Having had one job interview this week, which went pretty well, on wending my way home I stopped off at Sainsbury's and ploughed rather a lot of dosh into their coffers to fill my freezer and fridge. (In times of recession there can be nothing so wasteful as a half-empty freezer.) And before leaving, I spied a copy of the latest Bond DVD, so I treated myself.
On Saturday afternoon, I lay on the sofa for some quality Bond time. After the over-long title intro, it became obvious, almost instantly, that this was not a movie to watch in the horizontal position. It opens with a car chase – involving guns, naturally – on some perilous roads in Italy. For the run time of 100 minutes I am sure my blood pressure was raised. Had I seen this on a big screen in the cinema, I believe medication would have been advised. And it all seemed so real: every punch; every dive; every freefall; every shot.
Following on from the story in Casino Royale, Bond is trying to find out the reason for the betrayal of the late Vesper, his beloved. M is trying to rein him in, as she fears he is out for revenge. There's a rather nasty piece of work in the form of one Dominic Greene (perfectly played by Mathieu Almaric) along the way.
It's glossy, edge of seat entertainment, with Daniel Craig and Judy Dench delivering yet again.
The music scores from the Bond movies have often made history, defining their times. Who can forget Shirley Bassey's Diamonds are Forever or Goldfinger? Or Carly Simon's Nobody Does it Better? Or Duran Duran's A View to a Kill? Madonna's outing for Die Another Day was a low point, dire in my opinion and Quantum of Solace is at best flaccid. It just doesn't draw you in. But boy oh boy, once the opening credits are over the movie is jam-packed with action, gripping and tense.
People take their Bond outings very seriously. Thus it is interesting to see the review ratings on Amazon, where an overall 3 stars holds the day, at the time of writing. Opinions are divided, with about 16 votes for each and every category from 1 star to 5 stars. I'd give it a 4. It's wonderfully entertaining escapism on the good over evil front as per usual, with the excellently realistic special effects we now expect. So why no 5 stars? Gripped as I was, it didn't quite have the magic realised in the earlier movies. But perhaps that's my age or the music…