04 December 2008

The Series Reboot

A little comedy gem that I found this year was Review with Myles Barlow. Hilarious. Basically, it's a bit of a waltz through the sheer pretence that is arts review programs.

ABC and SBS have a few of these, but after Review has been on air, I'd be surprised if the ABC shows one again for a little while.

The twist is that Barlow (played by Phil Lloyd) reviews anything.

Here's Barlow reviewing bareknuckle boxing:

And here's Barlow reviewing open heart surgery:

Barlow reviews lying:

At The Movies co-host David Stratton reviews Barlow:

Which leads to this exchange where Stratton kicks Barlow's arse:

I start with Myles Barlow, because I'm going to do a review of my own. Basically, the series reboot is totally in at the moment.

I've just seen Quantum of Solace, the second in the rebooted series of James Bond flicks and boy, do I feel confused.

The series reboot thingy is more than just a remake. It goes beyond just remaking a movie franchise to completely redesigning it from the ground up.

When Casino Royale came out in 2006, it basically threw away the previous movies and started from the beginning again. It was as if Blofeld, Tracy Bond, Q, Pussy Galore and Holly Goodhead didn't exist. Which might have been a good thing.

Bond was probably getting stale. I once remarked that tradition dictated that each Bond movie had to be more over the top and unbelievable than the previous one. This tradition had to come crashing down in a screaming heap eventually, which it did with Pierce Brosnan's last outing as 007 in Die Another Day. I enjoyed Die Another Day. At least I did up until the clearly fake computer generated wave off the coast of Iceland that Bond surfs down the face of. After this I felt a bit queasy for the rest of the movie and didn't enjoy it so much.

The spy thriller movie had a serious workover with the superb Jason Bourne trilogy. Obviously, this made the producers of the Bond movies sit up and take notice, because they completely re-engineered Bond for Casino Royale.

Not long before this, though, Christopher Nolan had given Batman the reboot treatment with the excellent Batman Begins, followed by The Dark Knight which was also excellent. Soon enough, others had to follow - Superman Returns did a partial reboot in pretending that the (admittedly piss-poor) Superman III and IV movies were never made, and The Incredible Hulk tried to make up for the Hulk movie of 2003.

So on to Quantum Of Solace. Is it just me, or was I watching two movies at once?

We had an old Bond movie - tuxedos, hotels, incidental music with new Bond - improved car chases, fight scenes, rooftop chases.

We had two plotlines - a simple one, and an utterly convoluted mess.

We had the same actor playing M (Judi Dench) as the old M. And essentially the same character. I still think that this might be a smidge anachronistic.

We had hi-tech resources at MI6, but no hi-tech toys for Bond himself.

And we had a bad guy with a stare that seemed almost like Auric Goldfinger was back.

Don't get me wrong - Daniel Craig is great as the new "gritty" Bond. And I like the idea of a reboot - let's face it, the old movies didn't have a great deal of respect for fans with their cavalier attitude to continuity. But are they "Bond movies"?

Stratton and Margeret Pomeranz gave this three stars. I concur.


Don said...

I say they are not "Bond movies," and I say that's a good thing. "Bond movies," those formulaic, cheesy, over-the-top lamefests are best left in the past. Flat characters, poor plotting, goofy gadgets, no grounding whatsoever in reality...They literally give me a headache.

Don said...

Sorry for the double post, but I thought of something: a "Bond movie" cannot be made in a post-Austin Powers world. The first of those movies deconstructed the cliches and tropes of the spy genre so well and thoroughly that it is futile to make a traditional Bond movie without the audience laughing at the silliness (unless the audience is hardcore Bond fanboys).

It took them what-three Bond flicks to figure that out?

Dikkii said...

I'm probably in agreement with you on this. I think that their time might be over. And certainly your point about Austin Powers is well made - I can't believe that what is essentially one joke got stretched out to three movies.

It took them what-three Bond flicks to figure that out?

Plus three Austin Powers flicks.

Sadly, I think that it was three Jason Bourne flicks the really got them moving.

Don said...

I can't believe that what is essentially one joke got stretched out to three movies.

Nor can I, especially since it was clear by 5 minutes into movie 2 that it was over.