In case you’ve missed the articles, ignored the advertisements, blew past the billboards, and snoozed during the tributes, this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of James Bond’s first saunter onto the silver screen. To celebrate her majesty’s finest, both a new film (the 23rd in the series) and a new video game (the 25th) are being released this week. Chances are, you’ve heard about the movie, Skyfall, which will star Daniel Craig as the martini-sipping super spy. But even the most ardent video game nerds could be excused for paying no mind to the game, 007 Legends.
In The Iron Lady, a figure named Margaret Thatcher orders the sinking of the Argentinean battleship, the Belgrano. She “wins” the war of the Falkland Islands, just as she had won leadership of the Conservative party in Great Britain and had become the nation’s first female prime minister. As such, she imposed austerity cuts; she beat down the trade union movement; she gutted many parts of her country, especially the manufacturing north; and she restored a version of prosperity in the financial services industry that was lifted on the wave of the Internet.
The two big DVD releases today are Daniel Craig's sophomore Bond outing, Quantum of Solace, and the Disney animated movie Bolt. As I noted when it hit theaters, Quantum is basically a mediocre action film (largely) saved by a terrific lead performace. The bad: Quantum's plot is strictly second-rate, the kind of generic evil-tycoon-hatching-a-diabolical-plan story that the franchise rolled out with such depressing regularity in the 1970s, '80s, and '90s. [Olga] Kurylenko is a distinctly subpar heroine, her performance flat and her storyline shoehorned in awkwardly.
Defiance Paramount Of Time and the City Strand Releasing EDWARD ZWICK’S FILM Defiance is based on Nechama Tec’s book of the same title. Tec told a wondrous factual story of World War II, a history so close to incredible that it is awesome. In Belarus in 1941, two young Jewish brothers named Bielski organized a life-saving mission for Jews that, after much hazard and suffering, rescued twelve hundred lives from the Holocaust. The principal means of salvation was the immense forests of the region.