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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

I just saw "You only live twice".

It's... ok? I feel like this is the most middle of the road out of all of the Sean Connery movies. The plot is good enough, though this really ramps up the sillyness factor quite a lot. Also, this probably has more "why don't you just shoot him?" moments than any of the Bond movies I've seen thus far. He is constantly at the mercy of people who could just kill him, but they don't. Seriously, even when Blofeld has Bond at his mercy (multiple times) he goes for dramatics instead of shooting! Why not? You threw a woman to a piranha pool because she didn't kill him, now you make the same mistake? It makes the villains look like buffoons. Without a threatening villain, the movie loses quite a lot, though at least it has a lot of original settings and fight scenarios.

Overall, it's a 5/10, it's worth seeing just for the amount of spy tropes it brought to the table, but in the end is not that solid of a movie.



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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!

Just FYI: the Bond films above are also available on Hulu.



Had a day off from work, so got a head start with On Her Majesty's Secret Service. I've always quite liked it, but it's better than I remember. If I could I'd go for an 8.5, but since there's no half scores I'm struggling, as I don't think it should be as low as an 8, but also shouldn't share billing with From Russia with Love... I will opt for an 8. Some notes:

- Lazenby obviously had big shoes to fill, but he did a fairly good job. Some of his lines sound a bit awkward, although I think he delivers the humourous well (they don't sound as on the nose as before). He doesn't have the superstar aura of Connery, but I think it works quite well in the context of the film, as it's a much more grounded affair than the past three. It also helps that his co stars are superb. He has a good rapport with the stunning Diana Rigg, and Telly Savalas is arguably the best villain of the series so far (he is the definitive Blofeld in my eyes). That said, there's far more emotional depth than the majority of Bond films, and I'm not sure Lazenby totally convinces me in this regard.

- The music... how have I never noticed how good it is? Fantastic score by John Barry.

- A lot of the fight scenes are really well done. Other than a few over exaggerated punches, Lazenby certainly looks the part in this regard.

- Christ, that henchman getting turned into mincemeat in that ski chase scene is absolutely brutal. The subsequent avalanche scene is wonderfully shot; it looks devastating.



drbunnig said:
Had a day off from work, so got a head start with On Her Majesty's Secret Service. I've always quite liked it, but it's better than I remember. If I could I'd go for an 8.5, but since there's no half scores I'm struggling, as I don't think it should be as low as an 8, but also shouldn't share billing with From Russia with Love... I will opt for an 8. Some notes:

- Lazenby obviously had big shoes to fill, but he did a fairly good job. Some of his lines sound a bit awkward, although I think he delivers the humourous well (they don't sound as on the nose as before). He doesn't have the superstar aura of Connery, but I think it works quite well in the context of the film, as it's a much more grounded affair than the past three. It also helps that his co stars are superb. He has a good rapport with the stunning Diana Rigg, and Telly Savalas is arguably the best villain of the series so far (he is the definitive Blofeld in my eyes). That said, there's far more emotional depth than the majority of Bond films, and I'm not sure Lazenby totally convinces me in this regard.

- The music... how have I never noticed how good it is? Fantastic score by John Barry.

- A lot of the fight scenes are really well done. Other than a few over exaggerated punches, Lazenby certainly looks the part in this regard.

- Christ, that henchman getting turned into mincemeat in that ski chase scene is absolutely brutal. The subsequent avalanche scene is wonderfully shot; it looks devastating.

This pretty much captures my thoughts as well.

Lazenby is no Connery, although his vulnerability in the role may have helped him in story that's far more emotional than usual.

The supporting case--especially Rigg--is excellent here. And this is probably the best musical score of the series.

Some small issues: the winking at the camera in the first act, with Lazenby breaking the fourth wall and then going through his trophies from earlier films. Also, some of the fight editing is really choppy, where a shot of a fist flying will cut to a body halfway across the room, with nothing in between. The ski/bobsled stuff is spectacular but the fist fights are a bit jumpy. Oh, and the huge plothole, where Blofeld doesn't recognize a man who in the previous movie destroyed his volcano lair. I get that the movies and books are going in a different order, but throw us a bone!

This gets an 8/10 from me. This is the second best Bond movie after From Russia With Love. I'm still kicking myself for always avoiding this one in my younger days.



“Welcome. Welcome to Japan, Mr. Bond.”

You Only Live Twice is a hard film to pin down. On the one hand, it takes the Bond formula that has slowly been developing over the first batch of films and pushes it further and on the other it also seems to get high on its own supply and want to coast on the fumes of the good faith the series has developed thus far. It’s hard to weigh those iconic moments (the Little Nellie aerial battle and the volcano lair) and the deficiencies in the script and plot and the general blandness of what should be an epic story. It doesn’t help that Connery has lost that sparkle and clearly has one foot out the door and appears disinterested through a large part of the film.

There are still bright spots in this otherwise average film. The Japanese supporting cast is excellent. Tetsurō Tamba as Tiger Tanaka is a great addition. His and Bond’s relationship is friendly but he takes great pleasure in ribbing Bond for his mistakes. Contrast with M who can humble Bond with a scowl, Tanaka is barely suppressing a smile at Bond‘s uneasiness in the Japanese wedding. Additionally Akiko Wakabayashi as Aki is a great partner for Bond and sadly due to the needs to the script is replaced by Mie Hama as Kissy (who isn’t even named in the film!) and should have just been allowed to be the Bond girl for the film.

The rest of the cast is questionable at best. Helga Brandt is definitely the poor woman’s Fiona Volpe. The illogical decisions her character makes does not help her in the slightest. Hans is a forgettable henchman. And then there’s Blofeld. Sigh. Blofeld has been built up as this mysterious figure now for three films and the reveal is anti-climatic in the worst possible way. I’m a huge fan of Donald Pleasance but this was a miscast. Yes, the look is iconic but he doesn’t really present the lethal, ethereal threat that has hovered over this series so far. The curtain was pulled back and you see this humbug. Luckily that will change soon enough.

There are some bright spots. Ken Adam’s volcano lair is absolutely fantastic. Even today that establishing shot still impresses. If you were making a list of the people most responsible for Bond’s success, Ken Adam would be one of the names at the top. His sets always provide that grand scale that these films are known for. Additionally, the music score helps to underscore the exotic nature of the setting. Nancy Sinatra’s theme is not as brassy or showy as the previous two but it’s a haunting and lyrical theme that tends to get overlooked. And finally, Little Nellie was a superb find. The aerial combat was a different type of action sequence and scored along with the Bond theme played almost in its entirety cannot help but put a smile on your face.

I’ve gone back and forth on my score for this one. I don’t think it’s as low as a 5 but I also think a 6 is too high. The script from Roald Dahl needed a few more passes. Dahl admitted that the producers were adamant he follow the formula and he conceded to their demands not being the normal series writer. It shows. The film kind of jerks around from set piece to set piece without much connective tissue. This could have also been compounded by the fact that the story is almost entirely new and only a few elements from the novel are present, a first for the series. However the grand epic scale of the sets and set pieces and their influence on films going forward is hard to ignore. I’m going to be generous (as I have been for a lot of these early ones) and give this a 6. I can picture the films I would rank lower than this but maybe that will change and I may re-rate it later in the rewatch.

Current Rankings:
1) From Russia with Love
2) Goldfinger
3) Thunderball
4) Dr. No
5) You Only Live Twice

Last edited by Doc755 - 6 days ago

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I just saw "On Her Majesty's Secret Service".

This was an odd movie. I like the fact there are two clear plots going on at the same time, and they end up crossing over nicely and tragically at the end. Both plots are solid in their own right: Blofeld trying to make an infertility virus to blackmail the world seems like a plausible terrorist threat, though not without its common cartoony villany the series is known for. The second plot, Bond being contacted by a mafia boss to marry his daughter, and then actually falling in love is a sweet side of the character we don't see that often. The end is probably the most heartwrenching finale for a Bond movie I've seen, and Lazenby pulls it off perfectly. By the way, George Lazenby is good as 007, but everytime I saw him I got the feeling he was 007's successor, not 007 himself. He doesn't do a bad performance, it's just... maybe he looked too young to replace Sean Connery (I have no idea of their ages at the time, I'm just going for appearenaces), and with the initial wink to the audience about being a replacement, I expected them to actually add that into the story, but they just went along as if he had always been 007, which was weird. Though, to be fair, his portrayal of 007 is quite more vulnerable than Connery's, who was always portraying an almost invincible and suave hero. It helps him stand apart from Connery, and also adds a ton with his chemistry with Tracy (Diana Rigg's performance is great as a mafia princess with a death wish until she's saved by Bond). The character of Blofeld was great, though he's fallen somewhat from his puppeteer in the shadows role in the last movies. Still, the fact he goes to kill Bond in person and ends up killing Tracey makes the Bond vs Blofeld feud definitively personal. Trying to destroy the world multiple times is business, but now it is personal. The action scenes are a mixed bag. For one, some scenes are clearly sped up, with a lot of cuts trying to make the action more dynamic, but it just makes it sloppy. On the other hand, the second half of the movie, and in particular the fight scenes in the snow, are amazing, and surprisingly gory (that snowblower machine is the stuff of nightmares).

Overall, the movie kept improving as it went along, with probably the strongest ending a Bond movie had thus far. A solid 7/10, the first half dragged a bit, but the second half made it worth it.

And, by the way, they should have played the credits in silence. The Bond theme after what happened in the end kills the mood, what the fuck.

Last edited by Darwinianevolution - 1 day ago

You know it deserves the GOTY.

Come join The 2018 Obscure Game Monthly Review Thread.

I watched Diamonds Are Forever last night. Substantial drop in quality from OHMSS. I'm rating it a 5/10.

From memory, I thought this was better than the reputation it seems to have, but this time round it felt like a bit of a chore. I didn't find it particularly engaging, the Bond girls are mostly useless and those scenes on the oil rig... awful. It doesn't take itself too seriously, but at times it felt like a parody. Charles Gray has a decent turn as Blofeld, obviously not up to Telly Savalas' standard, but good nonetheless (it does bother me that he was also that fella that got stabbed in You Only Live Twice though). I also enjoyed Jimmy Dean as William Whyte, as well as the Wint and Kidd duo. I gather the latter two aren't highly regarded as villains, but I've always liked the way they interact with one another. Connery is coasting through, although some of his lines still give me a laugh (eg "who is you floor?", "I'm afraid you caught me with more than my hands up").

I'm really looking forward to digging into the Moore era next.



Diamonds are Forever starts OK at first. It has a breezy, campy rhythm that makes it watchable, if not enjoyable. It tends to get worse as it goes though.

The locations--Vegas, Baja--are meek and borderline sleazy, there are too many side characters, the diamond heist plot spins its wheels forever (before the mystery villain is revealed), and Jill St. John's Tiffany Case feels underdeveloped. This is the first Bond movie where I consistently thought "what is the point?"

Now, some pros. The main theme, sung by Bassey is really good. Also, the movie actually has a few laugh-out-loud moments. Bond's perfect delivery of "small world" in response to a goon's dumb remark slays me. While some of the vehicle chases are tedious, I did enjoy the violent fist-fight in the elevator.

This is between a 4 and a 5. I will round down and go with 4.