The 007 Project: Diamonds Are Forever

Previously on The 007 Project: We got a delightful romantic comedy (That ended in murder) and a Bond girl with actual agency and personality.

Who’s Our Bond:

Connery is back baby! The time off did him good. He’s much more engaged in the material here than he was in You Only Live Twice, he’s still a bit too old and he’s put on some weight, but in general it works.

What’s The Plot

We open with a pretty brutal series of scenes where 007 is hunting down Blofeld and killing each source. Tracey is not mentioned, but is my presumed reason for the brutality. Anyway, Blofeld has been changing his appearance regularly to stay a step ahead. Bond catches and presumably kills him.

M then tells Bond his next job is to stop some diamond smugglers, which annoys Bond, because like, downgrade! But he takes his orders and follows a few contacts to Amsterdam, where he meets Tiffany Case, and then they wing to Las Vegas with the gems. (There’s also a whole set piece where he escapes a crematorium). In Vegas we learn that Blofeld is NOT dead and has taken control of a billionaire’s corporation to launch a nuclear sattelite. The diamonds figure into this somehow, though I’m not exactly clear how.

Tiffany and Bond thwart the plan (Felix is around too! HI FELIX!) and then whisk off on a boat.

I’m Adressing The Problematic

Beyond the usual Bond sexism, pretty tame.

Tell Me About The Girl

Jill St. John plays Tiffany Case, and while she’s not terribly distinctive, she does wear fun wigs, and keeps trying to make sure her connection to Bond keeps her out of prison. It’s a cute bit.

The Song Is The Thing

Shirley Bassey is back for this song, which makes sense since a lot of this movie feels like warmed over Goldfinger. The song itself is fine, extolling how you can count on diamonds when people let you down, hence they are “forever”

Overall Thoughts

A middling Bond, very in line with the last few movies. The Vegas setting is super fun, I’m always happy to see 007 at a Casino, but the script is thin, the story tough to follow and Connery really really needs to be done. Which he now is.

Next week we enter the Roger Moore era. Hooray!

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Chapter 12: “The Seige”

I’m Addressing The Problematic: Bringing this one over from The 007 Project. Gina Carrano is a transphobic garbage person. This is hugely disappointing. I’m not going to bring it up every time I bring up Cara Dune in this review, just blanketing it. She sucks. Trans rights are human rights!

Mando and LBY realize that The Razor Crest is not going to make it to Forest Planet to meet Ahsoka (AKA we’re not to Filoni’s episode yet and no one else is allowed to into us to his perfect daughter, Ahsoka.) so they stop off to visit with their old friends, Griff Carga and Cara Dune. They put LBY in school while they plan a caper to raid an old Empire ship.

They do! They beat up on Storm Troopers. LBY does not make friends at school, but there is a shitty kid who has space macarons and doesn’t share them with LBY. It’s tragic and sad, and fuck that kid, give LBY a damn cookie.

The actual story is that it turns out, the remnants of the Empire have been searching for Force Sensitive children to isolate the “M” gene. (MIDICHLORIANS!) Why do they want this? To make Snokes and ressurect the Emperor presumably.

This is a pretty straightforward episode, that Carl Weathers directed. Good for you Carl Weathers. It just was not a meaty enough episode to distract me from the coming of Ahsoka. I know that I’m a weirdo that way.

Next week, when we actually meet her, I will get into the lengthy discussions my friends and I had regarding recasting her, especially given Katee Sackoff playing Bo Katan, who she also voiced. But that’s next week. This week we mostly talked about Gina Carrano being shitty, and that kid not giving LBY a cookie.

The 007 Project: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Previously On The 007 Project: I realized how closely Austin Powers really only parodies two specific Bond movies, Sean Connery passed away right when I was wrapping up his tenure on this project.

Who Is Our Bond?

This is George Lazenby’s only outing as 007. He was an Australian model, this was his first acting job, and I can only think he was hired because he vaguely resembles a young Sean Connery. While charming in a “can’t quite put your finger on it” way, he seems to just be going with James Bond rather than digging into the character at all. I will, however, later, get into why this works in this particular movie.

What’s The Plot?

SPECTRE continues to wreak havoc in the NATO countries and Bond is no closer to finding Blofeld than he was at the end of You Only Live Twice and as such, M takes him off the case officially, but tells him he’s welcome to do whatever on his own time. The other thing that’s going on here is that Bond has met the enigmatic and lovely Teresa “Tracy” De Vicenzo, a young widowed countess and they fall almost instantly in love. (Her dad also really loves James, so that’s nice)

Eventually, Bond heads to Switzerland where he encounters a disguised Blofeld, who has gathered a group of lost upperclass young women, who he is going to brainwash and send home with a virus to kill large portions of their population. Bond stops the plot, there’s some cool chase scenes on skis, and he goes home a marries Tracy, but, on their way to their honeymoon, Blofeld shoots her in the head. Roll credits.

I’m Adressing The Problematic

With the exception of the ethnic stereotypes of the Blofeld kidnapped girls, and that Bond gets in there by pretending to be gay, this is a refreshingly un-problematic Bond flick. Hooray!

Tell Me About The Girl

Let’s talk about Tracy! First and foremost she’s played by the legendary and incredible Diana Rigg, (RIP) so there’s just a level of skill and charm to her that’s lacking in some of the previous Bond girls, many of whom didn’t speak English or were early in their acting careers. Tracy and Bond meet while she’s trying to kill herself by walking into the ocean after her Italian Count husband has died and left her alone and bereft. They fall in love and her super posh father suggests they get married.

I mentioned above why having Lazenby was key to this working. I don’t think Connery, even younger, Dr. No aged Connery could have pulled off the Romantic comedy subplot with Tracy. It’s just not really in his wheelhouse, and it would have been way worse, if the older Connery of You Only Live Twice has been romancing the lovely young Rigg. Wouldn’t have worked at all.

Tracy is beautiful, and glamorous and eventually tragic.

Joe’s Bond Car Corner

The Song Is The Thing

Overall Thoughts

I genuinely enjoyed this outing almost entirely because it’s pretty silly but also on a smaller scale than Thunderball and You Only Live Twice which was a great deal of fun.

Next week! Connery is back one last time for Diamonds Are Forever.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: “Chapter 11: The Heiress”

You guys are we all doing OK? I’m not, (I mean in general maybe, my OK-ness varies hour to hour at this point) but in regards to this episode and it’s bearing on Star Wars and Science Fiction television, in general, I am not OK.

I mean, I’m thrilled but I’m also like *BOOM* galaxy brain. SO, let’s get into the episode.

Mando, LBY and Frog Lady land on an industrial planet and Frog Lady is reunited with Frog Husband. Mando puts The Razor Crest in for repairs, and heads to a tavern to get some information on other Mandalorians and some food for LBY, now that his supply of yummy frog eggs is gone. The baby gets some soup that tries to eat him. (Star Wars is whacky) Mando gets a ride on a fishing boat that will allegedly take him to some other Mandalorians.

It doesn’t. The captain just wants to feed them to a sea monster and steal the Beskar. RUDE. Luckily, they are rescued by three Mandalorians jumping on board. They include MOTHER FUCKING BO KATAN! And not just a new intrepretation of Bo, she’s played now in person by Space Jesus herself, Katee Sackoff.

When she takes off her helmet Mando is scandalized and she and her two companions laugh and say that he’s “A Child Of The Watch” which he doesn’t even know, but they agree to help him find The Jedi for LBY if he helps them with a heist. Said heist is to find The Darksaber so that Bo can take her place as ruler of Mandalore again.

Cool, great, love it. We see a brief conversation with Moff Gideon and eventually Bo gives Mando a piece of information, he should go to a forest planet and there he will find a Jedi to help him with the baby. That Jedi is….AHSOKA TANO.

Guys, seeing Bo, and seeing Katee playing her would have probably held me over to the next season, really. But that we’re this close to Ahsoka made me run around flailing. Because of some family commitments I couldn’t stream this with my friends, but I did leave family dinner to watch them all get these revelations and it was so satisfying.

Bo Katan is great, I like learning for sure that Mando was raised in an extremist sect (this was always the assumption), and that we are likely in the next few weeks going to see live action Ahsoka is pretty much getting me through. (Having things to look forward to is my main coping mechanism, and I’m freaking out a little about the Holidays due to COVID spikes and also, my sister isn’t going to be at Thanksgiving for the first time ever and OMG YOU DON’T CARE!) Ahsoka is very important to me, as I have outlined many times. I love her very much. I’m still mixed about her being played by Rosario Dawson, WHO I ADORE, because part of what’s made Ahsoka mean so much to me is Ashley Eckstein’s stewardship of her, and my odd, parasocial relationship with Ashley.

That’s beside the point though. Ahsoka is about to enter mainstream, live action Star Wars and I cannot wait.

The 007 Project: You Only Live Twice

Previously On The 007 Projet: I was going through an existential crisis while reviewing Thunderball, but I’m feeling much better now. (As of this writing still waiting on those fine fine Nevadans, but the good people of Georgia and Pennsylvania have decided to chip in too!) Also Thunderball has SCUBA fighting.

Who’s Our Bond?

Still Connery despite my foggy thoughts about it last time. He does take On His Majesty’s Secret Service off. He’s really phoning it in this time around, although since this movie is 90% puns, (it was written by Roald Dhal! INSANITY!) that’s mostly fine. I’ve been less impressed with Connery the last two outings than I was in those first three movies. I do think this started a fantastic tradition though.

What’s The Plot

007 gets involved in the space race! (KINDA)

A NASA probe is shot down and naturally, the US thinks it’s the Russians. (A reasonable supposition in 1968) The Russians deny it and the Brits do think all this space business is a bit silly, but note the evidence does point to Russia’s innocence. They insist that they are sending their top man to look into it.

After faking his death and then heading to Japan, James Bond, with the help of the beautiful Aki and the head of Japanese Secret Service Tiger Tanaka, learns that it is in fact SPECTRE behind the downed space crafts. At his Volcano lair, Blofeld is furious with his underlings who didn’t actually kill Bond and feeds them to pirhanas. Bond foils the plan just in time, thought Aki winds up poisoned and Bond winds up fake married to the lovely Kissy Suzuki, a circumstance WE WILL GET TO BELOW.

The Blofeld reveal totally rules and I generally really like Aki.

I’m Addressing The Problematic

I was floating along happily surprised by how NOT totally orientalist the movie was, secret ninja schools are a little bit silly, but hardly offensive, and then Tenaka declared that Bond must “Become a Japanes!” I thought, “Oh lord I hope he means figuratively.”

NOPE.

Sean Connery spends a good 20 minutes of the film in yellowface for no particular reason. Is no good, very bad, don’t do it.

Tell Me About The Girl

Aki rules. I was so bummed when she died. She’s played by Akiko Wakabayashi. I like her a lot. She ahs great hair and a cool car and she’s all into bantering with Bond.

Kissy rules a little less but she’s still pretty great and wears a fun bikini. She’ splayed by Mei Hama.

Joe’s Bond Car Corner

Bond doesn’t drive in this one! But Aki does!

The Song Is the Thing

“You Only Live Twice” is one of my favorite Bond themes and is performed by Nancy Sinatra (COOL). Taken on it’s own the song is a warning to live while you can. Nancy sells it well.

Shaggadelic Baby!

No outside opinions this time, so I will just point out that this movie and Goldfinger are really the two most straightly parodied by the Austin Powers series. The piranha made me giggle because all I could think of were the “friggin sharks, with friggin laser beams, on their friggin heads.”

Also because they are just very silly!

Overall Thoughts

While fun and campy I don’t know that I will ever go back to this, despite Blofeld being the best and Aki being great. Connery’s apathy is too hard to overcome.

Next week, we really actually do the Lazenby things. Woo!

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: Chapter 10: “The Passenger”

So, first of all, I hope you’re all feeling good. Here the sun is shining, we’re all taking deep breaths because the future seems to be looking pretty good. The craziest election ever is over and now we get to exhale because some barriers have been broken and you know, it’s good. Also there’s promising COVID Vaccine news! Whoo!

Of course I knew none of this on Friday night when I watch The Mandalorian’s 10th episode, which did offer as a nice easy balm for the evening.

So, after getting Boba Fett’s armor, Mando and Little Baby Yoda go back to Mos Eisley, looking for more leads. Amy Sedaris and a Giant Ant get them a job with a giant Frog Woman who needs transport and might know something about the surviving Mandalorians. She’s trying to get to her home planet so that her eggs can hatch.

After an encounter with some cops (New Republic X-Wing Pilots) they crash land on an ice planet and also the whole time Little Baby Yoda has been just eating the crap out of those Frog Eggs. (As my friend Sara said, “That is some toddler realness!”)

On the planet, The Frog woman finds a hot spring, while Mando repairs the Razor Crest, and there are eggs for LBY there too! Unfortunately they are the eggs of a terrifying spider monster that definitely tries to eat them. Luckily they get the ship working and off they fly, after a confrontation with the cops. (One of whom is Dave Filoni!)

Look, it was a fun little episodic adventure. It is very clear that there was a price increase because once again the action finale is incredible, and it was directed by Peyton Reed so there are all these fabulous small comedy moments, that he’s so good at. And most importantly, BABY YODA RUNS AND IT IS THE CUTEST. America, we’re moving forward. It’s all very exciting.

The nerd commentary this time was quieter, but it was a lot of AWWWW, and being super excited about The Frog Woman, who is great, although we are disappointed in the uncreative name. GIVE A SPECIES NAME.

Anyway, I’m really enjoying the season so far and especially loving my group watches. I have great friends who I love. I love everyone today.

Cross your fingers for that vaccine my darlings!

The 007 Project: Thunderball

Previously On The 007 Project: I forgot to edit this piece and so it’s up a day late. It’s not like this is a stressful or odd week for Americans or anything. But I watched Goldfinger, I noticed that the formula was in place. Hooray!

Who’s Our Bond:

Sir Sean Connery, RIP. He’s out for a movie after this one, and he passed away this past week. He was a singular talent and by all accounts, great to work with but a real bastard in his personal life who was OK with hitting women

People are complicated

Anyway, he’s looking old in this movie again, but the toupee is still good, he’s still selling it, he’s definitely skating along in the role.

What’s The Plot?

We’re back in the Carribean! SPECTRE is still recruiting, they stole some bombs, and Number 2, Emilio Largo, is the one Bond is pursuing. His lair is under water so there is a whole bunch of SCUBA fighting which is cool. Anyway, two french sibling, Francois and Dominique “Domino” Derval are involved with Largo, though Francois is actually dead. Anyway, they find the bombs and again UNDER WATER FIGHTING, and Domino who was involved with Largo in a vague way, now gets involved with Bond, and also Leiter is around. (Again, I’m distracted this week, I apologize for vagueness)

I’m Adressing The Problematic

I mean, it takes place in the Caribbean, and the only people of color are servants. So that sucks. Also, Largo is definitely raping Domino but we’ll get into that.

Tell Me About The Girl

Domino is played by Claudine Auger, and befitting her name she’s always in black or white or some combination. She wears some rocking gowns, and she gets to murder her rapist which is super fun and cool.

There is also the evil Fiona Volpe, played by Luciana Palozzi who does have sex with James Bond, but doesn’t turn good. She’s a SPECTRE agent, she enjoyed herself and getting him to get his guard down, but his magic dick does not work on her.

TAKE THAT JAMES BOND! They’re both really hot and again, excellent gowns in this movie.

Joe’s Bond Car Corner

LOOK I PROMISE I WILL GET THESE DONE AT SOME POINT BUT IT’S BEEN KIND OF A WEEK, IT WAS JOE’S BIRTHDAY AND HALLOWEEN AND MY BIRTHDAY AND A SUPER IMPORTANT ELECTION AND MY DAD’S BIRTHDAY AND I’M SO TIRED AND STRESSED AND AHHHHHHHH.

The Song Is The Thing

I really, really like “Thunderball” as performed by Tom Jones, rules! Like almost all of them, it seems to be about a bad break up, if you don’t know anything about James Bond. Good stuff, very fun, listened to it a bunch.

Other People’s Opinions Matter Too, I guess

This week we hear from my baby cousin Bobby, who is actually 19 years old, but he’s the baby. Thunderball is his favorite Bond movie!

Here are some things he had to say:

Me: Is this your favorite Bond movie because James Bond is dressed like all our male relatives? (PASTEL SHORTS GALORE IN THIS MOVIE!)
Bobby: Doesn’t hurt.

Here are Bobby’s actual reasons for Thunderball being his favorite:

  • Awesome song (As discussed above, I love this song)
  • Coolest villain! Wears an eyepatch!
  • Best Bond Girls. (Domino kills her rapist, Fiona does not succumb to Bond’s magic penis)
  • Underwater fights! One of which feature Domino HARPOONING HER MOTHER FUCKING RAPIST.

Thank you for your contribution Bobby!

If you would like to be featured in a “Other People’s Opinions Matter Too” segment, message me on Twitter (@fangirlsdilemma) or Facebook (The Fangirl’s Dilemma) I’d love too chat!

Overall Thoughts

I enjoyed this movie, I like SCUBA fighting, RIP Sean Connery. I have not completely lost my mind but I’m not totally sane right now.

Hope you’re all doing OK, I love you, turn off the news, watch a fun movie. Next week we dive into You Only Live Twice. What’s the deal with George Lazenby? Will I be more sane while watching and writing it up? (This depends largely on 8,000 peole in the state of Nevada, actually…) Is the existential dread of the Year of Our Lord 2020 finally destroying my brain? WHO CAN SAY?

*Update: It’s still Connery in You Only Live Twice. Seriously, my brain is complete mush. I’m sorry.

Fangirl Loves Star Wars: The Mandalorian: “Chapter 9: The Marshal”

As always, SPOILERS. You’ve had all weekend to watch the episode.

First things first. Baby Yoda remains a true treasure, who must always be defended. Mando, meanwhile, is just casually bringing him to Fight Club, like it’s no big thing.

Be a better parent Mando!

Yes, we start out with our intrepid warrior goes to a fight between a pair of those pig men who guard Jabba The Hutt, and talks with a gangster played by John Leguizamo. (Right off the bat The Mandalorian is killing it with the guest spots again) He understands said gangster might have information that could lead him to more Mandolorians which might then in turn lead to getting Little Baby Yoda back to the Jedi. Of course the gangster is just after the armor, but in truly badass fashion, Mando strings the guy up, finds out there’s a Mandalorian working on Tatooine. He goes, is greeted by Amy Sedaris (As glad to see her as she was to see LBY) and heads right out from Mos Eisley to Space Deadwood, I mean Mos Pelgo.

Once there, he enters the Cantina where the friendly bartender, played by W. Earl Brown , who played Barman Dan Dorrity on Deadwood, because this is an episode of Deadwood without the swearing. (Or alas, The Swearengen) As Mando questions him about seeing other Mandalorians and Baby Yoda makes cooing noises and the bartender asks if he means, “The Marshal” who then enters and is Boba Fett!

No, he’s not Boba Fett, he’s Marshal Seth Bullock, uh, I mean Cobb Vanth, played by Timothy Olyphant with an extremely attractive beard, who through a series of convoluted events came into possession of Boba’s armor (or “armpit” as my phone happily corrected it to.) He agrees to give the armor back to Mando if he helps free the town from a sand worm, err, a Krayt Dragon. (DUUUUNNNNNEEEEEE). They team up with some Tuskens to do so, and after takin’ a vote in The Gem saloon, erm, I mean the Cantina, they beat the dragon in the most astounding action sequence I’ve ever seen on television.

Vanth and Mando part noting they hope to meet again, and like The Judge on The Good Place, I very much hope they do because more Olyphant on my TV is a good thing, all the time.

The episode ends with Mando speeding away and on a hill, watching, a mysterious cloaked figure who is as it turns out Temeura Morrison! Morrison played Jango Fett and the Clones in the prequel trilogy, which means this is most certainly Boba Fett. It may also be Rex, or one of the other surviving clones. (God, I hope it’s Rex.) The smart money, though, given that it’s Tatooine and the appearance of his armor, that it’s Boba.

The most exciting thing for me this season, besides just so much good Star Wars content and Timothy Olyphant, is the Disney+ group watch feature, which allowed me and The Nerds to stream simultaneously and chat throughout our watch. Highlights from this week include being blown away by the visuals, thirsting after Timothy Olyphant and general Boba and or Rex related flailing.

I’m so glad to have The Mandalorian back. I love Star Wars so much, and I’ve missed it dearly.

The 007 Project: Goldfinger

Previously On The 007 Project: I really like From Russia With Love and everything else is going to have to live up to it. Remember how I got with Fantasia? Or Clone Wars? Or Winter Soldier? I think this is going to be like that.

It is with this context that I dive into what my friend John, (who is a huge Bond fan) calls “The Quientessential Bond Movie.” I’ll summarize more of his thoughts and our conversation below.

Who’s Our Bond

Still Connery. Still sexy, though he’s starting to show his age a bit. He’s also even more winky, this time around. He’s very aware of himself and the character, and he is having an absolute blast and it shows. He also wears a romper in one scene and turns a lesbian. We’ll get there.

What’s The Plot?

James Bond is on vacation in Miami and Felix Leiter approaches him to explain that an German? horse breeder who also smuggles gold, Auric Goldfinger is around and they need to get eyes on him. Bond gets eyes on him and also breaks up his gambling cheating and steals his girl. It’s all very cool. The girl, Jill Masterson is then killed to send a message to Bond. He gets the message. Also it turns out Goldfinger has a huge plot of some kind, so Bond is sent with many gadgets (WE MEET Q!) to Switzerland to infiltrate Goldfinger’s operation, he fails spectacularly at it and is instead kidnapped and flown to Maryland on Goldfinger’s private jet, by his stylish private pilot Pussy Galore. (We will talk about Pussy later but she’s great, and I love her) During his imprisonment Bond learns Goldfinger plans to drop a nuke on Fort Knox, thus rendering it’s gold worthless and making Goldfinger even richer. He gets the message to Felix, they stop the plot, he and Pussy have sex in a barn, eventually Goldfinger tries to kill Bond by shooting him in an airplane which DOES NOT WORK and gets him sucked out into the sky.

There are care chases and missiles and it rules. This movie is great.

I’m Addressing The Problematic

There’s less racism in this one, besides just like, everyone being white, except Odd Job, (who rules) and is Korean. But let’s talk about sexism, homophobia and the dubious consent of sex with James Bond.

So, Jill Masterson gets Fridged. We meet her, she’s pretty, she has fun sexy times with James Bond, she gets murdered so that he’ll understand Goldfinger is serious. This sucks. Kind of a lot.

Also, in the novel, Goldfinger Pussy Galore is a lesbian who then turns when James Bond pins her down and bones her in a barn. This is toned down because obviously the movie wasn’t going to be able to have be a lesbian, that would be ridiculous. Instead she just tells Bond to stop flirting with her and wears fabulous pant suits, so yeah, I totally clocked that she was queer. Then, James Bond chases her into a barn, she tells him she’s not interested, he kissed her a bunch, and she kind of is into it, but not? Dunno, but it’s not, um, super great.

The pants suits however, are excellent.

Tell Me About The Girl

Jill Masterson first, is played by Shirley Eaton. She’s very pretty and fun, and she gets to sleep with James Bond, but then she gets painted entirely gold and suffocates to death and it’s a cool set piece but a bummer, as discussed above.

Honor Blackman plays Pussy Galore and it rules and she’s great, and she’s queer coded, and I love that in my head she’s a bisexual, which I understand is like completely unthinkable to the people who made this movie but rules, if you’re me, a bisexual woman who loves James Bond movies. She’s a pilot, she runs an air circus it’s the best.

Joe’s Bond Car Corner

This is our first really cool Bond Car! It’s Astin Martin DB5, and it has an ejector seat and rocket launchers which is cool. Here’s Joe’s facts about the car:

(I will edit and put this in when he gets back to me. I procrastinated asking about it!)

The Song Is The Thing

The song “Goldfinger” is performed by Shirley Bassey and won an Oscar and is SO GOOD. It’s a warning about a bad man who will always choose gold over love. Bassey belts the HELL out of this song and it’s a favorite and I have listened to it a lot over the past few weeks.

Other People’s Opinions Matter Too I Guess

My friend John Trumbull, who is a very funny comedian who also makes a great podcast about SNL that you should listen to and I chatted about Goldfinger, and I thought he said some interesting things. I have also previously been cranky about John’s Star Wars opinions and apologized a lot for that. (He’s wrong about The Force Awakens but I was being mean.) ANYWAY John likes James Bond a lot, in particular these early Connery movies, which he describes as “near flawless.” I disagree on Dr. No, which I think is kind of boring, but I get it. Here are some other thoughts from John and my conversation, summarized:

  • Bond’s crack about listening to The Beatles with ear muffs on makes sense for a grown man to say in 1964, but is a lapse in Jame’s otherwise flawless taste
  • John also likes that Goldfinger has to explain what a laser is to the audience because it’s 1964
  • In general, Goldfinger is much more time stamped than Dr. No and From Russia With Love which feel a little more free floating in the post war era. Goldfinger was made in 1964 and takes place in 1964 and that is abundantly clear.
  • Here’s a direct quote: “Goldfinger is basically the quintessential Bond film, it crystallized the formula the rest of the films followed.” I agree!

This portion of the project will recur but perhaps not every week, just occasionally.

Overall Thoughts

This movie is fun! I really enjoyed myself. I did not like it as much as From Russia With Love but I did like it a whole lot. This feels the most like the Bond movies that I know well. (Largely the Brosnan and Craig ones) And it is definitely the one most parodied.

Next week, we go to Thunderball, and we move to Wednesday! Because on Friday The Mandolorian comes back and I have recapping to write.

In The Shadow of Adaptation: Rebecca

“We can never go back again, that much is certain. The past is still too close to us. The things we have tries to forget and put behind us would stir again, and that sense of fear, of furtive unrest, struggling at length to blind unreasoning panic – now mercifully stilled, thank God – might in some manner unforseen become a living companion as it had been before.

Du Maurier, 5

I almost started this review with Rebecca’s famous opening lines, but I prefer the above quote, which I think sums up the story better. Rebecca is a story about people trying to both live with the past and outrun it at the same time, and it makes for a fantastic psycological thriller.

The new version on Netflix is not really that. It does star two actors who I have big crushes on, and does dreamy period romance and murder mystery well. It doesn’t however, do particularly well with the Gothic Romance elements of the story, which is probably my favorite part of the novel, as you can see in my review of it from a few years ago.

I’ll start with the actors. Our leads, Maxim DeWinter and his unnamed second wife are played by Armie Hammer and Lily James. Hammer has done hard work over the past few years winning me over. (The Man From UNCLE! Call Me By Your Name! Leaking kinky photos of himself post divorce! ALLEGEDLY!) and I have had a massive crush on James since she flounced into Downton Abbey with her modern ideas about fringed dresses and interracial romance. They both do well here. The movie really leans into the fact that these two very hot people want to be having sex with each other.

And they do have plenty of hot sex. And they wear gorgeous outfits and flit around Monte Carlo and that part of the movie is excellent.

Then we come to Manderley. Maxim’s ancestral home. Things are still being run by the creepy Mrs. Danvers, played with chilly precision and Sapphic repression by Kristin Scott Thomas (Mrs. Danvers and Rebecca were DEFINITELY having sex and you will never convince me otherwise.). She is appalled by her new mistress. The only scenes that nearly touch the Gothic perfection of the novel and the Hitchcock movie are the scene where Mrs. Danvers describes Rebecca in her boudoir and when she tries to convince Mrs. De Winter to kill herself. The rest feels silly and perfunctory and it’s such a bummer.

The movie does handle the section of the story where Maxim is accused of murdering Rebecca perfectly. (He is, in fact, guilty, but Rebecca was a bitch who was cheating on him, so I guess it’s OK?) It handles the conspiracy and uncovering of Rebecca’s cancer wonderfully.

It’s just a bummer because that is the portion of the story that I’m just not particularly interested in. I like the early whirlwind romance and I like the Gothic horror aspects, and this particular adaptation is not as interested in that portion. Which is fine, there are several angles to take with this story, I just don’t think this take is for me, despite it’s appealing leads and lovely costuming.