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Midday Movies: James Bond
November 15, 2012 11:06 a.m.
Ramie Tateishi, assistant professor of English and film studies
Aled Jones, owner of Moviedrome DVD in Wales
Related Story: Midday Movies: Bond. James Bond.
CAVANAUGH: Midday movies returns today with a discussion about one of the biggest film franchises in history! Skyfall, the newest James bond movie crashed through box office records last weekend to become the highest grossing opening for a Bond movie ever! Beth Accomando is a longtime connoisseur of the 007 phenomenon. She and a pair of fellow bond enthusiasts met last week to savor bond memories. And at a San Diego movie theatre, they also talked to the fans.
NEW SPEAKER: I like the how long the franchise has been going. That's pretty to awesome to see.
NEW SPEAKER: They define what every young boy wants to be when they grow up.
NEW SPEAKER: We saw James bond, Skyfall, it was pretty awesome.
NEW SPEAKER: Just the fact he's so visceral and physical with the role.
NEW SPEAKER: The cars!
[ LAUGHTER ]
NEW SPEAKER: One thing that is key to a great Bond movie is a villain that's very theatrical.
NEW SPEAKER: You watch bond, you're going to have an Aston Martin there, you're going to have a good time!
ACCOMANDO: For the bond show today, I wanted to bring in two people who could geek out about Bond in the same way I do. And I want to let them introduce themselves. First of all, all the way from Wales.
JONES: I'm Jones, Aled Jones.
TATEISHI: Tateishi, Ramie Tateishi.
GUPTA: The new Bond has rebooted the franchise. It's one of the most successful and long running franchises. They could have kept doing what they had been doing. So it's kind of nice that they gambled a little bit. We just had Bond 23, Skyfall open this past weekend. Of so I just want to start off by asking both of you what was your impression of Skyfall? Aled?
JONES: Personally, I thought it was the best Bond movie for quite a while.
TATEISHI: I thought it was great too. And I think I think exactly along the lines that Aled just said. It's the best one that there's been for a long time.
ACCOMANDO: Who was the first Bond that you guys grew up with?
TATEISHI: The first I saw was the spy who loved me. That was in the theatre in 1977 or 1978. And I just thought it was the greatest thing I had ever seen!
JONES: Definitely when I was growing up, for me, Roger Moore was Bond. I don't remember if it was the first one I saw, but I remember my father coming home with a VHS recorder. He came home around 10:00 PM, and it was a school night, and I was only like 11. And he actually called the video store owner because he knew him. And he opened the store for me at 10:00, and I went in and rented Octo puss he.
ACCOMANDO: Goldfinger was the first one I saw. What is it for you that defines the Bond experience?
TATEISHI: It's that sense of -- when I think back of the spy who loved me, it was the first time you saw this action/afternoon spy thing that you're used to seeing, but to spend that much money on it and have a big, lavish production where they could really go for it and have real great car chases and spectacular action scenes, I think that's it. Sort of a -- if you want to call it the grandeur or opulence of staging this kind of production, this kind of spy story.
JONES: When you boil it down for me, no matter who is playing Bond, Pierce Brosnan, the fact is you want to be Bond when you're watching the Bond movies. You want to inhabit that universe. I want to have those adventures, and the film really sells that to you.
ACCOMANDO: This is the third outing for Daniel Craig as Bond. And back in 2006, casino Royale really gave the franchise a reboot. Tell me how it refocused it or gave kind of a revitalization to the franchise.
JONES: With Pierce Brosnan, things had gotten very, very camp. And casino Royale just brought things back to being a more classic Ian Flemming Bond. The character was darker, and Craig embodies that.
ACCOMANDO: How did it reboot the story line? We were getting kind of a backstory to Bond.
TATEISHI: It was a strange rebotting in that it carried over with the one character and his superior, but it was in essence rebooting the Bond character. So you started anew, and you saw him learning to become the James Bond that we knew.
ACCOMANDO: Some people didn't like what Daniel Craig brought to it. But this is also kind of a return to the more literary Bond, isn't it?
JONES: It definitely it. Anybody who's read the books, Bond is an extremely tortured character.
ACCOMANDO: One of the things that's very signature about Bond is the Bond theme. It's something that has been consistent through all these 23 Bond films. You're a musician. Is there something unique about this theme?
TATEISHI: There's sort of two themes that comprise the theme. The two melodies. Of the very staccato first part. Both of the themes are overlaid on top of -- which is what I think is I unique part of it, on the osstin atto, a repeated phrase. And it's very simple. Just throw notes over and over again. And it's that same sequence. But something brilliant that the composer, John Barry did in arranging the three notes was that it's not just those three notes. He did this call and response thing where he adds this little punch after each note. Now we've got something different there going on that adds this trelentless driving quality that helps to push the theme along, which is really cool. And we'll put the theme over it.
ACCOMANDO: I can't hear those notes and not want to go grab a Bond movie off my DVD shelf!
JONES: Absolutely. And the thing about Skyfall that's amazing is you get the ending in a sense that is the beginning. And you get to hear that, like, pounding in the cinema right at the end. Of and it's fantastic.
TATEISHI: Casino Royale did something similar too. At the very end, you go through this whole movie, and one. The trademarks is how he introduces himself as Bond, James Bond. You don't get that to the very end. And then boom, you're truck with that theme!
JONES: For you one of the things that defines a Bond movie is the villain. And you specifically have something you're looking for from a Bond villain.
JONES: The Bond villain for me always has an awesome scheme. Not only does he have this scheme, but he spends at least four, five minutes detailing the scheme to us, the audience, and his coconspirators in a sense. You think of goldfinger as the classic example of that. And then after explaining the scheme in detail, goldfinger kills everyone.
ACCOMANDO: Now, Bond films are also known of course for the babes, they really define these films am do you have a favorite Bond babe?
TATEISHI: My favorite really is at that timiana Roman ovena with from Russia with love. I think she was the Ms. Italy runner up, her voice was completely dubbed over in the film because of her accent. But something just about her being an innocent, regular person caught up in this whole crazy scheme that she played really well, I thought.
JONES: For me it would be Dana rig. If you love the avengers, you know about Dana rig. She was also extremely feisty as a Bond girl. She really had it down for me. And she was just absolutely superb in the role.
ACCOMANDO: She was fabulous. For me, I think because maybe goldfinger was the first one I saw, but I love puss hegalore. She gets to have this porn star name, first of all.
[ LAUGHTER ]
TATEISHI: It's a great name!
>> One of the things I actually liked about the Bond girls, Bond gets a bad rap for being a chauvinist. But if you look at some of the Bond women, puss he galore ran her own fleet of airplane, she bested Bond a couple times, flipping aim and delivering a few karate chops. So to me, although, yeah, they are set in their particular time, and women were not necessarily depicted that well, but for the top Bond girls, they had something special, I think.
JONES: You tend to look at Bond girls as being furniture to a certain extent. So it's nice when they have something a little bit extra to bring to it.
ACCOMANDO: And they cast them pretty well, too. There were a lot of very hot women.
JONES: There's no shortage of hotness in Bond. Even like, the spy who loved me, Barbara back, not the best actress, but she's so ridiculously beautiful that you kind of forget about that.
ACCOMANDO: The Bond girls we've been talking about have all been the women that Bond pairs up with and generally if they start off bad, they turn around because of him, pussy galore ends up helping him instead of helping goldfinger achieve his scheme. But one Bond villainess, my absolute favorite, from Thunderball, Fiona. I want to play this clip from her. She is one of the only Bond women that Bond does not turn around to his side.
NEW SPEAKER: But of course! James Bond, who only has to make love to a woman, and she starts to hear the choir singing! She repents and immediately returns to the side of right and virtue. But not this one.
JONES: I'd agree with you. She is the ultimate Bond villaines, in a sense. He doesn't turn her, but she is specter through and through. She has not even any interest in joining Bond in any way, and also she has a fantastic exit in the movie. But the thing for me that's important about it is just her physicality. She just stunning to look at, amazing!
TATEISHI: It's like she's a female counterpart to Bond in being just the character that owns that role.
ACCOMANDO: We talked about the schemes of Bond villain, but who is your first villain?
TATEISHI: Goldfinger is definitely the most iconic.
JONES: My favorite simply because of who he is is Francisco Scaramanga, and that is because it is Christopher Lee. Lee is an icon of the cinema, and he is built to be a Bond villain. It might not be the greatest Bond movie, but he is so charismatic in the part! And he is a complete sociopath. He wants Bond to show him respect.
ACCOMANDO: And another thing we have to look forward to as Bond fans is they are putting together a 50th anniversary collection. Tell me what this is all about. You have a DVD store. What's the appeal of this?
JONES: It's 50 years of Bond, if I'm right. But for the first time, we get the entire collection on blue ray with whole new extras. And they've even allowed a free little slot in the package for Skyfall to put in. Once we move beyond that, then that won't be the case. But it really does look like a DVD and blue ray set that they poured a lot of love into.
ACCOMANDO: And do you have a favorite actor who played Bond?
JONES: Sean I think is most probably people's favorite overall. But for me, oddly enough, it's Timothy Dalton. Not only did he love Bond but he also brings to it, I think, the sense of Ian Flemming's character. He really did invest a great deal of time. From what I understand, he was offered the role in the secret service. But he felt he was too young at 18 to take the care.
TATEISHI: I have to agree. The other one, and I know this is going against years and years, but Daniel Craig.
ACCOMANDO: I still would have to go with Sean Connery. And I never would have thought anyone would compete with him until I saw casino Royale. I do love Craig in the role.