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James Bond January

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?!

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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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