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Old 04-28-2009, 01:23 AM   #51
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Default Re: CFE's James Bond Countdown

I find Roger Moore entertaining as Bond. Not the best, but I don't think he's the worst at all.

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Old 04-28-2009, 06:18 AM   #52
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Default Re: CFE's James Bond Countdown

Say what you will about AVTAK, but it definitely has one of the best Bond soundtracks. I'm surprised Moonraker hasn't made the list yet.

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Old 04-28-2009, 07:11 AM   #53
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Default Re: CFE's James Bond Countdown

#19

The Living Daylights (1987)



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Directed by ... John Glen
Written by … Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson
Based on the James Bond Character Created by ... Ian Fleming

Timothy Dalton ... James Bond
Maryam d'Abo ... Kara Milovy
Jeroen Krabbé ... General Georgi Koskov
Joe Don Baker ... Brad Whitaker
John Rhys-Davies ... General Leonid Pushkin
Art Malik ... Kamran Shah
Andreas Wisniewski ... Necros
Thomas Wheatley ... Saunders
Desmond Llewelyn ... Q
Robert Brown ... M
Sir Frederick Gray ... Minister of Defense
Walter Gotell ... General Anatol Gogol
Caroline Bliss ... Miss Moneypenny
John Terry ... Felix Leiter
Virginia Hey ... Rubavitch
John Bowe ... Colonel Feyador
Julie T. Wallace ... Rosika Miklos
Kell Tyler ... Linda
Catherine Rabett ... Liz
Dulice Liecier ... Ava
Nadim Sawalha ... Tangier Chief of Security
Alan Talbot ... Koskov's KGB Minder
Tony Cyrus ... Chief of Snow Leopard Brotherhood
Atik Mohamed ... Achmed
Michael Moor ... Kamran's Man
Sumar Khan ... Kamran's Man
Frederick Warder ... 004
Glyn Baker ... 002
Derek Hoxby ... Sergeant Stagg

James Bond is living on the edge to stop an evil arms dealer from starting another world war. Bond crosses all seven continents in order to stop the evil Whitaker and General Koskov.

----------------------------------------------

After seven films, Sir Roger Moore walked away from the Bond series (more like limped away) and that signaled to producers that the time was ripe for a new approach to the character.

Through the casting of brilliant Welsh actor Timothy Dalton, the series took a grittier, more plausible approach to 007 than it perhaps ever had. While it’s a fresh concept, the two Dalton films either didn’t take it far enough…or took it too far. In the case of 1987’s “The Living Daylights,” the only thing that really stops the film from being better is that it’s too tame. This was the last Bond film to be given a PG rating as it was clear that they couldn't appeal to the family audience any longer. With a new Bond should have come a new approach. Yes, it does feel more modern and realistic but since the script was originally designed for Moore they missed a chance at taking advantage of Bond's dark side. Eventually they came to that conclusion for “License to Kill,” but they lost Bond as a character in the process.

Now after careful review, while he’s still my least favorite Bond…I’ve come to appreciate the angle Dalton took to the character, which is closer in tone to the stone cold killer of Fleming’s books. But even so, it makes me love Connery, Moore…and even Brosnan better...because they had a bit more fun with it, I felt.

Anyway, the film picks up with James aiding Soviet General Georgi Koskov (Jeroen Krabbé) in a defection from the Iron Curtain to the West. But the Intelligence Community is baffled when Koskov is abducted from the remote dwelling he’s placed in. 007 follows a trail that leads to the gorgeous Kara (Maryam d'Abo), who plays Bond as easily as she plays her Stradivari cello. Bond's mission eventually takes him to Afghanistan, where he must confront an arms dealer known as Brad Whitaker (Joe Don Baker). As Bond unravels a complex weapons scheme with global implications, he discovers a plot by the KGB to kill all its enemy agents.

The film is, in my view, more successful than either its immediate predecessor "A View to a Kill" or than its immediate successor, "License to Kill". The main reason is that it preserves the delicate balance, important to the success of any Bond film, between excitement and humor. "A View to a Kill" suffered from an excess of jokiness which detracted from the tension. "License to Kill," by contrast, went to the opposite extreme and became a violent revenge thriller with little in the way of light relief. But while it strikes the median between the two quite well, it’s ultimately fails due in large part to the scripting…and the fact that the Bond girl and villain (two corner stone to any Bond picture) are barely memorable.

For all the talk of making Bond girls more modern, Maryam d'Abo's doe-eyed, simpering Kara seems curiously passive and old-fashioned. Much more old-fashioned, in fact, than some of the heroines from the sixties- nobody could think of Pussy Galore, for example, as passive. Kara's musical accomplishments do not in themselves make her a convincing heroine.

As for the villains we have Jeroen Krabbé, whose General Koskov was weak and colorless. It’s quite tragic to think that his performance as a crime boss in 1989’s “The Punisher” was superior to his own turn as a Bond foe. Joe Don Baker's Whitaker, whose obsession with military history is presented as a symptom of a violent, unstable personality could have been a more interesting figure, but he was only on screen for short periods and was never really developed to his full potential.

The politics of the film are rather unusual for a Bond film, in that direct reference is made to current affairs. Bond is often described as a Cold War secret agent, but in most of the films his adversary is not the KGB but either a megalomaniac individual, often a capitalist, or an international terrorist organization. Where there is a Russian villain, that villain is normally a rogue figure such as Orlov in "Octopussy"; the Soviet government's official representative in most of the films is the relatively liberal, pro-détente General Gogol. At the beginning, "The Living Daylights" follows this pattern; Koskov is a renegade and General Pushkin, Gogol's successor, the honorable liberal. In the latter stages, however, the film takes a more critical line over the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. It is strange that the one Bond film that shows the Russians as the villains is the one that was made during the Gorbachev era when the Cold War was all but over.

However, one of the better points in the cast is John-Rhys Davies (Sallah from the “Indiana Jones” films and Gimli in the “Lord of the Rings” series) as Pushkin, and it helps that Davies is just fantastic no matter what.

The action, along with Dalton, is perhaps the only saving grace of the picture. The huge confrontation in Afghanistan was very well done… and the Aston Martin with the rockets was pretty cool.

There’s also that great bit where Bond is fighting one of the villains on a net full of opium that’s hanging outside a plane…that was awesome.

The soundtrack also isn't that bad, considering the decade. John Barry’s score is a nice touch as always. And while, of the two Dalton songs I prefer Gladys Knight’s “License to Kill” (it sounds more Bond to me), the 80s fan in me gets a kick out of A-Ha's title track here. It’s fun and poppy.

But in the long run, the whole thing just seems muddled. Perhaps the film-makers, like the viewers, knew where they stood with Roger Moore in the driving seat but Dalton seemed a different prospect. The film as a whole seems unsure of Dalton's Bond and this comes across to the viewer.

And one of the worst aspects of the film is that it’s extremely un-involving. There’s just no spark. And for all the grief the Moore films or “Diamonds are Forever” get, at least they have a collective twinkle in their eye. There’s something intriguing and charming about them…and that charm is somewhat, if not altogether, lost with the more gritty hard-boiled approach to the material.

Ultimately the script is unfocused and meandering and once again director John Glen ruins the stunts with some very poor back projection. Is it me…or is it ridiculous that Glen was continually brought back to direct the Bond series throughout the 1980s?

----------------------------------------------

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Old 04-28-2009, 08:44 AM   #54
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Default Re: CFE's James Bond Countdown

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Originally Posted by Swordmaster View Post
The movie does have one of my favorite scenes with the aforementioned Dr. Kaufman.

Kaufman: I'm just a professional doing a job!
Bond: Me too.

Maybe it's the cold detached, yet still angry way Brosnan says the line, I just love it.
That scene is classic. As is Bond's phone in the movie.

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Old 04-28-2009, 08:58 AM   #55
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Hmmm I'm surprised, I would of put Dalton's Bond's much higher.

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Old 04-28-2009, 09:00 AM   #56
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You guys got something against humor and sex?



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Old 04-28-2009, 03:57 PM   #57
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Default Re: CFE's James Bond Countdown

I agree w/ Homer that the remote control car chase in TND is a great action sequence. I loved it.

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Old 04-28-2009, 07:38 PM   #58
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Default Re: CFE's James Bond Countdown

I'm diggin' the hell out of the list, so far, CFE. You're obviously a very talented critic.

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Old 04-28-2009, 07:54 PM   #59
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I'm diggin' the hell out of the list, so far, CFE. You're obviously a very talented critic.
Thanks jon!

Funny thing I've actually just started writing a thesis/essay about the critique of film and art...

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Old 04-28-2009, 09:17 PM   #60
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Thanks jon!

Funny thing I've actually just started writing a thesis/essay about the critique of film and art...
No problem, mate.

You know, I always love to hear critics (in general) talk about film critiques and other things that help them prosper at their work. The latest thing I've seen/heard on that particular topic (today) was actually between Siskel & Ebert discussing... film criticism. It's a really great 5 minute segment between the two late and great individuals. And respect them or not... it's something that can really appeal to anyone interested in writing/review films for themselves, instead of others. Really did inspire me, and you can check it out below:

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Old 04-28-2009, 11:00 PM   #61
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I personally found Moore to be a bit dull.

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Old 04-28-2009, 11:06 PM   #62
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I love those Bonds. I find the Craig, Lazenby's, and Dalton ones a bit dull.




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Old 04-28-2009, 11:06 PM   #63
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Default Re: CFE's James Bond Countdown

Double Post so I'll give my 3 favs. No order.



You Only Live Twice
The Man With The Golden Gun
Goldeneye


Those are my 3 favs and represent my 3 favorite Bonds.




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Old 04-28-2009, 11:27 PM   #64
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Default Re: CFE's James Bond Countdown

Mediocrity, thy name is The Living Daylights. Certainly, it's not a bad movie (and compared to the sillier Roger Moore entries, I think it's a masterpiece - not that I want to harp on that point), it's just unremarkable in almost every way. Definitely the high points would be the a-Ha theme song and the fight between Bond and Necros on that bag outside the plane.

Timothy Dalton makes a decent debut, but like I mentioned in my Licence to Kill review, he exhibits no humor or charisma - yes, Fleming's Bond was a cold killer, but he also had those qualities. The filmmakers give Bond plenty of dry, Terence Young-style one-liners, and Dalton tries, he really does, but almost none of them work, and when he tries to convince us that he has actual feelings for Kara, it's just sort of uncomfortable to watch. Beyond Bond and Q, none of the characters are at all memorable - Kara, Koskov, Whitaker, even Necros the requisite brute all vanish from memory once the movie ends. I wanna mention Caroline Bliss as Moneypenny too: the late, great Lois Maxwell said (I believe it was on the commentary for Dr. No) that, no matter what, she didn't want Moneypenny to be the stereotypical doe-eyed, pencil-in-the-ear, big round glasses-wearing lovelorn secretary. So when she leaves the series and Ms. Bliss replaces her, what do we get: pencil in the ear, doe eyes, big round glasses, and an invitation to come to her apartment to listen to Barry Manilow records. A walking cliche.

The plot is far too complicated as well. I've seen this film several imes over the years and still couldn't tell you what it was about. And I don't mean in that tangled-web, constant-double-crosses, intriguing way, I just think it's a bit of a mess.

The action sequences - the new Aston Martin chase (those are always good), the cello ride down the slope (inventive way to devise a new ski chase), the pre-credits set piece, and especially the aforementioned Bond/Necros fight which has genuine danger going for it - are all excellently crafted, but otherwise, there's not a lot going for The Living Daylights.

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Old 04-29-2009, 11:33 AM   #65
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Default Re: CFE's James Bond Countdown

#18

Octopussy (1983)



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Directed by ... John Glen
Written by … Richard Maibaum, George MacDonald Fraser and Michael G. Wilson
Based on the James Bond Character Created by ... Ian Fleming

Roger Moore ... James Bond
Maud Adams ... Octopussy
Louis Jourdan ... Kamal Khan
Kristina Wayborn ... Magda
Kabir Bedi ... Gobinda
Steven Berkoff ... General Orlov
David Meyer ... Twin One
Anthony Meyer ... Twin Two
Desmond Llewelyn ... Q
Robert Brown ... M
Lois Maxwell ... Miss Moneypenny
Michaela Clavell ... Penelope Smallbone
Walter Gotell ... General Anatol Gogol
Vijay Amritraj ... Vijay
Albert Moses ... Sadruddin
Geoffrey Keen ... Minister of Defense
Douglas Wilmer ... Jim Fanning
Andy Bradford ... 009

A fake Fabergé egg and a fellow agent's death leads James Bond to uncovering an international jewel smuggling operation, headed by the mysterious Octopussy, being used to disguise a nuclear attack on NATO forces.

----------------------------------------------

Oh boy…

Now in terms of the plot, 1983’s “Octopussy” had definite potential (the Dalton films did to for that matter). But what the film suffers from the most is the unfocused direction of John Glen, often regarded as the weakest helmer in the series. Watching the film, you can see why. The biggest issue Glen always seemed to have was inability to have an eye for visual effects…more specifically the use of back projection (which is used in place of being on location). More on that later.

"Octopussy", the sixth James Bond movie starring Roger Moore, of seven, unfortunately turned out to be another weak one. The Bond movie franchise sadly took a great fall after "The Spy Who Loved Me" with "Moonraker" (but that has a few high moments, so it’s somewhat forgiven), and then improved with "For Your Eyes Only.” After that came this film, which sadly turned out to be another step back for the franchise. More than once, I tried watching this, but eventually gave up, feeling I wasn't in the mood, before finally watching the whole thing. I tried to get into it, but rarely succeeded.

The film opens with British agent 009 (Andy Bradford)…who’s fatally wounded during an undercover mission. Disguised as a clown in East Berlin, 009 dies with a replica of a priceless Fabergé egg in his hand! Bond (Moore) is soon told about the mysterious murder, and informed that the real egg has just made it to an auction in London. This auction is where the British secret agent's mission begins, and he is to find out why 009 was murdered.

He witnesses Kamal Kahn (Louis Jourdan), an exiled Afghan prince, purchasing the item (though Bond has secretly switched it with the replica). His mission then takes him to India, where Kahn's palace is located. In this country, Bond meets a mysterious woman known as Octopussy (Maud Adams) who is close to Kahn, and also finds that Kahn is working with Rogue Soviet General Orlov (Steven Berkoff) to have a nuclear device go off on in a secluded NATO base, leading to World War III!

This Bond film has some decent parts (including a reasonable intro…and the scene where 009 is being chased in his clown suit) and they definitely got me excited. More excitement follows after that, but unfortunately, it's only occasional excitement. And it’s few and far between from there. There's also an occasional laugh, including some scenes involving Bond and Q (no surprise there), but the laughs are either not enough to make up for the lack of excitement…or they’re played absurdly.

For the most part, I was pretty bored, and may not be able to fully explain it. I just found that it never really takes off, and lags too much. It doesn't help that the film may seem longer than it is.

To me, it seemed significantly longer than probably any previous installment in the Bond movie franchise, even though it appears it's not! In other words, another problem I found with this film was that it really doesn't seem to know when to stop. Sometimes, it almost gets frustrating!

This clearly isn't the least popular film in the franchise, both by fan’s standards or my own (it clearly appears "A View to a Kill" has less appeal than this one), but there are definitely much more popular ones as well, and I can see why this isn't one of them. Moore was in some decent movies in the franchise. Nonetheless, while I haven't seen most films the veteran British actor has appeared in, I know "Octopussy" is not one of the highlights of his career.

The rest of the cast is tolerable, at best.

Maude Adams, whose memorable, albeit fatally brief appearance in “The Man With The Golden Gun” was one of the best things about that Bond adventure, is given considerably more to do here as the Babe du jour / faux villainess. Unfortunately, beyond looking fantastic and being the only Bond Babe whose moniker is also the film's title, there isn't much of interest about Octopussy. As a criminal mastermind, one would expect her to be more than set decoration.

We're given yet another crazed general (Russian, this time) who wants to push the world toward WWIII in the hopes of getting his side to make a move toward world domination. Steven Berkoff's kooky commie general is not a particularly original idea; crazed power-mad generals of either persuasion are pretty much a dime a dozen. Berkoff really doesn’t offer a whole lot to the role anyway.

He is given assistance by one-time suave leading man Louis Jourdan as Kamal Kahn, who has sinister plans of his own. Jourdan's charm, a saving grace in many of his younger performances, is on a low burner here and other than playing a "most dangerous game" of safari with Bond, fails to make much of an impression. He was a lot more fun as the villain in “Swamp Thing.”

David and Tony Meyer as identical twin Russian circus knife throwers are a novel twist here, though being practically mute they don't have much personality. They're no Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wynn and Kabir Bedi as Kamal Kahn's mystical henchman are clichés.

The score is fairly tight, as is Rita Coolidge’s (NON) title song. But it’s amazing how one ill-conceived lyric can derail an entire song. A casually sexy song about seeking "a sweet distraction for an hour or two," comes to a screeching halt with a cheesy chorus about being "on an all time high," which brings up dopey images in more ways than one. Why lyricist Tim Rice thought this was appropriate for a Bond adventure is a mystery, as to why the series producers didn't veto is not immediately obvious. Nice music (and vocals on Rita Coolidge’s part) but bad imagery overall.

The elaborate plot involving priceless Soviet jewels being stolen to finance a plot to blow up a NATO base is a bit hard to follow, but it does get Bond traveling around Europe, which is always nice. Make what you will of a cold war thriller where everything leads to a circus full of clowns (it IS different).

The usual slick chases and clever stunts dominate and there's nothing particularly wrong with any of it. Yet, the film is strangely without distinction. Remember those back projections I mentioned? Yeah they’re awful. And yet John Glen got away with being invited back time and time again.

A side kudos for casting Indian tennis champ Vijay Amritraj, as Bond's ill-fated cohort, but, gee, wouldn't it be nice if just once one of these sidekicks actually survived to the end of the movie. But having Q help out on the mission is a nice touch, though his arrival via hot air balloon is odd, to say the least.

While the circus twist alone makes the film worth a look, appearances seem to be the film's main asset. As slick and professionally done as any other Bond film, the feeling of “Octopussy” being the same-old-same-old is inescapable.

The magic just isn't there…not for me anyway.

----------------------------------------------

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Old 04-29-2009, 11:55 AM   #66
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It should be added, that it's a great movie to use when playing pictionary.

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Old 04-29-2009, 02:50 PM   #67
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I actually really enjoy Octopussy. Aside from a horrible theme and a plot that combines jewel smuggling and a WWIII conspiracy in the most unwieldy way, I think it's a very entertaining piece. I just feel John Glen was an insanely uneven director for this series, with high points like this and For Your Eyes Only and decidedly low points like A View to a Kill and Licence to Kill. Plus, at his best, he still doesn't bring any real flair or style of his own to the proceedings.

This is Roger Moore truly in his element as Bond: not laughing at the character, not yet old enough that he just doesn't belong in the film (it helps that leading lady Maud Adams seems like a contemporary to Moore's 007), and really likeable in his particular way. As for the rest of the cast, it was a wise choice to bring back Maud Adams for this meatier role and she and Moore work well together, Kristina Wayborn is very sexy in the antiheroine sort of role, Steven Berkoff is an amusingly over-the-top mad Russian general, and Louis Jordan I think is an underrated Bond villain; sure, he's not menacing, but Jordan has great timing and style.

It should also be mentioned that that pre-credits sequence with the AcroStar jet is among the finest in the franchise.

Overall, I think Octopussy deserves more respect than it receives. It's a shame Moore didn't go out with this one.

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Old 04-29-2009, 10:07 PM   #68
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Default Re: CFE's James Bond Countdown

I actually haven't seen Octopussy yet. Plan to though.

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Old 04-29-2009, 10:28 PM   #69
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I just love Octopussy because well let's face it, uber-hot chicks in skimpy attire who kick ass are the s***! I love the whole finale scene. Definitely my favorite of Moore's Bond films.

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Old 04-30-2009, 10:40 AM   #70
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#17

Moonraker (1979)



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Directed by ... Lewis Gilbert
Written by … Christopher Wood
Based on the James Bond Character Created by ... Ian Fleming

Roger Moore ... James Bond
Lois Chiles ... Dr. Holly Goodhead
Michael Lonsdale ... Hugo Drax
Richard Kiel ... Jaws
Corinne Clery ... Corinne Dufour
Bernard Lee ... 'M'
Geoffrey Keen ... Sir Frederick Gray
Desmond Llewelyn ... 'Q'
Lois Maxwell ... Miss Moneypenny
Toshirô Suga ... Chang
Emily Bolton ... Manuela
Blanche Ravalec ... Dolly - Jaws' Girlfriend
Irka Bochenko ... Blonde Beauty
Michael Marshall ... Col. Scott
Walter Gotell ... General Anatol Gogol

James Bond investigates the mid-air theft of a space shuttle and discovers a plot to commit global genocide.

----------------------------------------------

The 1977 release of “Star Wars” changed the course of film indefinitely. And in the wake of following the exploits of Luke Skywalker and his rebels, every film under the sun attempted to cash in…in some fashion…and Bond was no exception at all.

Moonraker" wasn't planned as the 'next' Bond movie. In the late '70's the Bond movie and character started to get outdated. In an effort to make the Bond-series popular and more fitting and 'hip' for its time and foremost to also cash-in quickly of course, "Moonraker" was created. The end result is a mixed bag of memorable Bond moments, set in an incoherent story consisting out of unlikely moments and disjointed sequences. While it still manages to be fun (more so than the proceeding films) it’s just too goofy for its own good.

When the American Space Shuttle, Moonraker, goes missing under the supervision of the RAF, MI6 calls on Bond to investigate. He eventually comes upon the Drax Corporation, owned by Drax himself (Michael Lonsdale) and he’s currently completing an orbiting space station. But in reality, it’s a doomsday device that will kill all life on the Earth, leaving Drax and his maniacal followers to be the sole survivors.

The premise of the movie sounds good but the story gets more and more ridiculous and above all improbable, even for a Bond movie, as the movie progresses. Especially from the moment on when Bond enters space the movie and its story starts to go downhill rapidly. The movie gets highly unconvincing from that moment on, although it definitely still has some good moments after that point. I don't know, I guess its just the fact that the Bond character doesn't work in space that causes the movie to get unlikely and not convincing enough.

Moore gave a reasonable performance as Bond, far better than the performances he was passing off in “Octopussy” or “A View to a Kill.”

Michael Lonsdale was threatening as Drax, but I actually found him too quiet. Give me a more inviting villain, like Gert Frobe as Goldfinger or Joseph Wiseman as Dr. No. Lois Chiles was properly beautiful and reasonably good as an actress as Holly Goodhead (my favorite name for a Bond girl aside from Pussy Galore).

But my favorites were none of these three. It was Richard Kiel (repeating his villain as "Jaws") and Blanche Ravelac (repeating her role as "Dolly", Jaws girlfriend).

Jaws was never in the original Bond novels (the name was invented due to the Stephen Spielberg film) nor was Dolly, but in the second film appearance the screenwriters gave Kiel a bit more for his role than threatening to use his steel teeth to kill Moore. He is forced to flee for his life, and is found barely alive by Dolly, who helps him. A sweet romance develops between the giant and the short sized woman. This was continued in “Moonraker,” but with an ironic twist.

Except for this film and Kiel's Jaws (and Ravelac's Dolly) none of the villains or villainesses in the Bond films ever switched sides. The reason here was simple. Up to the last twenty minutes of the film, Jaws is loyally helping Drax as his henchman. He and Dolly are in the space center that is supposed to protect Drax and his followers (and where Bond and Goodhead are hiding). But Drax gives a pompous speech to his followers (all of whom look "aryan" in features and proportions) about eugenics and breeding a proper race.

Now Kiel rarely had dialogue, but he is never shown to be stupid. As he and Ravelac listen they both become dismayed about what they hear. It's obvious that once Drax has put his plans to kill off the population of earth into effect, he will also weed out those who don't fully match his eugenics views (which includes poor tall Jaws and short Dolly). They keep looking at each other as they realize they have backed the wrong horse here. As a result, for the only time in a Bond film, a villain and his girlfriend end up allied with Bond and his girlfriend. It helps tip the balance against Drax. And in the end both pairs of "heroes" scoot out on their own space shuttles while Drax's plans literally explode.

The score is decent enough, and I absolutely love that Shirley Bassey was brought back for the title song.

And one of my favorite moments (the henchgirl being chased through the woods on Drax’s grounds by the carnivorous dogs) was shockingly eerie.

But “Moonraker” is arguably the most ridiculous film in the series. It’s good for a laugh…and while it does have its entertaining moments…I just can’t get over the fact that it’s Bond in space…in SPACE…hmmm.

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Old 04-30-2009, 01:12 PM   #71
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In my opinion, Moonraker is the lowest point of the Roger Moore tenure. A Bond movie should always have a sense of humor about itself, but not to the point of camp. Moonraker has taken everything that worked about The Spy Who Loved Me and either brought a sense of irony to it in the hope that you'll laugh at rather than with it, or just ripped it off and placed it in outer space. It's not the gimmickry I dislike, but the astounding lack of invention and campy sensibility.

Roger Moore is smarmy and does a lot of winking and eyebrow-arching, but with the exception of his shooting down Drax's goon as target practice, I don't really care for this performance. Lois Chiles as Dr. Holly Goodhead is alright, she seems competent enough, and has a brilliant name. Michael Lonsdale as Hugo Drax...well, he has some great lines, but he's just so dull. Now, about Jaws...I can't say I was disappointed (after all, I'm much too young to have had expectations for the film), but let's say disheartened. To watch this menacing figure who, yes, had occasional comic moments become nothing more than a buffoon, and then a lovestruck buffoon is an example of how inane this series had become and why a movie like For Your Eyes Only was so badly needed.

However, no Bond movie is all bad, and here are a few high points:
-Maurice Binder contributes one of his best main titles, accompanied by a haunting Shirley Bassey title ballad (the lyrics make no sense, but that hardly seems to matter).
-As you mentioned, CFE, Corinne's surprisingly creepy death scene.
-John Barry's score is very strong.
-Chang taking over Bond's zero-G exercise is nicely tense.
-The MI6 team of Bernard Lee's M, Lois Maxwell's Moneypenny, and Desmond Llewelyn's Q were always one of the most enjoyable aspects of the films they appeared in, and sadly this is Lee's last appearance in the part. His M was stern and dedicated, with a sometimes-competitive-but-always-respecting rapport with 007. Robert Brown unfortunately walked in his shadow during his years as the head of MI6 until Judi Dench made the role hers, and as great as she is, Bernard Lee is unforgettable.

Aside from those smaller strengths, Moonraker lands with a resounding thud. A Bond movie with a "villain" flapping his arms trying to fly, pigeons doing doule-takes. etc/ etc. is not one that appeals to me personally.

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Old 05-01-2009, 08:50 AM   #72
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#16

Never Say Never Again (1983)



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Directed by ... Irvin Kershner
Story by … Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham and Ian Fleming
Screenplay by … Lorenzo Semple Jr.
Based on the James Bond Character Created by ... Ian Fleming

Sean Connery ... James Bond
Klaus Maria Brandauer ... Maximilian Largo
Max von Sydow ... Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Barbara Carrera ... Fatima Blush
Kim Basinger ... Domino Petachi
Bernie Casey ... Felix Leiter
Alec McCowen ... Q 'Algy' Algernon
Edward Fox ... 'M'
Pamela Salem ... Miss Moneypenny
Rowan Atkinson ... Nigel Small-Fawcett
Valerie Leon ... Lady in Bahamas
Milow Kirek ... Kovacs
Pat Roach ... Lippe
Anthony Sharp ... Lord Ambrose
Prunella Gee ... Patricia Fearing
Gavan O'Herlihy ... Jack Petachi
Ronald Pickup ... Elliott

A SPECTRE agent has stolen two American nuclear warheads, and James Bond must find their targets before they are detonated.

----------------------------------------------

Thanks to the co-authorship/ownership rights over the original story of “Thunderball,” Kevin McClory had enough secured to create…low and behold…an unofficial Bond picture.

Directed by Irvin Kershner (“The Empire Strikes Back,” “Robocop 2”) 1983’s “Never Say Never Again” is superior to a handful of the official films for one sole reason…the return of Sean Connery in the role he deemed he’d ‘Never’ play again. While the Beatles never reunited and we’ve yet to get a ‘Full House’ or ‘Family Matters’ anniversary project (for now) it seems that miracles do happen every so often.

The film owes its existence to the settlement of a lawsuit about the film rights to Ian Fleming's work. It is perhaps unfortunate that the terms of the settlement included a clause that the new film had to be a remake of "Thunderball", as that was perhaps not the greatest of the Connery Bonds. The plot is much the same as that of the earlier film; the terrorist organisation SPECTRE, acting together with a megalomaniac tycoon named Largo, have stolen two American nuclear warheads and are attempting to hold the world's governments to ransom by threatening to detonate them unless they receive a vast sum of money. It falls to Bond, of course, to save the world by tracking down the missing missiles.

Ultimately the film is, in essence, a re-tread…and a bloated one at that. EON’s absence can be felt throughout the picture and it’s unfortunate that Connery’s swansong feels like it’s of lower quality than it rightfully should be. A 2nd rate ‘unofficial’ isn’t worthy of Connery. But that glaring fact aside at least Sean gives it his all…with all the gusto you could expect from the best Bond of tem all.

The film is fortunate in that it has not just one but two of the most beautiful Bond girls of all, Barbara Carrera as the seductive but lethal Fatima Blush and Kim Basinger as Largo's girlfriend Domino who defects to Bond's side after learning of her lover's evil plans. A number of the Bond films have a plot that hangs upon the hero's ability to win over the villain's mistress or female accomplice- there are similar developments, for example, in "Goldfinger", "Live and Let Die" and "The Living Daylights". In the official series, Bond's ally is normally regarded as the female lead, but here Carrera, playing the villainess, is billed above Basinger, who was a relatively unknown actress at the time. Basinger, of course, has gone on to become one of Hollywood's biggest stars, whereas Carrera is one of a number of Bond girls who have somewhat faded from view.

Of the villains, Max von Sydow makes an effective Blofeld, the head of SPECTRE, but Klaus Maria Brandauer seemed too bland and nonthreatening as Largo, except perhaps during the "Domination" game, a more sophisticated variant on those violent computer games such as "Space Invaders" that were so popular in the early eighties. Brandauer can be an excellent actor in his native German, in films such as "Mephisto" and "Oberst Redl", but he does not comes across so expressively in English.

One of the film's features is that it both follows the normal Bond formula and, at times, departs from it. There is the standard world-in-peril plot, chase sequences, a series of exotic locations, glamorous women, sinister villains and a specially written theme song based on the film's title. There is, however, no extended pre-credits sequence, and we see some familiar characters in a new light. For example, Bond's boss M becomes a languid, supercilious aristocrat, his American colleague Felix Leiter is shown as black for the only time, and the scientist Q is portrayed by Alec McCowen as a disillusioned cynic with (despite his characteristically upper-class Christian name of Algernon) a distinctly working-class accent. There is also an amusing cameo from Rowan Atkinson as a bumbling British diplomat.

The action is fairly tame (to account for Connery’s age perhaps? That bit about M wanting him to go to a Health Clinic doesn’t help the cause…but that motorcycle sequence kicked ASS!) but some memorable set pieces stand out, for better or worse.

The underwater material is a bit bland and tiring…but the sequence on the ‘Flying Saucer’ and that gun battle at the “Tears of Allah” were pretty good (that “Domination” game Bond plays with Largo was weird though)

Michael Legrand’s score is pretty damn good and Lani Hall gives us a soothingly sensual title song…actually it has a very nice ring to it and I quite like it.

Although Connery was perhaps not quite a good here as he was in some of his earlier films in the role, this ringing the changes on the familiar theme makes this one of the more…not better…but perhaps ‘memorable’ Bonds.

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Old 05-01-2009, 08:58 AM   #73
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Whenever someone rags Moore I always bring up this flick. Connery should have never said yes again. Also the fact this wasn't a Broccoli film always makes me cringe.


Plus this was the film released at the same time as Octopussy. We had the Summer of Bond and both of them should have turned the franchise over to Brosnan by now. Was he still working on that TV show that summer?


Anywho.... good review but I think this should have been the worst one on the list.




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Old 05-01-2009, 10:48 PM   #74
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Anywho.... good review but I think this should have been the worst one on the list.



Yeah, it's at the very bottom (seriously, #23) on my list. Sean Connery's great, and at his worst (like, you know, here) he's still a pleasure to watch in this role. But I just feel he's sleepwalking through this one 100%. Maybe it's age, maybe it's the fact that he's already done this movie before, maybe it's the lousy script and lifeless direction, it's most likely all of them. Kim Basinger and Barbara Carrera; both are beautiful, gorgeous, no argument there. I don't think there's evidence that Basinger has any talent here though. Carrera's performance here is pretty flashy, and she's one of the better elements of the movie - although no contest, I prefer Luciana Paluzzi's Fiona Volpe (one of my favorite Bond girls). Klaus Maria Brandauer is as flat as cardboard itself (no Adolfo Celi), but Max Von Sydow is the best Blofeld since the shadowy figure of Thunderball. I don't like to compare one movie to another so frequently, but of course it's invited here.

It's been a long time since I've seen this film, so I was going to say something about the action sequences here...and then I realized the only one I remember was the war game that Bond and Largo play. To quote Stan The Man, 'nuff said.

What obviously sticks out most with this movie is what it's not - which is to say an EON Bond. The theme music, the pre-titles/titles sequences, the MI6 staff who feel like impostors, it was inevitable that the movie would suffer for these, but a movie that's this lifeless isn't helped by these lacking qualities. In the 1983 "Battle of the Bonds," no doubt Roger Moore was the victor (to me).

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Old 05-02-2009, 07:57 AM   #75
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#15

The World is Not Enough (1999)



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Directed by ... Michael Apted
Story by … Neal Purvis and Robert Wade
Screenplay by … Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Bruce Feirstein
Based on the James Bond Character Created by ... Ian Fleming

Pierce Brosnan ... James Bond
Sophie Marceau ... Elektra King
Robert Carlyle ... Renard
Denise Richards ... Christmas Jones
Robbie Coltrane ... Valentin Zukovsky
Judi Dench ... M
Desmond Llewelyn ... Q
John Cleese ... R
Samantha Bond ... Moneypenny
Michael Kitchen ... Tanner
Colin Salmon ... Robinson
Goldie ... Bull
David Calder ... Sir Robert King
Serena Scott Thomas ... Dr. Molly Warmflash
Ulrich Thomsen ... Davidov
John Seru ... Gabor
Claude-Oliver Rudolph ... Colonel Akakievich
Patrick Malahide ... Lachaise
Jeff Nuttall ... Dr. Arkov
Justus Von Dohnanyi ... Captain Nikoli
Carl McCrystal ... Trukhin
Daisy Beaumont ... Nina
Nina Muschallik ... Verushka

James Bond uncovers a nuclear plot when he protects an oil heiress from her former kidnapper, an international terrorist who’s impervious to pain.

----------------------------------------------

Exploding with a wild speedboat chase on the river Thames, 1999’s “The World is Not Enough” promised to be the most slam bang Bond film since “Goldeneye” and a pitch perfect way to cap off the 1990s.

Maria Grazia Cucinotta looks fantastic, with or without guns, and it's actually quite a rarity to see the British secret agent Bond involved in field action in Britain (and in London, no less). But while this action sequence feels fresh and gives us a lot of pop, the same cannot be said for the rest of the picture.

To give you a perspective on how I feel about the film, look at it this way:

“The Lethal Weapon” series began with a succession of excellent action films, but by the later installments, particularly the fourth, the content just went overboard and much of the quality was lost. This same thing seemed to have happened with this installment in the Bond series.

This time around, oil tycoon Sir Robert King (David Calder) is assassinated in a bombing at M:I-6 headquarters, after recovering $3 million British pounds from a Swiss Bank in Bilbao, Spain. Unable to save King, James Bond (Brosnan) is injured in the line of duty trying to pursue the assassin who kills herself by blowing herself up in a hot air-balloon. Fearing Sir Robert's beautiful daughter and heiress Elektra King (Sophie Marceau) lis in danger, M (Judi Dench) assigns 007 to protect her as Elektra has inherited her father's legacy and has taken over the business, and is constructing a new oil pipeline.

Bond learns a evil terrorist known as Renard (Robert Carlyle), who has a bullet in his head cutting off his senses so he can't smell, touch or feel pain, was responsible for the assassination of Sir Robert. With help of sexy nuclear scientist Dr. Christmas Jones (Denise Richards) and former enemy, Ex KGB agent Valentin Zukovsky (Robbie Coltrane), Bond unravels a scheme to increase petroleum prices by triggering a nuclear meltdown in the waters of Istanbul. But while he rushes to prevent Renard’s diabolical scheme, Bond begins to question Elektra’s motives.

Although “The World Is Not Enough” does have its redeeming values, its blunt financial motives are all too obvious. Clearly, the `Bond girl' is a significant tradition in any Bond film, and the casting of stunningly beautiful Denise Richards in this role would reveal the film's commercial intentions all by itself. But on top of that, they throw in a hilarious name (Christmas Jones) and claim that this heartthrob/heartbreaker is a freakin' nuclear physicist. Watching Denise walk around in her cute little shorts and halter-top while she talks about plutonium and physics is just funny, and it takes away any possible chance of her character being taken seriously. If they expect her to play the part of a highly educated physicist, they could have at least dressed her to look less like a skanky rock climber.

”The World Is Not Enough,” as I said, starts out with the fantastic (slightly more traditional) Bond opening; with the cool, collected Bond conversing with the enemy only to wind up making an elaborate escape and barely getting away with his life. But as great as the action is, some things about this scene just come off as weird or incorrect. For example, consider the fact that while the opening scene takes place in Europe, the police officers that burst into the room are speaking Spanish. I really hope that I am just missing something and that that wasn't just randomly thrown in.

The action was excellent, but in most cases (both in the pre-title sequence and further into the picture) it was so ridiculously exaggerated and unrealistic that it made it funnier than exciting. I realize that this IS James Bond, and this is the kind of crazy stuff that he is famous for, but it is a little upsetting that the screenwriters couldn't come up with some kind of action that is possible in real life but still creates thrills and excitement. Does that speedboat that Bond takes off in have wheels? It's cool to see a boat jump up on land and slide a bit while the hero jumps out and makes a heroic rescue or something, but this thing was STEERING. Bond was literally driving it around the streets, and don't get me started on the idiotic underwater scene.

Also, there obviously wasn't much proofreading done on the scene where Bond and Jones jump off of the vehicle in the tunnel, while traveling at 70 MPH!! Surely the typical Bond film's audience is aware of what would happen to someone who hit cement while traveling that fast. And especially in a tunnel, that's probably certain death.

And it was not a very brilliant idea that was devised in order to get a jumping-out-of-a-helicopter-on-skis shot – the helicopter pilot tells them that the wind is too strong to land, and this is followed by a shot of the helicopter hovering over the mountain in an utter absence of wind other than what is created by the rotors. Bond and Elektra jump out and we get some beautiful (but unnecessary) scenery shots as they ski gracefully down the mountain in their cute little ski outfits. This whole scene is unnecessary and, to make it worse, it's followed by one of those breaks where the plot is explained boringly through a ton of expositive dialogue.

The narrative structure of this movie is badly flawed, with the action literally stopping periodically in order for the characters on screen to discuss with each other, in pure dialogue, what is happening in the story. This type of weak presentation is something that is more at home in cheesy action B-movies, and it's almost heartbreaking to see it in a James Bond film.

There is also an awkward use of sound while one of these little diatribes is taking place while Bond and Elektra King (Sophie Marceau, one of the few attractive reasons to watch the film) walk through a crowd of people. There are people running all around them, and the camera is pretty far away, yet you can hear them perfectly as they speak in normal tones, and you can't hear the people running around them. The reasons for doing this are obvious, but it makes the crowd seem eerily silent. And then you have the helicopter with the circular saws attached to it. I sure hope that one of the writers was fired (and beaten, for emphasis) for THAT little idea.

It's the other Bond tradition - the villain - that saves the movie. Robert Carlyle is wonderfully menacing as Renard, the bad guy who literally has no feelings because of a bullet that is lodged in his head and is slowly numbing all of his senses as it gradually kills him. Not only was he an excellent villain for this movie, but he also gave the best performance of anyone in the entire, film, followed closely by Judi Dench as M.

While the concluding action face off between Bond and Renard is effective (thanks, in no small part, to the quality performance from Carlyle) and even fairly exciting, it dissolves into dumb action film cliché as Bond (of course) gets the girl. Granted, I wouldn't complain about that part, James Bond always gets the girl. But did we really have to have a shot where the distressed and frightened Christmas Jones happens to fall right into Bond's open arms? That's bad form, as Hook would say.

Composer David Arnold provides the score for this installment, which was the second Bond for him. Arnold broke tradition by not ending the film with a reprise of the opening theme or, as with the previous three films, a new song. Originally, Arnold intended to use the song "Only Myself to Blame" performed by Scott Walker, but it was eventually replaced by a remix of the Bond theme. The title song for the picture is performed by Garbage, and it’s personally one of my favorites, setting a pretty damn good mood in its tempo and lyrics. Shirley Matson’s voice is also incredible. The images in the music video of Matson (in which she’s built as a kamakazi android babe) seemed to have ironically predated her turn as a murderous cyborg in “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.”

“The World Is Not Enough” is definitely a characteristic James Bond film, but I really wish that there was more quality involved in the formula these days, and less flying snowmobiles piloted by miracle marksmen.

But man…if only they sold some of those x-ray glasses as collector's items…

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