They say Roger Moore made the worst James Bond movies. They are wrong. They are also extremely fickle, changing their opinions to whatever the current trend dictates. I have the confidence to stick to my convictions and I can tell you that the following three movies are without a doubt the worst in the series and have nothing to do with Sir Roger at all. Of course, they entitled to enjoy or detest whatever they like and are allowed say so. They have their opinions and I have mine. The difference is my opinions are right.
Die Another Day
“I thought it just went too far – and that’s from me, the first Bond in Space! Invisible cars and dodgy CGI footage? Please!” Roger Moore‘s critique may seem rich to some but he’s quite correct. As bad as Moonraker was, Die Another Day is an insulting, dry heave inducing, facepalmingly awful dirge. What we see in this film is not James Bond. Released on the franchise’s 40th anniversary, 007 must do battle with a villain who plans to unite North and South Korea by blowing them up with a space laser. It’s hard to figure out which is worse. Is it he crass, unfunny screenplay splutterd out clumsily by the cast?
Maybe it’s the over reliance special effects and unconvincing CGI stuntmen which go against everything Bond action scenes once stood for. How about the awful faux kinetic camerawork and MTV style transitions catered to the pimply mouth breathers who enjoyed Vin Diesel‘s xXx? Or maybe it’s the invisible frickin’ car. You want to see a bad movie done well, watch A View to a Kill starring Roger Moore. Frequently appearing on many “worst of” lists, A View to a Kill is perfect Sunday afternoon or drunken Friday night viewing with Christopher Walken, Grace Jones, a theme song by Duran Duran and it actually has real people doing the parachute jumps and the car chases are fully visible. Die Another Day cannot reach such lofty heights. It’s like watching a childhood pet being autopsied by robots as they read jokes from Christmas crackers. Unpleasant, misjudged and best left repressed.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
In the early ’60s Australian model George Lazenby appeared in a TV commercial for Fry’s Chocolate Cream, Albert R. Broccolli, producer of the James Bond movies was impressed and made the bizarre decision to cast him as Sean Connery‘s replacement. Because that’s what do you do when the talented and charismatic star of your globally successful movie franchise decides to leave. You replace him with an incompetent and lifeless non actor on the basis of an ad for chocolate. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is where James Bond falls in love with Tracy Di Vicenzo and we see a tragic collision of his personal and professional life. At least, that’s what it was supposed to be.
A tender yet passionate connection between the characters was required. Unfortunately, George Lazenby simply could not act. He hadn’t an ounce of the sensitivity needed to fulfil his duties which would explain why Diana Rigg was cast as Bond’s future wife. But not even her magnificence could shine any kind of light on the set of shelves acting opposite her. No doubt an actor like, let’s say, Roger Moore, would have done a superb job, actually creating some chemistry between himself and Diana Rigg. In The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond curtly puts an end to a conversation with a Russian agent after the topic of his wife is raised. Those 30 seconds of anger with an emotional subtext from Moore is head and shoulders above anything George Lazenby could do in the entire run time of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Quantum of Solace
When Daniel Craig was cast as James Bond several fans were inexplicably annoyed the usual threats of boycotting were issued. Then Casino Royale came out and they all got very quiet because they realised just how mindbogglingly wrong they were. James Bond needed a revamp after Die Another Day and Craig was the man to do it. The film was a smashing success and there was much rejoicing. Then came Quantum of Solace. If Casino Royale was Bond but not Bond, Quantum is just not Bond. Instead of building upon the glimmers of our beloved secret agent we saw before they reduce him even further and we are left with nothing but a violent thug, devoid of all Bond-ness. Craig pouts his way through various exotic location title screens and has very little to say or do besides wait for the bad guys to engage him in some terrible action set pieces.
They were trying to emulate the frantic Bourne Identity style visuals but those movies actually framed the shots and edited them precisely. Here everything is zoomed in and the cuts are so fast it is impossible to tell what is going on. Not that it matters as the story is completely unforgettable. Most Bond movie plots can be summed up in one concise sentence. James Bond goes to Japan. James Bond meets Blaxploitation. James Bond vs. The News etc. Not so in this garbled mess. The Quantum of Solace is entirely different from Die Another Day yet some how manages to be just as bad.
They say Daniel Craig made Bond realistic. They are wrong. If you want to see James Bond being brought down to earth done right, I recommend For Your Eyes Only with, yep, Roger Moore. 007 gets his gadget rigged car destroyed, climbs a mountain using elementary equipment and kills an assassin in cold blood after trapping him in a car and kicking him off a cliff. Moore adapts his Bond persona to this film like a pro, a remarkable achievement for the first James Bond in space. That’s what makes his movies better than those three. No matter the situation, be it realistic or absurd, in a spacesuit or clown costume, he was still Bond.