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Goldfinger (1964)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Everything he touches turns to excitement !, 20 September 2005

This is the Bond movie which originally established what Bond fans call "the formula": that is, a fast-paced,exhilarating( though slightly unbelievable) action story, completed with lots of beautiful women , sexual innuendo and witty one-liners. Though From Russia With Love was a realistic and suspenseful thriller, the producers took a new direction with Goldfinger. From this movie on, Bond films were set in a kind of fictionalized " real world" where the most incredible gadgets and far-fetched , action-packed story lines seemed completely normal for the characters involved. Realism was gone, but it is trough all these elements that the Bond series achieved the enormous popular success which has made it the most enduring series in cinema history.

Goldfinger features all of the elements described above, but what makes it an unforgettable and distinctive entry is the way they are put together. There are the usual lovelies, but they are in the story for a reason. There is a power-driven, psychotic villain, but he is charismatic as well. Of course, he has a mute and ( almost) invincible henchman, who enjoys killing people in a particularly bizarre ( though lethal) way. And the villain's devilish scheme is, to the very least, brilliant( even Bond has to concede it).

An especial mention should go to Maibaum and Dehn's screenplay, which proves that there was talent involved in the writing department of EON productions. Though the storyline is , in fact, rather thin,( Bond initially follows a trail, then he leaves it, only to find out what the villain is up to thanks to hearing these words " Operation Grand Slam") the individual sequences and set pieces are so cool that they easily conceal some plot holes.And a dry sense of humor permeates the film. The golf match scene is superb,but the film's highlight is the final confrontation between Bond and Goldfinger's deathly servant, Oddjob. But there is plenty of memorable images here, too. The girl painted in gold, and the figure of the hit-man reflected on Bond'd lover eye in the teaser are worth noting.

It goes without a saying that the cast is terrific this time. Even the main girl has personality and thinks by herself, instead of instantly falling into the clutches of 007.

This is just a general review. Goldfinger has much more to offer. Buy the DVD and enjoy.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Moore's farewell is a worthy addition to the Bond series, 15 September 2005

Heavily underrated, I think A View to a Kill is a highly enjoyable and very entertaining Bond film. It was Moore's last outing as 007, and, despite being 57 by the time the film was shot, he was able to give a charismatic and witty portrayal as Her Majesty's finest agent. He is as comfortable with the humorous parts of the story as he is with the serious segments. I had a smile on my face all of the time he was at Zorin's palace in France pretending to be an aristocrat interested in horses, with Patrick McNee ( most known for his role in the TV series The Avengers) as his reluctant( and hilarious) servant. Nobody but Roger could deliver lines such as " May I escort you to the chopper" ( when he is chattering with Miss Sutton) and make them sound good.

As for the serious parts, Bond really shows his aversion towards the villain, instead of smiling and making ingenious remarks. Zorin is to be taken seriously; the result of a genetic experiment by a Nazi doctor, he has grown up to be an extremely intelligent, but unbalanced computer tycoon. Driven by a lust for absolute power, he will stop at nothing to make his evil plans come true...even if they mean killing thousands of people. Christopher Walken delivers an outstanding performance. Zorin is cold-blooded and deathly calm for the most part, manipulating even his girlfriend Mayday, but his mental illness is hinted at in some scenes, such as the shoot-out inside the mine, when he laughs hysterically when killing the disarmed miners.

A View to a Kill is also a magnificent action spectacle. The ski chase that opens the film is stunning, but the rest of the movie features equally impressive, well edited action sequences. The real highpoint of the film is the scene where Bond confronts Zorin on the top of the Golden Gate. Though the pace is sometimes slow and the entire KGB subplot simply doesn't make sense, I think the positives clearly overcome the negatives.Bond movies are not meant to be thrillers, they are just escapist entertainment. And in that sense, most of them are excellent.

The main concern many people have with A View to a Kill is the fact that it bears a strong resemblance with Goldfinger. There is no denying that the two movies are in similar lines: both are concerned with a leading industrialist who has masterminded a plan which will grant him enormous profit, while at the same time damaging an strategic economic activity( gold has been replaced by microchips this time). In both movies Bond discovers the villain's plan by coincidence. There is a blonde female lead here , too. But it has to be said that every Bond movie borrows heavily from the rest, and the basic structure, style of dialogue and characters have remained (basically) the same for 40 years. There's nothing wrong with that, and it's what Bond fans like me expect from every new Bond outing.

Despite the sometimes slow pace, a dull Bond girl( why the heck was Tanya Roberts cast?) and the usual plot holes every Bond movie has, A View to a Kill is a recommended viewing for Bond fans.The perfect way to spend two hours in a Saturday afternoon

7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
The biggest disappointment of all Bond films., 14 September 2005

I perhaps despise Thunderball so much because I had great expectations when I watched it. Considering it is the highest-grossing Bond film of all time, I expected it to be at least on the same level as Goldfinger. But it wasn't. As a matter of fact ,it is rather mediocre. The problem is not that silliness that plagued so many Moore's flicks( many of them were nevertheless enjoyable), but a horrible, ill-conceived screenplay and a technical work which seems amateurish.

As I have stated many times, Bond films( From Russia with Love aside) are not espionage movies. They are action-adventure flicks, dealing with exhilarating chases and fights ,death-defying stunts and a bevy of beautiful women. Therefore the real problem a Bond movie can face is not a thin ( even nonsensical ) plot, or cardboard characters, but a plodding, non action pace. And Thunderball is slow, painfully slow. For the most part , it is an exotic intrigue which would be OK if there was any mystery to solve. But there isn't. Everyone is a step ahead of Bond. Just imagine how boring is to watch "Death on the Nile" once somebody has told you who the murderer is.

When Bond is not spending his time flirting with the gorgeous Fiona Volpe or the dull Domino, he just does some diving to find out where the bombs are. He is indeed having a good "holiday", but a 120 minute film simply cannot afford to spend 25 minutes with underwater sequences which add nothing to the plot. As for the technical flaws, they are particularly noticeable in the final scene when Bond confronts Largo on board the Disco Volante. Using fast motion back projection to give the impression the yacht is moving fast makes Thunderball feel like a B movie instead of the $9 million budget picture it is.

I could go on with a lot of minor flaws, but it's up to you to watch this and decide. Thunderball is strictly for fans.

Dracula (1979)
50 out of 62 people found the following review useful:
Underrated, classy take on the vampire legend, 14 September 2005

It is surprising to me that, given the popular and critical praise so many mediocre vampire movies have received( this includes the badly dated Hammer flicks), this movie is often dismissed as minor and forgettable. While it is true that the definitive version is still Coppola's 1992 film, this overlooked gem deserves much more attention and praise than it currently gets.

It was possibly the first vampire movie to play up the romantic and sexual implications of the vampire legend, while at the same time remaining faithful to the underlying idea of Stoker's novel( that is, a fight between good and evil). It is worth pointing out that the film depicts count Dracula as a good looking, seductive and charming aristocrat, rather than an impulsive blood-thirsty creature. He is a broody, lonely character, seeking for a female partner with whom share his everlasting loneliness, something he seems to find in the form of Lucy Seward, an independent and strong-willed Victorian lady.

But the fact that this Dracula has a romantic strain to him does not conceal his ultimately evil nature. He consciously seduces and attacks ill, defenseless Mina just for the excitement of it. When Dr Van Helsing meets her at the graveyard galleries, she is no longer that frail but charming girl, but a deathly-pale,putrid, disgusting figure. That is what Dracula's hobby implies.

Badham does an excellent job. He effectively uses Gothic imagery and low key lightning to create an eerie and slightly surreal atmosphere.But what really stands out in this version is the cast. Everyone fits their role perfectly.Langella plays a seductive count. Olivier,inspired by Cushing's performance in 1958 Dracula, puts in a riveting performance as a frail, tortured Van Helsing, with an emotional stake in the story (pun intended). Kate Nelligan( a fine Canadian supporting actress,also starring in Eye of the Needle) delivers a fresh performance. Even Harker's character , which is usually the main casting weakness when it comes to Dracula movies, is quite well handled here, played by an actor with the right appearance.

There are minor flaws, the most important of them being a lack of screen time devoted to the romance and a muddled color scheme, but this film is nevertheless worth a look, an engaging retelling of the classic horror tale with a poetic, broody edge to it.

22 out of 40 people found the following review useful:
It's Bond... and beyond, 14 September 2005

The Spy Who Loved Me was the first Bond film to be produced solely by Albert R. Broccoli, after Satzman's decision to sell his share of EON productions to United Artists. Although I think Broccoli was not aware of what Bond really stood for, paying far more attention to action and stunts than story lines and scripting( Moonraker attests to that), he nevertheless managed to produce some outstanding Bond movies. The one under discussion here also features an exceptional performance by Roger Moore, who proved he could really rise to he challenge of playing the world most famous secret agent in his own way.

Despite having a thin plot( which Bond film doesn't?), Spy is still a grandiose adventure, with a romantic edge to it that works wonderfully. The initial section of the film, set in Egypt, though slow-paced, allows for a delightful romance between 007 and Russian female counterpart XXX. There is real chemistry between Roger and Bach,rendering the film believable: they are just the world coolest secret agents, and they naturally fall in love.However, the movie has still its share of thrills and mind-boggling stunts. The Lotus Sprit is perhaps the coolest car to ever grace a Bond movie and the final confrontation on board the Lyparus, a gritty and crisply directed sequence ,remains one of the series highlights. Jaws makes his first appearance , and all of his showdowns with Bond have a real sense of danger to them.

As for Lewis Gilbert, after having crafted the sheer spectacle of You Only Live Twice, he is equally comfortable here dealing with the romantic side of the story, as well as the humorous, light-hearted touches spread throughout the film. (An special mention should go to the priceless scene of the Lotus Sprit emerging from the water before the amazed tourists' eyes).While many so-called Bond fans despise this comic relief, I think it is necessary to balance the moments of seriousness and violence. Marvin Hamlisch's Oscar nominated score effectively helps Gilbert to create the special mood that permeates this film.

But perhaps the most compelling aspect of this movie was Moore's performance, possibly the definitive portrayal of Bond. He is witty and seductive ,but he is ready to kill unhesitatingly if necessary. Check out the Egyptian rooftop fist fight sequence and you will know what I mean. The gesture of coldness and anger of Moore is unforgettable. He obviously wants to kill the guy, but still waits a few seconds to get the information before dropping him.

Where did all this go? Moonraker, for all its entertaining moments, seems a self-parody,not to mention the slapstick in Octopussy. Fortunately, this approach to the character was recovered in For Your Eyes Only, not as brilliant as this movie, but still worth a look.

All in all, this is Moore's best and definitely ranks up there alongside Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice

69 out of 87 people found the following review useful:
Classic Bond, 9 September 2005

Following the surprising success of Dr No, it became obvious that Broccoli and Saltzman's next step as producers would be other cinematic adaptation of Ian Fleming's work. Their choice this time was From Russia With Love, a novel once pointed out by US president Kennedy as one of his favorite books.

Trying to capture the unique mood and look of Dr No, the producers brought back almost everyone involved in the first Bond outing ( excepting mediocre composer Monty Norman, whose clumsy tunes were replaced by a magnificent John Barry's score, in his first "official" collaboration in the Bond series). This includes Broccoli's long-standing collaborator Terence Young, screenwriter Richard Maibaum ,and, of course, Connery, that rough Scottsman, initially despised by everybody as a "lorry driver" , who nevertheless delivered an unforgettable performance as James Bond.

All these talents combined to produce what no doubt is one the best Bond films of all time. Contrasting with the over the top story lines which would very soon become synonymous with Bond, From Russia With Love is a gritty and realistic Cold War thriller,filled up with sex violence and pure excitement. Terence Young considers this to be his best Bond film, and the movie proves him right. It is full of stylish shots( the famous close-up of Romanova's lips while Bond says "your mouth is just the right size") and really hot( by the 60's standards) seduction sequences. Even the back projection, a technical device often unfairly criticized , works wonderfully. Although many have criticized the action sequences following Bond's scape from the train, I think they're excellent, adding to the film's sense of danger and excitement. The helicopter chase, in particular, is a moment of brilliant film-making.(And it's even better than the sequence From North By Northwest that inspired it) The shot of Bond and Romanova embracing in the foreground with the helicopter exploding in the background perfectly encapsulates what the entire movie is about:danger, romance, violence.

As for the cast, Connery seems more confident and relaxed this time, but when it comes to his job, he is as ruthless and cold as Fleming originally envisioned the character. Lotte Lenya wonderfully portrays SPECTRE mastermind Rosa Klebb ("..such a disgusting woman..." as Romanova states at one point) . But it is legendary supporting actor Robert Shaw who nearly steals the show as a cold-blooded hit-man with a psychotic strain to him.

All in all, From Russia With Love is definitely a must-see not only for Bond fans, but for every discerning film lover.A true classic.

45 out of 64 people found the following review useful:
One of the best, 6 March 2005

Giving the series a radical twist after the glorious Connery's farewell to 007 movies in You Only Live Twice, the producers intended for the first time to introduce a new take on Bond, returning to the literary roots of the character, as originally described in Fleming's novels and short stories. So Maibaum this time faithfully adapted one of Fleming's most successful and appreciated works: On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The screenplay is so close to the book that actually the movie is somewhat contradictory with previous Bond installments: Bloefeld and Bond don't know each other (???), and, in order to make the plot line look more logical, by changing the physical appearance of the villain, the part was given to Telly Savallas, who looks too amiable to be the bad guy, instead of the scarred and terrific Donald Pleasance. The plot is also very different from what the usual fans expect from Bond movies, being mainly focused on the romance between Bond and Tracy during the first half, then moving to Bloefeld's stronghold in Switzerland, and ending with 45 minutes of extremely exciting, non stop action.

The film's pacing is pretty irregular. The romance is probably the best part, at the best of Bond tradition, mainly thanks to Diana Rigg's inspired performance as Tracy, perfectly depicting an emotionally unbalanced, yet appealing and glamorous, woman. Lazenby's OK (at least at this part of the movie), but he lacks the masculinity and roughness Connery showed, what ultimately damages the movie, specially during the disastrous sequences which take place in Bloefeld's research facility in the Swiss Alps, which are laughable). There's nothing remarkable about them. (what a silly conspiracy!!), but 45 minutes spent, which make the movie overlong. When everything seems ruined, the film revives and takes us on a wild ride on an action packed roller-coaster (ski chase, Bond and Draco raid on Bloefeld's base), with a brief romantic rest as Bond and Tracy talk about their future life in common (Bond a journalist?),a very touching scene.

The ending remains as one of the top Bond moments, tragical and romantic. The stylish pre-credit sequence is equally brilliant,showing the natural elegance and "joie de vivre" we all associate with Bond.

A question: what if Connery had accepted to play Bond this time? I think this could be the best Bond movie ever made. But the producers came up with a martial arts expert with no experience in acting, which sadly overshadows many good points(on Lazenby's defense, it was his first performance), but this film still intensely shines as an interesting, strange gem in the Bond canon.

Moonraker (1979)
49 out of 70 people found the following review useful:
Not all that bad..., 3 March 2005

Considered almost unanimously as one of the worst films in James Bond series, it is time for Moonraker to have a defender. On my opinion, this is Moore's best fourth outing as 007(may be not saying too much, but there are three films left), and a very entertaining sci-fi film. Critics argue that humor plays a strong hand in this movie-strong to such a degree that Bond character loses all personality, becoming blurred in an impressive set of FX and stunt men. I reply: certainly there are flaws, some of them (particularly Jaws conversion towards the end) very ridiculous. But there are good points, too. Remember that pre-credit scene, which was ACTUALLY shot in the air, the motorboat chase or the final space battle, one of the most spectacular moments of the entire series, (yeah, it was unrealistic, OK, but tell me how much realism you can find watching other Bond movies which are frequently referred to as" the best". Think of Goldfinger or You only live twice)

However, Moonraker does not compare to Octopussy or TSWLM, because of a sometimes plodding pacing, due to the addition of unnecessary scenes, especially during the first half, when James is Drax's guest in California. The love story is a mere and inferior copy of TSWLM. And, while in other Moore's films the blend of humor and Bond's trademark coolness worked smoothly, here Bond is not given a scene to show, not necessarily ruthlessness, but a bit of harshness, as we could see in FYEO or Octopussy.

Following Moore's outings will feature Cold War elements which seem to fit more with the character, and better screenplays from Richard Maibaum,the series' screenwriter who was mysteriously absent here.

But action remains mostly exciting, sometimes brilliant, and highlights what could have been a mediocre entry.

Octopussy (1983)
16 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
More Moore!!!, 1 March 2005

Many criticized this film at the time of its release with comments like" Moore's tongue in cheek humor has turned Bond's style into brainless films , full of silly jokes, with no plot or character development. Just look at that annoying jungle sequence with Moore parodying Tarzan." OK I concede this scene was a dreadful idea. But its minor flaws aside, Octopussy is, in my opinion, one the greatest Bond movies to date.

What makes this movie extremely compelling is its adventurous storyline, which successfully combines the classic 70's spy thriller convoluted plot with amazing, yet surrealistic, action sequences, more likely to be part of a comic book (but a good one, indeed) such as the jet escape at the beginning, which is definitely the BEST pre-credit scene in the whole series. Bond moves from England to India, and then to Germany, while he tries to find out the truth in a mysterious conspiracy involving a stolen Faberge egg and... Well, it actually doesn't make sense ...but the individual sequences are great: 009's death, the purchase of the egg at Sotheby's, Bond and Khamal first encounter at the casino, the night assault on Octopussy's palace... and that lovable seduction scene, with these memorable lines: "We are two of the kind, there are vast rewards for a man of your talents willing to take risks / I am not for hire / Naturally you do it for queen and country, with the praise on your head. I have no country and no praise on my head... she leaves the room , Bond follows her and kisses her, replying, you were right, we are two of the kind" Ins't it delightful?

But the pleasures Octopussy delivers don't end here. Louis Jourdan plays a glamorous, icy, double-dealing villain, perfectly balancing ruthlessness and elegance. He gets this great line" Mr. Bond, you have the nasty habit of surviving", almost comparable to Goldfinger's "Do you expect me to talk? No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die" And stunningly beautiful Maud Adams gets the leading role she deserved, since she's probably the most seductive and cool of all Bond girls.

And the ending gag is wonderful as well, successfully capturing the film's essence. It isn't just Bond kissing the girl again, but reminds us of the fantasy world we have lived in for two hours. I still remember what a good time I had when I saw this movie for the first time. You cannot miss this one.

3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
May I say the best?, 1 March 2005

Great Bond flick. All the usual elements of the series are superbly crafted in Connery's , trendy, extremely entertaining fifth outing as 007, which includes exotic locations and non-stop pacing. When sent to Japan to investigate a mysterious spacecraft hijacking, Bond involves in an exciting adventure going after an ambitious Japanese industrialist, who's ultimately linked to SPECTRE.

Many argue Roald Dahl's screenplay places too much emphasis on fantasy, turning Bond movies traditional tone into a series of endless action sequences and incredible gadgets (the following films have been very prone to such diversions). But I think that, despite the realistic and darker tone of Dr No, previous entries such as Goldfiger had already introduced these elements, which are quintessential for Bond, a character quite different to that deadly serious, broody assassin Ian Fleming once imagined in his books. However there are some scenes which remain quite faithful to the original (Bond's incursion into Osato Chemical headquarters, including a breath-taking fight with a Yakuza hit man).

So let's not complain about the (terrific) volcano set, Little Nellie chase, the piranha pond or Donald Pleasance's outstanding performance as the deliciously evil, unforgettable Bond villain Ernst Stavro Bloefeld (I will always associate his image with the white Persian cat to Bond movies) Add to this a luscious Karin Dor("why a nice girl like you works here?") as N11 and Aki, and what do you get? Best plot, gadgets, villain, girls… the pure essence of Bond movies No twists, no new takes on the character… just CLASSIC Bond AT HIS BEST.