James Bond: The Tedious Inevitability of an Unloved Season: Moore #Bondathon

The third Storified set of ‘Tweet notes’ for each film in a complete (canon) Twitter #Bondathon leading up to the release of Skyfall and the franchise’s 50th anniversary. Typos as guaranteed as raised eyebrows.

LIVE AND LET DIE IS PROBABLY THE MOST SUCCESSFUL REBOOT THE BOND FRANCHISE WILL EVER SEE, leading to an uninterrupted doubling of the series in the hands of a man who could – but never really does – sleep walk the part.

A year older than Connery when he took over the role, Roger Moore’s age does become a factor, with stuntmen taking on the mantle of Bond for what looks like half of 1985’s A View to a Kill.  Moore is often used as a weapon in Connery’s defence.  But while his Bond was more vulnerable he was also more smug – a nice shift from superman arrogance of Connery but with no greater level of one liners nor simply a retread of Simon Templar or Lord Brett Sinclair.  While Moore looks very uncomfortable with Fleming ruthlessness or brutality, he is far less of a clown than his reputation suggests.

Unfortunately, it was the serious reboot of For Your Eyes Only, after the excess of Moonraker (a mirror of the producer’s response to Connery’s You Only live Twice), which came across as bland rather than dark.  However, this also a result and heralding of a shift in production team.  It would take director John Glen four films and a recast Bond to make a classic entry after his 1981 debut.  Still, there is a lot to enjoy in the slump of latter Moore: films that actually benefit from viewing in order unlike Connery’s.  A View to a Kill is in particular a rather subtle reboot of the franchise after Octopussy’s greatest hits failure.  So much so, it’s intriguing to imagine it as Dalton’s first film.

The Moore era really suffers the best and worst of everything Bond, but in the absence of SPECTRE it was the changing state of cinema that proved to be his greatest foe.  Bond was seven films old when Jaws (of the Shark kind) came out and Moore steered the spy through Star Wars and Indiana Jones, although the effect of both those franchises is evident in Moonraker and Octopussy – rather odd for a franchise which was still guaranteed a yearly top five box-office:  Bond was no longer leading the pack, but struggling to stay relevant.

It’s a mercy that Moore’s tenure ran out in the same year as Back to the Future – but still, maintaining the franchise through those turbulent times was probably a more difficult trick than beating off Bourne and Powers has been in recent years.   Crucially Moonraker was the film where film profits changed dramatically as budgets soared against returns.  It’s no accident that Bond suddenly became more aware of its history.  Moore’s Bond is a seasoned veteran from, Bond’s reputation is preceding him wherever he goes – rather strange for a secret agent.  In the whole chronology, it still feels like we’re watching Bond’s latter years, far after Craig, Lazenby, Brosnan, Dalton or even Connery.  He certainly had some scores to settle before his dotage.  For all the pointed fingers, Moore really is acting at the start of For Your Eyes Only, finally carrying out Lazenby’s decade long revenge. One that Connery had earlier ignored…

Live and Let Die (1973)
the Man with the Golden Gun (1975)
The Spy who Loved Me (1977)
Moonraker (1979)
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Octopussy (1983)
A View to a Kill (1985)


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