“This never happened to the other fellow!” – James Bond, OHMSS

dannyJames Bond has always been king of teasing out info on his upcoming escapades that get the cinematic masses all a bit excited.

It’s a crowded market these days what with all those super folk, people from a galaxy far, far away and dinosaurs jostling for position this year alone.

So post-Super Bowl slots it was only a matter of time before 007 took his hat from his hatstand and toss it past Miss Moneypenny into the ring.

And what we do have is a cool, quite literally, tease of an action sequence filmed in the snow capped mountains of Austria.

With Bonds huge cinematic legacy one can’t help but have memories of OHMSS or The Spy Who Loved Me evoked,  or even For Your Eyes Only or to a lesser extent, Die Another Day.

Hopefully not the the cello ski sequence in The Living Daylights though please. I’ve still got a massive soft spot for the pre-title sequence of A View To A Kill,  minus the iceberg sub you understand.

2010-ohmss-poster-shadowIt’s hard not to get exited about Bond on a pair of skis, excitement was huge when as a child you couldn’t differentiate between the films and you saw is was a ‘snow’ one.

Daniel Craig is, no doubt intentially, heavily evoking the George Lazenby stance from the OHMSS. And that’s not a bad place to start.

The burning question is, for me, is this the pre-title sequence? If it is then it has big snow boots to fill if it is to (nobody does it) better than The Spy Who Loved Me.

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“I think he’s attempting re-entry sir?” – Q, Moonraker (1979)

skyfall_55This Thursday the world is more than enough for James Bond as at 11am (GMT) there will be a live web stream of the announcement of not just the new Bond film’s title but also principle cast…which if rumours are to believed could signal the return of Blofeld.

His arch nemesis was last officially seen swinging in an escape sub on an exploding oil rig in Diamonds Are Forever (1971) with a unamed cameo in For Your Eyes Only (1981) disappearing down a chimney Wile E Coyote style off the end if a helicopter piloted by Roger Moore.

No one does a press launch quite like Bond and of course it is taking place not just at the home of James Bond at Pinewood but also in his pad, the 007 stage which was originally built in 1977 for The Spy Who Loved Me.

It will be a broadcast that media baron Elliot Carver, from Tomorrow Never Dies would have been proud of but also one that original Bond Producer, Albert R Broccoli would have been equally pleased with.

It’s his stepson and daughter that now run the Bond juggernaut and after an Oscar win for best song, with five nominations in total and with Skyfall the first Bond to break the billion dollar barrier it really is an all time high for 007.

So, what can we expect? Naturally it for eyes only but we know Mendes is back in the directors chair and that this will be the first full outing for the revamped Bond team of allies we all know and love, the new M in the guise of Ralph Fiennes, Moneypenny – whose identity was only unveiled at the end of Skyfall and the new Quartermaster.

Craig is of course back in Bond’s fine leather shoes, but for how long? He’s 46 even before this one starts shooting on Monday and will be  47 before its released.

Sure, Liam Neeson is still using his certain set of skills past 60 but Moore hung up his Walther PPK when he was 53 post A View To A Kill.

Typically the time between one Bond film being released and the next instalment is two – three years, which would see Craig knocking 50. Cruise is still Mission Impossibling at 53, so it can be done but if Craig wants to have a bash at equalling Connery’s official six entries – Moore’s seven just doesn’t seem attainable or is it? – then he’s going to have to pull several missions out the Union Jack bag rather speedily so the double dipping would make perfect sense

It wasn’t always a done deal that Mendes would be back, he is so they should keep hold of him, for that to happen and to keep the Craig and Bond momentum going this calls for a Bond first, back to back filming and a two-parter to usher in the new team of allies and the perfect way of introducing an old foe.

The likes of The Hunger Games, Twilight and Harry Potter have shown that it makes both box office and production sense. Come Thursday we could very well be looking at the prospect of double double ’00’ seven and Daniel Craig’s fourth and fifth Bond films.

Whatever happens on that sacred 007 stage one thing is for sure, James Bond WILL return.

Or roughly translated as the name’s Bond, James Bond. With the news that Pinewood Studios is set to open a multi-million facility (or should that be lair) in Wales, that boyo Bond could be heading to the valleys, well Cardiff to be precise. So with Pinewood Studios Cardiff, both Doctor Who and James Bond could find themselves rubbing shoulders against one another.

But Wales has been no stranger to 007 over his 50 plus years on the big screen.

tld[1]James Bond is 1/6 Welsh, if you count all the official actors that have played him I mean, with Colwyn Bay boy, Timothy Dalton (waving around that double 00 prefix in both The Living Daylights and Licence To Kill of course) having donned the tux twice.

But the inherent Welsh theme of Bond doesn’t end there, with Dame Shirley Bassey belting our two of Bond’s greatest hits in the form of Goldfinger and Diamonds Are Forever (oh and Moonraker). Talking of forever, Desmond Llewelyn shall always be gadget-master Q, the Newport-born actor was exasperated by numerous Bond’s in 17 adventures, ending with The World Is Not Enough in 1999.

The previous Bond yarn to that was Tomorrow Never Dies with Jonathan Pryce stepping up for villain duties as Elliot Carver, the film may have been set in the Far East but Pryce hailed from near Holywell in Flintshire.

Of course, no one has actually mentioned that any future James Bond films might be shot in the new studios, but it is hard not to think of the prospect. One thing is for sure though, and that is that they are unlikely to be calling any future James Bond adventures Never Say Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyll-llantysiliogogogoch Again

It’s less a case of Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and more a case of Mr Kiss Me Quick with the news that the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, has had something of a budget fall and has ditched its globe-trotting sun-soaked locations for Bognor Regis.

To be fair this isn’t the first time that Bognor has been involved in bringing a Bond film to the screen, but that was the celebrated ski stunt co-ordinator, Willy Bogner, who put Bond through his paces in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only and A View To A Kill.

Snow such involvement time, maybe they’ve gone for Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards instead?

Locations wise I’m surprised that they didn’t look at Morecambe with it Bondian-esque quicksand but perhaps we should be thankful that it isn’t being filmed in Skegness as the infamous ‘Jolly Fisherman’ doesn’t carry the same kind of henchman menace as say your Odd Job or Jaws, even if he did have Rosa Klebb style spikes hidden in his wellies.

Bognor (er, the place not the skier obviously) may well be doubling for somewhere far more exotic but savvy filmmakers have long had UK locations double up as far more exotic climbs and people have been none the wiser when it comes to seeing it up on the silver screen. So what’s my point? My point is that Craig got a severe bashing before we saw him in the role so lets give Bognor Regis a chance as well.

Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Before Canary Wharf and the buildings that have sprung up around it, the Isle of Dogs and Becton Gasworks, in East London did a remarkable job of doubling up, complete with shipped in palm trees, as war torn Vietnam in this Kubrick classic.

Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

When your budget won’t stretch to New York, which doubled as Metropolis in Supes 1 and 2, where do you go? Milton Keynes of course! Built on a grid system just like the Big Apple its train station failed to even pretend to look like the UN building and its underground failed to impress as the subway.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Nottinghamshire is of course famous for its own vigilante, Robin Hood, but this year it’s Batman who is spending time near Sherwood Forest as Bats will be calling Wollaton Hall his home, Gotham Manor, which is essentially his very own Major Oak

Gulliver’s Travels (2011)

The Old Naval College section of the University of Greenwich was used extensively as Lilliput in the Jack Black remake of the classic tale. The same building was also used in the opening action sequence of the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film, On Stranger Tides.

World War Z (2012)

Glasgow’s grandiose George Square doubled as Philadelphia for World War Z, a zombie film starring Brad Pitt. Bit different from Taggart!

The Mummy (1999)

The historic Chatham Dockyards saw this part of Kent transformed from the garden of England to the sandpit for a short scene featuring one of the docks transformed into the port of Cairo in Egypt. Holmes and Watson paid a visit to the same location a decade later.

Captain America (2011)

If the Cap fits and it certainly did for Manchester which made a good imitation of 1940s New York with its Northern Quarter standing in for NYC due to its towering buildings and pre-war architecture. Sherlock Holmes had also used the location the previous year.

Gladiator (2000)

Save for the closing speech in the Coliseum the most memorable scene in Gladiator is arguably the opening battle set in the forests of Southern Germany, except it’s not Germany its Farnham Wood in Surrey.

Carry On Up the Khyber (1968)

Set in the British India of 1895 in actual fact the Carry On crew, her e joined by Roy Castle for the first time, actually travelled no further than Snowdonia in Wales, which would make it rather drafty up those kilts. This was also the furthest (and one presumes the highest) that the Carry On crew ever travelled for filming. Ah, the glamour!

Carry On Follow That Camel (1967)

AKA the one with Phil Silvers. Silvers was the most exotic element of this production as far from travelling to the heat of the Sahara filming took place on Camber Sands, which even saw filming halted by snow at one point. To add to the fun, the camel used in the production was from a zoo and had never walked on sand before so material had to be put on the floor for it.

2012 marks the 50th anniversary since James Bond made his appearance on the silver screen and cinema would never be the same again. Throughout this year I’m aiming to review (or revisit with my thoughts at the very least) all of the official Bond films in chronological order, ending with Skyfall when it is released in October.

As I embark on this epic quest it’s rather fitting that it was today announced that a special 50th anniversary bluray boxset is being released in October with each and every outing from Dr No to Quantum of Solace.

Of course this is the umpteenth time that the Bond franchise has been repackaged/remastered but for many of the titles it will have been the first time they will have been released in High Definition and the price is pretty god as well. It’s currently retailing at £89.99 as a pre-order on Amazon, which works out at a little over £4 a disc.

£4 a disc, you must be joking, I hear you cry.

I never joke about my bluray releases 007 fan.

The artwork is pretty pleasing, the collection showing the various posed Bond, but we’ll have to wait to see what some of the extras are. When they are originally released on DVD back at the turn of 2000 they boasted a pretty impressive array of ‘optional extras’ that would do Q branch proud but since then the only major addition in any re-releases (apart from a far inferior menu) has been a Roger Moore commentary on all of his films.

The Holy Grail,(no Last Crusade pun intended) of course, would be to get releases with a Sean Connery commentary – as someone pointed out today this anniversary is likely to be the last major celebration that both Moore and Connery will be here to take part in. It would also be great to hear Lazenby, Dalton, Brosnan (he has already recorded a couple) and indeed Craig commentaries on them all.