The Spy Who Loved Me - Overated?

edited January 2013 in Bond Movies Posts: 20
I've been making my way through the Bond 50 Blu ray boxset (in no particular order) and was looking forward to watching TSWLM last night. It was a favourite from my youth, the classic ski chase and stunt, the underwater Lotus, gorgeous Ken Adam sets and Jaws. But after last nights viewing I felt a bit dissapointed. I thought it was slowly paced, almost ponderous in places, the direction was a quite flat and I didn't enjoy that much at all. I only have MR and AVTAK left to watch out the Moore era on this current viewing cycle but I probably enjoyed this the least out of his run so far. I know its held in quite high regard and I always enjoyed it before so I am hoping it was just the wrong film at the wrong time. Thoughts?
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Comments

  • I am working my way through the box too and just finished TLD yesterday.
    As for TSWLM, I still enjoyed it very much.
    I enjoyed some of the jokes more when I was younger (surprise) but overall I still regard it as probably Moore's best movie.

    I also noticed the slower pace but I also realised that, especially for a Moore movie, it has some very serious scenes and quite some tough spots.

    As for being overrated, I don't know, there are also many who dislike it, so I guess it's not under- nor overrated.
  • Posts: 1,492
    Its the best of the seventies.
  • Major_BoothroydMajor_Boothroyd Republic of Isthmus
    Posts: 2,721
    I rewatched it recently also. The slower pace is a valid point, but I enjoyed the final battle on the tanker a lot more than I have before. It is quite intense and grand in scope. Stromberg is still too bland for me. His death scene is pretty lame (and also nonsensical - if you shoot up a tube with a gun at the end - won't you just hit the gun?) but there are great moments peppered in the slow pace parts (the lotus chase being the Standout - but everything around that scene is fairly slow) I also think its one of Moore's better bond performances (I actually think his best is in MR - regardless of the film - that to me is his best Bond delivery) overall it might not be the stone cold classic bond film it is often lauded as but it is Moore's best and reinvigorated the series with so many iconic moments (the same reason I enjoy GF - I realise its flaws but the atmosphere of joy is contagious)
  • edited January 2013 Posts: 11,189
    I don't think it is. Ok there are one or two things I'm not that keen on but overall I find it a very enjoyable flick which sits nicely in my top 10. I agree that its certainly the best film in the 70s:

    The film is full of classy moments including:

    -The lotus submarine
    -Stromberg listening to JS Bach as he watches a woman being eaten
    -The shots of Egypt and the Pyramids
    -Moore slinging the tux over his shoulder as he walks through the desert to the Lawrence of Arabia soundtrack
    -The Ken Adam sets
    -The PTS

  • SandySandy Somewhere in Europe
    Posts: 4,012
    actonsteve wrote:
    Its the best of the seventies.

    I also think it's the best of the seventies. The song and soundtrack are great, at least in my opinion. Moore was more as ease with the character this time and had some iconic moments such as the union jack parachute (no matter how ridiculous it is once you think about it). I love most of the the Egypt scenes, they are beautifully shot. In fact all of the sets were great, especially the inside of the ship. Bond-girl wise it's a OK, Barbara Bach was beautiful but lacked in the talent department which is a shame as her character is rather interesting; still I have no major complaints there. I don't like Jaws as much as I used to when I was younger and I now consider him as one of the low points of the film, however he remains iconic and TSWLM wouldn't be the same without him.
  • actonsteve wrote:
    Its the best of the seventies.

    Definetly. I'd go a step further and say it's the best of the Moore era. I think Spy is actually underrated on these forums.

    TSWLM was one of the first Bond movies I ever saw, I'd seen TLD at the cinema but this was the only Bond video we had at home. I watched it religously, I loved it then and still do now. I think Moore really came into his own here.

    It wasn't groundbreaking or anything, it didn't invent the formula but I think it was the first movie to really perfect it. I'm actually pretty hard pressed to find something I don't like about it, and I can't even say that about Daltons films (my favourites).

    You have Moore on top form, the underwater Lotus, brilliant set design, great locations and cinematography, Jaws, the brilliant PTS with the iconic ski jump, tons of great lines, some cool action scenes, etc.

    I also really like the story. Strombergs evil plan was maybe a bit too similar to Blofelds in YOLT, but the idea of the Brits and the Russians having to work together is a good one and I really like the subplot about XXX's dead boyfriend. It was personal and I like how what was just another kill for Bond comes back to haunt him, it also shows that all the random enemies he's shot actually have lives, families, etc.
  • I rewatched it recently also. The slower pace is a valid point, but I enjoyed the final battle on the tanker a lot more than I have before. It is quite intense and grand in scope. Stromberg is still too bland for me. His death scene is pretty lame (and also nonsensical - if you shoot up a tube with a gun at the end - won't you just hit the gun?) but there are great moments peppered in the slow pace parts (the lotus chase being the Standout - but everything around that scene is fairly slow) I also think its one of Moore's better bond performances (I actually think his best is in MR - regardless of the film - that to me is his best Bond delivery) overall it might not be the stone cold classic bond film it is often lauded as but it is Moore's best and reinvigorated the series with so many iconic moments (the same reason I enjoy GF - I realise its flaws but the atmosphere of joy is contagious)

    Have to agree with you regarding Stromberg and his death scene and the battle inside the tanker, although I'm not too keen on 'Roger on the disco ball' bit. I did enjoy Moore's performance in places but you can also see the bits creeping in that people use to argue against his Bond portrayal.
  • SandySandy Somewhere in Europe
    Posts: 4,012
    I need to add this film brings back very fond memories. In fact it is my oldest cinema/tv related memory and it was probably my first Bond as my mother would confirm (it's also one of her favourites). It also has my favourite title sequence to this day. No overated at all.
  • I don't want people to think I don't like this movie. As some of the previous comments suggest, the PTS is a classic, the whole Lotus chase/underwater scene is briliant and the sets in the tanker and on Atlantis are stunning. But the stuff in Egypt I found a bit laboured. I also remember this a lot from my childhood and have many fond memories. Maybe I was expecting a bit too much for this viewing as its been a while since I have seen it.
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    edited January 2013 Posts: 9,117
    I have to say I'm in agreement. Its not shocking but its distinctly average - especially if you take out the PTS and swap it say with TNDs.

    It has a lot of good things but I think the mere presence of the Lotus, Jaws and the ski jump mean people regard it as a classic when it does rather plod in places.
    After the Lotus the film grinds to a halt for me and the final attack is not a patch on YOLT or OHMSS.

    Dont get me wrong I dont dislike it and when I say it plods in places I dont mean to TB degrees of plodding (TB plods like an arthritic rhino on its way home from a heavy session at the pub) but I would have it somewhere around the halfway mark. Probably just in the bottom half. Sort of Stoke or Fulham. Not much danger of being in the relegation mix but hardly likely to trouble the Champions League contenders. I guess that means I consider it overrated if you think it should be top half or better.

    I certainly enjoy MR, OP and FYEO a lot more so bang in the middle of Rogs films as well.
  • edited January 2013 Posts: 20
    TheWizardOfIce sums it up perfectly for me. Those individual parts are greater than the whole movie. It is neither the greatest or the worst Bond, it is average. And like TheWizardOfIce, I prefer both YOLT and OP, not seen MR in a while so won't compare it just yet.
  • actonsteve wrote:
    Its the best of the seventies.

    True. TSWLM may have given birth to cartoon Bond, but it certainly pulls out the kid in me and justifies the main reasons why I want to be like Bond: you're a suave killer who likes to blow up the bad guys and bang a lot of chicks.

    Also, TSWLM not only shows James Bond as a spy, but also as a soldier. It shows his efficiency as a Navy Commander, how he planned strategies inside Stromberg's tanker and how he handled his men. To sum it all up, there's Jaws, the Lotus, and Mrs. Starkey, who is up there as one of my top Bond girls.

    There are times when I want to watch a straightforward spy flicks like FRWL or CR, but for escapism, nobody does it better than TSWLM. It brings out the fanboy in me, and makes me feel exactly just like how Lee Tamahori felt while making DAD.
  • Posts: 1,052
    Superb Bond film, the best of the big epic Bond films.
  • pachazopachazo Make Your Choice
    Posts: 7,314

    There are times when I want to watch a straightforward spy flicks like FRWL or CR, but for escapism, nobody does it better than TSWLM.

    Yeah Lewis Gilbert's Bond movies are all about escapism. So if you're not in the right mood they might not do it for you on that particular day.
  • Posts: 1
    Hey, I met with precisely the same disappointment when viewing it after reading how great it is supposed to be. But besides some of the usually fine cinematography featured, the ski-stunt intro is the only half-decent thing about the flick, which quickly goes downhill from there.

    Truly the worst actor/actress of the entire series, Bach comes across to me as "vacant-eyed," as she's been described elsewhere, and has no chemistry with Moore at all compared to other Bond girls (of Moore) like the more alluring Carole Bouquet in the far superior "For Your Eyes Only" (as an example). Every engaging encounter between them, especially in the film's closing scene, seems so contrived and unconvincing, where Bach's masque-like face and weak acting ultimately represents the high-school production the whole film actually resembles to me. Even Moore's acting (facial expressions and reactions, especially) and requisite charm were substandard in comparison to him in his other movies in the series.

    The intrigue so integral in the best Bond films has also gone missing in this one, and the only time I experienced a trace of suspense was as I viewed the missiles on the monitor narrowly missing each other after being launched towards the two warships.

    I certainly didn't feel any such suspense during the scenes with the highly-touted Jaws doofus who, as a poor fighter and Dracula wannabe, projects next to no element of menace for me at all. And without a trace of tension, as if on the way to the beach, the lackadaisical way Moore and Bach slipped into the back of Jaws' van before being driven out to the desert ruins was only eclipsed in inferior directing by the silly dinking around by Moore and Jaws within those ruins. Indeed, Jaws was used to much better effect in Moonraker!

    And while the Stromberg scenes nearing the climax rose a little above these disappointments, even they lacked the tension and dramatic impact of most others in the series. Without a doubt in my mind, "Live and Let Die" stands as the best Bond film of the '70s, not TSWLM, which I have watched for the last time. I am utterly astounded at the favorable reviews of this film and believe that FYEO is the best of Moore.
  • edited April 2017 Posts: 4,325
    It is often lauded as the best Moore film. Personally I hold both For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy above it. It's a bit like Goldfinger where its iconic moments (Lotus, Ski jump with parachute etc.) seem to make people want to elevate it to a status it maybe doesn't merit? Also there's no denying that it did reinvigorate the series at that point in the 1970s.

    It does also lag in repeat viewings I find due to the pacing. I often start to feel bored about the point where Q delivers the Lotus.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited April 2017 Posts: 23,883
    I don't think it's overrated at all. As it approaches its 40th anniversary this year, it remains by far the most impressive of the epic Bond films to me, and easily the best of the 70's and of Moore's tenure imho.

    For me, it is the only film that combines large scale adventurous spectacle, sinister thriller like suspense, style & glamour in one. Every other Bond film has a combination of some of these elements but TSWLM has it all in just the right measures for me.

    Quite frankly, I think it's underrated, and each time I watch it I have a strong inclination to move it up from its overall #4 spot in my rankings. The films ahead of it (FRWL, TB & CR respectively) just manage to hold it off, but one day I may change that. Subjectively, this might be my favourite film after the first two.
  • Posts: 19,339
    Personally I think OP is Moore's best Bond film,but this would be second for sure.
  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Per ora e per il momento che verrà
    edited April 2017 Posts: 6,778
    I agree that it's a bit overrated. I really enjoy many moments of it, especially the Egypt scenes and the Lotus chase.

    But the last third doesn't do much for me and I always found Jaws a bit too comical actually.

    TSWLM is right in the middle of my Rog rankings. It beats MR, OP and AVTAK, but I prefer LALD, TMWTGG and FYEO.

    I also think Rog gives a better performance in those three films and their overall atmosphere appeals more to me.
  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    edited April 2017 Posts: 5,131
    actonsteve wrote: »
    Its the best of the seventies.

    That's LALD for me by a long way.

    The overt comedy ruins parts of TSWLM.
  • suavejmfsuavejmf Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England
    Posts: 5,131
    GoldenGun wrote: »
    I agree that it's a bit overrated. I really enjoy many moments of it, especially the Egypt scenes and the Lotus chase.

    But the last third doesn't do much for me and I always found Jaws a bit too comical actually.

    TSWLM is right in the middle of my Rog rankings. It beats MR, OP and AVTAK, but I prefer LALD, TMWTGG and FYEO.

    I also think Rog gives a better performance in those three films and their overall atmosphere appeals more to me.

    I agree with every word of this.
  • Posts: 6,799
    I've only just discovered this thread! Have always believed TSWLM to be very over-rated! All of Rogers other Bond films beat it (and yes, i include AVTAK in that, it has some really good stuff in it!). The PTS is always praised as being one of the best, but its not. Take out the magnificent cliff jump, and its pretty rubbish! Curt Jurgens was a very poor villain, quite boring. Barbara Bach, though gorgeous, was equally dull. Never liked Jaws, the action is rather generic, and Marvin Hamlisch isn't fit to polish John Barrys baton! A very ponderous battle at the end, with one of the most boring bomb diffusing scenes cement it as one the weakest in the series. Definitely one of the Bonds where it didnt, doesn't, live up to the hype! MR, much derided, is way more fun and has some really great set-pieces!!
  • edited April 2017 Posts: 11,189
    Kurt himself was great but I've felt for a while that the character was somewhat underused.

    Spy, unlike MR, does actually feel like a proper spy film though unlike it's follow-up which, although something of a guilty pleasure is really a well made parody.

    I do agree about Bach though, a very poor actress and the "vacant eyed" description above is dead accurate.
  • SeanCraigSeanCraig Germany
    Posts: 732
    I am not too keen about this film myself. I like the iconic lotus, the pts. But the plot is somewhat boring ... at least it never convinced me like other entries. But above average, still.
  • bondjamesbondjames You were expecting someone else?
    edited April 2017 Posts: 23,883
    It pains me to read some of the remarks about one of my favourite films (not just Bond film) here. Some of the criticisms are unduly harsh imho.
  • thedovethedove hiding in the Greek underworld
    Posts: 4,938
    I don't like how it quite liberally steals plot, and scenes from YOLT. Whether this was Gilbert's influence as a director of both films, or whether it was Broccoli wanting to make sure it was a hit I am not sure.

    I love the soundtrack, I mean who wouldn't like Bond 77? I give Marvin Hamlish a lot of credit for doing a 70's take on Bond but not disrespecting what came before. The theme song is my favourite. Love Carly Simon.

    Bond seems to be able to bed women at will in the film but that seems to be a product of the era more then anything else.

    I rank it above AVTAK, MR and LALD but below TMWTGG, OP and FYEO in Roger's films. It fails to make my top ten.
  • BennyBenny In the shadowsAdministrator, Moderator
    Posts: 14,862
    Maybe it comes down to nostalgia. Maybe it's because it was the first Bond film I saw in its entirety and lead to where I am now 35 years later, but there is no way I could call Spy overrated. There are certain films within the series that are iconic. The Spy Who Loved Me is one of them.
    After the relatively poor showing for TMWTGG and the split with Harry Saltzman, Cubby Broccoli went it alone. He had to make the next film a success or it would've been the end of the Bond series. We talk today about the way the films are going, the waiting for the next instalment. Imagine the situation from 1974-1977. No internet to get daily...hourly updates if you wanted. Yet despite the hurdles, despite the risk, EON still delivered a film that , whether you like it or not, is an iconic film in the Bond series. At the time, this was a ground breaking film. That catered perfectly for the audiences of the late 70's.
    You can break the film down into famous moments and characters, but it still is packaged well, and gives you a couple of hours of good entertainment. The comparisons to YOLT are well known. Whether it is intentional or not is hard to tell. Though with Lewis Gilbert helming both it is rather coincidental. It's never been an issue for me when I watch it. I don't compare the two when I watch either of them. Though I do note similarities between them.
    Is The Spy Who Loved Me overrated?
    Not a chance. It took Bond through the late 70's, and through the 80's and beyond. It truly is Bond and beyond. ;)
  • edited April 2017 Posts: 19,339
    Well said @Benny !!

    And it also made me look forward to Christmas or Easter when it was on,as it was a real blockbuster treat for me when I was a kid,i was glued to it,the same with MR when it was shown.

    For that reason alone it isn't over-rated,it made me a very excited and happy young lad (and my dad as well,we both sat there watching it !)
  • ThunderpussyThunderpussy My Secret Lair
    Posts: 13,384
    TSWLM is an epic movie, a real statement of intent​ ! =D>
  • I watched TSWLM 2 days ago, and it's still one that ranks in my top 10. It's my 6th favorite film of the franchise, so I personally think it's praise is well deserved.
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