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Filmism.net Dispatch November 13, 2012

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In case you hadn't noticed, Bond is back. Skyfall is smashing records left and right, with the biggest ever opening for a Bond movie in the US, doubling the opening weekend for Casino Royale.

But is it because it's such a better movie that all the others? We're edging back towards the fun end of the Bond pendulum again, so the franchise is in a good place. In another two or so films, things will get overblown and silly (a la Die Another Day) and both Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli will talk about 'taking Bond back basics' (a la The Living Daylights).

They'll do one very edgy, dark movie everyone will love, then one or two movies after that everyone will realise all the fun's been bled out and they'll re-install all the gags, gadgets and institutions like Q. Take a look at the history, that pendulum has swung from dark and serious to fun and funny time and time again over the last five decades.

So is it quality, or are we just seeing the same thing we saw with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and will undoubtedly see with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2. Think about how many more kids have turned 15 in the world in the last couple of years, and how much more they pay for movie tickets than when they were five. Hollywood likes to talk big, but right there's the reason there's always a bigger opening right around the corner.

I was also watching The Impossible trailer through the week when a thought struck me. No, it isn't that the trailer gives away the entire movie (so beware if you watch it right until the end). So far there have been two major films that feature the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and the waves that killed over 260,000 people, The Impossible and Clint Eastwood's sappy, dour Hereafter. You can watch the (kind of fake looking, in hindsight) tsunami scene here.

Hereafter featured a French tourist caught in the tsunami as she shopped for souvenirs. The Impossible is about an English family split up by its arrival, left searching for each other in the ruins. What do they have in common? They're both about tourists, people who no doubt suffered through the terror and death, but who had comfortable houses and lives thousands of miles away to get back to if they were lucky enough to make it.

I know it makes me sound like a wowser, but will we (Western audiences) only respond to stories set around tragedies like these if we recognise ourselves? Where's the movie about one of the Sri Lankans, Thais or Indonesians who were struggling with poverty in oppressive countries to begin with, only to see what little they owned washed away? The locals of those countries who survived (over a million of them) had nowhere to go, and I'll bet you didn't know most of the money donated to redevelop devastated coastlines went to big corporations to clear locally-owned land and fix or build resort hotels.

So again not to get political, but why are most stories on screen about events that bought the whole world together about white people while unnamed, unknown armies of brown-skinned people are just set dressing?

After that, it's time to turn to horror of a completely different and much more enjoyable kind, a grindhouse classic from 1980 as schlocky as it is grotesque, Cannibal Ferox.

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