Vue Cinemas screening classic Bond movies

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  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,961MI6 Agent

    I know that Moore was seared by the pyrotechnics in the scene when Stromberg shoots at Bond beneath the long dining table. Is that the stunt you were thinking of?

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
  • kristopherm3kristopherm3 Posts: 153MI6 Agent

    Precisely, I'm sure I saw footage of this somewhere around ten years ago.

  • The Red KindThe Red Kind EnglandPosts: 3,092MI6 Agent

    Just booked my ticket for Moonraker on Sunday. Can't wait!


    "Any of the opposition around..?"
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,124MI6 Agent

    Moonraker booked at Croydon. This could be a quiet one. Only two of us booked in so far. Me and the old fella who always sits in the front row. He's been at every show I've attended. Is he a member of AJB ?

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,124MI6 Agent

    I was so busy reading @Revelator 'Interviews with Ian Fleming' thread in the foyer that I almost missed the start of this film. I was putting bum on seat as the gun barrel faded. Vue for some reason decided to only show 10mins of trailers this week not my previous experience's 20mins. Still that aside:

    Empty cinema. 3 of us in attendance. Is that a reflection of Moonraker's relatively low esteem among Bond aficionados and Bond casuals? Probably.

    I unashamedly love this Bond epic. We all know it's utter nonsense. It shamelessly impersonates TSWLM and in some respects even improves on it: Drax is a strong villain, the music score, the gorgeous women, the set designs, the photography, the elegant and exotic locations, the coherent explanation of Drax's scheme, the monumental set pieces. Half-way through, when Bond was battling Jaws on the cable -car, it suddenly dawned on me how like Tom Cruise's M.I. series Moonraker is, the big action scenes, the insane scheme, the action driven plot, everything over the top and frankly unbelievable. So why do so many love M.I. but can't take Moonraker? I think it's the humour. All well and good in its place, but over-used as it is here to the point the chief henchman proves time and again spectacularly unsuccessful at eliminating Bond. There are some really great Bond moments here: the centrifuge, the discovery of the safe, death of Corinne, Venice lab and fight, Bond & Holly in Venice, most of the PTS, M in Brazil, the Mayan chamber and Drax's HQ, the cable car fight. But over and over these scenes are interspersed with some drivel like the inflatable gondola, the pheasant shoot, Jaws at the carnival, Jaws and Dolly, Jaws and the waterfall, Jaws full stop, The Magnificent Seven, Bond acting the prat when meeting Holly, Bond & Holly escaping a roasting, most of the space stuff. There are palpable threats being delivered to Bond, but it's all too easy and breezy this time out and once Jaws appears, humour becomes more important that drama.

    In 1979 this was my first experience of OO7 on the big screen and it didn't disappoint me then. In a way, even though I've seen in loads, it still doesn't disappoint even though I see it's flaws. For me, it is marvellous entertainment and that's what James Bond should be. In 1979 it ticked the boxes in terms of audience expectations. Retrospectively, it's an easy film to criticise. Regardless I enjoyed it yet again.

  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,961MI6 Agent
    edited June 2022

    It was quite stressful getting to my Vue on time this evenìng, as TfL's District Line had closed early for a reason I don't properly understand (but which is apparently in some way connected to the RMT's national rail strike of today), and the roads were congested, holding up the buses. Sitting on a painfully slow moving bus and thinking I'd miss the beginning of MR, I decided to be a purist, take a leaf out of @chrisno1 's book over his FRWL debacle at Vue, and not stay if the film had already started by the time I'd arrived. Fortunately I made it with a couple of minutes to spare!

    I haven't seen MR on the big screen since a double bill with FYEO in the early 80s. Before that I'd seen it in its original run at the Odeon, Leicester Square. So it was marvellous to appreciate it again in the cinema this evening.

    It's partly @Gymkata 's love of MR which has encouraged me to re-evaluate my own response to it in recent years, and I'm certainly a confirmed fan of it. Just a few thoughts here...

    It was great to have John Barry back, fully restoring Bondian DNA to the series. He does so from the very first cue in the PTS, as the shuttle hijackers climb out of their cabins and take the controls.

    Barry chooses his moments in this film. While his diegetic pieces for Rio lack the zest of those he composed for Club Kiss Kiss in TB or Vegas in DAF, his symphonic extra-diegetic pieces are variously sumptious, graceful, majestic and wondrous. He inherits a certain amount of baggage from Hamlisch, who, in TSWLM, used the 'found' music of Bach's Air On A G String, Mozart's Piano Concerto No 21 and the theme from Lawrence of Arabia: MR's answer is to have Drax playing Chopin on the piano and to work in the theme from The Magnificent Seven as a gag. Barry even disco-fies his Moonraker theme for the end titles, as if nodding to Hamlisch's 'Bond 77'.

    The space scenes hold up brilliantly on the big screen. Barry has a lot to do with the shivers running down my spine as Bond presses the switch to return zero gravity to the space station, initiating mayhem, and as Colonel Scott's space marines float out of the U.S. shuttle to engage Drax's astronauts. That's a battle which calls back to TB's climax... now in space! Also, the multiple instances of hapless lasered men flying off into the void echo the fate of the single astronaut whose lifeline is severed in the YOLT PTS.

    The death of Corinne remains, to my mind, one of the most disturbing scenes in the entire series of Bond films, all the more so for being beautifully shot and scored.

    Admittedly, Roger Moore in MR looks today like an 'Alan Partridge' Bond par excellence. (I'm sure I can recall an episode of 'I'm Alan Partridge' in which Steve Coogan's Alan keeps a framed photo of Moore, in his MR safari suit, on the motel dresser.) Holly's and Manuela's unimpressed and half-hearted (respectively) "hmm..."s in response to Moore's one liners seem now only to strengthen that link with Alan; Coogan playing the MR Bond against a testy Lois Chiles in the scenes set in California and Venice would have been comedy gold!

    The choreography of Drax's Girls making their sashaying appearance, in pairs, around the python pool is surely based on the typical staging of the Miss World Contests which were still a popular feature of light entertainment on mainstream TV at the time. I can easily imagine Moore and Alan Partridge (in Fred Dineage mode) joining Eric Morley on the panel of judges for a contemporary Miss World pageant, though Moore himself would probably have been too gentlemanly to want to rank order the ladies.

    As a side note, while I was enjoying MR at Vue, Coogan himself was amongst the festival-goers watching Paul McCartney perform at Glastonbury, in a set which included a performance of 'Live And Let Die' with a spectacular firework display. There was nothing quite like that in my one summer at Glastonbury back in 1985!

    I'm among those who are firmly convinced that MR's Dolly originally sported braces - and that there has since been a corporate conspiracy to digitise them out of Bond's legacy in all of MR's platforms. Seen on the big screen, the shots in Dolly's opening scene in which she reacts, in profile, to the kerfuffle of Jaws's cable-car crash certainly seem to me to suggest a girl wearing braces, before we get to that infamously doctored toothy smile! I only wish that the digital team had been as vigilant over the Moonraker launch footage, as on the big screen a wire attached to the nose of one of the shuttles taking off is clearly visible!

    Michel Lonsdale is impeccable throughout, showing what can be done with a Dr Evil-style Bond villain when played by a class act.

    Sadly, MR is the last of the epic Bonds of its kind, although TND subsequently comes close to rekindling something of the spirit of the Lewis Gilbert Bonds.


    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,124MI6 Agent

    Thanks @Shady Tree for reinforcing the love for Barry's score - one of his very best for OO7, IMO. I ought also to mention that while Christopher Wood's screenplay seems peppered with innuendo inclined jesting, his novel is more serious. The literary end to the gondola chase was a spectacular crash and fireball; the initial meeting between Bond and Holly is expanded and builds their mutual distrust; Jaws isn't in the PTS; even the space high-jinx read better on paper than they appear in the movie. Strange that this couldn't be translated onto the screen. One can only type 'producer interference?' and leave it at that.

  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,961MI6 Agent
    edited June 2022

    It's true that, again, Wood's novelisation offers a different take on the story. I suspect that he just accepted that he was writing for different forms and, in the case of the novel, for a particular sub-section of the film audience.

    While Wood continued to tribute Fleming's style, leaving behind the film's 'A'-rating character, the complication this time, of course - by contrast with his 'James Bond, The Spy Who Loved Me' - is that his novel can't be conceptualised as fitting into the Fleming continuity: he is repurposing Hugo Drax, thereby 'writing over' Fleming's 'Moonraker'.

    Watching the film, I've long since gotten over any ill feelings about the broad comedy of the gondola chase; I sit back and enjoy it for what it is. On another note, the fight with Chang is excellent, standing up well against some of Connery's brawls and far outclassing Moore's forray into martial arts in TMWTGG.

    Back in '79 the PTS free-fall/ parachute sequence was just extraordinary, something the like of which had never been seen before. Shortly before going to a MR screening for the first time, I remember seeing the sequence's opening shot of Bond plummeting from the plane previewed on ITV's 'Clapperboard', a children's programme about film, presented by Chris Kelly. I was just awestruck! My appetite was thoroughly whetted. I'm just glad for Bond's sake that it's the mustachioed heavy who's falling close enough by to be the target of a parachute snatching rather than the "my ears will pop" woman: Bond would never have survived the caddishness of having to have snatched *her* parachute!

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,192MI6 Agent

    That would have been a moment worthy of Flashman!

    MR on telly today, watched with my sister. She pointed out that the trumpet blast announcing the end of the pheasant shoot is from the theme to 2001: A Space Odyssey, so a space nod. And that the 'Desolate Mr Bond' - 'Heartbroken Mr Drax!' has the ring of the Wint and Kidd lines. Watching with the subtitles on was mildly diverting, the gibberish uttered (seemingly) by the two operatives by the radar jamming scanner for instance, could almost be reading stuff out on the conveyer belt in camp quiz show The Generation Game.

    Spy on yesterday, it really feels like a post-Brexit return to the 1970s. Odd to see Lee pop up in this naval based yarn when earlier on Talking Pictures the younger Lee had co-starred with Richard Attenborough and Bond actor George Baker in The Ship That Died Of Shame - a seemingly humorous British film about smuggling that turns nasty as it goes on.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • The Red KindThe Red Kind EnglandPosts: 3,092MI6 Agent

    Great to see so much chat and positivity for MR, following its showing over the weekend.

    I thoroughly enjoyed watching on the big screen, possibly for the first time ever. I was only 5 when it came out and can't remember going but my Dad may have taken me with my big brother. In any case, MR is one of my first memories of James Bond as I would have certainly watched it on TV in the early eighties and the Holiday Special book remains one of my most treasured possessions.

    I can't really add anything to that which has been said perfectly previously. You guys summed it all up very well.

    Some points to add, agree/disagree with;

    The PTS is classic Bond. Love it. Although I still think they could have found somebody more resembling Richard Kiel for the free falling stunt. Okay, you're not going to find somebody 7'2", but Ron Luginbill, looks average weight and height on screen.

    Drax is a fantastic Bond villain.

    The locations are pure Bond.

    Soundtrack, one of Barry's best and the title song is in my top five.

    Titles, probably Maurice Binder's least effective and unimaginative.

    The girls are all very beautiful. As @Shady Tree alluded to, this could be a Miss World pageant. Corrine Clery, Anne Lonnberg and Irka Bochenko especially wouldn't look out of place in that 'contest'. Lois Chiles remains one of my favourite Bond girls. Beautiful, intelligent and gets to kick some ass too.

    Roger looks in good shape, extremely handsome and love his wardrobe in this one.

    Corrine's death remains chilling.

    I actually really like the Carnival scene. Jaws walking down the alley dressed as a giant clown is genuinely creepy.

    The zero gravity scenes still look really well done, with few flaws, all things considered.

    I still struggle with the 'one moment falling out of an ambulance then straight to the Magnificent Seven piece'. The whole scene of M, Q and Moneypenny in Brazil, doesn't really work for me, but appreciate they needed something to help the plot along.

    Oh, and it's the little things one notices when watching these films on the big screen. Claude Carliez appearing twice inthe film. First as a Gondolier in Venice and later in Q branch, Rio. And Is that Craig Fairbrass on the space station, as part of Drax' crew? He has one line when sitting down at a control panel, but is not mentioned in the credits, nor does it show up on his Wikipedia page.

    Beatrice Libert still reminds me of Lea Seydoux (or vice versa)😊

    @Shady Tree Alan Partridge had a signed photo of Roger in FYEO on his hotel room (along with one of Jet from Gladiators😍)

    He certainly channelled his Roger's Bond for the premiere of Alpha Papa;

    Moonraker probably remains as close to a parody of James Bond as it ever has, but I still love it and take it for what it is. There were a group of three twenty somethings in the row in front of me and I could see their heads shaking and looking at each other at certain times (you can imagine which scenes and lines).

    FYEO up next, but not sure if I'll go or not, having watched it quite recently on TV and along with TMWTG, is the Bond film I've seen most. But it is one of my favourites (Top 10), so I'll probably be there. 😊

    "Any of the opposition around..?"
  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,961MI6 Agent
    edited June 2022

    @The Red Kind Hehe... I stand corrected on the question of which Moore photo Alan Partridge kept in his travel lodge. As Alan himself might have exclaimed: "Stop getting your Partridge wrong!"

    On the death of Corinne, it's as if a decision was made to take the basic scenario of Helga's piranha pool fate from Lewis Gilbert's first Bond movie, YOLT, and re-imagine/ develop it as a fuller sequence, with Dobermanns. As I say, the sequence is all the more disturbing for being so exquisitely shot and scored. Given the artsy nastiness of it all, I think the casting of Corinne Clery is significant: the role for which Ms Clery was best known before MR was as the titular character of 'The Story Of O' (1975), Just Jaeckin's erotic exploration of sadomasochism.

    The nature of Corinne's exit certainly reflects the darker side of Christopher Wood's sensibility, yet interestingly, in his novelisation the death of Corinne - or Trudi, as he names her there - is passed over indirectly rather than graphically described: Holly tells Bond about it when they're in Venice. The juice is in Bond's reaction to the news: "Bond felt like throwing up. Just a few days before he had been making love to the girl. Now she was dead. Perhaps because of him. His bitterness was laced with strong measures of guilt which he funnelled instantly into a determination for revenge." That's more rewarding, I suppose, than Bond's apparent ignorance of Corinne's fate in the film, where all we get is Moore's meaningfully solemn parting words to her after she's helped him: "Take care of yourself." Wood's introduction of a revenge motive in the novelisation, emphasising how sickened Bond is by Trudi's death, almost anticipates FYEO and Bond's reaction to the killing of Lisl.

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,192MI6 Agent

    And Flemingesque, it's similar to Bond's learning of the death of Jill Masterton in the book of Goldfinger, where he doesn't witness it first hand as in the film but hears about it from her sister as I recall, following Goldfinger's earlier bland comment 'she left my employ'.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,961MI6 Agent

    Much as I'm engrossed by the adventure of FYEO and would enjoy a big screen appreciation of the Chanel model de jour, I'm afraid that Uncle Ari and his duplicitous schemes won't be quite enough to lure me back to my Vue this week. So for anyone going: enjoy; it's for you eyes only. I may be back for the remaining Barry Bonds!

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
  • The Red KindThe Red Kind EnglandPosts: 3,092MI6 Agent

    I'll be missing FYEO. Just seen it so many times over last few years, and watched recently on Bluray.

    For those going have a great time, and buy yourself an ice cream😊

    "Any of the opposition around..?"
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,124MI6 Agent

    I saw FYEO at the BFI about 10 / 15 years ago and most recently after Napoleon Plural's sterling review. I've seen it a lot. It's very good IMO. I've now need to view it again. The 80s isn't a rich vein for OO7 so I may not be back until Goldeneye

  • GrindelwaldGrindelwald Posts: 1,294MI6 Agent

    Naomi was Strombergs hit woman & part time guide (and possibly his woman too....maybe some hanky panky between them , heard there was gonna be a scene where S watches her swim so likely there was something going on between them)

  • GrindelwaldGrindelwald Posts: 1,294MI6 Agent
    edited July 2022

    Dolly didnt have braces , i saw original print in Oslo in '19

    This is like "there were more than 6 floors in Game of Death pagoda and Lee fought a female character" , sigh......

    Was Dor gonna be killed in a lava pit , a german article ive got suggest this.....maybe it just wasnt possible to do the sfx and her body burning up( would be too gruesome to show ?

  • GrindelwaldGrindelwald Posts: 1,294MI6 Agent
    edited July 2022


    Helga reminds me of an evil Emma Peel

    As for MR titles i think they were cool/futuristic so they fit right into the movies theme

  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,961MI6 Agent
    edited October 2022

    I was back at Vue to see OP this evening.

    OP is a strange film, taking Bond into a weird fantasy version of India. The film has all the trappings of an expensive holiday in a foreign destination, a luxury resort where holidaymakers never authentically get to engage with local culture because they're so absorbed by colour and caricature in their all-inclusive package. Witness the festivities in the market after the tuk tuk chase, when Bond is pursued on foot by Kamal's men and assailed, mainly for laughs. It's as if Indian supporting artists are shown as making music and performing exotic tricks simply because they ARE Indians in a market place and because 'we' are expecting to be entertained, imperialists of the package tour age: there's not even a token mention of this being a special occasion like a junkanoo (TB) or carnival (MR). Quite embarrassing, really. It's not irrelevant that, in the early 80s, Indiana Jones, as period fantasy, had been popularising a comic-book take on 'foreign climes' through the prism of western eyes. But a positive by-product of OP's exoticised Indian mise-en-scene is that John Barry composes some beautifully atmospheric pieces along the way.

    Following on from FYEO, the formula for John Glen's Bond movies takes shape in OP, moulded by new directions in the writing. There's the ensemble villainy, including a somewhat lightweight, if engaging, leading villain; an old-fashioned sense of adventure; some reworking of GF, with odd dashes of heretofore unused Fleming - but also an uneasy tone, mixing scenes of suspense, intrigue and lethal violence with a luxury travel aesthetic and jocular, throwaway material (more so than in FYEO, which achieved a better overall tonal coherence).

    Subtle references to previous Bond films are peppered throughout OP, in the form of directorial detail. For example, the choreography of the ambassador's wife's shock, as OO9 crashes through the patio window, imitates the startled reaction of Strangways' secretary in the moment before her death in DN; and Octopussy's first scene, with her face out of shot, is staged and performed so as to bring to mind the Blofeld of FRWL.

    But there's nothing in the series' past quite like Steven Berkoff's over-the-top performance as General Orlov. Watching that performance today, it seems like a scary mix of Putin and Vyvyan from 'The Young Ones'.

    Stripped of the plot to do with nuclear threat, the film's Kamal/ Bond material, centred on the Faberge egg and its fake, would read pleasantly like an episode of 'The Saint'. Before Kamal hears that Bond's a British agent, he assumes he's "an adventurer", perhaps putting us in mind of Simon Templar.

    OP's safari hunt sequence is pure Boys' Own, with a degree of callback to Broccoli's 'Call Me Bwana' - an unsatisfying substitution for what ought to have been a properly Bondian action sequence. In OHMSS, "Der Englander ist verschwunden!" cues a spectacular ski chase; in OP, "The Englishman has escaped!" triggers a Barbara Woodhouse impersonation and a Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan yell. John Barry remains notably aloof from the safari hunt, withholding a score except for a single chord as Bond charges into a spider's web. (Bill Conti would probably have given it a go!) OP's later train sequence, with all its impressive plotting and stuntwork, and the excitement of the Berlin car chase make up for the safari hunt.

    Of course, the Acrojet sequence and the climactic fight atop a plane in flight are spectacular - if not quite as amazing as the series' first uses of groundbreaking aerial stuntwork, earlier during Roger Moore's tenure; and perhaps somewhat compromised by obvious differences of look between stunt artists and the principal actors seen against back projection.

    There's something I find jarring and a little disturbing about this movie's oscillations between comedy action and violent action. I think it's the same pleasant-faced Russian soldier shot in the forehead by Bond that's seen a couple of minutes earlier thoroughly enjoying the circus in the company of a silver haired lady - his wife? girlfriend? mother?

    Moore is clearly starting to look old and a little tired as Bond. There's a matching weariness in Barry's repeated use of the symphonic arrangement of the James Bond Theme, a choice to highlight the 'official' brand of OP over the rival NSNA in the same year. Yet Moore continues to play to his strengths. His scene inside the big top at the American airbase, wearing a clown costume and make-up while raising the alarm about the nuclear bomb, reminds me of the prescient significance of the Joker in Solitaire's pack of tarot cards in LALD: Moore's clown costume in OP partly reflects an idea about his persona as Bond, established by the late 70s - he's a more humorous OO7, for a family audience. The point, however, is that he plays the clown scene here with absolute dramatic seriousness and gravitas, even when surrounded by the CR67-inflected silliness of U.S. military police tussling with circus performers. Indeed, the scene evokes comedia del arte in the traditional sense, and Barry finds an apt tone to underscore that in his suspenseful music during the nail-biting countdown.

    The 'serious face' of Moore's Bond had previously become part of the iconography of his tenure, courtesy of the graphic still images of him looking directly at the viewer, with an expression of alarmed concern, in the opening moments of Maurice Binder's titles for MR - Bond parachuting - and FYEO. And OP affords us the series' first wholly humourless exchange between Bond and Q, in the solemn scene over the death of Vijay. (Even in DN Boothroyd allowed himself the droll remark about the lady's handbag.)

    In OP Robert Brown is tastefully introduced as the new M, the 'M' assignation not being used in the screenplay until some time after Brown's first scenes, in which Bond simply addresses him as "sir". All of the M material is effective in this film, with Geoffrey Keen and Walter Gotell affording some supporting continuity as kindred, familiar authority figures.


    Finally, here are some passing observations on the film's "adolescent antics":

    1) On the big screen, Tina Hudson's facial scar really shows, adding a suggestion of danger to her dusky sensuality. Whether or not the services of Ms Van de Zyl were employed on this occasion, Bianca has the voice and all-purpose foreign accent of a traditional Bond girl, right down to her use of "Jems" when addressing Bond.

    2) Octopussy briefly appears nude in the film, emerging from the pool in a long shot.

    3) Kristina Wayborn performs seductiveness through sultry glances and mannered facial tics. She dives earnestly into her snogging scene.

    4) Maurice Binder's title sequence feels a bit creepy, this time, especially when one of his blonde models repeats a flickering fake smile as she contemplates a phallic gun while drenched in gaudy 80s lighting. (I'm pretty sure that the models montage in the titles of the original seasons of Netflix's 'Narcos' is a nod to lurid 80s Binder.)

    5) The woman in Q's lab whose breasts Bond zooms in on, through the viewing monitor, gives him a dubious look in her final shot; meaningful, but borderline withering rather than with longing or amusement. This is possibly just an effect of the model lacking acting skills, but in any case Bond's prank would be rightly judged today as a clear-cut case of sexual harrassment in the workplace.

    6) Moneypenny doesn't look especially enthusiastic about having an assistant in the shape of Penelope Smallbone, and I can't help wondering whether Lois Maxwell's personal feelings about this new set-up leaked into her performance.

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,192MI6 Agent

    A nice review! I have been sitting on my review for a while but this week I will let it loose, in the manner of a Conservative leadership candidate. Do I post it here or in Last Bond Film?

    ITV have poorly timed their showings to gazump the big screen ones, though the cinemas may catch up this week as I'm not sure the Vue cinemas are showing NSNA.

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,124MI6 Agent
    edited July 2022

    A well observed take @Shady Tree I don't have a lot of time for OP, chiefly for many of the reasons you outline. It always felt like a wasted opportunity. Back in 1983, I found NSNA more engaging because the movie played to its lead star's age and attitudes. I find a lot to enjoy in it, despite the smaller scale, which might in part to do with my Connery preference and my love of Thunderball. OP in comparison just looks generically structured and lazy.

  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,961MI6 Agent

    Thanks, guys. I've revised/ expanded that OP review a little. Vue is skipping NSNA, as it did CR67, so Bond's 60th Anniversary is an exercise in official canon as far as this cinema season is concerned. Personally I'd have loved to have seen NSNA in the line-up.

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,961MI6 Agent
    edited July 2022

    Catching AVTAK at Vue this evening has confirmed my feeling that this is a sorely underestimated Bond film.

    Nowadays it may take a generous disposition on the part of fans to go along graciously with the slow pacing of the Merchant Ivory-influenced chateau sequences, the obvious references to GF and the nods to Gilbert/ Wood (the Paris chase with the sawn-off car, Pola Ivanova) and to Hamilton/ Mankiewicz (the firetruck pursued by crashing police cars in the night-time streets of San Francisco, the comedy police captain and blue collar Americans called Jerry) - but there's much in this movie which is interesting and sophisticated. Key action benefits from tight, clever storyboarding - the visual narrative is notably strong - and John Barry has a lot going on, which is always a plus!

    Tanya Roberts' performance works positively for the film, imho. If Stacey screams frequently it's only because her character *is* frequently imperilled - and she screams well.

    There are a couple of subtle shades of Tiffany Case in moments with Stacey. Voila: when she leans forward interested in Bond's quiche de cabinet, this echoes Tiffany's keeness to find out what's in the bombe surprise; when she brains one of Zorin's 'baboons' with an urn, that echoes how Tiffany flings the fake dessert at Wint (although Tiffany misses, of course).

    More broadly, Stacey has a resonant place in the pantheon of Bond girls, teasing ideas about 'modernity'. As a young woman with professional expertise - she's a geologist - Stacey anticipates Christmas Jones, who's a nuclear physicist (and she follows after Holly Goodhead, who was expert in space-mission tech): the idea, still culturally meaningful in the 80s (if less relevant by TWINE), is that the attractive girl's supposed not just to be a pretty face. (Though tellingly, both Christmas and Stacey remain the butt of ass jokes.)

    When Bond pulls a bedsheet over the sleepy Stacey and leaves her to her night's rest, his gentle paternalism may remind us of his age-appropriate restraint with Bibi Dahl; the moment is also referenced in SP, when Daniel Craig leaves a drunken Madeleine to sleep while he keeps guard. Ah, bless!

    Roger Moore's acting is as good in AVTAK as in any of his other Bonds; Moore holds up well opposite the performance of celebrated New Wave actor Christopher Walken, especially as Bond conveys his disdain with Zorin.

    Also, Moore looks great. An application of tan cosmetics to his face disguises his age; it's layered enough, too, to conceal the distinctive mole next to his nose, throughout this one film. There's a cultivated brownish heaviness around Moore's brows in AVTAK, offsetting the vivid blue of his eyes. This seems to befit the tone of his senior Bond, in the same way that Connery's untrimmed eyebrows contributed to his 'old pro' look in his own Eon swan song, DAF.

    Grace Jones looks stunning and iconic as May Day (which is a great name, btw!) When she's in bed with Bond, there's no question about who's on top... and her physical prowess out-classes his during their brief alliance in the mineshafts towards the end of the film.

    Christopher Walken has a whale of a time playing Zorin as both charismatic and psychotic. I love the ironic humour in his delivery of the line, "Right on schedule!" after he's mown down all the helpless miners. The irony gives the lie to any traditional idea about soullessly programmatic, techno-industrial methodology as fundamental to Bond villainy (as in, e.g., Pleasence's Blofeld, or Doctor No, or Drax) because we've just seen him take sadistic, atavistic delight in an orgy of destructive violence: it's that evil craziness which is what the Bond villain's fundamentally about! The irony is further enhanced by a possible layer of topical satire for UK audiences, given the mid-80s context of Thatcher's government brutally defeating a miners' strike.

    A line reading which flummoxes me somewhat is Patrick Macnee's humorous delivery of "I'll try to squeeze you in, Bond!" That innuendo might have suited DAF's Wint and Kidd all right, but it's actually quite subversive - in an interesting way - if implying a queer dimension in the dynamic between Tibbett(/ Steed) and St John-Smythe/ Bond.

    Lois Maxwell's final scene in the series is a (faux) sad one; Moneypenny sobs at her desk when M reports Bond missing in action, presumed dead. In that respect, it's rather like Caroline Bliss's last Moneypenny scene, holding back tears; or even Naomie Harris's last (possibly...?), in the solemn gathering at the end of NTTD.

    The chummy chortling between the Minister of Defence, Gogol and M we could do without, given that this 'old boys' network' of detente glosses over, for example, the deaths of OO3 on one side and, on the other, the Soviet helicopter crew of the PTS. That crew's demise, panicking amidst a flare explosion of 80s pastel pink, is structurally paralleled by the panic and deaths of Mortner and Scarpine fumbling with the stick of dynamite aboard the airship towards the end.

    To me, without wishing to sound too controversial, Moore's departing scene as Bond - frolicking with Stacey in the shower, while a peeping tom Q, aided by his robot pet, looks on with relief and comic exasperation - is essentially more Bondian than Craig's heroic last stand in NTTD, to Q's dismay; it's certainly more (Moore) fun!

    Duran Duran's song is catchy, Bondian and works well with what is, arguably, the most inventive of Maurice Binder's title sequences of the 80s. This time, Binder's models are making genuinely fashionable (80s!) dance moves. The themes of fire and ice connect with scenes in the movie: AVTAK is indeed a Bond film of the elements!

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,124MI6 Agent

    Thanks for that take, @Shady Tree . Curiously AVTAK was on ITV Saturday night and I caught snippets of it in between cooking, eating and phone calls. I will admit to being more impressed than usual, but what grated grated so much I felt distinctly underwhelmed. I don't really know where to start. I think it's the action scenes which really annoyed me, so lacking in tension and poorly executed by the production team. The fire engine chase was particular poor, all the fist fights were terrible, and as for that steeplechase... dearie me, it was like something from a comic book, and as for Sir Roger going "oomph" all the time... I don't know. There's some good stuff trying to creep out the closet but it's buried in mothballs. The whole exercise seemed futile plotwise and is dreadfully unexciting. As for the scene where they shoehorn in the movie title, we'll, it should have been edited out as pointless. As for the coda. One of the very worst. And yes, M and Gogol were far too chummy. Ugh. I dont dislike this movie, but as a Bond film, I find it disappointing in extremes.

  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,961MI6 Agent

    Thanks @chrisno1 I'll grant you it's a film that doesn't weather casual viewing at home, on TV in the background, as well as some other Bond movies might; the big screen experience, as ever, is more immersive.

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,961MI6 Agent

    Having tested positive for Covid three days ago I'm self-isolating with mild symptoms, so won't be at a Vue to see TLD today. But being temporarily homebound has its compensations: https://www.ajb007.co.uk/discussion/comment/1047233#Comment_1047233

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,124MI6 Agent

    That's wierd @Shady Tree I too have been laid low by Covid, although in my case quite badly, better now and tested negative today, but I'm exhausted all the time, so I'm not going anywhere for a while. Hope you feel better soon.

  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,961MI6 Agent

    Wishing you better, @chrisno1

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
  • heartbroken_mr_draxheartbroken_mr_drax New Zealand Posts: 2,073MI6 Agent

    Great stuff.

    Agree that Moore looks great in AVTAK, there are only a few scenes where he looks old (underwater, or his hair gets messy) - otherwise I think he looks better, perhaps slimmer, than he does in OP.

    My latest viewing of AVTAK made me realise that there isn't actually enough interaction between Bond and Zorin.

    1. TWINE 2. FYEO 3. MR 4. TLD 5. TSWLM 6. OHMSS 7. DN 8. OP 9. AVTAK 10. TMWTGG 11. QoS 12. GE 13. CR 14. TB 15. FRWL 16. TND 17. LTK 18. GF 19. SF 20. LaLD 21. YOLT 22. NTTD 23. DAD 24. DAF. 25. SP

    "Better make that two."
  • Shady TreeShady Tree London, UKPosts: 2,961MI6 Agent
    edited August 2022

    "Things were about to turn nasty."

    It was exactly on that line that the projector failed and the screen went blank at the Odeon where I was watching and thoroughly enjoying LTK this afternoon. I hadn't been able to make it to the Vue I normally attend yesterday evening, so I'd counted on this local Odeon cinema for a 'catch-up' big screen viewing, today. The film was showing in its '15' rating edition, too!

    The chaps at the cinema weren't able to get the projector working again so I've cut my losses and walked out with both a guest ticket for any Odeon cinema and a refund as well. There's a neighbouring Curzon just a short walk away, so I'm consoling myself by catching a screening of 'Paris, Texas' instead, in a few minutes time.

    LTK is still showing at various cinemas this week, on Tuesday, so I may well go to one of them for the 'unfinished business'!

    Meanwhile, my review (of the complete LTK!) is here:

    https://www.ajb007.co.uk/discussion/comment/822566#Comment_822566

    Critics and material I don't need. I haven't changed my act in 53 years.
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