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B. Bagnall (London, UK)

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The Making of On Her Majesty's Secret Service
The Making of On Her Majesty's Secret Service
by Charles Helfenstein
Edition: Paperback
Price: 35.00

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but let down by poor (or non-existant) editing, 8 Dec 2010
After reading this book I`m afraid I feel compelled to add a dash of cold water to the almost ebullient reviews listed below. Before I wade in I should state that although I enjoy the film version of OHMSS it's not my favourite Bond film (that honour belongs to Dr No, the only film in my opinion to truly capture the essence of the written Bond). Although OHMSS does stick closely to the novel, and I like aspects of Peter Hunts direction, I'd class the film in the `good, not great' category. I appreciate that the film has been reappraised by critics over the last few years - and although I don't think it deserved the panning it originally received - I feel that the positive reviews have gone too far in the opposite direction.

The good:
The book is very detailed and exhausting researched. You really come away with a complete understanding of the process involved in the making of this film. Charles Helfenstein is obviously passionate about the film and although I don't agree with his conclusion that it's the best Bond film I can't fault his enthusiasm for the movie. There are also lots of great photos and images from the film, everything from stills to the cover of the 8 track of the soundtrack. He includes interview transcripts form all the principle cast and even showcases the location scout. A solid read.

The bad:
The book is peppered with grammatical mistakes - so many in fact that I'm surprised other reviewers haven't mentioned them. I get the distinct impression that this book hasn't been proof-read. Ordinarily I probably wouldn't mind so much but for 40 I don't think I'm out-of-order in expecting higher production values. That's not the only problem. The placing of pages filled with images is very annoying. In many instances you'll read to the bottom of a page, turn over the page half way through a sentence and be met by 10 pages of photos (the worse instance is 30 pages!). On more than one occasion this `break' will include interviews or box's on other directors and it really ruins the flow of the book. This is a minor complaint I know, but a more serious problem appears on page 159: when you flick past 6 pages of photos to continue reading on page 165 the text doesn't match up with what went before. This is very sloppy. Again, I expect more from a book with such a hefty price tag.

Other gripes: Although Helfenstein includes detailed summaries of all the various versions of the script he doesn't include a summary of the novel itself - a strange decision given that one of the most common complaints levelled against the Bond films are their divergence from the source novels. Also, inexplicably, Ian Fleming's death is not mentioned - he died in 1964 while Richard Maibaum was working on early drafts of OHMSS. The only indication of Flemings death is a brief mention of his widow towards the end of the book. More irritations: there is a box out biography of Simon Raven that appears three pages before any mention of his involvement in the film (he gave the final script a polish). I spent three pages wondering who the heck he was. And why does he get a half page bio when Fleming doesn't? Again, mistakes I could forgive if not for the 40 price tag. Lastly, on page 262 there is a quote from Richard Maibaum claiming that `Hunt was a monster of a director' and he describes Lazenby as an `idiot'. There is no attempt to either explain this statement or place it in any context. Since it's the only suggestion in the book that Hunt was difficult to work with I'd have expected some attempt to place the quote in perspective. Was Hunt a difficult director? Or did Maibaum have an axe to grind? We'll never know. I suspect an experienced editor/proof reader would have caught this.

As for other reviewers view that this is the best book written about a (single) Bond film, I've afraid that honour belongs the Adrian Turners excellent `"Goldfinger": The Ultimate A-Z''. It's just as well researched as `The Making of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service' but I found it far more entertaining (and it's been edited and proof-read too). At 11 it's also a quarter of the cost of OHMSS.

In conclusion I'd like to say that, despite the production niggles, I did enjoy the book - it made me want to see the film again which, in my opinion is the highest accolade you can give a film book. I just wish it was cheaper and better edited.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 27, 2013 10:33 AM BST

Logitech Harmony 555 Universal Remote Control
Logitech Harmony 555 Universal Remote Control

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Piece of cake, 6 Feb 2008
I'm not sure why some people have a problem with this remote as it's by far the easiest to program of any I've used before. In total it took me around 30 minutes to program it (total time that is, from opening the pack to installing the software and programming 5 devices - and I customised several buttons too). My old six-in-one took far longer to set-up - no more entering codes for me!

The online walkthrough is both straight-forward and very easy to use.

And if anyone is interested it works fine with Sky+.

In short, a winner.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend (Xbox 360)
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend (Xbox 360)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: 9.99

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buggy! Buggy! Buggy!, 23 May 2007
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Please be warned, there is a very annoying bug in this game that, when triggered, can stop you from finishing. It occurs about half way through the England level and occurs when you face the sea monster boss (after visiting King Arthur's tomb). There are plenty of websites with guides that will help you avoid this bug because, if like me, you trigger it and you have used only one save slot then you CANNOT finish the game. Eidos are aware of the problem but cannot fix it so check out their site (and there are other sites that point out the bug - just Google it) for advice on how to avoid it.

Very irritating. The England level is about three quarters of the way through so I'm not prepared to replay the whole game just to finish it (as Eidos suggest).

Apart from that, the game's very good and I was quite enjoying until the bug cropped up.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 24, 2011 11:53 PM GMT

James Bond: From Russia With Love (Xbox)
James Bond: From Russia With Love (Xbox)
Offered by multimedia-online
Price: 15.28

9 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 28 Nov 2005
I'd been looking forward to the release of this game since last year when EA announced that they'd gotten Sean Connery to record a voice track. I figured that even if the game was only half as good as Everything or Nothing it would still be great. Sean Connery back as Bond? And in a game based on one of my favoutite Bond films? How could it miss.

Well miss the target it does. Using Connery is a great gimmick that should work except for one reason, he's in his seventies and sounds like it. It's quite distracting to see a young Bond on screen and hear a guy who sounds, well, old. If this was the only problem with the game I wouldn't be too bothered (after all it's Sean Connery!) but the games problems are numerous. There's no hand-to-hand combat! If you run out of ammo (which can happen a lot) and you run up to an enemy and try to hit him you can only do so by hitting a random key selected by the game. It's James Bond! Proper hand-to hand is an essential part of the character.

The levels are too long without enough saves, and the game is very short (about 5 hours worth of game play). And there are levels that are just plain daft: when you eventually face off with Grant you have to shoot him with everything you've got (bazookas, rifles, hand guns and grenades). It's a guy in a suit! He's not Superman or the Terminator! And when he reappears on the end of the game, he's in an armoured turret-thing that fires rockets and grenades and lasers - and he's easier to kill! Just hide and use the sniper rifle. Oh, and the 'Bond moments' that worked so well in Everything or Nothing are just plain rubbish. Gain entry to the gift shop? Give me a break.

My biggest gripe though is the fact that I can't play the final 'bonus' level. You need to earn 'awards' to access this last level. These awards can be earned by engaging an enemy soldier in 'hand-to-hand combat' - not so easy when you're attacked by 5 guys at once. I reckon I'll have to play the game again to unlock enough awards to actually finish it off. 30 for a game I can't finish - thanks EA.

Take my advice, if you want a good Bond game where you actually feel like you're playing Bond they get Everything or Nothing. It's not perfect but it does have a great 'cinematic' feel. And it's a lot longer. If you already have EON then play it again as all the good bits from 'Russia' are pinched from it.

Samurai Jack [DVD] [2001] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Samurai Jack [DVD] [2001] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ Phil LaMarr

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT PILOT, GREAT SHOW!, 5 Feb 2004
Easily one of the best – if not THE best – cartoons on TV at the moment (it's broadcast on the Cartoon Networks Toonami Channel). These shows are 20 minutes of perfection: great storytelling, beautiful visuals and they work on more than one level.
The pilot is great, although the shows improve (both in animation and depth) as the series progresses. Hopefully Warner Bros. will bring out season box sets.

High Noon [DVD]
High Noon [DVD]
Dvd ~ Gary Cooper
Offered by Champion Toys
Price: 9.99

72 of 78 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars GREAT FILM, DREADFUL DVD, 5 Feb 2004
This review is from: High Noon [DVD] (DVD)
Please be warned: as great a film as this is (and it’s a gem) the actual DVD is dreadful. Picture quality is on a par with a video – blurry and very dark. Sound quality is not much better. But worst of all, there are sudden black-outs between scenes that appear about 4-5 times throughout the film. These are very poorly done and sudden and do not appear on the region 1 release. I suspect they are fade-outs for commercials!
If you have a multi-region DVD player then check out the Region 1 version (not the Collectors Edition) for the best picture quality. The difference is amazing.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 31, 2013 7:10 PM BST

by Craig R. Thompson
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, just wonderful., 8 Sep 2003
This review is from: Blankets (Paperback)
I've spent the last hour or so trying to come up with words to do this wonderful book justice, but words fail me. Do yourself a favour and just buy it. It's THAT good... moving, bitter-sweet, funny and... just buy it.

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