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007: Best Of Moore – The Spy Who Loved Me

James Bond - Best Of Roger Moore - The Spy Who Loved Me

To mark the upcoming release of Spectre, myself and fellow Movie Moron contributor DalmatianJaws are delving into the massive catalogue of movies to bring you joint reviews covering the franchise’s highs and lows. We’ll be discussing the most critically acclaimed and the most critically derided movie of each Bond actor. We continue with The Spy Who Loved Me, the third outing of longest-serving Bond, Roger Moore. Here’s the original trailer:

DNWilliams: Right, so we’re on Moore.

Dalmatian Jaws: Yep. The Spy Who Loved Me, right?

DNW: Yeah, and – allegedly – best. This is the finest Bond movie Moore has to offer (in terms of critical acclaim) which is a sorry state of affairs.

DJ: Yep. So, they do this whole “wrong Bond” opening. It’s kind of fun, I guess.

DNW: Yeah, the initial scene is the one where the sub disappears, which is completely Bondless, and that moves into a scene with a really Bondlike hairy-chested dude who we ASSUME is this Russian agent known as Triple X. A Russian equivalent of Bond. It doesn’t help that this dude is cooler than Roger Moore. And he’s in bed with this girl who – wait for it – is the REAL agent Triple X!

James Bond - Best Of Roger Moore
DJ: Shocking!!!! Yeah, other than the back hair he’s way more awesome than Roger Moore. Moore is like a bad joke, you really can’t believe they chose him for Bond. The dude was 48 when they hired him!

DNW: Jeez.

DJ: And he had not aged well either. Daniel Craig is approaching that age, but he just looks badass. Moore looks like he spent his 40s in front of a TV drinking Pepsi and eating Cheetos. By the time he reaches A View to a Kill he looks like a grandpa.

DNW: Indeed. But we haven’t even met him yet. What do you think of the intro he gets? It starts with MI6 needing Bond to “pull out immediately” and then we transition to Bond taking care of business. He gets a message on his gadget watch which is very, very gadgety.

DJ: Doesn’t his watch print out a message? On a long strip of paper?

DNW: Yes. I have a bit of a love hate relationship with Bond gadgets.

DJ: I love that it would only be good for one message, cause that’s all the paper it can hold. MI6 must go through a TON of watches.

James Bond - Best Of Roger Moore
DNW: That’s the thing, it’s kind of cool, sort of. And it’s almost obligatory to like Bond gadgets, but they so often seem more silly than actually awesome, because of the context. I mentioned before, I love Thunderball, but not the jetpack. Now if you told me there’s a movie with a jetpack in it that I’d have a problem with, I wouldn’t believe you, but for whatever reason, the jetpack in Thunderball bugs me. It’s a similar deal with the watch here. It’s more amusing than legitimately cool. There have to be better ways of communicating. Liking it is a guilty pleasure, basically, which sums up how a lot of people feel about Moore Bond in general. Coupled with the cheesy pun he’s introduced with and the following chase, this opening encapsulates his tenure pretty well.

DJ: Yep, that’s totally it. I have to confess that — as bad as they are — I enjoyed the two Moore movies I watched a lot more than the Connery ones because they are SO ridiculous it’s hard to believe what you’re watching. I wrote down in my notes that this movie has a cool stunt at the end of the opening skiing scene, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it is.

DNW: …the union jack parachute…

DJ: Haha. That part is dumb. But the skiing off a cliff is cool.

DNW: People love the parachute. It’s iconic. It’s just absurd and it’s self-parody and it’s not for me. The stunt itself, like you say, is cool. It’s funny how one of Moore’s most iconic moments is a stuntman.

James Bond - Best Of Roger Moore
DJ: Even though I hadn’t seen them, I recognized a LOT of Moore’s Bond moments cause of the Austin Powers movies.

DNW: They had a lot to work with. Finding cool stuff in this movie is like panning for gold. It’s not that they’re not there, but they’re just surrounded by crap. What were they thinking with the funk music in this ski chase? Really.

DJ: I kept thinking Black Dynamite was gonna show up and slap some honkeys around.

DNW: There weren’t enough bitches in the cabin for Black Dynamite. But seriously, it’s like in an effort to be current they turned up the corniness to maximum levels. Funk music doesn’t feel Bondlike. It’s something we’ve said about past movies with Three Blind Mice in Dr No and Louis Armstrong in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service feeling out of place, but Three Blind Mice is excusable, and I can kind of understand the choice with Louis Armstrong – here I just don’t know what’s going on.

DJ: Want to talk opening credits?

DNW: Nobody Does It Better. What an absolutely dire Bond theme.

DJ: Right?!?!?!! It’s SO bad. So slow, so sappy, it clashes with the images of naked chicks doing gymnastics on phallic gun barrels.

DNW: It gets the mood so wrong. Or, in the case of this particular entry into the franchise, so right.

DJ: Yeah, I loved it in a sick way. It’s so bad that it’s good. That kinda thing. Next thing that jumps to mind is the bad guy’s lair. It’s underwater. And it has a working stone fireplace. Underwater.

James Bond - Best Of Roger Moore
DNW: The Atlantis hideout was pretty cool to me. Home to an utterly forgettable villain in the shape of Karl Stromberg. But his pad is cool. …That said, Dr No had an underwater lair too. What with that and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service having those famous ski scenes, and some of what is to come later, this is feeling very much like a recycled Bond movie.

DJ: It totally is. They rehash the same stuff constantly.

Part 2 (Of 2) >

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  • G said

    Barbara Bach. To this day still the hottest Bond girl ever

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  • gd smith said

    Moor was the one I grew up with on TV so I view the dissing of his Bond as sacrilege.

    Fact. Flemming preferred him to Connery and he was offered the part in 1962. If you read any of the pre Connery books or Higson’s young bond series it’s actually pretty hard not see the young Moore. The character is closer to Cary Grant than to Connery’s Sinatra Rat Pack vibe. Also Daniel Craig, though very different, captures something of the real Bond too.

    Moore had the best comic timing of any Bond and sounded like a proper upper class Englishman. Brosnan had a horrible mid Atlantic whine and Connery’s accent was just “shtrange”. Plus if you want Bond as a suave amoral womanising cad and bounder with the heart of an emotionless psycho Roger’s The Man. OK he was too old and couldn’t really kick butt. But he rocked the blazer and casual slacks look with the ease of someone who was born for Monte Carlo. Anyway, with exception of Craig and Lazenby none of the other Bonds were convincing fighters. Connery seemed more like a brawler than a trained killer. Brosnan looked like an accountant playing badminton, Dalton’s eyes marked him out as a bit of a crybaby and Moore could only manage a half hearted hand-chop. It didn’t matter so much with Moore coz he at least carried off is lack of killer moves with aplomb.

    Besides the very name Sir Roger Moore is an innuendo worthy of Plenty O’Tool and Pussy Galore

    Dammit, Moore was Bond and you are all just in denial because it doesn’t fit with the current vogue for “dark and gritty”. No doubt if you people had your way Bond would be in be flitting about in a rubber suite or something.

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    • dnwilliams said

      This is easily my favorite comment on these so far gd, I hope you keep reading.

      I am well aware of how sacrilegious it is to dislike Moore – it’s hard to call yourself a Bond fan when you dislike the man who played him the most and defined the character for so many – but, you know. Tastes differ and Moore falls very, very short of Connery for me, and I just wasn’t entertained. If I was entertained, it’d be pretty different. I’m actually a pretty big fan of colorful, zany, cheesy movies, contrary to what this review might lead you to believe. And we’re not done with Moore yet…

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  • ad4m22 said

    Fun fact: Fleming’s novel of the same name is an experimental piece, written from the first-person perspective of Vivienne Michel. In it, young Vivenne falls foul of two hoodlum, only to be rescued by Bond, who doesn’t show up until the book’s final third.

    It’s a really interesting take on female psychology and Fleming really gets inside the mind of his protagonist. Unfortunately, he hated the novel so much that he had it written into the contract with Cubby Broccoli that no part of the book could be adapted, save the name.

    The character is Jaws is very loosely based on one of the hoodlums, a large man with steel teeth. Everything else in the film is completely original, the first time in the franchise that they used absolutely nothing of Fleming’s work for inspiration.

    There’s a great bit at the end of the movie where Bond disarms a nuclear device single-handedly. Although there really isn’t much great in this. Mind you, Stromberg’s trap lift is epic, and Bond’s cunning method of surviving it – by parting his feet wider than normal – is amazing.

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  • Sheridan Passell said
    Sheridan Passell

    Watched it for the first time. It has a few iconic moments (the flag parachute, Jaws, the underwater car) but overall it is the most overrated Bond movie. It was a chore to get through, and Roger Moore lost a lot of the appeal he had in The Man With The Golden Gun. Overall there are just far too many moments when you are expected to accept nonsensical character actions and strange physical occurances. Jaws has a great look but, as a performance, the actor is very unsure of himself, he is awkward, compared to the sheer confidence of the likes of the Nick Nack actor. Barbara Bach gives a terrible performance but unlike, say, Plenty O’Toole, it cripples the movie in this case because she gets a ton of screentime and her character arc absolutely requires a good actress to pull it off. Stromberg is woefully underdeveloped as a villain and his plot to blow up both superpowers and have everyone live underwater (that’s literally it) is the sort of thing a 12 year old screenwriter would throw in the bin.

    The Man With The Golden Gun had a few painfully silly moments but was FAR more entertaining, intriguing and unique from beginning to end.

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