Movie Review: THE SPY WHO LOVED ME

After 1974’s The Man With The Golden Gun, film critics and the movie-going public were having their doubts about the James Bond franchise. It seemed stale. As if it had run its course. In the summer of 1977, Roger Moore’s 3rd outing proved the doubters wrong with The Spy Who Loved Me. Not only is it considered Moore’s best 007 adventure, but it’s also in the top tier of the entire Bond series.

TSWLM Notes:

  • The tagline was “biggest, best, Bond and beyond.” It lives up to this billing, although this is basically a retelling of You Only Live Twice, which was also directed by Lewis Gilbert. Replace the YOLT space capsule with submarines and you have TSWLM.
  • Spy gives us perhaps the greatest, most iconic, pre-title sequence. Bond in his bright yellow ski suit (Moore always being flashy) escaping from Russians, skiing off a mountain and opening up his Union Jack parachute. I wasn’t born yet (about 11 months away), but I wish I could have seen this opening in packed theater. I’m sure it was an epic experience.
  • Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better” adds to the list of things that make The Spy Who Loved Me so memorable. This old-fashioned, torch-song, ranks among the very best Bond theme songs ever. Match it will Maurice Binder’s risqué titles and you have a Bond match made in heaven.
  • Barbara Bach’s Russian Agent XXX (they weren’t even trying to subtle anymore!) is supposed to be Bond’s equal, but she doesn’t always live up to his high spy standards. Bach has an interesting beauty that keeps her from being a forgettable Bond girl.
  • This movie, between Bach and Caroline Munro and the busty hotel desk clerk, has the most cleavage in Bond movie history. If you’re looking for that sort of thing.
  • If you are looking for lots of bad 70s fashion, including lots of tan on brown clothing, TSWLM covers that too. Roger Moore’s ties are as big as his Union Jack parachute.
  • Speaking of fashion, always nice to see 007 in his naval uniform. You Only Live Twice and Tomorrow Never Dies are the only other movies, besides this one, were we get to see him be Commander Bond.
  • I would pay good money to see that Egyptian pyramid presentation. Later on, how did MI6 turn the ruins into their office?!
  • The villain Stromberg is just a low-rent Blofeld. Check closely for his webbed hands, which is probably why he doesn’t like shaking hands. He’s also the most comfortable villain in the series. His comfy clothes and cozy furniture, and calm aquarium… minus the shark tank.
  • Jaws is the most iconic Bond henchman, right up there with Oddjob. I do have some questions about him though: What does he do with those teeth? He bites right through objects, but with humans he just nibbles. Also, sometimes he’s very smart, other times he is borderline mentally handicapped.
  • This movie also has the rare mention of James’ dead wife. Moore handles this emotional scene quite well.
  • During the train fight between Bond and Jaws, you can really see the size difference. Roger Moore was a tall man at 6’3, but Richard Kiel at 7’2 is like from another planet. Check out during the brawl, Kiel’s hands are practically the size of Moore’s face.
  • Elon Musk’s favorite car, the Lotus Esprit makes a grand entrance in Italy. Hopefully in the near future, all Tesla vehicles will be able to go underwater too.
  • When Bond’s car rises from the ocean, and Moore rolls down the window to throw out a fish, this might be the most Roger Moorish Bond thing he ever did in seven films. His neighborly nod to the villainous helicopter pilot Naomi is right up there too.
  • The climatic battle between blue uniforms (good guys) and red uniforms (bad guys) inside Stromberg’s submarine swallowing HQ, is another You Only Live Twice-type of scene. Just without the ninja’s and hallowed-out volcano.
  • We get to see Bond diffuse a nuclear bomb like he’s playing the game Operation.
  • No matter how many times I see this movie, I always think the two missles will end up striking each other in the sky.
  • As much as I love the scene of Bond riding the jet-ski, on his way to save Anya (XXX) from Stromberg, I do wonder how long it took him to put it all together?
  • Is Stromberg’s elevator: the best or worst? I feel like many people would have been dropped into that shark tank by accident.
  • Jaws vs that shark is Pay-Per-View fighting at its best. Where was Jaws swimming to at the end?
  • The closing credits, after Bond’s cheeky final line, has one of the oddest musical cues ever. Instead of Carly Simon singing “Nobody Does It Better”, we get what sounds like a gay man’s chorus singing the tune. Which then transitions into Simon’s. Strange!
  • At the very end of the credits we get the classic JAMES BOND WILL RETURN IN… but it reads FOR YOUR EYES ONLY. The movie directly after TSWLM was Moonraker. Why was Bond’s next mission in space? Well, TSWLM opened up two months after Star Wars. Bond producer Cubby Broccoli wanted to strike while the space iron was hot.

Bond’s coolest moment? When he’s at the Mojave Club. Moore is as charming as can be, while also doing some solid spying.

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? The van scene. I love watching James Bond do a Roger Moore comedy bit, but even here he’s pushing it. Just give her the damn keys!

Bond’s best line? When one is in Egypt, one should delve deeply into its treasures.

Best acting performance? I’m going to give this to Moore. He’s so natural this third go-around as the world’s most famous secret agent.

Bond’s most “sexual predator” moment? He starts making out with Fekkesh’s secretary within two minutes of meeting her.

Worst line in the movie? Shaken, but not stirred. – Anya (XXX)

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 177th time? When Bond meets Stromberg, he notices a woman’s severed hand in the aquarium. It’s Stromberg’s lady friend that he fed to his sharks in his first scene.

Best action sequence? I love the car chase that leads into the ocean.

Who or what is the title song about? I believe this song is about Bond’s amazing love making skills. Oh and that he’s also very good at his job.

Best looking cinematic moment? That ski jump off a mountain opening, without a doubt.

How could the villain have succeeded? I have major issues with his plan. Destroying the Earth so we can all live underwater doesn’t seem very thought-out. For example, we need air. So I say drop the entire plan and start from scratch.

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? Nobody did this one better. Roger is a perfect 007 in this.

Does Bond ever think he might die? For a second or two, he does think Anya will shoot him at the very end.

What would have made the movie better? A John Barry soundtrack. Nothing against Marvin Hamlisch, but not every track works for a Bond flick.

What’s in a name? Bond goes by the name Robert Sterling. A married marine biologist.

What’s in a title? The Spy Who Loved Me is an Ian Fleming title, although there is 0% of the novel in this movie.

Drinking game: Wait until the 3rd act to drink your Bacardi on the rocks every time a grenade goes off during the battle.

“WTF?!” moment: Jaws taking a bite out of that board of wood for no reason!

Fun fact: Stanley Kubrick helped out designer Ken Adam with the lighting.

Overall ranking: 5th out of the 24 movies.

Review synopsis: The Spy Who Loved Me is a Bond “best of” compilation. This is the quintessential Roger Moore – James Bond movie. It checks off all the boxes: great opening scene, ear-wormy theme song, beautiful women, stunning locations, world-domination plot, a remarkable henchman, and a leading actor hitting his stride in his third Bond movie.

The Bondies: James Bond Academy Awards

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Tonight is Oscar night, so there’s no better time than now to create my own James Bond-type of Academy Awards. These are my personal choices, with a side-note… *if any James Bond movie was nominated for an Oscar, they automatically got nominated in that specific category for my Bondies.

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Best Picture
Casino Royale

From Russia With Love

Goldfinger

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Skyfall

And the winner is… Skyfall 

 

Best Director
Martin Campbell (Casino Royale)

Lewis Gilbert (The Spy Who Loved Me)

Guy Hamilton (Goldfinger)

Sam Mendes (Skyfall)

Terence Young (From Russia With Love)

And the winner is… Sam Mendes (Skyfall)

 

Best Actor
Pierce Brosnan (The World Is Not Enough)

Sean Connery (From Russia With Love)

Daniel Craig (Casino Royale)

Timothy Dalton (Licence To Kill)

Roger Moore (For Your Eyes Only)

And the winner is… Daniel Craig (Casino Royale) 

 

Best Actress 

Judi Dench (Skyfall)

Eva Green (Casino Royale)

Olga Kurylenko (Quantum Of Solace)

Sophie Marceau (The World Is Not Enough)

Diana Rigg (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)

And the winner is… Judi Dench (Skyfall)

 

Best Supporting Actor

Pedro Armendariz (From Russia With Love)

Javier Bardem (Skyfall)

Christopher Lee (The Man With The Golden Gun)

Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale)

Robert Shaw (From Russia With Love)

And the winner is… Javier Bardem (Skyfall)

 

Best Supporting Actress

Judi Dench (Casino Royale)

Famke Janssen (Goldeneye)

Grace Jones (A View To A Kill)

Lotte Lenya (From Russia With Love)

Berenice Marlohe (Skyfall)

And the winner is… Judi Dench (Casino Royale) 

 

Best Adapted Screenplay
Casino Royale” by Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade

“From Russia With Love” by Richard Maibaum

“Goldfinger” by Richard Maibaum and Paul Dehn

“Live And Let Die” by Tom Mankiewicz

“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” by Richard Maibaum

And the winner is… “Casino Royale” by Paul Haggis, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade 

 

Best Original Screenplay
“Goldeneye” by Jeffrey Caine and Bruce Feirstein

“Licence To Kill” by Michael G. Wilson and Richard Maibaum

“Skyfall” by John Logan, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade

“The Spy Who Loved Me” by Christopher Wood and Richard Maibaum

“The World Is Not Enough” by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade

And the winner is… “Skyfall” by John Logan, Neal Purvis and Robert Wade

 

Best Cinematography
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Michael Reed)

Skyfall (Roger Deakins)

Spectre (Hoyte van Hoytema)

The Spy Who Loved Me (Claude Renoir)

You Only Live Twice (Freddie Young)

And the winner is… Skyfall (Roger Deakins) 

 

Best Costume Design
Goldeneye (Lindy Hemming)

Skyfall (Judy Temime)

Spectre (Judy Temime)

The Spy Who Loved Me (Rosemary Burrows)

You Only Live Twice (Eileen Sullivan)

And the winner is… Skyfall (Judy Temime) 

 

Best Film Editing
Casino Royale (Stuart Baird)

Goldfinger (Peter Hunt)

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (John Glen)

Quantum Of Solace (Matt Chesse and Richard Pearson)

Skyfall (Stuart and Kate Baird)

And the winner is… Casino Royale (Stuart Baird)

 

Best Makeup Team
Diamonds Are Forever

Die Another Day

Spectre

A View To A Kill

You Only Live Twice

And the winner is… Spectre 

 

Best Production Design
Goldfinger (Ken Adam)

Spectre (Dennis Gassner)

The Spy Who Loved Me (Ken Adam)

A View To A Kill (Peter Lamont)

You Only Live Twice (Ken Adam)

And the winner is… You Only Live Twice (Ken Adam)

 

Best Original Score
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (John Barry)

The Spy Who Loved Me (Marvin Hamlisch)

Skyfall (Thomas Newman)

Tomorrow Never Dies (David Arnold)

You Only Live Twice (John Barry)

And the winner is… On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (John Barry)

 

Best Original Song 

“Live and Let Die” by Paul and Linda McCartney

“For Your Eyes Only” by Bill Conti and Mick Leeson

Nobody Does It Better” from “The Spy Who Loved Me” by Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager

“Skyfall” by Adele and Paul Epworth

“Writing’s On The Wall” from “Spectre” by Sam Smith and James Napier

And the winner is… “Nobody Does It Better” from “The Spy Who Loved Me” by Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager 

 

Best Sound

Goldfinger

Diamonds Are Forever

Octopussy

Quantum Of Solace

Skyfall

And the winner is… Quantum of Solace

 

Best Visual Effects
Diamonds Are Forever

Goldeneye

Moonraker

The Spy Who Loved Me

Thunderball

And the winner is… Moonraker 

 

Best Documentary Feature
Becoming Bond

Everything Or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007

Happy Anniversary 007: 25 Years of James Bond

The James Bond Story

The World Of James Bond

And the winner is… Everything Or Nothing: The Untold Story of 007

 

Best Documentary Short
Double-0 Stuntmen

Inside Die Another Day

Inside The Living Daylights

Inside On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

The Music of James Bond

And the winner is… The Music of James Bond

 

Best Foreign Location 

Egypt (The Spy Who Love Me)

Greece (For Your Eyes Only)

India (Octopussy)

Japan (You Only Live Twice)

Switzerland (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)

And the winner is… Japan (You Only Live Twice) 

 

Best Title Credits 

For Your Eyes Only (Maurice Binder)

Quantum of Solace (MK12)

Skyfall (Daniel Kleinman)

The Spy Who Loved Me (Maurice Binder)

A View To A Kill (Maurice Binder)

And the winner is… The Spy Who Loved Me (Maurice Binder) 

 

Best Stunt Sequence 

Car chase (Quantum of Solace)

Eiffel Tower jump (A View To A Kill)

Parkour chase (Casino Royale)

Skiing off a cliff (The Spy Who Loved Me)

Skydiving without a parachute (Moonraker)

And the winner is… Skiing off a cliff (The Spy Who Loved Me) 

 

 

 

MOST BONDIES WON:

Skyfall 7

Casino Royale 4

The Spy Who Loved Me 3

Moonraker 1

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service 1

Quantum of Solace 1

Spectre 1

You Only Live Twice 1

 

MOST NOMINATIONS:

Skyfall 13

The Spy Who Loved Me 11

Casino Royale 9

From Russia With Love 7

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service 7

Goldfinger 6

You Only Live Twice 6

Quantum of Solace 5

Spectre 5

A View To A Kill 5

For Your Eyes Only 4

Goldeneye 4

Diamonds Are Forever 3

The World Is Not Enough 3

Licence To Kill 2

Live and Let Die 2

Moonraker 2

Octopussy 2

Die Another Day 1

The Man With The Golden Gun 1

Thunderball 1

Tomorrow Never Dies 1

Dr. No 0

The Living Daylights 0

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Review: A VIEW TO A KILL

It’s been nearly 33 years since the release of A View To A Kill. At that time, it was critically panned and didn’t do as well as it’s predecessor (Octopussy). It’s taken three decades for AVTAK to go from “worst Bond movie ever” to “I guess it’s enjoyable in a campy kind of way.” The film is one of the wackiest in franchise history, and having the oldest James Bond actor ever (Roger Moore was 57!) gives it an even odder feel. I saw this movie in the theater when was 7, so even though I know it is a poorly made flick, I do enjoy it on some level.

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Even before we get to the gunbarell, we see a disclaimer that reads: “Neither the name Zorin, nor any other name or character in this film, is meant to portray a real company or actual person.” Was there a real life villain named Zorin? Is AVTAK a true story?Apparently, there was a real fashion design company known as Zoran Ladicorbic Ltd. The gunbarell gives us the exact same one Roger Moore did for The Spy Who Loved Me, eight years earlier. No disrespect to the late great Sir Roger Moore, but his looks certainly had changed and it was time to do a new gunbarell shot. I guess some Bond actors have it in their contracts: I do only one gunbarell shot and they get used for all my movies!

The movie opens up in Iceland pretending to be Siberia. 007 has been sent to locate the frozen body of 003 and recover a microchip connected to the Soviet Union. What ensues is a terrific ski chase scene that gets ruined by Bond inventing snowboarding, while “California Girls” plays during the action. More on that later, trust me. The stunts in this pre-title action sequence are very impressive, even though Roger Moore’s stunt man does all the work. After Bond escapes into his floating glacier submarine with a young lady for some sex-time (five days to Alaska!), we get one of the best Bond songs ever. Duran Duran was a pretty hip choice for 1985. Even though the song doesn’t fit the usual type of Bond song, for some reason it just works. Although, the name of the song should have been called “Dance Into The Fire.”

Bond returns to London to have the microchip analyzed. It’s quickly discovered that it’s a copy of one designed to withstand an electromagnetic pulse and made by government contractor Zorin Industries. Bond and the MI6 team take a day in at the races and spy on Max Zorin (Christopher Walker) and his androgynous bodyguard May Day (Grace Jones). Zorin is French, German, Russian and has an American accent. Ummm okay.

Next we see Bond at the Eiffel Tower having lunch with a French detective who specializes in horse racing. This man, who is so French that he is Pepé Le Pew in human form, has been investigating Zorin’s horses. May Day kills him with a poison-tipped butterfly (look, just go with it) and Roger Moore’s stunt double chases her all the way up the Tower, where she parachutes off it. This is another moment in the movie where the ballsy stunt keeps this movie interesting. After a silly car chase around Paris, that sees Bond’s car ripped apart, Bond ends up visiting Zorin’s luxury horse stable and palace in the French country side. Sir Godfrey Tibbett (Patrick Macnee), a racehorse trainer and MI6 agent, has been assigned to be Bond’s sidekick. He’s posing as Bond’s butler, while Bond is posing as a potential horse buyer named… wait for it… James St. John Smythe. More on this ridiculous alias later…

For some reason Bond forgets all about microchips and believes that Zorin’s horse was drugged and the movie spends about 45 minutes focusing on the shady business of horse ownership. At Zorin’s place, Bond meets a mysterious, beautiful woman named Stacey (Tanya Roberts) and discovers that Zorin has written her a check for $5 million. Later that night, Bond and Tibbett break into Zorin’s lab and learn that he is implanting adrenaline-releasing devices in the horses through microchips! See it all ties together, sort of. Bond has a really weird sex scene with May Day, Zorin identifies Bond as an MI6 agent and then has a horse race against Bond. All this time before, May Day failed to recognize Bond as the man who chased her around the Eiffel Tower. May Day kills Tibbett by choking him (she is freakishly strong), and then she and Zorin believe that Bond is dead after they attempt to drown him in a car.

The KGB confronts Zorin for killing Bond without their permission, because they feel Zorin still belongs to them. Keep an eye out for a really young Dolph Lundgren in this scene.  Zorin unveils to a group of investors his plan to destroy Silicon Valley which will give him a monopoly over the microchip industry. We are done with the horse plot.

Bond is off to San Francisco where he learns from a CIA agent that Zorin could be the product of medical experimentation with steroids performed by a Nazi scientist who is now Zorin’s physician. Bond then investigates a nearby oil rig owned by Zorin and while there finds a sexy KGB agent recording Zorin’s conversation about his evil plans. Bond is able to steal the recording off her after shagging her in a Japanese bathhouse. Bond tracks down the woman he met briefly at Zorin’s in France named Stacey Sutton. She’s the one that Zorin attempted to pay off to purchase her family’s oil business.

Keep in mind, Bond is now pretending to be a London financial journalist named James Stock. Bond and Stacey head to S.F. City Hall to review Zorin’s files. However, Zorin and May Day catch them. Zorin and May Day set City Hall on fire and frame Bond for a murder. Bond and Sutton escape the burning building and get in a fire truck. What happens next is Bond and Stacey (who breathlessly says the name James a lot) are in a fire truck chase vs the cops from an unseen Police Academy movie that took place in San Fran.

Bond and Stacey sneak into Zorin’s mine and discover his dastardly plan is to detonate explosives beneath the lakes of the San Andreas fault. This will cause a massive flood and will destroy the Silicon Valley area. Bond and Stacey are spotted and chased by May Day. Zorin then sets off the explosives drowning his workers, and those who aren’t drowned are shot by him. When May Day realizes that Zorin has betrayed her, she helps Bond remove a large final bomb by placing it onto a handcar and pushing it out of the mine. May Day stays on it to make sure the handbrake doesn’t move and once outside, the bomb explodes, killing her and destroying Zorin’s dreams of controlling the microchip industry.

Zorin, who had already escaped in his blimp, abducts an oblivious Stacey. Bond grabs hold of the mooring rope and hangs on for dear life. Zorin tries to knock Bond off the rope by having him crash into the Golden Gate Bridge, but Stacey attacks Zorin, and Bond is able to tie the rope to the bridge. Sutton flees and joins Bond out on the top of the bridge, but a crazed Zorin pursues them with an axe. Zorin and Bond fight on the bridge and it climaxes with Zorin falling to his death in the waters of San Francisco Bay. Before his fall, Zorin lets out a tiny chuckle that is quite amusing to me. Zorin’s mad doctor attacks Bond using sticks of dynamite (I guess blimp owners carry that?!) but Bond cuts the cable free, which causes the Nazi doc to drop the dynamite in the cabin. The dynamite explodes, destroying the blimp.

Q goes spying on 007 and finds Bond and Stacey making love in the shower of her home. Roger Moore ends his 7th and final Bond movie in the shower, with a woman almost 30 years younger than him, and his last words as 007 are “oops I dropped the soap”. If this doesn’t sum up A View To A Kill, I don’t know what else does.

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Bond’s coolest moment? Roger Moore’s James Bond is at his charming best during Zorin’s party.

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? Clearly it’s snowboarding to a cover of a cover of the Beach Boys classic “California Girls”. This might be the most embarrassing moment in the 55 years of Bond movies. Even for this movie, this was over the top.

Bond’s best line? The morning after having sex with May Day, Zorin asks Bond how he slept, to which Bond says “A little restless, but I got off eventually.”

Best acting performance? Walken is a good villain in a Trump meets Stewie kind of way, but I think it’s Grace Jones that gives the best performance. She knows she is in a nuts flick, and it suites her perfectly.

Bond’s most “sexual predator” moment? Forcing himself on a young coworker for 5 days from Siberia to Alaska.

Worst line in the movie? Three-way tie between anytime Tanya Roberts says “James” – Each time “St. John Smythe” is said – Whatever nonsense comes out of the mouth of that Uber-French detective.

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 98th time? It dawned on me how many hours, maybe days, it took for Bond and Tibbett to record their fake dialogue, when Zorin’s people bugged their room.

Best action sequence? That Eiffel Tower chase is really well shot. It also goes to show you how powerful the Bond producers are. They got to shut down and shoot at this famous world landmark.

Who or what is the title song about? I think it’s about how dangerous Bond’s life is.

Best looking cinematic moment? The climax in San Francisco, on the blimp, with shots overlooking the city and the Golden Gate Bridge.

How could the villain have succeeded? Why does Zorin need to destroy Silicon Valley to control microchips? He’s killing his potential customers, since microchips aren’t made there. He should have just stuck with being an evil horse owner.

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? Roger Moore sticks out like a sore thumb. Duran Duran, Christopher Walken, Grace Jones, Tanya Roberts, a plot about technology… this movie needed a Bond like a young Pierce Brosnan: 1985 Remington Steele.

Does Bond ever think he might die? When he’s being sucked into that underwater propeller, yup.

What would have made the movie better? Besides having a younger Bond actor, they needed to drop most of the horse plot.

What’s in a name? As mentioned before, Bond uses James St. John Smythe and James Stock as aliases.

What’s in a title? A View To A Kill comes from an Ian Fleming short story titled From A View To A Kill, which came from a poem. In the film, May Day and Zorin say the title in a memorable way.

Drinking game: This a twofer. Take a sip of an Americano anytime you hear “St. John Smythe” and Tanya Roberts as Stacey say “James”.

“WTF?!” moment: Roger Moore and Grace Jones in bed together. Here’s a little behind the scenes for you… Jones had a black dildo with her during the sex scene. Moore was not pleased.

Fun fact: David Bowie, Sting and Rutger Hauer were all consider for the role of Max Zorin.

Overall ranking: 20th out of 24.

Review synopsis: I can’t call this the worst Bond movie ever because it knows how bonkers it is and never lets up. The locations are some of the best in the franchise’s history. Roger Moore acknowledged he was too old by this point to be romancing women who had mothers younger than him. He wasn’t long in the tooth. He had tusks! Despite all that, he was always a joy to watch as Bond. Walken and Jones make a formidable duo, while Roberts is the worst main Bond girl ever. Yes, worse than Denise Richards. For all my bad mouthing of AVTAK, if it was on TV tomorrow I would probably watch it again.

 

 

 

 

Has James Bond Ever Truly Been In Love?

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On this Valentine’s Day, I’m taking a look at the love life of a man who has enjoyed “a bachelor’s taste for freedom.” This terrific line comes from James Bond himself in the film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. In this movie, it is perhaps one of only a handful of times that 007 has fallen in love.

From Dr. No to You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever, Sean Connery’s Bond never falls in love with his Bond girl. He’s usually too busy forcing lesbians and health clinic workers into having sex with him, and occasionally slapping some of his ladies around. George Lazenby’s one Bond movie is On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and yes his Bond does feel something for Tracy. Okay, he does slap her too. Tracy is probably the first bipolar Bond girl, which makes sense considering James Bond has his fair share of psychological issues as well. Most fans agree that Tracy is his one true love because he marries her. But does he really love her, or is he just forcing himself into love? They fall for each other under stranger circumstances, and thanks to Louis Armstrong and a dating montage, we are to believe the ultimate womanizer is ready to settle down.

So there we have it. James Bond is done with all other women. Tracy is his one and only. However, after this sweet courtship clip, Bond goes on his mission and has sex with at least two women, more likely three. The only woman I’m sure he doesn’t screw at the Piz Gloria is Irma Bunt. As Bond fans know, he does marry Tracy, only for her to be killed later on their wedding day thanks to Blofeld and Bunt. Of course Bond loved Tracy very much, but I still don’t think she was his greatest love. More on that later. Oh and a fun fact: George Lazenby and Diana Rigg (Tracy) absolutely detested each other on set.

The Roger Moore era certainly didn’t have any true love in the 70s and 80s. In fact, I think Roger’s 007 bedded the most ladies. He even had some waiting in the closet for him until he was done with another lady (see: Man With Golden Gun). Moore wasn’t as rough a lover as Connery, but his Bond wasn’t loving either. Live And Let Die? Lies to a young girl and takes her virginity. Moonraker? Has sex with Drax’s assistant and gets her killed. Maybe he cared for Octopussy the most, but that just might be because all the other women in the Bond era were old enough to be his daughter.

When Timothy Dalton became James Bond we were in the grips of the AIDS crisis. Was it time for Bond to settle down again? Or at least start using condoms? In Dalton’s first flick, The Living Daylights, after a quickie on a yacht with a bored vacationer, 007 only hooks up with Kara. In fact, for the first half of the movie, our too-cool-to-settle-down hero is kind of put into the “friends zone” by her. Dalton’s second and final Bond movie has him back to basics, although still not too promiscuous.

Pierce Brosnan’s 007 gives the impression that he falls in love very fast, but I’m not buying it. Paris Carver, Elektra King and Miranda Frost are women he has sex with and who eventually die. Brosnan’s acting seems like he knows a backstory full of passion and romance, that the audience isn’t quite in on. He stands and leans over these three dead women in particular in a very odd fashion. Think of Brosnan’s Bond as Moore’s, except his is a little more sensitive. Both men had to deal with two young, regrettable Bond girls in Christmas Jones and Stacy Sutton. So they have that… umm… bond.

Forget about Tracy Bond. Let’s talk about his true love… Vesper Lynd. Casino Royale sees a new Bond (Daniel Craig) start from the beginning of his espionage career. Vesper and Bond instantly hit it off on the train. Thanks to some sharp dialogue in the script, I don’t think we have ever seen James meet his love match like this. She is intelligent, beautiful, witty, sultry, and as cynical and sarcastic as him.

This is what makes Casino Royale one of the greatest Bond movies ever. We believe these two characters are falling in love with each other. Bond is already willing to toss away his young career for her. That’s why her betrayal (spoiler alert: she lies and steals from him) is so gut-wrenching. Bond is shaken to his core and we understand why he never trusts women again. Guys, gals, we have all been there. Heartbreak is real and it takes years to recover from. When James says “the bitch is dead”, we get it. He’s ready to move on, but he will never forget this sickening feeling.

Craig’s Bond doesn’t sleep around as much as Connery or Moore or Brosnan did, but he definitely isn’t monogamous either. Just ask Strawberry Fields and Severine. Well don’t ask them. They’re dead. Look, it doesn’t matter which actor plays Bond because about half his ladies end up dead. At the end of Spectre, we see Bond ride off into the sunset with Madeleine Swann. She told him she loved him after knowing him for about three days. It’s hard to buy a man like Bond, after what he went through with Vesper, to end up with Madeleine. I’m sure in 2019, we will see Craig’s Bond with a new girl(s). Because that’s how we like our James Bond. Someone with an even more complicated love life than our own.

So on this Valentine’s Day, if you don’t have anyone special to love, maybe you should be more like Roger Moore’s James Bond and love yourself.

 

Recasting Bond Movie Roles

Elegant Woman Ready for a Shoot

There have been Bond actors who have been hired and replaced (John Gavin, Pierce Brosnan). Well, the same goes for some Bond girls and villains. Before the next Bond flick  comes out, casting rumors usually fly around. Sometimes there’s a bit of truth to them, but most of the time it’s just bloggers looking for click-bait.

With this in mind, I’m going to go back in time and take some famous Bond movie roles and recast them with actors who may have done as good — if not better — a job than the one who was cast.

I love most of the original casting choices. I’m just going rogue casting director here!

 

DR. NO (1962)

Character: Dr. No (villain)

Actor cast: Joseph Wiseman

Actor considered: Christopher Lee

My choice: Yul Brynner

Image result for yul brynner dr. no

 

 

THUNDERBALL (1965)

Character: Domino (Bond girl)

Actress cast: Claudine Auger

Actress considered: Raquel Welch

My choice: Suzanne Pleshette

Image result for suzanne pleshette young

 

 

 

THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN (1974)

Character: Francisco Scaramanga (villain)

Actor cast: Christopher Lee

Actor considered: Jack Palance

My choice: Ricardo Montalban

Image result for ricardo montalban 1973

 

 

THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977)

Character: Jaws (henchman)

Actor cast: Richard Kiel

Actor considered: N/A

My choice: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Image result for arnold schwarzenegger 1977

 

 

OCTOPUSSY (1983)

Character: Octopussy (Bond girl)

Actress cast: Maud Adams

Actress considered: Sybil Danning

My choice: Kirstie Alley

Image result for kirstie alley 1982

 

 

A VIEW TO A KILL (1985)

Character: Max Zorin (villain)

Actor cast: Christopher Walken

Actor considered: David Bowie

My choice: Malcolm McDowell

Malcolm McDowell

 

 

 

TOMORROW NEVER DIES (1997)

Character: Paris Carver (Bond girl)

Actress cast: Teri Hatcher

Actress considered: Monica Bellucci

My choice: Elizabeth Hurley

Image result for elizabeth hurley 1990s

 

 

DIE ANOTHER DAY (2002)

Character: Jinx (Bond girl)

Actress cast: Halle Berry

Actress considered: Salma Hayek

My choice: Madonna

Image result for madonna james bond girl

 

 

CASINO ROYALE (2006)

Character: Vesper Lynd (Bond girl)

Actress cast: Eva Green

Actress considered: Olivia Wilde

My choice: Mia Kirshner

Image result for mia kirshner 2005

 

 

SKYFALL (2012)

Character: Raoul Silva (villain)

Actor cast: Javier Bardem

Actor considered: Kevin Spacey

My choice: Johnny Depp

Image result for johnny depp blonde

 

 

 

Movie Review: SPECTRE

After the critically-acclaimed, highest grossing Bond movie ever, Spectre was destined to have a difficult time living up to Skyfall. Much in the same way Quantum of Solace had to follow the vastly superior Casino Royale. Despite problems during production (script leaks, Daniel Craig’s noticeable boredom, etc.), there’s still plenty to like about Spectre. Also quite a bit to feel like it underachieved.

Image result for spectre 2015

This most recent Bond flick starts out the way God intended. With the classic gunbarrel sequence finally at the very beginning of a Daniel Craig-James Bond movie. The pre-title sequence takes place in Mexico City during the “Day of the Dead.” From the opening one-shot track in the middle of the hectic parade, to a building being blown up, to Bond fighting inside an out-of-control helicopter… this is the best pre-title sequence in the Craig era and IMHO one of the best in the entire franchise. Bond is south of the border to carry out an unauthorised mission to stop a terrorist bombing plot. We later learn Bond’s orders came from his beloved, deceased “mum”/”ma’am”/M (Judi Dench). Bond confronts his prey, Marco Sciarra, grabs his fancy organization ring, and kills him by kicking him out of the helicopter. That leads us to Sam Smith’s dull “Writing’s On The Wall” theme, which won an Oscar for Best Song for some odd reason. The title credits had a little too much soft-core octopus-porn for my taste.

Returning to London, Bond is suspended from field duty by the new M (Ralph Fiennes) for the destruction he caused in Mexico City. M is about to lose his job to wormy Max “C” Denbigh (Andrew Scott), the head of a new privately backed spy agency, that intends to use drones and cameras instead of the pre-historic 00-section.  After a humorous meeting with Q (Ben Whishaw), Bond goes rogue (shocker, right?) and travels to Rome to attend Sciarra’s funeral. He seduces Sciarra’s widow, Lucia, played by the underused Monica Bellucci. She tells Bond all about the mysterious criminal organization that her husband belonged too. Bond uses the ring to infiltrate their meeting, where he witnesses a massive mountain of a man (Dave Bautista) crush a man’s skull and sees a familiar face as the group’s leader. What follows next is an underwhelming car chase through the streets of Rome and Vatican City at night, with Bond’s new Aston Martin vs a Jaguar.

This leader, Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz), has an assassination order for the “Pale King”. Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) informs Bond that the Pale King is Mr. White, a former member of the organization’s subsidiary Quantum. Bond asks her to investigate Oberhauser, whom he presumed dead years earlier. Bond finds Mr. White in a snowy village in Austria, where he learns that White is dying. He tells Bond to find and protect his daughter, Dr. Madeline Swann (Léa Seydoux), who will take him to L’Américain. He commits suicide after wishing Bond good luck. Bond goes to the clinic where Swann works and has to rescue her from Oberhauser’s henchmen in a snow-plane vs jeeps battle. 007 and Swann meet Q who explains the links between this Oberhauser fellow and Bond’s previous missions. Yes, all four of Craig’s movies are tied together. Le Chiffre, Dominic Greene and Raoul Silva all worked for the same organization, which Swann identifies as SPECTRE. More later on this reversed engineered plot.

Swann takes Bond to L’Américain, which is not a person, but a hotel in Tangier. They find evidence directing them to SPECTRE’s crater base in the Sahara. Taking a train to a remote station, Bond and Swann encounter that gigantic henchmen. Craig and Bautista engage in a train fight almost as good as Sean Connery vs Robert Shaw in From Russia With Love. It’s one of Spectre’s best highlights. After Bond disposes of the hulking beast, he and Swann go to the base. Oberhauser reveals that he has been staging terrorist attacks around the world, and funding Max “C” Denbigh’s new spying agency in order to control world-wide surveillance. Bond is tortured as Oberhauser and tells Swann all about how when James was an orphan, Oberhauser’s father became his temporary guardian. Believing that young James supplanted his role as son, Franz later killed his father and staged his own death. This timeline gets fuzzy and the movie doesn’t do an adequate job of explaining it all. For some reason, he adopted the new name Ernst Stavro Blofeld based on his mother’s bloodline. He went on to form SPECTRE and make his longterm target James Bond. Or as he puts it… the author of all his pain. Bond uses his watch to blow up the room and escape with Madeleine, destroying the base in a huge explosion and assumes Oberhauser/Blofeld has died in the blast.

Bond and Swann return to London where they meet M, Q, and Moneypenny with the intention of arresting “C” and stopping his spying network from being activated. Swann and Bond are abducted separately, while the rest of the group proceed with the plan. After Q succeeds in preventing the program from going online, a struggle between M and C ends with C falling to his death. Bond is taken to the ruins of the old MI6 building, scheduled for demolition after Silva’s bombing in the film Skyfall. He encounters a disfigured Blofeld, who tells him that Bond must escape before explosives are detonated or die trying to save Swann. Bond goes on a mad search to find Madeleine and they escape by boat as the building collapses. Bond shoots down Blofeld’s helicopter with his Walther and it crashes onto the Westminster Bridge. As Blofeld crawls from the fiery wreckage, Bond confronts him but decides not to kill him because Madeleine has made James a changed man or something. Bond leaves Blofeld to be arrested by M, then walks away from the scene with Swann. After picking up his fixed Aston Martin DB5 from Q, Bond and Madeleine drive off together to start their new lives. An ending that seems to say “Daniel Craig will NOT be back as 007”, but we know better now.

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Bond’s coolest moment? Craig’s Bond is a bitchy, snarky Bond. So I like when he dismisses Tanner’s helping hand off the boat, and when he briskly walks and talks with Moneypenny and barely looks at her.

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? That car chase in Rome has one too many moments that seem out of place in the Craig era. A while back I wrote that Spectre might be Daniel Craig’s Roger Moore 007 movie. Perfect example.

Bond’s best line? Telling the bartender to throw his health drink down the toilet, to “cut out the middle man.”

Best acting performance? Even though he doesn’t rank up there with Bardem’s Silva or Mikkelsen’s Le Chiffre, I think Waltz does his best as the iconic Bond villain Blofeld.

Bond’s most “sexual predator” moment? Having his way with an Italian widow he barely knows. It’s a very Connery move.

Worst line in the movie? Not so much a bad line, but when M says he knows what “C” stands for…”careless”…let’s just say it’s a missed opportunity. Close second is Swann telling Bond she loves him. Not buying it.

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 12th time? It’s implied that Madeleine shot Oberhauser when she was a young girl. I believe so.

Best action sequence? It’s a tie between the helicopter fight and the train fight. Sam Mendes is an underrated action movie director.

Who or what is the title song about? I think it’s Sam Smith singing as Bond and expressing on what he has been missing out on in life. It’s kind of a downer.

Best looking cinematic moment? Pretty much everything in Austria, especially Bond on the lake. It looks like Daniel Craig in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo sequel we never got.

How could the villain have succeeded? How about not letting a little kid named James Herbert Bond, who you barely knew, get so under your skin that as an adult you make it your life’s goal to ruin his?

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? Really no one else besides Craig. But he is definitely sleepwalking through this. I’m kind of surprised he is coming back for a 5th movie.

Does Bond ever think he might die? He shows actual fear during the train fight. Bond is throwing kitchen items in a desperate attempt to survive.

What would have made the movie better? This might take a while… drop the foster brother stuff. Stick to the original leaked screenplay which had a Bond vs Blofeld deadly poker game rather than that silly torture room scene. Also, the last line of the script is “We have all the time in the world” which would have set up a reboot of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service!

What’s in a name? No alias in this one, unless you count Bond calling himself Mickey Mouse in Italian.

What’s in a title? Spectre falls in the line of naming the movie after a villain or person or organization. Goldfinger, The Man With The Golden Gun, Octopussy, etc.

Drinking game: Take a drink of this every time the word “assassin” is said. Oh and please add some vodka to it… https://youtu.be/U4V4DK_3-Bc

“WTF?!” moment: Did Moneypenny have sex with Max “C” Denbigh? Who was that dark-haired man in her bed when Bond calls her?

Fun fact: Dave Bautista is quite memorable as the henchman Hinx, yet his name is never said throughout the entire film.

Overall ranking: 11th out of 24

Review synopsis: Spectre feels like the “most Bond” type of flick Craig has done. They check off a lot of boxes and that keeps this from being a poor entry in the franchise. But screwing up plot lines and timelines, which now makes Craig’s final turn in 2019 harder to predict, keeps it from being as great as Casino Royale and Skyfall.

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My Bond 25 Pitch

A few months ago, I gave a very basic idea on what the next Bond movie should look like. This is my official pitch for Bond 25 (2019). A boy can dream right?

*Memo to Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson regarding Bond 25 script ideas. This is an outline of thoughts on the plot, locations, and characters that screenwriters Purvis and Wade can polish up. I know there will be some backlash over the title of the film (Devil May Care), but I think it’s too good of a Bond title not to be used. Throw some money at author Sebastian Faulks, since we will also take some ideas from his novel.

SYNOPSIS:

James Bond must stop a young American billionaire from manipulating crypto-currency and taking control of every nation’s space program.

 

LOCATIONS:

  • Dubrovnik, Croatia (pre-title sequence)
  • London, England
  • Oslo, Norway
  • Lillehammer, Norway
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Kyushu, Japan (climax at Tanegashima Space Center)

  • Title song DEVIL MAY CARE by Lana del Rey. Example: “Million Dollar Man”.

 

GADGETS:

Image result for tesla 2019 roadster

  • Tesla 2020 Roadster.
  • Bulletproof skiing jacket.
  • Pen with laser pointer, that is an actual laser.
  • Omega watch that can blind enemies for 30 seconds.
  • Tom Ford sunglasses that can be used as a camera/video.

 

MAIN CAST:

Daniel Craig as James Bond 007 – Bond is being pushed towards a desk job and becoming a 00 instructor, since he is always threatening to retire. After this mission he will be replaced by a younger agent. He has recently broken up with his unnamed girlfriend and it’s become common knowledge with the MI6 staff. At the end of the movie, Bond stays as 007 while his potential younger replacement becomes 008.

Adam Driver as Bryce Talbot – The young American billionaire who owns and operates the company Techmera. He has hands in everything from crypto-currency, to social media, to self-funded space exploration. He wears a black glove on his left hand because he suffers from Main de Singe AKA- Monkey’s Paw. His left hand is extremely larger than his right. More like a gorilla hand. He’s shy and has wild mood swings. He intends to steal billions in crypto-currency, and defund every major nation’s space program so Techmera will be the only space superpower.

Alice Eve as Olivia Talbot – The mysterious wife of Bryce Talbot is beautiful and British. She has only been married to him for a couple of years. She and Bond become intimate in Norway, but Bond doesn’t trust her and thinks she is setting him up to be trapped. She turns out to be an MI6 agent deep undercover as Talbot’s girlfriend/fiancé/wife. In fact, she is set to replace Bond as 007 and he will become her teacher. She ends up as 008, since Bond proves he still has what it takes to be a 00 agent.

Rinko Kikuchi as Ayaka Ueno – An agent for Japan’s PSIA. She is Bond’s guide in Japan as they try to uncover Talbot’s plot. She and Bond become lovers. Ayaka has been working for Talbot from the start and has been spying on Bond since his mission briefing in London.

Naomie Harris as Moneypenny – She really ribs Bond about his new “devil may care” attitude about his personal life. She also has some choice words for Bond’s brand of sexism.

Ben Whishaw as Q – After he briefs Bond on the gadgets, they both go meet Talbot and Olivia at a Techmera event.

Rory Kinnear as Tanner – He’s become M’s right hand man more than ever.

Rose Namajunas as Hush – She is Talbot’s bodyguard and MMA trainer. She’s petite but lethal. She and Bond have a couple of tussles.

Tobias Santelmann as Hansen – An assassin in Norway for Talbot. He’s handy with a knife and he and Bond engage in a brutal hand-to-hand knife fight, with Bond winning.

Goran Visnjic as Glosel – An eccentric arms dealer who is shipping weapons of mass destruction in his oil tanker. One of his prize possessions is his pet great white shark. Bond defeats Glosel during the pre-title sequence.

Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter – Leiter shows up in Norway to help Bond with some info. The CIA has been spying on Talbot and his wife Olivia for some time.

Ralph Fiennes as M – He isn’t as hard on Bond in this movie since he thinks Bond is on his way out. He lets Tanner, Q and Moneypenny become Bond’s micromanagers.

 

CREW:

Director- Taika Waititi

Screenplay- Neal Purvis and Robert Wade

Composer- David Arnold

Cinematography- Adam Arkapaw

Costume Designer – Jany Temime

Production Designer – Dennis Gassner

 

ACTION SEQUENCES:

  • Scuba diving, sinking oil tanker during pre-titles in Dubrovnik.
  • Ski chase in Lillehammer.
  • Knife fight in Oslo.
  • Car chase in Tokyo.
  • Climax at Japanese space center.