When I was a kid, I loved the James Bond films. They gave me action, exotic locations, and fantastic villains (I may have been too young for “bond girls”). I probably watched the first films on TV, adjusting the rabbit ears to make the picture less fuzzy. Later, the films were agreeable to family members with different tastes, so we often saw them together in the theater. I suspect I might find the older movies incredibly cheesy if I watched them today, but I have fond memories.
I remained a loyal consumer of James Bond films as an adult, but the recent series starring Daniel Craig managed to drive me away. I skipped the last film, and will probably skip others in the future, or at least go back to viewing them on TV long after their theatrical releases.
I have two problems with the recent films. First, the action scenes were shot using shaky-cam and tight camera angles. These are tricks used in low-budget films which can’t afford to do things well, or in martial arts movies when the martial artist isn’t very skilled. Using them in a big budget Hollywood production is inexplicable.
Second, the villains were run-of-the-mill bad guys. James Bond is supposed to SAVE THE WORLD. Instead, he’s up against a fairly minor criminal organization in one film — money launderers, I think, or maybe it was a ring of shoplifters at the local mall. The next film has the bad guys staging a coup in some Andean country so they can overcharge the penniless peasants for water. I don’t think most companies would bid on a contract for that business, much less finance a coup to get it.
This past weekend, I took my wife to see Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, and I had a great time. Move over, 007, and make way for Ethan Hunt. I’m taking all of my future counterterrorism and espionage business to the IMF. (That’s the Impossible Missions Force. I’m definitely not taking my business to the International Monetary Fund.)
The Mission Impossible movie delivered action, exotic locations, and a little humor. The bad guys didn’t have a volcano full of ninjas, but they were up to some bad stuff. I don’t normally like to see movies in the theater if they run much over 90 minutes, but this film managed to fill every one of its 132 minutes with action, suspense, or humor.
Ironically, our viewing included a trailer for a new James Bond movie. The trailer was compelling; if I hadn’t been burned in the past, I’d be looking forward to the film, but I don’t think I want to risk another disappointment. At least Bond is taking on SPECTRE this time. That should have me hooked, but I’m afraid SPECTRE will turn out to be a group of bloggers and podcasters who are mildly critical of British government policy.