When people list their favourite Bond films you'll invariably see the
same ones at the top and the usual suspects at the bottom. In between
are a number of films that some people love and some people find the
least satisfying entries. The criteria is bound up in the reviews and
the general standing of a film. We have decided to leave Casino Royale
out of this experiment because that would be far too easy and
The most overrated James Bond has to be GoldenEye.
The film drew superb reviews in 1995 and I expected something very
special. I left the cinema with an inescapable feeling that what I had
just seen was infinitely less satisfying than the two Timothy Dalton
films that had been met with such apathy in the late eighties. Pierce
Brosnan makes a perfectly respectable James Bond and does all that is
asked of him but a number of things bugged me. Judi Dench right from
the start was miscast as M. The over-long scenes in a bunker full of
computer screens made you feel like you were watching a television
series. A far cry from the charm of Bond going through those padded
doors (and yes I know that's old-hat now and a modern MI6 HQ would have
a LOT of computer screens but I miss the old style). The drift towards
filming sequences on a back-lot instead of real locations and cutting
and pasting it all together. I'm sure it's always been done to an
extent but never was it so blatent, giving the film a slightly cheap
look at times. Eric Serra's score. For reasons best known to himself he
seemed reluctant to use the 007 theme...at ALL. I like a lot of stuff
in the film. The bungee-jump, Sean Bean, the fight at the end, but
something about GoldenEye seems synthetic. The tank-chase seems like a
missed opportunity and the film lacks colour and a clear sense of
direction. Lest we forget Alan Cumming too who shamelessly overdoes his
small bit as nerdy computer geek Boris.
The Man With the
Golden Gun will
always be underrated by Bond fans, consistently cropping up whenever
the worst Bond film is debated. It isn't flawless by any means, lacking
a grand feel and and exciting situations at times. Roger Moore is
required to play against his strengths by aping Sean Connery here too.
On the plus side we get one of the most colourful entries in the series
with great use of locations and the great Christopher Lee as
Scaramanga, possibly the classiest villain ever. John Barry's score is
superb and anyone who doesn't enjoy the car-stunt should be fed some
Diamonds Are Forever
is overrated. I know Bond fans who have it in their top three but in
another article on this site on George Lazenby I wrote:
Lured back at great expense, a heavy Sean Connery - temples flecked
with grey hair - ambled his way through Diamonds Are Forever in a most
jovial fashion, thoughts of the golf-course, you imagine, never far
away. A campy adventure with a truly bizarre script, DAF set
tone for the Roger Moore era. Strange as it seems, Connery actually
served as a bridge between Lazenby's darker Bond and Roger Moore's
lighter take on the character.
I do find the US set Bond films don't have quite the same atmosphere as
the globe-trotting ones. It is slightly jarring to go from Diana Rigg
to Jill St John in the space of one film and while Diamonds Are Forever
is fun it is one of the few Bond films that I struggle with sometimes.
The Man with The
Whenever I watch this I enjoy the locales, the memorable score, the
car-chase, Christopher Lee's effortlessly assured villain, Nic Nac, the
sunken ship, the punch-up at the belly-dancer's club ("I've lost my
charm!" "Not from where I'm standing") and find it odd that so many
fans have this near the bottom of their list.
For Your Eyes Only:
Lynn-Holly Johnson. Bill Conti's disco score. "I'll buy you a
delicatessen?" That French bird who went on to flog perfume. Topol
constantly eating nuts. And yet this film has a reputation for being a
radical and hard-hitting return to basics. I love the car-chase and the
ski-sequences are well staged but I'm sorry, Bond in the middle of a
gigantic battle inside a super-tanker beats Bond climbing a mountain
for half an hour any day of the week and do we really need to see a
mini sub scene again? Especially one this long. A John Barry score
would have helped and Roger Moore is very good in the quieter moments
(in a film that must have been planned for a new Bond actor) but For
Your Eyes Only is overrated.
you're in for a couple of hours of nonsense when Bond appears at the
start with a fake moustache and then gets into that acrostar jet for
the most spectacular stunt imaginable. And as nonsense goes it doesn't
get much more fun than this. A huge film that throws everything but the
kitchen sink at the screen for the sake of entertainment. It has three
climaxes one of which features Roger Moore attempting to defuse a
nuclear bomb while dressed as a clown. I rest my case.
the sweep and stylish action sequences of the previous Dalton films and
looks cheap in places. Lurches into a tropical setting after the
Russian scenes without even pretending to have any linear designs.
There is a lot to enjoy but it has to be the most overrated set against
its reviews at the time.
Licence To Kill.
theme song, great Bond, great villain, a tanker chase finale that puts
the muddy production of later Bonds to shame, and yet the film is
remembered as a misfire! And those who regard this as devoid of humour
clearly missed Q's finest hour.