Tag Archives: Roger Moore

Roger Moore’s James Bond Movies Ranked

James Bond Roger Moore

After rewatching the Daniel Craig, Pierce Brosnan and Timothy Dalton eras of James Bond, I went back to Roger Moore’s run as Bond. Moore’s Bond was clearly popular, with him being the actor in the most amount of official Bond movies (7 in total).

I knew going in that his movies were on the campy side, even if you ignored Moonraker, however I enjoyed Roger Moore as Bond a lot more than I thought I would. With that said, his movies are all over the place in terms of quality. With the exception of one film, his movies wouldn’t be among my favourite in the franchise, and there’s particularly a few of his films that rank among the worst in the franchise.

With that being said, I do enjoy most of these movies, and all of them have at least a couple of good aspects to them.

7. Octopussy

Ut5ehS3

I didn’t really know what to expect from Octopussy going in, but I expected something more. It started off well, establishing itself as being on the campy side of Bond but it gradually got worse over time. Yes, in its attempts to lean more towards camp it has some moments that were “a bit too much” such as Bond Tarzan swinging in the jungle, and most of the humour just wasn’t that funny. However that’s not the main issue that brings down the movie. The most surprisingly part is how dull it all felt. The script is muddled and confused, with the most needlessly convoluted plot in a James Bond movie which is very difficult to follow. There’s something about the movie that feels so thrown together, half baked and underdeveloped, as it lazily falls back into familiarity and old tropes. There’s no momentum in the plot and very little progression, making for a rather sluggish experience. Some aspects of the movie are outright bad for sure, including some of the franchise’s worse instances of racism and sexism, however it’s not like there’s any individual moments which make you give up on the movie by how outrageous it gets. Instead, it wears you down over time, and by the third act it becomes tedious to watch.

It’s unfortunate because there actually are some decent aspects to the film. Roger Moore was getting on in the years and he’s definitely had better performances as Bond, but he’s still effortlessly enjoyable to watch. Director John Glen had delivered better work with the previous film For Your Eyes Only, but he still delivers some good work here. The cinematography is solid, and while the action isn’t that thrilling and leans more into being camp, they are nonetheless quite impressive with really good stunt work. Overall Octopussy just felt incredibly boring and becomes a slog to sit through. Despite some strengths, the script just lets it all down. It’s that rare type of Bond film of being both incredibly dumb while being incredible dull. Even at their worst, its rare to see a Bond movie where it feels like a chore to sit through.

My review of Octopussy

6. A View to a Kill

AVTAK

A View to a Kill is often regarded as one of the worst Bond movies. I don’t dislike it as much as a lot of other people, but I do at least agree that it’s at the lower end of the franchise. The plot feels rather routine and without many surprises, with parts that feel very tired. The first half of the movie is particularly dull, when you’re spending an hour watching James Bond investigating horse race fixing, you’re just wondering why we are here. It picks up in the second half, but only by a little. It doesn’t help that the movie is way too long at over 2 hours long, with that runtime being paced very unevenly and messily. Finally getting around to the elephant in the room: Roger Moore is too old to play James Bond at this point. Moore has come across as being on the older side since For Your Eyes Only but it’s incredibly distracting here. The worst part is how they try to convince us that he’s in his prime, while taking every opportunity to replace him with a stunt double. He comes across as tired, much like the movie he’s in. The reliance of stunt doubles for Moore is felt here more strongly than ever, this negatively affects many of the scenes (especially the action), and it just comes across like the film is trying to film and cut around him, and that’s not a particularly good feeling to have.

So the question is, why do I like it more than Octopussy? For one, the plot is considerably more comprehensible. While it’s dull and far from good, I wouldn’t call the story terrible. It works fine enough and is at least better tuned than the last film’s plot. It also has a fair number of memorable scenes, for better and for worse. Even the dragging first half still had some enjoyable aspects that kept me willing to sit through the movie to see what would happen next. Also as I said earlier, the second half does pick up when the setting changes to San Francisco, and there’s some fun to be had there. Also while both Octopussy and A View to a Kill are both campy, something about the 80s cheese feel of the latter makes it more enjoyable and tolerable. While you wouldn’t rank them among Bond’s best action scenes, the action does have its moments in spite of all the Roger Moore stunt doubles. They’re not all memorable, but some moments like a car chase in Paris, a chase in a fire truck, and a scene involving a blimp near the Golden Gate Bridge nonetheless stand out. The villains as played by Christopher Walken and Grace Jones are very entertaining and memorable, the film picks up every time they appear on screen. Walken is oddly restrained and not peak Walken like he is in the 90s, but he nonetheless shines as one of the most outwardly psychopathic Bond villains, and Grace Jones is entertaining in her role and a great physical presence. A View to a Kill is definitely one of the worst films in the whole franchise but it has its enjoyable aspects. It definitely ended Moore’s run as James Bond on a whimper, but for what its worth, it’s at least better than Octopussy.

My review of A View to a Kill

5. Live and Let Die

jane-seymour-live-and-let-die-1973

From my rewatches of all of these James Bond movies, Live and Let Die was the most disappointing film. I certainly expected it to be campy, however I didn’t expect it to be boring. Live and Let Die does have an initially interesting premise, but the plot on the whole was mostly boring to watch, not helped by some rather poor and inconsistent pacing. The movie makes the interesting decision to take advantage of the blaxploitation films of the 70s, but it only uses this as a framework for the movie, and the racial politics are distractingly outdated and questionable at times. As for the campiness, it wasn’t nearly silly as I thought it would be, and the campiness itself was hit or miss. Sometimes it would be downright annoying, such as a chase scene on a boat with Bond and henchmen mostly focusing on following a sheriff named J.W. Pepper, who is now firmly one of my least favourite characters in a movie ever. However the biggest disappointment of all was Roger Moore as James Bond, especially as this is his debut as the character. He’s serviceable in the part, he’s charismatic and can deliver the one-liners, but he’s bland and doesn’t leave much of an impression.

That’s not to say there aren’t some good parts to it. The villains are underutilised to a degree but are nonetheless performed well and are very memorable characters. Guy Hamilton’s direction is also solid, there are some good action set pieces and stunt chorography, and it makes great use of the locations. It is certainly a memorable film, from the iconic main theme from Wings, to the enjoyably silly moments like Bond escaping from crocodiles. There are certainly some good elements in the film, and I do want to revisit it to see if it improves on a repeat viewing. However, for now I’ll say that its one of my least favourite Bond films.

My review of Live and Let Die

4. The Man with the Golden Gun

Man-Golden-Gun-1974

I’ve seen people call The Man with the Golden Gun one of the worst movie in the franchise. While I can see why and I think its definitely in the bottom half, I still enjoyed it. However I openly admit that a lot of my enjoyment was after being very let down after Live and Let Die, and I was hoping for a silly Bond movie. I certainly got that, and I enjoyed my time watching it. However in retrospect, it has to be one of the most confused and messy Bond entries I’ve seen. The movie does have an interesting premise initially, and there’s potential in a cat and mouse game between spy and assassin (Bond and the main antagonist played by Christopher Lee). While the villain thankfully does have a presence throughout, the film still should’ve taken advantage of that setup more than it actually did. There really isn’t much of a story outside of the first and third acts, it drags in the middle with a lot of padding. Also, even with the increased camp, the tone is just all over the place. It would go from having some of the cheesiest and most absurd moments in the whole franchise, to attempting to be harder edged, and the combination just don’t really work. The biggest examples were any scene between Maud Adams and Roger Moore, which only served to make the scenes more uncomfortable to watch.

The increased silliness and camp could go too far at points (really could’ve done without Sheriff J.W. Pepper returning yet again), but it is kind of entertaining for that. Despite the plot being padded out, it is fairly straightforward. It’s clear that the producers were still figuring out what direction they were going to take Roger Moore’s James Bond, and the harder edged moments only served to make him come across as needlessly mean in this film. That aside, it does show improvement over Live and Let Die, and Moore did fare better as the character. Christopher Lee is the best part of the movie as the main villain Scaramanga. The writing for his character wasn’t particularly strong, but Lee thoroughly elevated the role and he’s compelling whenever he’s on screen. Guy Hamilton’s direction is also decent despite a few questionable decisions, with some good cinematography and action. I’m confident that if I was to go back to rewatch The Man with the Golden Gun again, I would see it in a more unfavourable light. Its definitely a messy movie but I nonetheless enjoyed my last viewing of it.

My review of The Man with the Golden Gun

3. Moonraker

116185

From this point in the ranking it really picks up, as we get into what I call Roger Moore’s middle peak trilogy, the 3 movies in the middle of Moore’s run as Bond which were his best films in the franchise. Today, Moonraker is often looked at as a joke, given that it’s the moment where Bond goes straight into self-parody by going into space. Despite its bad reputation, I actually enjoyed it quite a lot. Its definitely not without its issues, the pacing can be a little slow at times, especially in the first half where not much happens. It does lean more into humour than the previous film The Spy Who Loved Me, but it isn’t overblown, despite having the odd moment like the double taking pigeon.  It doesn’t have one of the strongest Bond plots, but the movie is a lot of fun, and the story is outlandish and silly even before Bond goes into space. When that final happens in the third act, it becomes a real joy to watch as it essentially becomes a B-rate Star Wars movie.

Roger Moore as usual is charismatic and entertaining as Bond, and helps to ground the movie with his passive self-awareness and reactions to the absurdity all around him. Moonraker is also elevated by some memorable villains. Along with the return of Richard Kiel’s Jaws as henchman from The Spy Who Loved Me, there’s the lead villain in Hugo Drax. While he’s similar to the villain in the previous movie (Stromberg in The Spy Who Loved Me), the mix of an absurdly over the top character with a serious and straight faced performance and delivery goes a long way to make him both menacing and hilarious to watch (in a good way). Lewis Gilbert’s work here as director is solid, there’s some very good cinematography with great locations and amazing set design. There’s a lot of fun and over the top action scenes that are well done and entertaining with terrific stunts. When it does get into space, it’s not much like Bond but it’s nonetheless a blast to watch. One could say that Moonraker isn’t silly or goofy enough given that this movie is where the franchise reached peak ridiculousness, but there’s nonetheless a lot of fun to be had with it.

My review of Moonraker

2. For Your Eyes Only

for-your-eyes-only-hp-GQ-03Aug15_rex_b

After reaching peak ridiculousness with Moonraker, the next Bond film would be by far Roger Moore’s most grounded and serious movie. The gadgeteer is reducing, making Bond more vulnerable and forcing him to rely more on his own skills. Even the campiness is downplayed, while still having its fair share of cheesy moments. The plot was more complicated than the average Bond film, but refreshingly so despite some convoluted moments. This is John Glen’s first Bond movie as director, and this is the best of his Moore-led films. For Your Eyes Only is really a globetrotting spy film, it’s very well shot and takes advantages of its locations. The action is one of the highlights of the film, with memorable set pieces, from a chase involving skis, motorbikes and bobsleds, to Bond climbing on the face of a cliff. Roger Moore is also great once again here as a slightly more ruthless James Bond and surprisingly delivers on those harder edged moments very well.

Not to say that there aren’t some notable issues with the movie. The pacing was a bit inconsistent and the plot isn’t always engaging, although it picks up in the much stronger second half. While half the supporting cast and characters are good with the likes of Carole Bouquet and Chaim Tolpi in their parts, the other half don’t work quite as well. The movie has one of the most irritating characters in a Bond film in of Bibi Conti, whose addition is one of the most bizarre decisions in a Bond film (and that’s saying something), and the villains are rather forgettable, with Julian Glover making for a very boring if passable Bond villain. There are also some strange choices made, like the opening having the death of an unofficial Blofeld-like character, and the ending featuring a talking parrot and Margaret Thatcher. With all that said, I do think that For Your Eyes Only is one of the most underrated Bond entries and would’ve been the perfect movie to end Moore’s Bond-run on.

My review of For Your Eyes Only

1. The Spy Who Loved Me

Spy-Who-Loved-Me-1977

The third of Roger Moore’s Bond movies, The Spy Who Loved Me is widely known as one of the best Bond movies, and it’s easy to see why. After two very disappointing Bond movies with Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun, the filmmakers made a genuinely great Roger Moore James Bond movie. Compared to the last movie, The Spy Who Loved Me is tonally consistent, with a balance between the spy and espionage as well as the campiness and light-hearted elements. The comedy and gags are well executed and genuinely funny. At the same time, the story is great and keeps you riveted, with never a dull moment. The plot is predictable and follows the Bond formula for sure, but it nonetheless delivers it really well.

This is also finally the movie where they figured out what take they wanted for this version of James Bond. Moore nails the charisma and humour and is witty and charming, while being serious when he needs to be. Both this and For Your Eyes Only are his best performances as Bond. The direction from Lewis Gilbert is strong and polished. It’s large scale, greatly shot and stunning to watch. There are also plenty of memorable action sequences throughout, and the practical stunts and special effects work are great. The only lacklustre aspect is the main villain in Stromberg, while his big plan is memorable, he’s rather dull and lacklustre by the end of the film. However, in a way this issue made up by the iconic henchman Jaws, who is sprinkled throughout the movie to provide an intimidating physical antagonist for Bond to struggle against. Overall, The Spy Who Loved Me is one of my favourite James Bond movies, and it’s by far my favourite of the Roger Moore era.

My review of The Spy Who Loved Me

What do you think of Roger Moore’s run as James Bond? How would you rank his movies?

Octopussy (1983) Review

Ut5ehS3

Octopussy

Time: 131 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1]
Cast:
Roger Moore as James Bond
Maud Adams as Octopussy
Louis Jourdan as Kamal Khan
Kristina Wayborn as Magda
Kabir Bedi as Gobinda
Director: John Glen

James Bond (Roger Moore) sets out to foil a nuclear attack on the NATO. However, in order to do so, he must enlist the help of a circus group and its obscure leader, Octopussy.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

Roger Moore’s previous Bond movie For Your Eyes Only ended up being quite a surprise, one of the more underrated entries in the franchise. The next Bond movie for me to revisit was Octopussy, another Bond movie I have a very limited memory of. I went in open minded but unfortunately I found the film rather lacking. It’s not only silly and badly done in parts, it’s just dull to sit through.

oct1

Octopussy starts off well. Right from the get-go, it’s very clear that after the last Bond being relatively serious, the producers wanted to get back to campy Bond. It’s fun and hilarious, if not very original for a Bond opening. Even the initial premise started out pretty interesting. I was expecting some campiness and I certainly got that. There were parts of it I liked, such as when it gets to the circus and Bond dons Bond dons clown makeup. However there are also some parts where it gets a bit too much, like when Bond does a Tarzan yell as he’s swinging through the jungle. On the whole, it does border into being a bit too stupid and juvenile in parts, and it wasn’t even funny for most of it. When you look at some of the things that happen in this movie, it sounds interesting or at least entertaining. Unfortunately, its surprising dull despite its ridiculous moments. To put it bluntly, I was bored through much of the movie. The script is very muddled and confused. The plot involves Faberge eggs and somehow connects to nuclear weapons and a Russian general, and at a certain point I stopped trying to follow what was happening because the story was incomprehensible. Its surprisingly complicated and hard to follow, and not in a top tier espionage spy thriller way. The story felt half-baked, underdeveloped, formulaic and familiar, even lazy as it falls back on old tropes. It might be strange to say but this movie has just about no narrative momentum. Things definitely happen in the movie, but none of it builds on each other. Individual scenes are fine to watch on their own, but there’s no connection holding them all together and it makes for a very uneven experience. The pacing itself is rather sluggish too, and my patience really only lasted as long as the first act.

Octopussy-Clown-Suit

Roger Moore plays James Bond once again, and he’s definitely had better performances as the character. He is sleepwalking at times but he’s effortlessly charming and fun to watch. With that said he’s definitely on the older side, and this should’ve been his final Bond movie (or more preferably For Your Eyes Only). Maud Adams plays the role of Octopussy, and all of her memorable aspects of that character begin and end with her name. While it makes for a title that not’s easy to forget, I do wonder why its named after her considering that the character doesn’t have much to do here. I feel like even Adams’s considerably smaller part in earlier Moore film The Man with the Golden Gun left more of an impression than in here. The main antagonists are quite weak, not terrible but forgettable. The Bond villain Kamal Khan is played well by Louis Jourdan but isn’t threatening at all. Kabir Bedi fairs a little better as Khan’s bodyguard.

007_WEBSITE_IMAGE_SIZE_LANDSCAPE_Faberge

John Glen returns as director after For Your Eyes Only. The direction in this movie is mostly fine, if not as impressive. However there are definitely some good aspects here. The cinematography is solid, the camera makes great use of the locations (especially in India), and it captures the action very well. The action sequences aren’t as thrilling compared to For Your Eyes Only, but here’s still some solid stunt works and impressive work here. There’s fights, plenty of shootouts, chases, and more, the highlight being a long sequence on trains in the third act. The action isn’t that thrilling and leans more into camp, but there’s good work there.

octopussy-bond

I was taken off guard by how little I enjoyed Octopussy. I’ve seen Bond movies that are absurdly silly, I’ve seen Bond movies that are boring, but I haven’t seen a Bond movie that’s depressingly both. It’s not without its strong points, Roger Moore has been better in other movies but is charismatic as always, and some of the technical work and action is solid. However the script drags everything down, uneven, unfocused, dull, and tedious to watch. Very likely the worst of Moore’s Bond films and is one of the worst Bond movies in general.

For Your Eyes Only (1981) Review

for-your-eyes-only-hp-GQ-03Aug15_rex_b

For Your Eyes Only

Time: 127 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1]
Cast:
Roger Moore as James Bond
Carole Bouquet as Melina Havelock
Topol as Milos Columbo
Lynn-Holly Johnson as Bibi Dahl
Julian Glover as Aristotle Kristatos
Director: John Glen

After a British information-gathering vessel gets sunk into the sea, Agent 007 (James Bond) is given the responsibility of locating the lost encryption device and thwarting it from entering inimical hands.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

The later era Roger Moore movies are probably the James Bond films that I remembered the least. After Bond reached its peak silliness with Moonraker, I was wondering what they were going to do next with the follow up film, For Your Eyes Only. I actually liked it quite a lot, and its one of my favourite Moore-era Bond films.

for-your-eyes-only-kicking

For Your Eyes Only is actually recognised as the most serious of the Roger Moore Bond movies. After the over the top nature of Moonraker, Bond goes back to basics with the next film. Even the gadgetry is reduced, making Bond feel more vulnerable and the story comparatively grounded. The campiness is definitely downplayed, it still has the humour, one-liners and double entendres that you would expect from the Moore Bond films. It also has a fair amount of absurdity, including a moment where Bond faces off against hockey goons. Plotwise, For Your Eyes Only is an occasionally complicated but otherwise straightforward cold war era spy thriller about Bond having to find a sunken ship. The mission isn’t constantly riveting from beginning to end, and it does have some convoluted twists and turns which can halt the pacing a little. However, it is consistently strong in the second half, and on the whole I liked the story. I particularly admire that this is a Bond film where you really have to pay attention to what’s happening. In terms of other issues, the ones that stand out in my mind are strangely the first and last scenes of the film. The opening is a very random scene where Bond encounters a bald man in a wheelchair with a white cat who isn’t officially called Blofeld but is definitely meant to be Blofeld. Its absurdly silly and funny particularly with the dialogue but unless you understand the reason why this scene was included in the movie, it won’t make sense at all. As for the final scene, it involves a talking parrot, yet the most bizarre choice was a cameo by one Margaret Thatcher, which I think it really could’ve done without.

D3KX_AKXkAExG-j

Roger Moore is reliably great as James Bond once again, even if he’s starting to really look his age. It is a strong contender for his best appearance as the character. Bond in this movie was surprisingly ruthless, and while The Man with the Golden Gun had those moments, For Your Eyes Only really showed that Moore could pull it off (even if he’s not such a fan of that interpretation of the character). Carole Bouquet is the main Bond girl named Melina Havelock, and I liked her. She has her own motivation that happens to cross over into Bond’s mission as she’s on a quest for revenge after her parents are killed. Age difference aside, the chemistry between Moore and Bouquet is believable, and the romance itself is naturally developed and less forced than some of the other Bond romances. One of the stand out actors in this movie was Topol as a Bond ally named Milos Columbo, who is entertaining and great in all of his scenes. On the flip side you have Lynn-Holly Johnson who’s a young ice skater named Bibi Conti. She was a bit irritating but it is made worse when she is really into Bond and comes onto him a couple times despite looking way too young. Thankfully the 54 year old Roger Moore doesn’t actually bed her in the movie, but she’s nonetheless a bizarre and pointless addition to the film. Julian Glover is essentially the villain as a Greek businessman named Aristotle Kristatos. I like him as an actor and he’s certainly done well at villainous roles many times. However he’s a rather unremarkable villain even though I appreciate him being a more grounded character, especially after the last two movies having villains who were plotting to destroy humanity and create their own society. Overall he was an okay villain but not that memorable.

FYEOTopolBlack-CL-Jacket

John Glen, who was the editor on some of the previous Bond movies, is the director here. He’s done a really good job, and it’s solid on a technical level. It’s a very well shot movie, For Your Eyes Only is a globetrotting Bond film and it makes great use of the locations. The action is particularly where the film shines. There’s a diverse range of action with a fun car chase in the countryside, a chase on skis involving motorcycles and bobsleds, and more. The highlight was a very tense scene in which Bond is rock climbing on a cliff that’s still impressive to this day. The only scene which didn’t work for me was an extensive underwater scene, its just slow and dull to watch. I liked the soundtrack of the movie, from the score from Bill Conti to the title song from Sheena Easton.

for-your-eyes-only-james-bond-roger-moore-spy-thriller-007-action-film-spectre-movie-review-1981

I wouldn’t say that For Your Eyes Only is one of the best James Bond movies, on the franchise on the whole it’s a middling entry. However I liked it a lot overall, from the very strong action, to the more serious and grounded approach and story. It is probably my favourite movie of the Roger Moore era after The Spy Who Loved Me. A rather underrated film that’s worth another look.

Moonraker (1977) Review

Moonraker-Roger-Moore-Unted-Artists-Image

Moonraker

Time: 126 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1]
Cast:
Roger Moore as James Bond
Lois Chiles as Holly Goodhead
Michael Lonsdale as Hugo Drax
Richard Kiel as Jaws
Corinne Cléry as Corinne Dufour
Director: Lewis Gilbert

After a space shuttle which has been loaned to the United Kingdom is hijacked, James Bond (Roger Moore) is asked to step in and get to the root of the problem.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

After rewatching The Spy Who Loved Me, I was starting to feel good about the Roger Moore era of James Bond. The next film for me to revisit was Moonraker, which is known as the movie where Bond goes to space. This was definitely a move to capitalise off the success of Star Wars. Originally they were going to make For Your Eyes Only, but after the success of Star Wars, they decided to do Moonraker. Moonraker has been given the bad reputation given that it is the “James Bond goes to outer space movie”, and has been criticised as going into self parody. However I surprisingly enjoyed it quite a lot.

116185

After how good The Spy Who Loved Me was, its not too surprising that Moonraker is not quite at that level. Still there’s a lot of fun to be had here. Much of the movie is standard investigation spy stuff on Earth. Its definitely not one of the strongest Bond plots, but there’s entertainment to be had here. The story is pretty outlandish and silly given that the selling point of the film is James Bond going into space. However its worth knowing going in that he doesn’t go into space until the third act, so you do have to reign in expectations for that. I do like that there’s a fair amount of absurdity before it even gets to space. It does lean more into the humour compared to even The Spy Who Loved Me, but it’s not overblown like The Man with the Golden Gun. It is self aware, and there’s still plenty of one liners, with Q’s final line at the end of the movie being the standout. It only crosses the line of being ‘too much’ a couple times, like when Bond’s gondola drives onto land, there’s a moment where it cuts to a pigeon and its edited to make it look like its doing a double take. When James Bond finally goes into space it is satisfying, as it becomes something of a B-rate Star Wars movie. As far as issues go, the pacing for the first half is a little slow at times, and not a huge amount happens (even though I was still on board with what was happening). Also despite the cheesy tone, there is the odd scene which feels out of place. The one that springs to mind is a scene where the villain Hugo Drax sicks his dogs on a woman to kill her, while it is subtle and doesn’t show much with it (given that it’s PG), it feels particularly dark and haunting for this movie. It’s a very effective scene but it somehow feels a little too dark given that this is the same movie where Bond goes to space.

Moonraker-Double-Breasted-Blazer-2

Roger Moore once again delivers as James Bond, charismatic and entertaining, and carries much of the movie. Also, in a way he grounds the movie with his passive self awareness, along with his reactions to the absurd things that happen. The Bond girl is this movie is Holly Goodhead played by Lois Chiles, despite the name she’s rather forgettable, but she plays her part well. Michael Lonsdale plays the villain named Hugo Drax. In a way Drax is a variation on Karl Stromberg from The Spy Who Loved Me, down to his plan. Drax’s plan is to poison the Earth’s population to create a new civilisation in space and develop a master race, it’s like Stromberg’s plan but in space. Ultimately it’s the performance that makes it work. He plays everything and delivers all his lines completely straight like he has no idea what movie he’s in, even the absurd and hilarious lines. While that should make him dull to watch, this straight approach somehow makes him come around to being entertaining and genuinely solid as a Bond villain. There’s also the return of Richard Kiel as Jaws as the henchman, and he’s a great physical threat as always.

Moonraker-1979-featured

Lewis Gilbert returns as director after the last Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, and he does some solid work here once again. The cinematography is stunning, making use of great locations, and the set design is amazing, especially in the scenes in space. There’s some fun and over the top action scenes that are well done and entertaining with terrific stunts. A lot of the space stuff doesn’t feel like Bond but it’s a blast, there’s even a laser fight. The visual effects work are good, and the composed score from John Barry is solid as expected.

Moonraker-1979

Moonraker is not one of the best James Bond movies by any means, but it is quite enjoyable for what it is. The performances are solid with Moore as Bond to the villains as played by Lonsdale and Kiel, and I liked the cheesy and campy nature of it all. It’s certainly not without its issues including an occasionally dragging pacing, but I definitely don’t consider it one of the worst entries in the Bond franchise.

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) Review

Spy-Who-Loved-Me-1977

The Spy Who Loved Me

Time: 125 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Violence
Cast:
Roger Moore as James Bond
Barbara Bach as Major Anya Amasova
Curt Jürgens as Karl Stromberg
Richard Kiel as Jaws
Director: Lewis Gilbert

After the Royal Navy Polaris submarine carrying sixteen nuclear warheads mysteriously disappears, James Bond (Roger Moore) teams up with Major Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach) whose lover he had killed in Austria.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I had been rewatching the Roger Moore James Bond films, and it didn’t start the best. I found Live and Let Die to be a rather dull and disappointing introduction for Moore’s Bond, and while The Man with the Golden Gun was more entertaining, it was very messy and made some baffling decisions. However I was looking forward to rewatching The Spy Who Loved Me since many people did say it’s the best Bond movie starring Roger Moore. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the film.

5aab9b39370f2c99258b456d

The story is much better compared to the last two, it’s actually great. From beginning to end it keeps you riveted, with not a single dull moment. The plot is much larger in scale and occasionally it gets complicated but I was always on board with what was happening. Something it got right over the previous two movies was its tone. Tonally, it is consistent and has the right blend of elements. It has a coherent spy thriller plot that you are invested in and a fair amount of tension. At the same time, there’s a quite a lot of goofiness, and it was the right amount. Not only that but the comedy and gags are very well executed. Above all else, it knows what kind of movie it is, and is very confident in that. To a degree it is predictable and follows the Bond formula as you would expect, but it is well executed and still feels refreshing. The film is just over 2 hours long and that was the right length, helped by the great pacing.

james-bond-the-spy-who-loved-me

Roger Moore here finally clicked for me as James Bond. It seems that the writers and directors figured out what they wanted to do with this interpretation of the character. He’s not just a more comedic Sean Connery, Moore really makes this role his own. He is witty and charming, but can play it seriously when he needs to. He still has a problem with not looking believable in the fight scenes, but I can overlook that here when he’s fantastic otherwise. Barbara Bach is the Bond girl as a KGB agent that Bond teams up with, the two of them have believable chemistry and the two characters are shown to be equally matched. Their dynamic was one of the highlights of the film. The weakest part of the movie is the villain, Curt Jurgens as Karl Stromberg, who was a very stiff and average antagonist. He makes a strong impression in his first scene and his plan is certainly memorable with him wanting to create an underwater society. However the character overall is not fleshed out or memorable enough. Thankfully the henchman more than makes up for it, that being Jaws as played by Richard Kiel, one of the most iconic Bond henchmen. He’s a silent towering force with metal teeth, constantly popping up to pose a significant physical threat to Bond.

f685c6d4dbed19a3dd85a90eee379ecf890179ba6866696ea3634f88072fecf6._RI_V_TTW_

The direction from Lewis Gilbert is polished and spectacular. It’s a great looking movie too, with dark and stylised cinematography, and the set design is fantastic. The action is great, beginning with a memorable pre-title sequence with Bond in a downhill ski chase and continuing to deliver memorable action scenes all the way through to the end. The stunts and set pieces are bigger and better, and the practical stunts are solid. Even the special effects work is great. The musical score from Marvin Hamlisch is great, and the Bond theme song in “Nobody Does it Better” from Carly Simon is iconic.

Spy-Who-Loved-Me-1977-14

I thoroughly enjoyed The Spy Who Loved Me. It has an engaging and fun story, great action set pieces, and Roger Moore was a great James Bond. Very likely one of the best films of the whole franchise.

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) Review

Man-Golden-Gun-1974

The Man with the Golden Gun

Time: 125 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1]
Cast:
Roger Moore as James Bond
Christopher Lee as Francisco Scaramanga
Britt Ekland as Mary Goodnight
Maud Adams as Andrea Anders
Director: Guy Hamilton

James Bond (Roger Moore) is tasked with recovering a device that can harness solar energy. At the same time, he finds himself targeted by Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee), the world’s most costly contract killer.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

I started the Roger Moore era of James Bond with Live and Let Die and was rather let down. So as I was going into the follow up The Man with the Golden Gun, I wasn’t really sure how I was going to find it. I’ve seen some people regard it as one of the worst Bond films but I went in open minded, I just wanted a more entertaining and fun movie. Having seen it, The Man with the Golden Gun absolutely has a lot of issues but I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

MV5BZTlmNzFlYmUtYTk1My00ODg4LWJiM2EtMGIxNjBiY2FmOGRjXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjUwNzk3NDc@._V1_

The plot is easier to follow compared to the last movie, its relatively entertaining but at the same time not that memorable. It definitely ups the silliness and camp over the last movie, for better and for worse. The plot is definitely silly, there’s a car that turns into a plane, and there’s even a plot point about Christopher Lee having a third nipple, which is rather amusing. However it does have an issues with the plot and story, in that it doesn’t have much of them. It drags in the middle especially, with a lot of padding. There’s even a random martial arts sequence in the middle that doesn’t do anything but pad the runtime. One of the most interesting parts of the film for me was the cat and mouse plot between Bond and Scaramanga (Christopher Lee), spy vs assassin. Unfortunately there should’ve been a lot more of this, this premise has a lot of potential but the film didn’t really take advantage of this. Later on the plot introduces some higher stakes, with a conflict being about solar cells technologies turning the power of the sun into a weapon, which feels very out of place in the plot. However you could make the argument that just about everything in this movie is out of place.  As for the third act, while the showdown between Bond and Scaramanga might seem a bit anti climatic at first, I appreciate it being different from some other Bond overblown climaxes.

007_Andrea-Anders_LANDSCAPE

Roger Moore returns as James Bond and for what its worth, I like him more here compared to his appearance in Live and Let Die. He’s definitely more comfortable in the role, however he’s still a little bland and settling into the part. It’s also pretty clear that the filmmakers weren’t really sure what to do regarding the portrayal of Moore’s Bond. He has some harder edged moments, some of it works like when Bond is pointing a custom gun at someone as he’s interrogating him about specific golden bullets. Most of the time its more on the side of uncomfortable, the prime example is a scene in a hotel room with Maud Adams where he slaps her and threatens to break her arm. It certainly doesn’t help that Roger Moore himself didn’t look comfortable doing this, especially as it doesn’t fit this mostly lighter portrayal of Bond. There’s even a scene where he pushes a child off his speeding boat during a boat chase, it’s almost funny how needlessly mean they made this version of Bond. Britt Ekland is the main Bond girl named Mary Goodnight, and was one of the worst characters in the movie. I can’t really say that it’s Ekland’s fault for this, the writing for the character is just terrible. She’s supposed to be a Secret Service agent but the character is unbelievably ditzy and makes a lot of outright dumb decisions. She’s definitely intended to be comic relief but she’s rather unfunny. Maud Adams is also here as a Bond girl, she’s better than Ekland here and it is a good performance but like with Moore’s Bond I don’t think the filmmakers knew what to do with her character. Her being sort of a tragic figure being trapped as the mistress of the main villain was out of place with the absurdity of the rest of the movie, making some of her moments feel unintentionally uncomfortable.

MV5BMmEyYjJiMzctY2M4Yy00NTRiLWFlMGEtZGRiYTY1NmExMTViXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNzc5NjM0NA@@._V1_

This movie is mainly known for having the villain (Francisco Scaramanga) played by Christopher Lee, and he really is the best part of the movie, making the character quite a presence throughout. Unfortunately, the writing for the character wasn’t the strongest, even inconsistent especially when it came to his motivations. Lee is doing the heavy lifting here and thankfully Scaramanga is present throughout the whole movie. It’s particularly compelling when he and Bond share screentime. Hervé Villachaize is also a memorable henchman as Nick Nack. One unwelcome return from Live and Let Die was Sheriff J.W. Pepper played by Clifton James. For what its worth I thought he was a little more bearable in this movie but that’s not saying much. It made sense for him to be in the last movie since he was a Louisiana sheriff, it did not make sense for him to vacation to Thailand to coincidentally come across Bond yet again.

scaramanga

Guy Hamilton is the director and most of his work is solid on a technical end, though some of the decisions weren’t the best. There are some solid action, camera work, stunning locations and sets. The third act climax with the duel was particularly quite enjoyable. It also features one of the most iconic stunts in James Bond history where a car jumps off one end of a broken bridge, performing a corkscrew turn, and landing on the other side, all of this practical. The only thing bringing it down was a random slide whistle sound added in which completely takes you out of it.

gun1

I found The Man with the Golden Gun enjoyably silly, but I am fully aware that part of my enjoyment was after being let down with the last movie. If I revisited it, I think I’d have harsher thoughts with it. Looking back at it, it had just as many cons as it did pros and while I enjoyed it more than Live and Let Die, it is a much messier movie. It also had a lot of missed opportunities, especially with the idea of Bond being up against a deadly assassin, and they really didn’t take advantage of that. While it’s definitely on the weaker side of Bond, there’s some enjoyment to be had from the action, some of the camp elements, and Christopher Lee.

Live and Let Die (1973) Review

jane-seymour-live-and-let-die-1973

Live and Let Die

Time: 121 minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1]
Cast:
Roger Moore as James Bond
Yaphet Kotto as Dr. Kananga/Mr. Big
Jane Seymour as Solitaire
Director: Guy Hamilton

James Bond (Roger Moore) is sent to New York to investigate the mysterious deaths of British agents. On his journey he meets a voodoo master and a tarot card reader.

full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] full_star[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1] Black-Star-Photographic-Agency[1]

After my rewatches of Daniel Craig, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan’s Bond movies, I’m now getting to the Roger Moore era of Bond. I remember very little about the Moore era movies outside of some distinct aspects in each, but I knew that the films definitely leaned more into camp. So I went into Live and Let Die not really sure what to expect, and I found myself rather disappointed in it.

unnamed

First of all, something you immediately notice is that Live and Let Die definitely takes advantage of the blaxploitation films of the 70s. However, it just really uses this aspect as a framework for the film, worst of all it doesn’t possess really any racial sensitivity. Pretty much every black character is done a disservice as the film struggles to not venture into racist caricatures. Definitely very outdated and questionable in its race (and gender) politics, however that’s not the main reason I’m down on Live and Let Die (though it makes it worse). Despite an initially interesting premise, the movie on the whole is rather boring and dull, with some bad pacing. I found the plot both confused and confusing, not much happens and the film feels way too long. This was surprising to me because I expected it to be consistently entertaining in its absurdity. It is certainly leaning towards camp, though there’s not as much as I thought there would be. It does have some enjoyably silly moments like Bond escaping from crocodiles and making use of gas pellets and his magnetic watch. However, there’s not enough of that to sustain my interest throughout, and not all the humour worked either. The point where I realised that I wasn’t enjoying this movie was a very long boat chase between Bond and some henchmen which was already disappointingly dull to watch. However most of that scene was following a random sheriff named J.W. Pepper who chases after them, which has to be one of the worst side characters I’ve seen in a while. It’s at that point where I realised that the film was really trying my patience.

Live-and-let-die-discover-the-very-dangerous-stunt-performed

Live and Let Die is Roger Moore’s first appearance as James Bond and unfortunately he doesn’t leave much of an impression here. He is charismatic, quippy and can deliver the one liners but that’s all. He’s not believable in the part and was overall quite bland. Jane Seymour plays the main Bond girl named Solitaire, who does Tarot cards and apparently has fortune teller gifts. She works well enough in the movie and is initially intriguing. Yaphet Kotto plays the Bond villain Dr. Kananga, and he plays him very well. Unfortunately the film doesn’t do much with him despite his potential, he’s just given very little to do. With that being said, he is one of the more realistic Bond villains, given that he’s a drug lord trying to increase his business by putting more opium into the US, he’s not using his drug money to fund a death ray or anything similar. The movie makes better use of Kananga’s hook-armed henchman Tee Hee played by Julius Harris, who is quite memorable in his screentime.

image-w1280

Guy Hamilton is the director and even though there are problems with the film, I think his work here is solid. There are some good action set pieces, a lot of the stunt chorography was entertaining, and the film makes great use of the locations. Also, arguably the most iconic part of the film is the main song Live and Let Die from Wings, really great song.

013-live-and-let-die-theredlist

Live and Let Die is unfortunately one of my least favourite Bond films. Even if you ignore the dated aspects (especially with the racial politics), the movie is just disappointingly dull despite the silliness of it. Worst of all, Roger Moore’s James Bond feels rather flat, and doesn’t leave an impression at all. There are some memorable side characters and entertaining moments, but I don’t really enjoy watching the movie altogether on the whole.