Category: Film

Terminator Genisys

While it probably ranks up there as one of the greatest movies from the early 1990s, the Terminator franchise has probably been long forgotten. Particularly after recent epic blockbusters from other studios, catering for the fashionable trend for superheroes big of small. You know you are getting old, when it feels longer than seven years ago, perhaps as many as ten since I left work really early to catch an early afternoon showing of Terminator Salvation with Barry, Pav and Scott over at the Vue in Oxford. (Opposite Oxford City’s Kassam Stadium) I really enjoyed the character driven story and the fact that it was all about Marcus Wright and the characters’ journey of self discovery. It was a departure from the previous three movies with no time travel plot line, keeping the action set in the apocalyptic future after SkyNet has decided that all humanity is a threat. While perhaps far from the best of the movies, it was a fantastic attempt to breathe new life into a stale concept and a different perspective on a story told and retold again and again. While I know Salvation was to kick start a new trilogy, it never happened for various reasons. Ultimately the movie stands well on it’s own and does repair a great deal of the damage done by Rise of the Machines. Plus, please do not forget near perfect television show The Sarah Connor Chronicles, which plugged in the gap before Salvation was released at cinemas. Such a shame, the show lasted only two seasons, it deserved much much more.

They should have left this franchise alone but for purely commercial scheming, a fifth film was in development always going to get made once rights issues were resolved and sold to the highest bidder. I remember the anticipation when the first trailer was announced. It took me a long time to digest the fact that Sarah was a young girl. For me this would be very difficult explain away. Discussions with Pav soon after the première of the full blown trailer was that it looked like an extremely good television show, rather than a film and it did appear they were trying to fit in too many plot points from the first two movies. To appease fans of the original but also fresh ideas to appeal to a new audience.

To be honest, I did not really care too much for this movie. If I had not seen it at the cinema, I would not have felt at a loss. Nevertheless my dear friend Pav had other ideas. Our original plan had been to grab a bite to eat before catching the film at Vue Reading on Friday 3rd July. By chance, the moon and stars had aligned perfectly – my spin class was cancelled and my dear wife being away on a weekend team building. I was free but unfortunately Pav was not available and my secondary plans to go get my haircut straight after work fell through, when I arrived at 5:28pm for only my usual barber Pete, to have disappeared home only minutes before. I would have to try again another day.

We finally settled on tonight after multiple Whats App message and confirming times and screening options (I prefer 2D, 3D is just a gimmick now to over inflate already expensive peak cinema ticket prices). I left work a little later than planned, ending up stuck in traffic and joining the M4 a junction later to try and beat the steady jam I could see as I left the office. Eventually I landed in The Oracle at 7pm, an hour until the movie kicked off. We got some food and then headed straight over to Vue Cinema just after 8pm (the movie opened at 7:45pm) to see the final few trailers before the main event. Apart from a few cheesy throwaway lines – I was utterly disappointed. The story had a great deal to live up to and failed on multiple levels. In particular changing a key aspect of the story. Now I understand the writers/producers had to come up with a fresh approach to get bums on seats but you never change the role of your key character. This in my eyes was the biggest crime of this movie. While the special effects lived up to a large budget and the improvement in technology over the past seven years, the story was just too hollow. An excellent review worthwhile reading is over on The Guardian. It felt like two films, the first half trying to establish it’s place within the original movie time line and then jumping off message to establish itself with it’s own identity. The film felt like just a big fat cheque for the former Governor of California. He hardly put in the effort, now I know he is playing a cyborg, so his performance is expected to be a little wooden but even so, you do not get your money’s worth. I think I will have to recommend to Pav a new filter before we book or future cinema trips. Checking the rating over on Rotten Tomatoes. Something tells me that with the time it takes for us to organise a simple trip to the cinema (over two weeks in this case, including the aborted first attempt). Just remind me to not bother with any more Terminator movies, particularly as this was supposedly the first of a new trilogy. My father always says that Hollywood is running out of ideas hence the need to go through the back catalogue and rehash old intellectual properties for the amber nectar – the multi-movie franchise with the possibility to sell additional merchandise. Call me a cynic but some films are just not worth the effort.

Google Now is a fantastic piece of software – it directed me to an article reviewing the various plot holes in this movie and it is only fair that I link to the article. Fifteen is probably being a little lenient in my opinion, there are probably more if you were to consider re-watching but who in their right frame of mind would subject themselves to such a criminal act.

Hard Work Forever Pays

It is no secret – I love cars! (Just look at some of the people I follow over on FlickR!) I have always had a thing for cars! Beautiful, exotic cars with a roar coming from the engine! Therefore you do not need to be a mind reader to deduce I am a big big fan of The Fast & Furious movie franchise. Fourteen years ago I caught the first installment in my first year at university in Leicester. I went to see at the local Odeon around the corner from my Halls of Residence. I enjoyed the movie, but never thought it would be so popular to spawn five plus sequels. In fact, I only saw the second and third movies once I had the box-set for Christmas some five years later.

The fourth movie, the effective “main reboot” for the latest movie line I caught at home while working in Newbury. Again I wasn’t overly impressed but felt it was a movie I should really watch in the cinema to truly appreciate all the set pieces. The makers of the franchise, then made the best decision ever, to parachute in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as US Diplomatic Security Service agent Luke Hobbs to not only rescue the franchise but catapult it to new heights. All movies from the fifth, I have caught at Reading Vue with my dear friend Pav always 8pm and always the showing in our second home (screen four). (Do not ask me why, it has just worked out that way!).

The films bring out the petrol head in me with the insane set pieces – each movie building on the last. Fast Six perhaps was a clear favourite, being set in London with a crazy English villain Owen Shaw, played perfectly by Luke Evans. There was also the gorgeous Rita Ora kicking off the street race from Somerset House around the West End mid way through the movie. Probably the most dramatic part of these entire race, is the fact that they were filming during the London Olympics and could only get permission to shoot two minutes of footage each hour and became only the third production to be granted permission to shoot at Piccadilly Circus. Now all Londoners know that that particular bottleneck can take over an hour to get through during peak time. Yet in the movie, they were screaming around in their cars without a care in the world. The power of movies!

Rita Ora

Anticipation for this latest film almost came to a sudden stop when I woke up one Sunday morning to be informed by my wife (reading the Daily Mail app in bed) that Paul Walker had died in a car crash. I was devastated. The news was confirmed on his official Twitter feed. (I had only started to follow Paul a few months prior to his passing).

While I had seen Paul’s performances in other movies, such as Timeline, I will forever associate him with the FF franchise and the boy next door element he brought to all those films. Michelle had actually met him with her class during the movie première of Eight Below and noted how down to earth and personable he was. As far departed from the aloof Hollywood mega-star as you can get. Over the course of the weeks after that fateful crash on 30th December, we got to hear stories of Paul’s heartfelt generosity. The future of the film franchise was also in doubt and production was put on hold while the cast and crew were given the time they needed to mourn the loss of their star. It was painful, even as somebody who did not know the man, but having watched so much of him on the big screen you begin to feel a connection. Many people may find a statement such as this fake and insincere, particularly with all the other things going on in the world, why am I focusing on the death of a privileged film star. I am just letting people know I understand fully the often repeated phrase – family.

I have been bugging Pav for weeks to book tickets. The film was released over Easter so I gave extra notice to ensure our cinema date did not clash with family plans. Luckily Saturday evening had a window and we booked tickets for peak time in screen four. We walked in a little late, with the adverts on and found our seats quickly. The trailers came on and then the latest instalment could begin.

On my television I have the music video for See You Again playing in the background, as I write this post and I am overcome by so many feelings. Feelings I thought I had laid to rest many many years ago. The Fast & Furious franchise has been a big part of my life, I recall going to see the first movie like it was yesterday. Life as a student at university in Leicester feels like a lifetime ago even if I only left eleven years ago. I wonder what that young man must think of the person I have become now. Well into my thirties and living perhaps a very different life to the one I had imagined. There is also the fact that I cannot go back to 2001 in the archives, I only started blogging in 2002.

While we wait for a full detailed review from the guys over at The Fast Cast I thought it would be good to give just my thoughts on the movie. In one word – epic – everything that we have known to love from the previous movies notched up several levels. There is also very little drop in pace, we move from one set piece to the next, with only a brief narrative to move the plot along. Roman Pearce provides excellent comic relief, as Luke Hobbs is unfortunately laid up for the majority of the film and has little more than an extended cameo. I had been disciplined to watch only two full trailers and not the most recent extended version which featured the stunts in Abu Dhabi. At the gym, I noticed a shot of Vin Diesel stopping himself being thrown out of the side of a skyscraper and wondered what will happen next. The true build up for me started in early March when I listened to the final “Fast Cast” from those great guys over at the Fast Cast blog.

Now I got back from Reading around midnight and had to find out much more about not just the latest movie but the entire franchise. I went straight to Buzz feed and read multiple articles (at least three maybe four). Which I have listed below. Don’t Have Friends Got Family, Making FF7 without Paul Walker and Furious 7 Ending Paul Walker. Trust me to come home after a two hour plus movie and then spend over an hour reading about every little detail of the film. Suddenly it became very important for me to understand the dilemma of completing a movie with one of your main cast members nolonger with us. The ending was a true tribute to the main man – Brian O’Conner. The movie studio had shown not only him but the audience the utmost respect. Rather than killing him off, he was dutifully retired from duty in a scene which brought a tear to my eye.

I have been listening to See You Again constantly since Sunday. Such a beautifully powerful stirring song, it easily evokes the memories of the past. I feel we all sometimes forget to live in the moment and then as soon as the moment has passed, we instantly begin to reminisce of the time gone by. Almost wanting to capture the magic from before it is lost forever. To then become just a images in your memory banks. Maybe it is the melody played so softly on the piano, maybe it is the high impact of the words, rapped by Wiz. Difficult to explain in words, just sometimes a song comes along to capture the mood in tribute to a movie star gone, but also reflect back on your life and where you are at this exact moment.

Poor Franchise Choices

I went to see X-Men this lunchtime with Michelle at Vue Reading as a late birthday treat. Over a year since I have been to the cinema in the Berkshire town, last time was to see Fast Six with Pav. With regards to the X-Men franchise, I have always made poor choices, perhaps even today.

The original X-Men and sequel X2 passed me by and I did not actually watch the first until late into my first year at University. The second I caught during my placement year in 2002. My friend, Sippy was a big fan and I have to say the start of X2 is probably one of the best openings to a superhero movie ever. So having missed the boat, I decided to go and watch the third and perhaps weakest movie in the franchise in the cinema, in late May 2006. Perhaps I should not have bothered but it was good to finally see our band of mutants on the big screen after the two outings on the small screen.

Three years later, I went to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine with Pav at the same cinema on a Friday night at the end of April. Disappointingly Jackman was unable to pull off a movie on his own, he needed a good group of mutants to support him. While there was potential here, particularly the Deadpool character, it was a missed opportunity by Marvel. No wonder Fox decided to go back to the drawing board.

In 2011, I was too busy distracted by the plans for our wedding to actually go and watch X-Men First Class. I had dismissed the reboot, after two rather lacklustre movies, which I had spent good money on to see on the big screen. I did not want to be disappointed again. Later, I would receive the movie on Blu-Ray for Christmas and watch over the festive period and be completely blown away. The X-Men were back with a bang and the entire franchise, and not just been rejuvenated but re-set.

Roll forward almost three years and we were keen to catch the film at the cinema and not wait for the home video release. After watching Jackman, McAvoy and Fassbender on Graham Norton a few weeks ago, we wanted to see the movie, mainly because we could see how much fun the group had on set. My verdict, seven out of ten, it was good fun, entertaining but quite predictable in places and no way near as good as First Class. Maybe because they needed to cross pollinate the two cast groups to bridge a new timeline for the future movies. If there is one thing the studios love, it is a bankable movie franchise with multiple money making opportunities.

You Will Believe A Man Can Fly

While I sometimes feel old beyond my years, there are many times I am glad I grew up in the early Eighties. Superman is my favourite superhero and the role was played by Christoper Reeve as if he had been born for the title role. May his soul forever rest in piece. His gift to the world, among many things was his perfect portrayal of the son of Krypton and his alter-ego, the clumsy Clark Kent. Everything is captured on film across four movies and we can relive in high definition his appearances in the famous red cape and blue suit. The less said about the cheap fourth and until 2006 the final outing (The Quest for Peace) the better!

Superman

Almost seven years ago I went to see Superman Returns at Vue Reading with my sisters Samantha and Julie. I enjoyed the movie but there plenty of things wrong with the reboot of the franchise. Brandon Routh was a good choice to play Superman, as he resembled Reeve so closely. However, I was unconvinced of his portrayal of Clark. Although you would feel that Spacey was an excellent choice on paper for super villain Lex Luthor, he was disappointing. Plus the minor plot hole of Superman’s son having powers was never truly evaluated. The audience is left guessing, perhaps they would have explored that more deeply in a sequel. The film performed badly in the States and only marginally better overseas.

During the week I watched parts of Superman II : The Richard Donner Cut, a version of the movie which should have been released in 1980 but we had to wait twenty six years for the finished master piece to be released on DVD. Much better than the Lester version and true to the belief that you can produce a comic book movie without going down the camp route.

In Loving Memory

I feel I should have made time to watch at least Superman I and II before going to see The Man Of Steel last night. Perhaps even the third movie which was purely a vehicle for comedian Richard Pryor. It helped last year when I watched Batman Begins and The Dark Knight before going to see The Dark Knight Rises at Vue Westfield, with Ali, Michelle and Steve. Although people would argue this was a reboot, so effectively a completely new book rather just a new chapter in the franchise. This was the moment to put those 1980s movies on the shelf and look toward the future. The world has changed a great deal since 2006 and rival Marvel have raised the bar even further with The Avengers and comic mate, The Dark Knight Trilogy only came to a roaring climax less than a year ago.

The build up to this movie has been immense and I even downloaded one of the first trailers to watch at home. The whole package was clearly measured and respectful to a special character. This was not a rushed affair, they had taken the time to develop a story that you want to invest your time (and money) into. Oscar winner director Brad Bird perhaps summed up most comic book diehard fans feelings with his tweet, exactly a month before the films release.

There was no question of not seeing this movie on release date. It was just a case of when and with whom. Michelle does not like Superman (so even the draw of Henri Carvell was not enough). I hatched a plan with Pav to go watch the movie straight after work on the Friday. We opened up the movie night to the boys but only Foxy replied. Ben’s late shift change, enabled him to buy a ticket later in the week and he was sitting right behind me. 6pm was the time of the screening. I waited outside for the guys to arrive and could see many fans wearing their S logo t-shirts. You will be surprised to know I own only a Superman mug but not a t-shirt, just an apron. Overall it was good fun but in places I felt there was just too much going on in the screen to keep up. Am I starting to show my age? (We watched in 3D at Vue Reading and on Pav’s insistence had upgraded to VIP seats). Action scenes were extended to the point of becoming meaningless. While I applaud the direction style, with several close ups taking us directly into the heart of the action. The plot jumped around once we had moved from Krypton to Earth. I would have enjoyed seeing Clark grow up and discover his powers over time but instead we are given flashbacks to his past. These worked to show Kal-El’s internal conflict of being different. Was it as dark as I expected? No, but there was very little comic relief whatsoever, this was a serious movie, in both tone and execution. Lois Lane has an expanded critical role which I felt gave way too much but this was a way to doing the building for the final scene. The Hans Zimmer score did grow on me throughout the picture but it will always be hard to live up to the epic Williams score. What can I say but this man just knows how to write film music and has scored most of the movies of my childhood. As heavy as we wear those rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia, we have to move on and so does the multi billion dollar movie business.

Everything about this movie was fantastic, the use of a British actor. Top three comic book heroes are played by Brits now, Batman (will he return for a Justice League movie) and Spiderman. Perhaps Superman Returns had failed because it had wanted to be so closely matched to the first two movies. Reusing Brando dialogue and the John Williams score. Here we had a complete cut from the old cloth with a brand new back story with many minor changes to the mythology. I was so glad when I heard General Zod would be the villain but Michael Shannon had the big shoes of Terence Stamp to fill. Would he live up to it? He did and the battle between the two men of Krypton was worth the wait.

Overall extremely entertaining and a blast from start to finish. The movie was far from perfect in terms of the plot and narrative but the action and Henry Cavill as Superman lived up to the superstar billing of a summer blockbuster. Some will complain it was too long at almost three hours but I would complain that it was not long enough. I did want more character development and some time with the adult Clark Kent at the Daily Planet but that will just have to wait for the green light sequel. The love story between Clark and Lane was also down played and I prefer this, so as not to get in the way of the action although I was extremely disappointed for her to to be the first to discover the alien’s identity. It would have been better to reveal this either towards the end or in a subsequent movie. For now at least the memory of Christopher Reeve can rest easy, he is still the best Superman on celluloid but how long that will remain is just a matter of time. “Trust me, I was born in Kansas!”

Supercook

Destination London

Some movies you anticipate for over a year, sometimes longer. Triple ‘A’ grade movies, such as The Dark Knight Rises, The Man Of Steel and even the finale to Hangover. However, there are also the second tier of movies, Grade B if you will, which you try and catch at the multiplex but if you do not, you are not that disappointed. It is not the end of the world. You will always catch on blu-ray a few months later or subsequently when they appear on television several years later. The Fast & Furious franchise is one very much close to my heart as a petrol head but I can take it or leave it. This was only the third movie of the now six movie franchise that I had actually watched on the big screen. I recall watching the first movie while at University and being blown away. This was the first time that I could recall Hollywood producing a worthy racing car movie. Japan (in particular) but other nations had a long history of race car movies. Sure it was not perfect by any means but it was a start and I had enjoyed the ride. If you had told me then, that I would have seen sequels five and six at the cinema, over ten years later I would not have believed you!

As agreed after watching the last installment back in April 2011, (we had stayed for the post-credits scene which set up the plot for the sequel) I was going to watch Fast Six and all further sequels with my bestie Pav. I originally had thought he would want to catch the afternoon showing at 2pm but instead he opted (once cleared with Emily) to come along to the 8:30pm showing in our second home (screen four). The auditorium was at 60% capacity when I booked tickets on Sunday evening just before dinner. I was really looking forward to the movie. It has been a while since I visited a cinema at peak time on a weekend, rather than the cheaper saver Tuesday. It was worth paying full price in my opinion for what would be a great action movie. Sometimes, you just want to be entertained and escape away from life’s troubles. You can leave your brain outside and have a few hours to be taken on an epic adventure.

Fast & Furious 6

I happened to watch Kermode on BBC News briefly on Friday evening before I headed to the gym. He reviewed Fast Six, explaining if you had seen the full trailer, you had seen all the best parts from the movie and you could spare yourself the time and money of watching the rest of the movie. I have to disagree with Mark (I usually do). This is an action movie, the set pieces are always completely ridiculous, stretching the believable to the limit and on this occasion most of the action takes place in London. The film delivered pretty much what I expected and maybe a little bit more. The comedy value was turned up a level with even Hobbs having some classic lines. It was great fun and I will catch it again when released on home media. In fact, I really want to watch Fast Five again! Good fun and the great news is that the next movie will be part of a new trilogy – 7-8-9…

Since joining Tumblr, I stumbled across The FastCast blog. Mainly because I entered cars as one of my hobbies and I believed I was linked through by a Tumblr car photography blog. One of the first entries was a podcast, previewing the sixth installment in the franchise. If you are a fan and want a recap before you have seen the movie, I highly recommend you listen to this episode, it is just under an hour and various aspects of the entire franchise are discussed including what to expect in the upcoming movie. I listened to the episode while in the gym the other day and hope to listen to the review episode in the coming week. The movie was released a week later in the States to make the most of a long weekend for Memorial Day. A special dedication therefore to the podcasters themselves, Creighton DeSimone and Chris Ziegler.

Aural Fixation

My viewing habits are well documented, the majority of my blog posts begin or lead to a moment from the television screen. My wife and I tend to focus on watching television shows during the week and save our movies for the weekend. However, sometimes an old classic is shown on Film4 or ITV2 and you just cannot resist the temptation to watch. A prime example was the 1980s action classic Total Recall last summer. On Wednesday night, we decided to watch Pitch Perfect. I had toyed with the idea of watching at the cinema but as the saying goes, you snooze you lose, so by the time I had actually thought I would go and see it, screenings had stopped. Never mind, I perhaps would have a felt a little short changed if I had spent money on cinema tickets (even on Saver Tuesday at our local Empire).

My expectations were a family unfriendly extended episode of Glee, in a college rather than high school environment. I like a capella music but am not particularly fond of mash-ups (see previous blog post). However, putting that to one side, this movie was great fun! I was unaware that Brittany Snow was one of the leads. An actress I have only come across in the last few years. Although I had heard about the movie John Tucker Must Die I actually had not seen it until it was on television a few years ago. Michelle told me it was worth watching and very funny! Unfortunately there is zero trace of me noting watching the movie sometime in 2011 on Twitter, Facebook or this blog. This was the first time I came across the beautiful actress Brittany Snow. I will sidestep the topic of her amazing body and instead focus my attention on her acting ability which was fantastic but we have to give the caveat that this was just a high school teen movie. The reality is, I should not have been watching this movie so close to my 30th birthday. A few months later, we watched Prom Night as the 2008 remake re-imagining was on Film4. I recall during this time we were going through an Idris Elba phase (Michelle in particular), watching Luther on television (stupidly season two before watching season one a fortnight later). I wonder if he will become the next Bond after Craig?

As a big fan of Glee, I was the ideal audience for Pitch Perfect but my expectations of a gross-out comedy in the vain of Bridesmaids, were quickly put to bed. This was going to be a fun ride and all the performers were actually extremely good singers in their own right, we just had not seen any of them sing before. Rebel Wilson steals the show as Fat Amy! The soundtrack was excellent, particularly some of the older songs from the 1980s. Some of the mashups were good but I was disappointed that some of the songs featured so prominently in the movie were neglected from the album. While the movie is centred around Anna Kendrick’s character, Beca I feel the supporting cast steal the show in many scenes. Character development is much further down the list of priorities but as an audience we tend not to worry about such things. Particularly if the film is entertaining enough! Great fun and highly recommended. Do not just take my word for it, the movie is rated as 80% fresh over on Rotten Tomatoes. Particularly watch out for one of the actors from The Treble Makers who has a close resemblances to my brother-in-law.

Film Title: Pitch Perfect

While reviewing Wikipedia as you do after watching a movie, particularly one you have enjoyed, it was great to see an update (as recently as yesterday) that a sequel has been green lit and Rebel Wilson as actually signed up for another two movies. A movie dedicated to Fat Amy, now that I would pay money to see!

Meesh, Teg & Tom

Perhaps it will become a tradition at Christmas, much like Her Majesty’s Speech to the United Kingdom and Commonwealth promptly at 3pm. Last year I went to see Tom Cruise, in the action blockbuster, Mission:Impossible – Ghost Protocol, with my Dad at IMAX Waterloo. (I am sure I have mentioned before but just to underline again – the biggest screen in the country). My wife is not a fan of the Top Gun actor but puts up with my soft spot for him and his movies. However, I was hoping to catch Jack Reacher over the Twixmas period. (The days after Christmas but before the new year drops) my Dad had been my initial choice but he was busy and frankly not that interested after seeing what he called a rather moody trailer.

It was a true surprise when I opened a third Christmas gift which I had not been expecting and in all honestly had not noted under the tree in the lead up to the big day. Sure, I may be into my thirties now but that does not stop me snopping under the tree and doing a quick count on the number of my presents. I am really looking forward to our trip to the cinema on Thursday evening, which will of course begin with a trip around the sales in The Oracle, Reading.

Jack ReacherCinema Ticket

Let It Crumble

I am not a major fan of James Bond. My Dad is the biggest fan I know but he has grown up with the movies! We are very different as father and son, he prefers the comic dryness of Englishman Roger Moore and I prefer the gritty realism of Welshman Timothy Dalton. In fact, there was a point at the turn of the century, when the last Bond movie I had seen was actually 1989 Licence To Kill. The Pierce Brosnan movies had passed me by for what would be my lost Bond decade. It was not until I was in college and my dearest friend Pav mentioned that the opening to The World Is Not Enough was the best opening to any (action) movie he had ever seen, did I re-consider the franchise. Perhaps Ian Fleming’s MI6 secret agent was worth another try.

The build up to this release was immense, even if you do not factor in the 50th anniversary of Dr. No. The third outing for Craig had been a major disappointment. Craig was never my choice to be in the role, I thought it was the ideal time for a black actor to be set into what is regarded as the quintessential British spy. However the producers, even in early 2004 felt this was too much of a risk to take. (Perhaps they will take the risk after Craig’s final two part finale piece over the next few years). Did people still want Bond? Casino Royale was good, Bond was portrayed with a modern day realism, sure he was cocky but not at all cheesy. He came across as hard work and I believe as a spy, this would be his overwhelming persona. On screen, Craig delivered, but the movie itself was very well put together with an excellent cast and most importantly great villain. I enjoyed the movie back in late November 2006, even if there were a bunch of uncontrollable schoolboys sitting in the row behind us at the Vue Oxford. There was enough going on to keep you involved and perhaps the only missing element was more Bond girls.

Nevertheless I was happy with the new direction the franchise was heading in and looking forward to the next instalment. What is it with Bond movies and the month of November? Are we never to get a release in the summer months? Oh yes, that is during the US blockbusters and the marketing team do not want to compete with the likes of Transformers 4 or Thor 2. I was actually out of the country in November 2008, for the release of sequel, Quantum of Solace. (Out of the country purely in the laterally rather than geographical sense, I was actually in North Wales). I went to the see movie at the Odeon with my best mate Dave. He had never seen a Bond movie at the pictures before so this was a new experience. I was disappointed for several reasons. The plot was non-existent, the villain was light weight to say the least and the whole objective was revenge. Revenge as a theme works in some movies but not with Bond. (For the record, I have not seen On Her Majesty’s Service). Another area where both movies were below the standard of their predecessors were the songs. It still is the utmost honour to be chosen to pen the theme tune to Bond. However, after poor song releases which did not even feature the title of the movie in their lyrics, it was time to get back to basics. On this point, beyond all others, Skyfall goes back to the oldschool. Adele was an inspired choice and her song added to the excitement of the movie. It is a shame, as I left the cinema this afternoon, how underwhelm I felt.

Sure it ticks many of the Bond boxes, action from the get go, sexy Bond girls and delightfully evil villain but the whole final third was a major disappointment. My expectations had been blown out of the stratosphere by friends, work colleagues and even some online commentators (plus Chris Evans and Vassos Alexandar on BBC Radio 2). I was expecting a major show down between Bond and Silva. It never materialised after over two hours of major meandering around each other, the build up to the final epic battle, never lives up to your heightened expectations. Similar to Mission Impossible III (just like Craig, Cruise’s third outing as Ethan Hunt) the bad guy is built up to such an extent but under utilised in the third act. Having said that, at least there is a final battle of sorts between Hunt and Davey. While keen not to reveal too much of the plot, all I can say is that Bond appears to be caught on the back foot throughout. The film borrows a great deal of plot devices from The Dark Knight, so it was a shame they could not have come up with a more original story but then this is Bond and as much as they try to go against type, why change a formula that has worked for fifty years.

My Dad’s friend went to the Royal Premere in London on Wednesday 23rd October – two days before the national release in the UK. Unfortunately my Dad was not able to attend as there was only one ticket but he did get his hands on the official souvenir programme. Impressive to say the least, shame the film for me, was a great deal of image over substance. A shame, but with a two part finale for Craig, hopefully this was just an extended two hour trailer to setup the personnel for films twenty four and twenty five!

Skyfall

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