Potentially great Bond Films that fall apart halfway, or three-quarters way, through.

BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
edited December 2018 in Bond Movies Posts: 30,647
Few if any Bond films are perfect. Most of the best have their moments that cause me to cringe, and the silliest still have a cool moment or two or three. But, what I want to address here are the ones that are great for the first hour or more (or less) and then turn to crap, or have a great mid-section but is bookeneded by schmaltz. This is frustrating as Hell. That feeling of almost having another one of the greats, but then everything goes horribly wrong. I want to take these films and chop them down to half hour or hour-long mini-movies. I apologize if this post is covering old ground.
I’m not including THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH. I think that despite temporarily going off the rails when Denise Richards shows up, and the seemingly endless and schlocky scene in the caviar plant, it corrects course fairly quickly and still manages to end up being a very good Bond film.
This is my personal list, and I’d like to hear about other people’s opinions as to which Bond films fall into this category and why. I have five: (from most to least offensive)

1. DIE ANOTHER DAY - I usually rank this as my least favorite Bond film, but for the first 29 minutes it is an EXCELLENT Bond film. Great pre-title sequence and (though it’s taken me awhile to warm up to Madonna’s song) a great title sequence. For the first time we get to see Bond tortured and facing death in a very human way. Brosnan is never better in the role. The scene where he is traded for Zao, and the implication that he is going to be executed leading up to it, are some of the most intense moments in the series. But after the half hour mark it becomes a cacophony of bad Halle Berry, bad puns, bad dialogue, the invisible car, CGI stunts (which is what I find to be the unforgivable sin of this picture, Bond has a rich history of awe-inspiring stunts which put real human beings in danger), super-villains and Madonna. We do get a great sword fight thrown in there, but that’s about it. It’s a shame.
2. TOMORROW NEVER DIES – Almost exactly one half of a very good Bond film. At the 58-minute mark something goes dreadfully wrong. Wonderful moments like Bond waiting for Teri Hatcher with the gun and vodka or the confrontation with Dr. Kaufman, and much more, give way to nearly incessant automatic gunfire and cheesy overly choreographed martial arts scenes that carry no humanity underneath. And the chemistry between Bond and Michelle Yeoh is pretty much non-existent. She’s an able enough actress, but being required to use unfamiliar English phrases and make innuendos in her second language comes off forced and stiff. She would have been better served to use expressions that were more comfortable and natural to her. The whole last twenty minutes or so are a total wreck. Very disappointing.
3. FORYOUR EYES ONLY – Much as I wanted to see Blofeld return, except for Bond visiting Tracy’s grave, that pre-title was a joke. Then we are treated to the most down to earth, gritty Bond film of Moore’s reign. Aside from some extremely dopey bits (the fricking talking parrot who gives away Kristotos’ location, the hockey rink and Bebe) this is a tough Bond. After not seeing him shoot his PPK once in MOONRAKER, it was great seeing him use it like an appendage here. We see Bond in some real danger and he actually gets bloodied up pretty good. And picking up lost bits from previous books like LIVE AND LET DIE was a nice touch for us fans of Fleming. Then we get the horrible, unbelievably goofy finale with the faux Thatcher. It almost ruins the entire picture and stops me from ranking FYEO among my favorites.
4. THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS – I still count this among the better Bond films, it fluctuates between number 9 and 12 in my rankings. For about two-thirds it is a fantastic Bond film (hate the theme song and opening credits, though). Sure, a few bits go too far over the top, such as the Russian plant manager being distracted from all off the alarms going off by having his head shoved between the full-figured gal’s boobs and the Aston Martin’s rockets, but it’s generally right on the ball. I love the pre-title sequence and I was overjoyed that the short story which the film is based on is kept pretty much intact. And Necros is the only post-Red Grant tall blond henchman that I actually like. But once we go to Afghanistan the film just dies. It becomes slow and even ridiculous at times. The confrontation with Whitaker is decent, but why doesn’t Bond just shoot him in the chest or stomach or legs when he’s bragging about that inane body armor. Could have been a top 7 or 8, but nope.
5. SKYFALL – I actually think SKYFALL is a pretty cool Bond film, almost great up until about at the 1:45 mark. The set up is wonderful and Craig finally seems to be completely at ease as Bond. Great villain, great locations and enough of a foot in tradition to make me shiver at times. Also, as has been mentioned on these boards multiple times, possibly the best looking of the Bond films. Where the movie dies for me is when the story moves to Scotland. I find the action from that point on to be monotonous and uninspiring. Aside from the scene on the frozen lake I feel (or initially felt) no tension or suspense in this section of the film. Add to that the whole Bond back-story/Wayne Manor/ Alfred crap, and this segment really cuts into all of the good will that SKYFALL has built up to that point. Luckily, we come back to London for one of the finest closing eight minutes in the franchise.


That’s all. Thoughts? Additions? Disagreements?
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Comments

  • I agree 100% about DAD, as I'm sure a lot of fans do. It had such great potential. Once Halle Berry shows up it goes off the rails. In a movie plagued with missteps, she is by and far the biggest misstep of all.

    I also agree about FYEO's only ending. That is my only real complaint about that film.

    I'd say you've got a pretty accurate list.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 30,647
    Thanks. Got any of your own to add?
  • edited February 2014 Posts: 317
    I agree with you 100% on Skyfall. I loved the movie overall but hated didn't enjoy the Scenes in Scotland much at all.
  • For me a clear example of this would be one of my least favorite Bond films. Diamonds Are Forever. Despite Connery's bloated appearance the first half of the movie is a damn good Bond film. We see Bond getting some sweet revenge on Blofeld during the PTS but more importantly afterwards we see Bond getting back to some legit spying. Assuming the identity of Peter Franks, playing along with Plenty O'Toole, tracking down leads. In alot of ways the Bond of the first half of DAF is very reminesent of the detective-like 007 in Dr.No in that he follows lead after lead until an inevitable conclusion. The audience knows as much as Bond and we're along for the ride with him. It's as soon as we get the reveal of Blofeld in the Whyte House that the whole film falls apart and becomes a joke. Giant Lasers in space, Blofeld in drag, etc. We go from a pretty down to earth spy film to a sci-fi adventure in a matter of minutes. It' jarring and feels as if both halves belong in separate films. As for the Moonbuggy and Mr.Wint/Mr. Kidd in the first half, I can forgive those things as it has a tight plot and a tight pace. The same can't be said for the second half.
  • Posts: 13,189
    I disagree with a few things written in the OP, but cannot disagree more about DAD: things started getting wrong, and very wrong, way before the end of the first half.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 30,647
    Ludovico wrote:
    I disagree with a few things written in the OP, but cannot disagree more about DAD: things started getting wrong, and very wrong, way before the end of the first half.
    I did say I liked the first half hour, not the first half. So, I agree with you.
  • Posts: 6,396
    Ludovico wrote:
    I disagree with a few things written in the OP, but cannot disagree more about DAD: things started getting wrong, and very wrong, way before the end of the first half.

    It went wrong from the moment Bond checks into the Hong Kong hotel. It was all downhill after that.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 30,647
    That is the exact point. 29 minutes in, I believe. Or close to it.
  • Posts: 6,396
    Birdleson wrote:
    That is the exact point. 29 minutes in, I believe. Or close to it.

    The really bad thing to note about that it half of that time accounts for the PTS and credits!
  • Posts: 13,189
    Ludovico wrote:
    I disagree with a few things written in the OP, but cannot disagree more about DAD: things started getting wrong, and very wrong, way before the end of the first half.

    It went wrong from the moment Bond checks into the Hong Kong hotel. It was all downhill after that.

    There were a few ikky moments before, but this is where things really went downhill. One could argue that the bullet in the gunbarrel sequence was the real start.
    Birdleson wrote:
    That is the exact point. 29 minutes in, I believe. Or close to it.

    Well, your title says halfway true, so my mistake. I find many people saying the movie is good until Bond reaches London, as if to excuse the stupidity of it all.
  • Posts: 1,085
    All of Brosnans tenure, bar Goldeneye.

    The moment we have the speed ramped helicopter shot over Iceland things take a turn for the worst. Although Halle berry in Cuba is awful too.

    With TND it's when they get handcuffed together and the one liner in the helicopter.

    With twine it's the gas pipe scene, although there's some naffness before that.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 30,647
    Matt007 wrote:

    With twine it's the gas pipe scene, although there's some naffness before that.

    That is a tough scene to take seriously. Maybe the first hint of CGI horrors to come.
  • pachazopachazo Make Your Choice
    Posts: 7,182
    Birdleson wrote:
    I’m not including THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH. I think that despite temporarily going off the rails when Denise Richards shows up, and the seemingly endless and schlocky scene in the caviar plant, it corrects course fairly quickly and still manages to end up being a very good Bond film.
    Hmm... I'm not sure that I can agree with this one. That final battle in the sub is pretty underwhelming.

    Birdleson wrote:
    1. DIE ANOTHER DAY - I usually rank this as my least favorite Bond film, but for the first 29 minutes it is an EXCELLENT Bond film.
    EXCELLENT (in all caps no less) is much too strong a word for this film. I'll grant you that it's better than what comes after it but that's not saying too much.

    Birdleson wrote:
    2. TOMORROW NEVER DIES – Almost exactly one half of a very good Bond film. At the 58-minute mark something goes dreadfully wrong... The whole last twenty minutes or so are a total wreck. Very disappointing.
    I agree with you here for the most part. I have a few issues with the first half but there's no question that it's far superior to the second half.

    Birdleson wrote:
    3. FORYOUR EYES ONLY – Then we get the horrible, unbelievably goofy finale with the faux Thatcher. It almost ruins the entire picture and stops me from ranking FYEO among my favorites.
    You're certainly not the only one who feels this way but I don't get it. It doesn't bother me in the slightest. To each their own I suppose.

    Birdleson wrote:
    4. THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS – For about two-thirds it is a fantastic Bond film. But once we go to Afghanistan the film just dies.
    I agree to an extent. I do enjoy certain parts here and there but yes, the film really does lose something once we get to Afghanistan.

    Birdleson wrote:
    5. SKYFALL – I actually think SKYFALL is a pretty cool Bond film, almost great up until about at the 1:45 mark. Where the movie dies for me is when the story moves to Scotland.
    I can't agree with this one. I have a few minor quibbles about The Scotland Adventures but overall I found it to be very entertaining.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 30,647
    Thanks for taking the time to go through my list so thoroughly. "to each how own", of course, but we seem to be pretty close on most of it. And yes, the sub battle in TWINE was pretty lame, but at that point I was still riding high from Bond's dispatching of Elektra (absolutely no need for a secondary Bond girl. I wish that EON had had the guts to let the film end with a dead Bond girl - as they had done once before and would do later- and not sacrifice integrity just so that Bond could end in bed and throw out a couple of cheesy one-liners).
  • MayDayDiVicenzoMayDayDiVicenzo Here and there
    Posts: 5,068
    Birdleson wrote:
    Thanks for taking the time to go through my list so thoroughly. "to each how own", of course, but we seem to be pretty close on most of it. And yes, the sub battle in TWINE was pretty lame, but at that point I was still riding high from Bond's dispatching of Elektra (absolutely no need for a secondary Bond girl. I wish that EON had had the guts to let the film end with a dead Bond girl - as they had done once before and would do later- and not sacrifice integrity just so that Bond could end in bed and throw out a couple of cheesy one-liners).

    Agreed, just having Elektra as the Bond girl would have vastly improved the film.
  • Without question, TND. The first third of the film is classic Bond. At this point it was en route to being a solid top 10 Bond film. Alas, the makers seem to have run out of ideas and thus resorted to incessant gun-play and explosions. As Le Chiffre said in CR, Such. A. Waste.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 30,647
    And the remote control car. That was about as un-Bond as you can get. The Fleming Bond loved to feel the road. It was one of the character's actual pleasures (aside from gambling, screwing, eating and smoking) in life. It bothered me a lot on a symbolic level.
  • Samuel001Samuel001 Moderator
    Posts: 13,294
    More gambling and eating in the next film please.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 30,647
    And let him smoke. Seventy a day.
  • Samuel001Samuel001 Moderator
    Posts: 13,294
    I'm not holding my breath for that. Other characters smoking would be good enough, in my book.
  • Posts: 13,189
    Birdleson wrote:
    And the remote control car. That was about as un-Bond as you can get. The Fleming Bond loved to feel the road. It was one of the character's actual pleasures (aside from gambling, screwing, eating and smoking) in life. It bothered me a lot on a symbolic level.

    In many ways the remote control car of TND was the predecessor of the invisible car of DAD. It was going too far into scifi, for one. The other problem was that Bond was like an overgrown child pushing buttons.
  • I loved the final act of Skyfall in Scotland and hearing Bond's backstory. The helicopter flying into the manor was a highlight for me.

    As for TLD--the finale on the aircraft carrier with Necros was among the best showdowns in any Bond film, IMHO.
  • edited February 2014 Posts: 12,319
    The remote control car was no worse than the underwater car in terms of being unrealistic. I always thought it was a cool idea.
    Without question, TND. The first third of the film is classic Bond. At this point it was en route to being a solid top 10 Bond film. Alas, the makers seem to have run out of ideas and thus resorted to incessant gun-play and explosions. As Le Chiffre said in CR, Such. A. Waste.

    Yeah I can agree with this. I think once Paris dies it goes downhill because from then on it's just constant action. Shame because I think with a few changes TND could be top 10 for sure.
  • Posts: 13,189
    Well, I never liked the underwater car, so there you go. Okay, let's put it this way then: the underwater car was the ancestor of the Vanish.
  • DragonpolDragonpol The Crazy World of David Dragonpol
    Posts: 14,636
    I loved the final act of Skyfall in Scotland and hearing Bond's backstory. The helicopter flying into the manor was a highlight for me.

    As for TLD--the finale on the aircraft carrier with Necros was among the best showdowns in any Bond film, IMHO.

    Hear! Hear!
  • I never had a problem with the caviar factory scene in TWINE. I'd venture to say that SF goes off the rails once they take Silva into custody, then gets back on track until the Home Alone preparation montage.
  • Samuel001 wrote:
    More gambling and eating in the next film please.

    Love it. It will certainly make Bond 24 realistic.

  • Samuel001 wrote:
    I'm not holding my breath for that. Other characters smoking would be good enough, in my book.

    Very punny.
  • I loved the final act of Skyfall in Scotland and hearing Bond's backstory. The helicopter flying into the manor was a highlight for me.

    As for TLD--the finale on the aircraft carrier with Necros was among the best showdowns in any Bond film, IMHO.

    Perhaps the best explosion in all of Bond. Kolossal!

  • SMERSHed wrote:
    Samuel001 wrote:
    More gambling and eating in the next film please.

    Love it. It will certainly make Bond 24 realistic.

    The dining scenes have all but disappeared, and it's a bloody shame. We need to see more of Bond the gourmand again.

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