06 December 2007

Guest: Bond, James Bond (1983-1985)

1983 - Octopussy - Let’s go back to bein all wacky! Why the hell not?

The series has basically earned the right to be anything it wants, no longer reinventing the wheel but cycling through the methods it has pioneered, alternating to keep up with the mood of the audience, what they think those anonymous bastards want to see, which apparently is bland India espionage. Jewel smuggling: still not interesting.

Here goes my vote for most one-dimensional Bond girl, so bland that the same attributes go to two different characters. “I collect memories.” Uh… okay, significance? Somebody? Anybody?

If you want to see what is basically a bunch of other Bond films jammed into one, this would be it. Most of the ideas appear to come from Goldfinger (an acrobatic army consisting entirely of women, plot to blow something up, intimidating henchman crushing objects with their bare hands, Bond spending much of the late second act at the villain’s villa, learning the plot via surveillance, spotting danger in a reflective surface, climax on a plane).

Probably the most forgettable Bond of the entire series. Nothing new here except for the occasional well-filmed action sequence and totally neato gadget. Buzz-saw yo-yo?! I want seven.

“And this… for my brother.” (5.0/10)
d. John Glen

1983 - Never Say Never Again - Ever wondered what Bond would look like in an 80’s action movie? … Why? Well, here you go anyway, a crazy alternate universe where jokes about Connery Bond’s total lack of being able to fit into modern times bombard him constantly from all angles while he looks too old for this shit. The film is actually a welcome change of pace. Moore has done a bang-up job so far, but I am a bit tired of him, and the official films are in their typical state of decline. And it's Thunderball. Thunderball! Mostly.

It’s ten years later and Connery looks better here than he did in Diamonds Are Forever, even with all of the makeup. That’s fine, though, because this makes up for the mistake that was returning to the role last time. It looks like he's actually fighting people!

Bad casting for Blofeld. Sorry, I can only see Max von Sydow as a seasoned priest or the creator of Precrime. Maybe a chess-playing knight. His role amounts to nothing, as the real villain of the story is Largo, played excellently by Klaus Maria Brandauer.

Good special effects, save for a shitty looking dive off of a castle via horse. Eon Productions should get up on this. The only formula the movie doesn’t get right is the gadgets. Whenever a hairy situation arises, it is quite obvious as to how Bond will escape.

This had great potential to be awful, as the 80’s is basically a holocaust for action films. This turned out to be quite good, and would have made a fine addition to the official series.

Later, Connery. I’d say goodbye, but who knows, you might return once more. We all know you love acting almost as much as you love smacking women around, admit it.

“Heavy, Mr. Bond?” (6.5/10)
d. Irvine Kershner
[will Rowan Atkinson ever look different?]

1985 - A View to a Kill - Always with the skiing. Why with the skiing?

Like You Only Live Twice, it’s a slow build to realization that this is going to suck, and suck it hard. The screenwriters must have thought that an illegal horse drugs ring would provide for many double entendres about sex. Kudos to them. Too bad roiding equines is about as interesting as smuggling jewels, and a bigger scheme which is basically plot-stolen from the first Superman film.

Christopher Walken can be menacing in anything. His back story: what the hell? If you’re going to bring up a KGB past with slight implications of genetic manipulation, you damn well follow through with it.

Within the context of the series, ie being in the mood for it and/or knowing that there are lower points than this, the film isn’t so terrible. It lacks love, passion, and a good script is all.

You’d think that British Secret Service would know by now not to look for Bond after a successful mission, as he is likely banging the hell out of the female costar, but no, they keep patching his image in to all government higher ups. What the hell is the matter with them?

Every aspect of the “winning” Bond formula loses here. Not only is it blithely executed, it is simply lazy, with the worst titular line ever. “Wow, what a view… to a kill!” DUN DUN DUNNNNN. Well I’m pumped, I wonder if that’s where the climax is going to be!

Both Moore and Connery’s worst outing as 007 have the same line, “But of course you are,” delivered under the same circumstances. COINCIDENCE?!!! Uh... probably.

Filmmakers at this point have confused ‘tongue-in-cheek’ with ‘cartoony bullshit.’ A somewhat triumphant rescue from a burning building is marred by reaction shot after reaction shot and an immediate clash with local law enforcement, again. More comic-relief ruining what could have been a kickass chase involving a fire engine with an unlocked ladder.

Sadly, this is the exit. Farewell, Roger Moore, you were a good Bond. Can’t say I’m going to miss your commentary, though.

Bring on Tim Dalty.

“This will hurt him more than me. Hahaha.” (4.5/10)
d. John Glen