Well, Margaret Thatcher is pretty good and is played more three dimensionally than the actual one. The rest… I agree, Melina is played like a stroppy teenager having her iPad taken away ( problematic on many levels given her romance with our rapidly aging superspagent ) Lyn Holly Johnson posseses none of the charm to make her character jump in the way Paloma did. The rest of the female cast look as if they are on ketamine. Probably wise given the circumstances. Shame of it is the waste of one the greatest actors in French cinema. Trop Belle Por Toi is a fantastic performance. With a better actors director perhaps and a younger 007 maybe.
The Melina story has no payoff and no real tension between her and Bond; after all, it is the British Government that put her parents in the firing line. As has been noted many times, Bond banging on about the soul-scarring nature of revenge doesn’t stack up against what he does with “Blofeld”, Locque etc without any evident consequence, and Colombo’s revenge for years past (and presumably Lisl, who he forgets very quickly (not a surprise)) which ends not with torment but with him dropping his nuts into young Bibi’s hands. Yum. Actress probably does her best but would agree with the sentiment above that Glen is not an actor’s director. The 80s Bonds cast some really strong people but seem to have let them do their thing (Glover, Topol, Jourdan, Berkoff, Walken, Dalton, Davi) in an unconstrained manner whilst rather abandoning those who needed a bit more help. Eventually they came good on the “revenge is no solace” thing with Camille - essentially the same character, more interestingly done. Even Judy Havelock in the short story is evidently shaken up by it all. Melina’s reward for being a good girl and letting the men do the killing is being leapt on by an aged crustacean at the end of the film. You’d have been better off firing that crossbow bolt, m’lovey. Most interesting thing is the moustache; Amazon is developing a ten-part spinoff and a range of Funko pops.
Bibi - OK, so after the (it’s official) stupid Moonraker, we get a character called Baby Doll whose sole purpose is to make Bond look old. Not the series’ greatest actress, is there for teenage sex comedy and adds not one breath of plot or development (for the second hour of the film, why is she there?), other than the unsettling notion (which, granted, they do raise) that Kristatos wants to get under her leotard and Colombo probably will, turning her, once the muscle tone fades, into a replacement for…
Lisl - tends to get a pass because of to whom the actress was married and a very, horribly bleak way that the actress died (although Jill Bennett killed herself after decades of abuse by John Osborne (and, seriously, look up or read what he did after her death; what an absolute craphole), and no-one seems to put her perfomance on any sort of pedestal). This is a flatly played seven-line role giving Bond a mid-film shag, and could have been a source of tension between Bond and Colombo but… no. Just sort of there, and not very well played but perhaps playing all there was (and all there needed to be). Bit like nice barlady of the week in The Professionals or The Sweeney. Could be anyone. Still, Bibi, if this is your fate, you get a nice house out of it.
Jakoba Brink - see Jill Bennett point above. Another actor whose presence in a Bond film is a bit of a surprise, but probably there to help the director concentrate on pigeon-wrangling. Evidently ignored in terms of performance and character; also another ageing factor for Bond, given that he and Brink are around the same age and he saw her twatting about on the ice once. A long time ago.
Moneypenny - made up to look like Quentin Crisp, for some unfathomable reason.
Mrs Thatcher - it rhymes with “oh, for huck’s bake”. Gritty thriller For Your Eyes Only. It’s just a tepid pantomime.
Flower girl in shop - has nice jugs. Of flowers. Can’t help feeling that Uncle Roger saying “I do like your jugs. Of flowers” would have been a splendid joke.
Karen or Sharon or whoever she is - makes men some coffee. Woman, know your place.
Melina’s mum - is evidently not her Mum (perhaps that’s the point?). Doesn’t get mentioned individually after she is killed; it’s all about Daddy. And then Melina finds a new Daddy. With whom she has moist jig-jig. It’s such an odd film.
Olive-farming crone - does actually look like an olive-farming crone; full Stanislavsky going on here.
Various lovelies at Gonzales’ pad - it’s a Bond film. Doing their best to dance to that “song”. Harmless jigaboo, not particularly emancipated though. Tula - now there’s commitment to a role.
Whassname Rublevich - gives it all she’s got, poor moo. Possibly behind the whole scheme and put Gogol up to it, because she needed a new typewriter, even if it has been in high-pressure deep salt water for however many weeks it is the film lasts.
Sheena Easton - apparently that Binder put her head in a vice so it didn’t wobble about whilst singing. Another example of For Your Eyes Only’s abusive attitude to women or its audience or both.
April 3: Every female character in For Your Eyes Only (including Sharon, but excepting Tula) is both badly written and performed. It is the worst roster of female role and representation in the series.
You make a convincing argument to support the first sentence of that, but not so much the second one. In terms of “worst female role and representation,” you only need to go back a few years/films to find the likes of LALD and TMWTGG, back-to-back slam-dunks for anyone looking to pin the “misogynist” label on the Bond character and series.
In fact, it might be easier to count the Bond films that do any kind of justice to “female roles and representation,” before or after FYEO. I dare say you might even have enough free fingers left to hold your martini glass.
But is it the plan or the execution?
On paper, the line-up has some potential - frankly more than the characters in the films on either side (the only depth in OP is the little pond where Vijay meets his demise; OP has her speech, but remind me again Magda, how did you get here? ). Yes, Melina has been done better (Camille being one my favorite “Bond-girls” of the series), but I hate to say this, her failings as a character are a reflection of Bouquet’s limited range.
FYEO is the first outing of Maibaum-Wilson team, and they’ve made a “limited” effort to flesh out the principals, but even what they’ve done is beyond the ability or desire of cast and director. The Countess? Just revert to your Waitrose accent, luv. Bibi? Act the cliche and you’ll be fine, everyone will think it’s funny.
Unlike OP, which doesn’t ask questions, just that you roll with it, there is more “there” with the female cast in FYEO. For me, it’s that no-one really cares to make it work.
The even more surprising (or shocking?) thing is: who cared back then? Nobody took Bond films that seriously.
These days, even the schlockiest Marvel sidepicture is analyzed like „Hamlet“.
I do like to admit, however, that as a 12 year old I was so happy to get a FYEO poster in one of the usual teenage magazines - you know, those I only read for news on my favourite pop singers, never for the advice on puberty sex. And then the FYEO poster was Moore at the pool party with dozens of women barely contained by their bikinis. Sure, I put it on my wall. But after a few hours I took it down again. My parents had not said anything but I already felt like… well, Moore actually putting up a poster of too many Bibis.
LALD is the worst in the franchise for this, bar none. I used to enjoy the film, but once I got old enough to realize just how disgustingly this film treats its female characters, it plummeted down the rankings for me. An argument could be made that the characters are poorly written and performed in FYEO (I don’t necessarily agree with that as a blanket statement across the board, but it is true in some instances), but as far as female representation in the franchise, it’s light years ahead of the abomination that LALD is.
Concentrating here on Melina it strikes me that, after having seen her parents die (or her father and stepmother), it’s odd she wasn’t brought in by SIS, no? Her father worked for them, located the St Georges and was about to salvage the vessel (or at least the ATAC or whatsitsname). Wouldn’t it have been the natural course of action to get hold of Melina speedily to complete that mission?
But they rather send Bond to investigate a killer who isn’t likely to babble about his customers anyway. There he only meets Melina by accident since she’s already on target. Not bad for a civilian who supposedly didn’t have SIS support. And she’s also doing the retributive action on the spot while Bond is sweating to death in that leisure outfit. Instead of warning her about the downsides of revenge he should have given her the number of SIS’ recruitment officer.
Melina as a character has that big handicap that she was taken from a short story and barely expanded upon. She seems a competent marine researcher and resourceful enough to handle her own vendetta. But as a character there’s really little memorable substance outside the revenge angle. Camille is indeed everything Melina should have been, and then some.
But I’m with @David_M and @dalton on this, LIVE AND LET DIE treated its female characters much worse than FOR YOUR EYES ONLY ever could. And it doesn’t have the excuse of being based on short stories. Or rather, in Solitaire’s case, she is loosely based on the novel character but the novel practically delivers only the faintest shape of a flimsy silhouette of a woman, hardly enough to call it a character. Some intriguing background is hinted at, but so quickly forgotten I had to look it up again, so inconsequential it all is to the events in the book.
The film takes that character, who is at least competent enough to stage her own escape, and turns her into an entirely dependent damsel, kept in a golden cage by Kananga, duped by Bond and otherwise screaming helplessly. She fakes a fallout with Bond and later warns him about Rosie (another bad example). But both actions seem out-of-character for Solitaire and I struggle to believe she was actually capable of doing so.
The watches I can give or take, and understand why they have to be there to gather the budget in, although it is a weird way to wear one quite so prominently and clear of the cuff, and the “Omega” dialogue in Casino Royale is still irksome after all these years. Does take one out of the surrounding moment, a lot.
The veneration of the DB5 is more annoying, not least because Bond takes an Aston Martin in the novel Goldfinger because it’s part of a cover as a flashy dishonest spiv who is trying to attract Goldfinger’s attention. Not really the way the films have played it out. Perhaps time, with wherever they go next, to create some newer iconography?
Sadly, I think the ship has sailed on this point. The Bond films now are all about making references to the glory days of the past. The films are practically bursting at the seams with references to the classic films, leaving little to no room for them to actually create something new. Even the one time that they did something truly unique with the franchise, killing off the main character, they did it in a way that was about as subtle as hitting the audience over the head with a sledgehammer in order to drive home its tipping of the cap to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
While I’d love to see them create newer iconography, as I think it’s essential to the franchise’s long term creative health, it’s sadly something that’s completely beyond the abilities of the current regime at EON. Unique ideas are not their forte these days, it seems.
One of the things that I think will ultimately, somewhere down the road, be seen as the biggest missed opportunity of the Craig era was the way that they tripped all over themselves trying to reference the past as well as trying to bring the films from the somewhat novel way they began his run of films into something that was more in line with “classic” Bond. With CR and QOS, they started to forge something that could have truly been a new direction for Bond had they the creative courage to continue down that path. Instead, we took a hard right turn into classic Bond territory following those two films, which in a way betrayed the promise that those two films made to its audience.
Yes, new iconography is overdue.
It is weird that EON went full throttle with the DB 5 to underline Craig Is Bond when Moore really needed the push and got the Lotus, easily turning that into the new thing for Bond.
New Bond New Car. The only real disappointment of Craig’s tenure was that bloody car ( The Vantage in NTTD is majestic but again cyclical self referencing only detracts from the story in the long run )The watches I don’t mind persay, but the greater problem of corporate partnerships, here to stay I’m afraid, is getting a bit much. When they went with the lotus it was modern and vibrant, how many car manufacturers would have jumped at the opportunity to provide 007 with a new cutting edge car that no one has really seen yet.
They may go down this route to differentiate the new Bond. I hope they do.
Yes to both. Now that the Craig era has put to rest the old “misogynist” label, we need to drive a stake through the consumerism and brand snobbery.
Give the next Bond a hybrid Prius and a Fitbit.
The further we get away from the much-maligned QoS (not by many posting in this particualr thread, I should clarify), the more you realise what a bloody great breath of fresh air it is. At the time, those unimpressed by the film threw around the “it’s just like Bourne” criticism, yet the films that followed were ultimately “just like Bonds” - the DB5 emblematic of this Colisseum-like desire to throw bones to an undemanding audience.
QoS steers clear of the cliches that have stunted the creativity of the series - no Q, an untypical female lead (see FYEO discussion), a Bond that at moments we seriously question, and no faffing around with a 50 year old car.
While it’s appearance in two “comeback” films (GE and CR) were both comforting and (relatively) logical parts of the story, Mendes’ obsession with the thing is emblematic of the series’ inability to cast off the shackles of it’s own existence, and, to use QoS as an example, an inability of us as a collective fanbase, to even try to look at this whole thing with a fresh eye.
I’d offer that if you answer the question “what makes a Bond film?” with the words James Bond, then you don’t mind QoS. If you answer anything else, then the endless appearances of the DB5 are there just for you.
This is the crux of the entire argument, I think. The only thing that makes a Bond film a “Bond film” is the presence of James Bond. If it is dependent on anything else, be it the inclusion of the side characters, certain vehicles, or whatever else you may want to throw in, it at that point ceases to be entirely about Bond and about a more general universe within with Bond operates.
Surely, somewhere out there is a car that they could put Bond in that isn’t the same old car we’ve seen time and time again. They did it with the Lotus. They did it again with the BMWs in the 90s. All of those were fine. They can do it again.
As for the watch, I have to admit that I don’t particularly care. I’m not well versed at all in watches, which ones are better, which ones Bond should be wearing, etc. He can wear whatever he wants, as far as I’m concerned, so long as it is suitable for the character and isn’t name dropped in a nauseating way like we saw a time or two during the Craig films.
And, appropriately, the brief appearance that the lone Aston Martin makes in the film, it’s in absolute tatters by the time Bond is done with it.
On the car, I think a while ago I or someone else (because it was an interesting point, it was doubtless someone else) posited that a generous parallel would be to the books, at least the early ones, where Bond does drive a vintage car about. Someone equally perceptive noted that it wasn’t in every blimmin’ book and once it’s written off, he does get a more modern car, albeit with some customisation.
The new Lotus (note the branding and various bits of the licence plate…fun) looks very jolly nice.
Almost as if they’d done it on purpose…!
It would have been the perfect time for a new car. They could have mentioned to him in the film that they’re giving him a new car since he’s completely totaled the last two Aston Martins that the government had given him.
The great chance now is to really start fresh.
But if they do, reviewers will most certainly ask: but where is the typical… and so on.
They really need a huge success if they go for NEW.
Which is why they won’t do it. They had the perfect opportunity to do so following QOS and even SF, which while returning some aspects of the franchise that its two predecessors had dropped, didn’t have it bursting out of its seams like SP and NTTD did. They could have taken the good will they garnered from that film and proceeded to continue on doing the new things that they had started in CR and QOS, but instead they learned the wrong lessons from SF.
No it wasn’t. The way this was handled, one might get the impression that they already got to the idea that it was about time to finish this and give the Astons on big last hurrah.
We had the iconic DB5 which was a must for the classic “Bond vs. Villains in the gadget car”, and the V8 Volante as a proper choice for the traveling / long range part. They could have used the DBS from OHMSS, because it was the other one of the classic Astons, which also had only one film appearance (I don’ count the brief one in DAF) but it would have been just like another OHMSS reference (groan), and the Vantage was simply more memorable.
Which the modern Astons weren’t a lot. Maybe the Vanquish, but only for R’s pun, and maybe that DB10 from SPECTRE. But given the flak that one got for the aseptic Rome car chase, it wouldn’t have been a very good idea to bring that one back.
Instead, they chose to introduce one of the newest models (which certainly also was a demand by the AM marketing department) and as a little extra give a glimpse into the future with the Valhalla.
They had AM go out with a bang and leave a clean slate, instead of introducing a new car and maybe start creating a new iconography too early, which would only be some extra ballast for the new guy and the new direction. I just hope that they didn’t just intend to retire just the DB5 and from now on use the V8 Volante (not that I don’t like the car, given the choice for any Aston, it would be my pick).
I’d say, give the new guy a chance to build up his own iconography, time to let go of the past. If the new car has to be British, the Lotus might be the only option. If they want to have it closer to “real life”, the natural choice would be a Porsche. Period.
When it comes to watches, I simply don’t care at all. I’ve got a fair sense for beautiful luxury items, but the idea to spend a small fortune for a tiny item that, at the end of the day, does less more than tell the time never appealed to me. For me, it’s something that’s just necessary to make a bit of marketing money on the side, and I never considered it part of the classic “iconography” - just a question of the current sponsorship deal, like the brand of vodka. To quote Rhett Buttler: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”