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The James Bond Rewatch

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Who is your favorite Bond?

Connery 10 34.48%
 
Lazenby 0 0.00%
 
Moore 1 3.45%
 
Dalton 2 6.90%
 
Brosnan 9 31.03%
 
Craig 7 24.14%
 
Total:29

“My friend, if you really want my advice, you should spend a few pleasant days with us here in Istanbul, and then, then go home.”

From Russia with Love is one of those rare sequels that doesn’t just match or succeed over its predecessor, it absolutely knocks it out of the park. Steeped in spy-craft and Cold War machinations, this film moves along at a steady clip as James Bond is enveloped in SPECTRE’s web of revenge whilst trying to steal a code breaking machine from the Russians. Connery returns as 007 and is in fine form as if he has been playing the role for years. Surrounded by an excellent supporting cast and (with the addition of Desmond Llewelyn taking over the role of “Q”) cementing the Bond entourage, this film builds upon Dr. No and fleshes out the emerging Bond formula. The franchise would not have lasted as long as it has if these first entries were not at the top of their game and this sequel proves that Bond is here to stay.

Connery still imbues Bond with a sense of vulnerability. His quiet rage at the death of his friend and his mild panic at being cornered by Red Grant give Connery a chance to show a greater humanity before Bond would devolve into the quippy action hero of later years. The villains are a step ahead of him throughout almost the entire film. His satisfaction of finding the listening device in his room is tempered by the fact that it appeared intentional they wanted him to switch to the bridal suite as part of their grand plan. Grant saves Bond’s life at the gypsy camp and Bond appears puzzled at the sudden death of an attacker that would have him dead to rights. However Connery is so self-assured and confident in the role, that you never take Bond as the fool.

The last act does seem to tack on some unnecessary action scenes to emulate the final battle at Dr. No’s lair from the previous film. Having bested their most lethal assassin, SPECTRE sends a grenade-dropping helicopter, a trio of boats with machine guns and RPGs, and finally, a middle-aged lady with a shoe knife. The action is fine with Bond’s battle with the helicopter an obvious homage to North by Northwest. Although I could not help but chuckle that SPECTRE’s last chance to win was to send their director of operations out into the field. It seems more necessary to wrap up the plot than to follow any kind of logic. The mysterious Number One does make his first appearance and the film furthers the mystery by crediting his actor as “?” in the credits. We also get the first “James Bond will return in __________” letting us know that Bond is about to become a constant in our lives.

As previously stated, the supporting cast is excellent however a special shout out must go to Pedro Armendariz as Kerim Bey. Following Jack Lord’s Felix Leiter is not easy but Kerim Bey is such a warm, funny and dependable ally to Bond, he almost steals the show in Istanbul. That Armendariz gives such a great performance while in the final stages of illness is even more impressive. He will set the tone for many allies that Bond will have over the years and only few will be able to match his performance.

From Russia with Love is 9/10. A truly great spy caper with great action, moves and countermoves between the various factions that take advantage of its setting and climaxing with one of the best fist fights in cinema history between Bond and Grant. It’s brutal, visceral and largely done by the actors and not stunt doubles which shows on the screen. Sure to be at the top of any Bond fan’s list, I admittedly have it at number two but we’ll see if this rewatch changes that.

Current Rankings:
1) From Russia with Love
2) Dr. No



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Little mini-announcement. All the Bond films from Dr. No to Die Another Day will be available on Amazon Prime starting November 1st. I don’t know how long they’ll last but for anyone not wanting to dig out their home releases or looking for a reliable streaming alternative, you’ll have one soon. They’ll also have 1983’s Never Say Never Again which we’re not covering here but for those completists out there. Thanks to everyone who has participated thus far!



Doc755 said:

Little mini-announcement. All the Bond films from Dr. No to Die Another Day will be available on Amazon Prime starting November 1st. I don’t know how long they’ll last but for anyone not wanting to dig out their home releases or looking for a reliable streaming alternative, you’ll have one soon. They’ll also have 1983’s Never Say Never Again which we’re not covering here but for those completists out there. Thanks to everyone who has participated thus far!

Thank you!

Didn't have Goldfinger and it wasn't on Netflix so I was bummed out about missing this week.



Snesboy said:
Doc755 said:

Little mini-announcement. All the Bond films from Dr. No to Die Another Day will be available on Amazon Prime starting November 1st. I don’t know how long they’ll last but for anyone not wanting to dig out their home releases or looking for a reliable streaming alternative, you’ll have one soon. They’ll also have 1983’s Never Say Never Again which we’re not covering here but for those completists out there. Thanks to everyone who has participated thus far!

Thank you!

Didn't have Goldfinger and it wasn't on Netflix so I was bummed out about missing this week.

Goldfinger is currently available on PlutoTV, a free streaming service that as far as I can tell does not edit their films. I actually watched the second half of Dr. No there when my DVD messed up.



I just finished watching Goldfinger.

And... I don't know what to say. It was the best out of the three movies so far right up until the end. This hits the right spot between silly and serious spy stuff. Sean Connery is great as alway, he carries half of the weight of the movie. The other half is Gert Fröbe, whose afably evil portrayal makes him the most interesting villain thus far. Plus the theme of gold makes for a really interesting motive to everything he does. That and the plan actually has quite a punch, though his plan seems to have more holes than the movie shows.

But the ending... oh the ending. I don't want to make spoilers, but the reason the good guys ultimately win is just completely wrong. Not just silly, not just dumb, wrong. A character does something so out of character by reasons so questionable that I'm just left wondering how the hell noone bothered with a rewrite or two. Without this action, the bad guys would be succesful, and nothing Bond could've done would have changed that. It feels like a deux ex machina, the writers needed this character to take this decision so that Bond would win. And because said character is never shown to really side with Bond until the end, I'm left scratching my head.

Dr. No is silly in a 60's spy shlock, but in the end it works as a small story for Bond. From Russia with Love is a solid spy movie with enough strong points to overlook its many flaws. In my eyes Goldfinger should be better than the two, no it IS better than the two, but the ending wrecks the entire thing. Again, I'm not sure how to explain what's wrong without spoiling the ending.

Also, I forgot to score the movies:
Dr. No: 6/10. Nice movie, but it's an overall small story. I understand it's the first one, but still.
From Russia: 7/10. Great movie, Istambul is a great location for spy shenanigans, solid plot and great overall acting. Some character stuff could be better, though.
Goldfinger: 4/10. Dammit, Goldfinger.



You know it deserves the GOTY.

Come join The 2018 Obscure Game Monthly Review Thread.

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“Ah! Welcome to Auric Stud, Mr. Bond.”

Goldfinger is not the best Bond film but it’s arguably the quintessential Bond film. If you were only going to recommend one film from this franchise, this would be it. What we now know as the “Bond formula” is finalized here. Guy Hamilton takes over direction from Terence Young and firmly plants his tongue in cheek. Bond is not as serious and Connery’s full charm is on display. The villains’ plots go from Cold War power plays to a more fantastical variety. We get our first great Bond theme song (and quite possibly the best). The Bond films had been stylish from the start but starting with Goldfinger, Bond becomes more than just a secret agent working for England and becomes a signature silver screen hero.

Connery continues to impress in his third outing. One of the most memorable scenes is when he is strapped to a table with a laser inching perilously closer to slicing him in half. The mild panic on Connery’s face truly sells the scene. Is Bond going to die here? Spoiler alert: no. But the scene is wracked with tension as Bond scrambles to save himself as the music crescendoes. Earlier in the film I had noticed Bond smiling almost constantly, a smug self-assurance. That is completely missing here and what helps make the scene so effective.

Guy Hamilton provides a lighter touch to the Bond films. His best possible contribution? His note to Desmond Llewelyn as Q: Bond takes these gadgets that were built with care by his department and thoroughly destroys them in the field. The contempt he has for Bond’s carelessness with his work is what makes the Q scenes a pure delight in any Bond film. That all starts here as well as introducing the incredible Aston Martin DB5. Other than the Batmobile, I could not picture a car from cinema that would be better to have.

The supporting cast is once again filled with great actors. Gert Frobe as Goldfinger and Harold Sakata as Oddjob, the first in a long line of quirky henchmen, are more than a match for 007. In addition we get the lovely Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore, more than just a cheeky name, she’s both a pilot and a judo expert. There’s some question as to her late change of heart especially after cringe-worthy courtship in a barn. This is one the film’s few plot holes that become apparent once the final credits roll.

Hamilton’s direction seemed to be more focused on action and style leaving the film with a litter of continuity errors, the famous “three more ticks” being the most egregious. The script also could have benefited from a polish. Despite these shortcomings, the story tends to suck you in and it is only in reflection that there are several questions raised about the logic of certain events. Does this hurt the film? Possibly. But the film’s adventure provides enough escapism that a lot of the questions are sufficiently glossed over and don’t detract from the viewing experience.

Goldfinger is an 8/10. Elevated an extra point due to a purely personal love and its overall importance to the Bond canon, it’s essential viewing. From the opening teaser and Shirley Bassey’s great, brassy title theme that will have you humming it the rest of the day to the welcome return of set designer Ken Adam and his impressive (if impractical) Fort Knox set where the final battle takes place, this is a thrill ride of the highest caliber. Bond successfully makes the transition from gritty spy thrillers to escapist fantasy, or spy-fi as it would come to be known, launching a number of imitators for decades to come.

Current Rankings:
1) From Russia with Love
2) Goldfinger
3) Dr. No



Thunderball is now in the books. I'm rating it a 7. A little drop in quality from Goldfinger, but enjoyable nonetheless.

We pass the two hour mark for the first time, but the pacing doesn't suffer much. The underwater battle scene at the end is a little long winded, but other than that I have few complaints in that regard.

Largo is a decent enough villain, but the least memorable of the films so far. He lacks the quirks of Goldfinger, the physical threat of Grant or the mystique of Dr. No. Of course, there's some nice exchanges with Bond, particularly when the latter keeps dropping the word 'spectre' in the casino. I like Domino a lot as a Bond girl, and her 'turn' (so to speak) is far more natural than that of Pussy Galore. I feel both her and Fiona Volpe are nicely developed characters.

I loved the atmosphere in the scene where they're sneaking the body out of the sanatorium at night. Great music and use of lighting - it helps build tension effectively.

I don't mind the theme song, although it never made much of a mark for me. I'd forgotten how it went to be honest.

A few tidbits - I've always loved Bond stealing that single grape before leaving the room in the sanatorium early on in the film. Never fails to make me smile - does anyone know if this was an ad lib of sorts? Also, I swear there's a stuffed dog in the road when Bond is trying to flee from Volpe and her agents during the Junkanoo. Sort of looked like it was positioned to urinate, but perhaps I'm imagining that too.



What happened to the bomb in the boat?



You know it deserves the GOTY.

Come join The 2018 Obscure Game Monthly Review Thread.

Ok, I've left Thunderball marinate for a while now. It's not as good as Goldfinger at its best, but it's not as bad as... Goldfinger at its worst (dammit Goldfinger). The demostration on how SPECTRE takes the nuke is the highlight of the show, with the underwater fight at the end being a close second. The characters are quite clever: SPECTRE looks like a legitimate threat by pulling such a heist flawlesly and ruthlessly, and Bond using his wits as much as his fists is a really nice thing to see (Bond figuring out where the henchmen was using the recording was a thing of beauty). With that said, the big bad guy was not that bright, the "why don't you just shoot him?" conundrum being a constant here. Plus, is it just me, or does SPECTRE ask for very little for two atomic bombs? I know inflation was a thing, but 100 million dollars seems too little, even back then. The cost of organizing the hit probably cost that already. And why not sell them to the soviets for more? The setting is a bit on the lazy side, too. While Nassau seems fine, we've seen tropical landscapes and locations before in Dr. No, so it doesn't help this movie to stand out.

Overall, this is a solid 6.5/10. A good movie overall. A couple more scenes like the recording scene would have made this film much better, but as it is, it's fine.

But really, what happened to the second bomb?



You know it deserves the GOTY.

Come join The 2018 Obscure Game Monthly Review Thread.

Watching Thunderball and I loved it. Until the end when the underwater fight sequence went on forever. I was ready for the movie to be finished at the 1 hour 45 minute mark and there was still another half hour.

Everything up to that point was impressive. I loved the story. The jokes were on point (my fav was when Bond grew 6 inches XD) and the pacing was very well done. More things I loved:

Eyepatch guy
His cute lil sharks
Domino
Stealing nukes
Q and his gadgets
Bond and his stupid one liners

Now on to the bad parts:

Many "nighttime" scenes were shot during the day and had a dark filter placed over them. This was especially prevalent when the Disco Volante or whatever it was called was driving away near the end of the movie before the underwater fight sequence.

During the underwater fight sequence, the editor re-used multiple shots of Bond swimming around and taking out baddies. By the time the scene ended, Bond had taken out at least twice as many baddies as there were when they started the scene.

There were also a lot of jump cuts during the same sequence and all throughout the climax,

And of course, who could forget the ending? The fight goes on forever and then the movie just ends. I don't think there was any dialogue for at least twenty minutes.

And now for trivia:

CARS ARE CARS ALL OVER THE WORLD: The Astin Martin DB5 makes a triumphant return after Goldfinger (I didn't see that one though). It looks awesome. There isn't a car chase sequence though. Too bad. (at least from what I remember)

Best Bond girl: Domino. Hot AF

Number of girls Bond slept with: 4

- Domino
- The chick who worked for SPECTRE and died on the bed
- The rehab chick outside of London
- I can't remember the last one but I know there's one more.

All in all, the ending kills this movie and it's just too long.

5/10