THE FIVE WORST BOND MOVIES

…in order of release:

It’s a shame that Diamonds Are Forever was Sean Connery’s swan song as James Bond (not counting 1983’s Never Say Never Again, which isn’t really an official Bond movie). While it’s far from the worst of the series, it’s most certainly the weakest and silliest of all the Connery ones. After skipping out on the previous Bond movie (the otherwise awesome On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), Connery was lured back with a massive paycheck, but you can’t help but feel he came back for the wrong movie. The plot is as silly as it gets, with arch-nemesis Blofeld returning (played by yet another actor) and essentially cloning himself by making his minions have plastic surgery to look like him. Like in a lot of Bond adventures, the “Bond girl” he’s paired with is a ditzy dumbass, and the climax is laughably anticlimactic, when it’s revealed that Blofeld’s diabolical plan essentially hinges on a simple cassette tape. The highlights of the movie are an impressively staged car chase in Las Vegas, and Connery himself, who brings his (expensive) charm to the series one last time.

Live and Let Die is one of the very few Bond movies that really bored the shit outta me. A lot of people hate on Roger Moore, but oddly enough, he’s not the reason Live and Let Die blows. Yes, it’s his first outing as James Bond, and as such there’s occasional moments where you get the sense that he doesn’t know what the fuck he’s doing, but the plot itself far eclipses any wrongdoings on Moore’s part. This is the first Bond movie to embrace the ’70s, and it doesn’t let you forget it. While many Bond films have a timeless quality about them despite whatever time period they’re from, Live and Let Die is not among them. There’s scenes in this movie where you might think you’re watching Shaft, albeit with a very-white Brit in the lead role. The plot involves Bond chasing after some sort of heroin supplier, which, in the wake of the larger-than-life megalomaniac villains of previous Bond movies, may lead most viewers to not give a flying fuck. In addition, there’s some strange voodoo shit going on, which may lead most viewers to wonder just what the producers were smoking (or shooting). And just for the fuck of it, there’s the introduction of Sheriff J.W. Pepper, a hick buffoon and epic fail of a comic relief. Not only is he not funny, but he’s annoying as well, and why the producers deemed it a good idea to bring him back in the next movie (The Man with the Golden Gun) is beyond me. In the end, the only thing that still holds up about this one is the immortal theme song by Paul McCartney & Wings.

Moonraker Though the closing credits of The Spy Who Loved Me promised that “James Bond will return in For Your Eyes Only“, the massive success of Star Wars and the sudden space craze led producers to make Moonraker instead. Though it’s known as the “outer space” Bond movie, that only happens in the final half-hour; the bulk of Moonraker is just another routine Bond adventure. Jaws returns, but his various attempts at killing Bond have more of a comedic tone this time around – he’s no longer the deadly adversary he was in The Spy Who Loved Me, and by the end, he’s really not an adversary at all. The villain this time is an uber-rich mogul named Drax, and I found it interesting that while he’s one of the craziest in a long line of crazy Bond villains (he wants to destroy Earth so he can start a new civilization in space), he remains quite cool and collected throughout, never raising his voice or losing his temper. Though most of Moonraker – as stated before – is a perfectly serviceable (if perfunctory) Bond movie, what truly sinks it is its horrendously terrible outer-space climax, which is about as exciting as doing your taxes. It consists of a lot of people moving in slow motion (zero gravity!) and a laser battle that defines campiness. It also seems to go on forever – even after Drax is finally killed, there’s still these satellites Bond needs to destroy, and the whole time you’ll just be wishing this fucker would end already.

I dare anyone to watch Octopussy and explain to me what the fuck is happening. Here we have a movie that’s all over the place (literally and figuratively), with a plot that wouldn’t make sense if you paused to map it out on a drawing board, Back to the Future II-style. It’s almost as if the producers thought up a bunch of locations and set pieces they’d like to film, and then thought up a bullshit plot to loosely string them all together. As for Roger Moore, by this point he officially began to look too old to be dodging bullets and bedding women, and on top of that, it’s apparent that his interest in playing James Bond was waning as well, as he just looks tired and uninterested. Octopussy is one of the biggest examples of the Bond series flirting with self-parody; for evidence, one needs to look no further than his alligator submarine, or the climax, which finds Bond literally dressing up as a clown. But hey, at least the theme song doesn’t stink as bad as the rest of the movie.

Die Another Day is the AIDS of the Bond franchise. But to relate it to another movie, it’s the Batman & Robin of the Bond films. So overblown and utterly ridiculous it is (not to mention just plain terrible), that the franchise had no choice but to reboot itself several years later with Casino Royale, much like the Batman series did with Batman Begins. While producers have blatantly tailored Bond movies to fit “with the times” in the past (making Bond a sci-fi player in Moonraker, or a typical ’80s action hero in Licence To Kill), Die Another Day finds Bond awkwardly fitted into the XXX-style action mold of the time, where loud explosions, CGI and flashy editing were more important than characters and plot. Where to begin? Bond seems like a cardboard cutout of himself, and though Pierce Brosnan had proven himself a capable Bond in the past, he has virtually no charm this time around. The opening credits sequence shows Bond being tortured in a North Korean prison, set to a theme song by Madonna. This is fitting, since his facial expressions and screams of agony perfectly mirror the audience’s reaction to having to hear Madonna’s shit song.  It’s probably the worst of all the Bond themes, not just because it sucks, but more importantly because it doesn’t sound very “Bond” at all – it’s just another typical 21st century Madonna song. To add insult to injury we get a pointless Madonna cameo, and while we’re talking about broads, Halle Berry proves that talented actresses don’t necessarily make good Bond girls. Not only is there too much reliance on CGI, but it looked cheap in 2002, let alone now. And even for the suspend-your-disbelief world of 007, Die Another Day pushes the limits right off a fucking cliff – among other things, Bond gets a car that can turn invisible, and the tough Korean bad guy gets some sort of magical laser surgery to become a foppish Brit. Yeah hello. As someone once put it, “Die Another Day felt dated starting from about a day after release. It aged like ground beef left out on the rail of a porch in the hot summer sun.”


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One Response to “THE FIVE WORST BOND MOVIES”

  1. My list of the worst Bond movies I have seen ( in order of release date):

    1) “Dr. No”

    2) “Goldfinger”

    3) “Diamonds Are Forever”

    4) “The Man With the Golden Gun”

    5) “Moonraker”

    6) “Tomorrow Never Dies”

    7) “Skyfall”

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