cinema As the third James Bond movie featuring Daniel Craig gets ready for release on November 1, mini anthikad chhibbertakes a look at Goldfinger, The Spy Who Loved Me and The World is not Enough , which were the third outing of Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan as the suave super spy
While the law of prequels dictates the need for a strong first and third instalment with a middling second, when it comes to the James Bond movie franchise such trifling rules are thrown out of the window. The phenomenon, which had a modest beginning in 1962 with Dr. No , gathered steam with From Russia With Love (1963) and reached its pinnacle in Goldfinger .
The 1964 film directed by Guy Hamilton is considered by many to be the ultimate Bond film. The film, Sean Connery’s third outing as 007, set the template with its heady mix of guns, gadgets, girls, megalomaniac villain, humour, action, exotic locations and quotable quotes (“no Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!”). It was also the movie of licensed tie-ins, an extended pre-credit sequence, the Bond score, and bizarre henchmen.
The uber cool Connery
Sean Connery was uber cool and lovely lethal as Bond whether he is romancing the golden Jill (literally), sparring with Pussy Galore (add naughty names to the list), defeating Goldfinger at that tense game of golf or saving the world. One can almost forgive him that hideous blue bathrobe thing and his infamous Beatles line when he says drinking Dom Perignon '53 above the temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit is “as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs!” Ouch!
Connery went on to act in three more Bond films after which he handed over the baton to Roger Moore with Live And Let Die (1973), which was also directed by Hamilton as was Moore’s next outing, The Man With The Golden Gun (1974). In between there was On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) which featured George Lazenby as Bond. While one of the movies closest to the Ian Fleming novel, Lazenby never reprised his role as Bond — the kilt had something to do with it methinks.
It was with The Spy Who Loved Me that Roger Moore came into his own as Bond. Ian Fleming apparently only allowed use of the title and not the story, which was a good thing. Fleming’s The Spy Who Loved Me is a strange short story purporting to be written by a girl who Bond saves from sadistic thugs.
The movie was a reboot of sorts. Bond collaborates with a Russian spy, Anya Amasova, to save the world from megalomaniac Stromberg’s evil designs. The chemistry between Moore and Barbara Bach who plays Anya is charming. While the scale of the movie is massive with Bond movie regular Ken Adam designing truly mind-boggling lairs for Stromberg, the intimate moments work. The movie was sassy, knowing, funny and thrilling. Exotic locations, including Sardinia, Egypt, Malta, Switzerland and Scotland, and Richard Kiel as the gigantic, metal toothed Jaws were the greatest fun.
Moore’s later outings as Bond devolved into parody. Shakespearean actor Timothy Dalton played Bond in two films — The Living Daylights (‘87) and Licence to Kill (‘89). The wait for the third movie took forever and six years later there was Golden Eye with Pierce Brosnan playing Bond. Directed by Martin Campbell, the film was yet another reboot. M changed gender with Judy Dench playing Bond’s boss. “The evil queen of numbers” shows she has the balls to send a man out to die.
The World Is Not Enough (1999) was Brosnan’s third outing as Bond and the flab was beginning to show. Sophie Marceau made for a lovely Bond girl as Electra King, while Denise Richards was terribly miscast as Christmas Jones, a nuclear physicist. The only memorable thing about the movie was it marked the exit of Desmond Llewelyn as Q, Bond’s armourer. Llewelyn’s last line, “Always have an escape plan” was especially poignant as he met with a fatal accident shortly after The World Is Not Enough was released.
Casino Royale (2006) introduced us to the sixth actor to play Bond — Daniel Craig. Also directed by Campbell, the movie did away with the gadgets and the flirting and gave us a Bond who was close to Fleming’s blunt instrument. Quantum Of Solace (2008) was a grim revenge saga bringing to mind Licence to Kill .
Craig’s third outing as Bond seemed plagued with all kinds of problems, with the production shutting down for a bit. But all is well now and Skyfall , helmed by Sam Mendes and shot in Istanbul and Shanghai, is ready for release. The hunk fest — Javier Bardem plays the villain and Ralph Fiennes is there as well looking gorgeously haunted — will feature the return of Q with Ben Whishaw looking suitably nerdy as the gadget guru.
Though Bond in Casino Royale demanded “do I look like I care?” when asked if he wanted his martini shaken or stirred, obviously the makers are mindful of the history and traditions attached to our favourite world saver. And we are not complaining as long as we can overdose on the eye candy!