film

Review: Prometheus 3D

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The Pitch: At the foothills of the mountains of madness.

The Review: It’s been thirty-three years since Sir Ridley Scott first announced himself to the world at large with Alien. Inspired by the epic sweep of Star Wars and the potential that such images and ideas had in the cinema, he took a small crew into space, ripped them to shreds and terrified audiences everywhere. During that thirty-three years, we have come to find ourselves living in a world of sequels, where seemingly no story is ever truly concluded, and so the thought of Scott returning to that world, in which many others had played with different ideas but only James Cameron had received similar acclaim for, excited audiences the world over. The potential of another Alien film like Alien seemed too good to pass up, a chance for a further exploration of the world, and one which had many unanswered questions, not least what else was on LV-426 when the crew of the Nostromo set down on company orders. In the months preceding the release of Prometheus, excitement reached fever pitch, then rapidly turned to angst; the trailer seemed to deliver enough Alien related goodness, but when discussion even turned to the classification that the film would receive, with seemingly nothing less than a 15 / R rating satisfying the fans, all watching previous Alien movies in anticipation, could anything ever hope to live up to the high expectations set for it?

Except in the rush to proclaim this an Alien prequel, with the expectations of the same qualities as the original, everyone seemed to forget that no two other Alien movies have ever sat in the same genre. Alien was effectively a haunted house movie in space, for all its sci-fi trappings and unbearable tension; Aliens the classic war movie, the Dirty Dozen sent to pick off the enemy in black; Alien³ was a nihilistic prison movie, despairing at the nature of life and death; and Alien Resurrection had mutant DNA running through its core, the darkly comic contrasting with the horror of the cloned creations. It should come as no surprise to anyone willing to give it a moment’s thought that Prometheus is keenly ploughing its own furrow, looking to explore not only how the aliens may have come about, but also how we came about as well, and Prometheus could well be the first pure sci-fi of the series.

Consequently, it stands alone as a film that can be watched without pre-knowledge of the series, but one that also calls on the themes of each of the earlier (or is that later?) films, even if the key call out to Alien Resurrection initially appears to be incredible basketball skills. The core motifs of the series – other than a giant black alien with two mouths and acid for blood – are all present and correct. There’s the strong female lead in Noomi Rapace, a different twist on the gradually empowered Ellen Ripley who’s looking for answers she may not want to find; the corporate tool, in more than one sense of the word, as Charlize Theron lays down the law and takes matters into her own hands in equal measure; the friendly grunt (Idris Elba) who’s unshakably on the side of good, and the absolute standout here, David the android (Michael Fassbender), who’s working to his own agenda but avoids the more Pinocchio-like clichés of other obvious robots. This sense of familiarity in the characters, coupled with Prometheus telling a new story using many of the story beats of the other films, gives Prometheus an oppressive sense of familiarity, and for anyone familiar with the series a gut-wrenching sense of inevitability sets in as whatever’s still on the planet starts to reveal itself.

Prometheus then becomes a fascinating mix of the old and the new; grappling with new ideas that extend well beyond the claustrophobic scope of any of the films with Alien in the title, but at the same time having some fun with the old ideas and investing new life into them. The one thing guaranteed to disappoint those most hoping for another film cut from exactly the same cloth as Alien, rather than just cut into a similar style, is that this is more sci-fi than horror, looking to engage your mind rather than send it screaming. On the ideas front, the only failing is the insistence to have to explain some events in total and absolute detail, especially given that this leaves as much open to speculation as Alien did; to attempt to leave much unexplained, and then practically shout explanations in your face for the remainder, is both disconcerting and ultimately disappointing. For anyone else who’s ever contemplated either the nature of existence, or even what that blue fluff collecting in their belly button is, there should be a decent amount to enjoy. When Scott does turn his hand, in a few brief moments, to horror it’s the equal of anything in the series, queasily uncomfortable scenes that could leave you clasping your belly, Ripley-like, in sympathy. Prometheus is about two minutes too long (and those are absolutely the last two minutes – if you’ve any sense you’ll leave when you see the duffel bag, and you’ll enjoy it more on its own terms if you do), but the marriage of big, unexplained ideas and gorgeous cinematography and production design mean that there’s life gestating in the warm body of this franchise yet. Fancy another go, Cameron?

Why see it at the cinema: Visually stunning, which almost goes without saying being a Ridley Scott film, and there are just a couple of sequences that you’ll want to see so you can chat with your mates in the pub afterwards.

Why see it in 3D: Ridley Scott does about as well as anyone has with 3D in terms of creating a depth of field, and the crisp images and bold shots work pretty well with the extra dimension. Despite the dark sets and gloomy images, the image has been sufficiently brightened that you can still watch indoors with sunglasses on and make out everything that’s happening. If you’re a fan of stereoscopy, then do make the effort for Prometheus.

The Score: 8/10

Review: Men In Black III

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The Pitch: Special Ks.

The Review: When I was growing up, the likes of Tomorrow’s World on TV always fascinated with their unlikely and outlandish gadgets, like machines that could print on the outside of an egg without breaking it, shiny discs that contained a whole album’s worth of music, or small flashing pens that could erase your memory. Well, I can’t actually remember seeing neuralisers on there, but they must be real, as surely nothing else can explain how I can’t remember anything that happened in Men In Black 2? I definitely saw it, and I vaguely remember Rosario Dawson being in it, but other than that one of the most downright disappointing sequels of all time seems to have been forever expunged from my grey cells. Is the only solid argument for another sequel, so long after the second in the series, that it’s being produced in the hope people might remember it this time?

The one immutable of the series has always been the presence and the star power of Big Willie. Since rapping out the theme for the first movie, one of the world’s biggest stars has become synonymous with the MIB brand and he’s front and centre in MIB 3, so much so that this rapidly becomes his journey, his narrative and emotional arc, not least because the universe manages to forget his partner about ten minutes in. While Smith is as reliable as ever, the movie does take something of a risk by shuffling Tommy Lee Jones out early on and replacing him with Josh Brolin, but it’s a brave call and one that pays off well, Brolin’s uncanny version of an unfeasibly young K never causing you to doubt for a second that he is the pre-incarnation of the curmudgeonly Jones, and Smith and Brolin thankfully manage to capture just about the same odd couple chemistry that Smith and Jones did previously.

The reason for the body swap is time travel, an old fallback of the sci-fi genre and one that can work very well, but that can also become catastrophically confused in the wrong hands. Other than the opportunity to interact with a few historical scenarios, such as a well thought-out Andy Warhol sequence, and to see Brolin do his thing, the time travel never feels fully exploited, and also isn’t applied entirely consistently throughout the film. Men In Black also stood out for its freakish bad guy as well as its coterie of unusual aliens, and this also feels another partial success, Jermaine Clement’s bad guy generating moderate amounts of menace but feeling oddly bland at times. Emma Thompson and Alice Eve also leave little impression as the replacement for Rip Torn’s Z, written out no doubt to Torn’s real life exploits. The rest of the quality of the original, from the background alien design of Rick Baker to the jaunty Danny Elfman theme, is present, correct and reassuringly familiar.

What Men In Black 3 does lack most is big laughs. The series has never been laugh out loud funny, but there’s never more than mild chuckles raised here. But what it does lack in laughs it makes up for with an emotional core, driven out of J’s relationship with both generations of K and the plot’s success in giving their partnership a real sense of meaning lacking in both of the earlier sequels. The most enjoyment will be derived from slightly resetting your expectations, as director Barry Sonnenfeld and writer Etan Cohen focus on the relationship and the characters, and most unexpectedly those not entirely hard of heart may even shed a little tear at the end, and even with time travel you’d have done well to see that coming. For all the rumours that the script arrived half-finished, the plot is maybe the most satisfying of the series and while you might not be longing for a fourth trip to the alien well, it might at least take you a little longer to forget this one.

Why see it at the cinema: The opening prison escape and the final Apollo 11 set-piece are both well designed and justify their place on the inside of a multiplex this summer. The cinema screen also gives you the best chance of capturing all of the tiny background details first time, including all of the celebs-who-are-really-aliens on the screens at the back.

The Score: 7/10

The Half Dozen: 6 Most Interesting Looking Trailers For June 2012

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There’s something about June. No, not a sequel to There’s Something About Mary, which will probably appear in two to three years when Ben Stiller and Cameron Diaz have finally squandered all public goodwill on unwatchable rom-coms, but there’s actually something about the month of June. It’s when the weather normally transitions from utterly miserable to just about bearable in this country, and it feels just that fraction more wasteful to be spending the few sunny days that we have inside a dark room full of seats and a big screen, even if it is air conditioned. (Watch now, as I have probably jinxed the whole thing and condemned the country to thirty days of storms.)

So it does feel that films released in June somehow have to make just a little more effort. It’s normally the lull in Blockbuster Season, which kicks off in May and is now biding its time until the onslaught of spider-men, ice ages and men with pointy helmets clogging up multiplexes everywhere in July. Now, June might also be the month this year that Prometheus has been unleashed upon the world, but if there’s anyone not utterly worn out by the endless procession of marketing which has both raised and unfairly directed expectations for the film itself, then you’re a hardier character than I am.

But my selections for June still have plenty of variety – there might not be space aliens or men dressed as bats, there are black and white horses, a freakish looking hedgehog, a stovepipe hat and R-Patz himself. If that’s not value for money, I don’t know what is.

The Turin Horse

Managing to best even Ridley Scott’s impressive visuals, the most striking trailer of the month features is supposedly the last feature from Hungarian director Bela Tarr, and if you’ve ever seen any of his previous work in a cinema, award yourself ten bonus points. In the year when a black and white film walked off with the Best Picture Oscar, there’s never been a better time to get your black and white horse film into distribution. Anyone with black and white meerkat films in the pipeline, you’d better get a wriggle on, these fads never last long.

A Fantastic Fear Of Everything

My attraction to this film has become somewhat perverse, as the word of mouth from those I know on Twitter that have seen it is astonishingly bad in the main. I don’t know what compels us as humans to look at the accident on the other side of the carriageway as we’re driving past, but that same instinct is driving me to understand what the bloke from Kula Shaker and the guy with red on him have managed to cook up. Ideally, the more awful, the better.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

I’ve seen this trailer twice now in cinemas, and both times it elicited an identical response. People seem generally interested in the setting, there’s the usual buzz and background murmuring, the odd bit of excitement as the trailer ramps up towards the end… and then the title card reveals itself, and when the words “Abraham Lincoln” and “Vampire Hunter” appear on screen, there’s a lot burst of incredulous disbelief, as several hundred people who hadn’t heard about this (and who still laugh at the Orange mobile ad every single time) go “WTF?” as one voice. Oddly satisfying.

Cosmopolis

I discussed my formative experiences with David Cronenberg a few months back, and ever since the first time I saw The Fly Cronenberg has been on my list of directors who simply need to make a film and I’ll be there. His last couple have been good without being great, and apart from a naked fight and Keira Knightley’s impersonation of the Giger alien downhill skiing they had nothing to really make them stand out. This looks satisfyingly like a return to crazy, ideas filled, off-the-wall Videodrome-era Cronenberg, and that makes me very happy. Kristen Stewart hasn’t yet risen above her Twilight role, despite getting all shouty in Snow White and the Huntsman, so let’s hope Robert Pattinson gets more to do here.

Killer Joe

I was going to put Polisse in here, but couldn’t think of a single thing to say about the trailer. Sure, it looks good and all, but… So at the last minute I swapped it out for this one instead, the latest from William Friedkin, with a great big NC-17 warning on the front of the trailer. That kind of insane last-minute decision making is just the way I roll.

The Fairy

You wait ages for a film about Le Havre, then two come along at once. In case you missed it, the other one was called Le Havre. Bit of a giveaway in the title, there. This one also notable for the horrified reactions in the YouTube comments sections of those who’d seen it, and obviously aren’t in the target demographic.

Review: The Raid (Serbuan maut)

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The Pitch: Attack the block.

The Review: Once in a generation, a film comes along that defines everything that follows, and few films have been as influential in terms of concept as Die Hard. Rapidly becoming a shorthand for the succession of action movies that followed, everything from Die Hard On A Bus (Speed) to On A Boat (Under Siege) was given a convenient high concept to relate to the audience. It seems we’ve gradually come full circle; earlier this year we had Die Hard On A Ledge and now The Raid presents a riff that takes a lot from the original concept: tall building, police officers, master criminal, high stakes… It should come as no surprise to the cynical, based on that description, that The Raid is actually nothing like Die Hard at all.

If I were to pick a more recent comparison, I’d liken The Raid more to Scott Pilgrim vs The World. A series of fights, highly choreographed, with a videogame-like level structure and regular boss-style battles. A dilapidated Indonesian tower block might seem an unlikely setting for an action movie; even more so once you consider that the very Welsh named Gareth Evans is in the director’s chair. Gareth’s actual style is almost the polar opposite of Edgar Wright, for although they might share an active camera Wright relies on the medium he’s paying homage to, be it fast cuts or videogame framing, to get his effect. Evans sweeps around the building more serenely, but when the fights come the camera locks in and fights of increasing length are captured in single takes to impressive effect.

The action is undeniably impressive to watch – it’s the first 18 rated action movie I can recall in a while that justifies that rating – and should set even the most action movie-hardened of hearts racing, but The Raid falls down in two key areas. When compared to classic action movies, The Raid has ramped up the excitement and pared down the dialogue and story to the bare minimum. What’s left is a little too threadbare, not quite providing enough to invest in the characters or why they continue to beat seven shades of crap out of each other. The actors are generally better fighters and stuntmen than they are actors, which is not to say they’re bad actors, rather that they probably won’t be troubling the main acting categories come awards season. The one standout is Ray Sahetapy as the big boss Tama, oozing menace and not being afraid to get his hands dirty, but the remainder are serviceable and nothing more.

All of these might be unfair criticisms of an action movie, but the best examples of the genre manage to balance explosions, fighting and talking, and in this case it is possible to have too much of a good thing. It’s also possible to say that of individual sequences, and while the Indonesian martial arts on display are fierce, every punch landed carries with it the weight of repetition. One of the final fights runs for over six minutes, and becomes a war of attrition as the characters involved wear each other down, leaving the audience at risk of knowing exactly what that feels like. The Raid will satisfy anyone with a craving for a rush of pure cinematic adrenaline, but it might just be a single hit rather than a repeat visit, as The Raid isn’t quite the classic that the hype would have you believe. 

Why see it at the cinema: No doubt in my mind that the visceral impact of the fights will lose something at home, so best to immerse yourself in the building, and by that I don’t just mean 15 storeys of criminals.

The Score: 8/10

Bond Legacy: The Living Daylights

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They nearly brought back Roger Moore again? Wow, did I dodge a bullet there or what!

When BlogalongaBond first started, there were two certainties as far as Bond was concerned; that Sean Connery would be held up as the gold standard to which all others would be compared, and that pretty much everyone would have a different favourite Bond. My mother won’t actually watch Bond films any more, so convinced is she that Connery is unimpeachable in the Bond stakes and that anyone else would pale so much by comparison that they wouldn’t even be worth her time. For pretty much everyone else, the grimness of the later Moore years is over, and we come into the modern Bonds. For me and for many others of my generation, Timothy Dalton was the first new Bond in my lifetime. He was also the first new Bond in the sense that my house got its first VCR in 1985, so the Dalton Bonds were the first that I was able to watch in the comfort of my own home about the time that they were released. Thus Timothy will always be the tiniest Bond in my overly literal mind.

But it takes a big man to impose himself in a series that was becoming so stale you could practically see the fetid bacterial cultures forming up there on screen. That man, a long time candidate who now seemed in prime position, was Pierce Brosnan. Sadly for Pierce, some scheduling shenanigans at NBC kept him tied to his Remington Steele role for six more episodes, just long enough to rule him out of the Bond timeframe and instead to let someone who’d been thought of even longer as a possible Bond sneak in. Step forward one Timothy Dalton.

Both Dalton and The Living Daylights get a lot of things right that the series had been getting badly wrong. Dalton is belivably stern and occasionally patronising, but in a very satisfying manner, where Moore had lost that sense of quiet authority as age overtook him, and where Dalton’s quips are frothy and entertaining, Moore had become dangerously lecherous and positively leering. The action scenes are also ratcheted up by several levels of intensity, and the set pieces are some of the best in the series since the Seventies. The overall tone is more even and some of the wilder excesses are reined in, making The Living Daylights the most satisfying Bond film since The Spy Who Loved Me.

But enough of that, what we’re concerned with in Bond Legacy is the lasting impact that these films have had on each other and the world at large, and there’s still mean on them bones even fifteen films in.

1. Putting the (re-)boot in

The dinner dress round had gone well, but they were dreading the swimwear parade.

With a new Bond came a change in tone and a leading man as different to his predecessor as Lazenby was to Connery. But this time that change drove a shift in the tone, and it wouldn’t be the first time in the next couple of decades that a change in personnel would drive a change in ethos in the Bond films. The Living Daylights was almost conceived as a prequel, intented as a full reboot of the franchise, but that fresh slate was another twenty years away, and even then it still had Dame Judi Dench sprawled all over it.

But the coming of Dalton, Brosnan and Craig has seen a rethink in style and tone each time, and The Living Daylights was the first to really show that the mould really can be broken, or even thrown away and started with afresh, as long as you keep enough of these legacy elements to ground the audience.

2. Double trouble

There was one change afoot on the musical front as well, as while John Barry was still providing excellent music (and even gets an onscreen cameo this time around), the main public focus as far as music in Bond is concerned has always been the title track. Duran Duran had hit number 1 in the US with A View To A Kill, a first for the series, and that in trun reinforced the need in the producer’s minds to have a big name act to write the theme tune, and indeed sing the theme tune.

So Chrissie Hynde got shuffled to the end credits, and A-ha burbled out The Living Daylights once John Barry had sufficiently Bonded up the backing track. (Hynde can also be heard on the evil milkman’s Walkman, so she didn’t do badly.) But this started a trend of different tracks on the opening and closing credits, with often the composer’s first choice – and consequently the better tune – getting shunted to the end credits, rather than being an accompaniment to the usual parade of scantily clad ladies in fantasy settings that kicks off proceedings.

3. The name’s Aston. Martin Aston. No, wait…

The Grease remake needed a bit of work, but Dalton’s Zuko had a definite edge.

The other notable feature about The Living Daylights is the return of the Aston Martin. James Bond’s vehicle of choice had been a prominent feature in the Sixties, but apart from a blink and you’ll miss it showing in Diamonds Are Forever had been largely absent. Dalton’s debut might have seen a V8 Vantage Volante rather than the earlier DB5 or DBS, but The Living Daylights sees the return of the classic car maker with some tooling about on the ice that was ripped off homaged in Die Another Day. Only two of the Bond films made since this one haven’t featured an Aston of some variety, and for many men, myself included, an Aston Martin would be near the top of the shopping list if our numbers ever came up on the lottery. Ideally one with giant rockets and an ejector seat. (Well, if money’s no object…)

Next time: Somehow I have to break the news gently, that I’m not a huge fan of License To Kill. Gulp.

For more Bond related japes and in-depth analysis, visit BlogalongaBond.

Bond Legacy: A View To A Kill

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No, you can’t take them away from me! Let me just keep the women! Just this one?

Finally, the end of the road, a Bond film for which even Roger Moore thought he was too old. He was, of course, quite right. Let’s not beat about the bush, A View To A Kill is awful.

What? You want more? Where to start. There are very few moments that A View To A Kill actually feels like a proper Bond film, except when it’s ticking off the occasional past legacy. But Rog is absolutely going through the motions at this point, and he’s going through them slowly and with some difficulty because he’s quite clearly past it. The rest of the cast resembles a freak show that would put Britain’s Got Talent to shame; Christopher Walken is in full on weird mode, but fails at any point to come over as threatening; whoever thought Grace Jones could act needs to be taken out and shot; and poor old Patrick Macnee looks like he’s stumbled in off the set of an entirely different film and is now being kept as Rog’s slave.

(A note on those old legacies, though: while I didn’t list it out originally, pretty much any Bond film with either a large set of henchmen or international investors gets them together and sits them round a table, and the cunning twist here is that the table has been set up in – an airship! What larks. It is the most Bond-like moment in the whole film, so thanks to whichever film did it first. [hurriedly scrambles back to start watching Sean Connery Bonds again])

If any of the action scenes redeemed it, it mightn’t be so bad, but there’s some Paris-based rumblings that are faintly ludicrous at best, and a chase on a fire engine that feels like a deleted scene from Herbie Rides Again rather than a main set piece in a Bond film. Almost no-one involved with the production has fond memories, and we should just be thankful that this finally convinced everyone it was time to put The Amazing Eyebrow out to pasture and get someone younger and better in. Given that much of the talent behind the camera, including the screenwriter and director, came back again next time, quite how they got it so badly wrong here all round when that can’t all be blamed on the practically octogenarian star is a matter that’s probably not worth expending much time contemplating, but is still somewhat strange.

Anyway, despite being as ripe as a six month old pear at the bottom of the fruit bowl, A View To A Kill still managed to show the power of the Bond brand by having a further legacy or four on the rest of the series.

1. It’s all in the game

A View To A Kill holds the distinction of being the first Bond film to be represented by a computer game. The likes of Goldeneye on the N64 were but ten years away at this point, but the fact that the Bond franchise has produced some high quality games and that one all time classic probably couldn’t have been guessed from the amazingly shoddy graphical adventure unfolding on the C64 and other comparable platforms. Still, we’ve all got to start somewhere. There was almost a game for Octopussy, but it was never actually released; the mind can barely grasp what 8-bit innuendos we’ve been denied by that decision.

2. It’s all in the family

Sam Mendes wins the Best Bond Beard competition over Michael G. Wilson. Craig and Broccoli make remarkably little effort.

Speaking of talent in front of and behind the camera, one of the most regular names to appear on Bond films is that of Michael G. Wilson. Having had a hand in writing every Eighties Bond, he’d also acted as an executive producer since Moonraker, but AVTAK marks the first time that Cubby’s stepson stepped up to join the big man as a fellow producer. When Barbara Broccoli then joined him on producing duties from Goldeneye, the family template was set and Wilson and Broccoli continue to steer the direction of the Bond series to this day. He’s also had cameos in a remarkable fourteen films of the series, making him the Stan Lee of the Bond movies. (Is it too late to get Stan? He’s ace. Oh, okay.)

3. Board of Bond?

Despite the stunts being mainly ropey, one of them turned out to become iconic after all, and it’s probably a moment that will send shudders down the spines of most Bond aficionados. Snowboarding, despite having been done for around 20 years, was still a niche sport, attracting no attention outside the hardcore skiing world until an old man’s unconvincing stunt double slid down a hill on a converted ironing board to the accompaniment of The Beach Boys. Thirteen years later, it was an Olympic sport. See, even the worst Bond films can be a force for good.

4. The name’s the thing

And just a final note on a legacy first mentioned in From Russia With Love. The tradition of naming the next Bond film in the end credits went slightly askew last time, when Octopussy predicted the next in the series would be called “From A View To A Kill”. Maybe in a sense of embarrassment at getting the title so shamefully wrong, A View To A Kill simply stated that “James Bond Will Return” and left it at that. Without even realising, the Broccolis had given an early indicator of the uncertain future the Bond films were about to start facing…

Next time: Come on, Tim! It’s The Living Daylights.

For more Bond related japes and in-depth analysis, visit BlogalongaBond.

Bond Legacy: Octopussy

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Excuse me, I actually ordered eight… Never mind.

So, the time has come. The time I’ve been dreading since we started BlogalongaBond all those months ago. If I had to pick one film that I thought would be a struggle in coming up with legacies – and I did – then it would have been this one. The name with the biggest innuendo in any Bond film title has a reputation that precedes it of being somewhat of a dog’s dinner of a film, and I didn’t have particularly fond memories of it from my childhood. But, for thirteen months, I’d lived in fear of coming to this, coming up empty handed and for the Bond Legacy dream of every Bond film leaving a mark.

In one sense, I needn’t have worried, for Octopussy does a fairly good job of helping to leave a lasting legacy that no-one likes Roger Moore James Bond films. The likes of The Spy Who Loved Me feel a distant memory whenever it comes to thinking of Roger Moore, as it’s this arse end of his overlong run of films that stick most in the memory nearly thirty years later. By any convention, Octopussy is a fairly desperate film, and it’s actually a relief that there wasn’t a new Bond for this one, as if he’d ended up with similar material it might have killed his career stone dead.

In terms of what actually works here, there’s the opening stunt with the Acrostar, which is part of a fairly efficient opening sequence, and the final plane stunt is also pretty reasonable. Moore’s not really doing anything different here than he has been previously, other than occasionally being even more lecherous than before, but it’s to Octopussy’s shame that his performance and the two book-ending stunts are about the only major positives to take from this one.

But actually, there are just a few tiny morsels to take away that show that even this dated mess has still had an influence on what followed. (That rushing air sound you can hear is me breathing a huge sigh of relief.)

1. The age of enlightenment? Not quite.

As I’ve mentioned before on this journey, Roger was older when he started than Connery was when he finished. 1983 is a significant year in the Bond world for another reason, and it’s mainly the reason that poor old Rog got dragged back for another round of lasciviousness and eyebrow raising. Shir Shean Connereh was 53, but was offered flipping great wodges of cash to make an unofficial Bond based on Thunderball whose title, I must remind you, we can never say. Never one to miss out on some cash himself, Roger was nearly persuaded to appear again in Sean’s film in a climactic scene, but in the end we just got Lord Connery of Sell-Out winking at the camera. Probably for the best, that dirty old winker.

Consequently, maths being what it is Roger was still older in 1983 than Sean was, and Roger had reached the ripe old age of 56 by the time of Octopussy. While he has, again due to maths, continued to get older since, Octopussy was the first time that Rog looked genuinely past it, yet with the application of plenty of soft focus, long range camerawork and unconvincing stuntmen it was possible for a man nearer sixty than fifty to still be an action hero. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 3? 56. Liam Neeson in Taken? 56. Bruce Willis when he started filming Die Hard 5? You guessed it, 56. If it hadn’t been for the desperate lure of lining their pockets with even more cash Roger’s heroic example, none of those would have been possible.

2. Always be careful what’s on the menu when sitting down to dinner in India

Of course, India is a third world country, and rather than the refined delights of foie gras, haggis and black pudding that would grace many fine dining menus in this country, in India all they eat is sheep’s head and monkey’s brains. Such an elegant menu deserved to be rolled out again for special occasions, as it was a year later in Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom. Is it wrong that I’d be prepared to give monkey brains a go?

It’s just a decorative plate, right? RIGHT?

3. Ever wondered why so many people think clowns are scary?

Say my name three times and I’ll come back to make another Bond.

Next time: Old father time decides he’s had enough. It’s A View To A Kill.

For more Bond related japes and in-depth analysis, visit BlogalongaBond.