[This series has been dormant for a while, but here is the penultimate part. To refresh your memory, see part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5.]
I have two confessions to make about Brosnan’s four Bond films.
First, they all blend into one in my mind in a way that none of the others’ films do. It’s pretty easy to keep (say) Thunderball and You Only Live Twice separate; or Moonraker and For Your Eyes Only. But while I remember seeing Brosnan in a sequence where he’s chasing a nuclear bomb down the inside of an oil pipeline, I can’t honestly remember if it was Tomorrow Never Dies or The World Is Not Enough.
By the time A View to a Kill came out, the Bond-makers recognised not only that Roger Moore’s time was up, but that something radically different was required to prevent the series sliding progressively into self-parody. (It’s notable that when Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery came out, nearly all of its references were to Sean Connery’s films: evidently Mike Myers realised that the Moore films were beyond parody.)
That something radically different was not only a new and younger Bond, but a change of style. Continue reading
As Roger Moore’s sequence of Bond Films settled into its increasingly frivolous nature, Sean Connery — who has famously said “Never again” after filming his comeback Bond-movie Diamonds Are Forever — was persuaded to return once more twelve years later.
Never Say Never Again (1983)
This came out in the same year as Octopussy, which I consider the nadir of Moore’s efforts. Tiring of Moore, I watched Never Say Never Again between For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy, and found myself liking it a lot more than I expected to. Connery is clearly too old for role at 53 — but that’s still three years younger than Moore was in his offering of the same year. More importantly, Connery had retained his charisma — if anything, he emits even more of an alpha-male vibe in 1983 than he had in 1971. And that alone makes the film work.
[Read part 1 and part 2 first]
Left: youngish Roger, 1973 (Live and Let Die). Right: older Roger, 1985, somewhat tarted up (A View to a Kill)
It’s not by accident that I left the Roger Moore films till last in my rather eccentric viewing order. I never found him very convincing when I saw his films in the past, even though he is the Bond I grew up with — his tenure took me from age five to 17. It seems appropriate to me that he is Alan Partridge’s favourite Bond. But would I find more to enjoy on returning to these films thirty years later?
[Start with part 1]
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Famously, the only outing of the second official Bond, George Lazenby — a man who was offered a seven-movie deal but walked away after one, only to sink without trace. Which is a shame, because he could have been good. Continue reading
For reasons that are not really clear to me, I’ve recently watched all 22 of the pre-Skyfall official James Bond movies. I also watched Never Say Never Again, and made a fairly serious attempt to watch the non-EON 1967 Casino Royale with David Niven, but couldn’t force myself to watch that one all the way through.