James Bond is back and he's out for revenge. It's no secret that I'm a big 007 fan. I've watched every movie, I have some of the songs on my iPod playlist, and I even (occasionally) do a feature here on the blog about the book series. It's hard not to be a fan since growing up with the films. However, I do judge the sequels with a critical eye as each film is different and offers something new. If the film isn't amazing, I will tell you why with no bias. The latest James Bond film to be reviewed is the inter-conspiracy film: SPECTRE.
The Premise: MI6 is dealing with the backlash after another one of James Bond's (Daniel Craig) misadventures to take down a criminal. As the 00 program hangs in the balance, Bond is on the hunt to stop the menacing SPECTRE organization that has been causing him hell since Casino Royale.
The Results: 3/5!
SPECTRE tried to accomplish an ambitious goal - it tried to connect the three previous movies together for one satisfying conclusion. And while it successfully created a web that seem connected, it failed to deliver a powerful payoff. The villain, while nefarious and dangerous, never came off as terrifying; he was merely a bad guy in a business suit. James Bond, as well as other characters like Q, M, Moneypenny and Madeline Snow to name a few, delivered a stellar job as part of the growing ensemble cast. The stunts were great, especially the first opening sequence. However, one of SPECTRE's biggest faults is that the action, the drama and the anticipation never built up to a climatic finish. The ending felt too mellow and calm. (This is a 007 film after all!) If you're a fan of James Bond movies, I would recommend checking out the next flick in the series.
With James Bond's latest adventure heading to the big screen next with SPECTRE, I decided to dust off an old favourite feature of mine for my next piece on the blog. I will skip over the formality of mentioning how long it has been since the last post. Suffice it to say: I'm terrible! (We all know it, but you love me for it.)
This will be a short edition of The Big Bong Book Club. I finished this novel awhile ago and I watched the movie shortly after then, but I'm currently writing the piece now. For those of you unfamiliar with this feature, I read the 007 books in chronological order (those who have a movie counterpart) and then I watch the film shortly afterwards to do a comparison between the two. You can check out the previous features on this blog (Casino Royale, Live and Let Die, Moonraker, Diamonds are Forever, and From Russia with Love).
For this edition of the book club, I will be taking a look at James Bond's first adventure, according to the movie franchise: Dr. No.
The Story (novel): After recovering from poisoning, James Bond is set on a simple assignment to Jamaica to learn about the disappearance of an MI6 agent.
The Story (movie): James Bond is sent to Jamaica to investigate a British Intelligence Station Chief's disappearance.
Since Dr. No is the "first" James Bond movie adventure we're introduced to as viewers, a few details are changed to accommodate this new timeline. References to past characters and actions from the book series are omitted and the history of certain characters with 007 are changed to be new introductions instead. It's nothing major that alters the main theme of the story (Dr. No is still menacing and he is a member of SPECTRE), but it is a noticeable difference after reading the first few books and connecting these characters to past scenes in the previous novels.
My Favourite: The Movie! (...barely)
Similar to my conclusion from Diamonds are Forever, I wasn't particularly fond of either pieces. Be it that Dr. No was the first film from the '60s and the series was still finding its way OR the book coming off as James Bond's "relaxed" adventure, Dr. No didn't captivate me as a story. The certain aspect which could have pulled the movie ahead compared to the book is potentially the iconic scenes from the movie. Honey Rider rising from the sea, James Bond driving his car for the first time, Dr. No wearing the suit - there are many moments any 007 would love to see on film. These are all small cosmetic points, but they did help lean toward my ultimate decision.
Dr. No (the book) - 3/10
Dr. No (the movie) - 4/10
NEXT: The next blog piece will be tackling the (arguably) best James Bond story. I'm not going to confirm if it is my favourite, but many fans love this story compared to the others. If you're craving gold then be on the lookout for the next post: Goldfinger!
Not all adaptations are a recipe for success. For every comic book movie blockbuster or new TV hit series, there are a few misses that pop up. Changing the source material, miscasting, the editing, the acting or the script itself could be one of the reasons the adaptation just didn't work. It's not to say the piece is completely bad - it needs to be viewed under a different lens. Adaptations, at its core, are never as great as the original source material. For this edition's movie review, I take a look at an '80s musical adaptation: Jem and The Holograms.
The Premise: Jerrica (Aubrey Peeples) is a shy and talented musician who lives with her aunt, sister and two foster sisters. When her sister Kimber (Stefanie Scott) uploads a video of Jerrica singing, going under the name of "Jem", her popularity skyrockets as the video becomes an internet success. Catching the eye of record label mogul Erica Raymond (Juliette Lewis), Jerrica, as well as her sisters, are signed as a new band - Jem and The Holograms - and deal with their newfound success.
The Results: 1.5/5!
Jem and The Holograms isn't as bad as everyone initially claims it to be. There are some highlights to the film, like primarily with its soundtrack and themes of sister unity. If you're the type of person who enjoys adding new tracks to their playlist, Jem offers just that. Unfortunately, the positives do end there. Jem and The Holograms suffers from an identity crisis. The film doesn't know what it wants to be! Is it a cheeky parody based on the cartoon? Is it a serious indie flick exploring the music industry and internet trends? The film jumps back and forth between both ideas, essentially confusing viewers of the main plot. In terms of the cast, much of the cast was simply doing lip service - barely showing emotion and merely reading lines. On top of that, the film was never outrageous. (Seriously, Jem was never truly, truly outrageous!) If you're a diehard Jem and The Holograms fan, I would not recommend watching this film as it is a departure from the series. However, if you enjoy musical films and a nice feelgood movie, this could be for you.