There are always those films that most dislike, but others will still defend to the death. The most commonly maligned are Moonraker, A View to a Kill, and Die Another Day to name a few. There are those scenes that people decry for being so awful (the CGI surfing in DAD, the gorilla cry in OP). Or the poor decisions that hamper better films (Dalton’s terrible haircut in LTK, Blofeld being Bond’s brother in SP). However, even those will have their defenders.
I personally defend Octopussy and Tomorrow Never Dies from the haters. TND was my very first Bond film, so it has that going for it. It is easily the most light-hearted of the Brosnan films and has a kick-ass girl to boot (love Michelle Yeoh, though Teri Hatcher is irritating). It is also a film that is bizarrely relevant in the era of “Fake News” with the villain creating his own chaos and fake news to further his own agenda. Not to mention, Jonathan Price is fantastic and Mr. Stamper is one of the better Red Grant impersonators. The car chase in Germany with the remote control BMW is deliciously ridiculous and the motorcycle chase through Vietnam is wonderful with a great use of the Bond theme. I also loved Bond’s taunting of Carver during the climactic showdown.
Octopussy is also that Bond film that was hurt by some strange directorial decisions (gorilla cry and Sit!), but also has a likeable villain (Louis Jordan as Kamal Khan), a genuinely realistic plot (rogue Soviets nuking an American military base), and the most misunderstood scene in the Bond canon (the clown scene). The clown scene in particular is why this film is so great for me. It’s tense as Bond must disguise himself as a clown to get near the bomb and then must try and convince everyone that he isn’t a clown and the bomb threat is real. It shows what happens when someone is forced to be serious as the light-hearted Roger Moore can no longer smooth talk his way out of the situation. Utterly fantastic.
“To the death” - or thereabouts…
As TND was your first, you’ll understand why I’ll defend Diamonds Are Forever, as it was my first. (I’d even understand someone defending AVTAK for that reason, although I don’t share so much enthusiasm for the film itself). As an ‘entry-level’ Bond film DAF had all you could ask for (Jill St. John - fnarr).
I tire of hearing people whinge about how ‘boring’ Thunderball is on account of the ‘overlong’ underwater scenes. Go scuba diving sometime - you’ll be sorry when your air runs out and you have to quit.
OHMSS doesn’t need defending, as many have come onside since replacing the lead has become a matter of course.
LALD and TMWTGG: two of my all-time favorites - the first I got to look forward to after they were announced. Maybe I just like Guy Hamilton - and red chase vehicles.
Octopussy: all has been said. Same for DAD.
The other under-rated entries don’t need defending - their box office speaks for them.
Totally agree with you about how tiresome it is defending Thunderball, AMC… Anyways, the film that I will gladly defend to the death, is You Only Live Twice since it’s the Bond film that made me fall in love with the franchise in the first place and had all right ingredients… beautiful location in Japan, awesome gadgets in Little Nellie and the cigarette rocket, the iconic introduction to a scar-faced Donald Pleasence as Blofeld, GORGEOUS score by John Barry, impressive set design by Ken Adam and splendid cinematography by Freddy Young. The most often heard complaint about this film which really grinds my gears is how bored Connery looks and practically sleep-walks his way through the film. While it may be true to some respect, I can’t blame him as he himself was not enjoying all the celebrity BS that came with playing the role of James Bond, and tiring of the lengthy production of each film. I can quite easily ignore this and enjoy the movie just as much as any other of my favorite Bond films.
Agree with both of you on Thunderball, which I feel is the most fun of the Connery films. Additionally, I also like You Only Live Twice. My only real issue with it is actually the embarrassingly bad attempt to make Connery look Japanese. Well and that horribly dated line about men coming first and women coming second. Other than that though, a supremely fun film.
For me it has to be QOS, which I defend mainly to my brother who hates it with a passion (and he’s as die-hard a Bond fan as I am). I find it to be so immensely watchable. While I don’t pretend it’s not flawed (it is both underwritten and confusingly directed/edited and the villain is appallingly weak), but it looks great, the locations are gorgeous, it moves at a non-stop clip, and features my favorite Arnold score. Maybe because of its short length, I find myself drawn to it when trying to kill an hour or so. It’s also got Gemma Arterton in it.
I very much agree with theSpectre regarding OP and TND. Those were the two I was thinking of when I saw the title to this thread, and I agree with all of theSpectre’s points about these films. OP in particular is in my top four favorite Bond films, and I for the life of me don’t understand why so many seem to bash it.
YOLT is another one. As TheDove points out, on a technical level everyone involved was firing on all cylinders. Although I am sadly one of those who thinks Connery was not up to par-- I think he was better in DAF, to be honest.
To a much lesser extent than any of the above, I’d say DAD. While it’s not one of my favorites, it is significantly better than its reputation would lead one to believe. Brosnan is at his finest here, the whole first half is phenomenal, and Miranda and Zao are great additions to Bond lore. I also really like Kleinman’s title designs here. Oh, and the ice palace was a neat idea too.
I have a cousin who defends TMWTGG to the death. Frankly, I disagree with him considerably and would rank it in my bottom three.
Here and in our previous abode, I’ve been fairly consistent in defending TWINE. To be fair, I do feel that the long list of (legitimate) criticisms have worn me down somewhat, but fighter’s pride means I’m still game to argue on its behalf!!!. To explain - I used to defend a lot of what it is (Brozza’s best performance, Robbie Coltrane), but now I just defend what it could have been - there is a lot of potential in TWINE (fight me, I dare you!!!).
I used to be strong defender of QoS, but do I sense that the harshness directed at it has softened over the last decade?
One last - I’m always ready to defend LTK. An imperfect film (Jim - this is your cue) but so much potential.
I was listening to the James Bonding podcast and they recently critiqued TWINE, and it had me evaluate the film itself. It’s a strange Bond entry because it seems to have more pros than cons when I look at the film as a whole. My biggest con is probably the tone of the picture. The bad puns, dialogue and blatant sexual innuendo is cringe-worthy. It does not mix well with the dramatic scenes with Bond and Elektra. Bond is seen caring for a woman with horrible trauma and at the end kills her. Yes its justifiable, but somehow you have to feel Bond is distraught. Ten minutes later you see Bond on top of Christmas Jones. Strange, I wish the the writers went all the way in terms of the story’s tonality.
Indeed it might be Brosnan’s best Bond performance (minus the ridiculous facial gestures he performs in the end). Only because Brosnan tried so hard to make 007 so “real”. For the most part it works and he has good chemistry with Sophie Marceau. Carlyle does some fine acting with the unfortunate limited amount of material he’s given, but i never really felt the menace behind it, and I solely blame that on the writing.
I can slightly defend Denise Richards. I think she been through the ringer enough. Yes she is miscast and nearly all her line readings are laughably off but her character Christmas Jones is actually very proactive with Bond. You can easily compare her to Tonya Roberts’ Stacey Sutton, who was worse than Richards and her actions were nothing more than being a damsel in distress. I think what the writers and filmmakers did wrong with Jones was objectify her from the get-go from her introduction with the short-shorts. There’s no way as an audience member we can take Richards seriously for that outfit, I wish her intro been done in a different manner.
OHMSS is my favourite Bond film, so I should be predisposed to hating Diamonds Are Forever. But I don’t. I really enjoy it. Roger Moore actually stated it was his overall favourite Bond film, so there you go. I can see why he felt that way. The dialogue is hilarious.
But in terms of Bond films I defend to the death?
Moonraker would fall into that category, along with Octopussy. It seems SPECTRE has developed a mixed reputation, so I’ll always throw my support behind it. The two Dalton films and OHMSS are always well worth defending. I also think Quantum of Solace is an overlooked gem.
Dr No. It may seem a strange choice to need to defend but I have heard many malign it for reasons as diverse as acting (really?), lack of incident (WTF?), pacing (it was 1962…!) and lack of gadgets. Dr No remains one of my all time favourite Bond films (and the book is fantastic!) and it has much going for it - notwithstanding that it was the one that kicked off the whole film franchise to start with. That and its one of the strongest on naturalism and incident. And it was the first one I saw…
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. So many seem more preoccupied with Lazenby’s performance (and that he only did it once) than the rest of the whole. Actually, George Lazenby is nowhere near as bad as some idiots make out and he remains the one Bond actor I’d actually love to meet one day: I really don’t think he’d disappoint in the same way as many other heroes do when one meets them and sees their feet of clay - Lazenby seems the most humble (after Roger Moore!) and certainly remains so out of the remaining ones. In addition, this film is quite beautiful in *photography, design and execution. The best in that respect. The book is, likewise, flawless.
Octopussy. I used to hate it for many years before I realized that I’d based this on two things: the “Tarzan yell” and “fan received wisdom”. Pooh to them both! After revisiting the film a couple of times, I regard this one as one of Moore’s best (after only Live and Let Die and The Spy Who Loved Me). A realistic plot and properly realistic incident. I love it these days.
OHMSS, to me, is one of the very best entries as well as my favorite book. Lazenby does what he can as an inexperienced actor and the chemistry he has with Diana Rigg is excellent. To me, OHMSS is a classic. I think one day, QoS could reach that level too. LTK is one of my favorite entries with the charimatic Robert Davi as one of Bond’s scariest villains. I just wish that Dalton had a better haircut…
OHMSS chops as a classic is inarguable. But there was a time when I felt it was a film that had to be defended (to non-fans). But now, IMHO, it’s a film that just has to “explained” to the great unwashed. As fans we know the talking points “Yeah, the one with the Australian guy,” “just like the book” “honestly, give it a go, I promise it won’t disappoint you”: “hey, it’s one of Christopher Nolan’s favourite movies. Soderbergh too!!”
A top 5 Bond movie for me and I can make the case that the first half is as good as any first half in the whole canon.
Barry’s core, Adam’s sets, Tournier’s photography and Glen’s editing are as good as any entry in the series, it’s a perfect follow up to the previous entry and it’s Bond at his most glamorous.
What;s not to love?
I’m afraid that I can’t defend any of them to the death…
The few that are imo truly great (FRWL, OHMSS, TSWLM, GE, CR and SF) do not need defending as they are so good.
The rest are flawed, so despite my affection for many aspects of them, I can’t defend the flaws.
For example, QOS is a movie I’ll gladly defend as I’m a fan of certain story beats, the pacing, the gritty aesthetic and Craig’s performance. However, the movie ultimately falls short due to the plot holes, poorly conceived action sequences (which the editor tries his best to conceal), and a half-formed villain and plot.
These issues are indefensible - they are what they are because of the writer’s strike no doubt. So despite enjoying re-watching it probably more than many a Bond movie whenever I catch it on the box I’ll not be defend to the death.
This is true to some decree of a great number of Bond movies.