Richard III – Evil Evil England

Richard III: Evil Evil England by Vago Damitio A Review of Richard III (1998) starring Ian Mckellen and Annette Bening When one looks at the United Kingdom, one naturally expects to find certain things. Among these are crumpets, tea, drivers sitting on the right hand side of automobiles, double-deck buses, and a deep and abiding … Continue reading “Richard III – Evil Evil England”

Richard III: Evil Evil England by Vago Damitio

Richard III PosterA Review of Richard III (1998) starring Ian Mckellen and Annette Bening

When one looks at the United Kingdom, one naturally expects to find certain things. Among these are crumpets, tea, drivers sitting on the right hand side of automobiles, double-deck buses, and a deep and abiding love for the largely symbolic hereditary monarchy. These, we have been led to believe by popular fiction, television, and current events to believe are some of the cornerstones of that elusive quality that one might describe as ‘Englishness’. In our modern world, we have a somewhat quaint view of what it means to be English that doesn’t always match up with the historical realities of the past. Far from being home to a people with centuries of hobbit like habits, England has witnessed a multitude of atrocities and wars and has been instrumental in shaping many of the policies that have directly led to mass genocide, civil wars, totalitarian regimes, and many of the other evils that have plagued humanity through the ages of recorded history.

Some of the bloodiest episodes in English history are known as the ‘Wars of the Roses’. These wars were fought between two houses of nobility that still have a huge rivalry in the modern world. Lucky for England, this antagonism usually finds its place on the sporting field today. Not so in the 1400’s when the Houses of Lancaster and York fought horrible bloody battles to take control of the English throne. One of the worlds most beloved writers, William Shakespeare, wrote of these events in a number of his plays. Among them was Richard III. Continue reading “Richard III – Evil Evil England”

Richard III – Evil Evil England

Richard III: Evil Evil England by Vago Damitio

Richard III PosterA Review of Richard III (1998) starring Ian Mckellen and Annette Bening

When one looks at the United Kingdom, one naturally expects to find certain things. Among these are crumpets, tea, drivers sitting on the right hand side of automobiles, double-deck buses, and a deep and abiding love for the largely symbolic hereditary monarchy. These, we have been led to believe by popular fiction, television, and current events to believe are some of the cornerstones of that elusive quality that one might describe as ‘Englishness’. In our modern world, we have a somewhat quaint view of what it means to be English that doesn’t always match up with the historical realities of the past. Far from being home to a people with centuries of hobbit like habits, England has witnessed a multitude of atrocities and wars and has been instrumental in shaping many of the policies that have directly led to mass genocide, civil wars, totalitarian regimes, and many of the other evils that have plagued humanity through the ages of recorded history.

Some of the bloodiest episodes in English history are known as the ‘Wars of the Roses’. These wars were fought between two houses of nobility that still have a huge rivalry in the modern world. Lucky for England, this antagonism usually finds its place on the sporting field today. Not so in the 1400’s when the Houses of Lancaster and York fought horrible bloody battles to take control of the English throne. One of the worlds most beloved writers, William Shakespeare, wrote of these events in a number of his plays. Among them was Richard III. Continue reading “Richard III – Evil Evil England”

Bond. Commercial James Bond that Sucks Skyfall Balls

shitfallThe Buddha said it best – desire leads to suffering but it was someone else that said great anticipation leads to great disappointment. I’m not sure who that was, but it wasn’t Daniel Craig or Sam Mendes, though it might have been Javier Bardin in one of his ultra creepy baddie roles.

I’m a huge fan of the Bond franchise. I admit it. I like the booze, the womanizing, the guns, and the tricky gadgets. I love that the bad guys are almost always sympathetic but very bad guys and the beautiful women usually end up nude – no matter which side they are playing on. I like James Bond as an archetype – the unflappable gentleman who always has a clever answer and when he does show a moment of human decency, it strikes a chord since it is really such a rare thing.

With all of that, it’s no surprise that I’ve seen all the Bond films. Sean Connery, is of course the first and the best but after him, I tend to like the least liked and least remembered Bonds. If he had been given a chance, I think George Lazenby may well have eclipsed Connery as the best Bond, but most people don’t even know about his one film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” which might have been the best of the entire franchise. Of course, the fact that I liked the way Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan both played Bond might tell you something. I have friends who have collected the entire Bond series except for those with Dalton and Brosnan saying “They’re not really Bond films”

But on to Skyfall. Personally, I found it to be an awful big load of crap cobbled together to generate advertising revenue and lacking even the campy and fun elements that have always made the Bond films enjoyable.

Part of the problem might be the half hour of commercials I (and everyone else) was forced to endure prior to the film beginning. At least three of them had Daniel Craig in them and one of them had all of the Bond’s (except for Lazenby, I think.) I was exhausted before the film even began. Then there was the opening pre-credits action sequence. I was excited about this – I mean, I love Istanbul, I love Turkey, and I was excited to see how it played…

It played as “What the fuck is wrong with you people?” A train is going by the Grand Bazaar – I can accept that, I mean the trains aren’t that far away and they are on motorcycles but then….a freight train is mixed with passenger cars and the passengers are apparently all some Orientalized version of peasants who must come from Beyazit and all happen to be sitting on old fashioned wooden seats…Bond rips their car open with a backhoe that has the keys left in it and apparently the ignition is on and happens to be sitting there unsecured on a flat car. Wow, that sure was lucky.

Then, somehow in about two minutes the train is winding through beautiful Alpine forests and over vast river gorges – Bond is shot by the sexy black agent who sure sounds like an American spy instead of a British one – and then he falls into the river and apparently ends up in a tequila beach bar somewhere on the Black Sea, because it certainly wasn’t the Marmara or the Dardanelles or the Aegean – there he mopes around in bed with a doe eyed Turkish woman, wows the locals with his scorpion tequila drinking and by the way…have you ever taken a train from Istanbul? I have, it takes nearly an hour and a half to get out of the urban areas and then, at least in every direction I’ve gone there are no Mexican beach villages or massive mountain gorges…

Oh yeah..first there was the sequence where we are supposed to wonder if he is dead.

The opening credits were actually among the best made since the 1970’s. Great song and great animations. I loved the opening credits but was already feeling abused by the lack of continuity in a country that I love and the overwhelming commerciality of the film even before it began. Add to that, not a single one of the Bond girls showed so much as a nipple or ass cheek, the coolest gadget was a radio, and they destroyed a beautiful Aston Martin. This film sucked skyfall balls.

Another thing – Bond seems to feel that guns need to be thrown away when they run out of bullets. For a guy with a signature weapon, you would think he might know that more bullets could be with the next baddie.

Is a cagey old Scottish Moorman going to really be so stupid that he will use a flashlight to navigate to a place he’s lived all his life when there are bad guys trying to kill him and the woman he is trying to save? Apparently Mendes thought so – not only that but the old Scot would wave it around as if he were searching for snakes or trying to signal someone.

I saw this film in London. I was quite happy to have the chance to watch a Bond film after almost being run over by the Queen and wandering around Downing Street the day before..but it’s only too bad that this was the worst of all the Bond flicks.

Even so, it had it’s moments. The introduction of Moneypenny was a singular stroke of genius. Never was a woman more suited for a desk job. The character arc of Mallory and his relationship with Bond was the most well played aspect of the film. It’s too bad the film wasn’t about Mallory. Javier Bardin played one of the creepiest Bond baddies of them all, but unlike the great baddies – there wasn’t really anything sympathetic about him. He was kind of a creepy child-molester type and didn’t have a bit of likable – which is too bad. And, while at it – what’s the deal with the Daniel Craig baddies all having some physical deformity? I kind of like the villains whole and it seems sort of fucked up to put that on people with physical imperfections.

The film was riddled with continuity and factual errors and looked as if it was made up on the fly with only the premise of “Let’s get rid of the old lady and introduce some old characters as if they are new.” As for the new ‘Q’ – if they wanted Johnny Depp they should have asked him not found a 1988 lookalike.

This was a magical film because not only did the train manage to travel out of Istanbul’s urban sprawl (close to 20 million people) in a few minutes, but it also managed to transport the train over 900 kilometers away to the Varda Bridge near Adana in Southern Turkey. That’s nearly a 12 hour drive for most people, but then I guess James Bond has become the new Harry Potter.