Reviews Of James Bond Films By Professional Critics

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  • RevelatorRevelator Posts: 600MI6 Agent
    edited May 10

    Blame for Dalton not doing another film or two really belongs to United Artists. It entered freefall in 1988, when Kirk Kerkorian, who'd monkeyed with MGM/UA for years, put 82 percent of it up for grabs. There were various attempts at purchase and takeover, and by 1990 production was halted on all films, including Dalton's third Bond, though the script was ready. The same year MGM/UA was purchased by Giancarlo Parretti, who looted the company before it was foreclosed on by Crédit Lyonnais in 1992. Eventually production resumed, but under new head John Calley, who wanted Brosnan.

    MGM/UA's mismanagement was also why LTK was made on the cheap and so badly promoted. UA hadn't bothered adjusting the budget for a Bond film since 1979 and EON had to economize by shooting in Mexico in substandard facilities. A dying company could hardly be expected to advertise a film very well and LTK's promotional campaign might have been the worst for any Bond film. It's infuriating to think how corporate mismanagement cut short Dalton's tenure.

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,597MI6 Agent

    That’s interesting @Revelator I’ve always read it was due to the amount that Eon was getting for the sale of films for television showings and they were feeling shortchanged.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • caractacus pottscaractacus potts Orbital communicator, level 10Posts: 4,002MI6 Agent

    hopefully one day someone can use AI for the power of good to reconstruct these unmade DaltonBond films. I think there were two or more scripts in progress when the series ground to halt? I'm always curious what they would have looked like if completed.

  • Napoleon PluralNapoleon Plural LondonPosts: 10,363MI6 Agent

    I'm not sure that's quite a respectable credo by which to live!

    "This is where we leave you Mr Bond."

    Roger Moore 1927-2017
  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,597MI6 Agent

    Review of Goldeneye by Janet Maslin - Nov. 17, 1995 - NYT


    “Goldeneye" unveils Pierce Brosnan as the coffee-bar James Bond: mild, fashionable and nice in a very 90's way. Mr. Brosnan, as the best-moussed Bond ever to play baccarat in Monte Carlo, makes the character's latest personality transplant viable (not to mention smashingly photogenic), but the series still suffers the blahs.

    Today's Bond does have the Internet and a credit sequence resembling a pretentious music video. And he has a girlfriend with advanced computer skills (Izabella Scorupco, a deep-voiced model who looks as good as Mr. Brosnan, which is saying a lot). Still, he often seems adrift. And this film is missing such basics as the cold war and the James Bond theme music. The absence of the latter is sure to throw some audience members into a two-hour Pavlovian twitch.

    Judi Dench, as the first woman to play his supervisor, M, is on hand to call Bond "a sexist, misogynist dinosaur" so that you won't have to. But the real problem is not a matter of Bond's antediluvian quirks. It's that "Goldeneye" bears no stamp of Ian Fleming beyond its title, which was the name of his Jamaican home. This film's screenplay, by Jeffrey Caine and Bruce Feirstein from a story by Michael France, features only flat repartee and fairly desperate homages to the Fleming style.

    And so many other action films have borrowed from the Bond formula in the 33 (yes!) years since "Dr. No" that this one has a hard time looking special. A plane, a motorcycle, a huge dam, a bungee jumper and nerve gas all feature in the opening sequence, yet it still lacks the novelty that starts the best Bond films off with a bang. And Mr. Brosnan, who makes a fabulous clothing model and has mastered the one dramatic mode this role requires of him (wry), is not at his most believable during action scenes. When Bond rides in a tank through St. Petersburg during a scenery-crunching chase scene, Michael Dukakis comes to mind.

    Clinging desperately to the idea of Russian villainy for old times' sake, the plot involves Russian gangsters trying to exploit a secret space-based weapons program to sabotage financial markets in the West. And its chief villain is 006 (Sean Bean), who was once Bond's colleague and now calls him "Her Majesty's loyal terrier." Beyond this, it's enough to note that character actors include Robbie Coltrane as a Russian hood and Joe Don Baker as a C.I.A. man, and that settings can be drably industrial unless the film is pointedly visiting Switzerland or the Caribbean, where it practically screams about the scenery.

    Though 006 has the poor form to bait Bond about his past, wondering theatrically whether all those vodka martinis can silence the screams of all the men Bond has killed, most of "Goldeneye" is relatively restrained. Martin Campbell, who previously directed the sci-fi prison film "No Escape" with Ray Liotta, supplies shootouts and explosions at reliable intervals, and without any special frills. The film's gaudiest feature is a vicious Russian named Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen), who bites and claws her lovers and has a way of confusing sex with death. Her nutcracker thighs, not to mention her name, suggest that the Bond babe is as ready as 007 was for a timely overhaul.

    In the product-placement department, BMW, Perrier and the becoming Bond wardrobe are all advertised. "Goldeneye" is as much a merchandising event as it is a wishfully nostalgic movie.

    END OF REVIEW

    A deservedly dismissive review from Janet Maslin, in fact she doesn’t go far enough. For some unknown reason this entry gets a lot of love on this site (something I’ve never been able to understand), maybe they should have gone with Sean Bean as Bond instead, at least we would have had a charismatic Bond. It’s odd that I quite like Brosnan in virtually everything else he did, but for me, he’s just an interloper playing Bond.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,393MI6 Agent

    Sean Bean as OO7? Imagine James Bond drinking Yorkshire Tea - no thank you very much !

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,393MI6 Agent

    Regards the review, I think she's taken a misery pill, but it is only my opinion. I agree about the terrible music.

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,597MI6 Agent

    Does he drink Yorkshire Tea? I’m sure he’d be just as happy sipping a vodka martini 😁

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,393MI6 Agent

    I am guessing he drinks it...

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,597MI6 Agent

    Thanks for that @chrisno1 I never watch adverts but that one is excellent - last ones I remember seeing were those Leonard Rossiter / Joan Collins ads for Cinzano (?) where he spills the drinks over her.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,597MI6 Agent

    TOMORROW NEVER DIES by Janet Maslin - December 19 1997 - NYT

    No need to feel badly if the right watch, drink, cell phone, etc., don't turn you into James Bond. They don't really do it for Pierce Brosnan in "Tomorrow Never Dies," either. Despite Brosnan's best efforts to be lethally debonair, the Bond franchise has sacrificed most of what made this character unique in the first place, turning the world's suavest spy into one more pitchman and fashion plate. This latest film is such a generic action event that it could be any old summer blockbuster, except its hero is chronically overdressed.

    This is not to say that "Tomorrow Never Dies" won't be an international success like "Goldeneye," which wasn't much better. But it should fare best in corners of the world where nobody knows how little the title means, or how accurately it reflects the rest of the film's shallowness. Closer than ever to cartoon superhero status, Bond is seen battling ridiculous odds, dodging computer-generated explosions, delivering lame bon mots and boasting pitifully about his sexual prowess. All that gives this an up-to-date sensibility is the audience's awareness that M (Judi Dench) and Moneypenny (Samantha Bond) could sue him for sexual harassment on the basis of his small talk.

    This film does have a lively villain in Jonathan Pryce, as a media mogul who dreams of everything from manufacturing his own war to marketing software with bugs (so that customers will have to upgrade for years). Pryce reigns mischievously over an empire that Bond must infiltrate, and he also has a wife (Teri Hatcher) who is one of Bond's approximately one million ex-flames. Ms. Hatcher, like Brosnan, speaks in a perfect monotone, and so does Michelle Yeoh, the Hong Kong action star who is meant to kick some life into the series.

    The film's other attempts to show Bond in a romantic light are so hopeless that it's a lucky thing his partnership with Ms. Yeoh's character, the svelte and athletic Wai Lin, stays confined to toylike weaponry and flat double-entendres.

    "And now a word from our sponsor," muttered the critic beside me, as the camera offered a good look at James Bond's vodka bottle midway through the so-called story. (The humor-free screenplay is by Bruce Feirstein, author of "Real Men Don't Eat Quiche" as well as "Goldeneye." The workmanlike director is Roger Spottiswoode.) Indeed, despite Bond's mission to defeat the evil mogul, product plugs are the film's most serious business, especially since the audience may be bored enough to start looking at labels.

    The film's two best supporting turns come from Vincent Schiavelli, who has a cheerfully outrageous scene as a torture expert, and from a nice, smart BMW that works on remote control. Hiding in the back seat, Bond pilots the car through a tire-screeching chase. Don't try this at home.

    END OF REVIEW

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,890Chief of Staff

    🙄

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,393MI6 Agent

    She doesn't like it then.

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,597MI6 Agent

    Review of Casino Royale by Bosley Crowther 29 April 1967 NYT

    More of the talent agent than the secret agent is flamboyantly evident in Charles K. Feldman's "Casino Royale," which opened at the Capitol and Cinema I yesterday—and that despite the fact that the screen is crawling with secret agents of all sexes and sorts. It is absolutely teeming with wild impersonators of James Bond, ranging from David Niven to Woody Allen and from Ursula Andress to Deborah Kerr. It clatters and bangs with 007's trying to pull the all-time double-oh-cross on all future aspirants to Bond-olatry. But it is still the triumph of the talent agent, which Mr. Feldman used to be.That is because he has made it on the premise that the more writers and directors he could put to work and the more actors he could cram into his picture, the more impressive, if not the better, it would be, and the more energy and noise would be projected by the sheer human multiplicity.As a consequence, he had twice as many writers working on the script as the three that are named in the credits. He had six directors shooting segments of it — and so conglomerate are their efforts that you have to consult the program to tell where one left off and another began. And he has a cast of so many, at least 14 of whom are ranking stars, that the screen appears to be a demonstration of the population explosion at its peak.Furthermore, since he wasn't paying (Columbia Pictures was), he spared no expense in buying the most elaborate and fantastic sets and the finest outdoor locations in London, Scotland and points east and west to enclose his completely Brobdingnagian burlesque on the crazy cult of Bond.You would think, with so much going for him, that he would harvest a residue of fun—and he does, especially in the beginning, when a quartet of representatives of Britain, the United States, France and the Soviet Union call upon the aging Sir James Bond to come out of retirement and help combat the growing power of Smersh, which has been killing off secret agents more rapidly than the automobile.It really gets off to a fast start as Sir James, whom David Niven plays as though he were a clubmate of the latter-day urbane Sherlock Holmes, goes to Scotland to see the widow of the untimely murdered M, head of British Intelligence, and finds her running a buzzing hive of female spies. With Miss Kerr playing this fuzzy lady and Mr. Huston directing this phase (as well as playing M in the first scene), it looks as though the film is grandly launched.And it continues to clip along nicely as Peter Sellers, who is supposed to be the world's great authority on baccarat, is recruited to simulate Bond and confront the demon baccarat ace of the evil system, performed stupendously by Orson Welles. The game between these two in the Casino Royale, which is the only thing in the Ian Fleming novel of the same name translated to the film, is a jolly tangle of two notoriously able scene-stealers.But all of Mr. Feldman's scriptwriters and fortune tellers have so cluttered the rest of the film with wild and haphazard injections of "in" jokes and outlandish gags — such as having Joanna Pettet play the illegitimate daughter of Mata Hari and Sir James, or Woody Allen come on as Sir James's nephew, Jimmy Bond, for one of his interminable surrealistic monologues—that it becomes repetitious and tedious. And since it's based more on slapstick than wit, with Bond cliché piled upon cliché, it tends to crumble and sprawl.It's the sort of reckless, disconnected nonsense that could be telescoped or stopped at any point. If it were stopped at the end of an hour and 40 minutes instead of at the end of 2 hours and 10 minutes, it might be a terminally satisfying entertainment instead of the wearying one it is.

    END OF REVIEW

    A pretty fair review. I was bored to tears when I saw this in 1967, I was expecting a “normal” Eon style movie. I’ve seen it a few times since (but not for a long time) to try and see what Feldman was trying to achieve but it’s neither funny or exciting. Barring a couple of decent gags the whole thing is dreadful and Bacharach’s score and The Look Of Love is the only redeeming feature.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,890Chief of Staff

    I was surprised at how far the reviewer got before thinking the film crumbles, since I think it fell apart well before the end of the card game.

    Yes, the music is the best thing here.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,393MI6 Agent

    Joanne Pettet is wonderful to look at 😁 Niven, Orson & even Sellers are wasted on this. Yes, great music. There is the skeleton of a really good uberspoof rattling in its Mephistopolian coffin trying to bring structure to the infernal mess. Sadly, he stays buried in cinematic purgatory.

  • Sir MilesSir Miles The Wrong Side Of The WardrobePosts: 27,008Chief of Staff

    I think that’s a pretty fair review…I do like CR67 more than most, I find it quite enjoyable for the most part…although I suppose I agree with the reviewer saying the film could have been 30 mins shorter…the music throughout is terrific 🍸

    YNWA 97
  • HowardBHowardB USAPosts: 2,751MI6 Agent
    edited May 24

    It did not help that LTK was released at the same time as Lethal Weapon 2, Ghostbusters II, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade which was a real blunder.

    When I saw LTK the first week it opened that summer, I knew things did not bode well at the box office when the film was being shown in one of the multiplexes' smaller auditoriums on opening week. When I saw TLD on the other hand, it was in the biggest auditorium and packed. There were also 70mm prints of TLD being shown at some venues in the USA. I actually saw TLD the second time in 70mm and 6 Channel Sound at the old Boyd / Sameric in Philadelphia; it was only a blow up to 70mm but it still looked and sounded great especially in a real old school 70mm Roadshow House.

    That all being said, despite all the budget constraints, poor marketing, and disastrous release date, LTK wasn't a complete disaster at the box office, especially internationally; it just was not up to Bond standards and a disappointment. As far as the film itself, despite some of the films' posh TV movie look, I actually think it's a pretty good entry in the Bond film canon. Given the more limited budget, EON would probably have been better served to have gone in a different direction and made a more back to basics spy thriller which probably would have been a better fit with the grittier, much more violent nature of the film.....and bloody given it a late fall release date.

  • RevelatorRevelator Posts: 600MI6 Agent
    edited May 24

    UA and EON thankfully learned their lesson, because every Bond film after LTK has opened in the fall, with US dates ranging from Oct. 8 (NTTD) to Dec. 19 (TND). Rather than trying to compete with newer properties that benefit from novelty, the Bond series moved to autumn. The more "serious" films usually come out in the fall, and moviegoers who are in search of lighter fare, but want something more sophisticated then a summer blockbuster, can then turn to Bond.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,393MI6 Agent

    @HowardB : As far as the film itself, despite some of the films' posh TV movie look, I actually think it's a pretty good entry in the Bond film canon. Given the more limited budget, EON would probably have been better served to have gone in a different direction and made a more back to basics spy thriller which probably would have been a better fit with the grittier, much more violent nature of the film

    Now, I am no fan of LTK. I get some of its good points but there is a lot I do not like about it. I'd never considered the above situation, that by removing some of the ridiculous stunts, gadgets and, dare I say, the humour and focussing on the Sanchez V Bond revenge angle of the drugs business, we might have gotten something even grittier. Some sections of the movie are so good, but they are spread very thin over a long run time. LTK needed more thought than the producers / writers / director seemed to give it. At a time when films were starting to take longer than the usual 18 months to prepare, film and promote, the Bond franchise's insistence on a film every two years now feels over ambitious. The same issue arises for me with Brosnan's last two films, which lack a drive and ambition shared by the first two.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,393MI6 Agent

    Not exactly critics, but Halliwell's has this to say about Bond 1962 - 1999.

    DR NO – *** First of the phenomenally successful James Bond movies, mixing sex, violence and campy humour against expensive sets and exotic locales. Toned down from the original novels, they expressed a number of sixties attitudes, and proved unstoppable box-office attractions for nearly twenty-five years. The first was, if not quite the best, reasonably representative of the series.

    FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE – *** The second Bond adventure and possibly the best, with Istanbul and Venice for backdrops and climaxes involving a speeding train and a helicopter. Arrant nonsense with tongue in cheek on a big budget.

    GOLDFINGER – *** Probably the liveliest and most amusing of the Bond spy spoofs, with a fairly taut plot between the numerous highlights. The big budget is well used.

    THUNDERBALL – ** Commercially the most successful Bond, but certainly not the best despite a plethora of action sequences.

    CASINO ROYALE – Woeful all-star kaleidoscope, a way-out spoof which generates far fewer laughs than the original. One of the most shameless wastes of time and talent in screen history.

    YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE – ** The Bond saga at its most expensive and expansive, full of local colour and in-jokes, with an enormously impressive set for the climatic action.

    ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE – ** Perhaps to compensate for no Sean Connery and a tragic ending, the producers of this sixth Bond opus shower largesse upon us in the shape of no fewer than four pronounced and spectacular climaxes. Splendid stuff, but too much of it, and the lack of a happy centre does show.

    DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER – * Campy, rather vicious addition to a well-worn cycle, with an element of nastiness which big-budget stunts cannot conceal. Panavision does not help and Connery’s return to the role is disappointing.

    LIVE AND LET DIE – * Standard tongue in cheek spy adventure with a new lightweight star and an air of déjà vu. Professional standards high.

    THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN – * Thin and obvious Bond extravaganza with conventional expensive excitements.

    THE SPY WHO LOVED ME – Witless spy extravaganza in muddy colour, with the usual tired chases and pussyfoot violence but no new gimmicks except a seven-foot villain with steel teeth.

    MOONRAKER – Adventures in Venice, Rio and the upper Amazon; all very repetitive and no longer faintly amusing.

    FOR YOUR EYES ONLY – * Lively set-pieces can’t quite redeem this wholly uninventive addition to the Bond canon. Fun while it’s on, but next morning there’s nothing left to remember.

    OCTOPUSSY – Bond at the end of his tether: such far-fetched adventures have become merely a tedious way of passing the time.

    NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN – * Reasonably enjoyable mishmash of Bondery; the plot is technically a remake of Thunderball, not that it matters much until the end when the underwater stuff becomes tiresome because one hardly knows who is who under the masks.

    A VIEW TO A KILL – A tedious Bond adventure in which even the expensive highlights are unmemorable. 

    THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS – ** 25th anniversary Bond heroics with more adult style than usual and all technical aspects up to par.  

    LICENCE TO KILL – * The mixture is much as usual, though the action is more violent and Bond has become more of a free agent.

    GOLDENEYE – ** The mixture much as before, except that the makers give a few nods and winks to the audience so that everyone is in on the joke of this suave agent saving the world yet again. The stunts are spectacular, Brosnan well conveys a slightly weary sophistication and the jokes are familiar, which should be enough to keep its new audience happy.

    TOMORROW NEVER DIES – ** Action-packed movie that sticks close to the usual OO7 formula and has a somewhat lacklustre villain in a megalomaniacal media tycoon, but at least it delivers on its promises.

    THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH – ** A spectacular opening sequence provides most of the thrills, after which Brosnan’s charm smooths over the bumpy narrative and second-rate bad guys on offer here. Denise Richards in a wet t-shirt will no doubt do wonders for the image of nuclear scientists everywhere.

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,597MI6 Agent

    Halliwell’s was the go to guide for many years but they were awfully snobbish in their outlook.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,597MI6 Agent

    From Variety magazine (1973)




    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,890Chief of Staff

    Thanks CHB! Glad to hear the reviewer thought the theme song "serviceable" 🙄.

  • Sir MilesSir Miles The Wrong Side Of The WardrobePosts: 27,008Chief of Staff

    Wow😳

    As McCartney often says when challenged about any song of his…did you write anything as good as ‘Yesterday’?

    YNWA 97
  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,393MI6 Agent

    The last line is pretty good, considering what actually followed.

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,597MI6 Agent

    From Variety magazine (1964)


    The reviewer gets the card game wrong (understandable if you don’t play cards) but apart from that it’s a pretty fair review.

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
  • BarbelBarbel ScotlandPosts: 36,890Chief of Staff

    Yes, good review. I'd argue that it isn't the direction but the script itself that slows down in the middle, but for me that isn't a fault.

  • chrisno1chrisno1 LondonPosts: 3,393MI6 Agent

    Seems to give the game away a bit too much but a fair assessment of the technical aspects

  • CoolHandBondCoolHandBond Mactan IslandPosts: 6,597MI6 Agent

    From Variety magazine 1965


    The most startling fact is the dollar exchange rate!!!

    Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.
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