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Which is the best movie of the Brosnan era?

GoldenEye 6 54.55%
 
Tomorrow Never Dies 2 18.18%
 
The World is Not Enough 2 18.18%
 
Die Another Day 1 9.09%
 
Total:11

I just saw "A view to a Kill".

Why is this the one considered the weakest Bond movie during the Moore era? It has the best acting from Moore, both as a competent agent and general hero, has a very good villain who barely makes any mistakes outside of the basic "just shoot Bond" complain (Walken pulls a psycopathic maniac with the smarts to back off his crazy excellently, the shooting at the mine was chilling, and the way he gets the closer to a success in the whole series is a show of his good planning) , a henchewoman who stole the show by matching Bond at every step of the way, a very good villain plot (derivative of Goldfinger, but still), a plot that flows very well and it's not bogged down by excessive slapstick, has some really good setpieces, my favourite being the burning elevator, and even the main theme was good! I was shocked to learn this one is considered the weakest of this period, and even an old shame for Moore himself. Am I missing something? If I had to nitpick I'd say that Tanya Robers as the Bond girl of the day is somewhat mediocre, but even still, she manages to get some decent emotional scenes. That, and the KGB agent in the middle of the film dissapears from the movie for no reason, when she should have helped Bond take out Walken.

But overall, this is oddly the best Bond movie so far. I would say it's at the same level as Goldfinger, but with a more balanced writing that avoids any contrivance but never reaches its smarts. Surprising 9/10 for me.



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Veknoid_Outcast said:

The World is Not Enough

The franchise falls back on some bad habits here. The supporting cast is solid--minus Richards who looks amateurish--and the locations are beautiful, but some of the action seems tedious and overlong, the puns excessive, and the pacing slow. 

5/10

Agreed.

I did like this movie's BMW...where was the Aston Martin? The boat chase was ridiculous and the title credits (I liked the song) should've rolled after King exploded in the blast. This movie also seemed to drag on and on...not as badly as Thunderball though. Bond slept with three women in this movie. The doctor, the bad guy, and the girl with the most ridiculous name: Christmas Jones. At least she was smart as a nuclear physicist.

I liked the plot at first and I was with it until they killed Valentin Dimitri Zoukofski. My favorite Brosnan era character. :(

5/10



Die Another Day

Well, it took 20 tries, but we're here: the worst ever Bond film. It pains me to write that, because Brosnan, in my mind, is second only to Connery. He really does not deserve this mess of a movie. Let's start with the good. There are a handful of great little moments, including Bond turning of an MRI machine and catching a de-magnetized pistol in mid-air and Bond shattering his own windshield to save a submerged Jinx. In general, Brosnan is good here, despite the shoddy script. Even though he looks a bit tired, he's definitely still invested in the role, unlike Connery who phoned in his final (canon) appearance. What else? Rosamund Pike is a great addition, but her character sadly has nowhere to go. Dench as M is good as well, as is Cleese as the new Quartermaster. In fact, the middle act in London is the film's peak, with Bond playing off both M and Q in the underground, off-the-books M16 base. Some nice Easter eggs in there, too, for Bond fans. I also like the sword fight between Bond and Graves. It's a bit unlikely, but I really appreciate the practical effects, especially in a movie awash in clumsy, unconvincing digital effects.

And that brings us to the bad. The movie looks rough. Whether it's a cartoon Halle Berry cliff diving or a cartoon Bond parasailing down an avalanche of water (lord, what were they thinking), or just the flat cinematography, it's lacking any sense of style. There is one shot I adore, which shows Bond walking past a row of sparkling, revolving mirrors, but that is the exception to the rule. Combine the bad special effects, limp photography, and inferior production design, and you have a recipe for disaster. The editing is also a mess. There are several car chase sequences where it's difficult to know where the vehicles are in relation to each other, or the environment. Lots of quick, jumpy cuts too. 

The movie is also one of the most indulgent of the series. So many superfluous explosions and perfunctory chases. So many cheesy one-liners and childish innuendo. The stunt casting of Madonna. A space laser, an ice palace, an invisible car, a henchman named Mr. Kil. That final, embarrassing scene with Moneypenny. All those references to classic Bond movies gone by. I don't know if Die Another Day is meant to be a tribute gone horribly wrong or a parody gone horribly right.

Oh, and the theme song is dreadful.

Edit: I've been going back and forth on this score all day. I feel like 3/10 is a little harsh--this is a professional production that can be entertaining in a turn-off-your-brain kind of way--and 4/10 seems too kind. Screw it, it's a 3/10. Sigh, Brosnan deserved so much better. We all did.

1) From Russia With Love
2) On Her Majesty's Secret Service
3) Goldfinger
4) For Your Eyes Only
5) The Spy Who Loved Me
6) GoldenEye
7) Licence to Kill
8) Dr. No
9) Tomorrow Never Dies
10) The Living Daylights
11) Thunderball
12) The Man With The Golden Gun
13) The World is Not Enough
14) Octopussy

15) Live and Let Die
16) You Only Live Twice
17) Moonraker
18) A View to a Kill
19) Diamonds Are Forever
20) Die Another Day

Last edited by Veknoid_Outcast - on 01 March 2020

Scores updated to this point.



Veknoid_Outcast said:
Scores updated to this point.

Heads up, you missed Darwin's View To A Kill score.

So tonight: The World is Not Enough

It’s a long opening sequence starting in Bilbao and ends in the Thames, the action scenes in the boat are very good. Theme song isn’t anything special, I like Garbage but its an average track at best.

The entire first hour is very bland, its possibly the most boring Bond film I’ve seen, on a par with The Man With the Golden Gun. The last hour is even worse, even if a little more entertaining. Coltrane makes a welcome return but the helicopter saw scene is bad. I don’t even care for the M hostage storyline, its done so much better in the Craig films.

Sophie Marceau is a real personality vacuum in every scene. Denise Richards obviously gets a lot of flack, she’s a terrible actress but to be honest, at least she has a bit of personality compared with Marceau. She's at her very worst in the submarine but well there's a lot of water and she has a tight little white top on so can't complain to much! Robert Carlyle normally brings so much to roles but here he’s just phoning it in. 

A nice swansong for Q, its tragic we never get his planned final performance and yet, the disappearing on the lift is a lovely final scene. I like Cleese but never a fan of his role as R especially not in this one. He only gets a 1 further appearance but I can't help but think that making him the but of a joke was always going to undermind future appearances?

A real disappointment of a film, turn off after the first 10 mins and you won’t be missing anything. An unmemorable 4/10



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Die Another Day. Dear oh dear. A 3 from me.

And it'starts so well too. Terrible theme song aside, this has the makings of another decent-good Bond flick early on. There's one or two issues (what is the deal with the heart attack? And that invisible car... just no), but the stuff in North Korea, Cuba and London are all well done and offer enough intrigue. I really like Zao as a villain, although Graves I never felt was too effective as an adversary. Then we get to Iceland, and it all falls to pieces. Hands down the worst section of any Bond film. The laser fight, the wind surfing, the car chase in the palace... it's just one calamity after another. The finale on the plane is really poor as well. The only positive in this part is Miranda's turn - I think Rosamund Pike is great in this role.

Also, what's with all those slow mo shots? They're almost as bad as some of the green screen shots. There's some absolutely atrocious dialogue too, particularly for Jinx, whose sass is incredibly irritating. The drop in quality from the first half to the second is frankly staggering, and drops a potential 6-7 score to a 3. This is truly the nadir of the Bond films.



noir_solitude said:
Veknoid_Outcast said:
Scores updated to this point.

Heads up, you missed Darwin's View To A Kill score.

[snip]

Good catch! Added.



Only five movies left!

Just wanted to say thanks to the folks who have stuck with this experiment. It's been a lot of fun sharing this rewatch with you all!



The World is Not Enough is one of only two modern Bond films that I didn’t see in the theatre. And that was not a conscious choice. I thoroughly enjoyed GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies and Brosnan was a great Bond. Real life just took precedence. So I went out and bought the VHS (really!) sight unseen. And fell asleep before Bond makes it to Azerbaijan. The film just felt so lackluster and did not engage me at all. And sadly I think that’s a sentiment that’s carried over into subsequent watches. I don’t think this film is bad. It’s just so bland. Tomorrow Never Dies had moments that made me smile while still being a flawed film. This just kind of washes over you for two plus hours.

I was going to say there are some interesting elements that could have been done better but as I reflect on the plot I’m not even sure if that’s true. Having the Bond Girl turn into the villain is certainly a bold concept but its execution is pretty lacking. The problem is Bond and Elektra just do not spend enough time together to cause real drama at the betrayal. He suspects her almost immediately following their night together. She claimed he loved her but has she met Bond? Sex does not equal love. Unless she meant specifically sex. But again, this is Bond. And I’m sure there’s some conflict there but he does not hesitate to execute her and after a brief mourning has already moved on to the next woman.

Speaking of, Denise Richards is almost an afterthought because the real story was supposed to be Bond and Elektra. I think if you excised Christmas Jones completely, maybe you could have salvaged the Elektra storyline but we have a formula we need to follow. Perhaps for the best because it’s done so much better in Casino Royale. She’s given some awful lines and reads them completely flat but she’s certainly attractive and I guess the writers thought that was enough.

The real disservice I think was done to M. I get that they wanted to tell a more personal story and having Bond’s boss be a woman I guess provided that opportunity. I don’t see Bernard “This department is not concerned with your personal problems” Lee or Robert “Spare me the sentimental rubbish” Brown racing off to be captured over a guilt trip. Bond would never question either of them in front of their staff like he does to her. And when the head of MI6 goes missing along with a nuke the reaction from the world is . . . crickets. Bond and the woman he met along the way run their investigation with some Russian gangsters he happens to know. Makes perfect sense.

I actually felt better about this film before I started to break it down so I guess my waffling over the final score at least gets some benefit. Unlike previous Bond films, the action scenes seem tacked on and don’t really grow from the plot. The paraglider sequence is completely extraneous and given the storyline, what was the point? Were they supposed to kill Bond? Was it all for show so he would trust Elektra? The same with the buzz saw helicopter attacking the caviar factory. I thought that came much earlier in the film, not a half hour to the end.

The set design of the underground Russian testing facility was quite excellent. It was reminiscent of classic Ken Adams in prior films. The rotated submarine sets in the finale were also good even if the final battle between Bond and Renard is pretty low energy and repetitive. And of course the best part of the film, Desmond Llewelyn’s exit from the series. Tragically he would be killed in a car accident shortly after the film premiered. He stated his intention was to keep appearing until the producers didn’t want him anymore. I’m glad they did write this scene for him so we could give him a proper goodbye but his absence was definitely felt when I first saw Die Another Day.

Final score for The World is Not Enough is going to be 5/10. I was debating on whether to rate it a 6 because that’s what I gave to You Only Live Twice and I couldn’t decide if this film was worse than that. But breaking down the film for the review helped in that regard. Brosnan is still good as Bond, it’s just he’s given some bad scripts and his films (I feel safe saying this) only get worse. This film is more forgettable than anything else as the new Bond films focus too much on the action set pieces than the connective tissue that holds it all together. Sadly, their attempt to go bigger and flashier in the next one ends even worse.

Current Rankings:
1) On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
2) From Russia with Love
3) Goldfinger
4) For Your Eyes Only
5) The Living Daylights
6) The Spy Who Loved Me
7) GoldenEye
8) Thunderball
9) Dr. No
10) Licence to Kill
11) Octopussy
12) Live and Let Die
13) Tomorrow Never Dies
14) You Only Live Twice
15) The World is Not Enough
16) The Man with the Golden Gun
17) A View to a Kill
18) Moonraker
19) Diamonds are Forever



Veknoid_Outcast said:
Only five movies left!

Just wanted to say thanks to the folks who have stuck with this experiment. It's been a lot of fun sharing this rewatch with you all!

Will definitely agree with that sentiment. Thank you everyone!