Welcome back, I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas, Festive Hanukkah, Joyous Kwanzaa and are off to a happy start to the New Year!
Cuz I’m about to spoil all that by digging back in to this dumpster fire.
“Mother, thank you for dragging me across Europe and hiding me in the closet every time a man with acne came within 50 miles.”
Since it’s been awhile lets review the pertinent points from the last entry. After Madeline Swann freaks out and infects the Craig-Bond with her virus, er… “nanobots” she tells him she’s, “going home.” Once the Craig-Bond’s dear foster brother Bro-feld kicks the bucket the rag-tag team at MI6 get together to debrief where it is revealed Swann did not return to her apartment, mysteries abound! To what “home” was she referring?! Moneypenny asks the Craig-Bond, “Is she (Swann) one of them?” To which he replies, “I don’t know.” Moneypenny further inquires, “Do you have any idea where she’s gone?” He says, “No, I don’t know her at all.” Wow, how existential!
We smash cut to the Craig-Bond tromping through a forest, where he comes upon a clearing.
There’s something eerily familiar about this shot.
No?! You don’t mean…?
Yes, she ran off to the house from the flash back within a flashback that was the pre-titles scene! Let’s break this down a moment. Remember all the times in this film and the one before when we were told how good she is at hiding? Her daddy Mr. White says, “She’s smart, you’ll never find her.” Bro-feld and the Craig-Bond both comment on how well she hides in this film and she does nothing so original as to run off to her mother’s house?! Ok, she’s run away and is in hiding, not so much from MI6 who want to question her about Bro-feld’s unexpected demise and let’s face it from what we’ve seen she could post up in M’s office and nobody would notice.
“Now where could she be?!”
But more to the point she’s hiding from Safin who’s threatened, as well soon learn, her daughter. So where does she go to avoid this monster? The very place he first found her of course! But I’m sure he’ll never think to look for her there.
The Craig-Bond makes his way through the wavy glass door Safin entered oh so long ago.
He’s got his gun out for some reason, you’re going to confront your ex-wife/girlfriend, what do you expect to find, ninjas?
“Oh no, ex-wife ninjas!”
Swann comes into the room to meet him and they instantly fall back in love. Bloody hell! You just had your gun out in anticipation of trouble, told the MI6 staff you “didn’t know her at all,” though you knew about this place, you ditched her on a train platform 5 years ago because you thought she was a double agent, yet because you see her in a snug T-shirt and Bro-feld, who’s notorious for mind games, told you she was innocent, well… YOLO!
We get some stilted pop psych 101 dialog meant to be oh so deep, concerning their trust issues and how much he loves her. How it was the feeling of love and not his inability to trust that caused him to reject her at the start of the film. It’s the type of schmaltz I’d expect to find in a Hallmark Channel movie of the week. She eventually says, “Do you know the worst thing about you?” As he begins to move closer the sappy music swells, He asks, “My sense of… timing?” She says, “Don’t.” “My sense of humor?” Again, “Don’t.” “Then what?” he says. She replies, “Your look.” He quips, “You look incredible.”
What the hell was all that? Not only was it nonsensical but it feels like some meta admonishment to all the people out here who aren’t as enraptured with Barbara Broccoli’s lust boy as she. Sorry Babz, some of us have taste. You know it’s funny, I know this site and many others were started in protest over Craig’s appearance especially his “blond hair,” but EON and their drones can’t seem to wrap their head around the fact that talking point evaporated years ago. I for one was never disturbed by the hue of Mr. Craig’s mane and I think you’ll notice I rarely if ever refer to it. I’m much more concerned with the shear lack of fun and adventure in each film, turning this once great franchise into a collection of gloomy dirges, but what do I know I’m just a long time Bond fan.
As the two embrace for some good old fashion down home lovin’ a creak is heard from the stairs above. Pan up to find a little girl seated on the landing Safin tumbled over nearly two hours ago.
I hope she rebuilt that railing out of something stronger than balsa wood this time!
I guess Swann was so lost in the Craig-Bond’s baggy eyes she forgot her child was just a few feet away and would have been witness to the primal actions the two were about to partake in? The little girl is Swann’s daughter Mathilde. As Swann is putting her little plot contrivance to bed she tells the Craig-Bond, who is looking at the child rather wistfully, “She’s not yours.” He’s mystified because she… she has blue eyes! Keep in mind this scene is playing out in Norway, everybody has blues eyes. If Swann was spending any amount of time in this region and were to be having affairs of a physical nature with any of the local inhabitants, blue eyes would be the logical outcome. Sorry Babz but Dan’s dreamy eyes aren’t that special!
They make their way downstairs to Mr. White’s study, prompting the Craig-Bond to quip, “What is it with your dad and secret rooms?” EON my friends, making meta commentary does not wipe away how ridiculous something is. This secret room makes sense being it’s located in the man’s home and is about the size of an average closet, compare that to the massive one in the previous film which was located in a bloody hotel suite, in fact the secret room was larger than the actual living quarters!
Swann explains Satan Safin’s family was killed by her father Mr. White at the behest of Bro-feld prompting the events of the pre-titles sequence’s flashback within a flashback. Considering Safin’s 25 year blood lust one has to ask, why didn’t he try to finish the job on Mr. White? Was killing the man’s wife and traumatizing his daughter enough for the time being? Why come back and take out Bro-feld now? Why didn’t Mr. White exact revenge on Safin? Doesn’t say much for his ruthlessness, brutality and skill as an assassin if he lets some chump come around and wreck havoc on his own home. It also begs the question why Mr. White finally abandoned Bro-feld in the film SPECTRE? He stated he couldn’t follow him any more, leading one to believe Bro-feld had finally gone too far, yet here we see White was happily murdering families two decades earlier, was techno privacy really that big an issue for him? A bizarre hill for an evil assassin to quite literately die on.
The life story of SPECTRE assassin “Mr. White.”
The Craig-Bond asks Swann what Safin wants, I say excellent question old boy, since all of his motivations have been satisfied. All he wanted was revenge on SPECTRE and Bro-feld, well he got it, the film’s antagonist has been rendered moot and he barely had 5 minutes of screen time.
“I’ve come here to get revenge and chew gum and I’ve got plenty of gum!”
Swann continues the briefing, the Safin family were SPECTRE’s chief poison manufacturers living on a private island that Bro-feld stole once Mr. White killed them, now that Bro-feld is dead Safin has reclaimed it. She even goes so far as to give the Craig-Bond a map to the place. He forwards all that off to Q. Swann asks, “Your going to find him?” He replies, “There are thousands of reasons to find him, you just gave me a reason to KILL him!”
You find he has a semi sympathetic reason for revenge against SPECTRE and now you’re out for blood? Ah, but not before he peels an apple for a child!
He uses a folding combat knife, while in a kitchen, are you sure there were no other more suitable options around? No, he just wanted to look “gritty” and “bad ass.” Also note, gotta have that Omega watch™ on full display!
The Craig-Bond asks the child, “How is it?” I wish the girl had responded;
“It’s a raw apple how do you think it tastes Gordon Ramsey?!”
Suddenly the Craig-Bond gets a phone call from the team at M.assive I.ncompetence 6, it seems Q was able to locate the island which is located in disputed waters between Japan and Russia, sorry old boy I think you mispronounced China. Seriously a dispute between Japan and Russia, what is this the Russo-Japanese war? I’m sorry did we time travel back to 1904?
Seems there is also an 80 year old chemical plant on the island left over from the second world war. Chief of Staff Tanner blusters in to inform us Japanese Intelligence reports suspicious activity on the island. Doesn’t speak well for the Japanese Secret Service does it. SPECTRE/Safin have been using this island to produce toxins for decades in contested waters where one would assume the two countries in depute would be keeping a very close eye for any irregularities and yet Japan and for that matter Russia have only just now, when it’s convenient for the plot, noticed something was amiss?
Absolutely nothing that would raise the alarm of two feuding factions.
The Craig-Bond asks if 007 has been able to find traitor Logan Ash-hole. Moneypenny says 007 is “closing in” and will send the Craig-Bond her location. The Craig-Bond gets a text message with a map of Norway which prompts him to say “I thought she was following Logan Ash, not me!” Why would that be your first thought? Do you think this woman to be so unhinged as to forego her assignment in order to stalk you?
Well, to be fair she is rather obsessed with that code number.
The Craig-Bond suddenly realizes if 007 is there the Ash-hole must be nearby, but she’s not keeping too close a tail on Ash-hole as we’ll soon see. The Craig-Bond collects the family unit and tosses them into a second hand Toyota Land Cruiser™. As they speed off, the Craig-Bond calls Q and informs him he’ll need the plane he offered earlier waiting for him at a local NATO base. Young Mathilde mentions she’s been bitten by a mosquito, she asks her sock monkey “Dou-Dou” if it likes mosquitoes before grinning sociopathically.
Two Range Rovers™ race by in the opposite direction and Mathilde asks her mother if “Mosquitoes have friends” while re-inspecting her elbow where the bite occurred. Considering the bio-warfare nature of the plot you would think this will have implications later on, don’t worry it’s never brought up again.
Within a matter of seconds the two Range Rovers™ have realized their mistake and are now behind our little nuclear family. How they came to this realization is never addressed.
Thus begins “The Car Chase” sponsored by Range Rover™!
The Craig-Bond takes a sudden turn to the right off the main road and out into the forest because everybody knows the best way to contend with pursuers is to lead them to a remote location where their murderous intent can be carried out much easier.
The villains close in on our heroes and start ramming their car. I don’t know how much Range Rover paid for this bit of product placement but if I were them I’d ask for every penny back. The Craig-Bond’s Toyota not only sustains no damage but easily sends the villainous Rovers careening off the road in spectacular fashion.
The Craig-Bond continues deeper into the wilds of Norway when a helicopter appears. Suddenly our friends are over run by a flurry of product placements, Range Rovers™ and Triumph Motorcycles™ come spilling over a nearby hill!
I don’t understand the problem though, considering the ease in which he dispatched the previous two vehicles. At any rate the chase continues off road hither and yon, Range Rovers™ getting shunted off into the periphery, when the Craig-Bond suddenly thinks it a sound tactical maneuver to pull off and park up in a forest. I guess he’s a sporting chap wanting to give the baddies a chance considering the indestructible nature of his Toyota™.
The Craig-Bond gives his pistol to Swann and they set off through a fern jungle, the Craig-Bond carrying the child like a mother hen and the girl’s actual mother separating from them when she hears a noise. You certainly wouldn’t want the trained assassin with years of wet work under his belt toting the firearm and the girl’s actual mother doing the mothering! Lo and behold a Triumph Motorcycle™ pulls up and just as the rider is about to shoot the Craig-Bond he turns and cowers, the rider is abruptly shot by Swann from off camera! Can you say subverting gender norms? Hey, I got no problem showing a capable woman especially one defending her child, but this is a typical action film trope with the characters simply cut and pasted in the opposite roles all in a cheap effort to undermine Bond and give Swann the masculine quality, we’ll be seeing more of this at the villain’s lair later.
The three enter a dilapidated cabin just next to the murder scene and the Craig-Bond thinks it a capital idea to ditch Swann and her child right where all the henchmen will now be converging due to the very loud gun shots, but it’s okay since she still has the Craig-Bond’s Walther PPK™ now with the added benefit of only containing 4 bullets!
“Did I fire 4 shots or only 3 well the trouble is in all this excitement I forgot myself, though it doesn’t matter since there are dozens of you.”
The Craig-Bond takes the weapons off the dead rider and runs a few yards away firing a pistol as he does so.
“Don’t worry you’re safe now I drew them 10 feet to the right!”
The Craig-Bond blows up a Range Rover ™ with a grenade launcher and uses the disabled vehicles winch to string a trip line he uses to decapitate another Triumph™ rider, because he saw an Ewok do it in Return Of The Jedi.
Just then another Rover pulls up and who should be inside but Logan Ash-hole! Logan starts firing wildly and the Craig-Bond just saunters off. The SUV races forward hits a log and flips over, prompting the Craig-Bond to throw a couple of extra rounds at it just on general purpose I suppose.
“Take that stupid car!”
The vehicle comes to rest at a precarious angle just held in place by a tree over a small decline, sure enough Logan survived the crash and is crawling out of the vehicle.
The Craig-Bond attempts to shoot him but alas is out of ammunition, I guess you’re regretting those extra shots from a moment ago huh? The Craig-Bond ditches his gun and approaches the treacherous Ash-hole. As the vehicle slides ever closer to crushing him Ash-hole states, “You’ll never be able to stop him, why don’t you help me out brother?” Come on even you got to realize how ridiculous that sounds! The Craig-Bond responds, “I had a brother…”
“… his name was Felix Lieter.” Oh yeah him! Sorry it’s only been about an hour and a half since we last saw him. At this the Craig-Bond drops the car on him in a warmed over For Your Eyes Only homage, because nothing is original in this series anymore.
Gunshots are heard off in the distance and we cut to Swann emptying her pistol into a lone henchman. Just as she does so Satan Safin comes around the corner and smiles at her, too bad she didn’t have a spare magazine or this bloody film would be over! The Craig-Bond runs over just in time to see them leave in the helicopter.
Cut to the Craig-Bond walking along the road when who should pull up in a brand new Aston Martin™ but 007! This is the scene from the trailer where I questioned why the Craig-Bond was dressed in a bathrobe.
Turns out it’s not a bathrobe at all but a corduroy trench coat! I can think of nothing better to keep out the damp Norwegian weather than corduroy! This is not just any corduroy coat, no, this is a very special coat costing upwards of $1200 dollars! How do I know all this you ask? Well an internet search for “ugly coat Bond wears in Norway” lead me here:
Because of course he has one!
Yes our friend the underpants gnome went out and immediately bought one, despite the fact even he admits it’s an ugly coat! It’s moments of blind consumerism like this I wonder if the the socialists might have a point.
“Ownership of an expensive ugly coat is theft!”
So 007 pulls up as cocky as you please.
“Like my glasses? They’re from the Grace Jones collection!”
The Craig-Bond asks with righteous indignation, “Where have you been?” 007 retorts, offended by the question, “Chasing after your lead.” Yeah, apparently not too closely! You’re only 6 hours late old girl! That’s our 007, a day late and a dollar short. Considering how much this gal has done in an effort to subvert everything in this mission I’m surprised she isn’t a double agent!
“That’s double 0, double agent to you!”
As they speed of in Aston Martin’s™ product placement, the Craig-Bond tells 007 Logan Ash-hole is dead and “Dr. Swann” has been abducted along with her daughter. 007 says, “I didn’t know she had a daughter.” But I thought MI6 had been following her, thoroughly checking up on her over the past five years, you know because of her unfettered access to the leader of the most powerful global crime syndicate the world had ever known, you know the one her own father belonged to and yet here you are telling us you didn’t even know she had a daughter?!
M.assive I.ncompetence 6 in action!
The Craig-Bond asks 007 if M had acquired “his plane.” 007 retorts, “Our plane, I’m going with you.” The Craig-Bond deeply moved whispers, “thank you.” In an act of cheap blatant consumer salivation bait the Aston Martin™ comes barreling through the gates of the “NATO base” and on to the tarmac, screeching by the camera and to the rear of a large cargo plane.
The dynamic duo brush by Q who’s standing in his pajamas just so 007 can quip, “Hello Q, sorry to get you out of bed.” Now didn’t we just see him earlier in this scene fully dressed on video conference with the Craig-Bond asking for this very plane.
It was only that very morning in the context of this film, now at sunset he’s decked out in sleeping gear, because… I guess he travels light?
“I only bring one pair of clothes when I venture out and PJs are perfect for any occasion!”
It’s just lazy writing, you could easily make this gag work, in fact all you would have needed to do is just eliminate Q from the earlier scene and explain M called him last minute, but you didn’t, you chose to have him in on the conversation, not only that you had him volunteer this very plane to the Craig-Bond!
On board M begins a mission briefing via a Zoom meeting, because social distancing idiot! The three objectives are:
- Confirm the prescience of the
- Kill Safin and Dr. Borat (see kids extrajudicial executions are fun! Not to mention you wouldn’t want to keep the creator of this super deadly virus around in case, oh and I’m just spit-balling here, you needed an antidote!)
- Rescue Swann and her daughter.
At this point 007 asks permission for the Craig-Bond to be re-designated as 007 to which everyone is taken aback. I’m sure this is meant as some sort of character growth in the story, but as I’ve said before that number has no special significance other than to us the audience so yet another 4th wall break.
You’ll always be 007 to me!
They mainly do it so they can legally say:
Q calls the Craig-Bond over to his mobile gadget watch making station where he has outfitted an Omega Seamaster™ with an electromagnetic pulse emitter.
“What were you expecting an exploding pen?”
The Craig-Bond asks how strong it is and Q replies, it’s “fairly strong” and he should be careful as it hasn’t been tested yet. Then why do you think he’ll need it on this mission then? Oh yeah so we can get a cheap chuckle! Remember when the gags in this series were a bit corny but well written? I know it feels like ancient history.
Now they’re just corny.
He also gives them “Q-dar” to map the space as they move through it, a bit like the maps in those video games director Cary Funkychicken likes to play. He also injects them with “smart blood” to track them during the mission. Didn’t the Craig-Bond get injected with that last film? How long does this stuff last?
“As long as is convenient for the plot!”
As Q is injecting the device he quips, “Bond you don’t mind a shot or two whilst at work?” and the Craig-Bond replies, “Well I haven’t have a drink in the past 2 or 3 hours.” What the bloody hell? We really are trying to paint a picture of a drunken miserable alcoholic in this film huh?
In both oil based and water color!
They hop into the Swiss Army folding glider as seen in the trailer and we get the line:
The Craig-Bond: “You ever flown one of these things before?”
Hilarious! And as they drop into the island, I must drop out for now. See you next time in:
Assault On The Senses and An Island
DB, these reviews have been so good. What’s up with all the corduroy in this film. Did DC retread the wardrobe from Knives Out?! Great catch on the “homage” to Sir Rog on the kicking of the car. Proving that Rog “does it better” than DC. The absolute pilfering of OMHSS (one of my fav movies) ticked me off to no end. In many ways, by borrowing (plagiarizing) tropes from that movie they actually retconned OHMSS. BTW -DB, Congrats on all the shade you took from Babz, DC and MW in Being James Bond. You are my hero!! Cheers!
Thank you Jason, I appreciate the kind words!
Ah corduroy, an old man’s fabric for an old man Bond. Coupled with the copious amount of suspender wearing and Craig looks a lot more like “grandpa’s day out” rather than a suave, sophisticated man about town.
Yes, the OHMSS rip-offs bothered me to no end as well, not only does it cheapen the original, it’s the laziest kind of story telling relying on nostalgia rather than crafting a compelling story capable of standing on it’s own!