Cinematic Bond: which movies would you consider 'deadly serious'?

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Comments

  • ProfJoeButcherProfJoeButcher Bless your heart
    edited July 18 Posts: 1,464
    MI6HQ wrote: »
    @ProfJoeButcher I'm curious at your view about North by Northwest?
    That's the film where FRWL heavily inspired from.

    Great film, also very light entertainment, of course. Just like FRWL.

    It's a good point though. Are there people who consider North by Northwest a realistic, "gritty" film?
    Not my theory at all. Take one look at the modern day critics of FRWL and this will confirm this.

    I'm not that interested in decontextualized retrospective reviews of movies now considered classics. There's too much cultural baggage that creeps in. Reverential 21st century reviews of Raiders of the Lost Ark, found on a random movie blog, are about as boring as reading can get. But even one of your quoted examples above is from one of those random internet listicle things, and the FRWL section is followed by a review of Skyfall, which says, "'Skyfall' is more seriously connected to real-world concerns than any previous entry, despite some of the usual outlandish action scenes, glittering settings and larger-than-life characters." Even your cherry-picked references don't support your claim that FRWL contains no OTT elements and is the most serious Bond film.

  • VenutiusVenutius Yorkshire
    Posts: 1,459
    Venutius wrote: »
    I dunno, I still reckon that 'deadly serious' = 'least humorous', not 'most realistic'.

    Again, that would tick the box for FRWL. Other than `she's had her kicks' and `she should have kept her mouth shut', I can't think of many hilarious, rib-tickling moments that were meant to be funny.
    Yes, I have no problem with the suggestion that FRWL is the Bond film with the least amount of humour.

  • ProfJoeButcherProfJoeButcher Bless your heart
    Posts: 1,464
    Venutius wrote: »
    Venutius wrote: »
    I dunno, I still reckon that 'deadly serious' = 'least humorous', not 'most realistic'.

    Again, that would tick the box for FRWL. Other than `she's had her kicks' and `she should have kept her mouth shut', I can't think of many hilarious, rib-tickling moments that were meant to be funny.
    Yes, I have no problem with the suggestion that FRWL is the Bond film with the least amount of humour.

    Oh, I think this effort to pretend FRWL is serious and gritty sells the film short. It's certainly funnier than DN or YOLT. The scene where Bond interviews Tatiana on the boat is hilarious.
  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    edited July 18 Posts: 7,218
    Venutius wrote: »
    Venutius wrote: »
    I dunno, I still reckon that 'deadly serious' = 'least humorous', not 'most realistic'.

    Again, that would tick the box for FRWL. Other than `she's had her kicks' and `she should have kept her mouth shut', I can't think of many hilarious, rib-tickling moments that were meant to be funny.
    Yes, I have no problem with the suggestion that FRWL is the Bond film with the least amount of humour.

    Oh, I think this effort to pretend FRWL is serious and gritty sells the film short. It's certainly funnier than DN or YOLT. The scene where Bond interviews Tatiana on the boat is hilarious.

    A lot of it comes from its heavy leaning into Cold War aesthetics. It's locations and atmosphere play a big part of the impression that it's gritty and serious. Which is totally fine - it's a supremely well balanced film. It manages to evoke those moods but also still have some trademark Bond zaniness and entertainment.
  • Posts: 1,293
    Isn't it obvious that most of the responses interpret the question this way -- "...as far as Bond films are concerned." Sure. In one view, NONE of them are serious, or realistic. But, among the films, some are more serious, and less outlandish than others. Given the nature of the books and of these films, that's all you can say, and that's fine !
  • MI6HQMI6HQ SIS Building, London, United Kingdom
    edited July 18 Posts: 1,244
    I think all of you have a point, and when concerning the other side of the argument, well Fleming never intended Bond to be super realistic and gritty, it's meant to be escapism.

    Agreed none of the Bond films were super grounded into realism, there's still outlandishness, because they're escapism and written as some kind of Pulp Fiction.

    Heck even CR (the film) wasn't that super gritty either, the huge explosions and the sinking house for example.

    Though some of the Bond films were just lowered down it's outlandishness, and FRWL was one of them, it still had it's comic moments into it, but the plot was leaning towards realism, the cold war espionage, the Lektor machine which was inspired by Fleming's own experience as an intelligence officer and the Assault 30 unit which he'd formed.

    I think that's the reason why people liked Bond films, it's not purely realistic, there's some campy moments that made these Bond films enjoyable.
  • edited July 18 Posts: 821
    I suppose there's that element of what one means by 'serious'. I don't think escapism, especially for Bond, always has to be light-hearted, comedic or toned down.

    The Fleming novels are generally a good example of this. DN is pretty outlandish with Bond fighting a giant squid, a villain on an island with metal pinchers for hands etc. But there's also a grittiness to the writing: Fleming describes how badly injured Bond is, his thoughts and pain as he goes through the maze etc. It's escapism, fantastical really, but it's taken very seriously in how its presented. Some of the older films can be described as more tongue in cheek in that sense.
  • VenutiusVenutius Yorkshire
    edited July 18 Posts: 1,459
    Oh, I think this effort to pretend FRWL is serious and gritty sells the film short. It's certainly funnier than DN or YOLT. The scene where Bond interviews Tatiana on the boat is hilarious.
    Yeah, but that's why I deliberately said 'least amount of humour' - which's not the same as realistic or 'serious and gritty', after all. Humour's really subjective, we're not all going to crack up at the same gags. I loved the dark and sometimes deadpan humour in QOS, whereas Makeshift thought it fell flat. Fair enough, we're amused by different things. I agree that FRWL does have some laughs; but, for me, fewer than the other films.
  • echoecho 007 in New York
    Posts: 5,026
    Day and night.
  • Posts: 2,874
    Venutius wrote: »
    Venutius wrote: »
    I dunno, I still reckon that 'deadly serious' = 'least humorous', not 'most realistic'.

    Again, that would tick the box for FRWL. Other than `she's had her kicks' and `she should have kept her mouth shut', I can't think of many hilarious, rib-tickling moments that were meant to be funny.
    Yes, I have no problem with the suggestion that FRWL is the Bond film with the least amount of humour.

    Thanks for providing some sanity on here.
  • Posts: 2,874
    Venutius wrote: »
    Venutius wrote: »
    I dunno, I still reckon that 'deadly serious' = 'least humorous', not 'most realistic'.

    Again, that would tick the box for FRWL. Other than `she's had her kicks' and `she should have kept her mouth shut', I can't think of many hilarious, rib-tickling moments that were meant to be funny.
    Yes, I have no problem with the suggestion that FRWL is the Bond film with the least amount of humour.

    Oh, I think this effort to pretend FRWL is serious and gritty sells the film short. It's certainly funnier than DN or YOLT. The scene where Bond interviews Tatiana on the boat is hilarious.

    I don't think the intention was to make FRWL funnier than YOLT, likewise I'm not sure how you find the Tatiana interview hilarious either, unless your laughing at the style of filmmaking back then compared to now.

    And if you think that we are all making a huge effort to try and sell FRWL as a serious flick because you just cannot see this yourself, I'm afraid you are on your own pal. It's your problem... ;)
  • edited July 18 Posts: 2,874
    MI6HQ wrote: »
    @ProfJoeButcher I'm curious at your view about North by Northwest?
    That's the film where FRWL heavily inspired from.

    Great film, also very light entertainment, of course. Just like FRWL.

    It's a good point though. Are there people who consider North by Northwest a realistic, "gritty" film?
    Not my theory at all. Take one look at the modern day critics of FRWL and this will confirm this.

    I'm not that interested in decontextualized retrospective reviews of movies now considered classics. There's too much cultural baggage that creeps in. Reverential 21st century reviews of Raiders of the Lost Ark, found on a random movie blog, are about as boring as reading can get. But even one of your quoted examples above is from one of those random internet listicle things, and the FRWL section is followed by a review of Skyfall, which says, "'Skyfall' is more seriously connected to real-world concerns than any previous entry, despite some of the usual outlandish action scenes, glittering settings and larger-than-life characters." Even your cherry-picked references don't support your claim that FRWL contains no OTT elements and is the most serious Bond film.

    Again, I'm not sure where these OTT elements really are in FRWL. You keep telling me it's down to an OTT PTS - I just don't see it.

    You tell me its down to a Bond lookalike mask that you find OTT. Again, to me that is not OTT.

    You tell me its because Bond shoots down a helicopter (I mean, seriously!) Again, this is not OTT.

    You tell me its because Bond disappears with 2 gypsy girls for the evening. Again, that's not OTT.

    You tell me Rosa Klebb is OTT. Again, I just don't see it. I find Klebb one of the most evil, creepy characters in the entire franchise. There is nothing about the excellent performance by Lotte Lenya that suggest an OTT character. Silva and Safin are what I determine OTT characters.

    You tell me its because we catch a brief background glimpse of Spectre's training camp as the camera pans that makes FRWL OTT. Sorry, I just don't see it.

    Meanwhile, you have never once acknowledged or tried to tackle all the OTT references I have mentioned in the Craig films, particularly Craig's speedy recovery after the drill scene in SP. If you don't believe any of those moments are OTT, then I'd like to try a sample of what you are smoking.


  • edited July 18 Posts: 312
    You are all wrong.

    Thunderball is the most serious. It is the film where I most believe that Bond is on a mission to save the world from nuclear Armageddon. There is a real sense of urgency, where Bond knows he needs to pull his finger out. Contrast with NSNA where Bond just drifts through, as if on an extended holiday

    Talking of holidays, OHMSS is a superb film, but not serious at all. Does anyone, including Bond, really believe the world is in peril? Bond is more worried about losing his bachelor status.

    FRWL is also superb. Connery at his most dangerous, and bad tempered, but, again, the stakes are not high. No sense of impeding doom for the world.

    Yes, other Bond films have the world in peril, but Bond usually takes time out to muck about, so is not taking it seriously. If Bond can’t take a mission seriously, neither can I

    Hence, back to Thunderball. Clearly the most serious of all Bond films.
  • Posts: 1,293
    Troy wrote: »
    You are all wrong.

    Thunderball is the most serious. It is the film where I most believe that Bond is on a mission to save the world from nuclear Armageddon. There is a real sense of urgency, where Bond knows he needs to pull his finger out. Contrast with NSNA where Bond just drifts through, as if on an extended holiday

    Talking of holidays, OHMSS is a superb film, but not serious at all. Does anyone, including Bond, really believe the world is in peril? Bond is more worried about losing his bachelor status.

    FRWL is also superb. Connery at his most dangerous, and bad tempered, but, again, the stakes are not high. No sense of impeding doom for the world.

    Yes, other Bond films have the world in peril, but Bond usually takes time out to muck about, so is not taking it seriously. If Bond can’t take a mission seriously, neither can I

    Hence, back to Thunderball. Clearly the most serious of all Bond films.

    Using the Saving the World Barometer, clearly MR is the THE MOST SERIOUS BOND OF THEM ALL ! After the tagline for TSWLM: "It's Bond. And B-E-Y-O-N-D" we went to "It's Bond, *^%(-ing Serious, this time !" Why ? Because in MR the World was really, really, really at risk ! Matters weighed so heavily that Jaws fell for a sweetheart and switched sides...albeit after being abandoned in space to die. "Here's looking at you, kid."
  • mattjoesmattjoes Mitchell
    edited July 18 Posts: 5,760
    Moonraker is the most serious Bond film, because it involves murdering most of the human race, while saving only a select few deemed superior. A disturbing subject matter. Although, with its melancholic style and bittersweet ending, Skyfall might be just as serious. In fact, Skyfall is a more serious film than Moonraker, except Moonraker is often more serious than Skyfall, and is overall more serious, yes. One is more serious than the other, although they're equally serious most of the time.
  • ProfJoeButcherProfJoeButcher Bless your heart
    edited July 18 Posts: 1,464
    Venutius wrote: »
    Venutius wrote: »
    I dunno, I still reckon that 'deadly serious' = 'least humorous', not 'most realistic'.

    Again, that would tick the box for FRWL. Other than `she's had her kicks' and `she should have kept her mouth shut', I can't think of many hilarious, rib-tickling moments that were meant to be funny.
    Yes, I have no problem with the suggestion that FRWL is the Bond film with the least amount of humour.

    Oh, I think this effort to pretend FRWL is serious and gritty sells the film short. It's certainly funnier than DN or YOLT. The scene where Bond interviews Tatiana on the boat is hilarious.

    I don't think the intention was to make FRWL funnier than YOLT, likewise I'm not sure how you find the Tatiana interview hilarious either, unless your laughing at the style of filmmaking back then compared to now.

    I don't know if you've seen the movie or not, but while Bond is interviewing Tatiana, she asks if he will make love to her in London. "Day and night," he replies dispassionately. This is a joke, a good one.

    Moneypenny keenly listening to all of this is also intended to be humorous and it is. Even funnier is when an embarrassed M shuts everything down as Bond is about to share an embarrassing anecdote about the two of them in Tokyo. It's basically an exposition/comedy scene.

  • Posts: 1,293
    mattjoes wrote: »
    Moonraker is the most serious Bond film, because it involves murdering most of the human race, while saving only a select few deemed superior. A disturbing subject matter. Although, with its melancholic style and bittersweet ending, Skyfall might be just as serious. In fact, Skyfall is a more serious film than Moonraker, except Moonraker is often more serious than Skyfall, and is overall more serious, yes. One is more serious than the other, although they're equally serious most of the time.

    Seriously...(ahem)...you're being ridiculous ! In SF it was just a TITLE, whereas in MR, the sky pretty much WOULD HAVE BEEN FALLING ! On - as you pointed out - MANY people ! I'll give you this, though, any time the Aston gets damaged IS pretty darn serious. M ? Yeah, sure, but DB !!!
  • Posts: 312
    Since62 wrote: »

    Using the Saving the World Barometer, clearly MR is the THE MOST SERIOUS BOND OF THEM ALL ! After the tagline for TSWLM: "It's Bond. And B-E-Y-O-N-D" we went to "It's Bond, *^%(-ing Serious, this time !" Why ? Because in MR the World was really, really, really at risk ! Matters weighed so heavily that Jaws fell for a sweetheart and switched sides...albeit after being abandoned in space to die. "Here's looking at you, kid."

    But does Bond take it that seriously? Is there a sense of urgency? Bond doesn’t even seem that fussed about his mate Steed being killed.

  • CraigMooreOHMSSCraigMooreOHMSS Dublin, Ireland
    Posts: 7,218
    Venutius wrote: »
    Venutius wrote: »
    I dunno, I still reckon that 'deadly serious' = 'least humorous', not 'most realistic'.

    Again, that would tick the box for FRWL. Other than `she's had her kicks' and `she should have kept her mouth shut', I can't think of many hilarious, rib-tickling moments that were meant to be funny.
    Yes, I have no problem with the suggestion that FRWL is the Bond film with the least amount of humour.

    Oh, I think this effort to pretend FRWL is serious and gritty sells the film short. It's certainly funnier than DN or YOLT. The scene where Bond interviews Tatiana on the boat is hilarious.

    I don't think the intention was to make FRWL funnier than YOLT, likewise I'm not sure how you find the Tatiana interview hilarious either, unless your laughing at the style of filmmaking back then compared to now.

    I don't know if you've seen the movie or not, but while Bond is interviewing Tatiana, she asks if he will make love to her in London. "Day and night," he replies dispassionately. This is a joke, a good one.

    Moneypenny keenly listening to all of this is also intended to be humorous and it is. Even funnier is when an embarrassed M shuts everything down as Bond is about to share an embarrassing anecdote about the two of them in Tokyo. It's basically an exposition/comedy scene.

    "Thank you Miss Moneypenny, that's all, that's all....."
  • Posts: 2,874
    I don't know if you've seen the movie or not.
    Take a wild guess, Professor...

  • ProfJoeButcherProfJoeButcher Bless your heart
    Posts: 1,464
    Venutius wrote: »
    Venutius wrote: »
    I dunno, I still reckon that 'deadly serious' = 'least humorous', not 'most realistic'.

    Again, that would tick the box for FRWL. Other than `she's had her kicks' and `she should have kept her mouth shut', I can't think of many hilarious, rib-tickling moments that were meant to be funny.
    Yes, I have no problem with the suggestion that FRWL is the Bond film with the least amount of humour.

    Oh, I think this effort to pretend FRWL is serious and gritty sells the film short. It's certainly funnier than DN or YOLT. The scene where Bond interviews Tatiana on the boat is hilarious.

    I don't think the intention was to make FRWL funnier than YOLT, likewise I'm not sure how you find the Tatiana interview hilarious either, unless your laughing at the style of filmmaking back then compared to now.

    I don't know if you've seen the movie or not, but while Bond is interviewing Tatiana, she asks if he will make love to her in London. "Day and night," he replies dispassionately. This is a joke, a good one.

    Moneypenny keenly listening to all of this is also intended to be humorous and it is. Even funnier is when an embarrassed M shuts everything down as Bond is about to share an embarrassing anecdote about the two of them in Tokyo. It's basically an exposition/comedy scene.

    "Thank you Miss Moneypenny, that's all, that's all....."

    It's one of my favorites!
  • Yeah I can’t get on board with From Russia With Love being more serious than the Craig movies. The seriousness isn’t necessarily about the over the top elements pulp elements, of which FRWL arguably has fewer than some of the Craig entries, or a grounded plot (which FRWL certainly has one of the most in that respect) but about how the movie expects you to feel about the internal logic of its own story. FRWL is relatively grounded for the series, but as as ProfJoeButcher pointed out it’s largely pretty light entertainment — there are a lot of gags, we are never made to feel bad, and things really only feel particularly dangerous once Bond is facing off with Red Grant. It’s fun, not serious. Now the Craig movies, like all Bond films, have their share of gags, jokes, pulpy silliness, etc but more than any other run of films it takes itself pretty seriously — there is high-stakes emotional trauma, brutal violence, and a high quantity of drama (or melodrama) that the films hope for you to buy into. Obviously they’re still escapist blockbusters and hardly particularly serious fare, but compared to the series writ large the Craig movies absolutely present themselves as the most serious dramatic works of the lot. If we were talking about what the most grounded or believable Bond film is, FRWL would be stiffer competition I think, but again I don’t view that as synonymous with “serious”.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,283
    Wow, I didn't think I was starting a thread that would receive such passionate responses.
    How about reverse engineering the question...
    Which Bond movies suffer from faux-seriousness injected into what is basically an escapist franchise?
    The answer to THAT question is easy for me: Skyfall.
  • mattjoesmattjoes Mitchell
    Posts: 5,760
    Since62 wrote: »
    mattjoes wrote: »
    Moonraker is the most serious Bond film, because it involves murdering most of the human race, while saving only a select few deemed superior. A disturbing subject matter. Although, with its melancholic style and bittersweet ending, Skyfall might be just as serious. In fact, Skyfall is a more serious film than Moonraker, except Moonraker is often more serious than Skyfall, and is overall more serious, yes. One is more serious than the other, although they're equally serious most of the time.

    Seriously...(ahem)...you're being ridiculous ! In SF it was just a TITLE, whereas in MR, the sky pretty much WOULD HAVE BEEN FALLING ! On - as you pointed out - MANY people ! I'll give you this, though, any time the Aston gets damaged IS pretty darn serious. M ? Yeah, sure, but DB !!!

    Yeah but nobody was raking the moon in MR. Lying bastards. They don't take their titles seriously.
  • Posts: 1,293
    Troy wrote: »
    Since62 wrote: »

    Using the Saving the World Barometer, clearly MR is the THE MOST SERIOUS BOND OF THEM ALL ! After the tagline for TSWLM: "It's Bond. And B-E-Y-O-N-D" we went to "It's Bond, *^%(-ing Serious, this time !" Why ? Because in MR the World was really, really, really at risk ! Matters weighed so heavily that Jaws fell for a sweetheart and switched sides...albeit after being abandoned in space to die. "Here's looking at you, kid."

    But does Bond take it that seriously? Is there a sense of urgency? Bond doesn’t even seem that fussed about his mate Steed being killed.

    He took the centrifuge abuse seriously ! It negatively affected his ability to enjoy the next glass of wine, spirits or meal !
  • Posts: 1,293
    mattjoes wrote: »
    Since62 wrote: »
    mattjoes wrote: »
    Moonraker is the most serious Bond film, because it involves murdering most of the human race, while saving only a select few deemed superior. A disturbing subject matter. Although, with its melancholic style and bittersweet ending, Skyfall might be just as serious. In fact, Skyfall is a more serious film than Moonraker, except Moonraker is often more serious than Skyfall, and is overall more serious, yes. One is more serious than the other, although they're equally serious most of the time.

    Seriously...(ahem)...you're being ridiculous ! In SF it was just a TITLE, whereas in MR, the sky pretty much WOULD HAVE BEEN FALLING ! On - as you pointed out - MANY people ! I'll give you this, though, any time the Aston gets damaged IS pretty darn serious. M ? Yeah, sure, but DB !!!

    Yeah but nobody was raking the moon in MR. Lying bastards. They don't take their titles seriously.

    Quite so. If any "moonraker" (a sail) appeared in any R Moore Bond film, it could only have been at the end of TMWTGG, right ? Not saying that ship had a moonraker, but it's the only possibility ! The small sailing vessel in which Bond shared a ride with his Russian counterpart did not have one, nor did Octopussy's barge. I cannot recall any other vessels with sails in the Moore films, sorry.
  • Posts: 221
    While I would not call FRWL "realistic" it is more serious (just in terms of less jokes) and has more of a sense of danger than almost any of the early Bond films. Or North by Northwest since the comparison was made. Nothing as visceral or intense as the Red Grant sequence in any of those films.
  • Posts: 1,293
    CountJohn wrote: »
    While I would not call FRWL "realistic" it is more serious (just in terms of less jokes) and has more of a sense of danger than almost any of the early Bond films. Or North by Northwest since the comparison was made. Nothing as visceral or intense as the Red Grant sequence in any of those films.

    Indeed...as Bond films go - which is the distinction, as I understand it - certainly FRWL is far less outlandish than any other Connery Bond film.
  • ProfJoeButcherProfJoeButcher Bless your heart
    Posts: 1,464
    chrisisall wrote: »
    Wow, I didn't think I was starting a thread that would receive such passionate responses.
    How about reverse engineering the question...
    Which Bond movies suffer from faux-seriousness injected into what is basically an escapist franchise?
    The answer to THAT question is easy for me: Skyfall.

    I like this question!

    Depending on how much one likes a particular Craig film, I suppose they could be accused of it a bit, but I think they mostly succeed in their characterizations and follow though with real consequences when it comes to the drama.

    I would go with Goldeneye. The film is chockful of melodramatic monologues about the character of James Bond, and none of it aligns with what we know of him from previous movies or see of him in this movie. Retconning Bond to give him a long-time partner just to raise stakes, talking about him drinking to silence the screams of the men he's killed, the absurd dialogue/music in the beach scene, even "sexist misogynist dinosaur"--this film is just WAY too flimsy and lightweight to support any of this nonsense.
  • echoecho 007 in New York
    edited July 19 Posts: 5,026
    GE suffered from a lack of Maibaum input. Even bad Maibaum (AVTAK, I'm looking at you) still felt Bondian.
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