SirHenryLeeChaChing's For Original Fans - Favorite Moments In NTTD (spoilers)

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  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,666
    Even the talented creators have their worst work,

    Ever hear the Barry score he wrote with his eyes closed, Game Of Death? Even THAT was pretty damn nice!!!
  • "Score he wrote with his eyes closed"??? What, he just scribbled notes without actually seeing the paper he was writing on? Please, tell us more!
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    chrisisall wrote:
    Even the talented creators have their worst work,

    Ever hear the Barry score he wrote with his eyes closed, Game Of Death? Even THAT was pretty damn nice!!!

    By worst work I mean "lesser work" (bad work choice). That same work by a creator is only lesser because their other work is so tremendous that it has to be ranked below their best stuff, though it doesn't mean it is bad work at all. Sorry, this is so damn hard to explain clearly.

    Let me use an example:

    I love all the Nolan Batman films, and while I would probably rank The Dark Knight Rises in last place that doesn't mean it is a bad film, as I love it. Begins and The Dark Knight are just so incredible (respectively) that TDKR has to be ranked below them. Does that make any kind of sense? I am trying my best here...
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,666
    "Score he wrote with his eyes closed"??? What, he just scribbled notes without actually seeing the paper he was writing on? Please, tell us more!
    Yeah, he was writing the music he had in mind and had to get a thing out of his eye. He continued writing whilst he was wiping his eyes, and by the time he could see clearly again, he'd finished it. On a napkin. With a hangover.
    Even not trying hard at all, the man was a genius. :P

    @0BradyM0Bondfanatic7 I get what you're sayin' now, thanks!
  • I didn't say it was BAD. Just grading on the curve for what Barry's given us previously. You've said that he "rushed out" the score to this particular film. And yes, people do discuss "minor" efforts from the likes of DaVinci in just this way...

    Exactly. With Barry it is just like any other talented people found in various creative fields spanning from authors to visual artists, filmmakers, and musicians. Even the talented creators have their worst work, but that isn't to say that said work is bad, it is just that their other work is so tremendously magnificent that those efforts have to be ranked under their best. After all, I think we can all agree that Barry is the master of the Bond sound, no contest. ^:)^

    When the subject of Bond music, or any music for that matter comes up, you can be sure I'm all in for discussion :))

    Barry was not just the master of, but as we know the CREATOR of the Bond sound. Of course he had his own influences but according to my late father who was a great musician in his own right, no one had ever composed music quite like his when it came along in 1964. Thankfully Cubby recognized it's genius because if it had been up to Harry, it would not have been. That cannot be overstated. And when his style of movie composition began to change, right about this time in fact because this soundtrack feels different than his work up through DAF, so did the Bond sound. So in reality the "Bond sound" was truly the Barry sound.

    History tells us that this particular soundtrack was a rush job by Barry, if I remember right he composed it in a few short weeks. He was not personally happy with the title song and felt it reflected poorly on him, and it always seemed more of a Bassey than Lulu vehicle. Otherwise, I always felt he underrated what he did here because it is very enjoyable as a standalone and both "Goodnight, Goodnight" and the fun house pieces I feel are among his best work in the series. This Barry rush job is still better than anything anyone else who has composed a Bond soundtrack has done. The man was the Mozart of his time and like Mozart his works will be remembered for eternity.

    I'll talk more about @Beatles review tomorrow when I have the time, but for the moment we can discuss a musical dilemma that has been a source of controversy here in this Forum among fans of Bondian music young and old, so I'd like to see what we think here. There are two schools of thought.

    1. Do you feel it should be a prerequisite of any prospective future composer of a Bond soundtrack to be well versed in the Barry/Bond sound and give us music that is at least a reasonable facsimile of what Barry created? This would include Martin, Kamen, and especially David Arnold as those who paid the Bond sound this respect.

    2. Or as some fans has stated, should the composer be trying to create a brand new Bond sound and not ape Barry as these same people feel Arnold, who considered Barry his mentor and acknowledged himself as a disciple, has done. They find more value in the sounds of Hamlisch, Conti, Newman, and (gulp) Serra because they don't sound like Barry.

    If you were a prospective composer what would your approach be, #1 or #2? And if neither, what would you do? From the time I became a musician in the family tradition and took it to a whole other level into musical and lyrical composition, I always had my own ideas about what I would do if I had the chair, and what instruments I might use to pay the proper amount of homage to Barry yet differentiate my efforts. Arnold introduced techno and electronica that Barry experimented with in his final TLD soundtrack as an example.







  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,666
    "Goodnight, Goodnight" and the fun house pieces I feel are among his best work in the series.
    Oh, SO much agreement here!!
    1. Do you feel it should be a prerequisite of any prospective future composer of a Bond soundtrack to be well versed in the Barry/Bond sound and give us music that is at least a reasonable facsimile of what Barry created?
    'Facsimile' might be the wrong word here, but basically- YES!!!
    Tweak it, massage it, but GIVE it to us.

    I mean, imagine a new Indy film without William's iconic sounds.

    Even in the newest Rambo film, Brian Tyler used the theme, and went on to build original material BASED ON how Goldsmith did his music for the series. I TOTALLY appreciated that.
  • edited July 2013 Posts: 3,494
    chrisisall wrote:
    "Goodnight, Goodnight" and the fun house pieces I feel are among his best work in the series.
    Oh, SO much agreement here!!
    1. Do you feel it should be a prerequisite of any prospective future composer of a Bond soundtrack to be well versed in the Barry/Bond sound and give us music that is at least a reasonable facsimile of what Barry created?
    'Facsimile' might be the wrong word here, but basically- YES!!!
    Tweak it, massage it, but GIVE it to us.

    I mean, imagine a new Indy film without William's iconic sounds.

    Even in the newest Rambo film, Brian Tyler used the theme, and went on to build original material BASED ON how Goldsmith did his music for the series. I TOTALLY appreciated that.

    First, I wanted to acknowledge your mention of Game Of Death, it's been many years since I've seen the film but I could tell the first time I watched and heard the opening title that it was Barry- I need to see that one and listen to the music again, I remember it being his usual excellent effort. On an unrelated side note the soundtrack to the 1981 film "Green Ice", penned by Stones bassist Bill Wyman, features a lot of Barry-like feel in it's orchestration and some very nice Spanish style guitar work- you might like it.

    You gave great examples of theory #1 and why I also subscribe to that myself. I am amazed, no, horrified when people listen to the haunting "City Of Lovers" from CR, or "Surrender" for that matter, and dismiss it entirely as a Barry pastiche. I see their point to a reasonable degree, but it brings up theory #2, which is to say that they don't want Bondian music unless it comes from Barry and want the music to move in a different direction. And for me, if it isn't Bondian, it doesn't fit and I'll take the pastiche any day, all day, first.




  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded the Ballrooms of Mars
    Posts: 12,459
    I don't really know pastiche from pistachios when it comes to music. I don't play any instrument, I haven't composed music. But I know what I enjoy as a Bond fan. And I have always noticed the music throughout the films.

    For me, I do want some Barry influence in Bond films. Barry's music is considered a classic part of the canon for very good reasons. The new music in Bond films do not have to be copying him exactly; I wouldn't want that really. I want music to change and evolve a bit and fit the scenes (rather think that is important), but I love to have two things in my Bond films music: Some Barry-esque flavor, at least at some point, and the Bond theme (M. Norman's). "Surrender" is so lovely and memorable, for example.

    The way Barry would weave the theme song into the film was perfect. I want more of that. So no exact copying of the master, but I want the composer to be as smart (if possible) as Barry in his or her use of the music throughout the film, including the theme.

    So there's my little two cents on the music subject.
  • pachazopachazo Make Your Choice
    Posts: 7,314
    1. Do you feel it should be a prerequisite of any prospective future composer of a Bond soundtrack to be well versed in the Barry/Bond sound and give us music that is at least a reasonable facsimile of what Barry created? This would include Martin, Kamen, and especially David Arnold as those who paid the Bond sound this respect.

    2. Or as some fans has stated, should the composer be trying to create a brand new Bond sound and not ape Barry as these same people feel Arnold, who considered Barry his mentor and acknowledged himself as a disciple, has done. They find more value in the sounds of Hamlisch, Conti, Newman, and (gulp) Serra because they don't sound like Barry.

    I really appreciate both to be honest. I like it when the composer gives a nod to Barry and makes it feel more like a traditional Bond movie. However, I also think it's refreshing when caution is thrown to the wind and a brand new approach is taken. Not everyone is going to like that of course which is why they usually play it safe.
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,928
    I don't really know pastiche from pistachios when it comes to music. I don't play any instrument, I haven't composed music. But I know what I enjoy as a Bond fan. And I have always noticed the music throughout the films.
    I love pistacho's! AND they make me think of Columbo!

    right, now back on topic. Several ingredients to Bond-films have come over the years. Bond himself was created by Fleming. His beeing the globetrotting gentileman-thug/playboy who's good looking in a rough manner was polished to a more gentilemanly/playboy kind of person by Connery, or actually Young. A PTS was introduced, a gunbarrel, the flirting with moneypenny, the humour. All by different persons who's work was later maybe adapted, but in essence remained (or came back). Such goes too for Barry. He created the Bond-sound, perhaps with some help from Norman. The frenchise should be very lucky it was Barry who joined in and completed this part of 'Bond'. So later composers should always vremember what this Bondsound is. It has mistique, it adapts to the country Bond travels to, etc. I myself find Serra's work appalling and an obvious example of what isn't a Bondsound. It just doesn't fit the character. Same goes for Arnold's earlier work on the Bond films. IMO only when Craig got the part Arnold started to compose fitting music.

    Rounding up: Any Bond-composer should always pay heed to Barry.
  • edited August 2013 Posts: 3,494
    Updated ratings from the originals after 23 films, as of 12:00PM U.S EST-


    1. Casino Royale- 4.33
    2. Goldfinger- 4.30
    3. From Russia With Love- 4.26
    4. Skyfall (5/7 reviews)- 4.20
    5. The Living Daylights- 4.12
    6. Thunderball- 4.09
    7. Licence To Kill- 4.06
    8. The Spy Who Loved Me- 4.05
    9. On Her Majesty's Secret Service- 3.99
    10. For Your Eyes Only- 3.91
    11. You Only Live Twice- 3.90
    12. Live And Let Die- 3.81
    13. GoldenEye- 3.75
    14. Octopussy- 3.73
    15. Tomorrow Never Dies- 3.63
    16. Dr. No- 3.57
    17. Quantum Of Solace- 3.42
    18. A View To A Kill- 3.28
    19. The World Is Not Enough- 3.17
    20. The Man With The Golden Gun- 3.09
    21. Diamonds Are Forever- 2.99
    22. Moonraker- 2.97
    23. Die Another Day- 2.70

    Good afternoon fellow originals and guests! No changes in position from last week to report as while TMWTGG dropped some points, it was not enough to unseat any of the the bottom three. It will be very interesting to see where Spy goes from here as most fans seem to respect the film for a variety of reasons but it's not everyone's cup of tea and you never know- it doesn't make my personal top 10 although I find it to be a guilty pleasure of mine.

    It does however, tie in with a direction I've come up with. Not really any more original than Dimi's thesis thread, but posing specific questions gives us something to talk about in between Beatles' reviews and I will get back to that during this weekend as some of the recent answers to my musical question are a bit ambiguous and don't quite fit either theory. What Spy represents in this context is the first true departure from the Barry/Bond sound, where we have an accomplished composer who perhaps felt he had a different vision of what Bond music could be.

    So while I resume fatherly and household duties, have a great weekend everyone and thanks for all your contributions!
  • edited July 2013 Posts: 4,622
    Never mind Bond, Barry's greatest soundtrack in my opinion is Born Free!
    eng_born_free1.jpg
    I ball my eyes out everytime I hear the theme song.
    Copyright tyrants have recently blocked the videos (at least in my country) which had great lion footage from the movie, but here's the original John Barry/Matt Monro classic, with someone's lame home cat-footage.
    Song works way better with lion footage though.
    Watch the actual movie, you'll need two boxes of kleenex from tears of joy, and will immediately feel compelled to make big donation to Born Free African Lion foundation.



    Heartwarming Mr Kidd. Tears to my eyes Mr. Wint. I'm standing in a puddle Mr. Kidd. I love the lions Mr. Wint. You look like a lion Mr. Kidd.....
  • edited July 2013 Posts: 3,494
    @timmer- I feel the same way about this as well as his 1980 "Somewhere In Time" soundtrack. Tear jerkers of the highest order, I still cannot sit through either without the water works coming on. When Elsa returns home with her cubs- fugeddaboutit! You'd have to be a stone not to be crying happy tears.

    @4EverBonded and @Pachazo- can you both please briefly elaborate a bit more on my suggested thesis? @4Ever I think you are supporting theory #1 over #2 but I'm not completely sure of that and @pachazo there is no door #3 "I'm fine with both approaches" so for the sake of the poll I'm keeping (open to all our readers) I'd appreciate you coming down on one side or the other. Thanks.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,666
    @timmer- I feel the same way about this as well as his 1980 "Somewhere In Time" soundtrack.

    *snif* You made me hear some of it in my head just now...*snif*
  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded the Ballrooms of Mars
    edited July 2013 Posts: 12,459
    Oh my gosh, Born Free is amazing music! I forgot Barry did that. So uplifting. Did you know there is a Born Free foundation, by Virginia McKenna who starred in the film? They do wonderful work for wild animals all over the world, not just big cats. Is that different from the one you mentioned, @timmer? Check out Bornfree.org.uk on the internet:

    http://www.bornfree.org.uk/about-us/history/introduction/

    And @SirHenryLeeChaChing I am voting for theory #1. I don't want a complete copying of Barry, but I think there needs to be an element of him for the Bond music to be what I consider to the the best, or most appropriate; because a Bond film is a particular kind of movie with the past musical heritage being a part of its true iconic nature. Woven in, so to speak, with new elements, too, yes - all fitting the scenes in appropriate ways, hopefully.
  • edited July 2013 Posts: 4,622
    When Elsa returns home with her cubs- fugeddaboutit! You'd have to be a stone not to be crying happy tears.
    fugeddaboutit indeed. Resistance is futile. I think it's the most emotional moment in the history of cinema.
    Born Free not only re-united the FRWL combo of Barry and Matt Monro, but also features the future Minister of Defence, Geoffrey Keen.

    As for the poll, I vote for theory #1 in that I would like the classic Bond theme to continue to permeate the Bond films. I'm fine with the composer playing with it a bit, but it should be featured prominently in any Bond score. Also I like the idea of the title song melody being weaved into the film as well, as Barry did so deftly. This helps give the score a recognizable identity consistent with the main song.
    Newman's score for Skyfall is laudable, but it would have been so much better IMO if both the JB theme and the Adele SF theme were clearly audible and identifiable, here and there in the film.
    I don't like what he did with the JB Theme. It was only cranked up during the uber-silly reveal of the old Aston, almost like this scene was a convenient place to park it, as if it was merely a nod to the past, much like the tricked-out Aston was.
    That approach can work for the Aston, which is of the GF era, but the Bond theme itself is timeless.

  • pachazopachazo Make Your Choice
    Posts: 7,314
    and @pachazo there is no door #3 "I'm fine with both approaches" so for the sake of the poll I'm keeping (open to all our readers) I'd appreciate you coming down on one side or the other. Thanks.

    If I have to pick an option then I'd go with the first one. I only picked both because I honestly love (for the most part) what we have been treated to thus far. I don't think that any movie franchise can compete with the (mostly good) variety of sounds that Bond movies have given to us over the years.
  • edited July 2013 Posts: 3,564
    I hate falling neatly into any category. Yes, I have strong sympathies with Category 1, the Barry supporters. I think trying to score a Bond film without a solid backing in Barry's contributions to the series would be like an actor trying to play Bond himself without first watching several of Connery's films. I also would hate to hobble the potential contributions of a current composer by forcing him into the Barry mold if he or she is not so inclined; I'm in favor of any artist being able to follow his or her own muse wherever it may lead.

    I must also admit to a certain difficulty when trying to determine a separate grade for the music in these films: I can't really hear the soundtracks without also watching the movie itself, and I often find myself grading the score for how well it suits the movie I'm watching. Therefore, the music for one of the lesser Bond films (and TMWTGG certainly qualifies in this category to my eyes) is likely to get a lower rating than the music for one of my favorite films, regardless of any qualities that music may or may not possess in its own right. The theme songs can stand or fall with me on their own rights, but the film's score does not really have that ability. Is there some sort of web-site where I can find and listen to these scores independently of watching the films themselves? I'd love to be able compose my next review while listening to the score running in the background... And yes, TSWLM will be coming soon -- probably this weekend!
  • edited July 2013 Posts: 3,564
    Double posting. Pay no attention to the Sans behind the curtain...
  • edited July 2013 Posts: 3,494
    Double posting. Pay no attention to the Sans behind the curtain...

    Since you don't appear to have a complete collection of Bond music (I have everything but GoldenEye, for which my complete and utter contempt is well known to all including the tone deaf who actually like it), may I then suggest going to YouTube and listening to the soundtrack OST's?

    Speaking of soundtracks, it sounds like all who have commented on our musical thesis thus far would prefer a Bond soundtrack that pays tribute to Barry yet shows some originality on the part of the composer, as opposed to efforts (such as GoldenEye) which do not sound anything like a Bond soundtrack should sound like. Do we have anyone, original or guest, who would like to respond intelligently (past well I just like it) in favor of theory #2?
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,512
    Is there some sort of web-site where I can find and listen to these scores independently of watching the films themselves?

    ...

  • @SirHenryLee: Thanks, I didn't realize the soundtracks would be up on YouTube. I should have known it -- everything ELSE is! And @RC7: "If you can't say something nice, don't saying nothin' at all." Oh -- I guess you just did! Seriously, what a "D'oh!" moment for me! Now we know why Homer Simpson is the true role model for the modern American male...
  • @Beatles- you're welcome via here and PM, I'm sure it will be helpful to you. I look forward to your Spy review and how it may shake up the ratings.

    I am still holding out hope that we'll hear from Lancaster and OHMSS about the musical thesis, as Nic is still on hiatus these guys I'm sure have some thoughts. I could guess that they'd probably choose theory #1 based on prior comments. Both have been MIA lately. Thus far it's 6-0 in favor of theory #1, and no one in this Forum who reads this has come out in favor of theory #2. Could it be that I've proven my thesis that the GE soundtrack is ill-fitting for a Bond film after all? We'll see, as I will later demonstrate that Hamlisch's departure (in part, not entirely) was the true beginning in opening up door #2 for works such as this.
  • edited July 2013 Posts: 3,564
    THE SPY WHO LOVED ME
    After the weak outing that we saw in The Man With The Golden Gun, Eon needed a solid performance this time out if the Bond series was going to continue to be a viable presence in the movie theatres of the 1970s. Taking the extra time out that was necessitated by various behind-the-scenes issues (including Harry Satzman’s departure) may have helped the film-makers fine-tune their script as well as fully considering the tone they wished the series to be taking with their new interpretation of the title character. However it happened, this time around Eon delivered one of the most popular entries in Roger Moore’s tenure as James Bond.

    BOND: 4/5 Yes, Moore’s take on the character is lighter and more humorous than Connery’s definitive interpretation…but he is still brave, resourceful, intelligent, and more charming than ever. Moore’s 007 is finally the very definition of “the gentleman secret agent.” Gone are the missteps prevalent in the past two outings: with no native beggars to push around and no kung fu schoolgirls to bail him out of trouble, Moore’s Bond is once more an admirable, heroic fellow. Bond’s admission to Major Amasova that he is indeed responsible for killing her former lover is one of Moore’s highlights as the character, and an important turning point in his depiction of 007. He won’t be slapping around any more women during his tenure as Bond; Connery could get away with that sort of thing but the audience really didn’t like to see Moore hitting women. (He’d have probably had a pretty hard time with Xenia Onatopp!) Best for him to charm the ladies out of any hostile intentions they may have, as is the case here. He’s still not my favorite actor to portray James Bond, but Moore is unquestionably in top form for this outing.

    WOMEN: 4/5 Barbara Bach is gorgeous, no two ways about that. Her portrayal of Major Anya Amasova may indeed be just a bit stiff -- but the character is wonderfully written and Bach does seem to enjoy playing opposite Moore. Amasova’s sense of competition with Bond plays as lightly entertaining early in the film, and their amorous pairing, while obviously required by the film‘s very title, is comfortable and convincing. Still, the top prize for female presence in this film belongs to Caroline Munro as Naomi. Munroe totally owns the screen for every moment that she graces it; doing more with a single wink than Britt Eklund did with her entire time onscreen as Goodnight. Anya seems to positively bristle at Naomi during every moment the two women spend together. Major Amasova may have a love/hate thing going with Bond, but she’s not about to let Naomi get her hooks anywhere NEAR the guy! I am not alone in declaring that I’d have liked to see much more time in this film devoted to Naomi, but c’est la vie! There are plenty of other beautiful women in this film, including an entire Egyptian harem, but between Bach and Munro it’s hard to really notice anyone else…

    VILLAINS: 4/5 Curt Jurgens makes a truly despicable villain as Karl Stromberg, dropping his supposed girlfriend into a shark pool in the first few minutes of his presence onscreen. I’d have liked to get a better sense of his love for the ocean world in order to really believe that he’s willing to ignite World War III and wipe out all of civilization on the surface…but what the heck, he’s got a nice thick Germanic accent, so SURE! of COURSE he’s an evil lunatic! If Stromberg is a one-dimensional villain, Richard Kiel as Jaws is little more than a walking cartoon…and I mean that in a good way! He’s unstoppable, unnaturally strong, nearly invulnerable -- and wonder of wonders, he totally works in the world of Moore’s Bond. Jaws is scary, Jaws is funny -- occasionally he manages to be both at the same time -- and he’s a distillation of everything the Bond film-makers have been striving to achieve since Diamonds Are Forever. To be fair, Oddjob was nearly as unbelievably powerful as Jaws, and nobody ever stopped to question his existence -- so why should we have any problem with Jaws? When he’s dropped into the shark pool near the close of the movie, we only worry for him briefly -- it’s the shark that needs our sympathy! Jaws will return in the next film…but I’ll have more to say about him and the cartoonish nature of Moore’s Bond, sometime in the middle of this coming week, along with the return of our Real World Timeline, this time covering the 1970s.

    HUMOR: 3.5/5 While I’m not a fan of the humor so prevalent in the Bond films of this period, I’ve got to admit that it’s reasonably well played this time around. Much of the humor here comes from the interaction of our major characters, such as the competition between Bond and Amasova for Fekesh’s microfilm during the first half of the film, and their attempts to avoid the exceptionally powerful Jaws during their encounter amid the pyramids. This particular scene is one of my favorites in the film, as location, music, action and humor all blend seamlessly into one especially effective sequence. This is a much better tack for the Bond series to take, in my opinion --with all the disparate elements working together, rather than playing minor characters for inappropriately placed humor, which usually results in the total evaporation of any sense of danger that the film might have also been attempting to generate. I could have done without the scene where Bond dresses up like Lawrence of Arabia (complete with matching soundtrack) and visits the sheik's desert tent -- Bond could have simply been instructed to contact Fekesh at the nightclub by M, and the whole scene would have been rendered unnecessary -- but as quibbles go with this series at this point in time, it is a minor matter indeed.

    ACTION: 4/5 While this film has less Fleming-related content than any 007 movie so far, this was an unavoidable situation given our particular title …and one that the scriptwriters seem to have dealt with fairly effectively. The opening stunt (the ski jump off of Mount Asgard) is truly spectacular, the villain’s dastardly plot reasonably thought out (if just a tad bit over-the-top) and matters seem generally played fairly seriously (within the parameters that can be expected of this series at this point in time.) Moore’s Bond seems a little less stiff in his action scenes than was the case in his last outing. Wonder of wonders, even the chase scene in this film -- and there is only one of them, rather than three, as was the case in TMWTGG -- has some genuine tension and surprise to it! It moves from surface roads to under the sea, as Bond is chased by a motorcycle with detachable (and explosive!) sidecar…by Naomi in a helicopter…and by scuba divers as his Lotus Espirit is put through its paces in one of the series’ best chase scenes ever. There is also a fight with Jaws aboard a train, which seems unnecessarily referential to previous such fights, both in FRWL and LALD, as if there’s no other way to move from Point A to Point B other than through terrain we’ve already covered. If the film’s ending seems a trifle overlong, that’s because there are two hide-outs (Atlantis and the Liparus) to destroy rather than just one. I suppose one could pick at a few nits here and there -- why doesn’t Jaws search Fekesh once he’s killed him, rather than leaving him there so that Bond can get an important clue from Fekesh’s pockets? -- but this is a minor violation of preferred professional tradecraft, and Jaws is an assassin rather than a spy, so maybe we can just let this point go…

    SADISM: 3.5/5 Stromberg starts out strong in this category, killing his girlfriend by feeding her to his pet shark…then ends the film surprisingly weakly. He takes Anya captive, tying her to a nice comfy chair because she has displayed an unfortunate tendency towards violence. Why not DO something with her once you’ve got her there, Strommy? No, he’ll go sit at his nice long table and wait for Bond to confront him. For somebody who’s willing to kill the majority of the human race in order to fulfill his dream of --what? one little city beneath the sea comprising all that’s left of the human race?-- Stromberg sure ought to be a little more evil when it gets to the final reel of the movie! Jaws kills people by biting them with his metal teeth…but one doesn’t really get a sense of his motivations here other than killing people because that’s his job. He likes to scare them by popping up out of the dark and smiling at them with his expensive orthodontia…but we don’t really know if he gets a thrill out of killing or it’s just a matter of professional obligations. And what about Naomi? What’s behind that sexy wink of hers, anyway? We have no idea really. The film-makers could have given us a bit more to go on with all three of these characters; as it is, we’ll see a side of Jaws that we probably didn’t want to see in the next movie. And as for Naomi? The rest is silence…

    MUSIC 4/5 “Nobody Does It Better” is probably one of the most well-known of all the Bond songs among the general public. This could very well be the unofficial theme of Roger Moore’s James Bond. A lovely tune, well deserving of the renown it has received. As for the rest of the soundtrack…well, to my ears, it seems to be a little too impressed with the fact that it IS a soundtrack, and Marvin Hamlisch does his best to remind everybody of the fact. Sprinkled liberally with bits from everywhere, from classical music to disco, delving into the theme to Lawrence of Arabia, as well as “Lara’s Theme” from Dr. Zhivago, the high point in this soundtrack may be the faux-Biblical epic that we get during the pyramid scene. There’s a little too much disco in this movie for my tastes, but I was never a big disco fan anyway. I like the soundtrack to this film overall, I just wish it was a little bit less self-aware…or less referential to other works.

    LOCATIONS 5/5 If there is any one category where this movie totally hits the ball out of the park, it is on the locations. From Canada to Egypt to Sardinia, from the waters of the Carribean to the newly-constructed 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios in England, this is one gorgeous-looking movie. Ken Adams outdid himself with his work on the interiors to the Liparus -- to my eyes, this is the only villain’s lair in a Bond film that can even begin to compare with Blofeld’s volcano hideout in YOLT. His vision of Stromberg’s underwater city, Atlantis, is likewise stunning, rising and descending into and out of the sea with water cascading down over the windows as the audience watches from inside the safety of Stromberg’s office. If you or I had a view like that, maybe we’d try to take over the world too…

    GADGETS 4/5 Finally, the gadgets return to Bond’s world in a big way, with the submersible Lotus Esprit as Q’s newest toy and one of Bond‘s most beloved vehicles, probably second only to the legendary Aston Martin DB-5. I didn’t believe in this car for a moment when I first saw it onscreen, and that point didn’t bother me in the slightest. The visual poetry of this machine in movement under the sea takes this film into another realm entirely, transforming as it does from automobile to submersible, dispatching missiles, torpedoes and smokescreens as the situation requires. It may not be a realistic device at all, but while it is on the screen such concerns are petty at best. Bond’s brief moment on a jet ski, later on in the film, zipping toward Atlantis to rescue Anya, is another iconic image that can only pale in comparison to the sight of him rolling down a window of the Esprit, disposing carelessly of a fish as the Lotus rolls onto the beach after submarining easily through Stromberg’s hirelings. The outlandish gadgets are back, thankfully -- and anybody who ever complained about them is left with seaweed on his or her face.

    SUPPORTING CAST 4.5/5 Bond has plenty of support this time around, and this film is all the better for it. Walter Gotell may be the most important supporting actor here, as he makes his first appearance as Russian General Gogol (although Gotell had previously appeared as a Spectre operative in FRWL, this film marks his first of several appearances as Gogol.) Geoffrey Keen makes his first appearance as the Minister of Defense in this film, and future M Robert Brown is also on hand as Admiral Hargreaves. Shane Rimmer is a real standout as Captain Carter -- one wishes that every time Bond made similar use of British or American military forces, the actors tasked with their portrayal might be given similar opportunity to shine. Usually these characters are faceless minions whose only purpose is as cannon fodder, but this time several service men are given brief moments of individual identity…and this film is substantially stronger for that small but telling bit of detail. Bernard Lee is back in form as M and Q has some nice moments of his own. Monneypenny is given only a token appearance, but this film is so full of characters that I suppose something had to be lost. A shame it had to be Penny this time around…

    TOTAL AND RECOLLECTIONS: 41/50 This is Roger Moore’s favorite among his seven appearances as James Bond, and it’s among my favorites as well. While there are certainly elements at play here that I’d have objected to in a different film, somehow, here they all work. The humor is given a light touch, and the unrealistic elements such as Jaws and the submersible Lotus contribute subtly but unmistakably to the sense of a slightly exaggerated reality that could only be the home to such an amazing character as James Bond. I left the theatre after viewing this offering with the sense that finally, James Bond was back. I only wish he had stuck around for a little longer.

    THE END
    Of this review…
    But BeatlesSansEarmuffs will return soon (yes, really!)
    To review MOONRAKER
  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded the Ballrooms of Mars
    edited July 2013 Posts: 12,459
    Another thoughtful, great review, @BeatlesSansEarmuffs! Thanks. =D>
    I love Spy; it is one of my favorites.

    I truly don't get the popularity of Naomi. It is often way out of proportion in my opinion. But then, my opinion would be different, no matter, because my perspective is really different, isn't it? ;)

    Spy had some unique and fun elements - Jaws, the Lotus, and great locations. I'm glad you liked the theme song, too; I love it. The disco sound grated on me also, though; never been a fan. I did like the brief musical salute to Lawrence of Arabia. So overall not a great soundtrack but really more than just middling, I think. It was wonderful after TMWTGG - Spy is a great, exciting, and fun film - a good leap forward for the series. The opening ski jump is still one of my favorites.

    Anyway, thanks again for your review! I always enjoy reading what you have to say about Bond films. And I do agree with you about Roger Moore here - I think that Moore hit his stride with Bond in Spy, making this truly and completely his Bond, and I think he later came to his best performance in FYEO. That little hiccup Moonraker being sandwiched in between. Ah well ...
  • edited July 2013 Posts: 4,622
    Love the underwater stuff in Spy. Very nicely shot. The lotus-sub battle is a classic Bond and tricked-out machine defending against enemy assualt.
  • CommanderRossCommanderRoss The bottom of a pitch lake in Eastern Trinidad, place called La Brea
    Posts: 7,928
    "This also goes for the titles: what has the film Octopussy to do with the brilliant short story in wich Bond has a verymarginal role? It is true that Fleming forbade the film adaptation of The Spy Who Loved Me, but that was no excuse for attaching the title to a very unflemingian hotchpotch." dixit Anthony Burgess, 1987.

    Very nice review @BeatlesSans, but I'm firmly in the Burgess camp. I find Jaws way over the top and Bond-unworthy (note that Odd-Job is alson not one of my fav. characters, he's overdone, but at least he's Fleming's) and indeed the story itself too thin. Anyway, I'm no original, but as I'm reading Dr No again I thought it fun to post Burges's comments here (It's in my Dr. No edition).
  • edited July 2013 Posts: 3,564
    @CommanderRoss: I generally try not to pay much attention to one creator's review of another creator's work. They generally boil down to one of two opinions: (A) I loved it, it's just the sort of thing I would have done; or (B) I hated it, it's nothing at all like anything I would have ever done. Personally, I fully recognize and accept that Moore's Bond was very much unlike Fleming's Bond. Timothy Dalton will be along soon enough to save us all; in the meantime I am (or was, back in the '70s) willing to enjoy Moore's Bond for what it is rather than insisting it be something it had no intention of being. It was the judgment of Eon at the time that this was the direction they needed to go in order to keep the series commercially viable; they've changed direction more than once since then and it's hard to argue with the fact that the series continues to be successful up until this very day. All considered, I suspect they have a pretty fair idea of what they're doing.

    @4EverBonded: Thanks as ever for your kind words -- I certainly do appreciate the fact that you bring a different perspective than my own! If I was the only Bond fan to have this reaction to Naomi I might wonder about the validity of my opinion, but as it is I feel fairly secure in this regard. At least you'll have Daniel Craig taking his shirt off in several more films (a sight which doesn't do a whole lot for me) -- I've only got this one brief glimpse of the wonder that is Naomi!
  • How very nice to wake up to the latest Spy review. Well done @Beatles, well done indeed. Excellent and well thought out as I've come to expect from you. I'm glad you obviously found the music resource to be helpful. I also recommend the "Making Of" pieces in the UDVD collection as another valuable resource in reviews, I watched each of them before doing my own. Spy has now moved into a 7th place tie with LTK.

    @4Ever- I'm sure you must know that Naomi, like Bach, Olga Bisera, harem girls, is definitely a guy thing and one of the reasons guys love Bond movies. And shirtless Bonds like Connery, Brosnan, and Craig are reasons for the ladies to like Bond movies too. The Broccoli's and their infinite marketing wisdom hard at work during the last 50 years.

    My brother is visiting for the day, but I will return for more in-depth commentary about the film when time allows.
  • Well, here's the couple of comments I have-

    First of all, everyone has their guilty pleasure in the series and Spy is mine. The movie has such a sense of style and as Beatles had mentioned, there are elements here that would not have worked in a different film (see the next film which is quite similar in more than just common actors, director, and screenwriter) but they manage to work in harmony here. What keeps it out of my top 10 is that it's not quite as cleverly original as Bond films go- it plays off of Gilbert's first go-round in YOLT and tries to capitalize on the movie Jaws- right down to the water theme and a henchman also named Jaws. Somehow I would have preferred Fleming's Sol "Horror" Horowitz but that was not to be due to Fleming's stipulation that only the title could be used, although they managed to somehow have Anya Amasova keeping her name. The key points-

    1. Artistically, Moore arrives in the role after figuring out what went right and what went wrong in his first two. I know a lot of people including Sir Roger himself hail this as his best performance, but for me his definitive turn was to come.

    2. As a normal, red-blooded guy, how could you NOT LIKE this cast of knockout women? Ok, I admit their collective acting isn't any better than it's predecessor (although Adams is the exception) and successor, but this film is a constant babe parade. Just another reason you had to love Cubby! We start with Sue Wanner in the cabin, then we see Bach and Munro briefly. I'm a little surprised at the lack of mention of Yugoslav (at the time) actress Olga Bisera as Felicca, whom Bond leaves such an impression on in such a short time that she takes a Shandor bullet for him. By the time we get Bach in that incredible evening dress 8-} and Naomi in her bathing finest- then the helicopter close up shot 8-} 8-} - definitely the hottest bunch for me since Thunderball.

    3. It's such a shame McGlory had to get involved simply because EON wanted to finally put Blofeld to rest once and for all. That said, I enjoyed Curt Jurgens as Stromberg right down to his webbed fingers and especially loved his first scene between feeding his secretary to his pet shark and blowing up Beckman and Markovits. Similar to what Blofeld did in DAF, Stromberg eliminates the trail leading back to him. As I've said, Stromberg differs to what's come before because he's not interested in the usual criminal pursuits such as money or amnesty. He has a vision of what he wants Earth to be and he's willing to risk everything he has for that conviction. Would Blofeld go that far? I don't think he would. Then we get Jaws. Truly he isn't that much different than Oddjob in the indestructibility department, but somehow he falls more into "Terminator" territory. He eventually falls into camp with all the unbelievable escapes from death with nary a scratch, and like Oddjob he really should have stayed as a one-off with the shark finishing him off for good. I also thought that the movie was too sanitized- apparently he really was a vampire of sorts as well as both Fekesh and Kalba should have been lying in pools of blood as you'd expect when one's jugular is open and severed.

    4. Finally, we get to the music and Beatles states the obvious- Hamlisch makes too many references to other films and musical styles that shouldn't concern Bond. Some of it is clever like the biblical style at the pyramids, and I especially liked the nod to Barry in "The Tanker" as well as his thematic use of the title song that makes the same nod. But I still have to ask myself, would Barry have opted for disco stylings? And did we really need to hear the LOA theme or Broadway at the end? Somehow I don't see it, at least to this level anyway. It all seems like it's trend cashing and for me it's a bit of a lazy effort judging by Hamlisch's other works. All of these things are the departure I spoke of in my thesis, it's a little too far in straying from the formula which Martin certainly did not do. Personally, I thought a score of 4 was a bit too generous despite the classic title song, which is why I put Barry, Martin, Arnold, Kamen, and Newman ahead of this effort in a comparison. Just an average, middling sort of effort.

    While I resharpen that special blood stained knife with "Moonraker" written across it, here's my thesis for this film. Everyone, even those who love the film, seems to have some sort of pet peeve about it somewhere that stirs conversation and often leads to a debate regarding it's place in the series. Some see it as a top 10, but there's a fair share of people like myself who don't think it quite measures up. So the thesis is a two parter once again. Is Spy (a) a top ten film for you and are you satisfied enough to overlook the abundance of camp, or (b) if not a top 10 film, what would you have done to make it so? Question open to any and all!



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