Posts tagged “richard maibaum

Licence to Kill (1989)

James Bond film #16 (Timothy Dalton Bond)

Licence to Kill (1989)

If anyone ever wanted to see James Bond in rampage mode, they need look no further than 1989’s Licence to Kill. Running with the darker realism of The Living Daylights (15), Licence to Kill sees Bond going vigilante after a Colombian drug lord destroys Felix Leiter’s life. The film that follows has the most graphic violence of any Bond to date and an almost complete lack of light-hearted moments. It’s the most we’ve ever strayed from the Bond film formula, replacing all the campy elements of the franchise while retaining the spectacular action, and the film excels because of its willingness to stand apart from its predecessors

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The Living Daylights (1987)

James Bond film #15 (Timothy Dalton Bond)

The Living Daylights (1987)

The Living Daylights is the first Bond film with Timothy Dalton, a man who would certainly be the most forgotten Bond if it weren’t for Mr. George Lazenby. While Roger Moore altered Bond to make him more comical and suave, Dalton dials back the self-awareness and plays the role more like a serious spy. It’s not a bad idea, and we’ll see that approach work well when we get to Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, but there’s very obvious tension on display in this film between Dalton’s new take and the material’s inability to adapt alongside him.

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A View to a Kill (1985)

James Bond film #14 (Roger Moore Bond)

A View to a Kill (1985)

A View to a Kill marks the 7th and final appearance of Roger Moore as James Bond, Agent 007. It’s been a fun ride that’s lasted 12 years, but as anyone who watches this film could tell you, Moore is 57 years old and looking it. It’s time for some new blood, but not before Moore takes down Christopher Walken, co-starring as the rich and insane Max Zorin. Despite the promise that an unhinged Walken might suggest, A View to a Kill is as worn-out and tired as its leading man.

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Octopussy (1983)

James Bond film #13 (Roger Moore Bond)

Octopussy (1983)

The Bond series becomes a baker’s dozen with 1983’s Octopussy (13), a movie which may very well win the “Worst Title Ever” award. The film itself isn’t so great either, excelling only in setting and severely lacking in story. A Soviet general who’s something like a mix between Dr. Strangelove and Buck Turgidson is attempting to expand the USSR’s borders into Europe through a convoluted disarmament plan. Somehow, an Afghan prince and his unfortunately named business associate get involved, and Bond ends up dressing like a clown. If it weren’t for the absurd name, this subpar Bond film would be long-forgotten by now.

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For Your Eyes Only (1981)

James Bond film #12 (Roger Moore Bond)

For Your Eyes Only (1981)

For Your Eyes Only (12) sees James Bond bursting into the ’80s, and with the new decade, the series takes another turn off its well-worn path. For the past few films, the Bond series has been digging itself into the ground as it went further and further into the realm of gadgetry and comic relief. Moore’s tenure has so far seen psychic mediums, tri-nippled assassins, underwater fortresses, and giant space stations, and while the Connery Bond films always had their own silly moments (like the jetpack in Thunderball (4) or all of Diamonds Are Forever (7)), they never got quite as outlandish as Moore’s. For Your Eyes Only (12) puts the brakes on crazy-town Bond, scaling back the theatrics and getting much grittier than he’s been in a long time. In this film, Bond tries to acquire a missile command system while getting manipulated and attacked by shady Greek businessmen. Fighting alongside him is Melina Havelock, a vigilante with a crossbow seeking vengeance on whoever murdered her parents. Though it’s different in tone than what we’re used to, the level-headedness of For Your Eyes (12) results in a fully satisfying, if not entirely memorable, Bond film.

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The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

James Bond film #10 (Roger Moore Bond)

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Released in 1977, The Spy Who Loved Me comes three years after The Man With the Golden Gun, the longest gap between Bond films so far. The series benefits from this brief hiatus – instead of feeling like the same movie we’ve seen nine times already, there’s something fresh to this film. Starting with an amazing pre-credits scene and never letting up, The Spy Who Loves Me brings  a new standard of excitement and artistry to a series 10 films deep.

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The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

James Bond film #09 (Roger Moore Bond)

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

Roger Moore returns as James Bond in 1974’s The Man With the Golden Gun to uncover a devious plot by an assassin with a third nipple. It was  a year in which the effects of the energy crisis were still at the forefront of Britain’s collective consciousness, so Francisco Scaramanga’s plot involves using newly-developed solar energy to take control of the world. Though Moore made an impressive entrance to the series with Live and Let Die, Golden Gun plays like an attempt to emulate the Connery films. The resulting film is a disappointing follow-up and the worst Bond film in the series so far.

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Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

James Bond film #07 (Sean Connery Bond)

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

After George Lazenby’s solo run as James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli were told to get Connery back in the suit at any cost – and that cost ended up being 1.25 million pounds, an amount that equals out to about $32 million in today’s dollars. Having spent so much on their lead actor (in fact, the highest salary to an actor for a role ever at the time), the pair of producers aimed to recreate the commercial success of 1964’s Goldfinger, hiring that film’s director (Guy Hamilton), using Shirley Bassey to sing the title song again, and originally centering the story around Auric Goldfinger’s twin. After Broccoli dreamt of recluse Howard Hughes getting replaced by an imposter, however, the plot was changed to that fantastical idea, creating the character of Willard Whyte and setting most of the story in Las Vegas.

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On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

James Bond film #06 (George Lazenby Bond)

Film #23: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

All right. Back to Bond. Mostly, anyway -1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service marks the first time in the Eon Productions series that Mr. Bond is played by someone other than Sean Connery. This time around, newcomer George Lazenby fills the role for the longest Bond film that isn’t Casino Royale. It wasn’t until midway through production that Lazenby decided he’d only play Bond once, having been convinced by his agent that 007 would become irrelevant in the 70s. The film’s length and the fact that it features an isolated Bond actor puts it in a unique position amidst the Bond canon, and at times the film seems uncomfortable with itself as it struggles with the new Bond incarnation.

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From Russia With Love (1963)

Film #12: From Russia With Love (1963)

James Bond film #02 (Sean Connery Bond)

With the success of Dr. No, the makers of the first James Bond film were given double the budget to do it all over again. And boy, did they. From Russia With Love, released a year after its predecessor, ups the ante on everything that made Dr. No such an excellent flick. Taking place mostly in Turkey, this installment sees Bond (Connery once again) agree to help a beautiful Russian agent (Tatiana Romanova, played by Daniela Bianchi), purportedly defect, in order to obtain a cryptographic machine known as a Lektor. Little do either of these absurdly attractive secret agents know, the entire engagement is a ploy by the terrorist organization SPECTRE, which is plotting to kill Bond in vengeance for the death of Dr. No.

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