Those That Fell Short
Aug 10, 2005
Imagine winning a massive contest in which you receive your very own 20 movie series that can span for as long as you want to (sound familiar?) and you can hire any actors that are willing to be in your movie. After nearly a year of planning, you release your first movie in the series: Nurse Yes. You send out advertisements and announcements to millions of radio stations, TV stations, and cinemas all across the world. When premiere time rolls around, a record number of celebrities attend. After your movie is finished, everyone bursts into applause and gives it a standing ovation. The critics write amazing reviews in their newspapers. You are overwhelmed with happiness and think, "Wow! 19 more of these and I'll be a king!"
However, once you reach your seventh movie in the series, Limitless Sapphires, a great number of people fail to attend the premiere and more average people decide not to see your movie due to negative reviews by the critics. The fans in your series decide they will see the movie despite what critics say. They don't really enjoy it until BANG...an awesome fight scene erupts! They go home still somewhat satisfied with what they saw because of that one element that saved the movie.
The James Bond series has continued for 20 movies and 40 years and, honestly, has not always lived up to expectation. But there was always at least one thing that brought that movie salvation. There are three movies I felt fell the most short.
Diamonds Are Forever
Many fans that I know say that this was most possibly the worst out of the early Bond movies. A sudden turn from a hard core sophisticated secret agent to a cavalier ladies' man that had a little weapons training on the side was a serious mistake mainly because they didn't ease into it slightly into the prior movies. The theme song was rather dull and lacked a Bond feel. The decision to set the story mainly in an American city (no offense to America, I'm American myself) possibly contributed to the more silly approach. The Bond girl was not even a help to Bond except for arranging for the exchange of the diamonds. To top it all off, the usual menacing macho henchman became a pair of homosexuals.
The one thing that saved this movie was the glorious return of Sean Connery as Bond. After he left the series in 1967, the movie afterwards, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, did not fare to well. When news of his return spread, the hype of going to see the movie heightened. Even in a more twisted movie with an even more twisted plot, Connery still kept a bit of his old charm in the role.
The Man With The Golden Gun
Just two movies after Diamonds are Forever came another series defect. While many believe Diamonds are Forever to be the worst of the early Bond movies, many also believe The Man with the Golden Gun to be the worst in the whole series. Once again, over-the-top humor, which was evermore abundant than it had ever been, dominated even the plot. The henchman was probably the least dangerous in the whole series, and the Bond girl was (pardon my political incorrectness) just plain stupid. A very annoying song decided to invade the already weak title sequence and boredom overwhelmed a few scenes that were not too boring in the past movies, such as the Bond and M scene, which seemed as though somebody was mouthing the lines to the actors. Q had a very brief role that didn't make up for his absence in the previous film and the idea of a giant laser that can harness the sunís power was a little too farfetched for the rest of the movie.
The major saving grace in this movie was a truly amazing car stunt that set world records that probably could not be beaten by drivers of today. Also, the villain, Francisco Scaramanga (played by Christopher Lee, who is oddly enough Ian Fleming's cousin) was arguably the best in the series. The locations were also stunning, including the indoor funhouse on Scaramanga's island. The ending was very interesting and would probably even keep non-Bond audiences of today at least mildly riveted. Roger Moore still did an excellent job of playing Bond that had more seasoning to it than his previous movie.
A View To A Kill
Halfway through the 80's era, Roger Moore decided to retire from his role as Bond after finishing this movie. And it was obvious that he was finished with the series. His usual charm started to have some dust mixed into it and his off-color humor began to lose even more color and become almost unbearable. Again, a setting mainly in the United States made this movie less stylish and Bond-ly. The decision to use the song California Girls in the pre-title sequence made nearly everyone groan, even the cast and crew. The villain, although played very well by Christopher Walken, was a little too strange and science-fiction oriented for my taste. The Bond girl was a prostitute that learned a little geology when a famous scientist bought her, and the henchwoman was just CREEPY. I thought at first it was another attack of a cross-dressing homosexual henchthing! The elegance of the movie was overtaken by an excessive amount of 1980's elements, and the plot seemed too simple for a Bond movie.
A whole lot of credit goes to the theme song for this movie. It was a hit, along with a good title sequence, not only to Bond fans but to the world! Any adult over thirty-five probably knows that song very well. The climax of the movie was very thrilling and fast-paced, while a couple of good stunts (a jump off the Eiffel Tower and a car being hit and torn in half) and more action than expected by a 57-year-old British agent supported the movie tremendously.
I think that by now it is safe to say that there are no absolutely terrible James Bond movies. They all had strengths and weaknesses, some more, some less. I could probably list them out on command, but that doesn't matter. In closing, I would like to congratulate the James Bond franchise cast and crew despite some mistakes they may have made. If it weren't for your hard effort, what would I have been doing for the past hour?