Metal Gear Profiles-Mr.Hideo Kojima

 

The mysterious, but highly skilled mercenary and informant known as Hideo Kojima was discovered by Big Boss in the back of a truck while the mercenary searched around. He was then recruited to, and became a valued member, of MSF’s intel team.

Later that year, he was sent to Cuba where he gained major intelligence at a “Black site” Camp, similar to Camp Omega. After he gained the intel, he made his escape, and was covered by Big Boss in his HIND piloted by Morpho.

 

Finally rescuing him, they returned to him his glasses, although he wandered what took so long.

 

Surviving the destruction of Mother Base, Mr.Kojima was eventually captured by the Soviet Union, and once again had to be bailed out by Big Boss (or rather, his Phantom “Venom Snake”)-especially since he was a highly valued VIP member of MSF, and well suited to Diamond Dogs. He pretty much had the exact same reaction as before.

It’s unknown what happened to Mr. Kojima after that, although it’s possible he was part of Outer Heaven and Zanzibar Land. Perhaps he commanded-and then haunts-Shadow Moses Island

 

 

 

 

Or perhaps he decided to go into creating video games….

 

 

 

 

Star Wars: Han Solo and the history of troubled Star Wars production

It’s been recently announced that the directors of the Han Solo film, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, have left the film. While the details are a bit sketchy, it seems to have mostly come down to creative differences between Lucasfilm and the two directors (Seen manning the controls here alongside the cast)

This isn’t of course the first time this film has suffered director problems-Josh Trank was apparentally part of the project up until mid-2015, during the highly publicized turbulent release of his “Fantastic Four” film.

Reportedly, this is because Phil Lord and Miller-whose main experience is directing family (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs) and comedy films (The 21 Jump street films) were making the film too much of a comedy, and Kathleen Kennedy and Lawrence Kasdan-who fleshed out Han’s character as co-writer of The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens-wanted the matter to be taken more seriously, arguing that while Han’s provided moments of comic relief, it’s been in a more sarcastic way.  I’m actually kind of with Kasdan on this.

“I grew up here, you know.”

“You’re going to die here, you know. Convenient.”

 

Although this of course isn’t the first time there’s been production issues with the films, or sudden departures-although I’m pretty certain the films haven’t fired directors before-perhaps because George Lucas directed four of the original six films (Despite a few fans wanting him to step aside after TPM disappointed them)-mainly removing himself from ESB and ROTJ largely because A New Hope was a tough shoot, with Lucas not even sure the film would do well, problems with the special effects, the tough filming in Tunisia etc..

 

Empire Strikes Back suffered quite a few problems during production as well.  Difficulty with the sets, such as the Dagobah set with stunk, the very cold filming in Norway….

and perhaps most troubling of all was the Carbon Freezing chamber set where two key scenes were set (Han being frozen and the first part of the Luke/Vader duel), which had the very loud pistons fire at the wrong time, numerous dialogue rewrites, and was pretty hot too.

The film went largely overbudget, and it’s been speculated by many that this is why producer Gary Kurtz left the series (Although Kurtz says it’s more to do with creative differences with Lucas)

 

“Return of the Jedi” went a little smoother, as did the prequels somewhat, although there were some problems with TPM’s production (sandstorms, for one)  and Lucas disagreeing visibly with his team (Most notably ILM’s John Knoll). Much of this was shown in The Beginning, a documentary released around the time of TPM’s DVD release-footage from which is often used by internet critics on youtube to help dissect what went wrong.

The main problem was mainly with the actors, most notably Ralph Marsh (Pilot Ric Olie) and Terrance Stamp (Chancellor Valorum) who expressed pretty damning opinions of Lucas’s directing after the film came out. There were also rumors of on-set disputes with arguably two of the most successful actors from the films, Liam Neeson and Natalie Portman.

 

Even under Disney things haven’t been 100% smooth. Michael Ardnt was the initial writer of Force Awakens, but was also let go (He didn’t seem too sad about it, though)

Image result for Michael Arndt

And of course there’s the on-set accident which badly hurt Harrison Ford’s leg (as demonstrated by Harrison on the Tonight Show).

 

And Rogue One had some highly publicized reshoots, including a great deal of the scenes shown in the initial teaser trailer-although it at least kept it’s director.

 

And of course Carrie Fisher’s recent passing has radically reshuffled plans for Episode 9, set to film fairly soon as the finishing touches are put on “Last Jedi”. Although not the only person to die while working on a Star Wars production-Leigh Brackett for instance died while writing The Empire Strikes Back-she was reportedly going to be center to the plot of 9, perhaps with Leia’s relationship to Kylo Ren.

So now, things remain a bit frozen while the search for a new director takes place, possibly with Ron Howard (Who worked with Lucas behind and in front of the cameras with “American Grafitti” and “Willow”)…but right now, things remain….frozen like a certain scoundrel…..

But hopefully soon the Millenium Falcon will fly again 🙂

 

 

 

James Bond in Review: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Part IV

 

Bond’s initial meeting with a representative of Blofeld’s group is Irma Bunt, who in her appearance and demeanor, seems slightly reminiscent of Blofeld’s former follower, Rosa Klebb-except a bit more uptight and slightly less sadistic.

 

Piz Gloria is an interesting Bond location. It’s not quite as elaborate as the volcano base from the last film, but it’s still pretty interesting in that Bond is pretty much isolated up here, with no easy means of escape or contact with the outside world, as we soon learn. A similar location-the Solden Ice Restaurant (also dressed as a sort of clinic) would appear in the later SPECTRE film, probably intended as a nod.

 

It’s kind of funny how Bond sort of plays counter to his personality here-stating that he’s not a good traveler, doesn’t know any other languages, has never been in a helicopter before, and best of all,  that guns make him nervous! Although he does slip in a few jibes-first as Bunt’s name, which means the baggy parts of a sail, and also that Blofeld has “characteristic ambition”–for a humanitarian, of course. Bond does the usual bug checking of his somewhat overly secure room….and then goes into the alpine room, where we meet Blofeld’s eventual angels of death-with the intro set to sexy sax music.

 

 

Like with Octopussy, Living Daylights, For Your Eyes Only and other films with many background women in at least one scene, this got a publicity shot used in some of the film’s posters.

 

(Strange that Ruby, the principal girl, is left out of the shot here). BTW the lady in the foreground here? That’s Joanna Lumley, who would later star in the sitcom “Absolutely Faboulous” as Patsy.

Bond sits down in the alpine room’s table and gives them a lecture about genealogy, which the girls sort of half-listen to as they either stare longingly at Bond or have dinner (BTW there’s a lot of suggestive shots of them eating, such as Ruby gnawing on a chicken leg seductively). More of Peter Hunt’s sort of unusual style for this film of quick cuts.

 

 

Speaking of Ruby, she’s the one who seems to take the most interest in Bond, in all ways. Although the girls and men are forbidden from visiting each other at night-for reasons soon apparent-Ruby uses her lipstick to write her room number on Bond’s leg, which prompts a funny visual reaction from Lazenby, which Bunt notices, and Bond responds with one of the series’s major corny double-entendres: “Just a slight stiffness coming on….in the shoulder”.

 

Next, we come to Bond’s first visit with “Count Bleauchamp” in his labs. Now, there’s a bit of a continuity error here-the two should know each other by face already, but although they probably know here that either is not who they say-and they’re sizing each other up- they still act like they don’t know each other, even though Blofeld clearly has the upper hand here.  There’s sort of a reason for this-in the novel order, YOLT comes after OHMSS-and-other differences aside-the two haven’t met face to face yet novel-wise. Although the films are obviously in a different continuity, Hunt wanted to be as true to the novel as possible despite the continuity error here. It can be argued that Blofeld has had surgery to change his face-although he’s still obviously bald, the scar is gone, and Savalas’s voice and body language is completely different from Pleasence’s-and also his successor, Charles Gray. It’s been said that pretty much every Blofeld is fairly unique, even more than Bond.

 

Blofeld’s lab? He says he’s working on “cures”. Sure….he also says he’ll give “Sir hilary” the stuff he needs, but he’s absolutely not leaving to prove his credentials at Ausburg.

After this somewhat frustrating meeting, Bond returns and sneaks to Ruby’s room, using an improvised gadget to disable the electronic locks on the doors. He flirts with her a bit of course and then does the usual Bond thing. Technically he’s sort of cheating on Tracy here, I should add…but this does provide him with some vital intelligent-that Blofeld’s therapy has cured her allergies to chicken.Then a bizarre light show occurs, with Blofeld’s voice booming over the speakers-obviously, a form of hypnotism.

 

Bond returns to his room and briefly slips back into his Lazenby voice “Hilly, you old devil!”-but then finds another lady in his room, who used the same technique to escape her room. She’s played by Catherine Schell, an actress also known for…

 

Return of the Pink Panther….

UFO…

…..and Countess Scarlioni, the cunning but somewhat naive wife of Scaroth in City of Death.

Bond mutters the same lines he gave to Ruby, although he slightly remarks “You’ll need to be”….perhaps because he’s kind of cheating on Tracy yet again, or he’s a bit spent after his rendezvous with Ruby just moments before.

The next scene has Bond once again sort of going back into his more clumsy “Sir Hilary Bray” persona, which is even more Christopher Reeve Clark Kentesque as he stumbles when he attempts to do curling.

 

However, a distraction comes in the way of Campbell, who has attempted to scale the mountain after being denied by Blofeld’s henchmen, with Blofeld warning him about trespassing, and that he’ll be “sent down” with his stuff. Bond meanwhile stays in the sunlight’s glare, out of sight, but he’s clearly troubled by Campbell’s showing up and attempts to try to escape-but simply by asking permission to take the car down. However, that obviously doesn’t work…and Bond’s still stuck so he just returns to setting things up with the rest of the ladies….which will be part of his downfall here.

He goes to see Ruby again, but surprise! It’s actually Irma Bunt! Also, the other henchman-Grunther-knocks Bond on the back of the head, which, as I’ve said in my last review, sure seems to be the best way to at least subdue 007…

 

 

 

Metal Gear Profiles-Johnny “Akiba” Sasaki

 

Johnny Sasaki was one of the members of Liquid Snake’s army at Shadow Moses, the Genome soldiers, although it’s possible he was couersed into it by Psycho Mantis mind control. His grandfather also guarded the original Snake-the man who became Big Boss-during Operation Snake Eater.During snake’s mission, Johnny suffered from several stomach problems, prompting many trips to the bathroom. He was eventually left to guard the cell of Meryl Silverburgh, who he was infatuated with. His general incompetence and stomach problems allowed both Meryl to escape (in disguise with his clothes, weapons and equipment) and later Solid Snake when he was briefly held prisoner.

He later also showed up as part of the Gurlucovitch mercenaries, but once again allowed another escape due to his issues….Emma Emmerich, the stepsister of Hal “Otacon” Emmerich.

Eventually, Johnny rejoined the US military despite working for the bad guys twice, and was assigned to Meryl’s unit, Rat Patrol I (Which was technically-and unknowingly-serving the real bad guys, the Patriots AI). Although his earlier incompetence was marked by bathroom breaks, now he had at least technology to show what he could do,  with a wrist keyboard on his arm that gave stats to his “smart” goggles. He was also an expert in traps. This earned him the nickname “Akiba”, a reference to Tokyo’s electronics district) However, his other character traits still existed, as when he confronted Solid Snake with the safety on his gun still on….and crapped himself during a tense fight with Ocelot’s main unit, the FROGS.

 

Johnny however was able to redeem himself. Having a phobia of needles, he wasn’t privy to the various nanomachines injections that other soldiers had received, and when Ocelot messed with the system, which affected all soldiers including Snake and Meryl- he wa s able to take Snake to safety. Later, he saved Meryl from drowning, and administered CPR to her. She rewarded her with a kiss.

Later, when the Outer Haven operation was underway, Johnny-although earlier checking out Mei Ling-saved her and Snake from a group of FROGS, and later when Snake left for the Patriots AI, he supported Meryl in combat.

During the battle, Johnny mentioned that the reasons he’d been able to help is that he hadn’t taken any shots, and Meryl reasoned that this is why he might’ve been having stomach aches and accidents all the time, as the nanomachines didn’t seem to suppress them. As they were in combat, he revealed his true feelings for her and wanted to marry her. She refused his proposal, but only because she wanted to do things her way…so she proposed to him.

….and as they tried to work out their wedding plans, they continued to fight the Frogs.

 

Later, after Snake’s sucess and battle with Liquid Ocelot, the two got married near Snake’s plane, the NOMAD, in a ceremony attended by the other RAT PATROL members (and officiated by Ed, one of the team as well), Meryl’s father Roy Campbell, Huey “Emmerich” Otacon, his adopted daughter Sunny, and Mei Ling.

 

James Bond in Review:On Her Majesty’s Secret Service part III

We next go see Tracy attend her father’s birthday, to the tune of “We have all the time in the world” but a bit lighter. Of course, Bond is there, and Tracy is immediately wise to her father being up to something.

She puts an ultimatum to father: Give him the information about Blofeld, or never see her again-Draco reveals that Blofeld might have a lawyer in Sweden, but Tracy is still upset that she was used as a pawn. Bond apologizes, and the two seem to reconcile and we get a nice montage set to the lyrical version of Louis Armstrong’s “We have all the time in the world”, with the two horse-riding, walking through a fancy garden, running on the beach etc. It’s a little sappy but pretty effective at the same time. It ends with them looking at each other happily in the car with Draco in-between, who seems a bit uncomfortable, and even a bit worried the two are in love. Hey, it was your idea!

We next get a nice, tense scene where Bond breaks into the lawyer’s office to crack his safe and copy some documents about the Blofeld connection (He also enjoys some nice newspapers and magazines while doing so). We’re shown scenes of the lawyer nearly returning to amp up the tension a bit.

The safe cracker is one of the few gadgets in the film, along with the reprises ones in the opening (and I suppose Q’s lint) and Bond’s office, as well as Blofeld’s later deadly makeup kit. Bond then chucks the gadget into a barrel operated by crane from Draco’s construction crew, where Campbell-played by British actor Bernard Horsfall, known for many guest roles in Doctor Who-among others-collects it nearby.

It’s not quite made clear if Campbell is one of  Draco’s men or a fellow secret service guy, although it’s made clear in the novel that he’s the latter (Although Bond is “on leave”). Then again, sometimes MI6 would go over M’s head to help James if he’s in a pickle (As we see in License to Kill and Spectre).

We see Bond visit M at his mansion, something we haven’t seen at the film yet, looking over his butterfly collection (M butterfly? Sorry, bad pun) with Bond showing off that he knows a bit about the study of butterflys as well, in addition to alcohol, weapons and women (Although he doesn’t know much about diamonds as we learn in the next film).

He manages to convince M to let him back on Operation Bedlam, and we learns that Blofeld-using the alias de Bleucham (Which is french for Blofeld)-wants to become a count and has asked the college of arms to look into it. Bond takes the opportunity to learn about his own past as well, including his family crest.

 

Orbis non suffict-AKA The World Is Not Enough….hey, that sounds like a good title….

Bond meets with-and intends to impersonate-Sir Hilary Bray, played by George Baker here (Baker would return to Bond to play a different character in “The Spy Who Loved Me”, but is otherwise perhaps best known as the troubled Emperor Tiberius in the I, Claidius series. )  so that he can get close to Blofeld, find out what he’s up to, and finally capture him (He’s given a hint by Bond that “Bleauchamp” has no earlobes). Funny thing is, Bond’s impersonation includes his *voice* as well, which means for pretty much the next 45 minutes, Bond sounds exactly like him with a few exceptions. In a sense, George Baker “plays” James Bond!

And so the deception begins, with Bond wearing a hat, glasses and trenchcoat. Not exactly the most convincing disguise (The hat’s somewhat similar to the one’s he worn before, even)….and Bond set off to Switzerland.

 

Metal Gear profiles-Rosemary

Rosemary was a former Pentagon data analyst who was eventually ordered to get to know the solider known as Jack-the man later known as Raiden-by the Patriots AI, and trick him into a rescue mission on the “Big Shell” rig, where they could gather valuable data to help enforce their rule by creating a similar operation to Solid Snake’s Shadow Moses.

 

The two met on April 30th,  2007, and started flirting by talking about-and watching-the 1933 version of King Kong, arguing whether it was the Chrystler or Empire State building that Kong climbed in the movie.

 

The two then discovered they worked in the same military complex (What an amazing coincidence)  and started dating, although at times their relationship was strained by Jack’s coldness and aloof nature at times. Two years passed.

Eventually, Jack was assigned to infiltrate the Big Shell, and Rosemary, suprisingly, served as mission support. During the operation, there were many revelations, such as Jack’s past and the true nature of the mission-and also that she was pregnant. Her transmission then faded, although a simulated version of her-a Patriot AI-eventually taunted Raiden as he fought Solidus Snake, causing Raiden to wonder if Rose was real, or simply just false information fed to him by the Patriots. At the end however, Snake revealed to Raiden that Rose was indeed, real.

 

However, the threats of both the Patriots, and Jack’s dark past caused the couple to drift apart a bit (Raiden also lost a good chunk of his body, becoming a cyborg ninja). She also seemed to miscarry their child. In an unexpected move, she married Colonel Campbell, which further divided the rift between the Colonel and his daughter, Meryl.

 

Rose re-emerged at her “husband’s” request to help Solid Snake with stress during his fight with Liquid Ocelot. After the Patriots were defeated, she finally was able to speak with Raiden again. Raiden, recovering from his injuries and getting some more cosmetic skin grafts for a more human appearance, was introduced to his son John, and her miscarriage and marriage to Campbell had both been lies designed to protect them from the Patriots.

 

The two got married, and were still married around the time of 2018 when Raiden fought the Desperado group.

 

 

 

 

 

Bond in Review: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service part two

Still in the area, Bond stops by a local hotel and casino, where the woman’s car is also parked. Inquiring as to the owner, he learns that she’s Count Tesera De  Vicenzo. As the night closes, Bond settles down for some baccarat in a nice casino. I’m drawing another Goldeneye connection here….first a small race with a red car, now baccarat in a fancy hotel.

However, instead of the innuendo and subtle interrogation of the later game, Teresa-who wishes to be called Tracey, as “Theresa was a saint”-makes a dumb move, and what’s worse, she has no money on her at all! So Bond bails her out, rescuing her for a second time, although perhaps from jail rather than drowning. During their little table chat, he flirts with her a bit, and the chemistry of Lazenby and Rigg here is very, very good.

Going to meet Tracey for a late night rendezvous, Bond instead meets Che-Che. He’s one of the few fights in Bond films in which Bond later becomes buddies with his opponent (The other being Quarrel/Pussfellow and I suppose Pussy Galore.) After knocking him out-with a gate no less (With Bond quipping about him being a “Gatecrasher”) Bond samples some caviar (originally intended for him and Tracey), and is able to figure out exactly what fish they came from (A Royal beluga sturgeon from the caspian sea). Maybe it’s from Valentine’s stock.

Cavier Torture

 

Bond returns to his own room, where Teresa is pointing a gun at him, but he quickly disarms her and wonders what her deal is. I kind of like how Lazenby’s able to play a mix of toughness and utter confusion here at the same time. After trying to figure her out, the two just give in.

Bond awakens to find her gone, but on the way out, Cheche and a few other guys show up, and direct Bond to a car which then takes him to some facility, and we get an instrumental version Listen closely to the janitor here as they take Bond in-he’s whistling “Goldfinger”.

Bond’s able to fight them off and enter the office-and then we get this great shot of Bond about to throw his knife-which hits the calander behind….

Marc-Ange Draco.  Draco fits the sort of “Kerim Bey” or “Columbo” role here, as Bond’s ally who has a bit of a rap sheet, but one that works with Bond regardless. In this case, Draco is the fictional head of the (actually real life group) Unione Course, as well as his own construction company as a front.

However, his meeting with Bond is not really about that-he’s actually Tracy’s father…it turns out he spoiled her too much, she became rebellious and now is pretty much just depressed. The men Bond fought earlier (and probably killed at least one!) were actually just keeping an eye on her, more or less. However, he think’s Bond’s rescues are starting to make her feel better-and he actually wants Bond to get engaged and married to her-but Bond wants to live the bachelor lifestyle and doesn’t have too much faith in his own ability to help Teresa (Maybe his failures with Fiona and Helga blew his ego a bit). However, Bond knows that Draco has connections, and might know where Blofeld is hiding….and he might consider it.

Next we get a more typical Bond scene, of sorts, as Bond stops into M’s offices, with the usual Moneypenny flirting (Lois Maxwell looks a bit older here, especially next to Lazenby, who was 30 at the time. However her aging worked a bit better with Roger since they were pretty much the same age anyway). However, the meeting with M is unusual-it’s not a mission briefing, but a bit of a scolding-M wants Bond off of Operation Bedlam since he can’t seem to find Blofeld yet. Bond isn’t too happy about this, and tells Moneypenny to tell M that he wants to quit.

Along with the opening credits and the guy whistling Goldfinger, we get another reminder to the audience of the legacy of the older films,  as Bond goes through various gadgets and mementos from the previous films, complete with their associated themes (with “Underneath the mango tree” for Dr.No and Honey’s knife). Funny that the film most often associated for beginning the whole “Bond is simply a code name” thing is also the one that hits the audience on the head over and over again with the whole “This is the same guy!!!!” thing. While Bond films do of course reference the past films-most notably in the anniversary films Die Another Day and Skyfall-it’s still fairly early days here, and mainly to establish Lazenby as a legit 007. Other Bond debut films wouldn’t quite do this-“Live and Let Die” in many ways did it’s best to distance Roger Moore from Connery (Roger, for instance, smokes cigars while Connery smokes cigarettes) as did “The Living Daylights”, “Goldeneye” (Especially with Judi Dench’s M) and most of all, “Casino Royale”. But here it’s pretty much part of the sell.

However, Bond doesn’t have to quit, as Moneypenny reworks his request into simply asking for leave. Which also is sort of James Bond movie doublespeak for “You can still do your mission, but just be discreet about it.”