Roger Moore

My Bondathon is Complete! My thoughts on the James Bond films

I have completed my Bondathon! All the Bond films from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig have been watched and reviewed so now it’s time to have a look at which films are my favourites, who’s my favourite Bond and which Bond song is my favourite. You can check out all my James Bond reviews here in the Bondathon tag.

Favourite Bond Film(s) – I’m going to cheat and break it down into my favourite film featuring each Bond actor.

GoldfingerSean Connery – Goldfinger (1964)
Goldfinger is the definitive Bond film and the template of all Bond films to later follow. It’s got great action, great gadgets and a great Bond girl in Pussy Galore. It also has a clever yet simple plot and an iconic villain in Oddjob.

George Lazenby – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)On-Her-Majestys-Secret-Service-1969-movie-George-Lazenby-Diana-Rigg
OK so George Lazenby only had one outing as Bond but On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is such a great film it deserves a mention. It has Tracey, one of the best Bond girls, and some great action scenes in the snow. It’s also one of the more grown-up and touching Bond films. (more…)

REVIEW: A View to a Kill (1985)

view_to_a_kill_xlgAfter investigating a horse racing scam, James Bond (Roger Moore) discovers a plot by the industrialist Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) to destroy Silicon Valley in order to create a worldwide microchip monopoly.

A View to a Kill is Roger Moore’s final Bond film so it’s rather fitting that it starts with a lot of snow and Bond on skis as so many of his other outings as Bond involve a ski chase. The first sequence was a lot different to previous snowy-Roger Moore stuff as it had snowmobiles and helicopters with machine guns and a rather cheery soundtrack of the Beach Boys’ California Girls which was a bit of a surprise.

A View to a Kill’s plot is pretty absurd, often cheesy and quite dull. The horse racing part lasts longer than it really needs to and it takes James Bond a while to figure out Zorin’s master plan. While Christopher Walken certainly looked as if he was having a fun time, Zorin is definitely not a memorable Bond villain.

Zorin’s henchwoman May Day (Grace Jones) is pretty awesome though. She’s super strong and is certainly a match for Bond. Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts) is the other Bond Girl in the film and while she is captured a few times, she also manages to stand up for herself and Bond discovers she’s been conducting her own investigation of Zorin before they meet.

A View to a Kill is just not that enjoyable. It didn’t grab my attention and while the set pieces are still pretty great, the story left much to be desired. It just wasn’t a memorable Bond film – in fact, the most memorable thing about it is probably the theme song by Duran Duran.

While I quite liked the women in A View to a Kill, I found it quite slow and the final third couldn’t make up for the rest of the film being rather boring. 2/5.

REVIEW: Octopussy (1983)

Octopussy Poster 2When a fellow agent is killed in the line of duty and with a fake Fabergé egg in his hands, James Bond (Roger Moore) begins to uncover an international jewel-smuggling operation led by Octopussy (Maud Adams) – but there’s more to the scheme than meets the eye.

Octopussy takes the story to India which is certainly different to the previous Bond films. I quite liked the taxi chase scenes in the streets of Udaipur and Vijay (Vijay Amritraj) made an excellent sidekick to Bond. He was funny and smart and definitely helped save Bond a few times during that sequence.

All the action set pieces look great and are often tense and exciting. There’s the chase in Udaipur, a chase and then a fight scene on a train, and there’s a sequence on plane at the end which is great too. It’s a shame the quieter moments aren’t as great and there’s a lot of character stereotypes.

I liked Octopussy herself. It was great to have “the bad guy” being a woman. She owned a circus as a front for her smuggling ring and all the women in the circus were trained to use their gymnastic skills to fight. The showdown between the real bad guys and Ooctopussy’s troupe were great to watch.

Octopussy has some great action pieces but it is quite a paint-by-numbers Bond film. The characters aren’t particularly fleshed out and the bad guys aren’t that threatening either. 3/5.

REVIEW: For Your Eyes Only (1981)

for-your-eyes-only-posterJames Bond (Roger Moore) is assigned to find a British encryption device that was lost at the bottom of the ocean before it falls into enemy hands.

Melina Havelock (Carole Bouqet) is the Bond girl this time round and she’s quite smart and an archaeologist and is certainly handy in a pinch with a cross-bow. She goes after the same people that Bond is tracking due to her parents being brutally murdered by a hired goon.

For Your Eyes Only is a lot more serious compared to the last few of Roger Moore’s outings as Bond which is quite a surprise – a nice surprise mind. There’s a lot more intrigue in this film as there’s two rival men, Milos Columbo (Topol) and Kristatos (Julian Glover) who each try and make Bond believe that the other is the one who is really the bad guy and working for the Russians.

In For Your Eyes Only there is once again another ski chase something that still looks pretty great but it’s a bit tedious when watching Moore’s Bond films so close to each other as it seems as if nearly all his Bond films features snow. There is a great sequence where Bond has to climb a rock face to a monastery that is incredibly tense and quite spectacular to see.

For Your Eyes Only flourishes because it’s so much grittier than previous Roger Moore films, with less gadgets and cars and a competent Bond Girl. 4/5.

REVIEW: Moonraker (1979)

Moonraker-James-Bond-007-PosterWhen a space shuttle is stolen mid-flight, James Bond (Roger Moore) is on the case but soon he uncovers a plot to commit mass genocide.

Hugo Drax (Michael Lonsdale) is the creator of the stolen shuttle and is the bad guy of the film. He doesn’t really get his hands dirty too much though and lets his henchman do the job for him. He does have some great lines like “Mr. Bond, you persist in defying my efforts to provide an amusing death for you.”

Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles) is a CIA spy also trying to figure out what happened to the space shuttle. Her character isn’t that consistent really which is disappointing. One moment she’s smart, strong and can play Bond at his own game but then the next she’s pretty useless in a fight considering she’s a CIA agent.

Jaws (Richard Kiel) makes an appearance in Moonraker which was certainly a nice surprise as I liked him a lot in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). That being said he was used more as comedy relief in Moonraker as while he was still big and imposing, it made him seem less threatening and more of a joke and less of a threat. Still, the scene on top of the cable car was pretty great.

The thing that makes Moonraker standout is the fact that the finale is in space! It’s certainly different, the sets look great but it seems as if the film series is slowly going into the realms of weird and not so wonderful.

Moonraker certainly has one of the most ridiculous plots I’ve seen so far in a Bond film but it manages to be equal parts silly and entertaining. 3/5.

REVIEW: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

tswlm-posterJames Bond (Roger Moore) teams up with KGB agent Major Anya Amasova aka Agent XXX (Barbara Bach) to investigate the hijacking of British and Russian submarines carrying nuclear warheads.

Jaws (Richard Kiel) is one of the best villains in the series, though I suppose technically he is a henchman as he works for Karl Stromberg (Curd Jürgens). Jaws is a bit like the Terminator – he is strong, near-indestructible, doesn’t let anything stand in his way and he of course has metal teeth. He is an imposing figure and definitely a great adversary for Bond and stole every scene he was in.

Karl Stromberg didn’t seem that much of a threatening villain when compared to his henchman Jaws, which is unfortunate as a lot of the other elements to the film were pretty great.

Anya Amasova was a pretty great Bond Girl as she was just as smart and skilled as Bond and also you didn’t know if you could trust her for a lot of the film.

There are a lot of standout scenes in The Spy Who Loved Me, the opening ski chase was great and I liked the finale a lot as it has Russians, Americans and Brits working together to defeat the bad guy – definitely a nice message during the Cold War.

The Spy Who Loved Me treads the fine line between ridiculousness (eg amphibious cars) and the serious well which makes a fun film with some great supporting characters – I think it might be my favourite Roger Moore Bond film so far. 4/5.

REVIEW: The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

goldengun-posterJames Bond (Roger Moore) is led to believe that he is on Francisco Scaramanga’s (Christopher Lee), the world’s most expensive and deadliest assassin’s, hit list and Bond must hunt him down before Scaramanga gets to him first.

I loved the opening sequence at Scaramanga’s home, it was clever and tense and different to anything else seen in the Bond films before. Christopher Lee was brilliant (as always) and Scaramanga pretty much stole the Bond film from James Bond. He’s charming, intelligent and lethal – every time he was on screen the film becoming instantly more compelling.

There isn’t really any gadgets or flash cars in The Man with the Golden Gun – in fact I’m pretty sure all Bond had is his gun and a small plane.

The Bond girl this time around was Mary Goodnight (Britt Eckland) an M16 agent stationed in China and she has to be the stupidest MI6 agent in history. She’s accident prone, has to rely on Bond to save her, almost kills him a few times and is generally incredibly useless. I’m not sure if she was supposed to be comic relief but it was more insulting than anything else.

Another bit of comic relief was the reappearance of J. W. Pepper (Clifton James) who was in Live and Let Die. The first time he appeared I thought it was going to be a small cameo and it was actually quite fun – the second time he made an appearance wasn’t so fun as it went on a lot longer and got on my nerves after a while.

The Man with the Golden Gun isn’t the greatest Bond film, it’s a bit dull compared to some of the others, but Christopher Lee is the best thing about the film – and is better than Bond in every way. 2/5.

REVIEW: Live and Let Die (1973)

Live-And-Let-Die-Poster-02James Bond (Roger Moore) must stop Kananga (Yaphet Kotto), a heroin dealer, who plans to get the whole of America hooked on drugs. This isn’t easy when he has a complex organisation and a psychic tarot card reader (Jane Seymour) who is very reliable.

First off, Live and Let Die has one of the best theme songs ever, Paul McCartney’s hard rocking song is brilliant and really suits the whole tone of the film. If you have somehow never heard the song go listen to it immediately.

Live or Let Die is Roger Moore’s first outing as Bond and he fits the shoes and the suit rather well. He’s charming and effortlessly funny (though I did miss Sean Connery’s “so done with this face” when something doesn’t go Bond’s way) the scene with the crocodiles is great fun, as is the opening scene with Bond, M (Bernard Lee) and Money Penny (Lois Maxwell).

Kananga is a great villain and I loved how he was so well connected and smart – definitely a worthy advisory for Bond. Also his henchman Tee Hee (Julius Harris) is an intimidating guy. He has a metal claw for a hand and always has a manically grin on his face – his interactions with Bond were some of my favourite.

I’ve got to mention the speedboat chase scene. Not only is it action-packed and it looks great but it is also surprisingly funny. It’s quite a long sequence by today’s standards but it is a sequence that just keeps on giving. Also the sequence at the airport is ridiculously fun too.

Basically Live and Let Die is stupidly fun and action-packed and a great first outing as Bond for Roger Moore. 5/5.