Posts Tagged ‘James Bond’

You Only Live Twice

Roald Dahl’s name on the script should have meant a wittier and more grotesque adventure than this; although the car full of goons plucked off the road by a giant magnet and tossed into Tokyo Harbour is classic Dahl. The action scenes are often spectacular but inclined rather obviously to have been achieved with stuntmen by the second unit, with Connery’s close-ups clearly matted in later, heightening the sense of a star wandering in and out of his own movie.

The characterisations alotted most of the supporting cast tend to be bland, and the leading lady is bizarrely replaced with a new one during the interminable ‘Ninja Training School’ section that further postpones our first proper meeting with Donald Pleasance’s flesh-crawling Blofeld in his lair which resembles a megalomaniacal version of the launching pad beneath Jeff Tracy’s swimming pool from which Thunderbird One used to emerge).

An extremely large cast of speaking parts includes several well-known actors whose contribution bizarrely goes uncredited (including Alexander Knox as the US President), while others like Burt Kwouk as ‘Spectre 3’ are plainly dubbed. @RichardChatten

Dr No (1962)

Dir: Terence Young | Cast: Ursula Andress, Sean Connery | Thriller

The mighty Bond franchise – which turns sixty this year – begins with three blind beggars making their way through Kingston. Filmed completely out of the sequence in which the original novels were, he here meets both Quarrel and Felix Leiter for the first time despite in the 1958 novel having already worked with both four years earlier in Live and Let Die

The pop art credits anticipate a much rawer film than those that came later; with a thuggish Bond who in those days thought nothing a shooting an unarmed man twice (originally it was thrice, but the censor cut one of the shots).

As recently as 1962 the makers depicted a quick going over with a hose as sufficient for radioactive decontamination; and with the series still coining it in, so the sight gag about Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington will gain new currency when ‘The Duke’ opens in the West End next month. @RichardChatten

No Time to Die (2021)

Dir: Cary Joji Fukunaga | Wri: Neil Purvis Cast: Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Rami Malex, lea Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ralph Fiennes | Action Drama 163’

It seems rather ironic that the latest James Bond was thrice postponed because of Covid, since one of many plot elements is a weaponised virus. No Time to Die is being declared the best Bond movie ever; although I still feel that accolade belongs to From Russia with Love, and Goldfinger easily the most fun).

A nightmare rather than the usual 007 daydream, Daniel Craig’s James Bond is what ‘The Iron Mask’ was to Douglas Fairbanks’ D’Artagnan, with Craig’s Bond looking much older than before, and continuing to bear the scars from the pre-credits sequence throughout the film that follows.

There are three eye-popping action scenes (and the film is thankfully free of the unrelenting use of steadicam that is such a trial in modern films), but Ana de Armas is grievously underused as the nearest thing it has to a traditional Bond girl. Much more of the massive 163 minute running time is devoted to hushed talk in which little of Phoebe Waller-Bridges’ much-vaunted wit is in evidence; while the villains’ lair owed more to the German silent cinema than the swinging sixties, housing poisonous plants straight out of the final scenes of You Only Live Twice (the book not the film); likewise the chilling confrontation with a returning Christoph Waltz as Blofeld briefly wheeled on like Haghi in Spione. @Richard Chatten

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