Over the past 50+ years the James Bond franchise has become one of the few legendary film series. From the early days with the toupee-wearing Sean Connery thwarting Cold War inspired world domination schemes by SPECTRE to the potato headed Daniel Craig thwarting post-Snowden world domination schemes by SPECTRE, there is no doubting there have been some phenomenal films filled with memorable moments. But the franchise hasn’t managed to maintain such quality throughout its entire run. It managed to keep people wanting more but even as a big Bond fan I can easily say that there have been some cringe-worthy moments. So let’s take a dive into the depths of the camp and the crap of Bond:
Star Wars owned 1977. The space opera became an unprecedented phenomenon and the film industry took notice. Paramount brought Star Trek back as a motion picture to rake in money from the new generation of sci-fi geek and the once flimsy B-movies also began to take on the space theme which gave birth to my favourite film of all time: Alien. It’s no surprise then that Eon Productions looked to give us a sci-fi Bond film to cash in from the Star Wars success. What they came up with is the worst bond film of all time: Moonraker.
I’m not saying Bond has to be ultra realistic but ending the film with a battle in space with astronauts fighting other astronauts with laser guns of all things is a step too far. It also features Roger Moore in his campiest eyebrow-twitching performance yet while running around a shoddy space station in a space suit made of cling film, tin foil and yellow paper. Moonraker also features one of the worst uses of a gadget in Bond history. Instead of carrying a gun, like he does in every other scene, and using it to kill the baddie Hugo Drax, Bond instead chases him through the space station and finally dispatches him with a deadly dart that flies out of his watch. Moonraker also makes the sin of ruining one of the best henchmen in Bond history. The seemingly unkillable Jaws was terrifying when he was introduced noshing on someone’s neck in The Spy Who Loved Me (one of the best Bond films) but he becomes nothing but a cartoon character played for laughs in Moonraker and the sub-plot with him finding love is Bond at its most cringe-worthy.
Moonraker was soon followed by the first Bond film of the eighties and while nowhere near as bad as its predecessor, For Your Eyes Only is just unremarkable and pretty dull. The only thing of note is the opening scene that shows Bond visiting the grave of Tracey who was his wife for all of 30 minutes in the George Lazenby helmed On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The James Bond films have never been good at continuity so it’s strange we return to this odd moment in Bond’s life but also commendable. Any positives from his scene however are ruined by the arrival of who we can only assume is Blofeld. He has a bald head and a white cat and for some reason is in a wheel chair this time but it’s definitely him. He couldn’t be named as Blofeld because they no longer had the rights to the character and after a few short minutes Bond manages to drop him down a comically large chimney to his death. An amazing villain from early Bond being used and killed like that is just sinful.
The Man with the Golden Gun. A great Bond film you’re probably saying and you’d be right. But there is one small thing that bugs me. During the awesome car stunt that was done completely for real in which Bond flips the car over the river in spectacular fashion a sound effect is played over the top. Is it a revving motor? No. Is it the sound of the car displacing the air? No. Is it the sound of J.W Pepper, Bond’s passenger, screaming? No. It’s the same sound effect that plays whenever Kenneth Williams made an innuendo in a Carry On film and it completely ruins the moment.
You may have been expecting some Timothy Dalton on this list. You were wrong. I really like Dalton as Bond and his films aren’t that bad. I think License to kill is the most underrated Bond film and it’s great to see a young Benicio Del Toro in action as a memorable henchman to Sanchez.
Let’s stop having a go at Roger Moore for a while and have a moan at Quantum of Solace. Just from the silly name you could tell it wasn’t going to be as good as the great gritty reboot that was Casino Royale. Like Darth Vader would no doubt say I found the lack of plot disturbing and the vast number of action scenes hard to follow. Director Marc Forster was no doubt trying to channel Paul Greengrass and failed. It wasn’t excitement the fight scenes induced, it was migraines. I quite like the theme song ‘Another Way to Die’ though so there’s always that. And the opening car chase is good fun too.
What’s your least favourite Bond film or moment?Let me know in the comments or on Facebook/Twitter @kylebrrtt. Like, Subscribe and why not have a look at all the awesome stuff on the site. Come back next week for more First Time Writing.