Juck’s Thoughts on the World Is Not Enough

The world is not enough. It is nahht. Oh hi Mark. – Tommy Wiseau.

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It is no secret that Christopher Nolan is a huge Bond fan by his own admission. With that in mind, I can’t help but wonder if Cobb’s rappel scene from Nolan’s very own Inception was inspired by this movie. A more eerie similarity between this particular Bond film and another one of Nolan’s pictures, The Dark Knight, is between two lines of dialogue. In the World Is Not Enough, a character says, “She could be everywhere” in reference to M’s potential death by bomb. Of course, if the bomb were to have gone off, M’s remains would certainly be “everywhere.” In the Dark Knight, when Batman is interrogating the Joker as to the whereabouts of Harvey Dent, the Joker responds, “Depending on the time, he may in one spot, or several.” Interesting, how the lines of dialogue are so similar under like circumstances.

On the other side of things, this Bond film nods to an older era of Bond and refers to Live and Let Die by flipping a speedboat. Thankfully, because the universe was kind on a particular day in the editing room, there was no slide whistle sound effect include this time around!

The World Is Not Enough features another strong Q scene, one that undoubtedly served as an appropriate sendoff for Desmond Llewelyn, who died shortly after the film’s release. The scene is touching, and it marks the end of a truly spectacular Q. Brosnan brought out the best in Llewelyn, as is palpable on screen. Or perhaps it was Llewelyn who brought out the best in Brosnan. However the chemistry was conjured, the two have the greatest scenes of any Bond-Q pair to date.

I have finally determined that Brosnan handles a gun significantly better than he handles hand-to-hand combat. The manner in which he handles firearms exudes confidence and power, which is fitting, given that this Bond has proven to be more fond of including (and more apt to have) technology in his arsenal.

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I enjoyed seeing Robbie Coltrane’s Zukovsky appear once again, with his first appearance being in GoldenEye. Continuity is a rare element in Bond films, and seeing a recurring supporting character who isn’t from MI6 a pleasant treat.

Though The World Is Not Enough moves along Bond’s evolution quite nicely, the film lost much of its charm and shine as it went on, suffering from a problem possessed by a host of older Bond films. That is, the second half of the film lags. This is a decent Bond film, but it is not a standout for me.

~Juck

Juck’s Thoughts on A View to a Kill

I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most recent. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. Let’s get started!

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At this point, I feel like I am sifting through elephant dung with my bare hands. Yes, I am that frustrated.

I began this series because I wanted to witness the evolution of Bond. I wanted to experience the Connery era. I wanted to see how that one guy did as Bond that one time. I wanted to see the gadgets. I wanted to hear the music. I wanted to watch the title sequences. I wanted to watch Bond. A View to a Kill was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I am the camel, for those who can’t figure it out.

We begin this movie with a horrendous song by Duran Duran. Horrendous. Horr-en-dous. Absolutely horrendous. People are complaining about Sam Smith’s recently released song for Spectre, a song that is the Last Supper when compared with this horrendous piece of cave art. Here, suffer with me.

A View to a Kill seems to be a parody at many points. The destruction of the taxi that Bond carjacks is absurd, as is the taxi driver who he carjacks. The production line scene is absurd. Mayday and Mayday’s encounter with Bond is absurd. The racetrack traps are absurd. The check duplicator gadget is absurd. The gadget glasses are entirely pointless. The Molotov cocktail being thrown into the elevator shaft is absurd. The entire ordeal was absurd.

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Yes, this was an actual prop for the movie. An actual prop.

Unlike the previous two films, this movie had flavor. That is, the flavor of spoiled milk.

The two positive qualities retained by a View to a Kill include the the score, which was dramatic and more extensive than that of previous films, and the chemistry between Bond and Tibbett. That’s all.

80’s Bond has tortured me endlessly. Thankfully, because God is merciful, this is the last Moore film of the franchise. I have enjoyed Roger Moore as Bond, but once the 80’s era came around, the Moore installments became dreadful. The series needs a fresh start. Though my back is broken, I am ready to go back into the desert with hopes that Timothy Dalton’s first installment is an oasis of water. 8o’s Bond is 0 for 3. Let’s get this series back on track. Please.

~Juck

Juck’s Thoughts on Octopussy

I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most recent. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. Let’s get started!

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My word, Roger Moore has gotten old. 

Octopussy features what is possibly the worst credit sequence in any Bond film, and it’s not even because of the song. The visuals were subtle as the double-take pigeon and looked as if they were made with the skill of a Video Production I student. It was utter rubbish.

Octopussy’s strongest element was its villains. Both of the villains succeeded in being intimidating. I feel that Eon knew that it had such a solid cast of baddies this time around, as they dressed up Kamal Khan (Yes, they named the Afghani price Kamal. Camel. Kamal. Two thumbs up for cultural sensitivity) in Dr. No’s iconic getup.
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The movie as whole, however, while it was able to keep my attention, was ultimately uninspired and dull, suffering from many of the same issues as did For Your Eyes Only. The film was relatively well-made, yet it didn’t have the charm of most other Bond films.

The circus element of the film was an usual fixture that threw me back to the supernatural element of Live and Let Die in that it was bizarre.

To make things worse, there were many points where I felt the movie wasn’t being remotely serious. The clown chase, the knife-throwing twins, the tennis rackets, Bond’s attempt at going at it with Octopussy while injured…The movie was just so tonally jumbled and bizarre. I was genuinely confused as to whether or not Eon was attempting to parody itself or if they were trying to come across as bold on account of randomness.

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Highlight scenes include the tense auction scene and the surprisingly effective circus diffusion scene.

Octopussy was a dry installment of the Bond franchise. Yes, despite the clowns, the movie was dry. It was watchable, as I said before, but it was missing gusto. So far, 80s Bond is 0/2.

~Juck

 

Juck’s Thoughts on For Your Eyes Only

I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most recent. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. The franchise has been around for over 50 years for a reason. Let’s get started!

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This is series is called “Juck’s Thoughts on Bond,” yet I don’t have many thoughts to share. For Your Eyes Only failed to captivate me. The action was well done, the writing was fine, the sets were nice to look at, the score was alright, and the film was cohesive, but something was missing. I felt like For Your Eyes Only displayed Bond going through the motions. There was no passion to be felt, no spectacle. And there was hardly any spy-work to be done.

For Your Eyes Only was a grand action sequence that contained occasional breaks which served to advance the plot. Chase after chase, action scene after action scene, it was as if the brain of the Bond series was simply shut off for this installment. I certainly don’t hate it, as it has some positive qualities, but it made a very minimal impression on me. For Your Eyes Only is perhaps the most forgettable Bond film thus far into the franchise.

Instead of delving into my thoughts on this film, of which there are few, a simple shrug will suffice.

~Juck

Juck’s Thoughts on Moonraker

I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most recent. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. The franchise has been around for over 50 years for a reason. Let’s get started!

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I just finished watching Star W-…I mean Moonraker. It is easy to see why this film gets crap. Heck, Bond is in space and there are laser guns. But I won’t fall into the pitfall of unsubstantiated hate. Truthfully, Moonraker was a joy to watch.

Moonraker is the first modern Bond film, and it’s not because it saw Bond in space. Instead, it was the smooth pacing of the film that gave it a modern edge. In the previous 007 films, there was plenty of action to be had, with scuffles and chases graciously spread throughout and massive action pieces to mark the endings. But Moonraker was paced in such a way that the action felt…familiar. Modern.

Moonraker offered some of the most thrilling action sequences to date, from the airplane jump to the G-force escape to the ski-lift scene to the sword fight in the glass room.

The film was bright and gorgeous-looking and the sets were grand. Some of the effects, like zero-gravity, did not look quite as modern as many of the other effects, but it was believable enough where it did not detract from the cohesion of the film. Moonraker was an expensive film to make, and it shows. Vast sets and luxurious settings are proof enough.

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I am pleased to note that there was an abundance of gadgets in this movie. Bond utilizes a dart-watch, a high-tech lock-pick, and a mini-camera. There was also a helping of intriguing CIA gadgets, which most notably included flamethrower perfume. There were vehicle gadgets as well, from mines to torpedoes to a para-sail dispenser. Yes, a para-sail dispenser. A coffin laden with knives also makes an appearance.

There was a true spy feeling to the film that was established by the gadgets and further advanced by the MI6 presence and overall grand scope.

In this film, Jaws won me over. He was funny. He had personality. I finally get him. Just as was the case with Sheriff Pepper, I was puzzled by the character during his first appearance, but he grew on me during his second time around. Although, it is worth noting that Jaws’ scuffles with Bond are never captured clearly. Maybe this is because of the height difference.

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Jaws’ girlfriend, while I understand why she is there, is ridiculous. That’s all I want to say about her.

Moonraker offers a blend of humor that did not always hit, but I didn’t feel that it substantially detracted from the film. Yes, the double-taking pigeon is mindbogglingly unbelievable, but it didn’t override the successful execution of other aspects of the film.

Tossed in with the fantastic action scenes, the laser space battle at the end was completely unnecessary. I understand the desire to end the movie with a grand action piece, but the space battle really did come across as being shoehorned in.

Moonraker ends with a golden line delivered by Q regarding reentry. The movie could not have ended with a better piece of dialogue.

In conclusion, Moonraker is a milestone in the Bond franchise. Its pace gave it a modern feeling, its gadgets gave it a definitive spy feeling, and the beautiful sets gave it a grand feeling. Moonraker was a blast that, I believe, will usher in a new era of Bond.

~Juck

Juck’s Thoughts on The Man With the Golden Gun

I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most recent. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. The franchise has been around for over  50 years for a reason. Let’s get started!

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Most Bond villains have characteristic deformations that set them apart from the average bad guy. In the Man with the Golden Gun, the villain has three nipples. Yes, Scaramanga has three nipples. I kid you not. Three nipples. Although the reality of this deformation perplexes me, and although there are few things stranger thus far into the Bond franchise, the Man with the Golden Gun was a real treat.

Roger Moore was energized in this installment, bringing good humor and charm to the screen. Entirely confident in the role, the man delivered a great performance. I am entirely satisfied with Roger Moore as James Bond.

The fight scenes were well done. I could feel each blow being dealt. Furthermore, the action was cut together properly. I found the watermelon headshot to be particularly enlightening. 

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Scaramanga, played by the late Christopher Lee, is an impressive villain despite the campy weight of his third nipple. He was a substantial, involved antagonist. There were instances where he seemed very much like Bond, making him seem a worthy adversary to the secret agent. To label Scaramanga an anti-Bond would not be a label too far off. Not many Bond films thus far have had a villain that has come across as being so…capable.

I was surprised to notice that Sheriff Pepper makes another appearance in the series. He is certainly more bearable this time around, although his presence is an enigma, as there is no reason for him to be touring a foreign country due to his evident intolerance of foreigners. Regardless, Pepper was fine. Perhaps unnecessary, but fine.

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The Man with the Golden Gun contains one of the greatest pickup lines I have ever heard. I am really going to have to try out, “You really do have a magnificent abdomen” on a lady some time soon. I will inform you of the results.

It is rare that I comment on the appearance of the Bond girls, but I must make an exception for Mary Goodnight, played by Britt Ekland. She was easy to look at.

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This installment in the Bond franchise was a jolly good time. It was paced well, it contained great action sequences, and it displayed Roger Moore as a believable James Bond. The Man with the Golden Gun is a strong Bond film that is certainly setting up Roger Moore for many more successes as Agent 007.

~Juck

Juck’s Thoughts on Live and Let Die

I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most recent. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. The franchise has been around for over  50 years for a reason. Let’s get started!

live-and-let-die-james-bond-roger-moore-aerosol-cigar-fireLive and Let Die features the debut of Roger Moore as Agent 007. Rather than attempting to emulate Connery, Moore approached the role determined to add his own spin on the character. Instead of drinking martinis, he drinks bourbon. Instead of smoking cigarettes, he smokes cigars, sometimes while parasailing. Moore makes it clear that he is a new Bond.

The man played the role conservatively, acting cool and collected rather than charismatic and all-aware of his charms as did Connery. I presume that Moore will become more confident as Bond in his next outings as the spy.

Live and Let Die begins with an intriguing yet hilarious opening sequence that gathered every bit of my attention. Some British agents are killed in the most peculiar ways possible. After that sequence, the film’s opening song begins and I turn up the volume. Live and Let Die by Paul McCarney and the Wings is a fantastic Bond song, and those who made this film know it. Do you want to know how I know that they know it? I know it because the film’s score is almost entirely derived from the song. It is almost comical. Even the film’s credits are set to the song. Heck, I love the track, but to use it in every scene is just ridiculous when it comes down to it. But I’ll play along. Let’s experience the song together, performed live.

Live and Let Die is quite bizarre, as it has a supernatural edge to it. What was particularly unusual were the supposed psychic abilities of the tarot card reader, who is aptly named Solitaire. I was waiting for the method behind her supposed psychic abilities to be revealed, but I was left to believe that she truly was able to predict the future. Bond crossed a line into the supernatural realm, a realm that I would have never have thought that Bond would enter.

vlcsnap-2012-12-20-20h33m21s172While there is humor in all of the chase sequences, they aren’t so campy that one cannot feel the peril that Bond is in. Yes, the top half of that double-decker bus did get clipped off by a bridge. And yes, those boats are speeding seamlessly from water to land to water. But the stunts are done well and the action is brisk, and so they were properly humorous rather than numbingly campy. I pray that this will be a consistent quality of the coming Bond films.

It is also worth mentioning that the events that transpired on the crocodile island were remarkable. The bit where Bond was marooned on the little piece of land while surrounded by the terrifying reptiles was especially thrilling. The creatures evoked a real sense of danger.
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Even while stacked against all of the freakish elements in this Bond installment, Sheriff Pepper is, by far, the most outlandish. This Louisiana Sheriff chews tobacco. In addition, he is racist, incompetent, and has a brother-in-law named Billy Bob. I totally get it. Americans portray the English and virtually every other foreigner quite one-dimensionally in our cinema. Good on the Brits for punching back with an equally over-the-top interpretation of what kind of people constitute the Southern US.

I couldn’t quite get a grip on the antagonists in this film. All I took away from them was this scene, a scene that had me laughing out loud.

Like…WHAT?!

Anywho, Live and Let Die is a film that has me welcoming Roger Moore. The movie had a modern touch to it despite its faint layer of camp. I am interested to see some more Moore. I smell a new kind of Bond movie coming.

~Juck

Juck’s Thoughts on Diamonds Are Forever

­ I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most recent. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. The franchise has been around for over  50 years for a reason. Let’s get started! Diamonds Are Forever Diamonds Are Forever throws Sean Connery back into the role of James Bond for one last time. Despite the fact that Connery was jaded with his involvement in the series by the time You Only Live Twice rolled around, he delivers a heck of a performance in this installment. The character of Bond is played in a way that is entirely refreshing. Connery returns with more charisma, more humor (actual humor), and more intrigue. His chemistry with his fellow actors is poignant. Over all, he delivers a fantastic Bond performance.

The soundtrack was also noticeably well-done, from the opening song to the orchestral pieces. More than anything, Diamonds Are Forever is an entertaining journey. This is largely due to its sense of humor. There is plenty of campiness in this installment in the Bond franchise. Allow me to delineate some of this campiness. At the beginning of the film, Bond is being searched by a henchman for concealed weapons. As the frisking henchman reaches into Bond’s suit sleeve, he recoils, mousetrap clamping down on his hand. Yes, Bond had a mousetrap in his suit sleeve. DAF-Gadget-Finger-Trap At another point in the film, Blofeld dresses in drag to escape undetected. Yes, that really happened. 7b-diamonds-are-forever-still The altercation between, inclusion of, and concept revolving around Bambi and Thumper was also ridiculous. Absolutely bonkers. But the main source of this film’s campiness was the two over-the-top goons. One is a fat Deadhead and the other is a living ventriloquist dummy. They are corny, poorly written, unfunny, and retentive of not a single redeeming quality. They’re like the Three Stooges except there are only two of them. The kind of foolishness that they bring to the film is unnecessary. There is an altercation in which one goon asks a doctor to inspect his wisdom teeth.While the doctor proceeds to do so, Goon #2 drops a scorpion down his shirt. The man then convulses and dies. What? They also go on to knock out Bond with an urn. Yes, an urn. And those are just a couple of examples. Tumblr_lj0t77hiIO1qzoulco1_500 Despite the campiness, there is some genuine good humor in the film. There is an instance where Bond climbs into a moon buggy and a man yells, “Get him out of that machine, it’s not a toy.” The funny thing is, the buggy looks like it was built by the Little Rascals. I got a good laugh out of that. Diamonds-Are-Forever-moon-buggy Diamonds Are Forever is a fun, lighthearted installment in the Bond series, complete with Bond staples like car chases and sleuthing spy work. The film sends off Sean Connery with free spirit and confidence. Although I didn’t find the Bond girl very interesting, and although the movie became relatively dull as it approached its third act, as have many Bond movies thus far, Diamonds Are Forever can be deemed a successful film in the franchise.

~Juck

Juck’s Thoughts on On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most recent. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. The franchise has been around for 50 years for a reason. Let’s get started!

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Please take a look at the man in the picture above. What do you see? I’ll tell you what I see. I see a man with an ass-chin. I’ll tell you what I do not see. I do not see James Bond. This man-no, this wooden board-was chosen to replace Sean Connery as 007. I will refer to him as ‘Wooden Board.’ I am doing him a favor by not mentioning his name because, if I were in his position, I would not want my name to be attached to the “performance” he delivered in this error of a film.

Wooden Board was neither charismatic nor interesting. He was not charming. He was not cool. He was not interesting. Instead, Wooden Board was just there. He may as well have been wearing a black morph suit. Or, better yet, he may as well have not been there at all. He had one single line that was funny, in which he mentions “a stiffness coming on.” That’s it. Wooden Board’s time as Bond peaked at that line.

The flaws of this film, of which there are many, stem from the directing. The cuts were unusual. Rather than looking natural and fluid, they were choppy and awkward. This poor camerawork yielded action sequences that appeared forced and ridiculous, almost cartoonish. I did not enjoy the action in this film in the slightest. As I have said, the botched cutting corrupted the experience entirely.

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I had a bad feeling about the film from the moment that the opening titles appeared. The opening song didn’t have a singer, which I found to be incredibly odd. Why fix what wasn’t broken? The arrival of Wooden Board as the next Bond did not call for such a seemingly pointless change.

Thus far into the series, the Bond films have retained campiness and corniness. This film pushes such campiness and converts it into ridiculousness. I found myself saying, “What?” on multiple occasions. There are a host of scenes and instances that are unbelievable, even for Bond. There is a montage in the film in which Bond frolics around a garden with a lady. By the end of the montage, Bond has bought a ring for her. Because of the choppy editing and sloppy cuts, I can’t be sure that that is what happened, so take my description of this montage with a grain of salt.

In the end, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is joyless and devoid of fun. The dialogue is boring, the action scenes were poor, and Bond was a wooden plank. This film felt its age and then some. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is my least favorite Bond thus far. If you have any interest in seeing this film to see how that one guy did as Bond, squash it. There is no payoff. There is no development of the Bond character. There is no substance. Let us all collectively erase this Bond installment from the pages of history and from the racks of retail stores.

~Juck

Juck’s Thoughts on Thunderball

I’m in the process of watching every Bond movie, from the first to the most current. I will be giving my thoughts on each film as I go along. Not many people have seen every Bond film, and so I feel that this should be an interesting journey. These aren’t reviews, just thoughts. I encourage you to hop aboard. The James Bond film franchise is one of the largest out there. They’ve been around for 50 years for a reason. Let’s get started!

Thunderball was a Bond film that pushed the boundaries, as underwater filming was utilized for multiple extensive sequences. Unfortunately, this bold decision to film underwater backfired against the cleanliness and speed of the narrative. The scenes where characters were submerged (save for one with only Bond, a goon, and sharks) dragged on for too long. The makers of this film overstepped their bounds too soon, as I see it.

Regardless, Thunderball displayed the desire of the filmmakers to reach new heights (and depths) with Bond. It is the first Bond film to truly push the envelope.

In terms of gadgets, Bond gets more of them, but they aren’t too spectacular. Tricked out scuba gear isn’t enough to impress me, especially after a JETPACK was teased in the opening scene and never utilized again.

I must mention that the Bond girl in this film was incredibly hot. Just had to throw that out there.

Thunderball was certainly a hard regression from its predecessor, Goldfinger, largely due to the dragged out water sequences. Director Terence Young is to blame for that, as he has proven in the past that his ability to keep the narrative moving is poor. Bringing him back aboard the franchise was a big mistake, in my opinion.

Bond doesn’t change much in this film. He still womanizes, he still lives dangerously, and he still gets work done. Thunderball’s place in the Bond franchise is simple: It’s the first to push to envelope and strive for something larger than itself. I smell grand action sequences in the future.

~Juck