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James Bond January

Spectre Mask Mexico Festival Street Party Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Monica Bellucci, Ralph Fiennes, Rory Kinnear, Jesper Christensen,

Spectre [Plot Spoilers]: a posthumous video from ‘old’ M sends 007 into the belly of the beast; going after the head of the global criminal super-organisation SPECTRE: Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion.

This starts with a beautifully choreographed long single-take; moving from the sky, down through crows, up an elevator, through some rooms, and over rooftops. The pre-credits mission ends with an overlong and confusing shaky-cam helicopter set piece; the Greengrass-style shaky-cam style of which spoils much of the subsequent action – which is defined by big, loud, turned-up-to eleventy-stupid explosions right, left, and centre.

Spectre Choppah Helicopter Mexico Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Monica Bellucci, Ralph Fiennes, Rory Kinnear, Jesper Christensen

After the initial setup, the film immediately starts throwing up a lot of overly familiar scenes; fortress on a snow-covered mountain top, Austrian forest chase, train fight with a brutish henchman, inviting Bond in to the secret lair before he escaped and blows the place up, scars, cats, exploding watches, Aston Martin gadgets, London chases… it feels like a rejected script for the 50th Anniversary film; that half-assedly tries to tie the last three movies together and leans on the aforementioned ‘classic Bond’ moments, ‘jumping the shark’, and even doing stuff that’s been parodied in Austin Powers – including drinking and advertising Heineken.

Spectre Meeting Broken Lights Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Monica Bellucci, Ralph Fiennes, Rory Kinnear, Jesper Christensen

Going back to the old mould of ‘classic Bond’ the film also contains a higher level of silliness than the rest of the post-Casino Royal reboot movies: from out of nowhere Blofeld and Bond grew up together? Even bringing back a campy evil genius like Blofeld (who was in a handful of the early Bond films) feels like a strange villain choice; especially following after Javier Bardem‘s demented Skyfall performance. The dodgy science of drilling in to precise parts of the brain that contain memories / facial recognition / balance also feels ridiculous.

Spectre Widow Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Monica Bellucci, Ralph Fiennes, Rory Kinnear, Jesper Christensen,

While Craig continues his streak of gritty and remorseful Bond, pretty much everyone else feels under-used: Waltz is only in about 20 mins of the movie, and he doesn’t look remotely interested – I can only imagine it’s because he’ll be in the next few movies too? Monica Bellucci (not even a proper femme fatale) is in two back-to-back scenes, and Dave Bautista (silent but violent – OddJaws) gets a couple of frenetically shot action scenes and one word to say. Bond Girl Léa Seydoux starts off promising; but soon turns into the generic helpless love interest. in On the flipside M and Q get slightly more screen time and even a bit of action in the field.

Spectre Car Chase Astin Martin Jaguar Rome Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Monica Bellucci, Ralph Fiennes, Rory Kinnear, Jesper Christensen

Of course, not everything about the old movies are bad: there’s more tongue in cheek moments, a better script for quips, one-liners, and wordplay (“I guess we know what C stands for now… Careless“). There’s also more of a throwback vibe of escapism and glamour, which somewhat po faced Casino and Quantum films were missing – every shot looks like Bond and the Bond Girl are straight off a GQ cover. Although this goes a little too far with the cheesy ending, and the fact that there’s very little believable threat to Bond and his breakaway MI6 team.

Spectre Blofeld Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Monica Bellucci, Ralph Fiennes, Rory Kinnear, Jesper Christensen,

Skyfall and its focus on Bond would always be a tough film to follow; and switching the focus to big names, big story, big locations, big explosions and bigger budget – Spectre doesn’t come close. Being one of the most expensive films ever made (but it’s not that obvious) this had to tick all of the constituent boxes of a ‘classic’ and safe Bond film. Although the surface is presented as the new Post-Bourne reboot Bond (nanotech, drones, cybersecurity) everything under the bonnet is straight outta the 1960s/1970s. Joe Public and those that grew up with the first 15 or so movies will love this because it’s a familiar romp, but I feel that more recent and more hardcore fans of the franchise will be let down by a fairly profunctory and borderline cynical by-the-numbers Bond outing.

Score: 5.5/10

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Information-hoarding new-age Blofeld. Like Elliot carver after a funectomy – 3
Henchman: Goatee’d Hinx; somewhere between Oddjob and Jaws – 4
Bond Girls: Two-scene widow; and slightly less ridiculous Christmas Jones – 6
Action: Mexican Helicopters / Rome Car Chase / Austrian Forest / Desert Shoot-em-up / London Bombing – 7

Spectre Ring Octopus Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Monica Bellucci, Ralph Fiennes, Rory Kinnear, Jesper Christensen

Skyfall: James Bond comes back from the dead to help MI6 – and justify his existence – during the agency’s darkest hour. The story is easily one of the strongest in the franchise, split in to three well-defined acts, and even at 2.5 hours it never feels like it over-stays its welcome, as most scenes reveal something about at least one of the central characters.

Javier Bardem‘s villain perfectly mangles the theatricality and campiness of the Bond classic villains (Scaramanga / Blofeld) with a dark, maniacal and twisted persona that’s among the best modern cinematic antagonists (The Joker / Detective Stansfield). It’s also a testament to Daniel Craig that he never gets out-performed – some previous Bond’s would have struggled. As for the under-discussed Bond Girls Sévérine perfectly plays the vulnerable and dangerous seductress; on the other hand, Bond’s field agent colleague Eve was pretty rubbish, lacking any believability, conviction or presence – she looked like she was on daytime TV.

The film’s well-paced, directed, and looks fantastic, with plenty full-frame/wide shot of landscapes & sets and – as you expect from the travelogue element of every Bond film – there’s a ton of stunning locations to take in; Turkey, Shanghai, the abandoned Hashima Island, Glencoe, and an eerily beautiful shot of a misty Glen Etive.

This film also continues to keep Daniel Craig’s outings firmly rooted in the ‘reality’ of the post-Bourne action film, steering well clear of the fantasy / ridiculous / gadgetry elements. Although this is the current style of most action movies, it would be good to see some gadgets and stunts that brought a bit of the classic Bond magic, although the line between magic and cheese is very grey.

The most interesting aspect of Skyfall is that it focuses on James Bond more than any other outing: not just through questioning his relevance in the modern world, or whether he’s still physically / mentally capable, but it also goes back to his pre-spy roots, fleshing out his childhood & backstory, giving the audience an insight into how he became the fearless, suave and dangerous 007.

You couldn’t ask for much more in a 50th Anniversary Bond film; most of the classic elements are there, even if they’re hinted at, or – like the famous ‘gun barrel sequence’ – simply tagged on to the end again. The story, characters and direction are all well above the average for a Bond film; however, more mentions of the previous 22 movies would have been the cherry on the cake, and added a truly celebratory vibe to the longest-running cinema franchise in history.

Score: 8.5/10

TOP TRUMPS

Villain: Raoul Silva – camp, cunning, crazy, deformed… just not in enough screen time 9
Henchmen: Patrice, the capable and silent assassin, + a few dozen mercenaries. 6
Babes: 50% classic beautiful siren, 50% awkward and rubbish. 7
Action: Opening mission / MI6 Bombing / Shanghai / Casino / Underground / Skyfall Shootout. 8

For reviews of every other James Bond film, click HERE

So that’s it. All 22 James Bond films watched and reviewed in under a month… Never thought I’d say it, but I think I’ve had enough of the world’s greatest spy for now! Thanks to everyone that chipped in, and a massive shout out to Darren at the M0vie Blog and Mikey at The Reviewer who both battled through every single film and were probably also up to stupid o’clock writing articles.

Not long after the event started Bond #23 was officially announced, and for that, I think everyone that took part should pat themselves on the back and take some of the credit – like I said here, it’s the best thing that could happen! Unfortunately, just as we wrapped up the month John Barry – the man behind 15 Bond Movie from Dr No to Quantum of Solace (!!!)- passed away, a massive loss for the franchise.

Below is a list of all the associated posts I could find, but if I’ve forgotten something, please comment and I’ll throw it in the mix too. Really pleased with how many articles got written up.

Finally, thanks to everyone that’s patiently read and commented on the longer-than-usual posts over the month, and to any readers that aren’t big 007 fans… I’m so, so sorry!

Cheers,
Paul

Dr No
Paragraph Film Reviews
The M0vie Blog
Cut The Crap Movie Reviews
Row Three
Klaus Ming
The Reviewer

From Russia With Love
Paragraph Film Reviews
The M0vie Blog
Undy a Hundy

Goldfinger
Paragraph Film Reviews
The M0vie Blog
Klaus Ming
The Reviewer
Go, See, Talk

Thunderball
Paragraph Film Reviews
The M0vie Blog
The Reviewer
Undy A Hundy
Klaus Ming

You Only Live Twice
Paragraph Film Reviews
The M0vie Blog
Via 51
The Reviewer
Does Writing Excuse Watching?

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Paragraph Film Reviews
The M0vie Blog
The Reviewer
Not Really Working
Undy a hundy

Diamonds Are Forever
Paragraph Film Reviews
The M0vie Blog
The Reviewer

Live and Let Die
Paragraph Film Reviews
The M0vie Blog
The Reviewer

Man with the Golden Gun
Paragraph Film Reviews
The M0vie Blog
The Reviewer
Undy A Hundy

The Spy Who Loved Me
Paragraph Film Reviews
The M0vie Blog
The Reviewer

Moonraker
Paragraph Film Reviews
The M0vie Blog
The Reviewer
Undy a Hundy

For Your Eyes Only
Paragraph Film Reviews
The M0vie Blog
The Reviewer

Octopussy
Paragraph Film Reviews
The M0vie Blog
The Reviewer

A View to a Kill
Paragraph Film Reviews
The M0vie Blog
Undy A Hundy
The Reviewer

The Living Daylights
Paragraph Film Reviews
The M0vie Blog
Row Three
The Reviewer

Licence to Kill
Paragraph Film Reviews
The M0vie Blog
Undy A Hundy
Go, See, Talk
The Reviewer

Goldeneye
Paragraph Film Reviews
The M0vie Blog
Undy A Hundy
The Reviewer

Tomorrow Never Dies
Paragraph Film Reviews
The M0vie Blog
Undy A Hundy
The Reviewer

The World Is Not Enough
Paragraph Film Reviews
The M0vie Blog

The Reviewer

Die Another Day
Paragraph Film Reviews
M0vie Blog
The Reviewer

Casino Royale
Paragraph Film Reviews
M0vie Blog
Go, See, Talk
The Athletic Nerd
Battle Royale With Cheese
The Reviewer

Quantum of Solace
Paragraph Film Reviews
The M0vie Blog
Battle Royale With Cheese
The Reviewer

Bond 23:
Let Bond Be Bond – M0vie Blog
MGM Announce Bond 23 – The Reviewer
Bond is back on – Row Three

Misc Articles:
The Very British Mr Bond – M0vie Blog
Bond’s Where I’ve Forgotten What Happens – Ross V Ross
Who Is Bond? – M0vie Blog
James Bond 1967: Bits of Trivia – Java’s Journey
Which Actors would you like to see as a Bond villain – Flix Chatter
Shaken and Sexed – Undy A Hundy
Shaken and Sexed II – Undy A Hundy
Shaken and Sexed III – Undy A Hundy
Javier Bardem to be in Bond 23? – The People’s Movies
The Man Behind The Music – She Likes To Watch

Quantum Of Solace: we join Bond about ten minutes after Casino Royale, trying to bring his main lead – Mr White – to M for questioning. After the culprit is busted out of custody by double agents in MI6, 007 has to find out how deep the terrorist group Quantum has compromised their operations. Back to back viewings definitely aids QoS as it’s definitely not a stand-alone film.

... and here's the government worrying about texting and driving!

The movie expands and reinforces what we previously learned about 007. As before, he remains a violent (yet arguably successful) instrument, with no self constraint or controllability, and a tendency to leave a trail of destruction wherever he goes – killing off almost every potential lead. Sadly, because 007’s riding solo for much of the story, and his Russian pal is a lady of few words we don’t get much new information, other than an emphasis on his insatiable desire to avenge Vespa. Revenge hasn’t looked this good since Bittersweet Life – Bond looks very sharp; wearing stylish suits, jackets and the very best of London high-fashion!

Making sure hit kills go out with style!

The action set-pieces in this film are shockingly handed. The cuts are so short, editing so rapid, and camera movement so shaky that trying to establish what’s happening and where the people are in relation to each other – and their surroundings – is impossible. Definitely the most poorly constructed action of all the movies.

Someone's falling? Running? Rooftop? Behind the other guy? In front? WTF?!?!

The single biggest thing that Quantum of Solace has going for it is the story, carrying on from the previous film, it follows Bond’s quest for revenge, coupled with his Carmille’s similar story. These stories are tied in with the great, and scarily realistic, idea of a secret society – similar to SPECTRE but with more humble, profit-driven plans – that permeates every institution from the British secret service to the CIA and some rotten dictatorships in Latin America. Not content with slating the easy political targets, it also casts a cynical eye over the UK and US governments for the first time – with both countries stating that they’ll work with anyone that has oil, or any other desirable resources.

Corrupt businessman and corrupt politician... I miss the megalomaniacs

As with the past few movies this one harks back to some of the older adventures, although I’m not sure if these are smug and subtle self-referencial nods, or just a side-effect of the franchise having to recycle old ideas because after 22 films, there ain’t a whole lot left to work with. QoS has the classic suffocation scene from Goldfinger re-done with oil, two people one parachute and the good ol Citroen – among others.

Strawberry Fields - Bond's wondering if the carpet matches the curtains...

The lack of gadgets is also starting to get pretty uncool. I realise that the re-boot is firmly rooted in reality – and we definitely don’t need another battle suit or invisible car – but it doesn’t have to be this boring. The only remotely technological things are a normal phone and a few Minority Report style computers.

"Folks, how do we compensate for no gadgets? Ah, explosions"

Other reasons this film stands out: sandy credits (that stuff goes everywhere!), gunbarrel sequence appearing at the very end (insane!), and someone in photography having a hard-on for contemporary architecture with the Opera house, Bolivian Hotel and Desert Hotel given lots of attention. Most insulting, is the ridiculous collection of stereotypical fonts used to represent different countries. Serious London font. Stylish Italian font. Quirky Latin American fonts. ЯúSSIдN font! How dumb do they think new-age Bond fans are?!?!


As the follow up to Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace is just not handled near as well, and while it’s not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination, it would be somewhat unfortunate to end a 22-film legacy with this. It it’s well photographed, has a villain, some Bond girls, a henchman and a nasty plot, but they’re all just so boring.

Score: 6/10

Felix looking like a mean-ass mo-fo!!

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: European, cool, short, hunched and limping, no talents. Booo! 3
Henchmen: Elvis – literally a secretary with a gun. Booo! 2
Babe: Sunburnt Russian girl. Ms Fields – a tasty toff. 7
Action: Car chase / Footchase / Boat chase / Aerial dogfight / Hotel fight at end (+ lift fight / bar escape). 5

With Bond 23 being kicked in to production James Bond January has done its job!

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The M0vie Blog
Battle Royale With Cheese
The Reviewer
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Note: this was the very first ‘film review‘ I posted back in summer ’09!

Casino Royale: a novice spy, James Bond, seeks out the head of a global terrorist investment group, then tries to bankrupt him in a high-stakes game of poker in the world famous Casino Royale.

He may be the new Bond on the block, but boy can he pull off the Tux!

This installment bursts out the blocks with a B&W Noir film vibe of a 30s film, aspects of which continue to the end of the movie (jaunty camera angles, classic lighting, shadows etc). We join a rookie James Bond here, in the run-up to his second kill – a prerequisite for ’00’ status. There’s flashback to Bonds first kill in a toilet that shows us a sloppy agent, scrambling around in a rough fight, resorting to brutality killing his first target. No previous Bond would have done this, or even be capable of it. Make no mistake, this new Bond is a brute, a thug, firsts are his weapon, brains aren’t there.

Bond: clubbing some dude to death in a toilet...

As far as the casting of Craig is concerned, I think he was superb at showing us an unpolished, rough-and-tumble agent. Sure he’s strong, gets up after every punch and even seems to enjoy a bit of pain, but after one fight we see him genuinely hurt and confused, standing over a sink and scrubbing up like anyone else would (Although he does look like a million dollars in every next scene!). This new 007 isn’t really in to his post-dispatch quips, and the only funny moment comes in the middle of a torture scene where Bond goads the torturer by acting aroused – it’s genuinely laugh-out-loud, but totally bizarre. Still, we see Bonds wildly romantic streak when he and Vespa throw everything away. Top this all off with a chiseled body and as many gratuitious topless/skin-tight scenes as you can justify, and you’ve got yourself a new-age, emotional macho man that’s perfect for the 2000s.

New Bond: Open minded. He will suck your fingers for love!!

The line “I hear 00’s have a short life expectancy” is interesting because it means one of two things. A) this could be THE original James Bond, right back at the start of his adventures, or B) Every actor (and possibly film) before were all different agents using the 007 persona as a cover. Either way, this shit just got interesting!

WTF - James Bond, DOUBLE-O-7, drives a Ford? I feel sorry for him.

What’s more is that it’s not only the character and timeline that’s been re-booted… but someone’s meddled with the age old formula! It doesn’t open with the gun barrel sequence, there are no women in the titles (outrage!), there’s no gadgets (other than a sim card reader – zzzzz), he drives a reasonably priced car, has a normal phone, Felix has turned into a Brother, no Q, and no Monneypenny. Personally, some of it was refreshing, but they overdid the ‘next gen’ elements, shunning a lot of things that made the old Bond films… Bond films.

The 7th person to play Felix, and Leiter's got attitude here!

Yet there are still individual elements and themes lifted from the previous Bond legacy: the key characters have the same names, M is still Judy Dench, it’s as much a travel piece as any previous movie, he pumps numerous women, there’s some huge action set-pieces, we see a fat German with a gold car (!), and when 007 says “I Love You”, you’re still completely fucked. I feel that this film only carried on with the bare minimum required to pass this off as a genuine part of the franchise.

Why doesn't roadkill look like this in Scotland?!?!?

The action’s second to none and makes every previous fight, chase, and budget-blowing stunt look like amateur hour. The parkour/free running chase lasts around 10 minutes and never gets boring, the airport action is as tense as they get, hand-to-hand staircase fight is raw and superb, the car crash – although basic – is jaw dropping and Venice… that’s just off the hook. When the actual gambling begins, Casino Royale slows to a crawl, with very little tension for those that don’t gamble, however the film is literally revived, which also counts like action. There’s not a lot of the big scenes here, but they’re outstanding and well-placed to keep the film moving.

Cracking chase sequence

Other than being a Sony-sponsored assault on your retinas, 007 spending most of his time running between places (or after things), and Bond walking through Venice square – not in a shitty hover-gondola there aren’t any other aspects that stick out for being lame. Story wise, you couldn’t ask for a better one, and although it’s not dumbed down, it’s quite simple and straight-forward considering it involves the British secret service, British treasury, several one-man terrorist contractors, local police, a main villian, an african rebel army, the villain’s boss, a bunch of henchmen, and a couple of double-crosses…

Le Chiffre: couldn't have picked a meaner-looking Blodeldian bad guy!

Special kudos to director Martin Campbell saved the franchise once before with GoldenEye (ensuring Bond’s success post cold-war) and completely re-invented it with this installment – making him as crucial as any actor in the 007 seat. After the excess that most remember from Die Another Day it was the perfect time for a clean slate, and this is the perfect re-boot, shaking off the theatrics and putting the focus back on a tense spy thriller.

One of the many iconic images 'round a poker table in this film

It’s not a great ‘Bond film’ in the classical sense, in fact, you could barely even call it a ‘Bond’ film, however, this is the kick up the arse that the franchise needed to bring it in-line with modern attitudes & modern cinema, and in that sense, this is a brilliant 2000s action film, that happens to have James Bond at the centre.

Score: 8/10

Vesper showcasing her fantastic lungs!

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Scar eyed man – maths genius, blood crying, gambling and weak. 5
Henchman: Wet airport guy – kind of henchman. Parkour guy – kind of. Bald guy – kind of. 2
Bond Girls: Horse-riding exotica HOT!. Vespa – HOT!!!!. Blonde Baddie… HOT. 9
Action: Footchase in building site & consulate / airport / staircase fight / revival / Venice – 7

It's usually medievil guys that ride on horseback, but I guess she'll have to do...

RELATED LINKS
M0vie Blog
Go See Talk
The Athletic Nerd
Battle Royale With Cheese
The Reviewer
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Looks. Sharp clothes. Style. Machine Gun. Sony Phone. Everything a spy needs...

 

Die Another Day: A mission in North Korea is sabotaged, goes tits up, and 007 is captured! After a prisoner exchange, losing his 00 plates, and going dark James Bond is determined to find the traitor, and investigate a newfangled millionaire with a history that’s too good to be true.

Another Day... of pointing guns at things

Die another Day starts fantastically: huge hovercraft action sequence (well handled, superb choreography, definitely cool), Bond gets captured, tortured to shit, ends up looking like The Dude then gets released back to a country that turned its back on him – so he goes off the grid again. M herself says “You’re no use to anyone now”, letting us all know that even James Bond, at the end of the day, is an expendable commodity.

14 months in prison and he comes out looking like Jeff Bridges?!?

I remember that with rumours circulating of another James Bond hitting the screen in the new millennium you were genuinely uncertain as to whether Brosnan’s Bond would make it back from Korea, if he’d live long enough to go on an adventure, or simply be replaced, mid-film for the first time…

A new super-group of villains... or ABBA tribute, I can't remember.

Looking back, a mid-film replacement would have been amazing for several reasons. It would have freshened up the films and their now standardised formula. It could be used to shed some light on the identity of “James Bond”. Most importantly, it would have saved Brosnan from looking pretty awkward for a lot of the movie. As Bond, Brosnan brought a lot of sides to the character, but his key feature was undoubtedly his sophistication, suaveness and confidence no matter what he was doing. Here however, after the opening he can only play it from one angle; dark, tortured, jaded Bond – and being honest, it just doesn’t work. I can’t tell if it was solely the Broz, or the B-movie script he was given but some of the scenes were absolutely shocking – watching him try to seduce Halle at the bar is cringe-inducing. It’s a shame because he has the best actor track record – to date.

What EVERYONE in Cuba looks like... not just their leader... everyone!

As 007 follows the leads we end up in Cuba, and – as always – the exotic nation is represented accurately and with taste: apparently everyone just samba‘s their way around town, has grey Castro-beards, smokes Cuban cigars and drinks Mojitos… Once Bond’s fucked up a health club in style he heads back to London, and the blades club. The first swordfight of the film is an absolute master-class in action, with loads of nice little innovations, both actors putting their back in to it, and a gradual build up – it really is gripping stuff. So far, this film’s surprisingly fresh, with an intriguing story that we want to see through…

This scene was so good it could have been a grand finalé

Then some problems start appearing in the as soon as we pass the halfway mark because – as we all know – people in the 2000s use to get bored after 60 minutes of good storytelling, so someone in production decided to turn everything up to eleven. The film starts throwing dozens of ridiculous things at the audience… virtual reality, invisible cars, a war suit, a dream machine, switchblade mini planes, a tiny ring that breaks any glass… Then there’s an onslaught of CGI that makes the film look like a low-budget affair; buildings, waves, icebergs, ice and hundreds of explosions!!! That can’t be boring at all, right?!?! Wrong! The film makes two supercars drifting on ice, firing rockets and machine guns at each other boring. It makes two scantily clad chicks having a swordfight to the death boring. It even makes an airplane perilously breaking up and exploding in the air… boring. The aforementioned CGI doesn’t help either – looking like it’s been drawn with crayons – the old-school rear-projection would genuinely look better than this.

Whoa!! Two supercarsszzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Hale Berry’s character Jinx is pretty poor, literally waddling into the film and constantly quacking some of the most generic American lines with absolutely zero tact or timing – yo mama jokes, in a Bond film? Really? What’s the point in even having a US-UK sparring match, it’s 007, we all know he’s the best. Plotline redundant! Gustav Graves is a rubbish character, but sub-standard acting only makes him cheesier. And that’s it… nobody else really of note.

Kinky Jinxy gets stuck in her Bondage Bed - 007 has to bust her out. zzzzzz

Other unhealthy titbits are: ‘saved by the bell’, rubbish theme song (sounds like it was thrown together in an afternoon), credits that are integrated with the story (worked for me), an actual appearance by Madoga, “Sex for dinner, death for breakfast” (So good they say it twice!), and electricity manifesting itself in the form of 1980s blue lines, like it totally does in the real world.

Save christmas trees, lick wall sockets - zzzzzzzz

This film is what the word Bi-Polar was actually created to describe: the first hour is a solid, well-made classical Bond film with modern twists. The second half IS memorable but for all the wrong reasons, worst of which being the terrible CGI – my rule on this; if you can’t do it in-camera with a Bond budget, don’t bother!

Score: 4/10

Too many special effects makes this guy puke... (zzzzzzzz)

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Bad actor – overly smug, diamond merchant. 4
Henchmem: Diamond-faced Zao – strong, smart, athletic, good match. Fiji guy – laser face. 6
Bond Girl: Hale Berry,  pretty. Fencing chick, ultra hot at the end. 7
Action: Hovercraft. Health Centre blowout, fencing/swordfight, MI6 break-in, Ice car chase, plane fight. 6

What a cool multicoloured face ma-zzzzzzzz

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The World is Not Enough: [Spoilers] when an oil tycoon is assassinated 007 is sent to protect the endangered daughter, a former hostage to one of the world’s most wanted men. After some success on the protecting front, Bond gets to the bottom of a scheme that will… erm… jack up the price of oil… (Note: villain aspirations were quite low in 1999, with Y2K getting all the attention)

Super mega cool submersible jet boat!!

Another Brosnan film, and another absolutely outstanding opening scene & mini-mission; Spanish bank robbery followed by MI6 bombing then the most ridiculously cool and insane boat chase ’round the Thames, over some streets (still on the boat!), wrapping up at the Millennium Dome.

Hot chick with a leather jacket and grenade launcher... <"blowing away" joke>

We sadly say goodbye to Q who, after the token gadget-based verbal jostle with Bond, Q says “always have an escape plan” and disappears before our eyes. While I may sound pathetic, this was hands down the most emotional and moving scene of the entire series for me (Sorry Mrs Bond). Not only is it’s laden with ‘he’s going to die soon’ overtones – he literally sinks into the ground – but it reminds you that Q has had the best relationship with every 007 for over 35 years and played a crucial part of Bond’s survival in at least 17 films. Q branch isn’t let down here, with some awesome gadgets like the X-ray specs, BMW, credit card lockpick, grapple watch and Q-boat!

One of 007's only friends (that didn't get killed)

Brosnan‘s still on a winning streak here, much aided by a whole lotta of shots of him pointing guns at people and looking angry and/or displeased. We also see Bond properly, and semi-convincingly, injured for the first time ever with a gammy shoulder for the film’s duration (although he did fall about 150 feet!). Most infuriatingly, Bond once again falls for the his one weakness, the oldest trick in the book, and the one thing that continually lands him in trouble… a vagina. If he carried out his job professionally he wouldn’t end up in so many perilous situations!!! (Although a procedural Bond movie would be pretty shit.) How many times has he been betrayed by a chick now!? Really?!

BOOM! Chestshot!!! Right in the tits!

The supporting cast and characters are such a mixed bag here. Robert Carlyle and Denise Richards seem to turn up and sleep through their scenes; sure they’re both vaguely memorable / strong / smart but they lack any presence. The character Bullion (Goldie) feels like his agent managed to sneak him in last minute, and no other henchmen do anything worth noting. On the upside Coltrane goes out in style as Bonds love-hate Russian contact, and Elektra King is played so, so well – Marceau’s beauty, strength and damaged background make her the perfect siren.

Another chick with a gun... someone in production must have a fetish

Other decent touches in this are the hypnotic oily credits, banking Pun-O-Rama, stereotype of ‘Bonnie Scotland’, “strictly plutonic”, “Christmas comes once a year” (Boom, Boom, Chiii!), classic nuke disarmament ultimatum, and Bond jumping from a normal house and landing in a submarine dock!!! There’s also a clear taste for new modes of transport: para-hover-sledge, mini super boat, pipe inspection pod, and the chopper chopper.

All aboard the tube! Next stop, nuclear warhead.

Even though you can’t fault the technical elements of most of the Bond pics, this one’s shot and framed particularly well. While it’s a good film, has a pretty interesting story and is well put together, this one feels like it’s missing some mojo and coherency. So many scenes feel gratuitous (let’s fly to somewhere snowy to have a ski-chase / let’s go to a casino so you can wear a tux…).  Despite some great twists and cool bits it just seems flatter and more lifeless than the previous few outings.

Score: 6/10

Bond's actual nemesis in this film... EXPLODING SNOW!?!WTF!!!!

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Anarcho terrorist thug with a headache and no feelings. 6
Henchmen: Skinhead Russians x100 / Gold-toothed Bullion / DREADful Gabor. 3
Bond Girl: Assassin – Cruz-esque. Elektra – foxy siren. Denise Richards – Lara Croft entrance/ purple dress – smocking – 8
Action: Opening 10 mins, ski chase, nuclear bunker fight, caviar factory, submarine fight. 5

Goldie looking a bit rapey in the background...

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Elektra looking a bit rapey in the foreground

Tomorrow Never Dies: when a UK ship sinks in Chinese waters all is not what it seems. After some rummaging about 007 uncovers a crazy man’s plan to start WWIII, for exclusive media coverage and ratings!

Genuinely one of the more average days in the life of James Bond...

Another top-quality intro side-mission in the form of Bond gatecrashing a terrorist arms bazaar where he kicks the shit out of everyone, blows the shit out of everything (with the help of a jet fighter) then out-flies the shit out of a trained pilot; or as M calls it ‘doing his job’

Hands down the coolest scene in the film!

This opening really sets the bar for Tomorrow Never Dies and the action throughout is second to none; soundproof studio fist fight, newspaper factory punch up, RC car chase, Hong Kong building traversing and bike chase, Jackie Chan inspired technical Kung Fu fight, stealth boat finale… the last three films have such a great action track record!

Stomper - yet another henchman in the mould of From Russia's 'Red'.

Bonds era-specific calling card for the 1990s appears to be technology. Not only is it becoming more prevalent in the stories, but one of GoldenEye‘s main baddies was a – then – rare and mysterious computer H4x0r! Upping the ante here, we have the visual stereotype of a IT virgin (fat, beard, probably plays Warhammer in his mum’s basement) branded a “Techno Terrorist” and given the same billing as the physically perfect and ruthless Stamper. As far as henchmen go, must try harder.

China's answer to 007, waving him on from the sidelines

Q branch also rolls along with the times, producing two of the best gadgets to come out of the department: the burglar-and-bulletproof RC BMW, and the Phone/Taser/Car Control/Fingerprint scanner. What a combo! This is the very outer-limits of Bond gadgetry in that they seem completely plausible, but so ridiculously cool that they couldn’t possibly exist.

Ladies and Gentlemen - you're looking at the perfect James Bond here!

Brosnan pulls out what’s probably my single favourite Bond performance. He amplifies all of the traits displayed in GoldenEye,  honing in on becoming even smoother, smarter and deadlier. Biggest improvements are the action, and dry one-line deliveries – “They’ll print anything these days” is delivered absolutely perfectly. This performance looks as effortless as the horizontal Bond controlling the car from the back seat of his BMW.

Not unlike the gadets, carver treads that line between rediculous and real

The supporting cast are all overshadowed by Pryce as Elliot Carver – who is fantastic at being restrained and subdued, yet ridiculously theatrical (especially in his eyebrows, scheme and super-ridiculous typing). Despite little screen time Teri Hatcher does well to convince us that she’s known Bond from way back.

Bottoms up. Teri makes an arse of herself!

With big GoldenEye boots to fill Tomorrow Never Dies is every bit as good a film, although it does switch the character development for more straigh-up action set pieces. There are plenty of hits, but it’s not without a few misses – the most cringe-worthy being a Mel Brooks style parody hitman. Another rock-solid stripped down Bond film.

Score: 7/10

This guy could genuinely walk straight into an Austin Powers film

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Elliot Carver – dastardly pantomime baddie with insane delusions. 7
Henchmen: Stomper – another Red-Esque brute / Gunther: Fat beardy hacker / Weird-faced hitman. 6
Bond Girl: Mrs Carver – beautiful. Lucy Lui – hot, feisty and hold her own well. 8
Action: Terrorist Bazaar / Soundproof Studio / Newspaper Printer / Hong Kong HQ escape / Motorbike Chase / Kung Fu / Stealth Boat. 9

Handcuffed on a bike - made for some good 'out of the box' moments

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GoldenEye: [Spoilers] when a global terrorist organisation steals a civilisation-busting weapon system called GoldenEye only one super spy can save the world from the looming doom.

Can a normal man catch up with a heavy, aerodynamic aeroplane... Duh!!

Who’s this idiot-hole jumping off the side of a reservoir and grapple-gunning his way to the bottom? Then taking on a room full of Russians, then stealing a bike, then the plane in mid air… The guy’s insane! This is an outstanding pre-title sequence with 007 and 006 (but how did he get there?) carrying out a break-in at a Russian chemical plant – definitely one of the best, most exciting, most tense and most action-packed of the intros. The (now legendary) N64 game captured facility so well when you see the film again.

It's all 6s and 7s in this scene - and film!

With the fantastic Licence to Kill proving to be a box office misfire – I blame the studio – and the franchise stuck in a rut for over five years the series was having a bit of an identity crisis, and it definitely shows in GoldenEye, which to me feels like a half-arsed re-boot.

Not particularly menacing, unless you have a fear of penis-shaped noses

On one hand we have the good old Commies getting themselves into trouble, a trusty space weapon of doom, a villain that wants to wrong all of the world’s rights, a bunch of big-budget action set pieces, enough explosives to match Licence to Kill and some truly awful accents (taxi  for Janssen & Cumming)… It’s like nothing’s changed.

M, a lady, in a Bond film.... OUTRAGE!!!!

On the other hand hand we have a new Bond (with an 80s lady haircut), a new female M (with a boys haircut), a new Moneypenny (with a drag queen haircut – I’M SO CONFUSED!). Despite having a typical Bond story, there’s something different about it… The original parts are all here, but it just doesn’t feel the same! In one of the film’s most telling scenes M notes that in a post Cold War world James Bond is a sexist, irrelevant dinosaur – shame on her!! A few other characters also jibe with Bond about being old hat…Definitely uncalled for given what JB has done over the years, and guess who has to save the day / world / girl / civilisation again!?!? – idiots!!

Bond nerd and Bond girl, two great characters that are both crucial to the story

As far as the new Bond goes, I really rate Brosnan. Growing up through his films (this was the first one I saw in in a cinema, thanks mum!) he’s the Bond of my era, but also, looking back through the years – for me, he’s the first ‘full package’. Sure, Connery is the Bond – oozing charm and humour, Lazenby was the timid one, Moore too theatrical and Dalton quite mysterious – Brosnan rolls all these traits into one performance, creating a full character for the first time.

Sharpe and Steele - surely a winning 00-combo!

Other unforgettable moments from GoldenEye are the: Tank Vs Train fight, the sexually charged vixen Onatopp (hubba hubba), unashamed 1990s SFX abuse with everything and everyone being blown and smashed up, the blatant IBM advertising, “I am invincible” and the super-cool satellite fight at the end.

Xenia Onatopp: has the gadget to rule all gadgets, killer thighs

For the first time in decades we have a great (and quite large) number of solid – fleshed out – characters that all bounce off and balance each other – because although the action is memorable in GoldenEye, it’s really the cast that have to make us believe that the world’s change AND push the picture forward. While it’s more of a facelift than a proper restart the Bond team did well to nail GoldenEye and save the feanchise that so many had written off. Solid 90s blockbuster.

Score: 7/10

A massive tank, drifting 'round corners and through buildings... awesome

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Sean Bean – pretty insane, wants to throw the UK to the dogs!! 7
Henchmen: Femke Janssen, Penis-nose’d Russian, Invincible Boris. 7
Bond Girls: Femke Jannsen – likes it rough. Programmer chick – very attractive. 8
Action: Opening Scene, Car Chase, Jail Breakout, Tank Chase, Antena & Base destruction 7

First film and we've already seen Brosnan's Ohhhhhhh-Ohhhh face!

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Aye em eenveenseebiilll

Bonus round - so you'll never, EVER look at this poster the same again

Licence to Kill: on his wedding day Felix Leiter’s runs into some trouble. When the CIA or MI6 don’t want to pursue the case, Bond goes dark and has to infiltrate a drug cartel to avenge his long-time friend and partner, who’s bailed 007 out over the years more than he’s ever given credit for!

I'll take your feeble car-wheelie and raise you, Moore!

It’s quite unfortunate that the next film was delayed for so long, rendering this Dalton’s last appearance by default. He gets a hard time for only having two films, but given that he turned down the first offer some 20 years prior to The Living Daylights and got shafted by a rights war at the other end, he’s definitely the unluckiest actor to play Bond. As mentioned before I think he’s great, and this film has my favourite Dalton moment, when he shouts at the Bond girl “Ya bloody luckey ta be alyve!!” Fantastic accent lapse! The also has a toughness lapse at the end when he turns all gooey and gets the girl.

"Are you sanchez? No? Are you sanchez? No!? But I... I am Sanchez!"

There’s two great bad guys at the table here; Sanchez (Davi) and his right-hand runt man Dario (Del Toro) – and being honest, even if these guys were to glide around the scenes in bright pink suits they’d still be absolute badasses. Unlike previous villains these guys don’t just look the like nasty pieces of work; they carry out of the most brutal and often senseless murders of all the movies. True to the 1980s, their story is essentially America’s ‘War on Drugs’ put on the big screen – spookily foretelling a similar story to real criminals like Pablo Escobar.

Toilets are over there gringo

The bottom line in Licence to Kill is that when you pit the darkest James Bond against two of the most ruthless villains, it can only mean one thing – a bloody corpsemageddon!!

Even though he helps terrorists, this guy could smile his way to safety

There’s not a lot of balls-to-the-wall action, but when it rolls round it’s handled expertly and stylishly done; particularly the barfight (even though it’s a little Airplane! there’s some cool bits) and the final 20 minutes – peaking with the coolest multiple uses of 18-wheelers known to man – are absolutely fantastic to watch; just stunt after stunt after stunt punctuated with massive (real) explosions.

KABOOM!!! Looks a lot better than CGI explosions

This is the first film that’s fully an out-and-out revenge-driven story, and that’s why it’s one of the better plots. There’s very little backup, and Bond has to rely more on his smarts than anything else. He gets into some pretty hairy situations too, and watching him escape or get bailed out is just a little edgier knowing that the cavalry isn’t just around the corner.

Q's supposed to be on holiday... yet still has Bond's back. What a guy!

Other delightful portions of Licence to Kill are: the plane fishin’ scene at the start, manta ray disguise, cutting edge computers that made ‘CD-ROMs’ look tiny, everyone smoking furiously, and Felix himself being scarily calm considering that he’d just lost is better half (and lower half).

Felix getting a bum deal in the shark pen

This is easily one of the better Bond films and one with the most clout, not just because it’s dark and violent, but because it’s the most grounded Bond picture to date. The mix of a gripping story, believable characters and well-made action is a truly explosive combo. Finally, there’s Dalton, who’s not just a great Bond in his own right, but reiterated the darker side of the worlds best spy, a side that Brosnan and Craig would both use to their advantage. Criminally underrated film.

Score: 7.5/10

Knife to the head... not the best first date 007's ever had. Nor the worst...

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Sanchez – ruthless escobarian guy. Soft spot for ‘loyalty’ though. 8
Henchmen: Switchblade Dario – pretty nasty smile / Killfer (bent cop) / Milton (sailor moustace). 7
Action: shootout and ‘plane fishin’ / underwater fight / Barfight / Grinder / Tankers. 8
Babes: Ginger toy boy exec secretary – boys haircut / Sanchez’s deceitful girlfriend – eyebrows. 7

Bond daydreaming... probably about shooting someone in the face. Let's hope Dalton one day gets proper recognition for his time with the PPK

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The Living Daylights: James Bond must ensure a senior Soviet defector’s safe escape from the country, then hunt down and kill a senior KGB agent, then find and foil the plans of a notorious arms dealer, then help an Afghan militia, then give a cellist the international break she deserves…

Who's this windswept fellow?

Almost 20 years after initially being approached to play Bond, Dalton finally gets his shot. I’ll put it out there straight away – I think Dalton’s great, and brings some much needed credibility back to the world’s greatest spy. This 007 is broodier, more intense, ruthless, dangerous again. He doesn’t care about the theatricalities, most evident when he charges through the immortal (but seemingly obligatory) “Bond… James Bond” line.

Bond, James Bond - and he will totally fucking shoot you!

This new style is further aided by some of the bleakest scenes in the series so far; we see 004’s lifeless corpse bounce down a cliff and slam into a gutter, Bond’s ally get mauled by a glass sliding door. Bond also tears the clothes off a defenseless woman to form a distraction… we truly believe he’s capable of anything that he’ll use his Licence to Kill at any point.

1980s Bond roughs up the bad guys - not the naked ladies - for a change

It’s all going quite well, and the plot’s developing nicely… then it all goes a tits up when they do a SATC2 and start traipsing around the desert in “Arabian Knights” fashion with camels, turbans, beards, horses and AK-47s.

"Could he really be the 'Lawrence of my Labia'?"

The lack of a definitive baddie is both good and bad; it’s the single biggest reason for a strong, twisting and intelligent plot (not just ‘jape with and hunt down the villain’), on the other side of the coin, history has shown that strong villains can make or break a film, and for the first hour or so Bond’s essentially just chasing his own tail. The lack of a strong Bond girl also affects the film, and puts – quite unfairly – far more emphasis on Dalton’s breakthrough performance.

A highly divisive film, some people think it took a wrong turn...

The action is back on the right tracks, opening as it means to continue with the Gibraltar invasion – a great piece of espionage/action cinema that’s both tense and unpredictable, yet still so very 1980s cool! The car chase from a B-road – through a truck – and on to a frozen lake is also one of the best; and the hand-to-hand milkman vs chef fight is one of the best since From Russia with Love. Other sweet aspects to The Living Daylights are: the pipeline escape (and boosom distraction), such a hack theme song, The new ditsy Moneypenny (Definitely the end of an era), travel-companion feel – Russia, through central Europe, and the Middle-east.

Astin Martin with rockets, lasers, skis and a jet engine!! Hell yea!

In the same sense that chunks of A View To A Kill were perhaps ‘Dalton’-styled with Moore at the reins, sections of this are definitely Moore-centric with Dalton plonked in front of the camera. The first 2/3 is a rock solid thriller/spy film, with feet back firmly on the ground – and the last 1/3 is passable but feels somewhat gratuitous in the action department. It’s definitely a step in the right direction after Moore’s tenure.

Score: 6.5/10

"Eee got thu flew"

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: hard to tell, but ends up being the military strategist arms dealer yank – who plays with toys – FAIL. 2
Henchmen: Aryan muscleman – pretty brutal. Slick-haired Ruskie Koskov – pretty boy. 5
Bond Girl: Boat Babe – pretty good. Cello chick Kara Milovy – vapid vacuum, no glitz. 4
Action: Gibraltar + Explosives truck / Kitchen fist-fight / Snow Chase (Ace car + cello) / Rooftop Run / Prison fight / air base raid / luggage net. 8

Don't know if Bond could cooperate with muslim fighters these days...

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A View To A Kill: After recovering a unique computer chip from a dead 003 in the USSR, Bond traces it back to Zorin industries, and soon discovers that Mad Max Zorin plans to flood silicon valley and monopolise the computer microchip market.

Recent studies blame 007 for global warming!

The film opens with a Zorin disclaimer, the first time this has been done, and strange given the number of characters ‘borrowed’, based or impersonated from the real world through the years. It also opens with one of the best theme songs: Duran Duran’s a View to a Kill. This is an unrivaled 1980s pop song!

The method of transportation that best suits the complex life of a modern villain

It’s usually crazy science and physics that push the James Bond plots forward (lasers, death rays, nukes…) but this film’s all about super-crazy geology, which for some reason feels harder to debunk – it could be more ridiculous than pew pew laser fights in space but who knows?!?

Moneypenny's last outing too - she got drunk at the races! Good on her.

As with any Bond film, A View To A Kill plays to the trends of the era, taking place in Silicon Valley, we have some new-age computers, and it’s essentially about one man becoming the king of microchips. Finally moving on from the ridiculous tone of the 70s movies this feels like a true stepping stone on to the darker Bond vibe; with people being killed right, left, centre, and literally getting machine gunned down in their dozens!

A cheeky sparring session with May Day and Zorin

In saying that, there’s still time to make the police look like buffoons in a token ‘wreck a police car’ scene on the raising bridge. The  renault cut-down-car-chase through Paris feels like Moore putting his final stamp on the film before he leaves. You kind of get the feeling that this was more of a goodbye Roger party at time, with everyone turning up and having a laugh on set.

Heads up!

Zorin/Walken is great as a bad guy – first out and out “genetic experiment” baddie and looks intense and insane throughout – usually laughing and at his happiest when he’s inflicting fear, desperation and murder on someone! Not many of the scenes or action set pieces are overly memorable; however, the appearance of Zoro now and then is really when this one comes to life.

Score: 5.5/10

The sound of retirement beckoning Roger

TOP TRUMPS
Villain:
Zorin – rogue KGB agent, computer chip cartel, nasty man with a nasty plan! 8
Henchmen: Grace Jones and her black arse. Scarface chap – lame. 6
Bond Girl: Jenny Flex & Stacey Sutton. Classic 80s Golden Girl look. 8
Action: Snow chase / Paris cut-down-car chase / horse race / Cty hall / Firetruck chase / Mine / Golden gate 8

So long Roger... you horny ol' dawg!

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Octopussy: When agent 009 gets killed holding a fake Faberge egg MI6 put their best spy on the case, which leads Bond to a plot involving an Indian Prince, crazy Russian general, some chick with eight vaginas, a circus, a nuclear bomb and prospect of WWIII (again).

Pleasuring Octopussy - You're doing it wrong!

It’s somewhat sad that the most memorable aspect of this film is it’s terrible stereotype – India is summarised by elephants, tigers, coal walkers, beardy wise men, snake charmers, motorised rickshaws, belly dancers, bed o’ nails men, and the one thing everyone must do when in India – a Tarzan swing complemented with the Oo-aa-oo-aa-ooo!!!! Not contempt with offending one nation we see a lovely German couple offer Bond some beer and wurst…

Turbon, Check. Beard, Check. Indian Musket... Check.

On the up-side, this film ties two of the staple evil schemes into one film: one is the tried and tested Cold War / WWIII / nuclear threat complete with the ticking time-bomb scenario; the other is an underground smuggling operation that Bond must smash to pieces.

Tick tock... looks strangely familiar

Women play in interesting role in Octopussy: Bond is bailed out by a female agent in the opening mini-mission, helped tremendously by Octopussy who’s quite the strong character (although wooed by James – obviously), there’s a whole island of empowered red-jumpsuited women (some also wooed by James – obviously). Things are finally looking up for the ladies!! Oh… wait…

Cutting edge technology means only one thing: cutting edge perversions.

… the unbelievable rapid camera zoom in and out of a lady’s cleavage!!! Seriously!? I wonder if women even have the right to vote yet in Bond’s parallel universe!?!

What's that rule about strangers and cars again... ?

Other footnotes are Bond’s suspiciously well-fitted waistcoat (stolen from a guy 1/2 his size), the crocodile stealth boat, awesome car on the train tracks scene, ridiculous British hot-air balloon, Bond straddling and sliding down a staircase towards a nut-buster, and yet another groan of the immortal “Ohhhh Jaaammeeesss”

Cheer up Roger, only one more film to go!

By this time, Moore had explicitly wanted to leave the role, and it’s safe to say that he’d done his time, however with Never Say Never Again (unofficial Thunderball remake starring Sean Connery) being released the same year – EON believed that an established Bond like Moore would be required to draw in as large a crowd as possible. Maud Adams also returns as another Bond Girl. No complaints from this guy though.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee - can't remember who's who

All-in, Octopussy’s probably one of the most lackluster films of the 22. Some aspects like the stereotyping, you want to forget straight away, other aspects like the Villains, Henchmen and action are so generic that they’re hard to remember.

Score: 3/10

Penelope Smallbone (left) was due to be Monneypenny's replacement... turns out the public preferred GILFs. Unfortunate.

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Kamal Khan & Soviet Madman – respectfully smart and mad but totally forgettable. 4
Henchmen: Beardy mental turbon Gobinda – Possibly posessed. Knife throwing brothers. Super metal yo-yo man. 4
Bond Girl: Anorexic chick with stupidly long hair / Octopussy with her 8 vaginas / Bianca at start! 7
Action: Mini-jet, spalstick moped chase, jungle hunt, bomb, car chase, airplane. 5

India's Yo-Yo champ!

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For Your Eyes Only: Bond is sent to stop the KGB from buying a stolen device that can control nuclear missiles in the British Navy submarine fleet – ahhh, back down to earth with a Cold War plot!

Despite pumping half the world Bond clearly still hurts over Teresa

Opening up with Bond visiting Teresa’s grave is a great touch, reminding the audiences about James’ backstory, and adding more depth to Bond than a dozen soliloquies could. It’s the first of many OHMSS vibes coming out of For Your Eyes Only: Teressa Bond, Ski Chase, Blofeld, Trying to save a woman on the beach…

Blofeld with his remote controlled chopper

After the initial burst of promise we cut to the unbelievably terrible Blofeld / Helicopter scene, which is just beyond ridiculous, random and feels so out of place. The last time we saw him, he was slammed into the middle of an oil-rig control room mid-explosion!

Astin Martin, Bentley, Lotus, Mercedes... Citroën 2CV.

 

Carrying on with the absurd we get one of the worst (comedy) car chases of the series with the yellow Citroen car and a downhill chase in the Mediterranean. Again, unforgivable, the height of campy, and really sums up the Moore era for me.

Emile Leopold Locque - doesn't look like much, but he's a right brutal bastard!

With all this tomfoolery going on some of the more brutal scenes feel like massive slaps to the face: a couple getting machine gunned down, agent with a slashed-up neck and the unforgettably heinous hit and run on the beach, which looks so real and horrific!

She had a cracking time with that car!

Harking back to the original less-frill film like Dr No & OHMSS there’s a distinct lack of gadgetry, other than the Hi-tech 3D visualiser and an exploding car (that doesn’t need to be driven off a cliff first). Like Thunderball, there’s a few underwater scenes: the rovers & big white suit sections are pretty cool. Lessons learned also as the sound is a lot better than before.

What's the best thing about Bond girls? He gets older, but they stay the same age!!!

Perhaps the only truly memorable section from FYEO is the rock-climbing piece, where Bond is literally hanging by a thread, and menacing guards looking to cut him out of the picture. Even though you know he must make it, it’s one of the few action scenes that’s genuinely thrilling, and hard to watch – for all the right reasons.

Countess Lisl von Schlaf - Brosnan's first wife. The 'Stiffler's Mum' of FYEO

For Your Eyes only isn’t a particularly bad film, nor is it much good. It opens like a serious character piece and ends with a cheap political satire (Maggie Thatcher) – which sums it up really. The tone and story are all over the place. I honestly don’t really know if the actors knew whether they’d wind up as the good or bad guys! It wants the vibe of the original films, but it just doesn’t wash in the early 1980s.

Score: 5/10

The most annoying Bond girl/teen to date. Roger and her... you can't un-see it!

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Beardy, boring, rich old guy – zero iconic parts. 2
Henchmen: Red-esque olympian, hard as nails. ‘The Dove’ man-brutal killer. 8
Bond Girl: Pool party girls, skater nymph (too young and annoying), rich countess roadkill (Total GILF / Brosnan’s first wife!!), Daughter (long hair, well tidy). 7
Action: Remote-chopper, poolside fight/Citroen car chase, Skiing / toboggan, gunfight at docks, cliffhanging. 7

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Moonraker: when an airplane transporting the brand new ‘Moonraker’ space shuttle blows up James Bond is sent to figure out why none of Moonraker is in the debris. With the help of a female scientist they find out that it’s part of a Madman’s plan to wipe out the human race and start a superior one in space.

Bond didn't do too well on the spin cycle challenge...

Moonraker begins with one of the coolest opening action sequences, with 007 hurling himself out of a ‘plane, freefalling down to Jaws and fighting him in mid-air for the last parachute.

007 will do anything for a parachute! Dirty minx.

With Star Wars V, Alien and the First Star Trek film being released in the same year – and Bond’s uncanny nack of incorporating the latest trends – 007 was always going to be heading to space… it’s just a pity that it didn’t work out. It borrows heavily from previous successful sci-fi hits like 2001 and Logans Run, with some ridiculous additions like a huge laser battle between the ‘perfect’ humans and U.S. Space Marines!?!?  Not all of the space section is lame though, the zero-G sequence is jaw-dropping, and is as convincing as anything Kubrik achieved in 2001. I guess you have to remember that space was still very cool back then.

Pew pew pew pew pew pew pew

Other bits in my Moonraker scrapbook are: the ridiculous stereotype of Rio De Janeiro (with everyone samba dancing and a carnival around every corner). The fact that Drax’s plans on heading up a ‘superior race’, despite being short, hairy and having a perfect face for the radio. Jaws looks uncannily like Willem Dafoe here, and despite falling out of a plane and getting mauled in a cable car crash it only takes about 5 samba dancers to drag him away from Bond! The ‘comedy’ element is cringe-worthy with Jaws making flapping motions in mid air and a terrible “He’s behind you” pantomime moment. The name Dr Goodhead is timeless, as is the shooting of the sniper out of the tree and the sound of the door password. Another part that sticks out for all the right reasons is the tastefully done dog-chase scene, it’s like a little bit or arthouse sticking out like a sore thumb.

What's the time in Rio? SAMBA O'CLOCK!!!

Moonraker’s biggest weakness is that it tries to do too much in one film, and it’s all done in a way that means that the tone’s all over the place: it’s a long-winded story, a slice of the middle east, a bit of latin america, 5 minutes of a ridiculous Western, and a whole lotta space tomfoolery, all mixed in with some terrible attempts at comedy. Definitely one of the weaker, and more dated films

The classic "attemptig re-entry" quip could well be Q's finest hour

Score: 4.5/10

Two of Jaws' kryptonite: samba and midgets!

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Humourless, emotionless, beard. Identical to Stromberg but substitute water with space. 3
Henchman: Bowlcut ninja Chang – pretty rubbish. Jaws – decent, but cops out at the end! 6
Bond girls: Dr Holly Goodhead – good. Dogfood Corinne – good. Beyonce look-a-like. Jaws’ handfull Dolly. 100 ‘perfect’ girls. Too many. 5
Action: Centrifuge, Venice / Amazon boat chases, glass warehouse, Cable cars, Space fight. 6

The nightmarish doberman chase sequence...

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Dr Goodhead - whatever could that mean?!

The Spy Who Loved Me: after dispatching a bunch of goons that chase him down a mountain (it’s becoming a regular nuisance) Bond is paired up with his Russian counterpart XXX to solve the disappearance of some nuclear submarines.

Bloody women drivers, huh?!

In the opening seconds we see the first visible boobs in franchise – nudey posters in submarine. Starting as it means to go on, and staying true to the pornographic nature of the book, the intro’s essentially shadow-porn, and the rest of the film has so many random busty women, bikini/lingerie clad models, beach babes and general skin on display it’s unreal. Did Russ Meyer direct this? We even see a woman in the shower, totally buff, and it remains a PG?!?! AWESOME!

Not leaving much to the imagination

What with all the sexiness flying around, it’s no surprise that James Bond capitalises on the amour; some random hottie he’s just met literally takes a bullet for him. There’s a painful-to-watch ‘Women Drivers’ scene that makes you glad XXX knocks him out! Also, with lines like “Keeping the British end up, sir” it’s like Bond’s happily swapped his 007 badge for the ‘double entendre’ one. Not to mention the fact that his name is almost Rodger More!! Carry on Roger!!!

In your end-oh!!

Despite showing Russia and the UK working together in the height of the cold war the film’s unapologetically patriotic. From the Union Jack parachute to the continual references about Bond’s queen and country. He’s definitely out to win the hearts and minds of the British public! The evil plan to abuse nukes would have also played to contemporary fears of a WWIII.

She's a damsel, in distress, with boobs!

For being such a goofy giant with metal teeth Jaws comes across surprisingly menacing, no doubt attributed to his lack of dialogue. Even though he’s comically indestructible and not the smartest peanut in the turd you can’t help but think that he’ll do some proper damage to Bond at one point. He also gets the 3rd train fight in the series!

Tin Grin

Other unforgettable moments from this are the underwater lotus, fantastic theme song (top 5 of the 22 to date), the exotic backdrops of Egypt and Sardinia, the ‘tie’ scene on the roof (emulated in later Bonds and Oldboy). The age disparity between a ‘seasoned’ Bond and the Bond girl that could be his daughter… There’s also a lot of exciting and tense scenes, given the tone of the film; disarming the nuke, bombing ship, gunfights etc. Finally, the massive submarine-swallowing ship at the end is the the epitome of a villain’s base; scores of henchmen, operations control room, klaxons, monorail, tannoy updates and everything your modern baddie needs!

No matter how rubbish this looks, you still always want one

Being the 10th film in the franchise this one had to be a hit, and even though Stromberg blends in to the ‘generic villain’ category with a recycled ‘evil scheme’ this one’s saved by Jaws, Bond, Egypt, action, and miles of cleavage!

Score: 7.5/10

1 cropped frame and two gratuitous bikinis!!

TOP TRUMPS

Villain: Stromberg – underwater world fantasy. Certifiably mad! Webbed hands. 7
Henchmen: Jaws: kicked out of train, car crashed into building, blown up in base, shot in face. kills a shark with his face!! Total Bad-ass, indestrictable but least realistic! 9
Bond Girl: Marine Biologist bikini girl Naomi and XXX. 7
Action: Ski Chase / Rooftop Fight / Lambo run – underwater / on-ship action. 8

... you get the idea

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There is one scene where the girls face is the focal point

AND FINALLY…
No look at The Spy Who Loved Me would be complete without Alan Partridge’s narration of the introduction. Enjoy.

The Man With the Golden Gun: Britain’s top agent is a marked man when a golden bullet inscribed with ‘007’ arrives at MI6, but with better things to do, James Bond has to track down a missing scientist that was last known to be working on a ground-breaking solar-power device.

The calling card of the world's best assassin - Scaramanga

Opening with a midget, guy with three nipples, haunted fun house, wax works and a ton of psychedelia, it definitely catches you off guard. And throughout the film it gets a bit weirder with flying cars, asian ninja schoolgirls, crazy sound effects, belly button kissing, bum grabbing, lasers, domestic abuse, a strip club, a weird device called a car phone…

Asian Ninja Schoolgirls - 3 fetishes for the price of 1

For me, Scaramanga is the ultimate opposite number for Bond. He’s suave, intelligent, visibly mad, totally badass and always one step ahead. He clearly admires Bond, to the point of imitation, has great gadgets, an iconic weapon, and a random third nipple! All this topped off by a fantastic Christopher Lee performance; you just can’t beat this.

Smart, ruthless and menacing - what a (bad) guy!

Somewhat ironically, the main plot driver is a device called the ‘agitator’, which is as good a word as any to describe the story. The plot clumsily progresses, allowing for gratuities such as ninja fights, car/boat chases and all the other usuals. On the plus side it was particularly relevant during the energy crisis in the early 70s, and to some extent, still just as likely to appeal today. It’s certainly more interesting than a monopoly on water!

The 3-titular weapon

For an unknown reason, the worst minor character in the franchise, Sheriff Pepper, gets another look-in here… this is beyond me, and he even knocks himself off the ‘shittest character’ top spot from Live and Let Die!

The least welcome comeback of the franchise

Absurdity also reaches new highs, as Bond’s literally juggles the women that throw themselves in his arms – at one point throws the girl he’s warming up in a wardrobe to pump another for information… genuinely.

Bond discards this beauty by pushing her into a closet...

Other noteworthy aspects are the coolest satellite HQ in a shipwreck, a girl called ‘Chew Mee’ (a new high/low in pun-based innuendo), what has to be one of the worst theme songs (instantly forgettable), and a 5-minute intensified advertisment campaign for Rolex, Nikon, Sony, and Rolls Royce. Bond’s definitely starting to get his commerce on!

... but most guy's wouldn't refuse an upgrade to Maud "Octopussy" Adams

All in, I feel that this film gets an unfairly poor reputation. Sure it’s a bit weird, has a pretty basic storyline, and seems to juggle individual elements of the previous 8 films while keeping the tested formula… but that’s part of the appeal. At the heart of TMWTGG lies a fresh relationship and chemistry between Bond and his nemesis, and let’s face it – without a villain as good as Scaramanga this film would be a total catastrophe.

Score: 6.5/10

How many overly elaborate death traps will it take to end Bond?!?

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Scaramanga – only his sportsmanship/confidence lets him down. 10
Henchmen: Nick Nack; Spanish (?) midget, no physical prowess, not too clever either. 3
Bond Girl: Dr Goodnight – clumsy but pretty. Andrea Anders – Swedish Bikini Babe. French Belly Dancer. 9
Action: dressing room / sumo fight / boat chase / karate temple / Car chase (with terrible sound effect) 7

Even Paul McCartney didn't have Wings like this...

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Live and Let Die: after 3 British agents are murdered by a sound, a snake and a funeral precession (!!) James Bond gets sent on the case, leading him into a world of underground drug crime and voodoo.

Starting as he means to go on... ridiculously

Apparently Roger Moore though that the idea of a world-class spy being so easily recognised by terrorists, and being known by name (and drink) in every bar around the world was absurd. Between this school of thought, and the fact that it was the 1970s James Bond soon found himself as the embodiment of camp; calling everyone darling, acting through his eyebrows, and cranking up the innuendo to the max. Moore’s Bond is essentially a cheeky detective, not a ruthless spy. Despite adapting these traits the chauvinism is still in tact – conning a tarot expert into bed rendering her useless and in danger… you just can’t teach a new Bond new tricks!

The price of losing against James Bond, your vagina!

All of the baddies and henchmen are African American, and there’s a real ‘Black Vibe’ to the this film – it’s set in Harlem, New Orleans and Caribbean Islands, there’s a 1970s soul music soundtrack, urban colloquialism, a ‘brotherhood’ against Bond, afros… you name it, pretty much every black stereotype is rampant in this one. To balance it out we also get a ridiculous redneck cop, who’s got to be one of the worst minor characters in the franchise.

That's no way to treat a lady James. (Had to crop the afro)

 

Unlike any of the other films before it this is when Bond starts getting really risque, treading a fine line between racial stereotyping, there’s the first round of implied heavy-duty swearing (including a well edited mother f…), and the crime gang aren’t scheming world domination, but pushing heroin – a real social issue.

 

Baron Samedi - Theatrical but memorable

Solitaire - Just plain ol' memorable

Live and Let die bursts out the blocks with 3 of the most memorable assassinations in the series, followed by one of the biggest-sounding songs. The rest of the film is spent boosting an intriguing story with mysterious voodoo, and some exotic locations. The action is top-drawer – including the now legendary boat chases – and the watch/magnet/saw is one of the best gadgets yet. Despite a new Bond, and new take on the tried and tested formula Live and Let Die is memorable for all the right reasons.

Super crazy magnet watch!!

Super crazy circular saw watch!!

Score: 7/10

What happened to the silhouettes of naked women in the credits?!?!

TOP TRUMPS
Villian: Kananga / Mr Big – pretty smart and ruthless. 7
Henchmen: Hook hand Tee Hee, Whisper, Baron Samedi – none of them die!! 9
Bond Girls: No neckline Solitaire can read my cards any time! Useless agent Rosie Carver. 7
Action: bus chase, assasinations, plane crazy, crocs, legendary boat chase. 8

Easily the most annoying minor character in history... WTF!?

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Diamonds Are Forever: After killing off two Blofelds in the pre-title credits Bond is sent to investigate a diamond stockpiling scheme that turns out to be far greater and more dangerous than anyone initially thought.

Ahhh, now we know why Connery came back to the role...

Returning to the role, Connery looks crazy-old here; wild eye brows, a massive chest wig and a little jowly on the cheeks. This is supposed to be the world’s most effective spy, not someone’s lazy uncle on an early retirement jolly! Despite clearly going through the motions Connery still has a sparkle in his eyes.

This is what a perfect spy looks like!! I'm 1/2 way there!!!

The promiscuously gay henchmen Mr Wint and Mr Kidd are genuinely freaky and despicable characters that give me the willies (!!) – like two halves of one person they work exceptionally well together, bounce dialogue between themselves and have some morbidly dark Bond-style quips. They are also the ultimate in over-elaborate and protracted Bond deaths.

Not everyone rates these guys, but they are menacing and memorable

The main setting here is America (namely Vegas), but it’s a pretty grotesque characature – everything’s in excess, the lights are bright, and the glamour’s slapped on, neon signs, casinos, cabaret, muscle cars… no stereotype is left untouched.

Another run-of-the-mill day in 'Vegas

Being the third actor to play Blofeld Charles Gray tries his best to put yet another spin on the character; adding sophistication, arrogance (and cross-dressing) but there wasn’t much he could do placed in this ridiculous situation. It also adds weight to the notion that Blofeld is a chameleon-style master of disguise, and at the forefront of plastic surgery!

Sledging down a hill on a cello case was less ridiculous than the 'moon buggy'

Overall, Diamonds goes back to Dr No territory, with a greater emphasis on conspiracy and clandestine activity than super-crazy action or zaney schemes. The master weapon isn’t unveiled until the end, along with the only big action set piece on the oil rig; which wouldn’t be complete without a goon shouting instructions and ultimatums over the PA system. As a Bond film, this one’s pretty middle of the road.

He's a... wheelie good driver *sorry*

Score: 5/10

 

 

Once again Bond saves the world and wet's the girl

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Blofeld, again, but with hair!!! Lets Bond play with the master computer though – fail!!! 5
Henchmen: intelligent weirdos couple – experimental and effective. Bambi/Thumper acrobats – rubbish. 7
Bond Girl: Plenty O’Toole – Annoying but amazing / Tiffany Case – Also very hot. 7
Action: Lift Fight / Moonbuggy Chase / Vegas Car Chase / Oil Rig at end. 6

As a Scot, there's olny one answer to the question: "Who's your favourite James Bond". So long Connery!

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On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: After saving some ginger chick from suicide a ‘James Bond’ gets dragged into a plot that sees him save the world from a biblical-scale man-made plague!

All in a day's work for the world's best spy

For a Sean Connery replacement Lazenby is so meek and timid in comparison, with no real screen presence, charisma or any of the charm that the other Bond actors have. In parts he looks as uncomfortable as a schoolboy dressed up in a suit! It’s an interesting technique used to try and convince us that this is still James Bond: the credits are littered with iconic shots from previous outings, Lazenby lovingly sifts through props from previous adventures as the theme songs get played, and we even see a midget whistling the Goldfinger theme!! Another random motif was “All The Time In The World” being played throughout.

"When I click my fingers you will believe he is Bond"

The number of girls in this film was ridiculous, and the “Angels of Death” is clearly a shady plot device used to springboard the featured girls to stardom. Worse still, despite being chemically imbalanced and hypnotised, Bond still takes advantage of these unstable girls! Tut tut James!

He's got 99 problems and his bitches are at least 12

It’s also pretty dark for a Bond film; opening with a suicide attempt, followed by Bond resigning from MI6, then engaging with Terrorists. And as for the ending, yikes, that’s about as bleak as the franchise gets.

James Bond, married... Pah!

MacGyver Bond sneaking between the ‘allergy clinic’ rooms is about the only remotely interesting part of the first hour – the set up is so boring… it drifts along into the final 20 minutes or so, which pick up a little and are the only redeeming feature in an otherwise tepid effort.

I hope nobody's allergic to snow...

Between the late 60s psychedelia / ‘far out’ vibe, and campy story, this is as close to Austin Powers as Bond ever got. As a one-off film – with another spy at the centre – this may have worked, but as a James Bond film, it’s absolutely rubbish.

Score: 2/10

"Who loves ya, baby Bond?"

TOP TRUMPS

Villain: Ernst Blofeld (Legendary Megalomaniac) executing the most trippy scheme. 6
Henchmen: Ginger Manchild Lady – pretty rubbish! 4
Babes: Tempremental Red-Head – good times. Several mentally unstable girls – bad times. 5
Action: Last 20 minutes – Guns, Skiing, Toboggan. 3

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You Only Live Twice: as USSR and American space ships disappear above the sea of Japan, and US-Soviet tensions reach boiling point only one spy can get to the bottom of this…

Commander Bond PUNK's his colleagues

No doubt inspired by the space race, the opening credits are out of this world. Then WTF – Bond gets killed! This is the first film where the emphasis and scale of the action is pushed to the next level; there’s a board room fight with the sumo wrestler; large dock fight with all the sailors moving up to the roof; an aerial dogfight in Little Nellie; Ninja trainign camp, and storming of the secret volcano lair…

Little Nellie - Such a cool autogyro. Real too!

Japan is the backdrop of this and plays a large part in the story; it’s represented pretty well – a fine balancing act between the (then) cutting edge technology and the historic & traditional. Also, Japanese James Bond = Lloyd Christmas.

"We got no food, no jobs - our Pets' heads are falling off!!!"

This also has one of the most unforgettable real sets of any film, in the hollowed out volcano lair with full-scale control room, launch pad, monorail, helipad. Such a great achievement for Pinewood studios.

This mammoth set would all be CGI today!

Other than a couple of long-ish story sections – like the marriage – this is a top-drawer Bond flick, with plenty of action, a gripping story and just a little bit of ridiculousness – making it oh-so easy to spoof in the likes of Austin Powers.

Score: 7.5/10

First look at Ernst Stavro Blofeld - another plan to start WWIII foiled

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Ernst Blofeld – Head of SPECTRE and legendary original megalomaniac. 8
Henchmen: Mr Osato – Old Businessman / Ronald Rich – Red Rip-off. 3
Bond Girl: Ginger Helga – Looking good pre-piranha  / several Japanese wimin. 6
Action: Too much to mention. 8

although the at the door sign reads "Beauty Parlour" this is a sumo match!

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Thunderball: A NATO bomber carrying nukes ditches in the sea prompting a ransom from SPECTRE and 7-day ultimatum – and James Bond is the only person with a lead.

Ciao... Seeing double vision

Thunderball is a pretty shocking follow-up to Goldfinger, with almost zero memorable – let alone iconic – scenes /or lines. It’s also punctuated with too many lengthy and boring underwater set-pieces, peaking with a battle that goes on forever and lacks any audio element.

What's that sound? Nothing...

The only vaguely famous scene would be the card game in the casino with one-eye’d Largo. As far as villains go, Largo is pretty poor, but his main henchman – straight-edge Vargas, takes the piss: what a pitiful baddie. I almost felt sorry for those two.

Aye aye cap'n

If Thunderball’s good for something it’s showing us deeper into Bond’s psyche – he blackmails and forces himself upon women,  will sleep with absolutely anyone, does whatever it takes for King and Country, and is so reckless that he doesn’t care who’s life he endangers!

Bond getting ready to pump for information

The most memorable scene is the ridiculously sped-up projections at the end, genuinely laugh out loud material – yet Thunderball won the Oscar for best SFX. It’s a bit of a car crash for a Goldfinger follow-up and far, far, far too long given how little happens.

Score: 2.5/10

Now pay attention 007

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Largo, one eyed sailor – Number 2 – just following orders. 5
Henchmen: Ginger Fiona / Straight-Edge Vargas – the worst henchman ever. 2
Bond Girl: Bikini girl Domino / Spa Worker Patricia. 4
Action: Tranny fight / Boat Chase / Scuba War. 4

Vargas does not drink... does not smoke... does not make love... loser

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Goldfinger: 007 is sent to investigate a gold-smuggling operation, but uncovers a much larger plot involving Fort Knox, a nuclear bomb, lethal gas, and a lot of gold bouillon…

Epidermal Suffocation - debatable, but iconic!

It’s impossible to do justice in such a short review, but Goldfinger is  cinematic gold (!!). It’s crammed end-to-end with iconography, from unforgettable imagery through to the timeless – but slightly cheesy – script. The opening scenes where Bond stealthily snorkels behind enemy lines and blows up a secret base (the first proper pre-credits mini mission) sets the tone for Goldfinger, and from there on in the story thunders through until Bond’s capture, when it slows down until the raid on Fort Knox.

Aston Martin - arguably Bond's true sweetheart

Despite almost every scene being recognisable, some of the highlights are; the Aston Martin debut – packed with gadgets, Golf playoff (should be boring!), / Pussy Galore, scuba gear to white tux, ‘shocking’, Laser Scene “Do you expect me to talk”, ticking nuke, Auric and his Gold fetish, explosive decompression, hundreds of collapsing soldiers, Oddjob and his hat, gold body paint…

Goldfinger - Star of the show

Random Task - Oddjob and his current hat

It’s also the pinnacle of Bond’s unbelievable sexist streak – when he condescendingly explains to his female colleague: ‘run along dear, man talk’ then proceeds to give her a massive slap on the arse. They just don’t make ’em like that these days!

As Felix stares on... wrong on so many levels

Another interesting aspect is that of all the physically dominating, power-hungry, and certifiably insane Bond villains we’ve seen over the years, it’s a small, fat (& dubbed) – and in the end, greedy -German that sits up there with the best of them. Despite the film’s greatness some questions are best left unanswered, like why is there a mass of asian labour in the middle of Kentucky? or how did such rubbish gangsters ever make it big (“What’s this?” “Who’s that!?”).

Perhaps the single still that sums up the franchise

The final product is an unforgettable, and near-perfect blend of the two themes that make Bond films great; mystery-thriller and large-scale action. Fantastic as a stand-alone film, and one of the highlights of the franchise.

Score: 8/10

Pussy Galore - proof that even lesbians digg Bond

TOP TRUMPS

Villain: Auric Goldfinger – Golf, Gold and laser-loving menace. 9
Henchmen: Oddjob – Silent but violent. 9
Bond Girl: Pussy Galore / Masterton Sisters – three’s a crowd. 8
Action: Car chase, opium explosion, golf, long Fort Knox fight. – 7

Still haven't seen a game of golf this tense

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From Russia With Love: James Bond must assist a Soviet Defector, while watching his back as SPECTRE are out to avenge the death of Dr No.

Bond and Bey - an espionage dream team

First appearance of Ernst Stavro Blofeld - Number 1

As with Dr No, this film expands on several more recurring themes in the series; most notably Q Branch and the gadgets, pre-title action (although technically a mini mission), and Red Grant – the first of Bonds larger-than-life opposite numbers – and more generally ‘henchmen’ carrying out the grunt work on behalf of the main villain. More than anything else From Russia is quite the sexist film, with crass lesbian overtones, full-on belly-dancing credits, a ridiculously overlong scantily-clad girl fight and continual put-down of the women – what happened to the ladykiller from Dr No?!?

Tatiana Romanova - Bond Girl and defecting agent

For me this film is summed up by “Trains and Tunisia”, as it takes around an hour for anything substantial to happen. Unfortunately, Bond doesn’t even make it to Russia (Cold War tensions were high at the time), yet the film’s full of Terrible Russian – and English – accents. For being one of the most celebrated and highly rated films I personally don’t think that there’s much to like in From Russia, and that the majority of the film is mediocre and forgettable.

Score 4/10

Red Grant - the first of many muscelmen

TOP TRUMPS
Villain: Rosa Kleb – looks mean, pointy shoes but killed by the Bond Girl! – 5
Henchmen: Red – benchpressing benchmark for super-strength bad guys / Footnote for chess Grandmaster – 7
Bond Girl: Tania – Hot Russian – 8
Action: Train fight, helicopter, Boat Chase – 3

The main weapon - "she got her kicks"

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Dr. No: Britain’s best spy James Bond is sent to Jamaica to investigate the disappearance of another agent, when he uncovers a more sinister plot. The first thing we see is Bond’s silhouette crossing the screen then going for ‘the gun barrel shot’, followed by the unmistakable Bond credits.

The now famous gun barrel shot, which opens up every movie

Opening credit silhouette - another hallmark of the films - no nudity in this one

I always wonder if anyone could have known how iconic these scenes would become. As the first film in the series Dr. No does a superb job of delivering a rock solid spy story, while simultaneously setting up the franchise potential by introducing the main people, themes & concepts: Bond, Double O’s, M, Moneypenny, SPECTRE, PPK, exotic locations, universal exports, quips, action, car chases, licence to kill, fights, exploding cars, theme song, Spectre, alcoholism, espionage and boner-inducing bond girls. Bond himself bursts on to screen embodying suaveness, ingenuity, Britishness, intellect, sex appeal, and – of course – sexism!

Bond's entrance, the epitome of cool

We also quickly come to realise that only in a Bond film would you find great and believable gadgets/technology, but the most lenient use of scientific principals like gravity and radiation! There’s a few glaring continuity errors, but that’s another aspect of the films that we’ve all grown to love. Given that this was made in 1962 the film still stands up well today as a touchstone for the genre. While it’s primarily a detective story backed up by a little action, it’s still a great way to open up the series, and the idea of a ‘secret agent’ film.

Score: 7/10

Honey Rider's entrance - still to be topped

TOP TRUMPS

Villain: Dr No – Crushing metal hands & general megalomaniac – solid, archetypal villain. 8
Henchmen: Asian secretary Spy and the Marine Biologist – weak line up. 3
Bond Girl: Honey Rider (Ursula Andress) with the most iconic entrance of any character in the series – Hubba Hubba – 10
Action: Car Chase, several attempted murders, fake dragon, villains base destroyed – more would be gratuitous. 5

Dr. No - the first of many megalomaniacs

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As a kid, I was one of the millions that grew up watching the James Bond films in total amazement – over and over on VHS and on the TV every Christmas. In the UK, James Bond is arguably the single biggest institution – everyone from your young cousins to grandparents has watched most of the films and has an opinion on their favourite Bond, film, Bond Girl, villain, poster… Globally, Bond is nothing short of a phenomenon, proving himself to be one of the UK’s biggest exports.

First Bond collection, bought film by film

Starting in 1962 the Bond films are the longest-running franchise in cinema history, and hold the 2nd best all-time non-adjusted box office for a film series after Harry Potter (beating Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Batman, Star Trek…) To pinpoint the one thing that makes Bond so successful would be impossible, but I suspect that it has something to do with 007 having a dream job, dream girls, dream gadgets, dream cars all topped off with a dangerous lifestyle.

At the risk of ruining all of my fond childhood memories, I’m going to watch every single Bond with a critical eye over the next month to find out how Fleming and Broccoli managed to mould a single spy into one of the most cultural, global & timeless icons of all time. Everyone’s welcome to join in. There’s a schedule below this post and more info here and here.


From memory, Bond is a modern day cowboy who’s swapped his six-shooter for a PPK and horse for horse-power. He does little thinking, and lives for danger, jumping foot first into the action. He’s well dressed, and has exquisite tastes in everything from food & drink though to clothes and women. Most importantly for the movies, Bond has blind loyalty to his country and will do absolutely anything to progress the mission – naturally, this always gets him into perilous situations, which is the lifeblood of each movie. Despite spanning almost 50 years it seems like the Bond films have stuck to the same formula for

Hero + Villains + Babes + Danger + Action = Great cinema!

Over the course of January we’ll see how that formula holds up!

Cheers,

Paul
Paragraph Film Reviews

3rd Jan – Dr No
4th Jan – From Russia With Love
5th Jan – Goldfinger
6th Jan – Thunderball
7th Jan – You Only Live twice

10th Jan – On Her Majesties Secret Service
11th Jan – Diamonds Are Forever
12th Jan – Live and let Die
13th Jan – Man with the Golden Gun
14th Jan – The Spy Who Loved Me
15th Jan – Moonraker

17th Jan – For Your Eyes Only
18th Jan – Octopussy
19th Jan – A View To A Kill
20th Jan – The Living Daylights
21st Jan – Licence to Kill

24th Jan – GoldenEye
25th Jan – Tomorrow Never Dies
26th Jan – The World is Not Enough
27th Jan – Die Another Day
28th Jan – Casino Royale
29th Jan – Quantum of Solace

Quick follow-up from my last post about James Bond January – more details here. It’s still not too late to sign up; from today there’s over seven weeks – or 54 days – until the Quantum of Solace posts get published. That’s a Bond flick every 2 1/2 days, so still totally achievable if you wanted to do every film!

Content wise, the posts don’t have to be limited to reviews, they can be memories, features, lists, observations, pictures, critiques or even anti-Bond posts! Anything that will generate discussion on the franchise is cool by me.

A final clarification – you can do one film, all twenty-two films, or any number in between. Just be sure that they match the schedule in this post and are all tagged “James Bond January” so everyone can follow this.

Here’s a list of the current participants, I’ll keep this as up to date as I can.

Aiden (Cut The Crap Movie Reviews)
Darren M (The M0vie Blog)
Marc (Go See Talk)
Heather (Movie Mobsters)
Caz (Lets Go To The Movies)
Andrew (Andrew at the Cinema)
Andy – (Fandango Groovers)
Clara (Via-51)
Mikey (The Reviewer)
Nicola (Average Film Reviews)
Andrew (Row Three)
Clarabela (Just Chick Flicks)
Sledge (Battle Royale with Cheese)
Erik (Film Jabber)
Klaus (Ming)
Jason (The Athletic Nerd)
Sarah (She Likes to Watch)
Joem (Does Writing Excuse Watching?)
Stu – (Undy a Hundy)
The Peoples Movies Blog
Susannah -(Not Really Working)
Java – (Java’s Journey)
Steve – (Watching the Detectives)

If you fancy spreading the word by re-blogging / linking / e-mailing / tweeting some info on your blogs – or to individuals that may be interested in this – it would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks,

Paul,
Paragraph Film Reviews.

Calling all film reviewers!!

Given that the Bond films are THE most successful, and one of the few universally-loved franchises in the history of cinema I thought it would only be fitting to to give the world’s greatest spy his own awesome feature.

The idea’s simple; everyone that wants to take part watches all – or any – of the Bond movies and posts up their reviews to the schedule (below) throughout the January, tagging them all “James Bond January” so we can all keep up with the event.


UPDATE POST HERE

Best case scenario: over the course of January the 22 clustered film reviews bring this project worldwide notoriety, re-emphasises why Bond is so great, the next movie is finally green-lighted and we all get a million blog hits!!!!Awesome!!!

Worst case scenario: a massive group of avid Bond fans all get to watch and discuss the villains, gadgets, cars and babes of every James Bond film – from Dr No through to Quantum of Solace!!StillAwesome!!

If you’re interested in participation, please comment or send an e-mail to the address below and I’ll put your name/blog link on list I’ll publish nearer the time. If you think you know anyone that would be interested, please, please, please forward this message to them. And feel free to re-post, hot-link, podcast or tweet this post.

It doesn’t matter if you want to do one, two or every single film; the more people that muck in, the better!

Cheers,

Paul
Paragraph Film Reviews
paragraphfilmreviews@hotmail.com


James Bond January – Schedule

3rd Jan – Dr No
4th Jan – From Russia With Love
5th Jan – Goldfinger
6th Jan – Thunderball
7th Jan – You Only Live twice

10th Jan – On Her Majesties Secret Service
11th Jan – Diamonds Are Forever
12th Jan – Live and let Die
13th Jan – Man with the Golden Gun
14th Jan – The Spy Who Loved Me
15th Jan – Moonraker

17th Jan – For Your Eyes Only
18th Jan – Octopussy
19th Jan – A View To A Kill
20th Jan – The Living Daylights
21st Jan – Licence to Kill

24th Jan – GoldenEye
25th Jan – Tomorrow Never Dies
26th Jan – The World is Not Enough
27th Jan – Die Another Day
28th Jan – Casino Royale
29th Jan – Quantum of Solace

UDATE POST HERE