Look, I totally get that the moviegoers of America pronounced me dead wrong when I told you last summer “Ted” was a snooze. Maybe I was having an off day. I’m going to try it again on video and we’ll see.
That said, this past weekend I saw back-to-back movies that nearly caused me to come down with a case of trypanosomiasis in the middle of both “Lincoln” and “Skyfall,” the new James Bond flick.
Lincoln being the drowsier of the two.
I went at my 15 year-old daughter’s request. One of her teachers in Blue Valley asked students to go see it and offered extra credit if they could prove they had. To that end Liza retained her movie ticket and Hollywood retained our 15 bucks.
And while I can’t sing Jack Poessiger‘s movie reviewing praises enough, I’ve got to tell you guys, up until maybe the last hour or 45 minutes, Lincoln was a snore. Jack said it was too long too.
It might not have been 100 percent historically accurate, but who knows how accurate Spielberg’s Lincoln is? Or cares.
There was sporadic applause at the close of the movie at The Legends where I saw it. Not surprisingly, when the lights came on, it became crystal clear that the majority of the crowd were oldsters. Well rested oldsters because I didn’t hear snoring sounds or see anybody rubbing their eyes on the way out.
So let your conscience be your guide. Go see “Lincoln” if you want – especially if you can get extra credit – but allow me to suggest pounding a Red Bull or latte before the movie starts.
Then yesterday I saw Bond, James Bond, again at The Legends.
After Saturday’s Spielberg marathon, I can tell you that I know Lincoln pretty well and James Bond is no Lincoln.
Secondly, like Jack said, the opening sequence is so good that nothing else in the movie comes close to matching it. About a third of the way through my wife turned to me with a disappointed look and said, “Awww, it’s not very good.” She was right.
Where’s Ian Fleming when you need him?
The former British naval intelligence officer penned a dozen James Bond novels and two short story collections before checking out in 1964 at age 56.
“Skyfall” is the 23rd James Bond movie, so obviously movie makers have no intention of letting the franchise die merely because there are no more Fleming novels to be adapted.
The villain in “Skyfall” didn’t seem very real or threatening to me. And even though the writers have tuned things up a bit – modernized them – somehow it just didn’t connect overall.
Think about, for example, some of the Bond movie villains of the past. They were too corny even at the time, let alone by today’s standards. That’s why Austin Powers had such an excellent time spoofing them.
Who actually thinks anybody today would find a Goldfinger believable or entertaining? It’s a different world, why not make Bond a more contemporary spy, a real spy, and place him in believable predicaments, situations and locations?
There’s certainly no shortage of material out there in the real world.
In part, the problem with James Bond movies is times have changed. The concept of a debonaire spy dude bedding smoking hot, sophisticated babes with the bat of an eye is so 1960s. Or 70’s, maybe 80’s.
Look at Jason Bourne…
Like Bond, Bourne scores with attractive women, but only after laying the prerequisite groundwork. Not merely by bedding them upon first meeting at some silly casino after cashing in $4 million in chips.
On top of that, “Skyfall” tries too hard.
We all knew about Bond drinking Heiniken months before the movie opened because the product placers wanted us to know. What about the martinis, “shaken but not stirred” many wondered?
Not to worry, in one scene a bartender shakes up a martini and pours it for Daniel Craig who says something like, “Just the way I like it.”
Craig by the way is looking a little haggard and long-in-the-tooth for some of the action sequences in this movie. However Jack tells me he’s signed for two more films, with Bond 24 slated for 2014 two years from now.
Filmmakers downplay Bond’s getting older in “Skyfall” by having him tested for his physical abilities and failing at a measly 40 percent score. Craig may need counsel from Lance Armstrong if he’s to get in shape for the movie two years from now and presumably the one two years after that.
The ending is a little queer as well, too tidily stitched up.
In it we learn that fellow spy Naomie Harris – who Bond beds early on in the movie – turns out to be Miss Moneypenny, the longtime secretary to Bond’s longtime boss M. And M now becomes actor Ralph Fiennes after actress Judy Dench takes a bullet and checks out. At age 77, it wouldn’t have been wildly surprising if Dench had bought the farm before the movie was even done filming – but what the heck, time for a change.
Older Bond fans will remember that Bond never bedded Moneypenny as she was far to homely to be a “Bond Girl” (even though she joked about having an attraction to actors Sean Connery and Roger Moore in the first 14 Bond flicks).
Demure B movie actress Lois Maxwell snared the Moneypenny role in 1962. But at age 36, Harris – Skyfall’s Moneypenny – is far and away more beddable, even though there was no romantic tension between Moneypenny and Bond in any of Flemings novels.
So there you have it.
If you’re torn between “Lincoln” and “Skyfall” and you’re under the age of 60 – 50 even – go for Bond…James Bond.
And if you love both movies and think I don’t have a clue…take a number.
After all, I thought Lincoln as Vampire Hunter was, you know, fine.