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Of all of pop culture's mainstays, no media property created after the Golden Age of Hollywood has had more influence and staying power than the James Bond franchise. This film covers the story of that creation from the imagination of Ian Fleming seeking an escape from his boring intelligence job. From that literary success, we follow the creation of the film series under the producer team of Broccoli & Saltzman as it became a media sensation in the 1960s. As the franchise dealt with changing actors, legal conflict with writer Kevin McClory and the growing internal schisms with the producers, it has its greatest challenge: the changing times. Despite this, Bond has proven as incredible adapting to them as his adventures as the greatest of the spies. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Fantastic documentary and very pacily directed. Actually more involving and entertaining than many recent Bond films for this fan, a real narrative arc to it all, and emotional involvement. Superb use of Barry music throughout to accompany the narrative, and clips from the films to illustrate events.
Bond creator Ian Fleming gets his deserved share of acclaim in it. Connery's non-involvement lends him a posthumous air, but it allows him to be cast as the villain of the piece, an attitude which seems more justified in retrospect as the series has gone from strength to strength without him. They linger on shots of Connery looking quite obese in the Diamonds are Forever era, as if to make a point, and the clips from his rogue Bond film Never Say Never Again mainly show him at his worst. They don't mention, however, that EON actively worked to mess up Never Say Never Again by hauling them to the courts on a weekly basis to throw up roadblocks over their intended storyline.
Alternative Bond producer and huckster Kevin McClory is the other villain of the piece, though no one would realistically stick up for him. That said, I'm not sure that the whole Spectre thing wasn't his idea and lord knows EON milked that in the 60s, using them for films where they hadn't even featured in the books.
A shock to see Roger Moore look so overweight, he's turning into Cubby now, while I thought Dalton looked better than he's been in decades, quite rugged and windswept. But his interpretation of Bond is wholly damned here, with no one speaking up in support of it, and he even seems to damn it in his own words: 'I worried that half the people would love Connery and the other half love Moore and they'd gang up to hate me...' implying that's what happened, though in the interview from which that quote was taken, a few years after LTK, he swiftly added 'Which didn't happen I'm glad to say', now edited out. Brosnan is in good form, but still surprisingly cut up about getting the push, surprisingly because, let's face it, his films were mostly below par through no fault of his own. I think his response was the grief or regret that comes from knowing he'd never get a chance to get it right, and now time had moved on.
One-time Bond George Lazenby is perhaps the best entertainment value for anecdotes, he's in good form and amusingly self-deprecating. Oh, there's a moving scene regarding a phone call from Connery to Cubby, related by Barbara Broccoli. Connery's comments are occasionally heard, but they're from past interviews and used very fleetingly, over other clips.
What I found surprising was that I found the clips of Casino Royale with Daniel Craig at the end far more moving than in the actual film, because the music played over it - not David Arnold, it seems - was more affecting. Craig's performance looked shockingly impressive this time round simply because of this.
Some clips from Skyfall at the end, though not too many if you haven't seen it yet. The trailer is almost directly before the film, so arrive at the last minute if you want to miss that. Catch this in cinemas if you can, as you get to see some clips of the films on the big screen for once, even if some of the hi-def remasters seem to have just something very slightly wrong about them sometimes.
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