So, I've decided to watch the James Bond films in order and comment about them. I will be limiting myself to the movies featuring the only two actors that I feel portrayed Bond properly--i.e. Sean Connery and Roger Moore--and ignoring anything else that calls itself a Bond movie (with the possible exception of the 1967 Casino Royale). To begin with, 1962's Dr. No. A quick synopsis courtesy of The James Bond Films:
Dr. No intends to destroy a U.S. moon rocket from his nuclear-powered base on an island near Jamaica.
Now for my thoughts on the movie:
* First appearance of Bond shooting the camera with blood pouring down from the top--No Bond theme until after the shot, and Bond is wearing a fedora. I like fedoras, but Bond just doesn't seem a fedora type of guy.
* I like the danciing silhouettes during the opening titles.
* I love the styling of old cars.
* Silencers made guns really quiet back then.
* Bond and Baccarat...they go together like peanut butter and chocolate, or rum and cola.
* Lois Maxwell looks quite lovely as Moneypenny, and her flirtation with Bond seems more playful than his other interactions with women...very likeable.
* Hmm...not sure how close this movie is in time to the Cuban missile crisis, but I know the timing is close.
* I never knew Bond used a Beretta before the Walther.
* No Q...no gadgets either.
* I should like to return to my hotel finding a beautiful woman wearing my pajamas and practicing putting in my room, although I can also see how that would be off-putting as well.
* Jack Lord is supposed to be in Hawaii, not Jamaica.
* The fighting in this movie seems almost to be a parody of itself--however, I'm sure that's more to do with 50 years of similar movies since then.
* The police commissioner in Kingston, Jamaica is a white man...doesn't sound quite right to me. A-Ha! Jamaica had not declared it's indepence from Great Britain in 1962.
* He doesn't say "shaken, not stirred" but that is how he orders his vodka martini.
* Why is the bartender East Indian? Eh, likely the British connection again.
* Lots of product placement for Red Stripe. Hooray Beer!
* I guess rasslin' alligators doesn't quite prepare you for Bond, James Bond.
* Very Marvel comics...the good guys fight, then team up.
* So...all the natives have American accents...
* Disembodied voices are so cool and scary sometimes.
* The way women hunger after Bond is quite funny.
* Backup vodka is always a good idea when you're a superspy.
* You know, if I woke up in the middle of the night and found a huge tarantula on my back, my first instinct would likely be to roll over and attempt to smush it.
* I love how the orchestra is in sync with him smashing the spider with his shoe.
* Ruh-Roh! The pretty eavesdropping secretary is a bad girl!
* And that's what you get for being a bad guy in a big ugly car.
* Bond womanizes...of course, she's likely to be dead by the end of their date.
* He was nice...he only had her arrested.
* Quarrel is a dead man...I know it.
* Ursula Andress...yes, please!
* Oh sure, the old "breathing through a hollow reed underwater" trick.
* Yup, 1962, black guy, red shirt...Quarrel just got it.
* Okay, superspy 101...do not drink or eat anything the enemy offers you.
* With names like Sister Lily and Sister Rose, they'd better be sinister.
* He sends Honey off to be ... mistreated. That's the Bond I'm familiar with.
* Ooohhh, S.P.E.C.T.R.E.!
* Sure, electrify the grating, but don't take away his rubber-soled shoes. Good move.
* A gruesome, but fitting end for Dr. No.
* And of course, Bond is the mack...
Reasonably fun, I suppose, but a very uneven movie. There are a lot of unanswered questions, and key points of the plot make as much sense as the Adam West Batman! series. Still, if you don't take it too seriously, it's not bad.
Although this Man with the Golden Gun movie makes fun of Goodhead and her incompetence I felt this was the end of the line for James Bond. I had read all the books and I knew that the book this was based up was the last one. And the book didn't feel "right" either...now interpreted as the first complete draft before Fleming went through a second time to add all the color and taste and colour that fans had come to love.
I thought Nick Nack was pretty lame when this came out, he has since grown on me. And, I really really like the final shot of him, crying and getting seasick in his crows nest cage. And I especially love the slow tease intro to the close song. I got the soundtract album when I was in college, and played it alot. But the arrival of Rita Coolidge's hit "We're an All Time High" and "Nobody Does it Better" really ushered in a new era of the Top 10 music hit.
These last three films all end with a coda in which one or more henchmen try to murder Bond as he embarks on his post-mission canoodling. The next film introduces a new formula.
I think the comedic sound effect undermines the car flip stunt. It's a pity; the stunt is an impressive achievement.
I remember an article on cars with detatchable wings from Look and Learn from a few years after the movie. I can believe the design could work, but I figure it's impractical because keeping a plane in addition to a car makes more sense.
I have a soft spot for Live and Let Die; it's the first Bond movie I saw, on TV, back in the days before the VCR and cable TV (let alone the DVD and torrents), when movies debuted on network television a year or two after their theatrical release. However, there's no Q in Live and Let Die, but there is Felix Leiter.
The Man With the Golden Gun is pretty cool, too. You can't beat that stunt with the car, especially as, back then, they did it for real. No CGI.
Well, they did have special effects...the scene with Baron Samedi on the front of the train for example...at the end of the film and the skull bursting into flames...
The Spy Who Loved Me - From IMDb:
James Bond investigates the hijacking of British and Russian submarines carrying nuclear warheads with the help of a KGB agent whose lover he killed.
* Opening underwater with a submarine.
* Uh-Oh...the coffee is shaking!
* "We've lost one of our nuclear submarines." That is @#$% scary.
* Looks like the Soviets have lost a sub too.
* For once, we open with a scene of two people making love, and neither of them is Bond.
* Agent Triple X?
* "Well tell him to pull out...immediately." Really not being the slightest bit subtle.
* "But James, I need you." "So does England." And of course, she's on the wrong side.
* Disco music backdrop for the ski chase.
* Jonny Moseley would appreciate these moves.
* Another X-Games move, jumping off the cliff with a parachute.
* Props. That was a nifty and exciting opening, and it set up the film pretty well too.
* I remember loving this theme song initially as a kid, then hating it as it became so overplayed.
* Visually there are a few things I like about the opening theme, such as the girl doing a gymnastics routine on the gun barrel, but it's not quite the grabber that many of the others have been.
* Naked Russian girls goose stepping, on the other hand...
* Back to the KGB, and Agent Triple X, played by Barbara Bach.
* She's given the mission, and the sad news that her lover has been killed.
* Always interesting to see James in uniform. Easy to forget he's actually a Naval Commander.
* Aw man, feeding the secretary to the sharks? That's cold.
* Having your evil lair underwater makes good sense.
* Jaws is awesome!
* Gotta eliminate the scientists too.
* At this point, I think the film makers are trying way too hard to make Stromberg a good villain.
* To Cairo, and James in his best Lawrence of Arabia garb.
* So, apparently one of James' old room mates in college is a sheikh, complete with harem.
* A quick rooftop fight and off to the Pyramids.
* Fekkesh, pursued by Jaws.
* A steel chain? Nay, a nourishing snack.
* A little vampire action.
* Jaws moves fast for a big man.
* "Hope you enjoyed the show. Good night."
* Two enemy spies meet, and they each know what the other likes to drink.
* Nothing like a friendly competition.
* Bond and Triple X are very alike in one way--both underestimate their opponents.
* Uh-Oh...this doesn't feel like Cairo.
* All together now..."It's a Trap!"
* "Don't shoot him, you'll just make him angry." Oops, wrong movie. You could say the same about punching him in the mouth, however.
* Good thing Jaws has a lousy aim.
* He's not dead yet.
* It's a good thing James made a copy of those plans, because you know she's going to steal them.
* Yup, slipped him a Mickey...or blew knockout as in his face.
* Now they gotta work together. Oops.
* James vs. Jaws round 2.
* Confession: I had the hugest crush on Barbara Bach when this movie came out.
* Jealous already Triple X?
* Well, into the lion's den they go.
* Sidecar missile!
* Death by chicken feathers. Not a good way to go.
* I wonder just how many helicopters they've destroyed over the years for Bond movies.
* Yup, there goes another one.
* Now, all James has to do is drive away in his underwater car.
* Oh come now...underwater submarine assassins?
* Where does he get all these wonderful toys? Stromberg, I mean?
* You know, you shouldn't expect to get hit by a car under the ocean, that's all I'm saying.
* Tossing the fish out of the window is funny, but it makes zero sense.
* The whole subplot of James killing the man she loved really is sort of distracting from the rest of the movie. Her threat to kill him when the mission is over just doesn't hold any water.
* Ah, the casual sexism of 1977.
* Confession: One of the myriad reasons I saw this in the theaters four times when I was a kid was because of Barbara Bach in the shower.
* Oh, by the way, the Americans are in on this now too.
* Stromberg plans to start a nuclear war. I guess that's the standard Bond plot these days.
* That cannot be a financially efficient way to launch a boat. Looked cool though.
* Sigh. More disco music. Makes this sound like an episode of A-Team.
* Once again, James saves the day. Now to save Triple X!
* How nice. Q sent him a jet ski.
* Wait, don't get in that elevator!
* Four shots? Dayyum!
* James vs Jaws 3.
* Jaws against the shark. I wonder who'll win.
* Jaws the whole way. The shark had no chance.
* That is one posh escape pod.
* And of course, Jaws survived the destruction of Atlantis.
* That's some diplomacy. What a country!
The advantage of this movie was that the setup was pretty much done before the opening credits rolled. With the plot out of the way, the film could pretty much move into the action, action, action, and it did quite nicely. Sure there were some silly things that didn't fit, but all in all, the movie moved briskly and didn't drag. For the most part, the performances were pretty strong. Barbara Bach gave a pretty decent performance as Anya, and Richard Kiel brought great menace to Jaws.
Really, the weakest part of the movie was the boss villain, Stromberg. Unlike Goldfinger and Blofeld, it seemed like they were trying way too hard to establish him as a real bad villain, and he was completely outshone by his subordinate Jaws, who was a baaad man despite being as much comic relief as menace. Oh, also the subplot of James killing Anya's lover was weak.
Of the Bond films, this may not be the best, but it is the one I tend to like the most.
In his first film Moore still has a young look, although I read the other day that he's actually a couple of years older than Connery. By this one has a middle-aged look, but I like that, being middle-aged myself. It also gives him an extra assurance. As others have pointed out, he also had a flair for comedy.(1) In this film it shows up in the scene where he tricks Jaws into grinning.
I like this film and Moonraker for what they are. I wouldn't want every Bond film to go as far into comedy/unreality as these two do at times, but I don't mind that they do. I particularly like the grudge match relationship that develops between Bond and Jaws.
(1) I first saw this pointed out in reviews I read online of Curse of the Pink Panther, where he briefly appears at the climax.
Moonraker - From IMDb:
James Bond investigates the mid-air theft of a space shuttle and discovers a plot to commit global genocide.
* Ah the space shuttle being carried aloft.
* Stowaways! Bad 'uns too!
* Stealing the shuttle off the top of the jetliner. That is brazen.
* Oh gosh. James is making out with yet another girl who pulls a gun on him. When will they ever learn?
* Exciting fight in the airplane. And I believe our old pal Jaws has popped back up again.
* Some nice mid-air stuntwork as James steals another baddies parachute.
* The baddie waving his fists as if he's saying "Curses! I'll get you yet Bond." sort of loses it's impact when you realize he's moments from death himself.
* Oh, but here comes Mr. Jaws again. I think he's upset about something.
* Uh-Oh! Jaws' parachute doesn't work? How will he ever survive?
* Really, that opening sequence was quite nice. Quite fun as well. I do wonder what happened to the flight attendant, however.
* Decent opening credits. Floating characters against a blue sky.
* I'm sure many people are fond of the opening theme by Shirley Bassey, but it's not grabbing me.
* Q and some other gent are wearing out the carpet in M's office. Reminds me of some scenes from the old Batman! TV show.
* At this point, I think Moneypenny's noticeably considerably older than James. Of course, she'd only been playing the role for 17 years at this point. I don't mind the flirtiness being gone.
* Given the number of times that 007 has saved the world and shown himself to be a very results-oriented agent, wouldn't you think that M might treat him a little less like a naughty schoolboy?
* And of course, James' helicopter pilot is another beautiful woman.
* You know Drax has to be a baddie. He's got a beard.
* It is nice to see James not being undercover. He's so terrible at that sort of thing.
* Extremely well-trained Dobermans.
* "Look after Mr. Bond. See that some harm comes to him." That's a great line, but it falls flat here.
* James being quite sexist here.
* You know, James has a bad habit of encountering faulty mechanical devices. Good thing Q gave him that snazzy Widow's bite thingy.
* James' powers of seduction are super-human. Of course, seducing the pilot probably isn't that useful, albeit fun.
* I wonder if there's a supply shop somewhere that supplies super villains with Asian bodyguards/ne'er do'wells.
* Ah James, you've just signed her death warrant, you know that, right?
* Hunted down by dogs. Not a good death.
* Hmm...we shift locations to Venice.
* Despite all of Drax's machinations, everything seemed to drag when he was on the screen. Now that Jaws is back, things are looking up.
* Good thing he had his coffin ready.
* Are you seriously telling me they planned this complicated, well-organized surprise hit on Bond and didn't think about the height of the bridges over the canals?
* I thought this was the return of Jaws, but I was wrong. Still, a fun gondola chase.
* The motorized gondola-mobile has to be really unwieldy in the streets.
* The keypad tone...oy.
* So now we're in a secret lab, and apparently there's some bio-weaponry going on.
* If you're trying to kill a man, why would you use a kendo stick when there's likely a nice samurai sword laying around?
* And I just knew they were going to break all of that glass in the museum.
* Down goes Chang! Down goes Chang!
* They're really forcing a lot of the humor here, and it's not working so well.
* I wonder if James is still carrying around the vial of nerve gas? If so, he's a very cool customer--or extraordinarily stupid.
* Off to Rio, pursued by Jaws.
* So it's the height of Carnaval, and James has to go sightseeing.
* It's really hard to rip open someone's jugular with your teeth during Carnaval.
* Jaws, James. James, Jaws. Oh, don't tell me, you two have met before.
* I think perhaps 7-Up helped finance this film.
* Jaws actually needs help getting up this time.
* Blanche Ravalec - I always wondered who played Jaws' girl. She's quite fetching.
* James...underestimating the baddies...again.
* I guess Seiko and Marlboro helped with the financing too.
* I wanna be a cowboy...and you can be my cowgirl.
* I wouldn't think mortars would be very effective fired from a boat.
* This boat chase is fun, but also completely pointless.
* Have I mentioned before that James is a complete and utter moron when it comes to beautiful women? He's excellent at seducing them, but terrible at telling when they mean him harm.
* James, it's a trap.
* Dumped in the lagoon with an anaconda. I told you so.
* Marlon Perkins, eat your heart out.
* Drax says python. Looked like an anaconda to me, but what do I know from snakes?
* So, no one's going to notice a number of space shuttles taking off from Earth.
* Jaws is beginning to realize that he's playing for the wrong team.
* Punching Jaws in the mouth is not a good idea for your hand.
* Once again, Drax has some great lines, but they just aren't working.
* Rumble in SPAAAAACCCCCEEEEE!
* Good effects. Not quite Star Wars good, but good.
* Why is there an extra docking station?
* Jaws speaks. He has a nice voice.
* Use the force, James.
* Dr. Goodhead's position seems to be horizontal.
"I think he's attempting re-entry sir." I did laugh at that one.
So, this movie is nowhere near as good as the previous Moore movies. In this instance, I think much of the blame can be laid at the hands of Michael Lonsdale. He had plenty of good material to work with but he was so stiff that he just lost effectiveness as a villain.
That being said, and despite the logical inconsistencies throughout the movie, it was fun. It dragged a little in spots, but ultimately it was fairly fun. However, definitely not one of the stronger Moore movies.
There's a video of Enterprise's 1977 test flight here (the launch comes four and a half minutes in). Wikipedia tells me this followed a piggyback flight to test aspects of its design earlier in the year. The first shuttle space shot didn't come until 1981, after the movie.
The gradual revelation of the space station as Bond's shuttle approaches it was imitated in Iron Man #142 (=the first part of the story with the space armour from the Michelinie/Romita, Jr/Layton era).
Apparently, this was the last film with Bernard Lee as M. According to the IMDB Roger Moore and Lois Maxwell were born the same year, 1927.
I just saw Richard "Jaws" Kiel in the first episode of The Hardy Boys - Nancy Drew Mysteries. He was pretty funny while dressed as the Universal Frankenstein's monster.
I saw Moonraker a few years ago at an outdoor park that does a series of free movies every summer -- one a week, at sundown, on a big screen, from June or so until the series ends. One year, it was all the Star Trek movies; one year, it was superheroes (all the Superman movies, the Fantastic Four movies, the Spider-Man movies, the Batman movies, etc.), and one year, it was all the James Bond movies, including unofficial entries such as the David Niven Casino Royale, Never Say Never Again, and, for the heck of it, the Austin Powers movies.
Moonraker was just dreadful. Everything about it was lame, the comedy was limp, and by the time we saw Bond on horseback wearing a serape with the strains of The Magnificent Seven theme in the air, I was ready to torch the movie screen. James Bond is not a follower, he's a trendsetter!
I think Moonraker was the low point in the Bond films. It particularly irritated me because the book version was SO good. I can’t remember exactly how they presented Hugo Drax in the movie, but in the book he was a badly scarred Nazi “Werewolf” (a kind of really badass commando) who had established a new identity as a trusted British industrialist. He develops a nuclear missile call Moonraker * for the UK government with which he intends to target London. Bond ultimately redirects the missile into the sea, which kills Drax and, shockingly, thousands of innocent people.
*As I understand it, the name Moonraker is a hint at his deception. The story goes that people making illegal alcohol, I think in Britain, would secret it in pools. When the authorities would come calling they would pretend to be batty, raking the moonlight reflecting on these pools, obscuring what was under the water.
I recall the book vividly... and while you have the gist of it correctly, the pay-off is just a little slightly off. Drax had intended that the missile launch, being carried live on national TV, would come down in London, whipping it off the map... but Bond, being left behind, unexpectedly has changed the gimbles to a latitude/longitude that he has intercepted.... and thus, when Drax motors out into the bay or channel and a foreign sub unexpectedly surfaces as the missile launches, no one was expecting it to come down into the channel....precisely where the rendezvous was taking place. Result: scratch the sub and Drax on national TV. I don't recall any loss of civilian life however. Maybe that was a point made in a debriefing after the fact.
The movie has virtually nothing to do with the book....but I did enjoy it, and especially the music score.