A penny saved is ridiculous.

A penny saved is ridiculous.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

In the crosshairs

I'm sure the Kindle revolution helped fuel the creation of this entertaining little book. After all, would author Andrew McNess have actually sat down to write more than a hundred enthusiastic pages about a James Bond film that most people, even most Bond fans, consider second-tier or even third-rate among the long-running series, if he knew he'd only get the usual tiny readership of most self-published or small-press books?

He had to say to himself, "Well, I'll put the book on Kindle, too, so that'll make it worth writing."

Well, whatever got him going, I'm glad Mr. McNess wrote James Bond In Our Sights: A Close Look At "A View To A Kill". As I was never one of those Bond fans who dismissed the film out of hand, it was fun to read Mr. McNess put into words why I, and likely many others, have always perfectly enjoyed the movie, which features Roger Moore's 7th and final performance as Agent 007.

In six concise but meaty chapters (chapters 001 through 006-- how did the author resist not having a chapter 007?), the author discusses the movie's plot, characters, the master plan of the villain, the more laidback and paternal approach to James Bond provided by both the story and Mr. Moore's portrayal, and all sorts of other aspects of the film. Immersive from beginning to end, the book as a whole strikes a good balance between solid film criticism and a breezy, fun read.

If you are one of the people who never really liked this movie but- as a Bond fan- are thinking of reading this book anyway, Mr. McNess may just convince you to move 1985's A View To A Kill at least a couple of notches up in your personal ranking of Bond films. But even if he doesn't, you'll likely still enjoy his conversational approach as he tells you why he likes the movie so much.

You'll also enjoy the trip down memory lane, as the book brings up (at least once or twice each) every Bond film from 1962's Dr. No to 2008's Quantum of Solace (he even mentions 2012's Skyfall, though the movie wasn't complete and available for him to see at the time of the book's writing). I enjoyed how Mr. McNess bounced the various films' aims and approaches off one another, in service of further explaining why A View To A Kill made the choices it did.

I would say it's fairly easy to write a book about a movie everyone loves and reveres. I guess that's why there are so many books about Lawrence of Arabia, Vertigo, Pulp Fiction, and the original Star Wars trilogy. So kudos to Mr. McNess for thinking that he and he alone loving a film was reason enough to sit down and write a book about it. The freshness and audacity of his idea certainly pays off in the quality and readability of the final product.

And who knows, it may even turn you into a defender of the Roger Moore Bond films, even those later ones where spoilsports complained that he was "way too old" for the part. Yes, Mr. McNess may yet teach you to respect your elders!

James Bond In Our Sights: A Close Look At "A View To A Kill" is available on Kindle for $7.69.

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