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

Moore Bondathon - James Bond

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)

MOORE #BONDATHON ON STORIFY

James Bond: The Other Fella – Lazenby #Bondathon

Lazenby Bondathon - James Bond

The second in the 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 not as rare as George Lazenby.

NEXT UP, THE SEARCH FOR A NEW BOND GIFTED THE CHANCE FOR A FRANCHISE REBOOT AFTER THE EXCESS OF 1967’S YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE.  Following a collborative five films, the partnership of producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman shifted slightly, with Saltzman taking a lead on the new direction.  The result was the most literary take in the series – a sumptuous adaptation of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), far more faithful to the Fleming original other films had been.  The director Peter Hunt, previously the series editor grappled the snow sequences full on – they are a suspense master class, beautifully shot, with a real sense of danger.  John Barry’s on top form but best of all is the casting of Telly Savalas as Blofeld.  Confident and physical, this is the only time a visible Blofeld looks like he could run SPECTRE.  However, a quirk of the new literary fidelity is that OHMSS is the second time that Bond meets Blofeld for the first time, and the with the most tragic consequences…

There’s little to Tweet about this brilliance, so I don’t. because it really is honestly brilliant.  it is even unfair to point an octopus tentacle at the main man: a little stilted sometimes, but he can act!  However, contemporary reaction wasn’t kind.  It would take over a decade for OHMSS’ critical stock to rise…

‘Der Englander ist verschwunden!’

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

LAZENBY #BONDATHON ON STORIFY

James Bond: Man Talk – Connery #Bondathon

Connery Bondathon - James Bond

The first 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 white cats.

FIRST UP THE SIX CONNERY FILMS: sublime colonial detective (Dr No) to Volcano-crashing ridiculous (You Only Live Twice). They also happens to be the Blofeld arc from unseen to grotesque to camp. Connery bestrides the franchise with ample and ruthlessly brutal shoulders. The mould was firmly set three films in with Goldfinger, oddly a film where Bond contributes nothing beyond seducing a henchwoman. It’s by Thunderball that Connery’s established the Superman Bond: No secret spy work or deduction, just introduce yourself to the villain and be as rude as possible. Seemingly unfazed by any danger the threat level and involvement in this Bond’s affairs is rapidly diminished. Terrence Young was coaxed back to the director’s chair by the luxurious budget of Thunderball, but later regretted making a film that doesn’t stand up to the brilliance of the first two films. But for good or bad, the formula would remain for many years. Bond fever swept the 1960s with Connery’s tenure taking in six films in nine years and irresistible excess – and crucially ignoring the very small elephant in the lair, topped by George Lazenby. Still while Diamonds are Forever may suffer in comparison to the films that precede and follow it, it’s hard to beat the cold war caper of From Russia With Love.

The Connery Bondathon: Dr No (1962), From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), Diamonds are Forever (1971).

CONNERY #BONDATHON ON STORIFY

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