRECTOR: Fight each other? But that makes no sense at all! It will just seem weird, especially to people watching the movie in the year 2012. But I guess it's the best we can do. Okay ladies, I want you to fight each other. I want to see real passion. Anger passion that is. Action!
And that might be how it went. But the woman on woman wrestling didn't go on for too long before it was interrupted by the attack of the Bulgars. In the resulting fight scene, James Bond wonders around, using various techniques to screw people over. But what is interesting is that he doesn't seem to have a side. His actions appear to inconvenience his allies as much as his opponents. It's as if he is on a mission to screw over Eastern Europeans in general. Actually, given that he works for MI6, that might actually be standing orders.
Anyway, after posing as a married couple, Bond beats his pretend wife and goes on to save the day, all while wearing a hat in any scene that takes place outdoors in the day. The amazing thing is that after losing his hat in a random helicopter attack, his need to wear a hat is so powerful he grows a new one after getting out of a truck. What was really impressive was that he was about to get into a boat so he managed to grow a natty looking Captain's cap. Now that's what I call talented.