Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Bonding with Bond

"I'll have a martini."

"Shaken or stirred, sir?"

"Do I look like I give a damn?"

The name is Bond. James Bond. Last night, I went to watch my first ever James Bond movie - i kid you not. Cathay Cineplex gave me two free tickets for their private screening and I figured it was better than spending Monday night watching Astro again.

J (our new graphic designer, in place of Haw) and I decided the best way to enjoy the movie was to have no expectations. As much as I wasn't a fan of the show, I also opened myself to the possibility that it might be half decent.

Plus, I was really curious to see how the much-talked about Daniel Craig would fare in this movie. He may not be much to look at but this scene convinced me otherwise:Judging from the gasps from the other ladies in the cinema, I can see my sentiment was shared.

Anyway, in true Bond-movie style, the movie begins with a film noir element, lots of shadows, suspicious man walking in the dead of the night etc. What I did enjoy was the opening credits. The animation was fascinating. And so it began. My little 2 hour rendezvous with 007 (yes, it's a pretty long movie so I suggest getting very comfortable seats).

Enter quintessential bad guy, played by Mads Mikkelsen.
Just how villain-like can he get. Let's see: Sleek side-parted hair? Check. Steely evil gaze? Check. Almost handsome but in a creepy way? Check. Scar on right eye probably with a really good story behind it? Check. Foreign accent? Check. And, for added pizzazz, he cries tears of blood. Apparently, it's some medical condition due to his injured eye (hence the scar). But it definitely adds to his bad guy factor, i tell you that. One of my favourite character is the no-nonsense, quick-witted M, played by none other than Dame Judi Dench:

"Pull that stunt again and I'll replace you with Pierce Brosnan"

And the Bond girls? I wasn't impressed with Chick Number One (i can't even remember her name) and her only memorable scene was bouncing on a horse along the beach. Which made many male viewers very happy for 30 seconds I would think. However, I was rather fond of Vesper Lynd (played by the very English rose-like Eva Green). Fuyoh, cantik oh. Although Vesper isn't going to make the top ten baby names this century, I think the name definitely beats other Bond Girls before:

1.Dr. Christmas Jones (Denise Richards) : After a bedroom scene, Bond turns to her and says, "I thought Christmas only comes once a year." Please. Shoot me now.

2. Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress): Self explanatory.

3. Thumper (Trina Parks): The first ever black Bond Girl. And they named her Thumper.

The ideal Bond sandwich: Eva Green on the left. Girl on horse, on the right.

This Bond film was definitely less gadgety than the others. The cars were still really cool (the Aston Martin Bond won in a game of poker was my favourite) and, for someone who isn't into action movies, the action scenes were pretty gripping. Some people lament that this James Bond is too talky-talky and feely-feely. Granted, he may not be super-jantan like Sean Connery or Mr. Rico Suave like Pierce Brosnan, but what he lacked in those areas, he made up for in acting skills. I think he played a believable secret agent for a change and wasn't afraid to mess up his pretty face. He was definitely more unrefined than previous Bonds, but it was exactly that brute-like aura that made him more enjoyable to watch. However, do watch out for cheesy lines that will make you roll your eyes so far back you can see your brain:

Vesper: Even if you were left with a smile and a small finger, you are more of a man than anyone else I know.
Bond: That's because you know what I can do with my little finger.

Bond: (tasting a drink) I think I shall call this a Vesper.
Vesper: Is it because of the bitter aftertaste?
Bond: No. It's because once you taste it, you wouldn't drink anything else.

And you wonder why I've never bothered to watch a single Bond film before this.

Also noteworthy are the poker game scenes. All that tension and bluffing and million dollar chips on the table. Very cool. Oh, and don't miss the torture scene in the end where Bond gets his balls whipped (literally). An ideal punishment for so many men in the world, sigh.

I may not be the best person in the world to comment on a Bond movie but on a personal note, I didn't think the movie was all that bad. That said, I wouldn't watch it twice. And for a first time Bond experience, I assume it could've been worse. Many people ask why I've never sat down and watched an entire Bond movie (i've sat through bits and pieces and had no patience to finish one). It's just all a bit too...Jantan for me. Masculine. All those hi-tech gadgets make 007 damn lazy if you ask me. And it irritates the hell out of me everytime he beds a Bond girl, them swooning at his feet, unable to 'resist' his manly charm. Please. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Michelle Yeoh is the only Bond girl who did not succumb to his bedding ways (Malaysia memang boleh bah...).

Verdict: Big yay for Daniel Craig, for shutting up the critics and making Bond more believable. A big boo for still making Bond girls ornamental.

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