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James Bond Reviews

James Bond

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#1 Virgil Vox

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 07:16 PM

Dr. No

I recently purchased the James Bond Blu-Ray Collection which has all 24 Bond films. I am doing a re-watch (and for quite a few of the films a first watch) of the series before No Time to Die is released. A side-note: The set does not include Never Say Never Again so I doubt I will be reviewing that one.

I have actually never seen any of the Connery Bond films in their entirety. Blasphemy, I know. In fact, other than Brosnan and Craig I’m not sure if I have seen any of the Bond films in their entirety.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this film but I was pleasantly surprised. I’m sure there are some that would be disappointed that this film has basically no action sequences but I appreciated the story. It helps that Sean Connery is wonderful as Bond. It really was a role he was born to play.

The story is pretty simple. A British agent is killed in Jamaica and Bond is sent to find out why. He zeroes in on the reclusive Dr. No, who lives on a small island called Crab Key. He is aided by CIA operative Felix Leiter and a local fisherman named Quarrel.
I was surprised by just how many classic elements are introduced here. “Bond. James Bond.” “Shaken, not stirred.” A Bond girl with a silly name. A villain with some kind of deformity. A villainous lair replete with henchmen. M. Moneypenny and her banter with Bond. The theme. The shooting down a gun barrel graphic.

I don’t have much to say about Connery as Bond except that he is great in the role. Brosnan will always be my Bond but Connery is Bond. The scene where he is introduced was great. Simply classic. It is Bond, a casino, and a beautiful woman.

Honey Ryder might be an iconic Bond girl but she didn’t do much for me. I’m sure if I was straight I would have appreciated her walking out of the water introduction and the fact that she spends a good portion of the film in that skimpy bikini. Unfortunately other than eye candy she doesn’t offer anything special. She could be removed from the film altogether and nothing would change. I was also surprised at how long it took for her to show up.

I also didn’t like the rape aspects associated with her character. She tells Bond she was raped by her landlord and she then killed him and Bond barely reacts. Later, it is implied that the guards are going to have fun with her. When she leaves the dinner table she is wearing pants and later when she is chained up her pants are gone.

Leiter doesn’t do much in the movie either. If only he was the one in the skimpy swimwear.

Quarrel at least helps Bond and has a few good moments. He made for a good ally and was more of an actual character than Honey.

I do blame Quarrel’s death on Bond. He sees a tank armed with a flamethrower and decides that two men armed with guns can stop it. Like, really? The tank was pretty slow over that terrain. They should have just made a run for it.

Let me get this straight. Bond knows that Taro is working for Dr. No when he goes to her apartment. She needs to keep him there long enough for the evil Doctor to send someone over to kill Bond. Our dapper secret agent doesn’t need to keep Taro unsuspicious since he’s going to arrest her. He still has sex with her though. Oh, Bond.

No opening theme song, just the score which is fine.


Dr. No was a decent villain despite very limited screen time. The build up to him was fantastic. All of his henchmen would rather die than betray him. The scene with Professor Dent in that large room with Dr. No’s voice booming around him was great. His plan for world domination was vague but that’s okay.

I’m surprised they mentioned SPECTRE this early.

I was shocked when Bond straight up murdered Dent. I know Bond has killed numerous people over 24 movies but usually they are shooting at him or are truly despicable people who deserve it. Dent didn’t really fall into either category. Not only that, but he shoots him twice.

Bond telling Quarrel to fetch his shoes while he runs off with Honey was rather painful to watch.

The movie looks great on Blu-Ray. The restoration team did an amazing job.

I enjoyed Dr. No. It introduced a lot of the classic elements that the Bond series is known for and was an entertaining movie. Sure, some aspects are dated but not so badly that the movie is unwatchable.
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#2 RJDiogenes

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 07:52 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 24 February 2020 - 07:16 PM, said:

I have actually never seen any of the Connery Bond films in their entirety. Blasphemy, I know. In fact, other than Brosnan and Craig I’m not sure if I have seen any of the Bond films in their entirety.  

I saw them all when I was a kid, of course, but it's been decades now and I don't remember them that clearly. I've never seen any of the Craig movies.  They lost me with that reboot.

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Brosnan will always be my Bond but Connery is Bond.  

My Bond is Moore.  Live And Let Die was the first Bond movie I saw in the theater. And Sean Connery is the definitive Bond because he originated the movie character.  But I have to say, if any of these actors was born to be Bond, it was Pierce Brosnan.

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I also didn’t like the rape aspects associated with her character. She tells Bond she was raped by her landlord and she then killed him and Bond barely reacts.  

Remember that Bond is a very jaded character already at this point.

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I was shocked when Bond straight up murdered Dent.  

He's got a license.  :D

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I enjoyed Dr. No. It introduced a lot of the classic elements that the Bond series is known for and was an entertaining movie. Sure, some aspects are dated but not so badly that the movie is unwatchable.
I'm glad you enjoyed it.  These early Bonds, up to The Man With The Golden Gun, are classic Spy-Fi adventures. Unfortunately, the excitement starts to wear off after that, at least for me.
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#3 Virgil Vox

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Posted 01 March 2020 - 08:46 PM

From Russia With Love

This was a great sequel that took everything that was good about the first movie while improving on it.

SPECTRE is the villain here and they have a plan to play the Brits against the Russians that includes getting revenge on Bond. The dapper spy heads to Istanbul to meet with a Russian clerk who wants to defect and is willing to help steal a code machine.

There is a lot to like here. The villains are great, much better than Dr. No. Blofeld (though he isn’t called that here) is a menacing, mysterious figure that isn’t to be trifled with. Kronsteen is a brilliant chess master that comes up with the plan. Klebb is a Russian defector to SPECTRE and a woman you don’t want to cross. Grant is essentially SPECTRE’s James Bond. There’s not a bad one in the bunch. I was hoping that they would live and return in another movie. Unfortunately all but Blofeld are killed.

Their plan is pretty good. No world domination here. Instead they want to play the two sides in the Cold War off one another, steal and then sell back the code machine to Russia, and make it look like Bond and Tatiana were involved in a murder/suicide over a sex tape.

The cold open is used here. I’m glad it turned out that the man wasn’t Bond because when he fired his gun at a random noise I just thought, “Bond wouldn’t do that.” Instead it is a SPECTRE training exercise.

The movie follows the formula of the first one closely, at least at the beginning. Bond is called to a mission but takes time to sleep with a woman (the same woman from the first film), he flirts with Moneypenny, gets his mission from M, gets gadgets, travels to his destination on a Pan American airplane, is given a ride in the car, and is followed in said car ride.

Q’s here! Yay! He doesn’t do much but I was glad to see him. His spy briefcase might not be the gagdiest gadget but it is a step up from the new gun Bond received in the first film.

I’m of two minds about Tatiana. She is a much better character than Honey and she is actually crucial to the plot. At the same time her role is basically to pretend to be attracted to Bond after only seeing his photo, actually fall in love with Bond, get slapped by Bond, and be knocked out for basically the entire finale.

Still, I do like Tatiana. She feels real, and I think she more or less reacts the way a normal person would who is essentially forced into spy craft. She is just a lowly clerk at the consulate and now she is supposed to seduce a British agent.

I do wish we had been given a sense of when she really did fall in love with Bond instead of just seducing him as part of her mission. It seems somewhat of an oversight, but the movie does seem to take the route that no woman can resist Bond.

Speaking of, the gypsy scenes are rather cringe-worthy. The belly dancing sequence goes on too long and I don’t think we really needed the cat fight. Nor did we need the two women gushing over Bond and literally sewing up his shirt and fixing him breakfast.

Then there is Kerim Bey. I love Kerim Bey. He is a great ally to Bond and actually helps the spy out, unlike Leiter in the previous movie. He has a big personality and the movie was always better when he was on screen. I love that he seems to have an inexhaustible supply of sons. He was a great character and I was sad when he was killed.

The action was upped here. There’s the big shoot-out at the gypsy camp, the Bond vs. Grant train fight, the helicopter chase, and the boat chase.

I have to say that I loved the Orient Express section, especially when Grant impersonated Nash. The tension was ratcheted up extremely high because I wasn’t sure how much Bond suspected the other agent. He clearly had his misgivings (the red wine with fish) and he saw that Nash had spiked Tatiana’s drink so I thought he knew that Grant was a bad guy. I was wrong.

Instead Grant gets the drop on Bond in an extremely tense, well written scene where Grant taunts Bond and is in complete control of the situation. Sure, Bond is eventually able to use the gas canister in the briefcase to put things back on an even level but you could tell it was a desperate Hail Mary idea that might not have worked.

The fight between the two agents was short and brutal. They were evenly matched and fighting in an enclosed space. It wasn’t a guarantee that Bond would win.

I wish that had been the climax of the movie. I like a good helicopter and boat chase as much as the next guy but neither scenes were well executed here.

Klebb turning up as a maid to try and get the code device was a surprise. I really thought she was being kept around for another movie. I am glad that Tatiana was the one to kill her as it shows that she truly did love Bond. Or at least really hated Klebb for which I can’t blame her.

I can’t really think of anything bad to say about FRWL. It moves at a pretty brisk pace, has great villains, a tense ending, nice action, and overall compelling characters.

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I saw them all when I was a kid, of course, but it's been decades now and I don't remember them that clearly. I've never seen any of the Craig movies.  They lost me with that reboot.

I've watched all of the Craig movies. I haven't liked them all but I'll save that for the reviews. I will say that I am in the minority because I don't see Craig and his films as the second coming of Jesus like a lot of Bond fans do.

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My Bond is Moore.  Live And Let Die was the first Bond movie I saw in the theater. And Sean Connery is the definitive Bond because he originated the movie character.  But I have to say, if any of these actors was born to be Bond, it was Pierce Brosnan.

I agree that Brosnan was born to be Bond. He just was that character. It makes me wish he had done more than four films. I'm excited to re-watch his movies because I haven't seen them in such a long time. Goldeneye was my first Bond film and Tomorrow Never Dies was the first Bond film I saw in theaters.

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I'm glad you enjoyed it.  These early Bonds, up to The Man With The Golden Gun, are classic Spy-Fi adventures. Unfortunately, the excitement starts to wear off after that, at least for me.

We'll see how I feel once I reach those movies. I've heard that the Moore films are campy but I am a big fan of camp so  maybe I'll like them a lot. Who knows?
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#4 FarscapeOne

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Posted 01 March 2020 - 11:17 PM

I'm not a fan of Craig as Bond, either.  I find his Bond to be, for lack of a better term, too low brow.  He doesn't exude that suave or sophistication that is so ingrained in the character.  He also comes across as too violent... yes, Bond has to fight and kill, but Daniel Craig's version just seems way too pleased to do that.

I will say that SKYFALL and SPECTRE are great Bond movies, even though I still find Craig near the bottom of the Bonds for me.


Connery will always be my favorite Bond, with Brosnan a VERY close second.

Edited by FarscapeOne, 01 March 2020 - 11:18 PM.


#5 Sci-Fi Girl

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Posted 02 March 2020 - 02:11 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 01 March 2020 - 08:46 PM, said:

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My Bond is Moore.  Live And Let Die was the first Bond movie I saw in the theater. And Sean Connery is the definitive Bond because he originated the movie character.  But I have to say, if any of these actors was born to be Bond, it was Pierce Brosnan.

I agree that Brosnan was born to be Bond. He just was that character. It makes me wish he had done more than four films.

That reminds me of this cute story I saw on twitter:

Screenshot-2020-3-2 - Pierce Brosnan.png

:cool: ;)


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I'm excited to re-watch his movies because I haven't seen them in such a long time. Goldeneye was my first Bond film and Tomorrow Never Dies was the first Bond film I saw in theaters.

Plus Goldeneye has the bonus of early Alan Cumming!  :cool:

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#6 RJDiogenes

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Posted 02 March 2020 - 07:56 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 01 March 2020 - 08:46 PM, said:

Q’s here! Yay! He doesn’t do much but I was glad to see him. His spy briefcase might not be the gagdiest gadget but it is a step up from the new gun Bond received in the first film.

Ah, I always loved Q.

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Instead Grant gets the drop on Bond in an extremely tense, well written scene where Grant taunts Bond and is in complete control of the situation. Sure, Bond is eventually able to use the gas canister in the briefcase to put things back on an even level but you could tell it was a desperate Hail Mary idea that might not have worked.  

Bond is smart and creative and tough, but that's not why he always wins-- he always wins because he refuses to lose.

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I can’t really think of anything bad to say about FRWL. It moves at a pretty brisk pace, has great villains, a tense ending, nice action, and overall compelling characters.  

There are so many details about these movies that I've forgotten.  I'd love to rewatch them if I could find the time.

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I've watched all of the Craig movies. I haven't liked them all but I'll save that for the reviews. I will say that I am in the minority because I don't see Craig and his films as the second coming of Jesus like a lot of Bond fans do.  
I just can't get into a Bond who looks like Vladimir Putin.  :lol:

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I've heard that the Moore films are campy but I am a big fan of camp so  maybe I'll like them a lot. Who knows?
They are indeed campy, which is one reason that I love them. But the spark just seemed to go out of them after Man With The Golden Gun, although they did get a little of their mojo back toward the end.

View PostFarscapeOne, on 01 March 2020 - 11:17 PM, said:

I'm not a fan of Craig as Bond, either.  I find his Bond to be, for lack of a better term, too low brow.  He doesn't exude that suave or sophistication that is so ingrained in the character.  He also comes across as too violent... yes, Bond has to fight and kill, but Daniel Craig's version just seems way too pleased to do that.  
This is another reason that I have no interest in the Craig Bonds.

View PostSci-Fi Girl, on 02 March 2020 - 02:11 PM, said:

That reminds me of this cute story I saw on twitter:  
Apparently he's just as cool in real life.  :cool:
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#7 Virgil Vox

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Posted 05 March 2020 - 08:23 PM

Quote

I'm not a fan of Craig as Bond, either.  I find his Bond to be, for lack of a better term, too low brow.  He doesn't exude that suave or sophistication that is so ingrained in the character.  He also comes across as too violent... yes, Bond has to fight and kill, but Daniel Craig's version just seems way too pleased to do that.

I will say that SKYFALL and SPECTRE are great Bond movies, even though I still find Craig near the bottom of the Bonds for me.

I agree that he does seem to like it more than he should when he commits violence.

I liked Skyfall but I found Spectre to be extremely boring. Maybe I'll change my opinion when I re-watch it.

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Plus Goldeneye has the bonus of early Alan Cumming!

I loved his character.

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There are so many details about these movies that I've forgotten.  I'd love to rewatch them if I could find the time.

I hope you find the time because I have had fun watching these movies.

Goldfinger

Okay, this is the quintessential Bond film. While the previous two films included a lot of the elements that have come to be associated with the Bond series this one brings them all together with other elements and basically creates the template that the majority of the Bond films will follow. It also includes a lot of scenes that have been heavily parodied since.

We finally get a theme song during the opening credits. I like it and found it to be pretty catchy but probably not my favorite.

The plot sees Bond spying on Auric Goldfinger, a wealthy man who the British believe is smuggling gold across the border. Bond eventually discovers that Goldfinger has grand plans for Fort Knox.

Goldfinger is a great villain and he gets a classic line. “I expect you to die, Mr. Bond”. I like that he wasn’t going to waste too much time on Bond. He warned him off at the golf game and when he captured him he was going to execute him. It was only a desperate ploy by Bond that saved his life.

Of course Goldfinger kept Bond alive for too long. Honestly, he should have just shot the agent dead the morning of the heist. It would have saved him a lot of hassle.

Still, I’d say Goldfinger is my favorite villain to date. He has a large personality and you can’t help but like him even as he does horrendous things.
We get the first official henchman here in Oddjob and just like everything else about the film he is iconic. He is a strong, silent brute with a killer hat, literally. His final fight against Bond was well done.

I was surprised when I saw that Jill was killed off so quickly. I knew about the golden girl because it is such an iconic image but I hadn’t realized that she was barely in the film. It also seems like a long and laborious way to kill someone. Then there’s the fact that painting someone’s entire body doesn’t actually kill them.

It is also completely Bond’s fault that she dies. He breaks into Goldfinger’s apartment and hijacks the radio and forces the villain to lose. Bond then sleeps with Jill. He knew that Goldfinger didn’t like to lose and that there would be repercussions.

Then there is Tilly, who is also barely in the movie. I thought she could have been an interesting character what with her trying to get revenge for her sister’s death. Instead she is killed by Oddjob a few minutes after being introduced.

It takes a while for the real Bond girl to appear. I like Pussy Galore even if her name is ridiculous and I have some problems with events surrounding her character. She is a strong character in her own right and has her own agency. She is working for Goldfinger for the money and she is good at her job. She resists Bond’s advances for a good while.

My problem comes with the barn scene. Bond and Pussy fight, and then Bond literally shoves himself on top of her and kisses her. She is clearly struggling and trying to stop him. Also remember that she had resisted his advances earlier. Yes, she gives in to him after a few seconds but it is still hard to watch.

I also had a problem with her defection. We aren’t really given a reason as to why she switches sides apart from Bond’s magical genitals. She shows no signs of finding anything Goldfinger does wrong or reprehensible but after sleeping with Bond she is suddenly on the side of the angels.

We get our first proper Q scene as our favorite gadget maker gives Bond his gadgets and his first car, the Aston Martin DB5. It is such a classic car and an iconic moment in Bond history.

The car is cool and we get a few good chase scenes using it. Bond also gets to use most of its weapons. I did find it funny that an entire army of trained men couldn’t hit the car but a sweet looking granny type basically destroyed the windshield.

This film also goes to more locations, starting in Miami and eventually ending in Kentucky. Maybe not the most exotic location but variety is the spice of life.
Is there a reason Goldfinger tells the gangsters his entire plan if he is going to kill them regardless of whether they agree to help him or not?

Felix returns, played by a different actor. Here he looks much older than Bond, whereas in Dr. No he seemed to be about the same age as our hero. He does actually get to do more here and has a slightly bigger impact on the plot.

You know, I always thought that Goldfinger’s plan was to rob Fort Knox. I was stunned when it turned out his real plan was to irradiate the gold, thus making his own stockpile worth considerably more.

The finale was good. We have the U.S. army fighting Goldfinger’s henchmen, a ticking clock on a dirty bomb, and a good fight between Bond and Oddjob. I also liked that Bond had no clue how to disarm the bomb.

Goldfinger’s death was rather brutal, being sucked out of an airplane window.

I thoroughly enjoyed Goldfinger. It is the Bond movie that essentially creates the Bond formula. It features so many iconic characters, scenes, and gadgets.
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#8 Virgil Vox

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 12:35 PM

Thunderball

While I had some knowledge of the prior three Bond films, I went into Thunderball blind. I knew nothing of the plot, the characters, the setting, etc.

I have to say that while I liked the movie, I didn’t love it. I think I prefer it over Dr. No, but would place it behind FRWL and Goldfinger.

Once again SPECTRE is up to its evil tricks. This time it has stolen two atomic bombs and is threatening to detonate them in either Great Britain or America if NATO doesn’t pay the ransom. All of the 00s are called in, and Bond follows a lead to Jamaica where he encounters Largo, Number Two in the SEPCTRE hierarchy.

First let me say that SPECTRE’s plan is convoluted. They hire a man to impersonate the pilot Derval who is going to be leading the training mission. However, it is implied that the agent has been preparing for this task for a long time. How did SPECTRE know that Derval would be the pilot in charge of the training mission? For that matter, why is a plane that is being used to train new pilots actually equipped with two nuclear missiles?

Then there’s the fact that all of this is taking place at a health clinic that Bond just happens to be staying at with no secret agenda? He is literally just there to recuperate. Honestly, if the agent hadn’t tried to kill Bond on the spinal traction machine Bond would probably have been none the wiser about the plan.

Let’s talk about that scene for a minute, or at least the scene that takes place afterward. Bond clearly has the hots for his therapist but she rejects his advances. This doesn’t stop Bond from forcing himself on her and then literally blackmailing her into sex. Sure later she is shown happily being with Bond but it doesn’t change the fact that she only slept with Bond because he forced her.

The pre-credits sequence was pretty fun, with Bond deducing that a supposedly dead SPECTRE agent was actually masquerading as his own widow simply because he opened his own car door. I mean, women can’t do anything for themselves, am I right?

I was surprised to see the jetpack because I always thought that was something introduced during Roger Moore’s tenure.

The Aston Martin got some upgrades since it now has the ability to spray jets of water out the back.

I did like the villain, Largo. He checks a lot of Bond villain boxes: deformity (an eye patch) unique ways of dispensing with unwanted guests (sharks), plays cards, is civil to Bond even when he is about to kill him, and has a cool henchman.

The movie makes you understand why Largo is second in command of SPECTRE. He has no problems getting his hands dirty and he executes the plan rather well. He came really close to winning.

Domino is an interesting Bond girl. She never comes across as truly loving Bond. Instead, she seems to be using Bond as much as he is using her. She is in a bad spot with Largo. It seems as if she did truly love him at one point but now she is literally a kept woman, a prize for Largo to parade around on his arm. For her Bond is a bit of sport to distract from her life. Later, she sees him as a weapon of vengeance against the man who killed her brother.

What I love is that she is the one who kills Largo with a harpoon. Not only that, but she saves Bond’s life while she does it.

Then there is Fiona Volpe, the first femme fatale of the series. She is truly great and I wish she had been in the movie more. I loved her line about how she was still a bad guy even after sleeping with Bond, a nice little dig at Pussy Galore who switches sides simply because Bond had sex with her. It’s just too bad she dies in such a crappy manner, being accidentally shot by her own henchman.

Felix Leiter returns, played by yet a different actor. At least this guy looks closer in age to Bond and actually plays a decent role in the plot.

The big fight between SPECTRE’s forces and the good guys underwater was really well done. It was a unique setting and had some real suspense.

The final fight between Bond and Largo on a hilariously sped up boat was also pretty good.

It isn’t all good. It does take a while to really get going and some of the underwater scenes do drag a bit. Bond’s blackmail of the therapist left a bad taste in my mouth.

Still, overall Thunderball was entertaining and it is a movie I can see myself watching again.
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#9 RJDiogenes

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 07:22 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 05 March 2020 - 08:23 PM, said:

We finally get a theme song during the opening credits. I like it and found it to be pretty catchy but probably not my favorite.  
It may be my second favorite.

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The plot sees Bond spying on Auric Goldfinger  
Bond has a habit of encountering people with... appropriate names.  Except maybe Felix. He never seems too happy.

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Goldfinger is a great villain and he gets a classic line. “I expect you to die, Mr. Bond”.  
One of the all-time classic Bond scenes.  :lol:

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Of course Goldfinger kept Bond alive for too long. Honestly, he should have just shot the agent dead the morning of the heist. It would have saved him a lot of hassle.  
Luckily, villains are never as smart as the audience.

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We get the first official henchman here in Oddjob and just like everything else about the film he is iconic. He is a strong, silent brute with a killer hat, literally. His final fight against Bond was well done.  
I love Oddjob-- and he's another character with a great name.  I'd love to see him go up against John Steed in a battle of the hats.

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Then there’s the fact that painting someone’s entire body doesn’t actually kill them.  
No doubt the effect is exaggerated for the sake of artistic license, but painting your body can clog your pores and cause heat stroke, depending on the type of paint-- body paint is, I think, specially made to allow your pores to breathe.

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I like Pussy Galore even if her name is ridiculous  
That's another classic Bond name.  What I love about that character is how Honor Blackman had so much fun using it with conservative interviewers.  :lol:

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We get our first proper Q scene as our favorite gadget maker gives Bond his gadgets and his first car, the Aston Martin DB5. It is such a classic car and an iconic moment in Bond history.  
Ah, I love Q.  He didn't get one of those clever names, but he made it iconic.

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Is there a reason Goldfinger tells the gangsters his entire plan if he is going to kill them regardless of whether they agree to help him or not?  
Monologuing.

View PostVirgil Vox, on 08 March 2020 - 12:35 PM, said:

is civil to Bond even when he is about to kill him  

This is one thing I love about British spy adventures, especially The Avengers.  "Bit of a bother that I have to kill you, Steed, but do join me for a cup of tea first, won't you?  There's a good fellow."

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Felix Leiter returns, played by yet a different actor.  

He's a Time Lord, too.
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#10 Virgil Vox

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Posted 15 March 2020 - 10:13 PM

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It may be my second favorite.

Which one is your favorite?

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One of the all-time classic Bond scenes.  

It really is. I loved that Goldfinger was going to kill Bond and be done with it. If Bond hadn't come up with that ruse he would be a very dead man.

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Ah, I love Q.  He didn't get one of those clever names, but he made it iconic.

He really did. He is also one of the few actors/characters that stayed around for multiple Bonds.

You Only Live Twice

For some odd reason my review of this movie didn't save so this will be a quick summation of my thoughts on YOLT. Overall I liked the movie but it did have its dumb moments. For what was supposed to be Connery's last movie it is suitably epic.

This is SPECTRE's craziest plan yet. They have their spaceship eat an American and Russian spaceship to get the two world powers to go to war with each other while SPECTRE waits it out in their volcano lair.

Blofeld is revealed here. It is weird seeing Donald Pleasance as Blofeld since I'm used to him as Loomis from the Halloween films. He looks great and is iconic for a reason but he really doesn't do much in the film. He is also incredibly dumb when he doesn't shoot Bond when he has a chance. I also thought it strange that the last we see of him is when he activates the self-destruct for the lair.

The Bond girls were pretty rubbish. Aki had potential but not much was done with her and she was incredibly naive since she believed Bond would be monogamous with her. She shows some ability early on but is quickly side-lined and then killed off. The movie promptly forgets her and introduces Bond girl number two who isn't named in the movie. I had to look her name up. Kissy is there to be eye candy and spend the entire finale in a bikini. That is her only purpose.

I loved the Japanese setting but honestly I'm not sure what to think about Bond being made to look Japanese. I understand the reasoning behind it but it is a little problematical.

Little Nellie was a fun Q gadget and the helicopter chase and battle was a lot of fun.

What was up with Helga? She captures Bond, released Bond, sleeps with Bond, pretends to be flying Bond to safety, betrays Bond, and then gets eaten by piranhas. If she was always going to kill Bond why not when she has him at gunpoint? I get that Bond can't die but come up with better ways for him to escape other than sheer incompetence on the part of the villains.

The ending battle was pretty spectacular. It takes place in a volcano with SPECTRE's army fighting ninjas. It is absolutely bonkers and just a lot of fun.

YOLT was a pretty good film that definitely had flaws but was a pretty good way to end Connery's time as Bond, even if Connery came back for two more films.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

The first Bond movie not to have Sean Connery as Bond, and it is great. I feel like just about everything works. The score, the action, the story, the cinematography is firing on all cylinders.

The story sees Bond (eventually) going to a private Swiss research center to discover what new nefarious plan Blofeld is concocting. Along the way he falls in love with the amazing Tracy.

I’m not sure how Lazenby is viewed by the general fandom but I liked his portrayal here. He’s not Connery but that isn’t a bad thing. His Bond is more human, more vulnerable. This might lessen his mystique but it makes it more believable when he falls in love with Tracy.

He is also very handsome and looked quite sexy in that suit/kilt combo which I never thought I’d find myself saying. He also handles the physicality of the role quite well. He wasn’t perfect but I could see him growing into the role. Sadly it never happened.

Tracy is a great Bond girl, my favorite of the six films so far. It helps that she isn’t just eye candy nor is she just there to fawn over Bond. She is a character in her own right with her own agency. While the men in her life make plans for her and say things like she needs a husband to dominate her Tracy just laughs and goes about business.

She pays Bond back the money he spent covering her bets, she forces her father to give Bond the information on Blofeld when she discovers the deal the two made, she goes to the resort to help Bond, and she tricks Blofeld into thinking she is into him so he will be distracted when the rescue force arrives.

She is also vulnerable, as seen when she is crying after thinking that Bond only liked her because her father believed she needed a man to set her straight. She is a believable character, and one I truly liked.

From my limited perspective it seems as if she isn’t regarded as a great Bond girl, which is sad. I’m sure if she had a ridiculous name like Breasty McBreasterson fans would be salivating over her just like Honey Ryder and Pussy Galore, neither of whom did anywhere near as much as Tracy in their films.

Blofeld is played by a new actor; one whom I mainly know from the Kojack series so that was strange to see just like it was seeing Donald Pleasance playing the villainous character. This is a much more grounded take on the character, though he is still the leader of SPECTRE. We see more of him here than we did of the character in the previous films. He is humanized in a way and it is his lust for Tracy that proves to be his undoing.

His plot is also rather pedestrian compared to his previous plan. Here he simply wants amnesty, a British title, and to be allowed to retire in peace. Sure, he is accomplishing this by threatening to release a virus that will wipe out many plants and animals and said virus will be released by a bevy of beautiful brainwashed women but the end goal is still more down to earth.

I did wonder why Blofeld didn’t recognize Bond since he saw him and held him at gunpoint just last film but I guess that is a minor quibble.

You know, even though the women were brainwashed not to touch the perfume what is to stop someone else from grabbing it? A friend, a sister, mother, etc.?

You could tell that the filmmakers were unsure how audiences would react to a new Bond so they did their best to connect this new film to the previous ones. There were the scenes from previous movies in the opening credits, Bond’s mementoes from previous movies in his desk, and that tongue in cheek line about the other guy.

I was perplexed that the movie started with M, Q, and Moneypenny instead of the new Bond but it makes sense to show those characters first since they are all played by the same actors and can help audiences not feel so lost.

I love that Moneypenny realized how foolish M and Bond were being and changed Bond’s resignation to a vacation instead. I loved when they both thanked her for that.

The action was really well done in this movie. The pre-credits fight in the water was great and shot beautifully. The hotel fight scene was a bruiser, and the final 3rd of the movie was full of engaging action. The ski chases, the car chase, the avalanche, the assault on the resort, and the bobsled battle between Bond and Blofeld were thrilling and really well done.

I don’t think there were any gadgets in this movie at all. Now, I love me some Bond gadgets and would have liked there to be a few but it didn’t ruin the movie for me. It was a little jarring after the last few films but I think it works in the movie’s favor.

The ending is a giant gut punch. Bond and Tracy get married and are driving to their honeymoon when Blofeld and henchman Bunt do a drive by shooting, killing Tracy. The last shot is of the bullet hole in the windshield while Bond says that they have all the time in the world. A truly bleak way to end the movie.

I do think that the middle section drags a little. I felt like we could have had less screen time for Bond as Hilary at the resort. I also think it was stupid for Blofeld to put Bond in an unguarded room with an exit that, while definitely challenging to reach, isn’t outside of Bond’s capabilities.

OHMSS is an amazing Bond film. I think everyone involved knew that they had to bring their A-game since Connery was gone and it shows. Aside from a few minor issues, I felt that the movie did everything a great Bond movie should do. Let’s hope that the crew keeps this level up when Connery returns for the next movie.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#11 FarscapeOne

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Posted 16 March 2020 - 08:27 AM

I was never really into Lazenby as Bond when I was younger, but in the 10 years or so, he's warmed up to me more.  Ironically, I think watching Daniel Craig as Bond made me appreciate George's take on it much more.

Diana Rigg was an excellent choice for the role.  She really did embody an intelligent, alive person who was also VERY sexy and beautiful.  And she carried herself with total confidence.  She totally deserved the sex symbol status she received in those days.

Edited by FarscapeOne, 16 March 2020 - 08:30 AM.


#12 RJDiogenes

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Posted 16 March 2020 - 06:57 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 15 March 2020 - 10:13 PM, said:

Which one is your favorite?  
"Live And Let Die."  Most of my favorite Bond stuff centers on Live And Let Die.

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It really is. I loved that Goldfinger was going to kill Bond and be done with it. If Bond hadn't come up with that ruse he would be a very dead man.  
Bond may be the best, but it's never easy for him.  :D

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I’m not sure how Lazenby is viewed by the general fandom but I liked his portrayal here. He’s not Connery but that isn’t a bad thing. His Bond is more human, more vulnerable. This might lessen his mystique but it makes it more believable when he falls in love with Tracy.  
I think his stock has risen over the years. The only thing is, I really would have liked to see Diana Rigg matched with Sean Connery. That would have been amazing.

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Tracy is a great Bond girl, my favorite of the six films so far.  
She's Diana Rigg!  :D

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Blofeld is played by a new actor; one whom I mainly know from the Kojack series so that was strange to see just like it was seeing Donald Pleasance playing the villainous character.  
This is a bit of a problem for me, because I never liked Telly Savalas.

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I did wonder why Blofeld didn’t recognize Bond since he saw him and held him at gunpoint just last film but I guess that is a minor quibble.  
He had regenerated.

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The ending is a giant gut punch. Bond and Tracy get married and are driving to their honeymoon when Blofeld and henchman Bunt do a drive by shooting, killing Tracy. The last shot is of the bullet hole in the windshield while Bond says that they have all the time in the world. A truly bleak way to end the movie.  
That's an absolutely brutal sequence. I've often wondered what it would have been like if they had let her live, and let Bond and Tracey become the Nick and Nora of the spy world.

View PostFarscapeOne, on 16 March 2020 - 08:27 AM, said:

Diana Rigg was an excellent choice for the role.  She really did embody an intelligent, alive person who was also VERY sexy and beautiful.  And she carried herself with total confidence.  She totally deserved the sex symbol status she received in those days.  
Diana Rigg is absolutely amazing. Her characterization of Emma Peel is unbeatably classic.
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#13 Virgil Vox

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Posted 22 March 2020 - 01:16 PM

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I was never really into Lazenby as Bond when I was younger, but in the 10 years or so, he's warmed up to me more.  Ironically, I think watching Daniel Craig as Bond made me appreciate George's take on it much more.

Diana Rigg was an excellent choice for the role.  She really did embody an intelligent, alive person who was also VERY sexy and beautiful.  And she carried herself with total confidence.  She totally deserved the sex symbol status she received in those days.

Good to know you have come to appreciate Lazenby more. I have done a bit of research and it does seem like he gets a bit of hate which I really don't understand.

Diana Rigg was great in the role. She made Tracy memorable and more than just another in the line of Bond conquests.

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"Live And Let Die."  Most of my favorite Bond stuff centers on Live And Let Die.

Well, that is the movie I'm watching next so I look forward to hearing the theme song.

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This is a bit of a problem for me, because I never liked Telly Savalas.

I think I've only seen him in Kojak and this movie. I liked him as Blofeld but it is a departure from how the character was presented in previous films and how he is presented in the next film.

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That's an absolutely brutal sequence. I've often wondered what it would have been like if they had let her live, and let Bond and Tracey become the Nick and Nora of the spy world.

That would have been fun to see, even if it only lasted for one movie.

Diamonds Are Forever

Well, that was certainly a Bond movie. I didn’t hate DAF; there were certainly a lot of aspects that I liked and appreciated. It just felt like the movie was going through the motions. It seemed that with the return of Connery everyone thought they could just sleep walk through the movie.

Once again Bond is up against Blofeld. Of course Bond doesn’t know this at first. He believes he killed Blofeld. Instead he is investigating diamond smuggling from Africa which leads him to Las Vegas and a mysterious millionaire named Walter Whyte that no one has seen in years.

Let us address the elephant in the room which is the fact that this movie never references the previous one. No mention is made of Tracy or the fact that Blofeld killed her. Yes, Bond starts the film aggressively hunting down the head of SPECTRE but no reason is given. In fact, it looks like the movie begins in Japan, making it seem as if the film picks up right after YOLT.

In a later scene Bond asks Moneypenny if he can get her anything while he is on his mission. She responds by asking him for a diamond, preferably in a ring. Considering his wife was killed not too long ago you’d think that was would be a hugely insensitive thing to say.

Moving on. Once again a new actor is playing Blofeld. He looks quite different, least of which is that he has a full head of hair. He is also more laid back than the other Blofelds, and does seem to genuinely enjoy bantering with Bond.

He has two body doubles here but they don’t really add anything aside from the fact that Bond thinks he killed the real Blofeld at the beginning of the movie. Bond kills the second double just a few minutes after meeting him.

The big plan involves Blofeld stealing diamonds to create a giant diamond laser satellite that can be used to wipe out cities. It is similar to his other plans but instead of nukes it is a laser.

I liked Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd. They were suitably creepy and actually pretty effective, considering they killed everyone they were supposed to and almost killed Bond in the crematorium. I’m guessing they are also supposed to be a gay couple. I was sad when they disappeared towards the middle of the movie but they went out in style at the very end.

I have to say that Bond being in the coffin and set on fire was a tense scene because I saw no way that Bond could escape and he looked pretty desperate. Unfortunately the next attempt Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd made on Bond’s life was dumb. They place him in some piping which later gets buried as part of an underground network. I guess they were hoping he would be stuck down there and eventually die. As far as unique ways to kill Bond instead of just shooting him when you have the chance this one is way down there as the dumbest.

Tiffany Case started out as a pretty good Bond girl but she became dumb eye candy by the end of the movie. She is introduced as a smart, capable smuggler who can more or less hold her own with Bond. She figures out that Bond is impersonating the real diamond smuggler on her own. She decides to work with the good guys to bring down Blofeld. She evades the FBI agents Felix has tracking her. Then the movie dumbs her down and puts her in a bikini. Still, she did risk her life to try and swap the cassette tape that controlled the satellite.

At first I wasn’t sure if Tiffany would be the main Bond girl or if it would be Plenty O’Toole. Plenty did have the more ridiculous name after all. Instead Plenty gets dumped in one pool and drowned in another.

That moon buggy chase was just so silly and boring. I can handle silly but not boring. It felt like it was there just to provide an action scene and not because it was really needed.

I did appreciate the fact that Bond went undercover on a few different occasions and actually did some spy work.

The ending battle was just okay. I liked the oil rig location but I felt that the action wasn’t that dynamic.

I also thought that the final Bond/Blofeld “confrontation” was pretty weak. In OHMSS they have a brawl on an out of control bobsled. Here Blofeld is stuck in an escape craft attached to a crane that Bond is operating. Bond smashes the pod into the control room on the oil rig a few times while Blofeld screams in impotent rage.

As Connery’s (kind of) last time as Bond I was expecting more. This just felt like paint by numbers. The Bond formula had been worked out by now and this film followed it to a T. There were no genuine surprises. It also wasted what could have been a great set-up with Bond out for blood over the death of his wife.

Edited by Virgil Vox, 22 March 2020 - 07:52 PM.

"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#14 Virgil Vox

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Posted 28 March 2020 - 12:47 PM

Live and Let Die

We are now in the second era of Bond. Connery is gone (aside from a Thunderball remake by a different studio) and Roger Moore will take the reins for seven movies.

Honestly, I’m ambivalent towards LALD. I liked some parts of it but overall the movie left me feeling cold.

Roger Moore does a good job as Bond. His Bond is, I think, a little more relatable. He seems like a Bond you could hang out with in your down time. He seems to be quicker with the quips than Connery and open to doing some ridiculous things. This will be blasphemy but I think I liked Lazenby better in his debut (and only) Bond film than I do Moore here.

I did appreciate that the plot was more down to Earth, and yes I am including the voodoo elements in that sentence. There aren’t any giant space lasers or plans to hold the entire planet hostage. There is a villainous lair but it is rather low key compared to some of the lairs owned by SPECTRE. It does have a mono-rail though because all evil lairs have to have a mono-rail.

Kananga makes for an interesting villain and I wished they had explored him more. He is a politician from another country and a crime boss in New York. I wish the movie had played up his duality more. In the scene where he reveals himself to Bond Mr. Big says that while Kananga believes in all that voodoo crap he doesn’t. Is that an act or does Kananga really believe in his two distinct personalities?

His plan is okay. He is going to flood America with free cocaine to put the drug cartels out of business and hopefully get a lot of people hooked. He will then swoop in and become the only drug supplier. I don’t know if the plan really holds up to intense scrutiny but I am just happy that it isn’t lasers or nuclear weapons.

He has a pretty odd death, in the fact that he essentially balloons up and explodes. I mean, it is memorable I guess.

His henchmen are pretty good. The main one, Tee Hee, is an imposing figure and of course has a physical deformity in the form of his mechanical hand. I also like that he isn’t the silent type like Oddjob but instead likes to talk. His final fight with Bond on the train is rather good though it pales in comparison to the fight between Bond and Red Grant.

Mr. Whisper is okay. Had he been the main henchman I think he could have been rather good but he plays second fiddle to Tee Hee.

Baron Samedi was cool and slightly creepy but not much is done with him. I kept expecting him to have a larger role in the film and yet it didn’t really happen. It is too bad because his design was great and his few scenes were memorable.

Then there is Rosie. On one hand, I applaud them giving Bond a black female love interest and showing that he sleeps with her. On the other hand, she is barely in the movie and is extremely annoying. She is incompetent and you have to wonder what Kananga was thinking when he sent her to seduce Bond and lure him to his death.

That leads us to Solitaire, the main Bond girl. While she isn’t annoying like Rosie (thanks to a good performance by Jane Seymour) she is a wasted character. I was intrigued by her tarot card reading abilities and her role in Kananga’s crime syndicate but she loses her abilities early on and defects to Bond rather quickly as well. Not only that, but she has no agency of her own. She sleeps with Bond because the cards tell he to and she sides with Bond because it is that or death. She has no meaningful impact on the plot whatsoever. That said, I can’t help but like her mainly thanks to Jane Seymour’s acting. She takes a dud of a character and injects her with some life and vulnerability.

I loved seeing Quarrel, Jr. show up but I wish the movie had done more with him. I was also hoping for a scene where Bond said something along the lines of Quarrel being a good man and a good friend.

I was surprised at how low key the gadgets are here. In essence the only gadget is a watch that is a magnet. It is used for good effect several times. I did cry foul at the end when the watch suddenly turned into a saw blade and cut through Bond’s ropes. That ability had never been shown or mentioned before so it felt like a cheat.

Bond villains really love feeding Bond to various animals, especially aquatic animals. Here it is sharks and alligators. I will admit the alligator sequence was rather tense and well shot. I did question all of the baddies just leaving Bond on the rock and walking away. You’d think they would stay to watch, especially Tee Hee who seemed to get pleasure out of feeding people to the beasties.

Who thought Sheriff Pepper was not only a good idea but a funny character? He grated on my nerves the minute he showed up. I get that he is essentially a caricature of Southern racist cops but that doesn’t mean he deserves as much screen time as he gets. He turned what was a decent chase sequence through the Louisiana Bayou into a farce that I couldn’t wait to end.

Speaking of racism, I’m not sure what to make of the film’s racial politics. On one hand, all but two of the black characters are villains. On the other hand, they are highly competent villains and not portrayed as just brutish thugs. They are constantly one step ahead of the good guys throughout the entire movie more or less. Kananga has built up a large criminal empire and has been able to exist as both an ambassador for a foreign nation and the leader of said criminal empire without the authorities knowing anything about it. Bond himself never expresses any racist attitudes and tries to bed Rosie right away. In a point for this Bond he doesn’t force himself on Rosie like the Connery Bond would have.

I loved the funeral procession that turns into a carnival once the agent is killed. It was a fun method of dispatching a character and showed the power this villain has. I do question the fact that they did it twice, with the exact same people and timing. Once was cool but twice made me start to question the logistics of the whole thing.

Oh, I forgot to mention Felix. He shows up and is played by another new actor. He serves the same function as he does in all these movies which is to give Bond advice and stand back while the British secret agent does all the work.

It was strange seeing M and Moneypenny in Bond’s home to give him the briefing. It made for a nice change of pace but it also led Bond to hide the fact that he slept with the Italian spy which I thought was dumb. I doubt M would care and he knows that Bond sleeps with every woman he meets, save for Moneypenny.

The theme song is simply amazing. The best one yet, IMO. The movie also knows how good it is since it recurs in many scenes throughout the film.

In the end, I just don’t know what to think about LALD. It has some good stuff going for it but I felt that it never really coalesced into a competent, entertaining whole.

Edited by Virgil Vox, 28 March 2020 - 12:47 PM.

"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#15 RJDiogenes

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Posted 29 March 2020 - 05:29 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 28 March 2020 - 12:47 PM, said:

Honestly, I’m ambivalent towards LALD. I liked some parts of it but overall the movie left me feeling cold.  

Awww.  :cry:

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Roger Moore does a good job as Bond.

Moore is my personal favorite Bond, although, as I've said, Connery is the standard bearer and Brosnan was genetically engineered to play the part.

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I did appreciate that the plot was more down to Earth, and yes I am including the voodoo elements in that sentence.  

Well, there were no actual supernatural elements.  They were just using voodoo as cover and manipulation.

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He has a pretty odd death, in the fact that he essentially balloons up and explodes. I mean, it is memorable I guess.  

That's him all over.

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Then there is Rosie.  

My favorite Bond girl.

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She is incompetent and you have to wonder what Kananga was thinking when he sent her to seduce Bond and lure him to his death.  

Don't be mean.  :(  She was an intern or something, I think.

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I will admit the alligator sequence was rather tense and well shot.  

My favorite Bond action-- okay, no, I have to admit, it's only my second favorite Bond action sequence. It did give rise to an entire genre of video games, though.

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Who thought Sheriff Pepper was not only a good idea but a funny character?  

Not my favorite Bond supporting character.  Brace yourself. He'll be back.

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The theme song is simply amazing.  

Whew!  :D

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In the end, I just don’t know what to think about LALD. It has some good stuff going for it but I felt that it never really coalesced into a competent, entertaining whole.  
I'm sure you'd feel differently if it was the first Bond film you ever saw in the theater.  :D
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#16 Virgil Vox

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 09:33 PM

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Awww.  

It's possible I just went in with too high of expectations. I could like it more on a re-watch.

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Well, there were no actual supernatural elements.  They were just using voodoo as cover and manipulation.

Well, Solitaire seemed to have genuine powers before she lost them sleeping with Bond.

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My favorite Bond girl.

Really? May I ask why? I started to like her but her incompetence and the fact that was was actually something of a femme fatale is what lowered her in my rankings. Tracy is still the best.

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My favorite Bond action-- okay, no, I have to admit, it's only my second favorite Bond action sequence. It did give rise to an entire genre of video games, though.

What's your favorite action sequence?

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Not my favorite Bond supporting character.  Brace yourself. He'll be back.

Yeah. I've finished The Man With the Golden Gun and am in the middle of writing the review. I was not happy with his inclusion, and once again he takes what should have been a great chase sequence and makes it worse.

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I'm sure you'd feel differently if it was the first Bond film you ever saw in the theater.  :D

Oh, I'm sure. I don't know if I can be un-biased when I finally review my first Bond theater experience.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#17 RJDiogenes

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Posted 05 April 2020 - 05:13 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 03 April 2020 - 09:33 PM, said:

It's possible I just went in with too high of expectations. I could like it more on a re-watch.  
My fault, I guess.  :lol:

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Well, Solitaire seemed to have genuine powers before she lost them sleeping with Bond.
Well, it was suggested, but I think the reason they took her powers away so quickly was to avoid having to pin it down.  Bond isn't the type of series where the supernatural would fit.

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Really? May I ask why? I started to like her but her incompetence and the fact that was was actually something of a femme fatale is what lowered her in my rankings. Tracy is still the best.  
Well, part of it is the Live and Let Die effect.  Another is the contrast with Jane Seymour, who is very much the elegant model type, which doesn't really appeal to me (not that I don't like her as an actress, I just don't find her that attractive).  So it's kind of a Mary Ann and Ginger thing.  Also, her klutziness was charming.  I can relate to klutzes. There's something similar in The Man With The Golden Gun with Brit Ekland, as you've already seen.

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What's your favorite action sequence?  
My very favorite is the one in a later Moore movie where-- actually, I don't know if I should say, because it might be a spoiler and we don't seem to have spoiler code here.  I can say it if you want, or I can wait until you review the movie.  I wonder if you will know it when you see it.  :D

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Yeah. I've finished The Man With the Golden Gun and am in the middle of writing the review. I was not happy with his inclusion, and once again he takes what should have been a great chase sequence and makes it worse.  
Luckily, that's the end of him.
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#18 Virgil Vox

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Posted 13 April 2020 - 05:56 PM

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My fault, I guess.  


Well, I was also thinking about how good the first movies were for Lazenby, Brosnan, and Craig so I probably had too high of expectations for this one.


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My very favorite is the one in a later Moore movie where-- actually, I don't know if I should say, because it might be a spoiler and we don't seem to have spoiler code here.  I can say it if you want, or I can wait until you review the movie.  I wonder if you will know it when you see it.

Yeah, wait and see if I talk about it in a future review though honestly I really haven't talked too much about the action scenes.

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Luckily, that's the end of him.


That's good to know.

The Man With the Golden Gun

I so wanted to like this movie. It started out with a lot of promise but by the time the credits rolled I was pretty disappointed.

For the first part of the movie I thought the movie would be about a cat and mouse game between Bond and Scaramanga. That excited me because it would be a nice change of pace from Bond going up against evil crime lords and SPECTRE. Unfortunately that’s not what we got.

Scaramanga is a great villain ably played by Christopher Lee. He is positioned to be Bond’s dark half. He is just as skilled as Bond but kills people for money instead of King and Country. He is shown to be a very effective villain, always having the upper hand right up until the end when Bond kills him.

His scene with Bond at the boxing ring was chilling. Andrea’s corpse was propped up next to Bond, Nick Nack had a gun to Bond’s back, and Scaramanga is just cool as ice relating when he first killed someone and the thrill it gave him. I wanted more scenes like that.

The Funhouse was cool and a great opening sequence. My complaint is that they should have saved that for Bond’s trip through the Funhouse at the end. When Bond enters we already know what’s going to happen so a lot of the suspense is gone.

Honestly, that final showdown between Bond and Scaramanga is so weak. The villain doesn’t really do anything. He mainly stays in one location while Nick Nack tries to find Bond on the cameras. Scaramanga passes by what he thinks is the wax dummy of Bond but it is actually Bond and the secret agent shoots and kills the bad guy. Very anticlimactic.

I also thought that the whole Solex and solar powered laser and everything else weren’t really needed. Bond arrives at Scaramanga’s lair (which is actually a very cool lair) and we spend what felt like an eternity as Scaramanga shows Bond the solar generator and explains how it works and how he has decided to sell it to the highest bidder. There’s just no tension in the scene. Also, why does a man who already makes an obscene amount of money need to take part in such a ridiculous evil villain plan?

Then there is Mary Goodnight. She is the worse Bond girl yet. No offense to the actress who does the best she can with such a weak character. Goodnight does absolutely nothing in this movie. She has no real personality and the only time she truly affects the plot is when she accidentally turns on the solar apparatus with her butt.

I thought there might be a glimmer of hope for her when she turns down Bond’s offer of sex but literally a minute later she is in his bedroom wearing a teddy and talking about how weak she is. She then doesn’t say anything when Bond throws the covers over her, flirts with another woman, and then throws her in the closet and keeps her there while he has sex with another woman. When Bond lets her out of the closet she doesn’t say anything. Just a terrible character.

If only Andrea had been the primary Bond girl. She reminded me of Domino. Here was a woman who was using Bond to help her get away from the villain. She had clear motivation, a decent personality, and a backbone. Obviously she has to be murdered partway through the movie.

I didn’t like how Bond roughed Andrea up when he first met her. It seemed a little extreme, even for Bond. For that matter, Bond came across as an a-hole in this movie. Did anyone else feel sorry for the kid that fixed Bond’s boat because Bond promised him a lot of money only for Bond to shove the kid into the river and speed away?

They brought back Sheriff Pepper. Why? I’m sure he was a popular character otherwise they wouldn’t have brought him back but his racist shtick just annoyed me. He had way too much screen time.

Okay, this movie has to have hands down the worst attempt to end Bond’s life. I get that no villain can just straight up shoot Bond in the head because then we wouldn’t have a movie or a franchise. Some movies have dealt with this in a fairly inventive way and then some movies deal with it in the stupidest way possible.
Here we have Bond knocked around by two sumo wrestlers and Nick Nack is about to spear him in the chest. Hai Fat tells them not on his property and has them take Bond to school. It turns out that the school is a dojo and Bond has been nursed back to health by three beautiful women. He then has to fight two karate students but only one at a time. It was so stupid.

I’ve been pretty harsh on this movie so far but I did enjoy parts of it. While the dojo was a dumb way to kill Bond I liked the scene where Lt. Hip and his nieces come to the rescue and bust out some killer karate moves.

Lt. Hip was a decent ally. He isn’t Kerim Bey but who is? He was a competent agent who helped Bond on several occasions and you really can’t ask for more than that. The only downside is when he drives off and leaves Bond behind for no reason that I could see.

The boat and car chases were both well executed. That scene where Bond jumps the car across the river and it twists in mid-air before landing was simply stunning. It was a spectacular piece of stunt driving.

I liked the theme song. It was quite catchy and I found myself humming it the next day.

The secret base in the capsized Queen Mary was cool. I wish we had spent more time in that base.

Nick Nack was an intriguing henchman. I couldn’t tell if he truly wanted Scaramanga to die or if he was arranging assassins to keep his boss on his toes. Either way it is a vastly different take on the villain/henchman dynamic and I appreciated it.

Maybe I’ll like this more on a re-watch. The first part of the movie made me think we were going to get a darker, different Bond movie with Bond and Scaramnaga hunting each other down across the globe. Instead the movie went in a completely different direction that I didn’t like and featured the worst Bond girl to date.

Two movies in and I’m not really enjoying Moore’s era. There have certainly been good aspects of both his films but neither is really a winner in my book. Here’s hoping the next movie turns things around.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman

#19 RJDiogenes

RJDiogenes

    Idealistic Cynic

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Posted 14 April 2020 - 05:50 PM

View PostVirgil Vox, on 13 April 2020 - 05:56 PM, said:

Yeah, wait and see if I talk about it in a future review though honestly I really haven't talked too much about the action scenes.  
The cool thing about this action sequence is that it really illustrates who Bond is-- or at least one aspect of his character that allows him to always prevail.  The same is true of the alligator sequence.

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I so wanted to like this movie. It started out with a lot of promise but by the time the credits rolled I was pretty disappointed.  
There goes my second favorite.  :laughtears:

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Scaramanga is a great villain ably played by Christopher Lee. He is positioned to be Bond’s dark half. He is just as skilled as Bond but kills people for money instead of King and Country. He is shown to be a very effective villain, always having the upper hand right up until the end when Bond kills him.  

Yes, I love Christopher Lee and the character of Scaramanga.

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Also, why does a man who already makes an obscene amount of money need to take part in such a ridiculous evil villain plan?  

He was bored. The real question is why didn't he want to use the weapon himself, rather than sell it?

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Then there is Mary Goodnight. She is the worse Bond girl yet.

Maybe, but Britt Ekland is certainly one of the most beautiful.  And the character had the same awkward appeal as Rosie Carver.

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If only Andrea had been the primary Bond girl.  

You'll be seeing Maud Adams again, in a much larger role.

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I liked the theme song. It was quite catchy and I found myself humming it the next day.  

Not my favorite. Or second favorite. In fact, I couldn't remember it until I just looked it up on YouTube.

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The secret base in the capsized Queen Mary was cool. I wish we had spent more time in that base.  

Oh, yeah, I loved that. They should have used it more and in more movies.

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Nick Nack was an intriguing henchman.  

Played by the amazing Herve Villechaize. One of the interesting things about Man With The Golden Gun is how it anticipates Fantasy Island, both visually and almost thematically-- Scaramanga, Nick Nack, and the island lair are like an evil Mirror Universe version of Roarke, Tattoo, and Fantasy Island.

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Maybe I’ll like this more on a re-watch.  

I hope so.  :lol:

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Two movies in and I’m not really enjoying Moore’s era. There have certainly been good aspects of both his films but neither is really a winner in my book. Here’s hoping the next movie turns things around.  
Ah, well.  I didn't really like the next couple, but then things started to look up again.
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#20 Virgil Vox

Virgil Vox
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Posted 30 May 2020 - 03:12 PM

The Spy Who Loved Me

Simply fantastic. I loved this movie. It was firing on all cylinders and kept me engaged the entire time. An amazing turnaround from the previous two movies.

A British submarine goes missing and the navy learns that someone is selling plans for a submarine tracking system. Bond is tasked to investigate, but this time he has met his match. A Soviet submarine has also gone missing, and they send their best agent Triple X to discover the truth and get the plans.

I’m not sure where to start. I guess I’ll start with the plot. It is basically the plot from YOLT. There SPECTRE captured American and Soviet spacecraft to start a war between the two nuclear powers that would lead to China becoming the dominant power on the planet. Here the villainous Stromberg has captured British and Russian submarines with the aim to launch their nuclear missiles and start a nuclear war that will destroy the planet. He intends to ride it out in his underwater city.
While the plot is similar to YOLT there are at least enough differences to not make it feel like a cut and paste job. The missing subs (and their crews) gives both Bond and Anya a good reason for wanting to get the sub tracking system and then eventually teaming up to stop Stromberg.

Speaking of, Stromberg is definitely a low key villain. He has no physical deformities nor does he have a bombastic personality. He is ruthless which we see when he feeds his assistant to a shark and then kills the two scientists who helped him when he blows up their helicopter. His plan is also insane. He wants to wipe out the majority of the human race and have a select few live in paradise with him deep in the ocean. He also has a pretty tame death; he gets shot by Bond.

I didn’t hate Stromberg but he didn’t leave much of an impression. Thankfully, the movie has Jaws. He was a terrifying henchman who had an amazing introduction. If I have one complaint it is that the character was used one too many times in the movie. It definitely felt like a case of diminishing returns by the time of the final confrontation between Bond and Jaws. Still, there is a lot to love about this baddie. Like I wrote, his introduction in the Egypt section was fantastic. The setting, the shifting colors, the direction, etc. all came together to make a tense scene. Honestly that scene could have been the start of a horror movie.

The train fight was amazing as well. While it makes no sense that Jaws is hidden in Anya’s closet it makes for a perfect jump scare. I feel like the series has been trying to recapture the epic feeling of the Bond/Red Grant fight in FRWL and this scene gets the closest to recapturing that scene. Jaws is such an intimidating, large presence and he has the advantage in such a small space. Bond really struggles to defeat him.

That just makes their final confrontation even more of a letdown. Bond basically uses a large electro-magnet to lift Jaws up and then drop him into the shark tank. There was no tension or awesome battle.

I do wonder if Jaws killing the shark with his metal teeth was a poke at the movie Jaws? This Jaws does survive and I know he returns in the next movie so hopefully he will be used well.

After three movies with disappointing Bond girls Anya was a breath of fresh air. Here is a woman who is competent, is an actual fleshed out individual, and has a character arc. The fact that she is a Russian secret agent who can kick ass is just icing on the cake.

I loved the fake out where we assume that the hairy chested guy is Triple X but it turns out that the woman is the secret agent.

The plot where Bond has killed Anya’s boyfriend was handled so well. She doesn’t know that Bond is the killer at first and she starts to grow close to him as they work together. When she does find out, she simply says that she will finish the mission and then kill Bond.

I actually love how that scene plays out. Bond and Anya behave like adults in a profession where death could be just around the corner. Bond doesn’t apologize because he was doing his job and it was literally a kill or be killed situation. Anya doesn’t jeopardize the current mission for her own personal vendetta.

I do wish this plot had been resolved better, or at all. Anya just forgives Bond because he came to rescue her from Stromberg, I guess? I didn’t expect her to really attempt to kill Bond but I was hoping for more than what we ended up getting.

I also appreciated that the movie presented Anya as a competent spy and that she didn’t always lose to Bond. Heck, she got the upper hand on him when she knocked him out with that fake cigarette and took the microfilm.

I loved the opening scene. Not only was it action packed and a lot of fun, but it set up both of the main plots of the movie: The missing subs and the fact that Bond killed Anya’s lover.

That ski jump was fantastic, and the fact that it actually happened without any editing tricks or CGI just makes it all the more amazing. When Bond opens up the Union Jack flag I wanted to salute. Simply iconic.

The theme song, “Nobody Does it Better”, is different from other themes but it works. It is more of a slow moving ballad but that fits with this movie. I liked it a lot and it ranks up there with other Bond theme songs like “You Only Live Twice”.

This might be my favorite Bond car chase in these first ten movies.  While the Aston Martin is iconic, the Lotus Esprit looks just as sleek and sexy. What I loved about this car chase was the sense of escalation. It starts with Bond and Anya being chased by a man on a motorbike, then they are chased by men in cars, then a helicopter gets involved, only for them to end up in the water as the car turns into a submersible and they face off against divers. The action is constantly shifting and expanding keeping the car chase from getting stale.

Oh, I have to talk about the Liparus. That super tanker is gigantic and superb. The scene where it eats the American sub is great. The inside is suitably gigantic and I saw on the extras that they built an entire giant sound stage just for that set. While I know it isn’t Stromberg’s main villainous lair it is still a great villain’s lair.

The final fight between the captured crews of the three subs and Stromberg’s men was epic with bullets flying and grenades going off. Yes, it is essentially the ending from YOLT but I felt that this was better directed and had better action. There was some great tension too with Bond having to take the core out of the nuclear bomb and the countdown to the subs firing their nukes at Washington, D.C. and Moscow.

Roger Moore has always been good as Bond but I feel like he really upped his game here, or maybe finally settled into the role and is intent on making it his own. He was on point throughout the entire film and just owned the role of Bond.

I really can’t praise this movie enough. It is an epic James Bond movie that has everything going for it: a strong Bond girl, great action, a fantastic theme, a strong (if derivative) plot, Roger Moore killing it as Bond, and a scary henchman in Jaws.
"You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders."
--Jor-El


It's a recession when your neighbor loses his job: it's a depression when you lose yours.
-- Harry S. Truman



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