7 items from 2015
It is no secret that Roger Moore holds the record as the actor who played James Bond the most, his tally an impressing 7. There are a bevy of reasons why this was the case, the most obvious being that each one of his films were massive financial successes, the only bump in the road being his second outing, The Man With the Golden Gun, which itself speaks to the immense stature of the franchise when the film that earns 97 million dollars is the ‘bump in the road.’ There was a shift in tone that permeated in the Bond films once Roger Moore took over the mantle from Sean Connery. Whereas the latter brought toughness and grittiness to his interpretation of the famous super spy all the while proving to be as smooth as butter, the former injected some light comedic flair. It was definitely still James Bond on the screen, »
- Edgar Chaput
Directed by Lewis Gilbert
Screenplay by Christopher Wood
Moonraker has the unique distinction of being the most absurd and over-the-top Bond film produced in 50 years of the series. Spy films exist in a genre unto themselves, but the Bond films sometimes like to crossover into other popular genres as well. The first clear example of this was 1973’s Live and Let Die, which mimicked the then popular Blaxploitation genre. When Moonraker was released however, the Bond series took this genre crossover to its extreme, resulting in a Bond film as much a science fiction saga as it is screwball comedy. Certainly one of the strangest Bond films to date, Moonraker holds a unique admiration among Bond fans and remained the highest grossing of all the Bond films until the release of Goldeneye in 1995.
- Tony Nunes
Ricky Church continues his countdown to Spectre with a review of Moonraker…
In 1979 the Bond franchise took a turn to science fiction as Bond ventured into space for his adventure in Moonraker. Though he had previously investigated space programs or fought against space lasers, he had never before gone into outer space. Why did the franchise decide to veer in such a sci-fi direction? Well, it has a little something to do with a small 1977 film you may have heard of called Star Wars.
Due to Star Wars being a surprise financial and critical success, sci-fi reemerged as a popular film genre and made many studios eager to produce a sci-fi film. Rather than film For Your Eyes Only, announced at the end of Spy Who Loved Me, producer Albert Broccoli decided to do Moonraker instead to get in on the sci-fi bandwagon. What resulted was a disjointed film that, »
- Ricky Church
'Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation': Tom Cruise. 'Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation': Tom Cruise, the last action hero There are two impossible missions in the latest Mission: Impossible. The first involves Chechen terrorists, political assassinations, the Vienna Opera House, and a car that unlocks when the user places his hand on the driver's side window (Detroit, get on that). The other impossible mission, one that is not only accepted and completed, but conquered and victoriously ground into dust, is proving that 53-year old Tom Cruise is still an action star. As Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation demonstrates with cruel ease, Cruise isn't just an action hero. In the post-movie star age, he is, with apologies to a certain Austrian bodybuilder whose drawing power is all but terminated, the last action hero. What makes him thus is not just his supreme confidence, compact good looks, and million dollar smile. The camera has »
- Mark Keizer
So this is the anti-Bond. Stripped of the requisite wit and mischief. Short of temper, heavy of touch. The SPECTREs of yore replaced by a drugs cartel. World domination downgraded to a heroin monopoly. Glamour smothered by grit. Joy drowned in the bloodshed. The icon of British cinema reduced to an American cop show – MI6 Vice, Hawaii 007 – timeless style swamped by the vulgarity and cash of the late-1980s, a case of ‘Sayonara, Mr Bond’ and everything you stand for. Derivative, needlessly violent, no identity, no soul – it’s just Not Bond, dammit! All nonsense, of course. The open-minded know this brutal, brilliant outing is about as good as the series can get.
The Villain: Franz Sanchez is unquestionably the great forgotten villain of the franchise. He possesses all the vital characteristics: charm, »
There's a good case to be made for this being the silliest Bond of them all, but Moonraker's still a lot of fun...
Well, we’ve come a long, long way since From Russia With Love. Moonraker: a film that redefined the possibilities of the Bond franchise if only by sheer scale of stupidity. The space bits are relatively by-the-numbers (other than being in space). However, the script was probably written in crayon. Chases happen without explanation, people randomly bump into each other, the utterly implausible is presented as mundane. Purists think of Istanbul and weep. But treat the whole thing as a comedy – perhaps a gentle spoof – and you’ll actually enjoy yourself. A plot-hole drinking game will get everyone plastered.
The Villain: Weirdly good. The master of the dry putdown – “James Bond. You defy my attempts to devise an amusing death for you” – Hugo Drax almost steals the film. »
The James Bond movies have a formula – gadgets, guns, car chases, fight scenes, and, most importantly, beautiful women whom Bond (improbably, it has to be said) seduces at every turn. It’s this very formula that has helped turn Ian Fleming’s super spy into a household name and global brand.
The ‘honour’ of being a Bond girl is bestowed upon few, and while they become part of a legacy, it can be hard for the actresses who portray the ‘girls’ to maintain a level of mainstream success. It’s all too common, sadly, to see women of a fine acting calibre unable to find new material, or to break out of the objectified roles altogether – actresses such as Britt Ekland, Lois Chiles, Barbara Bach, and Izabella Scorupco for example, failed to maintain the global success and exposure that a Bond film gifts.
However, fortunately, more and more Bond »
- Chris Haigh
7 items from 2015
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