Posts Tagged ‘Shirley Bassey’

Film Review ::: Moonraker

June 19, 2009

“Moonraker” brings the fantasy of the James Bond films to a whole different level … a level that I don’t care much for.

The film’s story hardly resembles Fleming’s classic novel. As a matter of fact, it’s simply another lame rehashing of the story from “The Spy Who Loved Me” (courtesy of Christopher Wood) … which was essentially a rehashing of Roald Dahl’s story for “You Only Live Twice” – quite original, eh?

The characters don’t have much going for them. The most complex character of the film is probably James Bond, which is really no surprise. Roger Moore portrays him elegantly and humorously as he did in the past three films. Lois Chiles’ character, Dr. Molly Goodhead, is quite bland, to say the least. Michael Lonsdale portrays Hugo Drax in an interesting fashion, but hardly comes off as menacing or diabolical; he’s more or less a wealthy and extravagant nut case. “Jaws” unfortunately returns in this film and adds more ridiculous nonsense, also. However, this time around, the ingenious writer had the audacity to incorporate a half-witted love story amongst the metal-mouthed henchman and a petite, pig-tailed blonde named Dolly. By the end of the film, Jaws realizes that the odd couple isn’t fit for Drax’s superior race and rebels. This would’ve been a nice cash-in, made-for-TV, spin-off flick.

The greatest aspect of this James Bond film has to be John Barry’s score. If there’s one man behind-the-scenes of a Bond film who always does his job well, it’s John Barry. Somehow, Barry was able to add some sort of redeeming quality to even the cheesiest scenes of the film. One of his best pieces of music for the film is “Corinne Put Down”, which is played during Corinne’s death. The strings and winds really add emotion and depth to the scene. Shirley Bassey’s title track for the film was also great although it was wasted on such a shameful Bond film. The mellow and lovely style of the track really didn’t fit the style of the film. The locations of the film were admirable, also. Bond travels to California, Rio de Janeiro, Venice, and Brazil. The only undesirable location was outer space.

Overall, I think that “Moonraker” starts off just like the previous Moore films, however, it gets out of control as it moves on. It’s obvious that the success of George Lucas’ “Star Wars” films helped to blast this Bond film into outer space. However, while “Star Wars” succeeded as a science-fiction/action/adventure film, “Moonraker” failed as a science-fiction/action/adventure film. Actually, I’m not even quite sure what genre “Moonraker” falls under, as it’s more like a science fiction/action/adventure/espionage/comedy.

I think Bond films like this took the main character off of the path of “secret agent”, and took him onto the path of “generic action hero”. While a Bond film should have a sufficient amount of action, the character must never enter the realm of “generic action hero”. Bond is a trend-setter, not a trend-follower. Bond’s an elegant secret agent, but also a cold killer, if need be. James Bond isn’t a man who flies around outer space and blasts poison pods with lasers, as one would in a Space Invaders video game.

I think it’s safe to say that James Bond should wield his Walther PPK on planet Earth, rather than wielding a laser gun in outer space.

4.5 / 10

4.5 / 10

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"A Quantum of Covers" for Children In Need

November 19, 2008

Article Link: BBC Oxford > Children In Need > A Quantum of Covers

 

A Quantum of Covers
The Name’s Bear, Pudsey Bear… 

The BBC Oxford team certainly like their music shaken and not stirred judging by their idea for this year’s BBC Children In Need.

It seems Nobody can do a Children In Need Event better than BBC Oxford Introducing who have brought together eleven of the best Oxfordshire bands you’ve never heard of to record their favourite Bond themes for the appeal.

The album, called a Quantum of Covers is available on iTunes and for every individual track downloaded 49p goes to Children In Need and for every album purchased £4.90 will go to the charity.

And with the likes of former Miss England Eleanor Glynn contributing to an industrial electro version of The Living Daylights with Banbury’s Sikorski to Borderville doing a glam-stomp through the Wings classic Live and Let Die, it is sure to be a hit.

Talking about the charity project and their choice of theme Nobody Does It Better, David Balch, from Witches said: “I think A Quantum of Covers is an excellent idea. Bond is an institution and the themes are such iconic songs, it’s great to be a part of it. Hopefully it’ll raise a load of cash for Children in Need’s work with disadvantaged children.”

Xmas Lights took on the challenge of the Bond theme. James Gray-King of the band commented: “It was an honour to be asked to take part in the project and a huge challenge. The main theme has been tackled by so many incredible people over the years that finding a route in and keeping it recognizable while retaining our sound was a really interesting endeavour. I am proud of what we have done and very proud that it is for a worthy cause…”

Sikorski joined forces with their own Bond girl and former Miss England Eleanor Glynn for the Living Daylights, with Jan and Darren saying: “We really enjoyed the process of reinterpreting and recording this song. It was a real challenge from the outset, but one we enjoyed and endeavoured to get right. We wanted to make it our own and not just a copy of the original, and we think we have achieved this.”

And Maria Ilett noticed how BBC Children in Need brings out the generosity in people:
“We were really excited to be asked to record a song for a Quantum of covers BBC Oxfords Children in Need album, people have been extra generous when they realised what charity the song was for- Barry and Markus from The Doghouse Studio donated their studio and engineer time! Just goes to show what a much loved charity Children In Need is.”

BBC Children in Need positively changes the lives of disadvantaged children and young people in the UK.

This theme of this year’s Appeal is Do Something Different and we are asking you to take up the challenge and help thousands more young people, here in the UK, who need our help. Doing Something Different doesn’t mean anything difficult, expensive or scary; it just means something outside of your normal routine which will help raise money.  There are lots of fun, silly and unusual ideas in our BBC Children in Need Fundraising Pack. For more information go to bbc.co.uk/pudsey or call 0345 607 3333.

Remember, for every penny raised, a penny will go towards projects helping those in need. We couldn’t do it without you, so a big Pudsey thanks in advance!

iTunes — “A Quantum of Covers”

Cover songs, especially of Bond tunes, are always interesting to listen to. Even if you buy this, and don’t like it, you’re still contributing to a good cause. If you buy this, and do like it, then I suppose it’s a win/win. I’ll definitely check it out, as it’ll make for a good piece to add to my Bond soundtrack collection. Plus, I like the idea of helping the Children In Need organization.

If you’re not interested in the music, but feel like being generous and helping out the organization, here’s their site link: 

Children In Need

Film Review ::: Goldfinger

November 18, 2008

The third James Bond film, which certainly does hold up as well as it’s predecessors did. However, “Goldfinger” makes for a good, fun, spy adventure.


While “Dr. No” and “From Russia With Love” left us with some great villains, I don’t believe that “Goldfinger” topped them. However, Oddjob was a memorable henchman- not as superior as Grant was, but still a very intimidating man. “Goldfinger” seemed like a more laid-back and jokey villain. Perhaps this was because he had nothing to do with SPECTRE.

The film strayed from the first two Bond films in the aspect of equipment too. This is when Bond really gets a hold of some rather unrealistic gadgets- a car with an ejector seat, oil slicks, machine guns, and a GPS system. Though, the GPS seemed to prove how far Bond was ahead of his time, since we’ve just seen these appearing in cars rather recently. Of course though, these gadgets are pretty fun. I love the DB5- gorgeous vehicle, and after it’s used, we don’t really see much use of any other gadgets. Therefore, I think the presence of gadgets in the film weren’t too overbearing.

Goldfinger’s plot is rather grand and unrealistic. This is definitely the film in which the producers moved far from simple, intelligent, and realistic plots, to more unrealistic and massive plots. Though, I’ve always loved the idea of Goldfinger’s plot, no matter how impossible it seemed. The idea of tainting the gold supply at Knox, forcing people to buy from him, was quite smart.

The locations were interesting. Nothing too vibrant like Crab Key in “Dr. No”, but they were interesting. We saw some beautiful country land as Bond trailed Goldfinger, and we got a taste of some rural American locations- the “ranch” in Kentucky.

Barry’s score was excellent- nothing out of the ordinary. He captured the feeling of the film very well, and the use of the Bond theme mixed with the “Goldfinger” theme was great music to hear through out the score. My favorite piece of music is during the PTS, which includes the gunbarrel, and the espionage music for the scene following it.

Though Connery seemed like a natural Bond in the previous films, I could still sense it here- though he did seemed a bit laid back, in my opinion. He just didn’t seem to have as much of that energy and excitement as he did in the past films, for some reason.

Leiter was a disappointment. Alright- he seemed like a really nice guy in the film, but that actor was a bad choice. He seemed more like Bond’s American uncle than Leiter. It’s a real shame Lord wasn’t used again.

Pussy Galore was a decent Bond girl. Not anything really special, in my opinion, but decent. She had a certain attractiveness about her. She wasn’t drop-dead gorgeous like Andress, but there was something. And the chest of hers! Woooah!

The best scenes for me include the PTS and the finale. The PTS seemed so Bondian, with some classic spying, fighting, cigarette smoking, and romance. Not much more you can ask for in a Bond PTS. Then, the finale in the vault was great- the fight with Oddjob was pretty fun to watch.

My biggest problems with this film are Leiter and the gangsters. Actually, if they were modified in a way, I’d find this film a lot more enjoyable. Leiter should have been played by Jack Lord, as I mentioned- plain and simple. It would have kept the continuity, also. Then, the gangsters were just played by terrible actors. The only one who did an okay job was Solo. What a terribly written scene, in Goldfinger’s billiard room. “What’s with that trick pool table!?”“I want my money Goldfinger!”“So, PAY!”… Are you joking me?

Terrible. Actually, embarrassing to a certain extent. If I were showing a person their first Bond film, and chose “Goldfinger”- I’d probably fast forward through the gangster scene.

In summary, this film was rather disappointing when compared to “Dr. No” and “From Russia With Love”. However, it’s not terrible. I just found it a little too unrealistic, and there were a few bits (like the gangsters and Leiter) that I just plain-old didn’t care for. That’s not to say that this isn’t classic Connery Bond, though- because it surely is. I think the good over-powers the bad in this film.

8.0 / 10

8.0 / 10