Sunday, 14 September 2008


By Any Means
Part 2 (of 6)

2x06 Dex, Lies and Videotape

11x01 Mrs. McGinty's Dead
ITV may screw over both Miss Marple and Christie's sundry other characters by adapting them all willy-nilly in Marple, but Poirot sticks firmly to canon in its aim of filming all her stories about the Belgian detective. 61 down, 11 to go...


Bond from the Beginning #11:
Moonraker (1979)
[2nd half; 3rd or so watch]
See here for my thoughts on this film.


Apocalypse then by Ed Potton
(from The Knowledge Sept 13-19, 2008, p.12-13)
The fact that articles like this can be found online these days almost makes you wonder why they publish the magazine. Though, on the page it does have a review of the new DVD release (identical to the US one from a couple of years ago, by the sound of things). It comes in a Steelbook, which the people at The Times have obviously never heard of, bless them, as they insist on calling it a "steelbox". In a rare instance of Steelbook-beating, I prefer the US packaging.

David Blaine: death-dealer by Michael Joseph Gross
"'A lot of people in England don't like me for some reason,' Blaine continues." Because he's a pretentious show-off dick, a bit like Derren Brown only less entertaining and based on tricks of endurance rather than skill. This article does nothing to dispel such an opinion. In fact, if anything, it makes it worse.

Bond from the Beginning #11: Moonraker

Moonraker has some good bits. A shocking thing to say, I know, especially for me -- but it's true!

Sandwiched between arguably the two most popular Moore films, it's probably the most reviled film in the entire franchise -- though A View to a Kill runs a close second these days -- but there are a number of redeeming qualities that prevent it being a total loss as a film -- though it helps to think of it as a generic sci-fi-tinged spy thriller, rather than a film starring Ian Fleming's James Bond.

The pre-titles sequence is a stunning piece of stunt work, the like of which you would surely never see today; Drax is an excellent villain, with some of the best one-liners in the entire series; and many other bits work marvelously too. But there are also huge lapses of judgement -- as if a motor-powered gondola wasn't bad enough, it has to turn into a hovercraft... with a double-taking pigeon, just to hammer home that final nail. There are others, far too numerous to mention -- though the constant repetition from earlier films is blatant when watching in sequence, and the huge sin that is the laser-gun space battle cannot go unacknowledged (and after most of the space bits were relatively realistic too!)

The real shame about Moonraker is it doesn't have to sink to such lows. Despite how "James Bond in space" sounds, the concept isn't inherently flawed -- it's only You Only Live Twice with Bond getting in the spacecraft -- but there are so many misguided bits that they sometimes become hard to ignore. On the bright side, if one can ignore the silly bits there's actually a hugely entertaining film here.

I never thought I'd say this, ever, but Moonraker is not my least favourite Bond film, and by some margin. (In the not-unlikely event that you can suddenly feel shooting pains in your left arm now, please call a doctor.) Perhaps there's hope yet for View to a Kill...