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crAZRick
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Die Hard

Since it's covered in the book, and the 4th installment of the series, Live Free or Die Hard is due in theaters this summer, I thought I might as well treat myself to a Die Hard marathon. Sure, these are basically the same movie, retold, but we started a discussion about this sort of thing in the Write What You Know? thread, so it kinda flows into this...

the Die Hard films are classics! From the original 'Yippee Ki Yay...' first uttered in 1988 by Bruce Willis as NYPD detective lieutenant John McClane, Die Hard blew the roof off all previous standards for action heroes and films. They couldn't just be tough, smart, handsome, dudes with troubles at home and the weight of the world on their shoulders; after Die Hard, action heroes had to talk smack, wisecrack, end every round of the fight with a roundhouse punch...line. Sure, Arnold Schwarzenneger has 'I'll be back...' NOW! but Terminator came out it 1984, and T2 didn't come until 1991, 3 years after John McClane made the catch-phrase cool again! Where would contemporary mythology be today, without the witty one-liners in action-flicks?!

Die Hard 2 is the original 'Die Hard on a Plane' even if a few 'Die Hard on a plane' concepts came out right around the same time as Die Harder hit the screen. (Passenger 57, for example came up in 1993, Die Hard 2 was the summer of 1992 I believe) also in 1992, fellow-action super star Steven Segall took the plunge in 'Die Hard on a Battleship'/Under Siege

then, in a weird twist, 'Die Hard on a Bus'--more famously recognized as Speed--came about in 1994, ending with the memorable climax on-board a speeding subway. ('Yeah, but I'm taller!') And in 1995, Die Hard 3, aka Die Hard With a Vengeance stole back the minor-crisis-on-the-subway concept from the movie that stole the entire basic theme from Die Hard to begin with.

Now that every action flick has a wisecracking smartass tough guy with a singular wit, no wonder it's been more than 10 years since we've seen John McClane in action. But, you can't keep a bad-ass good guy down, so here he comes again, summer 2007.
I'm not holding out huge hopes for Live Free or Die Hard; amping up the stakes, action, stunts while still maintaining some level of integrity in comparison to the original is tough enough to manage in one follow-up, let alone 2 or 3 in a series. Plus, it's been over 10 years since the last, almost 20 years since the first, best, Bruce Willis is an older, balder man now... not sure he still has the chops for one more 'Yippee ki yay...'

what say you??
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danielnoah
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Re: Die Hard

This reminds me of a classic bit of Hollywood lore, probably untrue, but who knows? The story goes that an out of work screenwriter was in a pitch meeting shortly after the success of Die Hard, and like everyone else in the business at that time, had a variation on it to sell. "It's Die Hard on a boat," he pitched, but the executive cut him off. "We've already got that. It's called Under Siege. What else you got?" The screenwriter didn't have anything else, so he improvised. "It doesn't have to be a boat. It could be Die Hard on a plane." "That's Die Hard 2," the executive explained. "What else?" The writer began to panic, desperately searching his mind for some locale to set his Die Hard-like story that wasn't being done. He found one.

"I got it! It's Die Hard in a building!!"
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crAZRick
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Re: Die Hard

[ Edited ]
doesn't the 'Die Hard on a... bus/plane/train/boat'-type dialogue in a movie pitch help answer the 'contemporary mythology' debate??

before Die Hard, movie people would pitch ideas:

A guy goes into a building/bus/plane/train/boat, terrorists take his estranged wife hostage, the guy has to fight the terrorists to save his wife, if only to fight his wife to save his marriage...

after Die Hard: Die Hard on a bus/plane/train/boat...

ie Die Hard has achieved the level of myth in the modern world of cinema...
contemporary mythology, no???

Message Edited by crAZRick on 03-18-200711:53 PM

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Erin
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Casino Royale

I love this movie!!! Daniel Craig taps into Sean Connery's portrayal of James Bond,but also makes the role his own. He can sneer with the best of them.
My dad cringed when the beautiful Aston Martin was totaled.
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danielnoah
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new bond -- ?

Hi, Erin. I liked this movie, too. I agree with you that Daniel Craig made the role his own. This was a grittier, more grounded Bond.

Since we're looking at character this week, I'd like to pose a question about this. In what ways was the new take on the character of Bond built into the screenplay itself? Keep in mind that screenplays do not detail how an actor should perform a role - only the hard physical actions and dialogue.

To get the ball rolling, I'll throw in one example. After Bond's intense fight with the militants in the corridor of Casino Royale, he goes to his room and washes blood off his hands (a hard, physical action that probably appeared in the screenplay). The old Bond would never have had a scratch on him.

This is a tough question - don't feel bad if you're not sure how to answer it. Let's just brainstorm and see what we find. And anyone else should feel free to jump in, as well.
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angus
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Re: new bond -- ?

For Bonds of old, women were just playthings. This Bond actually fell in love.
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crAZRick
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Re: new bond -- ?

[ Edited ]

angus wrote:
For Bonds of old, women were just playthings. This Bond actually fell in love.




not entirely true, but certainly the exception moreso than the rule as far as Bond girls go.

George Lazenby's Bond in his only outing on Her Majesty's secret service, in the aptly-named On Her Majesty's Secret Service, seemed quite taken by 'his prize' Tracy, even though it started out as a marriage of convenience to get Bond in good with the mafia don, Draco, who could then get Bond in good with the goods against the evil Blofeld. In the end, Bond came to love Tracy as his wife, even shed a tear for her, and paid her a visit in the opening gambit one of Roger Moore's first few outings in the role (the one where Bond hooks and lands a wheel-chair-bound Blofeld on the landing-strut of a helicopter, and dumps the dastardly SPECTRE spectre into a smokestack; For Your Eyes Only?? I forget. I do know that Blofeld most-likely suffered his broken neck due to the climax of Lazenby's OHMSS which explains the wheel-chair)

any way, yes I think Bond loved Tracy in OHMSS before he loved again (or for the first time? all over again??) in Casino Royale as well as I agree that the idea that Bond showing love over lust is an aspect of his character rarely depicted in screenplays.

Message Edited by crAZRick on 04-04-200710:28 PM

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Ian
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Ian
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Re: new bond -- ?

Thanks for mentioning this film - my attempt was missed.

*****SPOILERS*******


In what ways was the new take on the character of Bond built into the screenplay itself?

This is a tough question. They wrote scenes to be down and dirty - the opening flashback of his first kill was good example. This was not a glamorous location - it was a bathroom and it was black and white. From the outset we learn this is not the campy, over-the-top Bond we're used to seeing.

One thing that the writers made clear is that this Bond is not about rules or sides - he's about results. He kills a witness and causes an international incident, he breaks into M's apartment, he gets back into the card game on CIA money...he cares little for the consequences of these broken rules.

Very few gadgets. And, what technology they did use was far more believable than in other Bond films (no invisible cars and the like). No Q.

Bond can get hurt and it incapacitates him. He's off the job until he heals.

I know they had him sound different but it's been a few weeks since seeing the film and that makes it difficult to remember his dialogue. I know they used a few one-liners but they weren't set up like old Bond lines. "That last hand nearly killed me." It was a great line and was very unexpected. Can't really pin down the dialogue - help!

Cheers,
Ian
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danielnoah
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Re: new bond -- ?


angus wrote:
For Bonds of old, women were just playthings. This Bond actually fell in love.




Right! Presumably, this will track through the new franchise as the event that turns him into a heartless cad. Kind of like backtracking to a superhero origin a la Batman Begins.
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danielnoah
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Re: new bond -- ?

[ Edited ]
Ian, that's a great point about Bond actually getting injured and having to go off the job until he recovers. The old Bond was seemingly impervious to lasting injury - as well as to love. Both of these changes (in the screenplay) result in a Bond who is more VULNERABLE.

This connects to another key element of Casino Royale. There is a certain tradition of sexuality associated with the Bond franchise that was upended in CR. I'm not talking about Bond falling in love - I'm talking about the sexual reality of the film. There's a big reversal in CR on this front. I'm fishing for something specific here. Any takers?

Message Edited by danielnoah on 04-06-200703:19 PM

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crAZRick
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Re: new bond -- ?

I seem to recall Connery's Bond taking time out to recover on more than one occasion; usually, the end of one film would be referenced in the beginning of the follow-up film, Bond would be at the spa, or on a picnic or something, recovering, there would be some banter about his injuries, then Moneypenny or Q would summon him to the next caper, or assassins would strike and try to kill him, and he would be off on his new assignment...

this sort of thing was basically done away with, and the opening gambits in each film started to have nothing to do with Bond recovering, just an extraneous bit of action to kick-start the flick rather than a look-back at the previous effort, after Connery's time as Bond. Although, I do know that Roger Moore's Bond defeated Blofeld for the last time in a nod to the end of Lazenby's Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. But, they still stuck with Bond 'recovering' with his Bond girl at the end of each installment, usually in raft out to sea or something...

Maybe that's not exactly what you are referring to?

as far as the sexual reality of Casino Royale, I haven't seen it yet, so I could only hazard a guess... did they make Bond gay this time around? or was he just not shown as the caddish womanizer, even moreso than the effort made to neuter Bond when Brosnan took over, and Dame Judi Dench took over as M? I suppose, if he fell in love, he would have to be shown as a one-woman man, would he not?

If they made Bond cry while watching soap-operas, I'll never watch another Bond movie!
I no longer regret that I have no quote, quip or anecdote to share with my countrymen... how about all y'all?
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danielnoah
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Re: new bond -- ?

Craig, you are the only person I know who offers analyses of films he hasn't seen. I believe this is a marketable skill! How's Spider-man 3 by the way?
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crAZRick
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Re: new bond -- ?

I'm on the fence about Spider-man 3; it's either destined to be the worst of the trilogy or a fine-installment in the continuing franchise. I'm leaning toward it being bad; too much to tell in 120 minutes, and I doubt they allowed themselves 160-180 minutes to really tell the tale. the Venom-mythology is pretty deep, and those hard-core fan-boys like that stuff splashed all over the big-screen; might not be enough screen-time with the other 2 villains lurking, and the climactic Spidey vs Goblin showdown looming... would be a shame for Venom to get lost in the shuffle just to give Pete and Harry time to deal with their personal issues.

Personally, I think Raimi should have gone the greedy route, saved Venom for 4, and done Goblin, Sandman and I dunno.. Lizard, since Doc Connors showed up in 2.. for Part 3. maybe introduced the symbiote in 3, had hints of Venom to come, but saved the big Venom stuff for 4.

Most super-hero franchises (and franchises in general, I guess) lose some steam after 3, but could still eek out a passable 4th effort; think Batman, Superman, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, Karate Kid, Alien, Rocky... I would say Austin Powers has enough material for Part 4, even have a title of my own in mind, I don't mind sharing: Tomorrow is the Day After the Day After Yesterday... X-Men could go again, Terminator has at least one more tale to tell (heck, if I can write a passble T4 script, anyone 'in the business' should be able to match my effort, right??)

Of course, Spider-man 3 is going to make huge money, and probably won't be the last, even though right now, the buzz is that everyone hates everyone and nobody's doing part 4... come September, when 3 has made $97-gozillion worldwide, guaranteeing Tobey and Kirsten $30-gozillion each to return, they'll suck up their disdain for one another for one last dance in the red-and-blue-spandex... I know, come Christmas time, or soon after, when Spider-man 3 hits DVD, I'll be owning it.

Problem with Bond movies is, I just recently got the 4th Deluxe box-set, to complete the set... so, I'll have to wait like 15 years for the next 5 to be put into a set before I can watch, review and give a proper critique and analysis.

by the way though, if you have any leads on who might pay me to make these off-the-cuff absurdist analyses of films I haven't even seen, please, throw me a frickin' bone... need the info.

:smileyvery-happy:
I no longer regret that I have no quote, quip or anecdote to share with my countrymen... how about all y'all?
Ian
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Ian
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Re: new bond -- ?

There is a certain tradition of sexuality associated with the Bond franchise that was upended in CR.

In CR Bond is the eye-candy. The scene that drove that home for me was when he emerged from the water in his tiny, clingy swimming trunks showing off his cut physique. It was reminiscent of Halle Barry who was replaying the scene from an earlier Bond film. Bond was the chaser and the Bond girl was the chasee.

Am I close?

Oh, and Rick, the device of having Bond drift off at the end of earlier films wasn't used in this film. When I say he was injured and had to take time out, it happened during this story; he healed and got back to work in the same film. I can't remember that happening in earlier films.

Earlier films also ended with Bond having a frolic with his Bond girl regardless of his injuries. In CR it was clear they had no intention of following that trend. In CR he is out of action for weeks, believe me when I say that. Don't want to spoil it for you. Didn't realize you hadn't seen the film.

Oh, and I watched Little Miss Sunshine and thought it was wonderful. I don't quite know how Arkin got the Oscar though? A wonderful performance but...

Cheers,
Ian
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crAZRick
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Re: new bond -- ?

no worries, Ian, and I understand what was meant about his recovery time actually being part of the screenplay somewhere in the midst, rather than the usual book-end frolic.

just trying to contribute, seeing as there are but 3 or 4 of us who even check-in around here, I like to be a part of the conversations whether or not I have anything substantive to add, or have seen the film in question.

FYI, Halle Berry was replaying the scene from the first Bond-franchise feature Dr. No, the Ursula Andress shell-collector sneaking around on Dr. No's Island

I should try my hand at writing a Bond screenplay, maybe after I hammer out my Austin Powers...
I no longer regret that I have no quote, quip or anecdote to share with my countrymen... how about all y'all?
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danielnoah
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Re: new bond -- ?


Ian wrote:
There is a certain tradition of sexuality associated with the Bond franchise that was upended in CR.

In CR Bond is the eye-candy. The scene that drove that home for me was when he emerged from the water in his tiny, clingy swimming trunks showing off his cut physique. It was reminiscent of Halle Barry who was replaying the scene from an earlier Bond film. Bond was the chaser and the Bond girl was the chasee.



Ding ding ding, we have a winner. Perhaps this is why Casino Royale has had market appeal with women in a way no other Bond film has had. It's Bond who's fetishisized, not the women around him. In fact, there's not a single shot in Casino Royale that fetishizes the female body - but the shots of Bond's body are plentiful! Even the objectification in the film is reversed; when Bond passes two attractive women on his way into the resort in the Bahamas, we favor their response to him as they admire his good looks.

At times the film even borders on homoeroticism, most notably in the scene where Bond is tortured by his nemesis. I won't get into the details, but anyone who's seen the film knows exactly what I'm talking about! THe sexual politics of Bond were completely reinvented with Casino Royale.

These choices originated in the screenplay. This is a great example of how the screenwriter controls much more than just the structure and the dialogue. A thousand little choices along the way have the cumulative effect of creating not just a story but a world and a world view that impacts the audience in no small way.
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danielnoah
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Crit/blogging

[ Edited ]

crAZRick wrote:
by the way though, if you have any leads on who might pay me to make these off-the-cuff absurdist analyses of films I haven't even seen, please, throw me a frickin' bone... need the info.

:smileyvery-happy:




You could start a blog and build a fan base. Like this guy. (Write-ups on movies you haven't seen is actually kind of a funny hook! Just as this guy's hook is that he only writes about movies he hates.) Eventually, you could accept ad banners. But I doubt you'd make much. If you're serious about marketing yourself as a critic, that's a road you could certainly go down. To be honest, I'm not really sure how one does that. If you'd like me to try to get some more info, let me know.

Message Edited by danielnoah on 04-07-200705:32 PM

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danielnoah
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lurkers


crAZRick wrote:
...seeing as there are but 3 or 4 of us who even check-in around here, I like to be a part of the conversations



Incidenally, there are several hundred people currently logging in to this board. What we call lurkers. Hopefully the lurkers will gradually stop lurking and start posting. But until then, consider them an audience. Lurkers, join us!
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Brendan_M_Burns
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Re: new bond -- ?


danielnoah wrote:

At times the film even borders on homoeroticism, most notably in the scene where Bond is tortured by his nemesis. I won't get into the details, but anyone who's seen the film knows exactly what I'm talking about!

***SPOILER ALERT***

Daniel,

Does your definition of 'homoeroticism' include a man getting repeatedly smacked in the nutsack with a knotted rope??? If so, give me heteroeroticism any day.

P.S.: The dialogue in that scene -- Bond cracking jokes while being tortured -- was very well done.

***END SPOILER ALERT*** (and message)
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danielnoah
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Re: new bond -- ?

I'll keep things PG here. Google "Casino Royale" and "homoerotic" if you want to read more.
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