Thanks to my birthday this weekend, I didn’t have a lot of time to watch a film for my review. So, I ended up doing what I always used to do. Going to whichever streaming service I saw first and finding the shortest film that didn’t sound awful. I figured this based on a true story film would be just the thing. Intense enough to keep me interested but not too long to be too complicated. The fact that this also contained Benedict Cumberbatch’s face was just an added bonus.
I know that a lot of people didn’t like the second Kingsman film but I really did. Was it messier than the first one? Yes, but it was still fun. Of course, I tend to think that anything with guns and secret agents is worth watching. So, I was excited about the prequel film. That was before I’d seen anything about it. Then every trailer I saw just increased my excitement. Thanks to Covid, the release was delayed and I’ve only just got round to it. Would it be everything I wanted it to be?
I remember when it was announced that Daniel Craig was going to be James Bond. I have to admit, I didn’t particularly mind. Sure, I appreciated the films but I can’t say that I was that invested in the choice of actor. However, a friend of mine was really annoyed with the announcement. At the time, he was a huge fan of Clive Owen and was really annoyed that Owen hadn’t been picked. The fact he cared so much was weird at the time and it’s, obviously, even weirder now. After all, it’s 15 years since Casino Royale came out and Daniel Craig has proved to be a great choice. Clive Owen? He might still be working but he’s not exactly making headlines. You can’t quite imagine, had he actually been chosen, that Owen would have made it until 2021 in the role.
One of my favourite moments in The Gentlemen was during the scene in which Hugh Grant’s scummy PI tries to sell his film script. He attends a meeting at Miramax and a huge poster for The Man from U.N.C.L.E can be seen in the background. It just went to show that this may be Guy Ritchie’s attempt to show that he’s still the East-End gangster director but he doesn’t want you to forget that he’s a Hollywood name now too. Although, really what have his blockbuster franchises ever gotten him? Sherlock Holmes has, at least seen a couple of sequels. 2019’s Aladdin remake wasn’t exactly a critical success and the less said about King Arthur: Legend of the Sword the better. I’m not trying to criticise Ritchie for his varied career but it was a really odd flex. The Man from U.N.C.L.E didn’t do that badly but it’s hardly fondly remembered all these years later.
This week it was announced that Billie Eilish was going to be the next singer to write and record a theme song for a James Bond film. The US singer is going to sing the title track for the upcoming No Time To Die which will make her the youngest singer to do so. I’m the kind of 30-year-old who doesn’t keep up with contemporary music so, though I have heard of Eilish, I don’t think I can say I’ve ever purposefully listened to one of her songs. Still, good luck to her. She can’t do much worse than the last two. I’m sure there are plenty of awful naysayers out there moaning about how Eilish isn’t the right choice but they’re probably the kind of people who thought Sam Smith and Adele’s abysmal efforts were decent Bond themes. Sam Smith wrote a song that I can’t remember 1 minute after I finish listening to it and Adele wrote a Adele song. And I don’t really like Adele songs. Seriously, take the strings away and that song doesn’t fit. The vocals don’t work, the lyrics don’t work, and the way she has to force the rhymes is laughable. It’s the most narcissistic Bond theme ever written. It was the song that was meant to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the franchise and it’s not even focused on Bond. It’s awful and it’s disgusting that it was the first theme to win an Oscar. It only did because everyone was jizzing over Adele at the time. Skyfall is one of my least favourite theme songs. She’s lucky that Madonna was such a shit show or she’d be at the bottom for me. But this isn’t about how much I dislike Adele as a singer. This is about my favourite Bond themes. It’s a very personal thing. It depends on who you are, when you were born, your favourite Bond, and what kind of music you like. I doubt that anybody would ever be able to produce the same list as someone else. I might do a definitive ranking one day but, for now, here are my faves.
I sometimes forget that Robert Rodriguez directed the Spy Kids series. I mean the guy directed Sin City and the Mexico Trilogy so I tend to overlook the fact that his first major Hollywood film was a children’s film about kids who become spies. Although, it’s probably because I never saw it. It came out when I was 13 so I definitely thought I was too cool to see it. I definitely wasn’t too cool to see it but that I was even more of an idiot then than I am now. After finally posting my review of Alita this week (I watched it at the start of the month), I was in need of a TBT post and it seemed like the ideal time to finally watch a film I’ve ignored for so long. How bad could it be?
Maybe it’s growing up in the UK or maybe it’s the fact that my father was a massive fan of Blackadder but I love Rowan Atkinson. I think he’s genuinely one of the funniest people who has ever lived. When it comes to physical comedy and facial expression, I can’t think of any other actor who comes close to Atkinson. He can make any situation funny by simply gurning in the right way. So, despite how silly the Johnny English films have beem, I am always kind of happy to watch on. It even meant that I was looking forward to the latest one. Even though it has been a good 7 years since the second film came out and 15 since the first one. Did I think it was necessary to bring it out? Nah. Was I going to watch it? Of course. These films have always set out to be as silly as possible. And, in these dark political times, it’s probably a good time for Johnny English to come back out of retirement to show it’s fine to take the piss out of ourselves.