James Bond Month – Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Director: Guy Hamilton

Writer: Richard Maibaum, Tom Mankiewicz (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Connery, Jill St John, Charles Gray, Lana Wood, Jimmy Dean, Bruce Cabot, Putter Smith

 

Plot: A diamond smuggling investigation leads James Bond to Las Vegas, where he uncovers an evil plot involving a rich business tycoon.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Back to the Best

 

Story: Diamonds are Forever starts as James Bond (Connery) goes out for blood in his battle against Blofeld (Gray) killing him in his base, returning home James gets his latest mission to learn about a mysterious diamond smuggling ring, first sending him to Amsterdam.

James going undercover becomes part of the ring where he finds himself in Las Vegas joined by Tiffany Case (John) to find out just who is the mastermind behind the ring.

 

Thoughts on Diamonds are Forever

 

Characters – James Bond gets to finally take care of his arch nemesis Blofeld before going on his latest mission going undercover searching for diamonds, he shows us his usually swagger, getting the women along the way as he looks to solve this latest mystery. Tiffany Case is one of the connections in the chain of the diamond smuggling, the first one James makes contact with, she must learn the help along the way to get out alive. Blofeld is the old enemy that James gets to take care of early on, the man that has held James up from multiply other mission. We do get to meet plenty of people involved in the ring which only make James’s mission more difficult.

PerformancesSean Connery is back and back to his best in this outing as the iconic spy, it is great to have him back even if it is only for one last time. Jill St John is good as the Bond girl for the movie though offers nothing new for the series. Charles Gray keeps the role of Blofeld nicely giving us just what we need from the villain role.

StoryThe story here shows James finally getting his hands on Blofeld before needing to head off on a new mission, one that gives him everything he wants, beautiful women, casinos and a villain he wants to stay ahead off. This story plays out just like one of the more famous ones in reverse which becomes very interesting to watch, it has everything you need for the latest adventure for Bond, a villain that is prepared for the intelligence of Bond and the world needing saving once again. This does feel like it has given the life back to the franchise which needed to be bought back from the weaker outings, the story is simple enough and continues to keep us watching along with Bond.

Action/AdventureThe action is good even if the fights are simple enough to show how Bond can beat most in combat. The adventure just takes Bond to new and old locations for his mission.

SettingsFrom Amsterdam to America, we get a much more knowledge set of locations with the bases being in locations which would make sense for a super villain to be hiding in.


Scene of the Movie –
The base attack.

That Moment That Annoyed Me They seem to be too friendly Bond and Blofeld.

Final ThoughtsFor the Bond franchise this is a new feel to them, one that is more interesting and strong then the last few instalments.

 

Overall: Returning to what we want to see.

Rating

 

 

James Bond Month – You Only Live Twice (1967)

Director: Lewis Gilbert

Writer: Roald Dahl (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Connery, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama, Tetsure Tanba, Teru Shumada, Karin Dor, Donald Pleasence

 

Plot: Agent 007 and the Japanese secret service ninja force must find and stop the true culprit of a series of spacejackings before nuclear war is provoked.


Tagline – You Only Live Twice…and “TWICE” is the only way to live!

Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Cheesy and Fun

 

Story: You Only Live Twice starts with James Bond (Connery) faking his death to take the heat off him, on his latest mission James is sent to Japan to investigate a missing America space rocket that was landed near Japan, joining with the Japanese intelligence agent Aki (Wakabayashi) who helps him navigate Tokyo.

Bond believing SPECTRE have returned and are behind the events, he starts looking at a small fishing island and with a limited time frame, can he uncover the truth before Russia or America set off on their next space mission?

 

Thoughts on You Only Live Twice

 

Characters – James Bond has been gaining a lot of heat from his missions, now he must fake his own death to go underground. His latest mission takes him to Japan where he must uncover the truth about mission rockets, he is the same womaniser we know this being his biggest weakness, however we do learn how skilled he is when he can jump into any vehicle and know how to operate it and handle himself in any fight. Aki is the Bond girl here, she helps him around Tokyo meeting his connections and turning up just in time to rescue him from danger. Kissy is the fake wife that James must take while searching the island, could easily be considered one of the Bond girls in the movie. Blofeld is the cat stroking leader of SPECTRE Bond suspects he is involved and this will be the first meeting between the two.

PerformancesSean Connery is still good in this role, we continues to make this role the iconic on we all know and remember. Donald Pleasence in his role becomes the most iconic of all the Bond villains which is what we need this far into the franchise. When it comes to the Bond girls we get the beautiful women that don’t get too much to do other than to look great next to Bond.

StoryThe story here follow James Bond on his latest mission after faking his death which takes him into battle against SPECTRE once again, by having a returning villainous threat is good for this franchise because we don’t need to keep establishing a new villain which does take time for any film, with the returning villain we can focus on Bond and just how difficult it is to keep his identity secret from the threats to the world. the story does follow the usual movements as we follow Bond meet allies, defeat enemies and save the world from potential world war three. This is one story that is the one I always remember with the final battle which happens to be my favourite for the whole franchise.

Action/AdventureThe action is mostly Bond battle enemies, be in hand to hand, helicopter to make shift helicopter, right down to the mass final battle which is one of the biggest in the franchise. The adventure does take Bond across the world again to Japan on his latest mission.

SettingsThe film uses the settings well, we always see Bond in new locations and this takes him to Japan, the amount of small islands there helps add mystery to everything which is all we want as fans of the franchise.


Scene of the Movie –
Base battle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me She is sexiful, like this is a word.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of my favourite Bond films, it is one I grew up watching the most, it does have flaws but we can’t help that, otherwise this is one you can enjoy and gets better as we go along.

 

Overall: One of the most fun Bond films.

Rating

 

 

James Bond Month – Thunderball (1965)

Director: Terence Young

Writer: Richard Maibaum, John Hopkins (Screenplay) Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham, Ian Fleming (Story)

Starring: Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, Adolfo Celi, Luciana Paluzzi, Rik Van Nutter, Guy Doleman

 

Plot: James Bond heads to The Bahamas to recover two nuclear warheads stolen by SPECTRE agent Emilio Largo in an international extortion scheme.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 10 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Your Average Mission

 

Story: Thunderball starts when SPECTRE’s latest villain Largo (Celi) steals two nuclear warheads from NATO, James Bond (Connery) now has one week to locate the warheads before Largo threatens to destroy a major city in either England or America.

James travels to the Bahamas to uncover the missing jet, with the help of his team, he must get close to Largo and his right-hand woman Domino (Auger) who knows the location of the warheads.

 

Thoughts on Thunderball

 

Characters – James Bond is back once again, forcing himself on women while trying to recover missing warheads. He gets to do the sneaking around, while alluding capture from the people who know he is after them. We don’t learn much that we haven’t already seen from James in this movie. Domino is the woman on the side of Largo, one that James is trying to seduce to help uncover the location of the missiles and one that won’t give into his charm. Largo is number two in SPECTRE who is the mastermind behind this latest plan is he can pull of the plan he will help fund the criminal group. Fiona is another one of the women that Bond tries his best to get his hands on, another one of the women working for Largo.

PerformancesSean Connery continues to be strong in the leading role of the film, he is starting to have more fun with his performance too. When it comes to the Bond girls, they each have their own beauty while just being written as traditional, will sleep with Bond and more often than not, just pawns in the bigger game. Adolfo Celi is solid in the villainous role, even though it is his look that makes him more memorable than any of his actions.

StoryThe story here follows James Bond on his latest mission to stop SPECTRE and their criminal actions against the world, now this is good to see the big villain return and yes, once again we don’t take on the head of SPECTRE as we continue to see plans for the organisation to bring terror on the world. the only negative is that we just glossed over them not being around in the last film and now suddenly they are back. As for the actual mission, we get the normal idea of Bond versus villain that will use weapons of mass destruction against the world with a limited time frame to stop them. This barely bring anything new to the world we are seeing Bond operate in and only continues the long running story against SPECTRE.

Action/AdventureThe action here is very unique and ambitious, we get most of the fight sequences happening underwater, something we rarely see even in this day of cinema, making the action the highlight of the film. the adventure gets to see James in another exotic location to save the day once again.

SettingsThe film is set in the Bahamas for the most part, this gives us the beauty shots and as all Bond movies need, the women in bikinis. It shows how the remote islands can easily be used to harbour fugitives too.


Scene of the Movie –
Mass underwater fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It is more of the same.

Final ThoughtsThis is another Bond movie that brings him against the criminal organisation known as SPECTRE once again as we continue to world build, it is easy to watch even if it isn’t going to be the most memorable in the series.

 

Overall: Simple Bond Film

Rating

 

 

James Bond Month – Goldfinger (1964)

Director: Guy Hamilton

Writer: Richard Maibaum, Paul Dehn (Screenplay)

Starring: Sean Connery, Honor Blackman, Gert Frobe, Shirley Eaton, Tania Mallet, Harold Sakata, Bernard Lee

 

Plot: Investigating a gold magnate’s smuggling, James Bond uncovers a plot to contaminate the Fort Knox gold reserve.

 

Tagline – Miss Honey and Miss Galore Have James Bond Back For More!

Runtime: 1 Hour 50 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Enjoyable

 

Story: Goldfinger starts when James Bond (Connery) gets his latest assignment, to follow a mysterious man Goldfinger (Frobe) who has built up a reputation of dealing in gold, one that may well be illegal, James’ must get close and plays into his competitive nature before learning about his operation.

Being caught in the middle of solid dealings and annoying Goldfinger, Bond continues his investigation which shows us just how deadly Goldfinger’s henchman Oddjob (Sakata) is and how Goldfinger’s connection go worldwide.

 

Thoughts on Goldfinger

 

Characters – James Bond is the guy we know, he breaks into hotel rooms to sleep with women, uses his charm to seduce others. This time he starts his own investigation into a mysterious smuggler, getting up close and personal to him hoping to let the rest of team to follow the trails he leaves. Goldfinger is a competitive gold smuggler who has grabbed the attention of the governments across the globe, we learn early on that he will kill the people that cross him including leaving his trademark gold paint behind, his latest job will see him take on the world’s biggest gold reserve. Pussy Galore is a pilot that is instrumentally to Goldfinger’s plans which will includes her skill set. Oddjob is the henchman for Goldfinger, he uses his hat to kill people, making him one of the first and most memorable of all of the henchmen.

Performances –Sean Connery in the leading role once again is good for the most part, he has the charm needed for the whole film. Gert Frobe brings us a different type of villain to the franchise, he makes the character seem likable on the outside while having his motive kept below a smile. Honor Blackman does a solid job even if for some reason we get a total of three bond girls in this film. Harold Sakata brings us the first truly memorable henchman which soon became the key to the success of the Bond franchise.

StoryThe story here puts James Bond on his latest mission, this time there isn’t a connection to the previous two like the last two and this is refreshing because this being a solo story we get to see how James operates. The negatives in the story come from seeing him so close to the villain for most of the film with most of the film being him trying to get a message out about where he is. It is strange though because I did enjoy this one more than the last two because this is one that can be picked up without needing to see anything in the franchise before. Simply put this is one that can be enjoyed as a casual viewer because of how simple the story unfolds.

Action/AdventureThe action in this film does feel toned down from the previous films, simple enough action related material, while the adventure does take Bond around the world next to the Goldfinger.

SettingsWe get plenty of settings which all relate to the idea of where you would find gold, this is perfect for the idea the film is needed.


Scene of the Movie –
Oddjob.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The final twist

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the fun James Bond movies, it isn’t connected to the rest of the franchise which does help make it enjoyable.

 

Overall: Fun Bond movie.

Rating

 

James Bond Month – From Russia With Love (1963)

Director: Terence Young

Writer: Richard Maibaum (Screenplay) Ian Fleming (Novel)

Starring: Sean Connery, Daniela Bianchi, Pedro Armendariz, Lotte Lenya, Robert Shaw, Bernard Lee, Eunice Gayson

 

Plot: James Bond willingly falls into an assassination plot involving a naive Russian beauty in order to retrieve a Soviet encryption device that was stolen by SPECTRE.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 55 Minutes

Tagline: James Bond Is Back!

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Bigger Better More Enjoyable

 

Story: From Russia With Love starts by following SPECTRE’s next move after Bond foiled their last one, we see how Grant (Shaw) a ruthless assassin trained to kill is bought into wait to finish off Bond, working un Rose Klebb (Lenya) who has assigned young Russia operative Tatiana Romanova (Bianchi) to get close to Bond to give away secrets.

James Bond (Connery) must travel to Turkey to come face to face with Tatiana who is offering information for safety, only Bond now knows what he is up against, the bigger organisation that will stop at nothing to terrorise the world.

 

Thoughts on From Russia With Love

 

Characters – James Bond is forced into his next mission which includes seducing a spy that is wanting to turn on Russia, he shows us again just how skilled he is when it comes to dealing with life and death situations and his awareness of dangers around him. Tatiana Romanova is the Russian spy that has offered to give up information for safety to England, she might not be as true as James is told about, even though we know she is being forced into this mission. Rosa Klebb is the one that is recruiting the agents with Tatiana and Grant being her picks to help SPECTRE eliminate James Bond. Grant is the newest recruit assassin, hard as nails, resourceful and everything James will find difficult to beat in a fight.

PerformancesSean Connery has grown into this role being even better than the first film, he become the superstar name after this outing. Daniela Bianchi is good for a Bond girl, she is stronger than the first one and now we know what type of women will get in this role. Robert Shaw as the villain is great, he looks cold calculated through every single scene.

StoryThe story here is a lot more interesting than the first film, we learn early on about the SPECTRE plan which shows us how we have a growing villainous threat for Bond to tackle. This helps make the franchise even more enjoyable because it isn’t just Bond solving a case, it is him trying to stay ahead while we know the twists coming. The story leaves us open to learn more about SPECTRE in future film which again is a pleasure for the audience to be seeing. How everything unfolds well we know Bond can solve the problems he is facing and we get to see the start of the infamous gadgets.

Action/AdventureThe action in the film is bigger, the fights last longer and the adventure that Bond must go on is showing us just how big the terrorist battle will be.

SettingsThe film takes place for the most part in Turkey, which shows us another neutral country in the middle of the battle, the train sequences could be argued to be the most enjoyable though.


Scene of the Movie –
The gadgets being introduced.

That Moment That Annoyed Me James Bond attitude toward women.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful second instalment in the franchise, it gives us a bigger threat for long term villains in SPECTRE and does have big action throughout.

 

Overall: The sequel that makes things bigger.

Rating