007 ~ ROGER MOORE


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ROGER MOORE is Ian Fleming’s 007

1973 – 1985

#8

1973 – LIVE AND LET DIE

CANDLES 6

Directed by Guy Hamilton

The first of the Roger Moore movies, an era seen by many as the most silly, opens with Taro cards, Voodoo and a massive dose of Blacksploitation. But as the Bond series, now 11 years old and on to its EIGHTH movie and THIRD actor, moves onwards, it does become more responsive to trends and this was the decade of Blackploitation and several others, most of which will become clear in this review…

But whilst the theme song is great, the plot is not. But Moore is not as bad as I remembered though the tone has become decisively more action adventure and the themes, whilst still grown up Bond in many respects, are more appealing to kids.

#9

1974 – THE MAN WITH GOLDEN GUN

CANDLES 7

Directed by Guy Hamilton

So, from Blackploitation we move on to Bruce Lee. Live and Let Die and this are kind of a set. Both directed by Bond veteran Guy Hamilton, who began with Goldfinger (1964) and ushered in Connery’s short lived return with Diamonds Are Forever (1971). Here we have a good concept, spoiled with a shallow plot but Christopher Lee’s performance and Bond’s adversary, hit-man turned super villain, Scaramanga, or the Man With The Golden Gun, is great. As in many cases, he is the best thing in his films.

Moore is growing into the role too and as we bed in, in the 70’s, the action is becoming more real, less obvious rear projection and more stunts. This is often held up as one of the worst Bond films, but to be honest, so far, I found it to be one of the more enjoyable!

#10

1977 – THE SPY WHO LOVED ME

CANDLES 6

Directed by Lewis Gilbert

Whilst introducing Richard Keal’s, Jaws, this lack pacing. Feeling more derivative of Thunderball (1965) and You Only Live Twice (1967), Lewis Gilbert is over reliant on his own formula for the Bond franchise and fails to inject enough passion or plausibility into the plot.

Barbara Back in beautiful in the role a XXX, yes, you read that right, 007 and XXX, but as far as accepting her a Bond’s counterpart in the USSR, I am sorry but she does not cut it. Still, this has it moments and the action is on its way to reaching the standards of the 80’s and 90’s, though the Lotus turned submarine is cool but its use in the plot was contrived to say the least.

#11

1979 – MOONRAKER

CANDLES 8

Directed by Lewis Gilbert

The most outlandish yet fun Bond film to date. The effects are outstanding, yet the plot is little more than a collection of Sci-fi cinema trope from the post Star Wars era. Points for ambition, the fantastic aerial pre-credit scene and the science it quite good but the execution becomes farcical, certainly in the last 45 minutes. Yet, this is one that I would love to watch again and again…

#12

1981 – FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

CANDLES 7

Directed by John Glen

After Moonraker may have taken things too far, Bond editor, John Glen, no not the Mercury Astronaut, takes over the franchise and under his direction, Bond regains some of his grittiness. The plot is more action packed, paced better, the stunts are better and the tone is a bit darker.

There is great chemistry between Moore and his bond girl, more tension yet the slow pacing lets them down a bit. We are now on the right track…

#13

1983 – OCTOPUSSY

CANDLES 7

Directed by John Glen

As the action is becoming more recognisable to a modern audience, the pacing is improving and this must be the most concise plot of the Moore era, culminating in a “chase the ticking bomb” plot device. Also serves as clear inspiration for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), as this takes place on a circus train and there are also a couple of other moments which reminded me of the latter Spielberg adventure.

#14

1985 – A VIEW TO A KILL

CANDLES 8

Directed by John Glen

The final Roger Moore outing is clearly one of the most action packed and enjoyable films. With a more modern feel, faster pacing and a simpler, more cohesive plot, I found myself liking the more seasoned Bond, darker, colder and maybe a bit grumpier. Must have been Moore’s age at the time, being 57 when he donned his Walther PPK for the last time.

ROGER MOORE…

In summation, Roger Moore was no where near as bad as I had remembered. Taken in the context of the day, an era spanning 12 years and two very different decades of film, punctuated by Star Wars (1977) right in the middle of this, hence Moonraker (1979), the action improved, the stunts became more ostentatious and Moore grew into then role, though taking it up at 45 and finishing at 57, his age went against him a lot, especially by the time of A View To Kill (1985), where Moore’s credit as James Bond should have been shared with his stunt doubles.

So, with the ratings in, the top two Moore movies are Moonraker (1979) and A View To A Kill (1985), both with 8/10. It seems that my taste in Bond film of this era, are more to do with fun and action over the less satisfactory espionage plots of this period.

But this was an era of Bond where the formula was simple and reused, too much but it was what the audience wanted and they, we, lapped it up.

So after seven movies and managing to successfully fend of Sean Connery’s return in Never Say Never Again (1983) with Octopussy (1983), it is time to bid Moore adieu…

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