Bonding with Bond… Part 1

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I am “the movie guy” here at Noise Pollution, but it was recently pointed out to me by a friend, that I could not truly consider myself “the movie guy” after I admitted to having never seen a James Bond movie in my life.  

Well, they are ALL streaming on Stan at the moment, so I thought I better rectify the situation, and share my brief thoughts on each film, starting with then Sean Connery era (and I’m including George Lazenby’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in this one). 

As you will read below, it was a soft start as far as I was concerned.  I didn’t think much of Dr.No at all, but as the series progressed, I got further entrenched in the Bond Saga…

Dr. No (1962)

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I know it’s nearly 60 years old, but Dr. No is not good!  Based off of this film, I really can’t see how Bond films took off and became such a huge phenomenon.  It’s all over the place, and the effects are woeful.  Still, I shall persevere through the series.

In summary; it’s aged very poorly, but Connery is gold and Joseph Wiseman is pretty great as Dr No.

From Russia With Love (1963)

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A vast improvement on its predecessor.  Everything about this movie is just BETTER.  The acting, the sound, the storyline.. It did a much better job of holding my attention.

In summary; Still aged, but not quite as poorly. More Gold from Connery – only two movies in, and I can’t imagine another actor in the role.

Goldfinger (1964)

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Now I’m starting to get it.  Again, a massive improvement on its predecessor.  It looks better, written better – I guess as these movies progressed, so did their budgets, and that can only work in the series’ favour.

In summary; Connery is the man, and Goldfinger is the best villain of the franchise thus far.  Three movies in, and I’m getting hooked.

Thunderball (1965)

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Bond uses a jet pack to make his escape just minutes into the movie – a sure fire sign that this will be the most OTT Bond film to date.  Elsewhere, there are sharks in swimming pools, gorgeous ladies everywhere, and some great action sequences.

In summary; I’m positively hooked on Bond now.  Definitely finding it easier to connect with the character as the series progresses.

You Only Live Twice (1967)

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Japan is the setting for Bond here, and what a fantastic backdrop it provides.  There are some cultural insensitivities that wouldn’t fly today, but this is from another time, so I guess it gets a pass.  The awesome action will make you forget those anyway, particularly the aerial sequences.

In summary; In my opinion, the Bond films improve with every new addition.  I’m already a little sad to see Connery step down from the role, even though I still have two more of his to go.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

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I’m struggling with this one.  It’s hard watching anybody other than Sean Connery in the role at this stage, but Lazenby actually does a relatively good job.  I wonder if he’d have kept the role for longer had Connery not returned.

In summary; New Bond, but same action, suspense and beautiful women we’ve become accustomed to – I did struggle to engage with this one, which I can only put down to Sir Sean’s absence.

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

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Connery is back!  But in the 4 years since his last go around as bond, he’s aged noticeably.  This entry is less action packed, and more of a return to the original Bond style – more spy thriller than action adventure.  Still thoroughly enjoyable though.

In summary; Connery is still the man, but at this point Bond won’t suffer for having new blood in the role next time.  “Plenty O’Toole” feels like the name of an Austin Powers love interest – Yes, I know Austin Powers is a parody of these films, but Plenty O’Toole just feels like Bond satirising itself.

Bonus Bond.

Never Say Never Again (1983)

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So, not a “true” entry in the Bond franchise, but it deserves a look just the same.  Sean Connery returns to the character OUTSIDE of the canon Bond series for another run at the role.  Small (but actually huge) details like the lack of  the Bond style opening credits make this feel strange, and the overall plot is very familiar (see Thunderball).

In summary; An enjoyable movie overall, and a decent way for Connery to bid farewell to the character that made him.  Phwoar!! Kim Basinger is HOT!

Goldfinger and Thunderball are my favourites of the franchise thus far, but onwards I watch!  

Next up, Roger Moore era…

-Rick Trewin

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