Half term movies

I’ve been to the pictures twice this half-term – two very different films and two gooduns.

First, I went with my daughter to see Tim Burton’s new stop-animation film, Frankenweenie.  Inspired by Frankenstein, natch, it’s the story of a boy and his dog, and like all the best classic horror films, it’s in black and white.  Victor’s dog Sparky gets run over and the poor boy is wracked with grief and retires to his attic where he puts a plan into action, inspired by his new science teacher (who looks like Vincent Price and is voiced by Martin Landau), which brings his dog back to life during a thunderstorm. Of course, it’s near impossible to keep the revitalised dog a secret, and havoc ensues…

It was a lovely film, both funny and touching, and it was chock full of references to all the great classic black and white films. At one point, Victor’s parents are actually watching Christopher Lee in the Hammer Horror film as Dracula on the TV.  There are some horrors, and a graveyard scene, but it’s not really scary being a PG family entertainment.

Then this week, I went on my own to see Skyfall – the 23rd James Bond film.  I’m a huge Bond fan, and IMHO this new film is one of the best.

I’m not going to tell you the plot, save to say there is an amazing opening chase, there are exotic locations, there is a beautiful girl or two, a charismatic baddie played by Javier Bardem with weird blonde hair, some brilliant action sequences, plus M and Q of course.

M and Q get to feature more than usual this time. Judi Dench reprises M who is up really up against it as this time it’s personal; the new Q, meanwhile, is the willowy young actor Ben Wishaw and he was perfect scoring points off Bond until they found their mutual admiration for each other.

Daniel Craig was superb in his third film as Bond, and director Sam Mendes makes him more human than in any previous movies – he’s a bit world-weary, and bored with what he does for a living, but comes to life again when the security of the realm is compromised. There’s also a neat look back towards his childhood that I really liked, which was introduced by Fleming in the novel of You Only Live Twice, and continued by Charlie Higson in his Young Bond novels.

Skyfall has its weaknesses, but I was more than happy to overlook them and enjoy every minute of the whole film from its gripping start to the neat epilogue. I think that Craig has finally overtaken Connery as ‘my’ Bond too…

10 thoughts on “Half term movies

    • Go! However, there does appear to be a bit of a male-female divide on Skyfall. In the staffroom at school today, all the women loved the softer side of Bond that comes out, and the guys didn’t so much. However you feel about the character development, it was bloody good though!

  1. I hadn’t seen Daniel Craig as Bond before and thought he was great, exactly the right combination of tough man and humour. I particularly enjoyed his expression when his car was blown up.

    • Victoria – you should see Casino Royale. It was also very good. Quantum of Solace wasn’t as great as the other two Craig Bonds. I thought Craig in Skyfall had a lovely twinkle in his eye sometimes, and he seemed totally at ease as Bond which I haven’t really seen since Connery.

  2. I am perhaps a member of a small minority who prefer Roger Moore to any other Bond. But your review and others are persuading me to give Daniel Craig a try!

    • Juna – you’re not on your own. I think with Bond, it’s the one you grow up with or first encounter… My first Bond film was Diamonds are Forever with Connery. Although I’ve enjoyed all the Bonds and they’ve each brought their own to the role, Sean was the one for me – until this film.

  3. I’m afraid it’s Connery for me, although I do like Craig and i think Dalton was underrated. Having declared my preference for Connery, I do have to admit that I recently re-watched Dr No on a long flight and was appalled at how bad a film it really is! I also found Quantum of Solace a bit mediocre and am hoping for better from Skyfall when I manage to get to see it.

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