Its one of the newer Bonds I should try and get myself to watch one day.
He he, but actually a lot of people who hated Quantum of Solace at first began to appreciate it after a re-watch. It probably will one day, when it got some patina on it, receive a similar status as On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
It is one of my favourite films meanwhile, and it gets better with every viewing .
Casino Royale (Campbell, 2006)
-“I’m the money.”
-“Every penny of it.”
Well! It’s been a while. SpagvemberFest proved very difficult to maintain and something had to go, so I’ve not had any Bond action in a few weeks. But I finally got my Daniel Craig on last night, and it was well worth the wait.
Despite having the budget and frippery of a typical 21st century blockbuster, Casino Royale keeps pretty much all of the stakes fairly small, by Bond standards, doubtless due to this being a reboot and subsequently a reintroduction to the character of Jimmy B and his universe. Well, all of the stakes are kept fairly small apart from, um, the stakes. I’ve seen scores of otherwise action-packed spag westerns screech to a halt for a poker scene so my heart sank when I saw that the centrepiece of this pic was going to be a mega session of Texas Hold 'Em. But director Martin Campbell - who also helmed Pierce Brosnan’s 007 debut GoldenEye eleven years previously - keeps the poker action interesting, clear and tense, albeit largely via the simple trick of having Pazzi from Hannibal (Scott, 2001) provide Eva Green with card-by-card commentary. Plus of course the poker itself was interspersed with some terrific action set-pieces, in-keeping with the rest of the movie. I mean, there would be plenty of terrific action set-pieces, wouldn’t there? It’s Bond. But Casino Royale really hits the target in that regard, whether it’s a fight in a stairwell or a Venetian building collapsing into the Grand Canal. And how good was that free-running chase? I was so inspired I tried to free-run up the stairs for a poo earlier today but I just stubbed my toe and almost shat myself, alas.
So, how was Daniel? Well, I liked him but I don’t know if I found him to be especially “Bond”, although I appreciate that that was largely the intention; to present us with a quite different Bond to any we’d seen. He’s got that immovable granite face, and he always appears to be either smirking slightly or scowling slightly. Either way, if I was on set with Mr. Craig I’d have to resist the urge to push a knitting needle into his head, see how far I could push it before it hit skull. Mads Mikkelsen was a memorable villain but he’s just got a “villain” face, hasn’t he? Giancarlo Giannini was also a great addition in a supporting role. Judi Dench was excellent once again - as one would expect - as the only returning cast member, but this casting choice was IMO a queer one, what with Casino Royale being a reboot rather than a continuation of the previous Bond timeline. I guess Dame Judi has simply now played two “M”'s, rather than continued in the role. The reboot nature of the pic meant that, for once, there was a justification for bringing us yet another Leiter and Jeffrey Wright does well with the role in a short space of time. Still can’t top Jack Lord, though. Shame there was no Q of any kind this time, although tbh I prefer Bond with less gadgets anyway. Chris Cornell’s theme was a grower. Didn’t care for it at the opening credits but it sat well in the picture itself, and I found myself humming away to it by the end.
All of which brings us to Casino Royale’s Bond girl, Eva Green. IMO, She’s not a conventional jawdropper in the Bond Girl tradition, not by a long shot, but at the same time she definitely has a quality about her that elevates her above many of her peers, in this movie as well as several others (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For to a degree, but I’m thinking most immediately of 2014’s The Salvation, also starring Mads Mikkelson). She doesn’t compare aesthetically to Ursula Andress, Britt Ekland, Carolyn Munro, Jill St.John or Diana Rigg but I can see why the filmmakers selected her to be this woman over whom Bond would fall hook, line and sinker, even though in the end I didn’t entirely buy into the romance. It should’ve persisted over a couple of movies, IMO.
So, that’s my first Daniel Craig Bond squared away, and I don’t think I adequately illustrated it there but I really enjoyed it. Top three Bondness, for sure. Quantum of Solace tonight or tomorrow hopefully, then I’m doubling back on myself for the 1967 incarnation of Casino Royale. David Niven, hmm? Ding, dong!
Also rewatched it recently. My thoughts are similar, but a bit more negative in relation to the card games, the romance and the chase scenes on foot, Tarzan in the urban jungle so to speak. I think it’s a fair movie, but as a reboot it seems to waver between actually recreating the franchise and creating a new one, a sort of Bond mini-series that picks up a few characters and ideas but seems otherwise detached from the rest of the movies. When I first saw Casino Royale I thought Craig was Royale but not Real, a good action man but no Bond. My thoughts about the actor (and the character) are more positive these days, but I still think he’s a Bond like no Bond has ever been before. Some say he’s closer to the character created by Fleming, but while reading Fleming (and i read quite a few Bond novels) I never thought of a Craig-like Bond.
I’m not into poker and these poker games only held up the movie for me. Luckily there were a few breaks so Bond could jump around for a few minutes, but that felt too much like a trick to save the day, or the game if you wish. In a spagh these card games went on for minutes and already were boring, here the game went on for ages and I felt bored to death.
And then the romance. I agree that the romance should’ve persisted over a couple of movies, now it seems to much as if Bond were on her Majesty’s secret service once again. And Eva? Maybe it wasn’t Eva, or her looks, maybe it was Bond, or again Craig: I just couldn’t see them as a couple. A flirt maybe, but not a real romance.
But, as said, a fair movie, as long as you don’t think too much about Bond.
Quantum of Solace (Forster, 2008)
What is that tuneless gibbering debacle masquerading as a Bond theme by the usually reliable Jack White and Alicia Keys? Why must this movie be the first Bond film that doesn’t work as a standalone picture? Did I read somewhere that, because of the writer’s strike, parts of the script were cobbled together on the fly by director Marc Forster and Daniel bloody Craig (obviously I did read that, about ten minutes ago)? And what in shitting bumwrong is a “quantum of solace”, anyways?? James Bond’s 22nd (official) movie outing happily racks up a list of issues before it’s even started. Well, amongst these faults we can also add “bad aim” because, despite its best efforts to shoot itself in the foot, Quantum of Solace is a fantastic picture. No, really.
Kicking off without a traditional “Gun Barrel Sequence” and straight where we left off at the end of Casino Royale, Double-Oh-Seven has Mr. White (sadly neither the Harvey Keitel OR Bryan Cranston versions, alas) in the trunk of his car and is taking him for a good old torture-up but as soon as Jim and M get to the “‘Quantum’? What the fuck are you chatting about, you divnut?” question already rending the cinema audiences asunder - oh noes! Some previously extraneous extra in the corner of the room turns out to be a fellow scallywag and BLAM! Bond’s off on what is already his second chase of the movie, and it’s only been on five bloody minutes!
And so it goes, with James following a trail that takes him around the world as usual, but this time commander Bond - is he still a commander, in this rebooted universe? - seems ready and willing to pop a cap into the ass of anybody who even looks at him sideways. “Can you try not to kill every lead we find, Bond?” implores M. “No. Up yours, Judi Dench!” implies Bond right back with that trademark Danny Craig smirk/scowl on his inscrutable granite-face, I’m going to assume. “Kill 'em all, and let God sort 'em out.” Probably. And kill’ em all is exactly what he does for the next ninety minutes or so as he edges towards QoS’s big bad, Dominic Greene, all smarm, slime and psychosis, orchestrating a coup in Bolivia so’s he can seize control of almost all of the water in the country in order to extort the new regime and make a tidy packet for Greene and his associates in the shady and mysterious “Quantum” group. The actor who played Greene, the brilliant Mathieu Amalric, stated that he was aiming for a Nicolas Sarkozy/Tony Blair hybrid and you can certainly see it.
So what was good and what didn’t hit the mark this time out? Let’s have the good stuff up first: Daniel Craig was very good here, arguably better than he was in Casino Royale. Judi Dench gets even more screen time as M and that’s never a bad thing. Mathieu Amalric was superb as mentioned (although I appreciate that many might prefer Bonds villains to be a bit more monstrous, or dangerous in and of themselves like Scaramanga or Begbie out of Trainspotting with the bullet in his noggin). And, as with the previous movie, Jeffrey Wright (Leiter) and Giancarlo Giannini (Mathis) did good work in smaller supporting roles. The story was tight - I was expecting the exact opposite having seen some reviews and given the writer’s strike in effect at the time of QoS’s production - and the action was frenetic and plentiful.
Faults? Well, as good as Daniel was, he felt less like a “Bond” here than any other representation of the character I’ve seen so far. With no deep or long-standing affinity for Bond myself I’m not overly concerned by this but I would imagine that there might be one or two stalwart fans of the franchise who, whilst enjoying the new direction, likely lament the loss of those qualities that made James Bond uniquely “James Bond”, nonetheless. Olga Kurylenko wasn’t bad as a Bond girl but she wasn’t a stand-out either by any means, but Gemma Arterton was IMO awful. The character was piss-poor and so was she in the role. The tradition of the Villainous Bond Henchman took a real smack to the ballbags this time out with that cocknob with the neckbrace and Rowan Atkinson’s hairstyle from the original series of The Black Adder. I could take that limp salad out right here, right now. And I’m stark naked. And, as mentioned at the top of the review, that theme from the monstrously talented Jack White and the equally gifted Alicia Keys was one of the worst in the entire franchise, and there has been some proper stinky bum smeg in that department over the years, as we know.
But overall, I can’t see how Quantum of Solace has picked up a relatively bad rap (only a 65% positive rating with movie review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes; incidentally, Spectre has roughly the same approval rating too, now the hoopla has settled). I can only assume it’s down to the continued watering down of the essence of what it is to be a Bond film, combined with this movie’s failure to be able to stand alone without its more warmly-received predecessor. But I have to say, I really enjoyed Quantum of Solace. My first thoughts were that I liked it almost as much as Casino Royale but, in writing about it, I might have talked myself into preferring it. I’ll have to think on that for awhile.
Biggest problem of all the Bond Fans in the world was the rapid cutting of the action scenes, and that is generally a fast instead of a slow film, And then the really important things like no Q, no Moneypenny (thank bog in heaven for that) and that gun-barrel thing at the end and not at the beginning (which even makes sense in relation to the content)
And maybe that the film does not explain everything.
The title song is not great, but I like it. At least it is rock and no pop, just like the film, which is also rock and no pop.
And actually the film does not have a henchman, another favourite complaint.
And both bond girls have this time not only an important function for the film’s narrative, they also have a lot to do with bond getting his quantum of solace at the end.
Too bad you did not like Arterton, for me she was great in her small role, and the whole sequence of Bond and co arriving at Bolivia over the hectic taxi drive and the hotel switching to the screwing part is plain fantastic.
Can’t agree with you on this film’s merits LC but I will defend your right to use the magnificent term “shitting bumwrong” to the very last.
Quantum of Solace
What’s a quantum of solace? I remember it was one o the questions of a quiz I took part in shortly after the film was released in Belgium. Luckily they only asked us to translate the title, not to explain it, because I wouldn’t have had any idea*.
Kumquats? No Quanta
The movie: some people here (or at least one) will tell you it’s the Best Bond Ever, a True Masterpiece, at least if you watch it often enough. It definitely works better on a re-watch and and it works even better when watched as part of a mini-franchise, not as an independent movie. When I watched it for the first time, I had forgotten most of its predecessor, Casino Royale (an okay but not exactly memorable movie), and the story-telling and editing were so hectic, that I never got a chance to jump on board. It was a movie that went by too quickly.
This second time around, I knew who the man in the trunk was and why Bond looked so pissed off. I like his attitude in this one, that’s more the Bond I remember from the novels, and I also liked this idea to start the movie in medias res, with a frenetic chase scene. Vrooom, watch out, we’re mad. The problem, at least for me, is that the entire movie feels like a frenetic chase scene, the editing of the action scenes is so frantic that you get nervous watching them. The hyperkinetic imagery reminded me a little of The Wild Bunch, but in that movie Peckinpah managed to throw us in the middle of the action, here I never got the idea I was part of what was happening on-screen.
Quantum of Solace looks great, yes, but it also looks pushy, as if the film makers are trying too hard to impress you. Chase, fight, explosion, fire, Olga. Roger Moore complained that it looked too much like a commercial, I occasionally had the idea I was watching an extended trailer instead of a movie. If you manage to pick up the pieces, the story’s interesting enough, but apart from a few winks at eco terrorism it’s nothing special. The revenge theme doesn’t add much to the movie other than Olga Kyrulenko’s (or was Kurylenko) looks; as an actress she’s not a great discovery. I fancy Gemma Arterton and I didn’t mind her appearance, but they should’ve done more with her character. Just Fields? I checked: indeed, first name is supposed to be Strawberry.
- The meaning of the film’s title according to different sources. The Governor character in the Ian Fleming short story of the same name defines it as “… a precise figure defining the comfort, humanity and fellow feeling required between two people for love to survive. If the quantum of solace is 0, then love is dead.”
Casino Royale (Guest/Hughes/Huston/McGrath/Parrish/Talmadge, 1967)
“You know, if you weren’t my dad… I think I could really fancy you.”
Oh f*ck me, no.
(Terrific theme from Herb Alpert though. And Ursula Andress and Joanna Pettet are gorgeous)
Skyfall (Mendes, 2012)
Poor 007. Shot off of a moving train, hitting the Vodka Martinis a little too hard during his extended convalescence, and when he finally gets back to work following an explosion at MI6, M has to fudge his aptitude results just to get him back in the saddle because he couldn’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo, he’s developed a range of “issues” and, worst of all - as it always is - he’s gone and gotten old, dagnammit.
So, why’s he back to work at all? He’d been presumed dead, nobody was looking for him, he could enjoy his retirement by the beach, shacked up with some sort, half-cut and performing alcohol-based party tricks with scorpions for shits and giggles. Have that, you wanky arachnids! Well, he has to get home to trap a far larger creepy-crawly under glass: Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), a former agent out for revenge against M for hanging him out to dry years earlier for “the greater good” and all that. He survived eating a cyanide capsule - although he now needs some pretty nifty cosmetic dentistry to hold his face up and stop him resembling a dish cloth hung on a hatstand - and he wants M to suffer for it. Not that she isn’t suffering already: Like Bond, she’s considered past it, a relic. The debacle of a stolen hard drive full of the identities of all of Britain’s spies in operation (culminating in the aforementioned shooting of Bond off a moving train, accidentally, by Miss Moneypen… um, by “Eve”. Ahem) has given M’s critics the ammo they need to bundle her into a metaphorical trebuchet and fling her, screaming, into retirement. She needs Bond to get his funky shit together and waste that manic Hispanic before he can Bench the Dench. Sounds easy? Funnily enough, it is. Hmm. A little too easy…
Third Daniel Craig Bond, third terrific movie, and this one tops Casino Royale AND Quantum of Solace. That said, the dilution of the Bond formula continues, despite the retention of the globetrotting locations and the in-camera stunts, and despite the return to the Bondiverse of Miss Moneypenny, the DB5 and of a new (though far from improved) Q. Gadgets are blatantly disregarded (“What were you expecting, Bond? An exploding pen? We don’t go in for all that anymore.”), the sense of humour often displayed by Bond specifically and throughout the films in general is almost entirely absent here, and James himself is… well, he’s a mortal. One of Bond’s many trademarks was always his uncanny ability to be better than everybody else at everything else. Whether he took the form of a 32 year-old Sean Connery or a 106 year-old Roger Moore, James Bond 007 could unload his PPK into your ballbags whilst unloading his ballbags into your missus - and still not spill his shaken-not-stirred - faster than you can say “Now pay attention, Bond!” Not so, here. Craig’s Bond is looking his age, looking worn down, worn out. In Skyfall, he’s the ageing gunfighter, gunshy and grizzled, having his hand forced by a vengeful antagonist in order to save his family (M, the closest thing to family Bond has). Incredibly, it’s no longer a given that James Bond is going to survive. That’s quite an achievement by Daniel Craig and by Sam Mendes, the Oscar-winning director of such flicks as American Beauty and Road to Perdition (also with Danial Craig), helming his first of two 007 pictures.
So, the what’s hot/what’s not of Skyfall: Daniel Craig was both better than he’s been so far AND further from “James Bond” than he’s been so far too, Judi Dench exits stage left with a style befitting an actor of her calibre (I’m not sure M would’ve started reciting poetry at an enquiry, however), Javier Bardem chewed happily away at the scenery and was possibly the most memorable and effective villain since Telly Savalas even though this wasn’t, by Mr. Bardem’s own high standards, the greatest turn I’d seen from him. Bond girls were of the “meh” variety: Bérénice Marlohe is lovely but her character’s screentime was all too brief, and Naomie Harris is a good looker and a great choice for Moneypenny but she’s more of a capable sidekick than a Femme Fatale. That’s no bad thing though. Bad points? Villainous henchmen were entirely absent this time out - Raoul Silva was monstrous enough - the new Q (Ben Whishaw, aged 13¾) wasn’t my cup of tea at all, and the theme tune (“Whenna sky faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal, enna crumbaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal…”), from everybody’s favourite warbler (apparently) Adele, was straight from Eon Productions’ own patented Basseytron 500 Theme Generator®. A typically dull and wailing earworm, as generally expected of the franchise. Oh, and I was a bit thrown by the late appearance of Bond’s own “Fortress of Solitude”, Skyfall Lodge in the Middle O’Nowhere, Scotland. What was the angle there? Had that old groundskeeper just been knocking about in there for thirty-odd years since Bond’s parents threw a (double-oh) seven, living large in some other bugger’s inheritance? And did he say he’d only flogged the entire contents of the gun cupboard a few weeks prior to the prodigal Bond’s return? So, doesn’t he owe James a few sovs for the shooters, then? Or is he pocketing the proceeds? I must’ve missed a key bit of exposition there somewhere, no doubt while I was drawing a face on my bollock and trying to make it say “Yer fired!” like Alan Sugar.
But I’m nitpicking. Skyfall was excellent. Comparing the Craig era to the much earlier movies of the sixties is like comparing apples and oranges really though, they’re more divorced from each other than the Brosnan, Dalton or Moore eras ever became from the Connery/Lazenby pics.
One more to go.
Spectre (Mendes, 2015)
Hm. I didn’t mind this movie, but it felt… I dunno, lacklustre? Definitely the weakest of the Daniel Craig films. I wonder if, in calling it Spectre and having the glorious return of a major arch villain and in trying to tie the previous Craig movies together, it was trying to give itself too much gravitas in every single scene like it was the boss level of all boss levels, and whilst getting busy giving everything such dramatic heft Sam Mendes forgot to put any real action into the thing? Consider that scene where Oberhauser is holding court at the big Spectre meeting while our Jim is safely tucked up in the Gods amongst the lesser lights, happily incognito, watching the proceedings, and suddenly Ober gives it, “Hello, James!” It’s supposed to be tense, right? But it felt at arm’s length, as did the immediate car chase sequence as Mr. Hinx goes after Bond (incidentally, I thought Dave Bautista did very well with his wordless henchman role, up there among the more memorable henchmen). This distancing from the events seemed to happen all of the time, but I don’t even think that that was the worst thing about Spectre; The worst thing imo was the decision to retrofit the previous three movies into one cohesive lead-in to this movie. Clearly, the filmmakers’ intentions were not to have these four movies link together as one big narrative all along, and as a result it just came across as daft when Ober/Stavros proclaimed that everything since Casino Royale (Campbell, 2006) had been him all along, working to a masterplan specifically aimed at James Bond. “I really have put you through it, haven’t I?” Giggles Blowey in that effeminate German lilt of Christoph Waltz’s which made Colonel Hans Landa so terrifying and Dr. King Schultz so entertaining but which does little for Ernst. Um, no, you haven’t put Bond through anything really, you credit-claiming fuckbum!
But these Bonds have been the Bonds for the “Me” generation, the Big Brother generation, the TOWIE crowd, the Twitterati. They’re okay but, in trying to think about exactly how these Craig-era Bonds have differed from the others, I’ve decided that it’s in the way that they’re so much more inward-facing; all about Bond, having him look at himself. The other Bond pics had something bad happening - usually of global size and importance - which had to be stopped by Commander Bond of MI6. Bond wasn’t the catalyst. The catalyst was money, or power, or money and power. But what Spectre was suggesting was that everything that had happened for four movies, had happened because of Bond; leastways, because of Stavros’ weird - and pretty fucking lame, let’s be honest - perceived “ostracized sibling” issues. This all means that, far from being the asset to Queen and Country he’s always been previously, James Bond has in fact proved to be a massive liability, unknowingly or not. All about him. And that just ain’t James, baby. And when I thought about it like that, even the way in which the franchise re-booted itself for the Craig-era pics began to rankle. Here is a character whose legacy carried directly - albeit with a fucked-up Simpsons-like approach to the passage of time - from Dr. No (Young, 1962) to Die Another Day (Tamahori, 2002). Forty years. And all that, is gone. Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton and Brosnan all played the same character, the same James Bond. Craig, he’s a different Bond. I mean, of course I knew that Casino Royale represented a reboot to the franchise but I guess Spectre has helped bring home another angle to that. A more selfish angle, in a way.
Still, I’ve whinged enough. What was the “hot” and the “not” of Spectre? Well, I thought Dave Bautista was good in the Bond Henchman role as I mentioned earlier, I appreciated young Q a lot more in this one than I did in Skyfall, I liked the DB10 (but nowhere near as much as the DB5), I thought the pre-credits scene in Mexico was hugely entertaining (which I guess made the remainder of the movie feel all the more disappointing as a result), Ralph Fiennes is possibly a better M than the fantastic Dame Judi Dench, and I don’t care how old she is: What’s not to like about Monica Bellucci? Exactly. Even the much-maligned Spectre theme by Samantha Smith isn’t all that bad, once you tune your ears into her pitch so they stop bleeding.
Christoph Waltz - well, he disappointed I’m sad to say. Could it be that all of the strength in his Tarantino movie characters came from the pen of Quentin rather than the performance of Christoph? Could it also be that Christoph can only do one character, just with different hats? I dunno, I hope that’s not the case but for me, he represented the worst Blofeld of the lot. And Daniel Craig… was he disinterested this time, or was it just that strange, distant directing style from Sam Mendes making him look that way? From Daniel’s craggy and unmoving face, it’s hard to tell. I’ll go further: I think that, overall, he’s been the worst Bond of the lot. The movies have been good, and he’s been good at what he’s done (in the previous three movies at least, anyway), but the others have just felt like better Bonds to me; even Brosnan, although obviously his movies were by and large a lot worse than Daniel’s.
So that’s me. All caught up and Bonded out. I even bought Skyfall yesterday, to fill my hole (oo-er, missus) in the Bond 50 Blu-ray box set I got on Monday. It’s been an experience. And, having also watched one or two a couple of times since, I now present my Best-to-Worst list of Bond pics. Casino Royale has gone up in my estimation since I watched it the first time, Skyfall has gone down (I really do like Skyfall a lot, but the Scottish homestead section just didn’t make a lick of sense, and ultimately cost the pic a lot of Brownie points):
- On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Hunt, 1969)
- Dr. No (Young, 1962)
- Thunderball (Young, 1965)
- Goldfinger (Hamilton, 1964)
- Casino Royale (Campbell, 2006)
- Licence to Kill (Glen, 1989)
- Quantum of Solace (Forster, 2008)
- Skyfall (Mendes, 2012)
- From Russia With Love (Young, 1963)
- For Your Eyes Only (Glen, 1981)
- The Living Daylights (Glen, 1987)
- GoldenEye (Campbell, 1995)
- Live and Let Die (Hamilton, 1973)
- The Spy Who Loved Me (Gilbert, 1977)
- Diamonds Are Forever (Hamilton, 1971)
- Spectre (Mendes, 2015)
- A View to a Kill (Glen, 1985)
- You Only Live Twice (Gilbert, 1967)
- The World is Not Enough (Apted, 1999)
- The Man With the Golden Gun (Hamilton, 1974)
- Octopussy (Glen, 1983)
- Never Say Never Again (Kershner, 1983)
- Die Another Day (Tamahori, 2002)
- Moonraker (Gilbert, 1979)
- Tomorrow Never Dies (Spottiswoode, 1997)
- Casino Royale (Hughes/Huston/McGrath/Parrish/Guest/Talmadge, 1967)
On Her Majesty’s is a decent shout for top spot although From Russia is still my fave of all of them. I will however meet you at dawn on a misty Essex marsh with pistols or rapiers to dispute your placing of Tomorrow Never Dies below Moonraker (clearly the worst Bond ever made), Die Another Day and Octofuckingpussy. Michelle Yeoh alone gives it more cred than that.
By the way, I do like your “all about me” reading of the Craig Bonds. Hadn’t thought about it in those terms but the idea sits well on reflection and, like you, in the end I am not completely convinced by Craig in the role. There’s something missing there for me too.
But Tomorrow Never Dies is for me also one of the 4 worst. A mechanical Bond.
Octopussy on the other hand is quite pleasant.
But Moonraker is really the bottom. With A View to a Kill coming pretty close.
I have no doubts about the Top 3 (maybe about the exact order)
Form Russia with Love - Licence to Kill - Spectre
Nor about the Bottom 3
Moonraker - A View to a Kill - Die Another Day
(Casino Royale '67 is not a real Bond, imho)
Surprised - like Stanton - about Last Caress’s low marks for Octopussy, imo the Best Moore Bond
I would rank Diamonds are Forever a little higher as well, maybe 6th or 7h on my list
Struggling to understand the love for Octopussy here. Only Moonraker is worse among the Moore Bonds for me. View to a Kill is down there too but is so bonkers I can still find it entertaining. For Your Eyes Only, Live and Let Die, Man With the Golden Gun and Spy Who Loved Me are all superior to Octopussy for me.
Michelle Yeoh is wonderful f’sure but she can’t work miracles, and it would take one of God’s Old Testament biggies to have saved Tomorrow Never Dies.
Yeah, it’s a take on the franchise which maybe presents itself more readily when the movies are watched within a relatively close timeframe.
I should clarify that I do like what Daniel has done in the role, and certainly for Casino Royale he provided us with a fresh new character at a time when James Bond had become a bit tired maybe, but ultimately over four movies now, I don’t think that his portrayal, decent enough though it may be, is a particularly good fit as a “Bond” as I understand the character (I guess I should also point out here that I’ve never read an Ian Fleming novel so I’ve no idea which Bond comes closest to Fleming’s original vision). IMHO, Timothy Dalton did a better job of presenting us with a conflicted, even wounded character who nonetheless still very much sat within the criteria for James Bond as had already been established.
I rewatched The Spy Who Loved Me recently, and it is a surprisingly stylish film. It is a simple film of course, like all the old Bonds, but the simplicity of story and characters is here somehow perfectly in match with the humour and the adventure. It is the perfect old style Bond film, and the sum of the development the series took in 15 years and ten films. It was also a limiting point for the following Bonds, one which made what was possible at that time for this kind of movie, and the next Bond decade (including the Connery comeback) was often a bit dull, before License to Kill brought some fresh air to the tiring franchise. Unfortunately License to Kill was also the least successful of all Bonds.
Live and Let Die is the only Moore Bond which comes close, the other 5 are far less interesting, with For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy being of acceptable quality, and Moonraker and A View to a Kill at the unimaginative end of the spectrum.
It is stunning how well The Spy Who Loved Me is directed and photographed, and how badly directed and looking the similar constructed Moonraker is, despite the same producer, director and writer.
Bear in mind I’ve only seen the vast majority of these movies once each (and up until about four months ago, I’d never seen any of them), so I think there’s probably plenty of room for revision over time as I watch them again and, out of sequence or context, on their own terms. I thought Thunderball was superb but I suspect that the long underwater sequences may cost it over time, as will the strange Scottish homestead portion of the otherwise magnificent Skyfall. Conversely, a movie such as the very American Diamonds Are Forever is likely the sort of movie I may well come to appreciate more over repeated viewings (and is one in particular I’m already keen to see again); same with The Spy Who Loved Me and maybe even You Only Live Twice.
Octopussy though, felt like a chore to me at the time and I have little desire to revisit it anytime soon (although I definitely will, eventually). Good looking, but not good entertainment. For me, For Your Eyes Only is the best Moore-era pic by some distance.