Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Spy Who Loved Me

Many stupid Bond fans think this is a decent movie. It ain't. It's on TV now, and I want to comment via live-blogging.

"The Spy Who Loved Me" was made during the plot-rails Roger Moore era. His plots usually were driven by the external Hollywood need to have exciting action and not to follow earthly human reason. Basically, the series had gone on long enough that the writers/producers stopped making 'spy thrillers' and just made 'Bond films' (which meant: gadgets, exotic locations, and weird fights).

The movie's premise is stolen from You Only Live Twice - e.g. a third party terrorist kidnaps vehicles from the US and USSR in order to induce WWIII - and this includes the fun 'major army takes over kooky evil man base.' That's good, no question, but it's derivative. And YOLT was better because (a) it was first, and it had (b) Connery, (c) ninjas and (d) a volcanoo. Also, the plot point of a eugenicist billionaire was recycled for the next, and even worse, movie (Moonraker).

But a key problem of recycling from YOLT is that while that movie used a spaceship to swallow up other (US/USSR) spaceships, TSWLM has a big boat swallow up submarines. OK, so lets see how the premise doesn't carry. In 1965, spaceships were basically just non-maneuverable orbiting bricks and so there's some logic that they could be kidnapped by being swallowed from behind.

But submarines being swallowed by a surface ship? They are called submarines for a reason. They just need to go DOWN! And if thinking in 3-dimensions is too hard for Hollywood writers (I assure you, all mariners and aviators are trained to do so, but hack writers can't) then the submarine still has guns and torpedoes! Shoot the frickin' boat before it swallows you! It's what they sub does at the end of the movie when it needs to escape, so it's not like they didn't know about guns in their planet.

Also, each ship was kidnapped because the bad-guy wanted their nuclear weapons (which, unbeknownst to the crew, were to be launched against all major world cities - in a purposeful plan of world annihilation). That's a quite crazy plan, admittedly, but I believe that all nuclear sub crews would kill themselves willingly than let their subs be captured by a hostile - because even one rogue nuke is a world nightmare.

Logical, no? So when the submarine is swallowed by the supertanker - by sitting there on the surface, like Tanya Roberts being kidnapped by a blimp in "A View to a Kill" - and Stromberg threatens to kill the crew with cyanide, they all give up. Why?! Given, the dire nature of captured nukes, they should never had been there in the first place and should also fight to the last man.

Anyway, skipping to the end: after Bond succeeds in diverting the nuclear missiles, and enjoys some success, suddenly the ship starts exploding - forcing their escape. Why?! There's no actual cause for the explosion! Except, as they say on TV Tropes, it's made of explodium.

Hollywood Idiocy: The Showdown

At the end of the movie, Bond asks the Pentagon to hold off destroying Stromberg's base so he can save Anya. Bond builds a jet ski (seriously; even though the sub has to go the base anyway in order to shell it - this is a worthless action by Bond) and then sails to Stromberg. When he shows up, Stromberg tries to kill him with the elevator, but Bond outsmarts him (it's dumb). Then Bond, gun drawn, confronts Stromberg - asking him where Anya is. Stromberg doesn't say and instead he asks Bond to sit down... and Bond does! Why?!? He has only a few moments before the sub shells the station, and he sits down?!

Ah, it's because the plot requires it. Ya see, Stromberg has a clever device - a gun that is immobile and only can kill someone if you're sitting in JUST THAT CHAIR, and so Bond is forced to sit there. Oh, the gun has only one shot. So Bond sits down, Stromberg pulls the trigger, and Bond jumps up before the bullet - made of marmalade? - travels down the bullet tube. OK, so then at that point Bond gets angry and kills Stromberg by pointing the gun in the exact tube and firing - thus shooting Stromberg in the gonads.

Do you understand the logic in all this? Bond kills Stromberg - which he could have done when he came in, but waits to get some info - and after Stromberg is disarmed... Bond shoots him anyway. Stupid and pointless. It's only there to allow Bond to blast the bad guy in the nuts.

Anyway, earlier in the movie, Stromberg recognizes Bond as an enemy agent. Earlier in the film, Stromberg kills some scientists by dropping them through a false bottom in his elevator. He doesn't do this to Bond. Rather he lets Bond go and tells Jaws to kill him outside the ship. Why? Stromberg was already willing to kill people in his own ship before. The only reason to do this is to create a chase scene. Which hurts my brain!

And Jaws' plan for killing Bond? To send a motorcycle equipped with a rocket propelled bomb disguised a sidecar. Which of course misses. Then, when that fails, Jaws chases after Bond in a car - shooting at him with a pistol. Then when that doesn't work, he has the best looking Bond babe ever (seriously), named Naomi, shoot at Bond with a machine-gun toting helicopter.

Now, I'd like to explain how a person is supposed to write a fiction plot: there's supposed to be a correspondence to how people in the actual world think and act or otherwise people (like me) cannot suspend our disbelief - because logic is the food of consciousness. Without logic, my brain rebels.

OK, so according to the writers, Stromberg, the genius billionaire's, plan is to not kill Bond in the same secret untraceable way which worked before but instead to do so in public using a wildly untested method of unguided remote control sidecar explosives. Why? So it would look like an accident? And he said to himself "We'll use the sidecar bomb and even though it's foolproof, you Jaws should follow after him in a car and shoot at him with a pistol - even though shotguns are better at that range and for hitting moving targets, and we doubtless own shotguns if we can purchase or manufacture a custom made motorcycle bomb.... Oh, and above all, surveillance will be from a highly effective helicopter, used the world over to destroy tanks, and it will only be used if my idiotic stuff fails."

Nope, nobody but an idiot - or a Hollwywood writer - would use their resources in this manner. It's only there to create a chase scene modeled after a video game; that's all. and it hurts my brain. The fact that people like this movie is as explicable as people liking the latter Lucas films - most movie-goers, even the nerds of TVTropes - do not possess logic sensors in their heads.

Note, every single problem I've just elucidated, is present from the very first minute in Moonraker, which starts with Jaws surviving a free fall from thousands of feet because he lands on a circus tent... and goes downhill from there. A similar live-blogging of that movie would burn up my keyboard.

Second pic from here.

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