Got the tenth movie watched on the last day of June. Ten Bond movies in six months. Well on track to having these wrapped up by the end of the year.
THE SPY WHO LOVED ME
Bond: Roger Moore – 2 tusks
The best of the three movies he’s been in so far. In this movie, they strip out even more of the Connery aspects like his disdain for women and he becomes a lot more casual and looser. During the big reveal that he was the one who killed Anya’s boyfriend, he delivers some pretty good lines in a very convincing way. I largely have no complaints about him in this movie although, by this point, he’s really beginning to show his age and some of his action sequences are laughable from that respect. I waffled on giving him the full two tusks here, but I’m going to round up and give it to him.
Girl: Barbara Bach as Major Anya Amasova, Agent XXX – 2 tusks
A refreshing change from the last three movies where we have a strong female lead. Certainly the strongest since Diana Rigg’s character in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Gadgets: Lotus that turns into a mini-sub – 1 tusk
I’d like the Lotus that turns into a submarine if it were in almost any other movie. I don’t really like the super far-fetched gadgets like that in Bond. That’s a bit overboard for my tastes. The other gadgets throughout were fine though. Although I didn’t really understand why Q-Branch was set up in Cairo. Maybe I missed something.
Opening Theme: “Nobody Does It Better” performed by Carly Simon – 2 tusks
After the Lazenby movie, the themes meander in styles and lose the big, brassy feeling they had in the 60s. “Live And Let Die” was one of the best theme songs ever, but as I mentioned in my review of that movie, the theme didn’t really mesh with the movie. Carly Simon turns in my favorite Bond song (that top spot only recently rivaled with Casino Royale’s theme) with a theme that is enjoyable and matches the tone and mood of the movie. The only downside is the real corny version played at the very end of the movie. I could have done without that.
Villain: Curt Jürgens as Karl Stromberg – 1 tusk
“Diet Blofeld” sums up my thoughts on this character. Apparently the original script drafts had SPECTRE and Blofeld return, but the Kevin McClory legal issues put the kibosh on that. So, instead we get another crazy megalomaniac who wants to change the face of the world. His motivations are unclear. I wonder if he’s underdeveloped with the original intention of being Blofeld. Ultimately, he doesn’t have enough screen time to be cool. He had no defining moment like Goldfinger, Scaramanga, or any of the Blofelds did. But, he’s not horrible either.
Henchman: Richard Kiel as Jaws – 2 tusks
Jaws might ought to be considered the villain of the movie because he has more to do and more scenes than Stromberg. He’s the best henchman since Oddjob, but his invulnerability is overly far-fetched.
Pre-title opening sequence – 2 tusks
Nice combination of mini-adventure that sets up the story and lays the groundwork for conflict to come later on. The end stunt was amazing and it’s worth watching the extra features to learn a bit about the background on that scene.
Due to legal problems and other behind the scenes issues, there was a longer than usual delay between the previous movie and this one, but it was probably for the best. They had been cranking out Bond movies once every other year for years and a lot of the people were the same. Guy Hamilton had directed the last three straight and Tom Mankiewicz (the guy who made Superman better) had a hand in writing the last three. Although the director was the guy who directed You Only Live Twice, The Spy Who Loved Me Comes in with a sense of freshness in spite of how derivative it is of earlier films.
It basically apes the plot of You Only Live Twice and marries it with some of From Russia With Love, but does so in a different way. And by the tenth movie, it’s no surprise that we’re running out of plots and repeating elements. The love story is one of the best in the series thus far and the two leads have some real chemistry.
I liked that Bond’s marriage was mentioned for the first time in three movies. I also liked the reference to Q’s real name of Major Boothroyd. It was obvious that this was written by a fan. And now that the series of movies have been around for 15 years and the books even longer, it’s no surprise that we’re entering the era of Bond movies written by guys who were fans of the originals.
Also, this was the first Bond movie to come out after I was born. Not that that means anything, just thought I’d mention it. Now…bring on MOONRAKER!!!