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James Bond 25 Countdown Marathon

TM2YC

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Garp said:
TM2YC said:
Sounds like the result of a Bond film title generator.

Here you go.

Jackpot!

48587673792_db41b21528_z.jpg
 

The Scribbling Man

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Not sure where this one came from. I assumed the generator was nicking words from already existing films (unless this is a leak for an upcoming title in the franchise).

NnqjDjS.jpg
 

matrixgrindhouse

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The venom injected into Bond during his capture in North Korea had... unpredictable side effects.
007-scorpion.png



I do like the Bond 25 title, though.  Catchy.
 

TM2YC

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Because "no" isn't a word available in that Bond title generator, it got as close as possible to the new films generic name within about 50 clicks :D :

48657875852_66a45e4450_z.jpg


Thunderball (1965)
'Thunderball' has all the action, outlandish spectacle and Bond gadgets you could wish for. The fun opening sequence features Bond fighting a cross-dressing SPECTRE agent before escaping using an actual jet pack (a stunt guy obviously). Q further equips 007 with a miniaturised breathing unit, a radioactive homing pill, a motor-powered diving backpack, a Geiger counter watch and the baddies are armed with rocket-firing motorcycles and a two-part super-fast hydrofoil/yacht. A whole strike force of CIA frogmen parachute directly into an underwater battle, staged for real. Also, the still unseen Blofeld executes an underling using a deadly rigged conference room chair and Bond being whisked into the sky using a B-17 sky-hook takes some topping as an ending stinger. Felix Leiter (this time played by Rik Van Nutter) has a much larger role than in most of these films which I really appreciated. Italian actor Adolfo Celi (voiced by Robert Rietti) is superbly self-assured as the eye-patch wearing villain Emilio Largo. On the downside, the dialogue-free underwater action sections drag on far too long, although they are impressively mounted. The scenes at the start where Bond is persistently sexually harassing a vocally disinterested nurse have not aged well at all. John Barry's score is classy and memorable but is forced into repetition during those long diving scenes.


^ Excellent vintage trailer.

 

lapis molari

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@"TM2YC", that's a spot-on description of Thunderball. You, sir, get it. :cool:

Your two criticisms are key reasons for my Thunderball edit. I'd love your opinion on my version of that poor nurse and much-needed aquatic brevity. After you complete your 007 viewing cycle, naturally.
 

TM2YC

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lapis molari said:
@"TM2YC", that's a spot-on description of Thunderball. You, sir, get it. :cool:

Your two criticisms are key reasons for my Thunderball edit. I'd love your opinion on my version of that poor nurse and much-needed aquatic brevity. After you complete your 007 viewing cycle, naturally.

Yes, I remember your edit cutlist and thinking it sounded like it perfectly addressed the problems. I'll have to check it out next time I revisit 'Thunderball'.

FYI everyone, this the edit: Thunderball: The Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Cut

You Only Live Twice (1967)
In many ways 'You Only Live Twice' is the ultimate Bond movie and it's always been one of my favourites. It's got arguably John Barry's finest Bond score, those falling strings in the main theme are beautiful and romantic. Blofeld's gigantic volcano lair set is big enough to land a helicopter inside (it's pure Doctor Evil). The double-entendres from screenwriter Roald Dahl are classic e.g. "I will enjoy very much serving under you" and "In Japan men come first, women come second". Director Lewis Gilbert takes great pride in showing off the details of the Japanese locations, culture and customs (they brought in a consultant from Toho Studios to help get that authenticity). Tiger Tanaka, M's equivalent in Japan, is one of the all-time great Bond comrades. The character has such an air of confidence, enjoys a craic with 007 and his army of Ninja commandos and private arsenal are awesome. The fight choreography has an aggression, flair and precision to it and the "Little Nelly" sequence is top drawer action. I'd happily re-watch 'You Only Live Twice' any day of the week.

The one big negative that spoils the last act for me is what is done with Aki's character, a feisty female Japanese 007. She's Bond's love interest (we think perhaps for real this time) and action sidekick for most of the film, directly saving his life on at least three occasions. Then she suddenly gets killed just 40 minutes from the closing credits, Bond looks a bit put out for a moment and then he's introduced to a brand new girl (who we've never seen before) literally 2 minutes later. Just as the film should be building towards the finale, several minutes have to be set aside to try and build some kind of rapport with this girl. Bond and her become separated due to plot reasons for most of the last section, so when the customary end scene happens featuring Bond and her kissing and being rescued it rings a little hollow. I'm always left asking why, oh why, did you not just keep Aki alive through to the end?



 
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TM2YC

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Review/Essay :D :

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
The prevailing opinion seems to be "Bad Bond, good Bond film" but I think it's perhaps the opposite. George Lazenby is spot on as Bond, he's got the physicality and the attitude. Where as the film is structurally flawed, sometimes tonally misjudged, cheesy, dated and sloppily edited. The two major plot threads are Bond finally falling in love for real with the suicidal Countess Tracy (Diana Rigg) and the infiltration of Blofeld's Swiss mountain-top lair. The main problem is the decision to not integrate Tracy into the Blofeld half of the plot, which means she doesn't feature in a single shot for 65-minutes in the middle. Since Blofeld's plan involves hypnotizing a series of important women to be sleeper agents (on a pretext of curing their mental problems) it should have been obvious that Tracy's own depression was the perfect excuse to have her be one of the girls. Then Bond could have gone there to rescue her at the same time as facing his nemesis. This causes a secondary problem because Bond sleeps with several of the girls at Blofeld's clinic, which is showing the audience that Tracy has not won Bond's heart like we are supposed to believe. Plus during that hour the script requires Lazenby to pretend not be Bond (including comedy dubbed voice) for 30-minutes, not the way you should introduce a new actor in an already iconic role.

Stylistically OHMSS sits uncomfortably in that period between the timeless razor-sharp suits of the mid 60s and the safely bland clothes of the early 70s, in that full-on camp late-60s post-Sgt. Pepper style that even The Beatles dropped almost as soon as they made it famous.  The decor of the sets is gaudy and kitsch, the clothes make Austin Powers look barely a parody and even John Barry's admittedly terrific score is dated by the use of then fashionable Harpsichord. The promotional poster uses the phrase "Far out", which should tell you everything you need to know. There are countless occasions when I'm sure an extra comedy line has been dubbed in when Lazonby's face is away from the camera to try and jazz the movie up in post production. I personally don't like Telly Savalas as Blofeld, he isn't sinister enough and he's no Donald Pleasence. The idea that Bond and Blofeld do not recognise each other simply because they are different actors makes no sense. Blofeld's clinic has cured women of their aversions/allergies to certain foods, so we are shown shots of them eating plates of just potatoes, just chicken etc. Then we are shown a Chinese girl who can now eat rice, an Indian girl eating Naan bread and a black girl tucking into a plate of bananas! Oh my gods!

With those problems dealt with, I have to say OHMSS has many fine points to enjoy. Lazonby and Rigg work beautifully together, in the scenes they do get to share.  The alpine photography is insanely beautiful. The skiing action scenes are amazing and genuinely dangerous looking. Gabriele Ferzetti is wonderful as Tracy's father and Bond's new compadre, Draco. The finale where he joins Bond for a helicopter assault on Blofeld's stronghold is epic action. Of course there is that heartbreaking ending too. Despite all these highlights, OHMSS remains frustratingly flawed for me.

Happily, LastSurvivor's excellent fanedit fixes most of my problems with it: https://ifdb.fanedit.org/on-her-majesty-s-secret-service-the-ls-cut/




Becoming Bond (2017)
As I was re-watching OHMSS, this odd George Lazenby biopic/documentary hybrid was a welcome find on Amazon Prime. Lazenby faces the camera and tells us his life story (up to the point he quit Bond), which is intercut with comedic re-enactments of what he is describing. So much runtime and effort is put into these scenes that it's almost like they shot a whole narrative movie, decided it didn't work and then got Lazenby in to talk all over it. I applaud the filmmakers for trying something radically different in the tired Bio-Doc and Bio-Drama Genres but I don't think it works. Lazenby mostly comes across exactly as you'd expect from a man who infamously chucked away super-stardom and fortune because he thought he knew better. Some of the details of what he claims has the whiff of BS but I did feel sympathy for the guy, plucked from near obscurity and dropped into the biggest franchise on the planet.


By the way, notice at 01.01 where they've censored a shot in the trailer by digitally painting out a woman's breasts, so Lazonby appears to be making love to a breast-less mutant :D .
 

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My Name Is Fleming, Ian Fleming (2015)
A 51-minute German produced Documentary about James Bond creator Ian Fleming and how the events of his life inspired the character. There are plenty of biographical details I wasn't familiar with but the film gives the impression of a paucity of material, so whatever interviews they could cobble together are presented with little overall narrative structure. It was on Amazon Prime, so I gave it a chance.
 

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Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
'Diamonds Are Forever' isn't the worst Bond film and few of them could be described as actually bad but it's somewhere near the bottom of the ranking. After George Lazenby declined to return for any sequels, EON and United Artists were forced to get Sean Connery back for one more film to steady the franchise ship, with a then large £1.25 million fee and deal to make other non-Bond vehicles. It feels like Connery was just collecting that paycheck because his performance is pretty low on energy. In the 4-years since 'You Only Live Twice', he had got relatively out of shape, his haircut is less smart, the clothes are more casual, the behavior is less sauve and his English accent is slipping... it's almost like a different character.

The stylish high-end international casinos of the preceding films are replaced by the gaudy, low-rent flea-pits of Las Vegas. You can almost smell the stale booze and cigarette ash coming out of the bad taste furnishings. The plot about diamonds being smuggled through an endless stream of disposable mules gets silly well before we find out they are being used for a giant space laser. Illogical nonsense occurs just for the sake of lame gags like training Astronauts being unable to catch up with Bond because they are pretending to be moving slowly in zero-G, or a baby elephant playing a slot machine, or Blofeld escaping in full-on Dame Edna drag. Bond has rarely looked as undignified as he does during his jaunt around the desert on a child sized motor-trike.

In it's favor, the theme song is possibly the best and one of the few Bond songs to transcend the film it came from, featuring strong lyrics about female financial independence. The two gay hit-men Wint and Kidd were a novel addition for 1971, their relationship is portrayed seriously and are perhaps ironically the least camp element in the film. The delight and amusement the two take in assassinating people is a lot of fun. Lastly a rather voluptuous Bond girl has one of the all-time double entendre exchanges:

Girl: "Hi, I'm Plenty."
Bond: "But of course you are."
Girl: "Plenty O'Toole."
Bond: "Named after your father perhaps?"

:D



 

asterixsmeagol

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TM2YC said:
After George Lazenby declined to return for any sequels, EON and United Artists were forced to get Sean Connery back for one more film to steady the franchise ship, with a then large £1.25 million fee and deal to make other non-Bond vehicles. It feels like Connery was just collecting that paycheck because his performance is pretty low on energy. In the 4-years since 'You Only Live Twice', he had got relatively out of shape, his haircut is less smart, the clothes are more casual, the behavior is less sauve and his English accent is slipping... it's almost like a different character.

Even with the changes to his portrayal of the character, I find it less jarring to watch You Only Live Twice after You Only Live Twice On Her Majesty's Secret Service because it's even more jarring to switch Bonds so frequently when watching in order.

My preferred viewing order is
  • Connery
    • Dr. No (1962)
    • From Russia with Love (1963)
    • Goldfinger (1964)
    • Thunderball (1965)
    • You Only Live Twice (1967)
    • Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
  • Niven
    • Casino Royale (1967)
  • Lazenby
    • On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
  • Moore
    • Live and Let Die (1973)
    • The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
    • The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
    • Moonraker (1979)
    • For Your Eyes Only (1981)
    • Octopussy (1983)
    • A View to a Kill (1985)
  • Dalton
    • The Living Daylights (1987)
    • Licence to Kill (1989)
  • Brosnan
    • GoldenEye (1995)
    • Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
    • The World Is Not Enough (1999)
    • Die Another Day (2002)
  • Craig
    • Casino Royale (2006)
    • Quantum of Solace (2008)
    • Skyfall (2012)
    • Spectre (2015)
    • [No Time to Die (2020)]
I hate Never Say Never Again (1983) so I skip that one.
 

TM2YC

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^ I did seriously consider watching them in order of actor as you suggest but I decided re-watching them in production order would be more interesting because it would reveal such "jarring" changes in tone, style and direction. I've seen all of them before in random order and most I've seen countless times (IIRC I've only seen 'Die Another Day' and 'Spectre' once).

I've never watched 'Casino Royale (1967)' but I do like the fun theme tune which was on a Bond cassette I had years ago:


It's not a proper Bond film and isn't it supposed to be awful? Maybe I'll see if I can find time to view it as a bonus film.
 

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CR ‘67 is awful. It’s worth checking out maybe once as a curiosity, but I would say only for diehard fans.
 

lapis molari

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Problem Eliminator said:
CR ‘67 is awful. It’s worth checking out maybe once as a curiosity, but I would say only for diehard fans.

I never managed to watch Casino Royale (1967) all the way through. I find it frustrating: the concept has potential but the execution is schizophrenic (consistent with its production process).

I wonder if we can salvage a fanedit short out of that Casino Royale. A 20 minute James Bond adventure. Possibly focus on MI6 and its machinations of assigning multiple agents the "007" label as misdirection to their enemies. Perhaps structure it as a comedy of errors that would be broadcast on Red Nose Day?
 

Jrzag42

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What about the 1954 Casino Royale?
 

asterixsmeagol

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Problem Eliminator said:
CR ‘67 is awful. It’s worth checking out maybe once as a curiosity, but I would say only for diehard fans.
It is terrible, but in a different way from Never Say Never Again that I find amusing rather than boring.
 
jrWHAG42 said:
What about the 1954 Casino Royale?
I've never seen that one; as far as I know it's never been released on home video in any format but I did just search for it on YouTube and found a couple of versions. If I can find one in decent quality I'll watch this weekend.
 

TM2YC

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jrWHAG42 said:
What about the 1954 Casino Royale?

I'm not all that curious about that but I could give it a spin after reviewing Craig's version.

I was reading that Toby Stephens (who played the baddie in 'Die Another Day') has appeared as Bond in a series of 8 feature-length radio adaptations of the books for BBC Radio4. Sir Ian McKellen as Goldfinger! I might give those a listen alongside the films.

Dr. No (2008)
Goldfinger (2010)
From Russia, with Love (2012)
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (2014)
Diamonds Are Forever (2015)
Thunderball (2016)
Moonraker (2018)
Live and Let Die (2019)

 

Jrzag42

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asterixsmeagol said:
jrWHAG42 said:
What about the 1954 Casino Royale?
I've never seen that one; as far as I know it's never been released on home video in any format but I did just search for it on YouTube and found a couple of versions. If I can find one in decent quality I'll watch this weekend.

According to Wikipedia, it's included on the DVD and bluray of the 67 Casino Royale, minus the last two minutes, but I'm sure you can find the last two minutes on YouTube. The full version was lost for a while, but the entire thing got found in recent years.
 

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TM2YC said:
I've seen all of them before in random order and most I've seen countless times (IIRC I've only seen 'Die Another Day' and 'Spectre' once).

This implies you’ve watched Moonraker more than once?! :huh:
 

TM2YC

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Moe_Syzlak said:
TM2YC said:
I've seen all of them before in random order and most I've seen countless times (IIRC I've only seen 'Die Another Day' and 'Spectre' once).

This implies you’ve watched Moonraker more than once?! :huh:

Loads of times when I was young, you do know it's got a battle in space? with lasers!! :D  I don't think I've watched it in a long time though.
 
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