Friday, 25 September 2015

Twenty minutes well spent?

Okay here goes… 

The Writing's On The Wall starts with a promising mix of orchestral flourishes, all swooping, brooding and haunting.

Smith's powerful voice also starts out very promising indeed. There are a few corny rhyming couplets in the first verses, which is not unexpected. And I quite like: “Unprepared for this/I never shoot to miss”.

The chorus soars unexpectedly and you think it’s going to be okay... and then that unnecessary falsetto just stops the song in its tracks. The high voice seems also to render some words completely unintelligible. My advice: pick an octave and stick to it. The chorus then limps towards to its end.

Reset: another adequate verse follows and the terrific first-half of the chorus… and then that falsetto voice. This is the point in the song where the whole thing needs to build, explode, burst - something - but it just doesn’t.

Then, without realising it, you're four minutes in and it’s almost over and you wondered what happened during that last minute of your life and what you’re going to have for your tea.

And the end is perhaps the most disappointing aspect. Smith produces this big note but: a) it’s not big enough, and; b) it’s totally unsupported by the arrangement. 
The whole song just dissipates like a fart in a big room. 

So, in summary, I think I like it but there’s just not enough of it. Not enough oomph. Too many silent moments. A Bond theme has to fill a room and fill your head - this does neither.


And this is where I start to feel a bit better. I will say that it definitely improves on every subsequent listen. I've even started to hum bits of it. 
Also, consider this - the instrumental version on the soundtrack is going to sound great.

A classic? Not yet. But in a week you won't think it's as bad as you do now.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Not A Roger Moore, Not A Roger Less

*Definitely* Sir Roger hanging on to a real airship

Okay, so A View To A Kill isn't the best Bond film.

Sir Roger was 57 years old while making it and, without wishing to offend the great man, he looks his age. And yet we're supposed to believe he surfs over an Arctic lake, rides on top of a fire-truck and hangs on to an airship as it passes over San Francisco.

An idle conversation about AVTAK one day posed this simple question:

How much of the film features Sir Roger Moore as James Bond?

I can tell you. It's 35%.

I watched AVTAK dividing the whole film into three sections:

  • Bond on screen that is CLEARLY Sir Roger
  • Bond on screen that is CLEARLY not him
  • The bits where Bond is not on screen at all

Et voila...

How do I know this?

I watched the whole film very very slowly using an Excel spreadsheet to mark when Bond was on and off screen, and also whether it was Sir Roger playing 007. This viewing took around 15 hours. There followed a multitude of calculations (that took BLOODY ages), totting up the respective totals. I haven't slept properly for a week.

Of the total running time - two hours, seven minutes and 16 seconds - the character of James Bond is on screen for a total of 58 minutes and 32.2 seconds, and of that, it is clearly Sir Roger for 44 minutes and 48 seconds.

In percentage terms, Bond is only on screen for 46% of the film, and of that chunk, 77% was Sir Roger and 23% various stuntmen, stand-ins and hand actors.

Perhaps the most surprising finding is that the character of Bond is not on screen at all for one hour, eight minutes and 44.4 seconds - 54% of the film! And he's in almost every scene!

So now we know.

Next blog post idea... how many times *does* Tanya Roberts say "James!" in the whole film?

Yep, definitely Sir Roger...