THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN
Bond: Roger Moore – 1 tusk
As a whole, I like the Roger Moore in this movie better than in the previous, but I still had problems. He did loosen up a bit. But just a bit. He’s got a couple of good fight scenes and just looks more comfortable in the role. However, I don’t understand why they decided to turn Bond into an android. Twice in the movie he starts spewing out information like he’s Kryten or C-3P0. I think they want him to sound cool, but he just comes off like a nerd. (Not a cool nerd like the three of us.)
Moore wanted to show Bond as someone who didn’t like to kill but would if he had to. His scene of disgust with Scaramanga at the dinner table and his line, “I admit killing you would be a pleasure,” was very forced in trying to show this aspect of Bond. I also think they took the “Bond doesn’t like women” thing too far with the way he treated Goodnight. He’s rather rude with her and it’s mostly unfounded. She handled the big janitor guy on her own but then Bond yells at her for not reading the signs. But it was exactly the kind of thing Bond has done in any number of previous movies. He loses his charm around her and is just a big jerk. Eh…that interaction bugged me. But I suppose in some ways it mimics the way M mistreats Bond.
Girl: Britt Eckland as Mary Goodnight – 2 tusks
First I like Mary Goodnight because she proves her worth right off the bat by helping Bond track down Andrea Anders. She holds her own against the big janitor guy. And although she got kidnapped, she did so trying to help. She’s treated like she’s a dumb blond, but she’s actually quite an asset if Bond would just let her be. Second, I probably start liking her just because Bond is so mean to her. And her biggest flaw is that she just takes it. I guess Goodnight was a character throughout three of the books. I would have been in favor of more appearances by her except I couldn’t stand seeing her get yelled at anymore.
Special shout-out to Maud Adams as Andrea Anders. She’s a great “other” Bond girl.
Gadgets: None – 2 tusks
Bond didn’t really sport any gadgets this go around. Scaramanga has his Golden Gun and a car that turned into a plane, but neither one of those were Bond’s gadgets. Closest we came was Goodnight’s tracking device built into the button of her shirt. (I looked it up to double check I hadn’t missed a gadet. There was some camera gun thing used in the background in one scene. I’m not counting it.) As I’ve said before, I like little to no gadgets so I’ll give it the full tusk rating here.
Opening Theme: “The Man With The Golden Gun” performed by Lulu – 0 tusks
The only way to follow up McCartney is with this awful song. Except for the return of J.W. Pepper, this was the worst part about the movie.
Villain: Christopher Lee as Francisco Scaramanga, The Man With The Golden Gun – 2 tusks
For most of the movie I couldn’t decide if he deserved two tusks or just one. It was like he didn’t really do enough to merit that second tusk. But when he starts giving Bond the tour of his island, he just becomes so likable. His best line is when Bond starts spouting off some stat about the temperature of the laser beam and Lee just says, “If you say so” as if to say, “Don’t over-analyze this nerd. You don’t impress me.” Lee just appears to be having fun in the role and could have made an interesting recurring villain since Blofeld has disappeared for now.
Henchman: Herve Villechaize as Nick Nack – 1 tusk
Nick Nack was a fun character who had a little bit of complexity to him. Once you find out that Scaramanga’s fortune is his upon Scaramanga’s death, he becomes interesting to watch.
Pre-title opening sequence – 1 tusk
It’s an intro that reminds me of the intro in From Russia With Love. No real Bond, just setting up the villain.
Interesting to watch this movie from 35 years ago and see that they’re saying the same things about fuel and energy then that we are now. Not a perfect movie by any means, but a step up from Live And Let Die. It’s a slight variation on the Bond formula. Bond becomes the star of his own movie again. The villains are worthy. Overall, I had fun watching this again.
The major weak points in this movie:
– Some of Bond’s new quirks (as mentioned above)
– The return of J.W. Pepper
– A lackluster final battle between Bond and Scaramanga. There should have been more there.
– How did M have Scaramanga’s personal yacht’s phone number?