2008 Movie Round-up #6

Since I have relatively more time in my hands, I was able to catch up on some movie viewings. It can get quite addicting, really. In between doing the written thesis of our short film, I take breaks by watching a movie. The first one is a Spanish film, the two others are the first two installments in the James Bond franchise.

The Orphanage or El Orfanato James Bond 007: Dr. No James Bond 007: From Russia With Love

The Orphanage / El Orfanato (2007, Spain, dir. Juan Antonio Bayona) is one dramatic horror movie that really creeps you out with its deep eeriness without the regular visuals of blood and gore and unsightly creatures. The film is about a woman who returns, with her husband and adopted son, to live at the seaside orphanage where she grew up. For a while, as they begin to settle in their new home, she and her husband tolerate their son’s fascination with his new imaginary friends at the house–until things prove themselves to be more than just imaginary when their child disappears. In her search of her missing child, she uncovers secrets behind the orphanage she once lived in. The movie ends with a dramatic sequence that proves to be effectively powerful in both a horrifying and a heart-tugging way. It perfectly punctuates the mystery behind the story. It’s rare that one could say that a horror movie is beautiful. This is definitely a beautiful horror movie.

Dr. No (1962, UK, dir. Terence Young) is the first installment in one of the longest-running film franchises in history, the James Bond franchise. Set in the island of still-British-occupied Jamaica, James Bond investigates the mysterious disappearance of a British secret agent and her secretary and how their disappearance is related to the mysterious radioactive energy waves interfering with US missile launches near the island. The first James Bond film is not, at all, as extravagant as those that came after it. Its strength thus lie with a steady execution of its plot, which basically introduces us to the many recurring motifs that we will eventually get to know James Bond and the franchise for–exotic locations, beautiful women, gadgets, among a handful of others.

From Russia With Love (1963, UK, dir. Terence Young) is about James Bond’s pursuit of a Russian decoding device from a beautiful Russian defector from the Russian consulate in Turkey, and SPECTRE’s evil involvement as an international crime syndicate out to get our famed British secret agent for killing Dr. No. It’s imperative for viewers to know that this was made during the Cold War, and as such, like other Hollywood films then and now, is highly biased towards the West and against the Russians and the Communists. I shall take it for what it is. It can be quite entertaining. Some reinforcements of machismo, and cultural and racial stereotypes can be disturbing, but forgivable. You don’t watch 1960’s James Bond films to critique such reasons anyway. The beautiful women and exotic locations are still there. This is apparently, one of the best James Bond films in the franchise. This is still not as extravagant as other James Bond movies that come after it, but is still highly entertaining as a 1960’s film.

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