Perhaps I am doing the series a disservice because I haven't seen the older films. This is only the second James Bond film I've seen, and already this latest MGM offering seems eerily similar to "Tomorrow Never Dies" in structure, characters, and dialogue. I wonder if all of them are like this? Save for a couple of minor differences, "TWINE" is all I expected it to be based on my viewing of "TND."
While I've always been a fan of the series' stylish, computer generated opening sequences accompanied by a Bondish theme song, I've gotta ask: "What were they THINKING?" Though by the end of the film I realized what the black gooey substance was, that was still pretty disturbing to watch. The background images were seemingly taken from any graphic designer's stock of ready-made patterns.
The plot was all right, designed more for capitalizing on the studio's special effects budget than for winning an award in script-writing, of course. I've gotta admit though, I liked the twist in the middle of the movie, even though many must have seen it coming. It was great to see a Bond girl as not just the victim of the archetype villain, but a better and even more wicked and coldblooded manipulator. I'm glad Sophie Marceau has taken the role of Elektra King; I was getting sick of seeing her in gentle, meek, porcelain doll roles. She has disarming features, which makes her particularly effective in the role of the villain. I also enjoyed Robert "Full Monty" Carlyle as the "other" villain; though they were pretty vague about his motives. Yes, in typical Bond fashion, substance was sacrificed for style. I won't go on about this because I'm sure you are all familiar with their way of filmmaking. Okay, let's insert this gadget here because it looks cool on screen. All right, lets make Pierce do this and do that for God knows what reason because that would make for a great action sequence. Bullet in the medulla makes one grow stronger? Must be a new medical technique invented by the oh-so-convincing Doctor Christmas Jones. Science is made to look ridiculous. And please, for the next movie lets not have the characters dropping puns all over the place? It gets old. Fast. The action scenes seemed frivolous and farfetched, but what the hell, they looked cool. Especially that beautiful mountain they skied on. Could've just borrowed one of those cool snowmobiles huh? One of the things I like about these movies -- the exotic locales.
I've never liked Denise Richards (Christmas Jones). TWINE only further solidifies my opinion of her as a pouty-lipped bad actress. Nuclear physicist? Yeah, that's REALLY believable. Just hearing her deliver her lines made me want to puke. She and Pierce had absolutely no chemistry together. But then again, James Bond sleeps with anyone, chemistry or no chemistry :-)
A couple of standouts that I really enjoyed, though . . . The expansion of the role of M, done wonderfully by Judi Dench. In TWINE, she emerges as not only Bond's supervisor but a much more dynamic and complex character. Dench brings to M a dignity befitting her age and position (perhaps it has to do with Dench's real status in life). Kudos to the scene on the dock. On one hand we've got James Bond manipulating his slick car, but I'm glad we also got a glimpse of what the other characters were doing. In too many incidents we see the main character dealing with a dangerous situation, and later we see him meet up with his buddies without knowing how his buddies escaped.
Many might think the worst of "TWINE." And yes, it does have flaws, but I suppose I was happy with what I saw because I didn't expect anything else. Perhaps they're churning out these movies according to a set formula because this is what people have come to associate with the 007 series. A story involving lots of money, a freakish villain, a femme fatale, cool gadgets and killer stunts. Naked women prancing across the screen in the opening sequence. Cheesy and fraught with impossibilities, yes; but that is the moral of the story: I expected James Bond and nothing else, and I was reasonably happy.
Rating: C (First viewing, 11/20/99)