I’m a HUGE James Bond fan. I’ve been watching the movies since I was young enough to feel uncomfortable with the opening sequence. Sean Connery has been the quintessential Bond for years, with Pierce Brosnan coming a close second. Until Daniel Craig. The reimagining of the Bond universe, following in the wake of the Bourne Identity is nothing short of stellar. I’m an avid reader and have 1st edition copies of most of the 007 novels. The ate much more serious and violent than the movies have been. Casino Royale was spot on with the book. Quantum of Solace, though not based on a book, is a formidable follow-up to the new grittier Bond.
I was lucky enough to see the new Bond film as part of a marketing conference for networks and cable companies. My company won 2 silver awards for 2 campaigns I was on. One was for a piece I designed for HBO Latin America. Our contact, Frank and I decided to skip one of the parties to catch the movie.
From the opening chase, I was on the edge of my seat. The action sequences were so hard and fast that I’m still processing them. The character development, including exiting characters from Casino Royale and the building of future characters in the form of Felix Lighter, and of course Bond himself was excellent. The movie answered few questions left from the first but hinted that the answers would be forth coming.
The only major gadgets were pretty realistic. MI6 used a Microsoft Surface like touch interface on their computers and Bonds most used tool was a fancy Sony Ericsson mobile phone with a great tracking device. Lookout Google!
Missing were Bond’s ubiquitous lines:
“Bond. James Bond.”
“Martini. Shaken not stirred.”
We were introduced to a drink without a name that will become 007s signature drink. Introduced in this movie was a custom martini that is introduced in the Casino Royale book called the Vesper. The writers and director are doing a fantastic job building the layers of the Bind character, all of the events that turn him into the killing machine he will become. Even guilt over the death a seduced female character (think Goldfinger) adds another layer to the onion of Bond.
My greatest disappointment with the new film was the title sequence. As a motion graphics designer, 007 opening titles have been a great influence. While the visuals were much more subtle than in recent years, they were lean, mean and cool, as they should be. Certainly worthy of the Bond franchise. Hopefully the ones I will some day create will be as well. What missed the mark was the music. The Jack White and Alisha Keys track would be fantastic for any other action flick, but it’s no Goldfinger, Live and Let Die, even The World Is Not Enough (one of my favorites, Shirley Manson would be a great Bond villain). While it had the requisite big instrument style, it lacked a flow as smooth as Bond’s lady moves, and was missing a memorable hook that belied to storyline. I’m still waiting for Amy Winehouse to get out of rehab long enough to finish her track, I have a feeling that shell better represent the Bond style. When and it is every released, I may just use it as proof of concept to land my gig doing the open title!
When I view the credits at the end of your movies I’m impressed on the number of people working on the film. One thing I wonder about though is the sound crew. Are they really necessary? From the perpective of a rabid movie watcher it seems like they’ve been severely underutilized. I recently watched the Robin Williams, Toni Collete film Night Listener. A good movie by all accounts. I enjoyed watching it. I did not, however, enjoy listening to it.
Because I’m a bit of a multimedia geek, I have my tuner plugged into an amp powering a set of Cambridge Soundworks speakers and a pair of 80’s Bose home theater speakers as well as using my built in tv speakers.
This set up means I can control my tv speakers with one remote and have another for my stereo system. During the Night Listener I found my self on the couch playing Wyatt Earp. I had a control in each hand. I had to increase the volume to hear dialogue and decrease it every time excitable music or a loud truck came on the screen.
This isn’t the first instance of this I’ve run into. I could complain for days that network commercials and station IDs are considerably louder than their shows. I’m in marketing, I know why they do it. I also understand that networks can control volume levels in commercials and their own station IDs but not in the movies they broadcast. These films are in the hands of the producers just as DVDs and OnDemand features are.
Why then must I double fist all of the movies I watch? I know that directors and producers want to make an impact with loud noises to create a more dynamic movie. I get it. But does their need to be such a contrast between quiet moments and action sequences? In a Die Hard movie, it’s all loud. I can make one adjustment and enjoy the movie. But try watching a drama with some dynamics… it goes from whisper to nuclear blast.
Not only am I in advertising but I’m also a motion graphics artist and animator as well as a long time musician. I understand audio dynamics. I understand dynamics in a story. I understand that using audio or music in particular to enhance scenes is important. What I don’t understand is why it has to be SO dynamic.
I’ve been looking online for a compressor that will work with my setup to reduce the level jumps. I wish I didn’t have to spend hundreds of additional dollars on top of my cable, pay-per-view and DVD costs to be able to enjoy a movie in my home. So, Hollywood, could you either stop editing sound like a bad stock chart or send me a compressor?
Avid Movie Watcher
p.s. If you want to hear it done right, try some movies from the 90s and previous.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )