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James Bond

Hymie

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I took a bit of a break, but got back into things this afternon.

Moonraker (1979)
This movie is 100% bonkers from start to finish. Absolute trash, and unrecognizable as part of the same franchise that Connery left behind. But despite how bad it is, I kind of love it. It moves into the "so bad it's good" category for me. Awful one-liners, an assassin popping up out of a coffin for no reason, just to be replaced by more assassins who actually have guns which leads to a gondola chase and ends with the gondola driving onto the bank as a car with a pigeon doing a double take, then a second boat chase later in the movie, before the eventual climactic space battle. The space battle is totally insane. They have a gravity control switch, which the writers kind of know is related to rotation of the space station (which was somehow built in secret?), but then gravity shits room to room, and they often forget whether it's currently on even in the same scene, and they don't consider the control being in the center of the rotation would mean it has no "gravity" at any time. As a said, total garbage, but it somehow represents both a low and high point in the series for me simultaneously.

Hey, according to Cubby Moonraker wasn't Science Fiction, but rather Science Fact. So if you have a problem with the science looks like you gotta blame science, not filmmakers that had no idea what they were doing and just trying to ride the Star Wars success to an easy pay day.
 

Dwight Fry

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And we went from Moore's best (TSWLM) to his worst. All has been said in previous posts, but I must point out as positive aspects a good villain (Michael Lonsdale as Drax) and the fact there's an entertaining enough Bond movie under all the garbage, as the MusicEd edit (and I assume the Last Survivor one, but I've yet to see that one) have revealed.
 

TM2YC

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'Moonraker' is simultaneously embarrassing and awesome. I shouldn't like it but I have to admit I kinda love it. The miniature FX shots are excellent. The shuttle launches look like actual NASA footage.
 

asterixsmeagol

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For Your Eyes Only (1981)
If I'm not mistaken, this is the first time the opening sequence is unrelated to the main story. The movie opens with a shot of Tracy's grave, which does solidly set On Her Majesty's Secret Service in the series canon. I guess that means my plan of skipping it next time around doesn't work, so I'll stick my my alternate plan of watching it after Diamonds Are Forever. After getting picked up from the graveyard in a helicopter, the pilot is knocked out and the helicopter's controls are taken over remotely by an unnamed Blofeld, this time portrayed again in his usual grey jumpsuit with a bald head (strangely not showing his face at all) and Persian cat. The weirdest part is that the whole scene is played for laughs. This was during the years of disputed ownership of the character along with other details originating in the Thunderball script, so it is reasonable to guess that this unnamed Blofeld being killed unceremoniously was a tongue-in-cheek dismissal of McClory's influence on the franchise.

The opening credits sequence design is pretty good, but nothing really new. I absolutely hate this song and the rest of the overly-synthy soundtrack, and I wish they had kept Debbie Harry (of Blondie fame) as originally planned.

The real plot begins about 20 minutes in, when we learn the UK has lost control of this movie's MacGuffin, ATAC. From this point on, the movie is played much more seriously. I think after the insanity of Moonraker they were trying to return to a more realistic work like the Conner films, but FYEO just doesn't have the "heart" of those earlier films, and Bond's constant quipping kept me from really taking this movie as seriously as I think I was meant to. The funniest part of the movie was the "Identigraph" computer program. It's hilarious to think that anybody would think it was better than a real sketch artist. Overall, the cinematography is pretty good, the action sequences are adequate but not amazing (although the ski/toboggan chase is very repetitive of things we've seen before), and the plot is a bit drab but not too boring. I would put this as the second best Moore film after The Spy Who Loved Me, but there's not a lot of competition for that position so far.
 

Dwight Fry

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Agreed that FYEO is the second best Moore film, and the most serious and low-key of his run, despite all the quipping. I pretend that pre-credits scene just plain doesn't exist, as it's a really lame way to dispatch an iconic villain and write him off just to give McClory the finger (and since now MGM owns Never Say Never Again as well, not to mention Blofeld has been rebooted, it's completely pointless). The big problem is that in this one Sir Rog starts to show his age. Moonraker should have been his last IMO, and this would have been a great first one for Timothy Dalton.
 

Hymie

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For Your Eyes Only (1981)
If I'm not mistaken, this is the first time the opening sequence is unrelated to the main story. The movie opens with a shot of Tracy's grave, which does solidly set On Her Majesty's Secret Service in the series canon. I guess that means my plan of skipping it next time around doesn't work, so I'll stick my my alternate plan of watching it after Diamonds Are Forever.

Goldfinger's pre-title has nothing to do with the rest of the film. Thunderball also arguably is an independent adventure, though Bond is supposedly recovering from his injuries of the sequence afterwards, though its not explicitly made clear. Either way, its much more rare for the sequence to have no connection to the rest of the film as FYEO does, though they thought they might be setting up a new actor and was using it as a piece of narrative tissue.
 

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though they thought they might be setting up a new actor and was using it as a piece of narrative tissue.
Not really sure about this. It has always felt to me like a last minute addition, since the very first scene after the credts plays a lot like a proper pre-credits scene, even ending with a shot of Melina's eyes, to fit with the title (as fanedited versions have shown). So if it was, it was probably filmed last so they of course knew they had Rog starring.
 

Racerx1969

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Goldfinger's pre-title has nothing to do with the rest of the film. Thunderball also arguably is an independent adventure, though Bond is supposedly recovering from his injuries of the sequence afterwards, though its not explicitly made clear. Either way, its much more rare for the sequence to have no connection to the rest of the film as FYEO does, though they thought they might be setting up a new actor and was using it as a piece of narrative tissue.
Correct. I just watched Goldfinger the other day, and one of the documentary pieces specifically mentioned they put it in on purpose that way. Seems like it was an idea they planned on continuing.

I agree on Moonraker. It's simultaneously awful and awesome; often the latter because of the former. MusicEd's edit helps a ton; I haven't gotten to the Last Survivor edit yet, but I've enjoyed his other Bond edits so anticipate it will be a good one too.
 

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I’m glad you guys can find something to like in Moonraker. It was the first Bond movie I saw in the theater and, even then, I thought it was abysmal. I haven’t even bothered to watch it again so maybe 40 or so years will have made me a bit kinder towards it. But man, it totally drove me away from Bond for years. I saw Never Say Never Again and then didn’t see a Bond movie until Goldeneye. Which is a shame because I think I would’ve enjoyed the Dalton movies at the time. But Moonraker was a franchise destroyer for me.
 

asterixsmeagol

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Octopussy (1983)
This movie really starts of with a bang! Bond attempts to infiltrate a military base, but his fake credentials match a real officer, so he gets busted. His accomplice helps him escape with a BD-5J jet, in which he evades a missile and blows up the base. The opening sequence is one of my favorites, but it's again paired with a song I don't love (just personal tastes). This entry is often listed at the bottom of people's rankings, and I know why. It's pretty standard spy story for the first half, but it descends into madness in the second half starting with Bond swinging from vines and howling like Tarzan, sneaking into a palace with a crocodile-shaped personal submarine, and dressing up like a gorilla. I do wish they'd done a better job of highlighting some Indian architecture like some of the great shots we got in The Spy Who Loved Me, but overall the cinematography was fine. Similarly, it would have been nice to include some Indian music in the score, but the more typical European score is satisfactory. The movie does drag a bit in places, but I was still pretty engaged until the end when the silliness really gets out of control.
 

Dwight Fry

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This is one I find D-U-L-L. It's perhaps my least rewatched one, and the one that I least look forward to rewatching. Something about Fabergé eggs, Bond in clown makeup, a Tarzan yell, Sandokan as the villain's henchman, the bad guy from the second Rambo movie being around somewhere. That's about all I remember from this one. Yawn.
 

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Octopusy definitely has some cringe moments but it's got some big highlights too. MI5's "our man in" India Vijayis is really loveable, the tuk-tuk chase is fantastic (filmed with real crowds getting in the way IIRC) and Bond driving the car on the train tracks is a memorable idea.
 

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Octopussy is definitely the film I go back and forth on the most. At one hand, there's an interesting plot with the Faberge eggs and the Russian general trying to start a war. Octopussy and Bond's relationship is a standout and the chemistry between the two actors is great and adds a nice layer that not many of the Roger movies can...a believable romance. I think the sequence where Bond is chasing down the nuke and finally ending up at the circus is one of the most tense and best sequences in the series, and you can really feel the tension in Bond's actions as he races to stop the bomb from going off. Also as previously mentioned, the pretitle is a banger and definitely one of the best of the series.

On the other hand, the stuff with Khan doesn't really work for me, and it feels like a diversion just to shoehorn in some Indiana Jones-esque sequences to ride the success of Raiders a couple years prior. The music itself is pretty weak overall and feels like it can fit in any generic Bond movie. The end attack on Khan's palace is also terribly obviously a closed set and much like Batman Returns, it takes me completely out of the movie and disengages me at that point.

Overall, its a decent entry, but my mood definitely dictates my enjoy factor of it (in my previous watchthrough of the series last year, it was the only film I fell asleep during) more than anything. Its a sum of its parts, which vary greatly from time to time.
 

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Hmmm, maybe I should give it another chance one of these days, to see if my opinion on it improves or, on the very least, if I find it faneditable (interesting that there are no edits of this one).
 

asterixsmeagol

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Never Say Never Again (1983)
Where to begin with this one? Following the 1958 adaptation of Casino Royale for American TV, Flemming tried a few times to get James Bond adapted into films. One of those eventually abandoned projects was with Kevin McClory and Jack Whittingham, who cowrote a script for a film to be called Longitude 78 West. A few years later, Flemming took parts of that story and reworked it into the novel Thunderball, and gave no credit to McClory. This led to a legal dispute, and eventually Flemming and McClory came to a settlement where Flemming got the rights to the novel (but had to acknowledge that it was based on a screenplay by McClory, Whittingham, and Flemming), and McClory got the rights to the screenplay. Eventually Eon produced a Thunderball adaptation, and through an agreement with McClory giving him a producer credit. McClory still wanted to do his own production, and made various attempts over the next 20 years. One got shut down for changing the story too much, meaning that it violated the Flemming/Eon copyright (McClory owned only the rights to the single story). Eventually, this became the script for Never Say Never Again. He convinced Connery to return to the role of Bond, and Connery also helped with some changes to the script. Here are some nice shot-for-shot comparisons of the two movies:

The movie released just a few months after Roger Moore's Octopussy. Connery's age is often criticized in the movie, but I don't really feel that's fair, especially since he's actually younger than Roger Moore by a couple of years. I also know a lot of people criticize McClory as being "greedy" but I definitely agree with the courts: he clearly owned the rights to this one particular story, and Flemming tried to steal that IP. I also get why he wanted to make a "better" version of Thunderball[, and I think he largely succeeded. However, being a better version of an almost identical movie still doesn't really make me feel like it was worth the 20 year legal battle or all of the issues they had during writing and filming.
 

Dwight Fry

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I love NSNA, warts and all. Yes, it's different to the EON series, it needed a better score, Rowan Atkinson shouldn't be there, all true. But Connery does seem to be enjoying himself this time around (unlike DAF) and his age does play a part in the story (unlike the Moore movies), Barbara Carrera is a riot, Klaus Maria Brandauer is a wonderfully sinister and creepy villain without overdoing it, and the pacing is quite an improvement over Thunderball. I only wish it had more of Max von Sydow as Blofeld. He had the potential to be THE best Blofeld by far, yet they reduced his whole part to a couple of minutes (in the editing room, as lots and lots of footage that has yet to resurface is known to have been filmed). Doing that to the magnificent Max von Sydow is a crime.
 

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A View to a Kill (1985)
Moore's last outing has to be the most '80s movie in the series, which is really going to affect how you feel about it depending on how you feel about the '80s in general. We open with yet another skiing scene, which a feel are a bit played out but ski movies were very popular at the time, so I assume that's the reason for it, even though it's pretty clear that Moore isn't doing the stunts. From there were go into a Duran Duran theme song playing over tons of neon, ribbons, lasers, and black light. The movie proper begins with a lecture on the importance of microchips and a description of EMPs. As I said, super '80s. Christopher Walken as Max Zorin is one of my favorite Bond villains, acted in normal Walken style. The craziest part of this movie is when M tells 007 about Zorin and says he speaks at least 5 languages, without accent. I guess Walken doesn't technically have an accent, but he certainly has one of the most distinct manners of speaking I've ever heard. Château de Chantilly was an excellent selection for use as Zorin's chateau; it's one of my favorites in all of France, behind only Château de Chambord (which is wouldn't fit as well in the film) and Château de Chenonceau (which doesn't have stables). This maybe isn't really worth noting, but when May Day gets into bed with Bond, there's a really obvious jump cut where they've removed a few frames, I'm guessing because you could see a bit more of the actress than they wanted to allow, but why not just refilm the shot? Other than that, my only real complaint is another long cop chase, this time in a fire truck, with a bunch of bumbling SFPD cops. The chase itself isn't really that bad, but the movie feels a bit too long, and the chase doesn't really add anything.
 

asterixsmeagol

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This seems like a good point to rank everything I've watched so far. These are my personal rankings based on how much I enjoyed watching each movie, and don't necessarily reflect which ones I think are of the highest quality.

Ranking of the first five was tough, I really love all of them.​
  1. Thunderball (ranked higher than it should be for nostalgia)
    (Maybe the Warhead Edition or Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Cut can make it live up to my ranking)
  2. Goldfinger
  3. Dr. No
  4. From Russia with Love
  5. You Only Live Twice

    I still like all of these, but they aren't quite as good as the first five in the series.

  6. Diamonds Are Forever
  7. Never Say Never Again (ranked lower than it should be for not being Thunderball)
  8. Moonraker (trash, but trash that I love to watch)
  9. The Spy Who Loved Me
  10. For Your Eyes Only
  11. Octopussy
  12. A View to a Kill
  13. Casino Royale (1954) (not amazing, but helped by its short run time)

    Then a big drop in enjoyment for these next few

  14. Live and Let Die
  15. The Man with the Golden Gun
  16. On Her Majesty's Secret Service

    And I actively hated the parody

  17. Casino Royale (1967)
 

Dwight Fry

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AVTAK ranks low for a lot of people, but I am quite fond of it. Really, the only big problem I have with it is Rog looking 200 years old (and then the usual excess of jokes, but that's not hard to cut around). Walken is awesome, May Day is a refreshingly different Bond girl, and the climax on top of the Golden Gate is quite something.
 

Hymie

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With a different Bond the film could have been decent, but Roger was wrong for the film and made the film much lesser as a result. Someone with youth and energy could have possibly lifted the obvious Goldfinger remake to at least a decent showing, but Roger was moving in slow motion and was a dinosaur surrounded by people half his age. The beginning scene at the racetrack looks like it belongs in a Murder, She Wrote episode, not a James Bond picture.
 
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