Why Are So Many Bond Films Anticlimactic?

Everyone is pointing fingers at SP for having a poor finale, but if you look back, haven't so many of the movies have ended really anticlimactically?

FYEO is well-liked by hardcore fans, but the fight at the monastery is really very uninspired.
I love TLD, but even I have to admit that no one is calling the fight with Whitaker 'the best action scene ever'.

Other examples I bring up might be more controversial. FRWL. The climax is really the fight with Grant, and everything after that is just there for action's sake, though I still liked it. Rosa Klebb's death is an incredible letdown however. I actually felt cheated when I saw it.
TB and OHMSS - final fights are really, really, really poorly edited. As in worse than the bulk of QOS.
TSWLM ends on a low-key note. Hamlisch seems to have not been told about the crucial last ten minutes or so of the film. Result is a mostly silent final confrontation where Bond kills off Stromberg by - gasp - shooting him four times, then has another clunky fight with Jaws. The collapse of Atlantis is supposed to be climactic but there's no tension at all since he's already killed the villain and ended his plan.
TWINE's submarine ending was interesting, but the fight with Renard is a distinct disappointment considering how much build-up there is around him.

All but one of Daniel Craig's films end anticlimactically. CR has the sinking Venice building which is a far cry from the two other big action sequences (Madagascar Chase and Miami Chase). QOS's final sequence is over too quickly. SF's is the only one that isn't anticlimactic, but it niggles at the back of the mind as a Home Alone sequence. Then SP.

I have a feeling that this is really because EON doesn't know how to structure films correctly. They have their best action sequences in the PTS, and set unrealistically high expectations for the rest of the film. They simply spend all their money in the first half and leave none for the second. Like how the helicopter fight opened SP and the boat 'chase' ended it.

Does anyone else agree or am I just being crazy?
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Comments

  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 30,475
    I agree that many are anticlimactic (and I don't mean "action", I just mean that I become disengaged in one way or another), but my list would differ form yours. Under that category I would place: DAF, TLD, TND, TWINE, DAD and SF. All of this are greta up until the last third or so.
  • Posts: 10,274
    I have to agree, many are, but honestly it doesn't do much to keep my enjoyment away. Sometimes I like when it's a bit more casual, like FRWL after Grant's death. I don't know; it just never bothered me a lot.
  • Posts: 1,580
    I think it's something we've seen quite a bit in recent years, especially after the series returned following the six-year gap between LTK and GE. Part of it most likely has to do with the quality of screenwriters that they've had since Cubby passed, as we've seen this several times under the stewardship of P&W (TWINE, CR, SF, SP). It was also a problem with GE, as the long-awaited confrontation between 006 and 007 ended up happening in the rafters of a satellite dish and was over far too quickly.
  • edited February 2016 Posts: 1,644
    It's like sex with your wife after being married to her for 40 years.

    An anticlimax.

    :D

    Heck, the Bond franchise has lasted longer than 40 years. What do you expect? The franchise can't take too much excitement, y'know. Leave that to the younger franchises like Jason Bourne and The Fast and The Furious.
  • Wow, people's views on this topic are all really different!
    Most anticlimaxes don't really bother me either, they only slightly annoy. There are only a few that I thought were really bad.

    Anyone else think that the most interesting climax was in TMWTGG, with the bout between Bond and Scaramanga? Managed to be the most engaging and suspenseful part of the movie without having stuff blow up. And when stuff did blow up later it got boring.

    @dalton
    Odd that you thought GE's was an anticlimax! I actually thought it was exactly the way to end a Bond film. You had the really brutal close-quarters fight, and then having them on the ladder so high above the ground, and having Bond hang on so desperately... I thought it was incredibly tense! So I was satisfied. And in terms of a long-awaited confrontation I think TWINE is much much worse in that regard. Or maybe I'm just weird?
  • Posts: 10,274
    GE had one of the best climaxes of the series if you ask me. I liked it as well.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited February 2016 Posts: 23,883
    Loved the GE finale as well. One the best they've done imho. I liked LTK & SF as well. The personal angle works for finales I think, at least for me.

    PS: I really liked TSWLM's finale as well. As far as I'm concerned, finales started to take a turn for the worse after the great Ken Adam left Bond, with a few exceptions.
    I have a feeling that this is really because EON doesn't know how to structure films correctly. They have their best action sequences in the PTS, and set unrealistically high expectations for the rest of the film. They simply spend all their money in the first half and leave none for the second. Like how the helicopter fight opened SP and the boat 'chase' ended it.

    Does anyone else agree or am I just being crazy?
    You may be right on this.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 30,475
    I wasn't referring to action. For me anticlimactic is usually when these films revert to explosions rather than story and tension for resolution.
  • @Birdleson
    I think I get what you're saying... Like the ending of LTK? The really cheery talk with Felix over the phone doesn't really bring the film around full-circle regarding Della's death, I suppose? Or in DAF and SF where Bond doesn't really achieve his mission (reacquire the diamonds, get back the list of agents)?
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 30,475
    Definitely the later two.
  • GBFGBF
    Posts: 2,899
    The topic is very nteresting. I also noticed that many Bond films do not end very well. With some of them it is also not very easy to indentify where the climax is. I would say that the climax in OHMSS and CR is when the Bond girls die. I also don't know where the climax in FRWL is. My only criticism regarding this film is that the action afterwards is a little too long long and unnecessary. I like however the final fight between Bond and Klebb.

    Here are my honorable mentions:

    Golden Eye, A View to a Kill, Casino Royal, License to Kill, The man with the golden gun, You only live twice, On her Majesty's secret service (Tracy's death)

    Dishonorable mentins:

    Diamonds are forever, Live and let die, Goldfinger (plane sequence), Spectre (far too many sequences, no real fight between Bond and Blofeld or any henchman), For your eyes only (the climbing sequence is great, but afterwards it's boring), QOS (Greene is no match for Bond, very boring fight, dishonorable end for a villain).

  • Everyone is pointing fingers at SP for having a poor finale, but if you look back, haven't so many of the movies have ended really anticlimactically?

    FYEO is well-liked by hardcore fans, but the fight at the monastery is really very uninspired.
    I love TLD, but even I have to admit that no one is calling the fight with Whitaker 'the best action scene ever'.

    Other examples I bring up might be more controversial. FRWL. The climax is really the fight with Grant, and everything after that is just there for action's sake, though I still liked it. Rosa Klebb's death is an incredible letdown however. I actually felt cheated when I saw it.
    TB and OHMSS - final fights are really, really, really poorly edited. As in worse than the bulk of QOS.
    TSWLM ends on a low-key note. Hamlisch seems to have not been told about the crucial last ten minutes or so of the film. Result is a mostly silent final confrontation where Bond kills off Stromberg by - gasp - shooting him four times, then has another clunky fight with Jaws. The collapse of Atlantis is supposed to be climactic but there's no tension at all since he's already killed the villain and ended his plan.
    TWINE's submarine ending was interesting, but the fight with Renard is a distinct disappointment considering how much build-up there is around him.

    All but one of Daniel Craig's films end anticlimactically. CR has the sinking Venice building which is a far cry from the two other big action sequences (Madagascar Chase and Miami Chase). QOS's final sequence is over too quickly. SF's is the only one that isn't anticlimactic, but it niggles at the back of the mind as a Home Alone sequence. Then SP.

    I have a feeling that this is really because EON doesn't know how to structure films correctly. They have their best action sequences in the PTS, and set unrealistically high expectations for the rest of the film. They simply spend all their money in the first half and leave none for the second. Like how the helicopter fight opened SP and the boat 'chase' ended it.

    Does anyone else agree or am I just being crazy?

    I agree with none of this. And incidentally, a Bond film need not end with a spectacular action set piece unless you're one of those viewers who sees Bond films as action films more than espionage films. I belong to the latter category.

  • Posts: 4,302
    I think its very tough. You need iconic visuals (something you remember long after seeing the film) plus it has to make sense within the context of the story and have a good "pay off", its hard enough within any film but to keep repeating it within the Bond series is impossible,
    In cant happen often but having someone Bond loves (and the audience cares for) dying in his arms will always push the right buttons. It needs something more than massive explosions IMHO. Also you have the scene after the "explosion (physical or emotional ) I'm biased and sorry to be a bore but SF does this well with the roof scene and then the very last scene says to the audience "c'mon, lets go, we are ready to do it all again, bring it on", I think the idea of just bedding another Bond girl has gone IMHO. I would be interested in seeing a list of "last dialogue " from each Bond movie as they are key in ending on the right note and leaving the audience in the frame of mind that the write wanted them to be in.
  • For my money, every climax in the series seems utterly amazing compared to the drab, boring, and confusing submarine sequence that ends TWINE. I still don't even know what happens or what the heck that thing is that kills Renard, and I've seen it a dozen times. I wish that movie had just ended with Bond killing Elektra.
  • @Perilagu_Khan
    Fair enough and I see your point of view, and in fact very few of the examples I mentioned really do actually bother me (only TLD, TSWLM, TWINE and FRWL really grate).

    But in my opinion the Bond films really are action films, or at least they are now. We have been seeing less and less espionage in the series. Perhaps it is a simple-minded view but truth be told action is a very large part of the series.

    And you are right, the film doesn't have to necessarily end with a spectacular action set piece. I just think that if there is going to be one, then it ought to be placed at the end, in order to close the film on a high, not the beginning, which raises expectations unrealistically for the remainder of the film, as they did with SP.

    @PDJamesBond
    Yes TWINE really is anticlimactic. I don't necessarily mind it at first (I think the tilt of the submarine is intuitive and gives the finale a good battleground of sorts). But then there is too much underwater stuff and the final fight between Renard doesn't cut it considering how much build-up there is around him. I expected that bullet to come into play some how regarding his death but it didn't.

    I think the rod with the plutonium inside is what kills Renard. He gets impaled through the chest by it.
  • GBFGBF
    Posts: 2,899
    I don't understand why people say the ending in TWINE or TLD is anticlimactic?

    I think the submarine ending is quiet good. What is bad about it? It is a good fight between them. Actually Renard is even the stronger one. Bond kills him in a rather unexpected way which is cool. I also kind of liked the dialogue between the two and the moment when Renard realises that Elektra is dead.

    I also don't understand why peope think TLD has an anticlimax. I always liked the dialogue and how that sequence developes. Bond actually has control over Withacker who has to find a way to make use of his technical devices. Finally Bond wins due to his gadgets. I like that sequence because it is also quiet suspensefull and not overload with action. It is more like a duel as we have it in TMWTGG.
  • Posts: 1,580
    The problem with the TWINE ending is that it doesn't cash in on Renard's inability to feel pain, a plot device that had been hammered home time and time again in the plot but never used in a meaningful way. The fight between him and Bond should have been a knock-down, drag-out fight between the two with Renard getting the better of Bond because he can't feel the pain from Bond's attacks, allowing him to go at Bond even after both men should have grown exhausted with the fight. The bullet lodged in his brain could have finally dealt the fatal blow to him before he is able to deal Bond a fatal blow, which would have been the cashing in of that plot device that is never used despite having some time spent on it in the early going of the film.
  • edited February 2016 Posts: 1,552
    I disagree with a lot of the films you've mentioned (TB OHMSS TSWLM FYEO) but some do end anticlimactically, sure.

    TWINE climaxes with Elektra's death and then we've still got 25 minutes of uninspired action to wade through is its problem. I actually think the real climax of that film is really good. And I'm one of the h8ers.
  • Posts: 1,066
    I guess the strength of an ending is built around how engaged you are leading up to it. I don't mind a low key ending if handled well. Dad is awful cgi tension free clap trap, albeit action orientated.

    I'd probably prefer cr without the sinking house. The real ending is bonds betrayal irrespective of where and when.

    Too many films, spectre included lose confidence and resort to throwing lots of explosions on the screen.
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,432
    Matt007 wrote: »
    I guess the strength of an ending is built around how engaged you are leading up to it. I don't mind a low key ending if handled well. Dad is awful cgi tension free clap trap, albeit action orientated.

    I'd probably prefer cr without the sinking house. The real ending is bonds betrayal irrespective of where and when.

    Too many films, spectre included lose confidence and resort to throwing lots of explosions on the screen.

    To be fair, the SP finale is primarily devoid of explosions. There's the one controlled demolition. When I think of the finale I think of M and C's face off, Bond in pursuit of Blofeld and their subsequent face off, rescuing Madeleine and the Thames chase. It's not in the same territory of QoS and SF which is lots of shit blowing up. That's why I enjoyed the Moroccan base going up in the way it did, subverting the usual.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    edited February 2016 Posts: 16,245
    Wow. EVERYONE here must HATE the last Lord Of The Rings movie... =)) =)) O:-)

    Most Bond movies satisfy me at the end almost completely. Even TMWTGG! Goodnight Goodnight, goodnight my dear, have no fear, James Bond is here.... :)) awesome stuff!!! \m/
  • MurdockMurdock Mr. 2000
    Posts: 16,035
    All Bond movies satisfy me. Even the ones I find weak. In fact the worst Bond movie is 100% times better than some of the crap put out today. That's why Bond is still around and relevant today.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 16,245
    Murdock wrote: »
    All Bond movies satisfy me. Even the ones I find weak. In fact the worst Bond movie is 100% times better than some of the crap put out today. That's why Bond is still around and relevant today.

    \m/
  • Because there's usually only one suspect. A whodunit within the Bondian style would be nice.
  • As far as I'm concerned, a movie ends in a narrative anticlimax if the film does not give pay-off to all set-up prior, if there is no tension, and if the protagonists do not face an appropriate challenge. Then the movie should end as quickly as possible whilst resolving everything.

    In terms of pay-off, TWINE is the classic failure. You expect the set-up of the whole bullet and the inability to feel pain to have some kind of good pay-off. But there is none. FYEO might also fail in that regard because Melina's whole goal for the film is to avenge the death of her parents and she doesn't even get to kill the guy who arranged it - but this is only a minor annoyance in my mind.

    In terms of the tension dilemma, TB is a good example. Before the badly edited fight on the Disco Volante even begins, the fuse of the bomb is thrown overboard, meaning the villain's plot cannot succeed. There is no real tension in the resulting fight - if Bond dies, he still succeeds because the villain fails. Same goes for TLD.

    But where most anticlimactic Bond films have their problem, it is because the protagonist does not face an appropriate challenge to end the film. Ideally, it should be their biggest challenge. Pray tell, how was the MI6 building shtick in SP or the boat chase an appropriate challenge to end the film in any way? He didn't even fight anyone!

    If the film has an appropriate challenge, but the film does not end after it quickly, then the movie can also feel anticlimactic. TSWLM, after the big bombastic Liparus fight, goes on too long, since the infiltration of Atlantis and final clunky fight with Jaws is underwhelming. FRWL's true climax is the fight with Red Grant. There is nothing necessarily wrong I thought with the chases that followed, but Rosa Klebb's death is a definite anticlimax as a villain's death, though I admit it was appropriate to have her killed by Romanova.

    Anyway that was just my justification for why I thought some of the films in the series were anticlimactic. But it rarely lessens my enjoyment!
  • edited February 2016 Posts: 1,482
    All Bond films are front loaded. Most of the really worthwhile stuff happens in the 1st half. And most ‘climaxes’ happen before the final fight or action set piece. (TLD prime example – the climax is the mid air fight and then Bond & Kara stunt escape from the C-130, NOT the Whitaker showdown)

    Funnily enough one of my lesser favorite Bonds actually has got what I’d consider a proper climax – GE. The others that are close would be DN, YOLT, TSWLM, OP
  • ForYourEyesOnlyForYourEyesOnly In the untained cradle of the heavens
    Posts: 1,984
    Octopussy had one of the stronger finales and its final act was better than its first for certain, IMO.
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,432
    One of my favourite endings is MR. I love the narrative structure of it. Bad guy and base go to hell, followed by a stripped back denouement chasing the globes (which is actually genuinely tense). This has always been my preferred structure and something I borrow from time to time. When done correctly it's very satisfying and not as abrupt as, 'Boom, bang, end credits'. (AVTAK also pulls this off well IMO).

    As pointed out above GE is one of the best films of the past 20 years to pull off the classic DN style ending.
  • edited February 2016 Posts: 541
    So many good comments on here, and I agree with many. I haven't seen nearly enough love for LTK's climax, though, which IMO is one of the absolute best. Slam-bang action with great stunts and terrific music. Also a perfect payoff to the revenge storyline, with that perfect "Felix lighter" moment.
  • GBF wrote: »
    I don't understand why people say the ending in TWINE or TLD is anticlimactic?

    I think the submarine ending is quiet good. What is bad about it? It is a good fight between them. Actually Renard is even the stronger one. Bond kills him in a rather unexpected way which is cool. I also kind of liked the dialogue between the two and the moment when Renard realises that Elektra is dead.

    I also don't understand why peope think TLD has an anticlimax. I always liked the dialogue and how that sequence developes. Bond actually has control over Withacker who has to find a way to make use of his technical devices. Finally Bond wins due to his gadgets. I like that sequence because it is also quiet suspensefull and not overload with action. It is more like a duel as we have it in TMWTGG.

    Agreed entirely. TWINE and TLD's finales are among my favorites. Then again, that sort of depends upon how one defines "finale."

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