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Old 05-02-2009, 08:04 AM   #76
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Default Re: CFE's James Bond Countdown

I really liked that one. One of the best Bond songs too.

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Old 05-02-2009, 08:53 AM   #77
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Default Re: CFE's James Bond Countdown

The only thing I liked about this one was the song. Everything else was a bit average.

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Old 05-02-2009, 09:02 AM   #78
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I thought the girls were hot, the song was good, the video for the song in the movie was cool and the car was nice.

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Old 05-02-2009, 05:14 PM   #79
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Default Re: CFE's James Bond Countdown

This movie really gets too much hate. This one should definitely be higher.

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Old 05-02-2009, 05:53 PM   #80
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Default Re: CFE's James Bond Countdown

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Originally Posted by Majik1387 View Post
This movie really gets too much hate.
It does. For instance, Entertainment Weekly did their own ranking of the Bond movies a while back, and put this one all the way at the bottom, which I think is just ridiculous, especially in a series containing The Man with the Golden Gun (I REALLY hate The Man with the Golden Gun - can't wait to tear into it). It's not at the top along with Goldfinger or The Spy Who Loved Me, but I quite like it.

This is Brosnan's best performance in the role, no doubt about it. Sophie Marceau is fantastic here too; Robert Carlyle is quite good as the unfeeling Renard, but he's not the real villain, she is, and thankfully she really pulls off the big reveal, and is a strong, manipulative femme fatale. It's due to her and Brosnan, not so much the script, that Bond & Elektra's relationship comes across as a bit more than the usual tryst (not as developed as Bond/Tracy or Bond/Vesper, of course). Judi Dench makes the most out of M's meatiest role to date, but in terms of MI6 staff, the big news is Desmond Llewelyn's last performance as Q (as well as the introduction of John Cleese's "R"). His farewell is a very touching momentprobably the most memorable in the film, and it can't be overstated just how much charm, wit, and fun he brought to every moment he appeared in for his 17 Bond pictures.

The action sequences are mostly overblown and incredible, but most of them also work pretty well (especially the boat chase that closes the pre-credits sequence - the 15-minute pre-credits sequence). This isn't the Daniel Craig era, the series wasn't going for more plausible action, it was going for big splashy entertainment with one foot on the ground to keep out of Moonraker territory.

I'll throw in some more praise for the theme song, as it's among my favorites. I also liked the way the tail end of the teaser is incorporated into the main titles, with Bond literally falling into them.

The biggest weakness in the movie is Denise Richards. She looks great in those shorts, but she's not at all credible. I don't think the name Christmas Jones is remotely clever either. Otherwise, The World Is Not Enough was a good way for 007 to close out the '90s, IMO.

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Old 05-03-2009, 08:59 AM   #81
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Default Re: CFE's James Bond Countdown

#14

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)



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Directed by ... Guy Hamilton
Written by … Richard Maibaum and Tom Mankiewicz
Based on the James Bond Character Created by ... Ian Fleming

Roger Moore ... James Bond
Christopher Lee ... Francisco Scaramanga
Britt Ekland ... Mary Goodnight
Maud Adams ... Andrea Anders
Hervé Villechaize ... Nick Nack
Clifton James ... Sheriff J.W. Pepper
Richard Loo ... Hai Fat
Soon-Taik Oh ... Lieutenant Hip
Marc Lawrence ... Rodney
Bernard Lee ... 'M'
Lois Maxwell ... Miss Moneypenny
Marne Maitland ... Lazar
Desmond Llewelyn ... 'Q'
James Cossins ... Colthorpe
Chan Yiu Lam ... Chula
Carmen du Sautoy ... Saida
Gerald James ... Frazier

Bond is led to believe that he is targeted by the world's most expensive assassin and must hunt him down to stop him.

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

Often cited as one of the worst James Bond films, 1974’s “The Man with the Golden Gun” is hardly that. While it’s certainly not among the pinnacle, I do think it gets a bad reputation.

Though I've seen every 007 film, some of them several times, I cannot describe myself as being an avid fan, so I can't be bothered with questions like which film was most faithful to the books, etc. Differentiating one Bond film from the next is almost like differentiating one Twinkie from another Twinkie: simply put, it's formula film-making. With “Golden Gun,” I can sort of see why some might think it's not up to the usual 007 extravaganza: it just doesn't follow the formula like other Bond films. There are no gadgets here, the ending is not as spectacular as other Bond flicks and some characters (the sheriff) might seem trite but of all other 007 adventures.

But you know something…this might be the most down to earth one. I for one love the fact that there's no huge battle at the climax or ridiculous gadgets (invisible Aston Martin). No…this a Bond adventure that can actually be described with adjectives like ‘plausible’ and ‘believable,’ which is no mean feat or easy task.

This time around, things aren’t overblown and flashy for Bond (Roger Moore). This time the mission is gritty and personal. When a golden bullet arrives at MI6 with "007" engraved on it, the British believe that James Bond is the next target for international assassin Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee). 007 is given the assignment to kill Scaramanga before he kills Bond and collects his $1,000,000 fee.

What's remarkable about “Golden Gun,” for me, is the cinematography; the composition, the natural colors, the sheer tangible ‘real’ of it all. Gone is the grubby cinematography of LIVE AND LET DIE. But it's also not as super-slick as other Bond made before or after this one. It's an odd thing to cite beautiful cinematography for such a commercial project as this one. The most stunning scenes are at the end, when Bond flies to Scaramanga's secret base.

The other great thing about the film is the wonderful casting Christopher Lee as Scaramanga, who provides one of the more eccentric and memorable Bond foes in the series. Here Scaramanga is a real character, not some cartoon villain like 90% of Bond villains (yes, I prefer all of the earlier Bond films that include *drum roll* ‘cartoon villains’…but after a good handful of those, this was quite welcome personally). The fact that the story is about two men going mano a mano is also a nice change from the tired and re-treaded "villain who wants to dominate the world" plot line. Casting Lee as Scaramanga was a stroke of genius. He's what makes “The Man with the Golden Gun” so memorable.

Another essential component? Guy Hamilton, my favorite Bond director, continuing in the director’s chair. With touchstone series entries such as “Goldfinger” and “Live and Let Die” under his belt, Hamilton arguably laid some of the best groundwork for the Bond character and his direction is just as distinct here. Much appreciated.

Lastly, the other memorable element is John Barry's score. It's one of his most evocative for a James Bond film since “Goldfinger.” Lulu’s title song is a bit more comical in its lyrics and more psychedelic than I would’ve liked, but oh well…it’s catchy!

As for the Bond girls this time out, Britt Ekland and Maud Adams are absolutely gorgeous. Though Adams' acting can be described as stiff, she's one of the classiest and is the saddest Bond girl ever (her actions propel the story) while Ekland is funny as the ditsy operative. The belly dancer at the beginning was, hmm, scary looking though.

But, of course, the film isn’t without its weaker elements (it has a few I’ll admit).

The film's biggest weak points are: the script, which is sorely underwritten in some spots (despite the involvement of Tom Mankiewicz, whom I absolutely adore for obvious reasons).

Then of course there’s the re-introduction of (ugh) the J.W. Pepper character, which even if he's quite funny here, is just too improbable; and the blatant AMC product placement.

The last two points almost make “Golden Gun” "jump the shark" but after the excellent climax, all is forgiven. The big glaring mistake in “Golden Gun,” and maybe (probably) the main reason why so many Bond fans don't like this film, is the fact that Bond doesn't appear before the opening credits. No kick-ass intro action scene with Bond in a jet-pack or falling out of plane without a parachute that sets the tone for the rest of the film. I have to admit that the film seems to be missing something because of that.

Even so, there are still many other reasons why “Golden Gun” is better than its reputation would suggest: the entire karate school scene, which is the high point of the film, is quite fun. The abrupt "kick to the head" joke was even copied (in context) years later with Indiana Jones shooting the sword wielder in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”; the arena scene (excellent direction there); the whole 1970s look; a confident Roger Moore who gives one of his better performance as 007 and says some of the funniest one liners of the series with impeccable timing.

And let's not forget about Herve Villechaize as Nick Nack. He almost steals every scene he's in, which is either good or bad, depending on how you like him.

In closing, “The Man with the Golden Gun” has just the right balance of seriousness, action, acting, exotic locations and humor…it may not be a defining entry for the series, but I honestly don’t think it’s as bad as others might lead you to believe.

Some fans would label it ‘campy’ or ‘boring’…but sometimes you just have to let it go and have some fun. “Golden Gun” lets me do that.

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

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Old 05-03-2009, 09:29 AM   #82
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Default Re: CFE's James Bond Countdown

I'm interested to see were QoS comes in this, as I liked it a lot more than most people seem to.

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Old 05-03-2009, 03:07 PM   #83
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I love the Moore Bond movie posters.
"Live and let die", "The spy who loved me" are my favourite "Moore as Bond" movies, not too campy, with good villains and good gadgets and Moore was not too old for the part back then and brought his own lighter style to the character (he was basically perfecting his "Lord Brett Sinclair" persona from the great TV Show "The Persuaders" with Tony Curtis).

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Old 05-04-2009, 07:52 AM   #84
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#13

Quantum of Solace (2008)



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Directed by ... Marc Forster
Written by … Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Paul Haggis
Based on the James Bond Character Created by ... Ian Fleming

Daniel Craig ... James Bond
Olga Kurylenko ... Camille
Mathieu Amalric ... Dominic Greene
Judi Dench ... M
Giancarlo Giannini ... René Mathis
Gemma Arterton ... Strawberry Fields
Jeffrey Wright ... Felix Leiter
David Harbour ... Gregg Beam
Jesper Christensen ... Mr. White
Anatole Taubman ... Elvis
Rory Kinnear ... Bill Tanner
Tim Pigott-Smith ... Foreign Secretary
Joaquín Cosio ... General Medrano
Fernando Guillén Cuervo ... Colonel of Police
Jesús Ochoa ... Lieutenant Orso
Lucrezia Lante della Rovere ... Gemma
Glenn Foster ... Henry Mitchell
Paul Ritter ... Guy Haines
Simon Kassianides ... Yusef
Stana Katic ... Corinne Veneau
Neil Jackson ... Mr. Slate
Elizabeth Arciniega ... Mr. White's Girlfriend

Seeking revenge for the death of his love, secret agent James Bond sets out to stop an environmentalist from taking control of a country's valuable resource.

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

Initially I didn’t see Marc Forster’s “Quantum of Solace” in theatres…but eventually I was able to get my hands on it and see it enough times to validate a judgment. And for me…this is very much the median of the franchise, with one foot in the ‘great’ and another in the ‘questionable.’

In this installment, acting as a direct sequel to the revamp of “Casino Royale,” James Bond (Daniel Craig) captures Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) and while interrogating him with M. (Judi Dench) about his mysterious organization, her bodyguard shoots Mr. White and is killed by James Bond. The MI6 tracks his money and finds a large deposit in Haiti, where James Bond meets the Bolivian Camille (Olga Kurylenko) that believes he is her contact. Following Camille, James Bond finds Dominic Greene (Mathieu Amalric), who is plotting a coup-d'état in Bolivia for General Medrano (Joaquín Cosio); in return, he would receive lands that have no oil. Further, James Bond discovers that Camille is trying to kill General Medrano, the man that murdered his family when she was a child. While trying to revenge the death of his beloved Vesper and discover the interest of Dominic and his organization, James Bond travels to Europe. In Italy he meets his retired friend Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini) and together they travel to La Paz, where James Bond finds the truth about Dominic.

“Quantum of Solace” is not that much of a step away from the Bond tradition in terms of the plot, etc…but I would say it’s just more of an action movie than a Bond movie. Yes I thought it was strange that the traditional opening was saved for the end of the film…and the absence of gadgets, innuendo, comedy etc was questionable…but the individual viewer may or nay not have a problem with this. A part of me did, but on the other hand the frantic action distracted me an awful lot.

What I know that some people did have issue with was that “Quantum of Solace” follows directly on from the previous film and that the narrative flows directly (to the letter) rather than restarting with a new threat, like every film in the series did. But I have to say I liked this idea. It cuts away the need to establish everything fresh and instead we get the development of the Quantum organisation - a thread that would be good for several more films I think.

Others have complained that the story made no sense - personally I didn't struggle with the overall flow. The specifics of some scenes or characters perhaps were lost on me, but this was mainly because the film didn't spoon feed me - and I'd rather it made me think. It is not a traditional Bond story though but it worked and those scoffing about the exploitation of one country to make money and get power as a trivial plot by the series standards are not seeing this as a part of a bigger, powerful organisation.

Where the "story" side of the film falls down is in the development of Bond, or the lack of development I should say – thanks to the absence of that familiar charm the character has, it could have been any character doing the running and jumping. Don't get me wrong, it’s not terrible but the title credits made me hope for more. You see, the names I recognized that made me think something would click were the following - Daniel Craig (a fine actor), Paul Haggis (Oscar winning writer - and not for action films but for films where story, script and characters were the whole show), Marc Forster (“Kite Runner” and “Monster's Ball” - again, more about characters and material than action). I wasn't looking for “Solace” to be a no-action, all character affair but I did hope that these talents could do great things with the new, gritty ‘plausible’ take to Bond.

But they don't.

Yes we have the general continuation of this tough, violent man driven by some twisted sort of vengeful love but it makes very little of it. The scenes between the action do well enough to built the story and connect the action but ultimately they are only "the bits between the action". The cast are still good - but just feel like more was possible.

Craig is a pretty good Bond, rough, fit and attractive with dark menace in his very heart. Amalric may not be a typical Bond super-villain but that was the point. Kurylenko is stunning and fits the modern Bond girl role well. Dench does what she does with quality but Arterton offers nothing but a clumsy Goldfinger reference while Jeffrey Wright's performance suggests an interesting character that the script never produces. Giannini's character produces a moment of emotional and superficial coldness in Bond that is good but otherwise I could have done with him or his character.

The action is what the film is about and, while enough to entertain, is never as thrilling or engaging as it should be. This is a problem and it's a problem that Bond struggles to solve - the “Bourne” problem. I know some people hate rapid editing, hand held and tight shots on principle because it causes motion sickness or tunnel vision or "you can't see what's happening" but, done well (as in “Bourne”) it can draw the audience into the action and make it a lot more intense.

However, it is not something that happens in the editing room alone. For “Bourne” this approach compliments and is complimented by the choreography of the action and also the filming style. But with “Solace” it feels at times like this style is an afterthought - some of the action scenes work with it but in the majority it only detracts from the scene. It is still noisy enough to do the job and I do like the brutal edge the scenes have but the editing was not a good call here. Otherwise the action is "good", great locations, fast cars, big explosions - just a shame that nothing had me on the edge of my seat.

The score is actually one of the highlights of the film for me…however I was not enthusiastic at all about Jack White and Alicia Keys’ “Another way to Die” song though…

”Quantum of Solace” is different from the traditional Bond; but clearing away a lot of clutter doesn't bother me as much as it has some viewers. The film works well as a solid action movie but falls short of being anything special. It is so conscious of “Bourne” that, in imitating aspects of those films, the makers forget to see if it works with what they are doing. The lack of depth and development in the character is also a disappointment given the talent involved in key areas.

But regardless, “Solace” is still a solid and enjoyable film that is worth seeing even if it is hard to ignore that most of it could and should have been better than it is.

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Old 05-04-2009, 10:30 AM   #85
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Finally.

IMO it's the worst Bond movie ever.

The only one were I was bored and couldn't wait for the movie to end.

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Old 05-04-2009, 10:31 AM   #86
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Great review, CFE.

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Old 05-04-2009, 10:56 AM   #87
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I miss having the title in the theme song.
I thought the film was alright. I pretty much agree with most, if not all of your statements on it.

*On another note. I tend to not like the cheesy bond films, and I'm generally not a big fan of Moore, but for some reason, I love moonraker. It just went so far into awesome. Bond in SPACE? With LASERS?? JAWS??? The badguy is named DRAX????

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Old 05-04-2009, 11:02 AM   #88
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More or less I agree with what you said CFE. The best moment of the entire film was the opening car chase. That was the only scene that had me on the edge of my seat. Everything else felt just "ok".

And I hope that a better opening song is developed for the next bond. "Another way to die" made me want to chop my ears off thanks to the horrendous vocals by Alicia and Jack.

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Old 05-04-2009, 11:15 PM   #89
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THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN

Again, I hate this movie. My favorite Bond movies have a sense of humor, of course, can poke a little fun at the ludicrous entertainment they are, but don't go so far with that winking that the humor turns ironic/detached, or campy. Like Moonraker, The Man with the Golden Gun is that sort of camp, and if the set pieces, performances, and ideas that make it up were actually entertaining, maybe I'd enjoy them. But no, TMWTGG is a goofy, disjointed, and uninvolving mess. Also unfortunate is that for a Bond movie of this era it feels rather small, as if the victim of a rushed schedule with more than a few budget cuts. Plus, whatever attempts the film makes to capitalize on the early-'70s kung fu movie craze simply don't work.

As for the cast, Roger Moore isn't bad here (certainly better than Live and Let Die or Moonraker), but he still doesn't seem quite sure how his Bond behaves; for instance, he nearly breaks Andrea's arm when questioning her, which seems much more like a Connery-Bond move. Maud Adams as Andrea, Scramanga's mistress, is better than the role, and does what she can with her limited screen time. Britt Ekland looks great, but Mary Goodnight (cheeky) is the typical empty-headed piece of set dressing just around to wear a bikini during the climax...Hard to complain about that, though, when you see the bikini. Herve Villichaize as Nick Nack is what he is, comic relief, but again, I prefer my sidekicks less silly. The most - if not only - worthwile element in the film is the great Christopher Lee in the role of Scaramanga, a part seemingly tailor-made for him. He's superb here, and he brings out the best in Moore in their scenes together. He's got some menace, some charm, and some gravitas - perfect casting.

From that grating (but also catchy, unfortunately) theme song by Lulu, to the clunky addition of the Solex Agitator plot, to the final "fight" with Bond and Nick Nack, there's virtually nothing I can recommend about this one...except for a great John Barry score and a classic Christopher Lee performance.

QUANTUM OF SOLACE

I pretty much agree with the consensus here: Quantum of Solace isn't among the great Bond movies, but it's not among the worst either, firmly in the range of "pretty good."

The tone is a little darker, Bond is a little less charming, and there's a distinct shortage of any kind of humor, but frankly, there's not a doubt in my mind that this was the right path for the movie following Casino Royale. I think it would've been irresponsible, after restoring a much-needed depth and excitement to the series, not to deal with the fallout of the events of the last movie, and to make, for the first time, a direct sequel. Quantum of Solace is basically the completion of the story CR started, and it really works as such.

Daniel Craig is an excellent Bond; he doesn't get much chance to show Bond's debonair, witty side but in the action scenes (and there are plenty) he's believable, and appears an actual threat. Matthieu Amalric is good in his more down-to-earth, smarmy way as Dominic Greene, but this is not a memorable villain. Olga Kurlyenko in the role of Camille is a huge departure from Eva Green's Vesper, and also from the usual Bond girl - it's really not a romantic storyline (or one-night stand) at all, which is good in a way because it's a less direct comparison to the high standard now set by Eva Green. Gemma Arterton as Fields...well, I can't say anything new, CFE's right, it's a one-note Goldfinger reference.

A few other comments:
-The action sequences aren't generally as well-done or memorable as those in CR, but they are all entertaining unto themselves, the opening car chase being a particular standout.
-I actually like the Jack White/Alicia Keys theme.
-Jeffrey Wright is well-cast as Leiter, and he's been fine so far, but I'd like for him to have something significant to do at some point. I mean, let's actually use Leiter in this reinvented series!

Quantum of Solace doesn't reach Casino Royale's heights, but it's still pretty enjoyable.

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Old 05-05-2009, 12:09 AM   #90
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Default Re: CFE's James Bond Countdown

I bought QOS and Casino Royale on Blu-ray when QOS came out and then watched CR and QOS back to back and when you do they really do flow together nicely.

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Old 05-05-2009, 07:58 AM   #91
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Default Re: CFE's James Bond Countdown

#12

Live and Let Die (1973)



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Directed by ... Guy Hamilton
Written by … Tom Mankiewicz
Based on the James Bond Character Created by ... Ian Fleming

Roger Moore ... James Bond
Yaphet Kotto ... Kananga / Mr. Big
Jane Seymour ... Solitaire
Clifton James ... Sheriff J.W. Pepper
Julius W. Harris ... Tee Hee
Geoffrey Holder ... Baron Samedi
David Hedison ... Felix Leiter
Gloria Hendry ... Rosie Carver
Bernard Lee ... M
Lois Maxwell ... Miss Moneypenny
Tommy Lane ... Adam
Earl Jolly Brown ... Whisper
Roy Stewart ... Quarrel Jr.
Lon Satton ... Harold Strutter
Ruth Kempf ... Mrs. Bell
Joie Chitwood ... Charlie
Madeline Smith ... Miss Caruso
Michael Ebbin ... Dambala

007 is sent to stop a diabolically brilliant heroin magnate armed with a complex organization and a reliable psychic tarot card reader.

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

'Live and Let Die' is the only film that matches Bond exclusively against African-American drug czars... It is the only other movie besides 'Dr. No' with no briefing with Q, no meeting in M's office, and no musical score from the great John Barry...The film takes risk, takes us to a great location, gives us a dynamic and memorable theme…and I appreciate it for all of that.

The film begins with one of the most arresting openings of any Bond film, the killing of three British agents: one in Harlem, New York, one in New Orleans and one on the island of San Monique...

Following the murders, MI6 calls in James Bond (Roger Moore) to investigate the deaths. He is menaced by a venomous snake in his hotel room, cornered in the middle of a pool full of alligators...and eventually he stumbles upon a heroin trade operation presided by two contrasting personalities, Dr. Kananga and Mr. Big (Yaphet Kotto).

One of the things that really sets the film apart from the rest of the series is the spooky angle taken to the plot with hints of Voodoo and the occult…Tarot and psychics…Usually most Bond plots are either straightforward or more spectacle based. But to go with something that cerebral is marvelous I think.

Roger Moore's debut as Bond sets up the tone of the films to come. Roger is more comic than Connery or Lazenby and in his later films is stuck with very bad one liners. But here, Bond's one liners are mostly well written and while Roger is mostly comedic, when a serious moment comes, Roger for the most part can play well. Roger makes his own Bond and steps out of Connery's shadow so well that it is extremely hard to make a comparison. On the down side, the more comedic 007 doesn't help the film in the realism department and that hurts the film quiet a bit.

In the casting of Solitaire, Jane Seymour fits Ian Fleming's description of the character to perfection. Not only does Seymour look the part, she also plays the part well. Given that in both the novel and the film, Solitaire is a poorly defined character who Bond saves at every possible chance, Jane Seymour plays the role with believability that is rarely matched by an any other Bond girl. While some of the lines are cliché, the tarot card and ESP abilities of Solitaire give Seymour a chance to show off her considerable talents that have only improved over the years since this film. And…of course…Seymour is just gorgeous. She’s pretty much the definition of a MILF nowadays, but even back then…spectacular.

In Doctor Kananga, we get the first African American villain in a Bond film. Yaphet Kotto (who would go on to portray Parker in 1979’s landmark “Alien”) brings considerable menace to the character that is turned on and off as Kananga is both a public figure and then as drug lord Mister Big. It must be noted the well done plot twist of Mister Big being Kananga, though it doesn't make a lot of sense. Two things ruin an otherwise memorable character: his death. His death is completely absurd and doesn't even seem realistic.

The supporting cast is mainly African American actors and actresses playing villains. That fact brings out the fact that while this a 007 adventure, it is also jumping on the blaxplotation bandwagon of the early 1970's and serves to date the film. Those actors are underwritten and way too often used for comic relief. Rosie Carver is another example. She is an interesting character who is underwritten to the extreme and we come off not caring that she is dead.

While on the subject of the supporting cast, it should be note that David Hedison makes a great Felix Lieter. The bad memory of Norman Burton's Lieter as this Bond and Lieter share a very believable friendship. It is only a shame that the character doesn't appear again for 14 years as he could have added a lot to the Moore films. If there is one outstanding example of a bad character in this film, it has to be Sheriff J.W. Pepper. This type of character is out of place in a Bond film and one almost wonder's what everyone was thinking when this character was added. Most if Pepper's lines are cringe worthy, though the scene at the end of the boat chase where Pepper confronts Bond is the film's best comedic moment.

The film can be best viewed as a chase film. The film is really a bunch of chases that the plot revolves around. While this is usually the kiss of death for any film (look at 1997's Tomorrow Never Dies for example), it works here. The chases are well done and, despite thirty plus years of other action films, are exciting. The tension in the film is primarily found in these chases and fights that test's the abilities of 007. While humor fills these chases, it works here. If there is anything to complain about these chases, it is the occasional lack of music. This is no more apparent than in the film's best chase: the boat chase across the bayou.

The boat chase is the film's lengthiest sequence and with good reason. The boat chase takes us across the buoy and showcases some amazing stunt work. The chase is occasionally hampered down by appearances by redneck Sheriff J.W. Pepper (“Superman II”s Clifton James) and his merry band of idiot cops. The chase is one of the better sequences to appear in the series and has truly stood the test time.

The music for the film marks a milestone in the Bond films. This was the first time ever John Barry didn't compose any music for the film. George Martin, a long time Beetles producer, was hired to the score and he created the best non-Barry Bond score until David Arnold's score for “Tomorrow Never Dies” 24 years later. The score has a great feel to it and doesn't feel dated at all. Martin is however guilty for leaving some of the action un-scored. The boat chase is for the large part un-scored, but when the music comes on the excitement. Martin does a very good take on the James Bond Theme and the film's score is built around an excellent main title song. The song is an unabashed rock song, but it fits very well with Maurice Binder's title sequence.

With a good main cast, a shaky supporting cast, good action sequences, an excellent title song and a wonderful score by George Martin, “Live and Let Die” was a great addition to the continuing adventures of James Bond. Though while viewed in context with the rest of the series, it comes off as above average…it was still quite the debut for Moore.

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Old 05-05-2009, 10:35 AM   #92
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Default Re: CFE's James Bond Countdown

Quantum of Solace, worst Bond song ever!

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Old 05-05-2009, 12:26 PM   #93
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Nowhere near Goldfinger, From Russia with love or CR, but IMO live and let die and the spy who loved are two great Bond films and like I said before my favourite from Moore. Also Yaphet Kotto was a great villain. And Georges Martin provided an awesome score.

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Old 05-05-2009, 03:14 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by Homer J. Fong View Post
I think it would've been irresponsible, after restoring a much-needed depth and excitement to the series, not to deal with the fallout of the events of the last movie, and to make, for the first time, a direct sequel.
I don't know about it being the first time. Isn't Red Grant from FRWL sent to kill bond in response to Bond killing Dr. No? And isn't SPECTRE first mentioned in Dr. No? The first two films I think had a bit of a flow, but it was dropped fairly quickly.

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Old 05-05-2009, 06:59 PM   #95
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I don't know about it being the first time. Isn't Red Grant from FRWL sent to kill bond in response to Bond killing Dr. No? And isn't SPECTRE first mentioned in Dr. No? The first two films I think had a bit of a flow, but it was dropped fairly quickly.
Yes, but From Russia with Love more references Dr. No than act as a direct sequel. It does make more reference to its predecessor than later Bonds would, though.

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Old 05-05-2009, 10:13 PM   #96
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Live and Let Die (actually, Diamonds Are Forever too, for the most part) suffers from the same campiness issues that The Man with the Golden Gun and Moonraker do, and I've said my bit on that, so I'll start my review on Roger Moore's performance, which feels very different from Connery's, yes, but a bit uncertain and not fully formed; not surprising and it's hard to fault him for that, but Connery and Craig did begin their tenure far more confidently.

As for the rest of the cast, Yaphet Kotto is the highlight, in what is kind of an underrated character, the dual role of both the underground druglord Mr. Big and the more elegant, more "Bondian" Dr. Kananga. He has what's probably the best line in the flick too - "names is for tombstones, baby!" Jane Seymour, besides being beautiful, is convincing as the virginal, somewhat mysterious Solitaire. Gloria Hendry is rather annoying as the short-lived Rosie Carver, totally unconvincing as a villainess. However, Geoffrey Holder is fantastic as the most striking and colorful henchman of the Moore era, Baron Samedi (who provides a great last moment too, riding on the back of that train). The big weak link in the group is Clifton James' Sheriff J.W. Pepper (ugh), one of the most irritating, embarrasssing performances in the series...no, no, scratch that, THE most irritating and embarrassing performance in the series. Naturally, he comes back in an expanded role in The Man with the Golden Gun. *sigh*

I personally find the "action" in this movie totally lackluster throughout, and the boat chase in particular drags on way too long. The lone high point in terms of stunts is when Bond leaps over the group of crocodiles, which is more impressive after seeing it being done for real on the DVD doc. If you went by the Paul McCartney & Wings theme, you'd think this movie was much more dynamic and fun than it actually is, but on the bright side...that theme song is KILLER, one of my favorite songs in general.

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Old 05-06-2009, 12:48 AM   #97
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Live and Let Die has one of the coolest openings in a bond film ever

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Old 05-06-2009, 01:06 AM   #98
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Default Re: CFE's James Bond Countdown

I forgot to mention Kananga's death, which is completely ridiculous, but I find it strange just how often I see people take issue with it, because this is a Roger Moore Bond movie - if it had been anyone else's, it would stick it out much more, but here, it seems to fit.

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Old 05-06-2009, 10:43 AM   #99
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#11

You Only Live Twice (1967)



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Directed by ... Lewis Gilbert
Written by … Roald Dahl and Harold Jack Bloom
Based on the James Bond Character Created by ... Ian Fleming

Sean Connery ... James Bond
Akiko Wakabayashi ... Aki
Mie Hama ... Kissy Suzuki
Tetsuro Tamba ... Tiger Tanaka
Teru Shimada ... Mr. Osato
Karin Dor ... Helga Brandt
Donald Pleasence ... Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Bernard Lee ... M
Lois Maxwell ... Miss Moneypenny
Desmond Llewelyn ... Q
Charles Gray ... Dikko Henderson
Tsai Chin ... Ling, Chinese Girl in Hong Kong
Ronald Rich ... Hans
Jeanne Roland ... Bond's Masseuse
David Toguri ... Assassin in Bedroom
John Stone ... Submarine Captain
Norman Jones ... Astronaut - American Spacecraft #1
Paul Carson ... Astronaut - American Spacecraft #1
Laurence Herder ... Astronaut - Russian Spacecraft
Richard Graydon ... Astronaut - Russian Spacecraft
Bill Mitchell ... Astronaut - American Spacecraft #2
George Roubicek ... Astronaut - American Spacecraft #2

Agent 007 and the Japanese secret service ninja force must find and stop the true culprit of a series of spacejackings before nuclear war is provoked.

-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​-​​

After the disappointing reception to "Thunderball" (which I felt was among the better Bonds so I didn't quite understand that) 'Cubby' Broccoli gave the franchise the upper hand yet again with 1967's "You Only Live Twice."

The film, right from the get go, harkens back to "From Russia With Love" with the involvement of SPECTRE and the angle of Bond playing games to get a leg up on his foes. One of the key components that makes it great is the fact that it takes place entirely in Japan. The fact that they don't attempt a global scenario gives the piece some sense of grounding without the film losing momentum (in part to its tremendous cast and classic Bond-esque premise).

After a mysterious rocket ship seizes manned space missions from Earth's orbit, suspicions mount and the world superpowers are hurled to the brink of nuclear devestation. Their only hope rests with MI6 agent James Bond (Sean Connery), who races to stop the space-​jackings'​ true mastermind, Ernst Blofeld (Donald Pleasance). Chief of the evil S.P.E.C.T.R.E. organization, Blofeld is bent on instigating global warfare from his massive headquarters nestled in an inactive volcano. As the countdown begins, Bond joins forces with luscious Japanese agent Kissy Suzuki (Mie Hama) and scores of Ninja warriors to mount a daring raid on Blofeld's lair and prevent a calamitous world war.

"You Only Live Twice" was the end result of Eon Productions' decision to take advantage of Japan's nearly fanatical love of 'James Bond', and desire to bring him to their country for the next 007 adventure. Although "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," to be shot primarily in Switzerland, had been planned, the Japanese offer was too good to pass up...so Sean Connery, instead of appearing in the most ambitious and dramatic Bond story ever made, would make his first 'farewell' appearance in arguably the most far-fetched 007 story...at least to date.

Ian Fleming's novel, written as his health was failing (only one more Bond novel would appear, "The Man with the Golden Gun", which was published posthumously), was more introspective than his previous works, with Bond facing a mental breakdown, his apparent death, and fatherhood for the first time, and would have been nearly impossible to film. So Broccoli and partner Harry Saltzman brought in legendary author Roald Dahl ("Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory") to create a story, retaining only the title and character names from the Fleming work.

Dahl's 'take', while providing lovely views of Japanese culture and folklore, science fiction elements, and a huge climactic battle, revealed an embarrassingly obvious lack of knowledge of 007 lore (at one point, the Japanese Secret Service, supposedly fluent of all of Bond's habits, brings him a martini "stirred, not shaken"), and one sequence, in which the hirsute, 6'2" Connery is 'disguised' to pass as Japanese, so outrageous that it appears nearly campy.

As the film's villain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld would make his first fully visible appearance (his hands, caressing a Persian cat, had appeared in both "From Russia With Love" and "​Thunderball"​)​,​ and 62-year old Czech actor Jan Werich was cast in the role; when illness forced him to bow out, veteran character actor Donald Pleasence (who would go on to portray Dr. Samuel Loomis in my favorite horror film series, "Halloween") was called in.

While I adore Pleasence as an actor, he didn't look all that...I guess.​.​.​"​formidable.​"​ Even with the added make up effect of a long scar, creating a "broken egg" look...the short actor (short!), dressed in a Nehru jacket, still looked a bit silly (a fact not lost on Mike Myers, when creating the 'Dr. Evil' parody for 'Austin Powers"). However one can attest that Donald's take on the role was iconic enough to warrant a parody. I will say, as funny as he might have looked I'll always love Donald in the role, regardless.

The Japanese Bond girls this time around are very attractive, but I didn't get too much of a sense of chemistry between them and Connery. The funny thing is I felt the same way about Michelle Yeoh and Brosnan...man, what is it about Asian Bond girls? Maybe I need to watch both films again just to be certain...

There ARE beautiful elements in the film however;

Ken Adams' Volcano set (for Blofeld's lair) was the biggest standing set ever constructed at the time. And it doesn't disappoint.​.​.​it'​s astounding and beautifully designed from an architectural standpoint. and the climactic Japanese assault on it ranks as one of the greatest action scenes in the series...ever; Charles Gray (who would later himself portray Blofeld in "Diamonds Are Forever"), has a nice role as a doomed Bond ally; the dock chase, as Bond is pursued by ever-growing numbers of Japanese thugs, is remarkable; and John Barry's haunting score, with Nancy Sinatra's lovely rendition of the theme song, ranks as one of his best..and the "You Only Live Twice" title song is one of my top three from the series (the other two are coming soon).

But unfortunately.​.​.​campiness is all too evident, as well, in 'Little Nellie', the toy-like mini-​helicopter that takes on Blofeld's private air force; in the patently artificial-​looking space scenes; and in a bizarre sequence, as a carload of bad guys are lifted off a highway by a giant magnet, and dumped into the bay (guess an interrogation wasn't planned).

For Sean Connery, who looked tired and out of shape, the filming must have been a most unpleasant experience, hounded 24 hours a day by the Japanese press, and referred to as 'James Bond' rather than his own name at official functions. As he had already hammered out an agreement that this would be his last Bond movie (he was totally burned out in the role), he grit his teeth, finished the production, and moved on.

And that's probably the biggest issue I have with "You Only Live Twice." Connery's heart just isn't in it here and you can tell.​.​.​ironically he's more into "Diamonds" than this (which is why I prefer "​Diamonds"​.​.​.​among other reasons).

However, all nitpicks aside, "You Only Live Twice" IS one of the better in the series. It's fun, it's rambunctious.​.​.​overall a pretty solid delight.

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Old 05-06-2009, 11:54 PM   #100
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Default Re: CFE's James Bond Countdown

I watched this one again over the weekend, and enjoyed it more than I remembered.

Sean Connery may have been tired and bored with the role by this point, but it doesn't really show in his performance; he's just as charming and involving as ever. It's funny that this film's tagline (and naturally so) was "Sean Connery is James Bond," but once the next movie comes around, Broccoli & Saltzman have to now make it clear to audiences that, no, it's the character and not the actor that draws you in.

As for the women in this one, nope, neither Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama, or Karin Dor have any chemistry with Connery, but I actually find that Aki's death is an affecting moment - the movie forgets about it instantly, but it's somewhat impactful just the same - and Kissy (who's never even named in the film) is a rather boring replacement. Donald Pleasence is iconic in his take on Blofeld, and he's really good, even if he's not all that menacing. My preferred take on Blofeld, though, is the shadowy, conspiratorial one played by Anthony Dawson and dubbed by Eric Pohlmann in From Russia with Love and Thunderball. Interestingly, Blofeld is presented the same way here until we see Pleasence's face. Tetsuro Tamba (who himself was dubbed by Robert Rietty) is a fitting ally to Bond as 'Tiger' Tanaka. And I find Charles Gray is better here as the short-lived Henderson than he would be as Blofeld a few years later.

Every once in a while, there comes a Bond movie that's so big and silly that the next one needs to bring things down to earth (literally in the Moonraker/For Your Eyes Only case), and this was the first instance of that. You Only Live Twice is a lavish, spectacular ride, with magnets scooping up cars, Little Nellie taking down her rivals, massive rockets devouring international shuttles, and, most ludicrous of all, setting the new standard for Bondian grandeur, the villain setting up shop in a hollowed-out volcano. Ken Adam's work here is always incredible to behold, but his work here is probably his most legendary - for good reason.

The first three things that come to mind when I think 'Bond' are: the theme, Adam's sets, and John Barry music. YOLT is one of his finest, a lush, often haunting score highlighted by that beautiful Nancy Sinatra theme.

Overall, it may not live up the first four in the series, but You Only Live Twice is splashy and tons of fun. It was for the best, though, that things were pared down to a more plausible level with On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

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