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In Depth, Bond In Depth - You Only Review Twice

Discussion in 'Reviews & Columns' started by James Bond, May 30, 2011.

  1. James Bond

    James Bond SKYFALL

    Welcome to In Depth, Bond In Depth: You Only Review Twice

    The Smarks' Bond review thread. Definitely not definitive. All subjective. Because you're free to love entries that I may hate, and that's the way it is. I will do my absolute best to keep bias out of these reviews to give you a much better look at the series. I really want to bring out what I can see as the good, and what many can see as the bad in each entry. So if you have an opinion you'd like to voice, do it. Let's keep it respectful and let's have some fun here. Comment if you wish, otherwise just enjoy! Thanks for checking it out!

    Here's how this is working. Each film will have the same categories in which it will be rated, out of 100. The total is added up and divided by the total possible, which gives us its final score. Should be fun. Keep in mind I don't plan on dishing out the entire story or every little detail. That much, you can see for yourself.

    At the end, I'll try to throw in some top 10 lists. We'll see. For sure we'll see a full ranking list. And probably a Bond Girls rank list. And probably a villain/henchmen rank list. I'll stop now, before I get carried away.

    Each review will be linked from this first post to give you easy access to each one.

    Dr. No (1962)
    From Russia With Love (1963)
    Goldfinger (1964)
    Thunderball (1965)
    You Only Live Twice (1967)
    On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
    Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
    Live And Let Die (1973)
    The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)
    The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
    Moonraker (1979)
    For Your Eyes Only (1981)
    Octopussy (1983)
    A View To A Kill (1985)
    The Living Daylights (1987)
    Licence To Kill (1989)
    GoldenEye (1995)
    Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
    The World Is Not Enough (1999)
    Die Another Day (2002)
    Casino Royale (2006)
    Quantum of Solace (2008)
    Skyfall (2012)
    SPECTRE (2015)

    ...and maybe, just maybe, I'll throw in Never Say Never Again (1983), although I really could do without watching that movie again.

    001 - From Russia With Love - 95
    002 - Goldfinger - 93
    003 - Dr. No - 89
    004 - Thunderball - COMING SOON
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016
  2. Admin Post

    Smarkslayer Tomb Raider

    I can't wait to read your reviews, guys. Good times will be had. I especially look forward to your dissection of my favorite in the series, GoldenEye.
  3. James Bond

    James Bond SKYFALL

    Mission No. 001


    And so it was, in 1962 ... that the world would get its first taste of James Bond. It quickly followed that the world was struck with "Bond-Mania". This would only continue ... and it continues on today, as strong as it ever has.

    Dr. No was the first official EON Productions Bond film, and to much shock at first, a near no-name was announced to play the role of Agent 007. Sean Connery. Sean Connery would prove to be an able Bond, acting well with anyone who happened to be sharing the screen with him. From the opening gunbarell to Honey Ryder emerging from the water to the end credits, audiences everywhere were enthralled.

    It wasn't long before the studio felt they had a hit on their hands and they would unleash a barrage of films under the Bond name. Bond 23 is in pre-production as we speak. And this is the film that layed the groundwork.

    "I admire your luck, Mr. ..." "Bond ... James Bond."

    "You've had your six."

    "I'm just looking!"

    I don't lie when I say exotic locales ... and the gorgeous Honey Ryder.

    "I'm not a fool, so please don't treat me as one!"​

    Story - 95
    James Bond is sent to investigate the mysterious disappearance of Professor Strangways and finds a web of further mystery, henchmen who refuse to talk about who they work for, and a mysterious island known as Crab Key where it is rumored that a Dragon keeps people away. Bond must put the pieces together and defeat the evil lurking in the shadow of Crab Key.
    Locations/Atmos - 98
    Dr. No is full of beautiful, exotic locales, right from the get go it seems. Some of the best sequences are after Bond meets Ryder, and the characters find themselves on a lovely island … to which I’d love to pack up and move to.
    Acting - 90
    The acting is above solid throughout, and no lines are really delivered that make you want to cringe. That’s a good sign. Connery, Andress, Dawson and Wiseman are great choices for their parts. They sizzle with chemistry and deliver their lines with confidence, even if their part calls for the opposite.
    Pacing - 92
    The film moves along at a bustling pace, and at no point gets boring. Simple enough.
    Music - 79
    While it set the standard, mostly by means of the “James Bond Theme,” it’s just not an overall memorable score. John Barry hadn’t been given the reigns yet, so basically, it just feels a little off. Especially when Bond kills the tarantula. Each strike is accompanied by a laugh inducing musical shriek.
    Cinematography - 81
    There isn’t anything really fancy like we’d see in future Bonds, but it’s solid enough to capture the great locales, and everything looks great.
    Dialogue - 85
    Not as many fancy lines or quick laughs as we’d see in future Bonds, but the dialogue pounds the story home with efficiency. The dialogue sputtered by Dr. No is some brilliant stuff, however. Bond’s conversation with him is one of the high points, dialogue wise.
    Effects - 80
    There aren’t a ton of effects, but I didn’t notice anything truly, awfully tacky … so I feel this score is good enough.
    Bond - 95
    Connery nearly hit the nail on the head in his debut. His Bond is harsh, and efficient at his job. He is rough with the Taxi Driver, brutal with Ms. Taro, and … just a dick to Professor Dent. He has to kill a henchman in front of Ryder, and when she asks him why … he coldly responds, “Because I had to.” Nearly a perfect Bond, right from the start.
    Villain - 90
    Dr. No is a great villain, even though he isn’t very sinister. He only looks sinister, what with his metal hands and all. His template easily set the standard for the rest of the series. He is a gentleman, and treats Bond to a dinner, before laying out his plans. Joseph Wiseman was a perfect choice, I think … he played the role with a brilliant gentle nature and we get the feeling that he’s hiding a brutal nature, even though we never see it.
    Scheme - 88
    Dr. No is planning to get revenge by disturbing American rocket launches, using his brilliance in the field of nuclear power. Simple enough.
    Henchmen - 85
    Professor Dent is your main guy here. He’s a sniveling, slimy little rat. He is a coward, and with Bond snooping around, he had the right to be. He nearly tops bond with a possibly poisoned bottle of Vodka … and then … the tarantula. YECK!!! Then there’s Ms. Taro, who arranged to have Bond killed by the 3 Blind Mice, although they were on their way to a funeral. She gives Bond a bouncin’ before he has her arrested. Then there’s the Mice themselves. They kill Strangways and come after Bond before he drives them off a cliff. The man is invincible, apparently.
    Girls - 99
    Honey. Ryder. Do I need to say more? Okay, I will. Let’s start off with Sylvia Trench. She’s a fair lookin’ woman, who seduces Bond early. He admired her courage. She admired his luck. Next we have the already mentioned Ms. Taro. Another looker, but she was a baddie. Now … Honey Ryder. Absolutely AMAZING. From the moment she emerges from the ocean, we know we have … the true … BOND GIRL. She’s smart, and even though she barely knows him, she refuses to leave Bond’s side at one point.
    Pre-Credits Sequence - N/A
    Theme Song - 80
    This film used Three Blind Mice. This was before each film had a theme song, so take it for what you will.
    Intensity - 96
    Oh dear. A tarantula crawling up Bond as he sleeps. A VENOMOUS Tarantula. I can’t watch. If I do … I’ll be screaming at Bond the whole time. Then there’s the fact that you don’t know who Bond can trust. Nearly everyone seems a little shady.
    TOTAL POINTS - 1333/1500
    OVERALL - 89 (88.86)

    So there you have it. One down. Dr. No is likely to crack the top ten list with a high score of 89. A great introduction to the character, with tons of memorable moments, and some of the best locations in the series.

    On to the next. From Russia With Love,

    James Bond, Agent 007, Logging off.

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2016
    Keith likes this.
  4. Admin Post

    Smarkslayer Tomb Raider

    Fantabulous review, mate! You really gave me a feeling for the movie without even having to see it. If all your reviews are like this, I know I'm in for a treat. Now, I can't wait for Mr. Lo Pan's reviews.
  5. James Bond

    James Bond SKYFALL


    1. From Russia With Love - 95
    2. Goldfinger - 93
    3. Dr. No - 89

    And thanks for the praise. All my reviews will be under this formula, so don't worry, GoldenEye will have the same treatment.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2011
  6. Admin Post

    Smarkslayer Tomb Raider

    Epic PICS! That's what I'm talking about! :D
  7. Anaconda Vice

    Anaconda Vice Well-Known Member

    Great start dude, I just posted my thread as well so check it out when you get a chance. I've gone a different route but it should make for some interesting discussion to be sure.
  8. James Bond

    James Bond SKYFALL

    Your review was great and thanks for the shout out. We're pretty close on this one. FRWL coming soon - regards, 007
  9. Anaconda Vice

    Anaconda Vice Well-Known Member

    Yeah, yours too dude, I kind of like the different approach, but as I said, I am still compiling my ratings based on your system as well, I actually quite enjoy all the different aspects you use to come up with your final number. We have totally different styles but I think they both work pretty well. Do you use similar criteria for all your reviews?
  10. James Bond

    James Bond SKYFALL

    Sure do. I'm possibly adding two more categories (gadgets and allies), and my layout isn't finished yet.
  11. James Bond

    James Bond SKYFALL

    Mission No. 002


    After Dr. No's enormous success, the world waited on standby for the studio to announce a sequel or another entry (since we know most Bonds don't follow the one before it). It wasn't long before a second installment was announced.

    As John F. Kennedy stated on many occasions, From Russia With Love was one of his favorite books. This made things easy on producers Albert Broccoli and Harry Saltzman. They were quick to jump at the chance to convert Ian Fleming's novel into film form. To finish this section, From Russia With Love was the final film Kennedy viewed before his death. May he rest in peace.

    The original novel was a Cold War thriller, but the producers felt it necessary to trim some fat, and change the villainous organization from SMERSH to the previously mentioned (in Dr. No, that is) SPECTRE, to avoid any serious political overtones.

    The film whipped through production, something many consider surprising considering how rock solid the final product was. From Russia With Love was released October 10, 1963 to huge success ($78 Million worldwide, compared to its $2 Million budget). The film was held in much higher praise than its predecessor. Did it deserve that praise? We're about to find out.

    “Like SPECTRE … he STRIKES!”

    “You look surprised to see me!”

    Bond and Kerim Bey … R.I.P. Pedro Armendariz

    “I was keeping you alive until you could get the Lektor.”

    “She’s had her kicks!”

    Story - 99

    An extraordinary letter arrives at MI6 from a Russian cipher clerk in Istanbul. She claims to have fallen in love with a photo of James Bond in the office files. She wants to defect and bring a top-secret decoder, the Lektor, with her, on condition that Bond himself escorts her back to England. It's obvious that this is a trap, but M feels the prize of a Lektor is worth the risk. When 007 see’s a photo of the cipher clerk, he also thinks the mission is worth it. Neither suspects the lengths to which SPECTRE would go to eliminate Bond and discredit the British Intelligence.
    Locations / Atmos - 95
    From Russia With Love does away with exotic Bahamas-like locations and ushers in city-scapes that look like something pulled right from an Alfred Hitchcock film. Really lovely stuff. Some later scenes like those where Bond battles the helicopter and the boat chase are really intriguing looking locations as well.
    Acting - 98
    Connery was excellent, Bianchi sizzled with him on screen, Lenya was foul as the villain, Robert Shaw was absolutely amazing as Grant, and Armendariz was a brilliant choice for Ali Kerim Bey. Really, nearly everyone was perfectly selected for their part. There’s even a mysterious, uncredited appearance in this film, the first of 2 of these appearances. Keep your eyes out!
    Pacing - 95
    The film does seem to go on a long time, but most of it is filled with excitement, action, fights and stuff exploding. So to say it drags would be very unjust. It just takes the proper time in setting up its brilliant story, and then executing each detail that’s necessary to make everything fall into place correctly. The only point that seems to slow the film is during the Gypsy sequence. I understand wanting to show Grant protecting Bond for a great purpose … I just don’t think we needed to watch that one Gypsy dance for like 8 minutes. Oh well. Other than that, a job well done by Terence Young.
    Music - 96
    The score seems to take a few cues from the theme song throughout, and makes brilliant use of John Barry’s new “007 Theme”, which occurs notably during Bond’s theft of the Lektor. If I’m not mistaken, this is the first film in which the theme is played, as I don’t remember hearing it in Dr. No. Sadly, the cue would not be used very much through the course of the series. Overall, a solidly great job.
    Cinematography - 91
    This film was nominated for a Cinematography award of some sort, and rightfully so. Whether it be a long shot from behind showing Grant peeking around a pillar, or one of the shots from the helicopter battle, this film is beautifully shot to complement the lovely locations on display. It’s still simple compared to what you’d see nowadays, but it’s effective, for sure.
    Dialogue - 93
    The dialogue services the story incredibly well by driving home all the importance and deception. Even some of the jokes or simple lines are seemingly perfectly placed and well delivered. This seems to be the start of Bond cracking one-liners on occasion, so you almost have to tip your hat to the dialogue in this film.
    Effects - 90
    Basically the effects you have are things exploding. And it all looks believable. Then there’s the moment where Armendariz is shot in the elbow and seemingly rubs the blood on his sleeve. At least that’s what it looks like. Still, believable looking, and gets the point across. Stuff goes boom.
    Bond - 100
    Bond is absolutely perfect in this film, a step above what Connery showed he was capable in Dr. No. Here, he’s just brutal, going far as hitting his love interest while demanding the information she has. He’s also incredibly smart and uses his intelligence to gain the upper hand in quite a few moments. This film seems to be the guilty party that started having Bond crack a one-liner after killing an enemy, as he utters off a brilliant “she’s had her kicks” after Klebb tried to LITERALLY kick his rear end. Also of note, even when Tania is making sexual references while he’s questioning her, he stays focused on his JOB FIRST. That’s the way Bond should be.
    Villain - 92
    Rose Klebb. Blech. Nasty woman. I mean, honestly … if there was any Bond villain who could scare children away, forget about any scarred or disfigured villain … Rosa Klebb will get the job done. However, she’s so foul, and so awful … that she’s a perfect Bond villain. Lotte Lenya plays Klebb with a fierce demeanor, and it’s perfectly demonstrated in her first scene with Romanova, in which she rattles off such great lines (with great enthusiasm, I might add): “You will not leave this room alive,” and “If you do, you will be SHOT!” It should be noted that in no way are those lines meant to run off of each other, but she delivers each one perfectly with a nasty distaste for anything against her preference. She really goes off the deep end in the later part of the film, coming after Bond dressed in a MAID OUTFIT (she REALLY shouldn’t have), and shoes with poison tipped spikes in them. Horrible woman. But as Bond said, “She’s had her kicks.”
    Scheme - 97
    SPECTRE plans to get revenge on Bond and MI-6 for the death of their operative, Dr. No, by having Tatiana Romanova “defect” to London with a Lektor Coding Device (which MI-6 is after). However, she will only defect to Bond (as they instruct her to “be in love” with Bond). This is a trap as SPECTRE plans to have Bond steal the Lektor … then they kill him … then they plant a filmed sexual encounter between Bond and Tania on the latter’s body, and a letter explaining it on Bond … then they plan to sell the Lektor back to the Russians from which it was stolen. Whew. Really, a brilliant scheme by SPECTRE.
    Henchmen - 100
    That’s right. I went to 100. Robert Shaw is nearly show-stealing as Red Grant. Right from the get go, we know he’s a threat with the ability to kill Bond, and the whole film, he follows Bond as instructed. However, most of this time, he’s protecting Bond. Killing Bond’s would be assassins or attackers. Really, it might seem stupid, but it’s brilliant. Grant needed to keep Bond alive until he had the Lektor. This is a lost art in the Bond films that needs to make a return at some point. Not killing Bond when you have a chance, but waiting until he’s fulfilled the plan. Brilliance. Second to Grant, you have Kronsteen, the genious behind the villainous plot, and Morzeny, one of the SPECTRE trainers who chases Bond down on a boat. Greatness all around.
    Girls - 99
    We start this film off with Eunice Gayson returning as Sylvia Trench, if only for a glorified cameo. Sadly, it’s the last time we’ll see her. Nice knowning you, Ms. Trench. Now, onto Tatiana Romanova, or Tania. She’s a very pretty girl, and while she’s instructed to act as if she’s in love with Bond, she really seems to fall for him after they meet. Hell, she even climbs into his bed naked BEFORE they meet. Now that’s a woman. Sadly, Daniela Bianchi’s voice was dubbed and her voice ends up being far too low. However, to make up for that … she utters some dialogue in one of the best line exchanges in history: “The mechanism is … oh James, James … will you make love to me all the time in England?” … “Day and night, go on about the mechanism.” Perfectly done. Also of note, she saves Bond’s life at one point (though I won’t spoil which.)
    Pre-Credits Sequence - 99
    The very first, and one of the best. Bond is stalked and alternately stalking another man (Red Grant) through a hedge-filled garden at night. Finally, Grant gains the upper hand and manages to strangle Bond to death with a garrote stored in his wristwatch. That’s right… strangled Bond … to DEATH! Lights flip on and it is revealed to have been a training exercise for SPECTRE, and “Bond” was a man in a Bond mask. Amazing stuff, really.
    Theme Song - 90
    The instrumental version played over the opening credits is really great … the version with vocals … I’m not as much of a fan of. Although, I guess that sets up Bond writing “From Russia With Love” on Tania’s picture, leaving it for Moneypenny, since he heard the vocal version only moments earlier (in film time that is.)
    Intensity - 96
    Hmm … let’s see here. “Bond” being killed right at the open? Check. Shootout at a Gypsy Camp? Check. Incredible theft of the Lektor device? Check. Breathtaking fight aboard a train with a man we KNOW can kill him? Check. Daring dives out of the way of a low swooping helicopter? Check. Explosive boat chase (hopefully someone will catch that joke)? Check. Final deadly battle with Klebb? Check. At LEAST as intense as Dr. No, if not more intense. For now, a 96 will do.
    Gadgets - 90
    Here we have a standard issue MI-6 briefcase that has a teargas when opened a certain way, a take apart rifle, and it also houses a knife. Good enough as Bond puts each to good use.
    Allies - 97
    Pedro Armendariz, God bless his soul, starred in his final film as Bond’s friend Kerim Bey. Kerim assists Bond throughout the film up until a certain sequence on the train. He’s one of the most generally likeable allies in the series. He’s funny, and he seems to be trustworthy.
    TOTAL POINTS - 1717/1800
    OVERALL - 95 (95.38)

    As you can see, From Russia With Love GREATLY deserved the praise placed upon it. It remains a fan favorite, as well as a favorite of late producer Albert Broccoli, as well as a favorite of Bond actors Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig. In addition to them, it's also a favorite of current producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson. It's often considered in the top 5 Bond films of all time, often taking a backseat to the film that would ultimately come after it ... Goldfinger. But for as often as it takes that backseat, it's just as often held in higher regard than Goldfinger. Does it deserve to be held in that higher regard? We'll find out soon.

    All in all, From Russia With Love is a brilliantly structured film, with arguably the best story in the series. SPECTRE became a legitimate enemy for Bond with this film, and over the course of Connery's films, we'll see them return a few times. From Russia With Love is highly likely to crack the top 10, and possibly top 5 ... with its HUGE final score of 95.

    See you soon Goldfinger, From Russia With Love

    James Bond, Agent 007, Logging Off.

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2016
  12. Admin Post

    Smarkslayer Tomb Raider

    Another excellent review! I think you topped your first outing. I got a real idea for what this film is about and what you think of it... well done.
  13. Anaconda Vice

    Anaconda Vice Well-Known Member

    Very good review. It was nice to see you add some depth from your first one into this. Hopefully you will continue to add more with each successive review. Kudos.
  14. James Bond

    James Bond SKYFALL

    Thanks man. I hope you get yours back up soon because I'm working on drawing in some traffic. I may just have both Goldfinger AND Thunderball up by Saturday.
  15. Anaconda Vice

    Anaconda Vice Well-Known Member

    Thanks bud, I will try but there is a lot of other things on this site that need my attention right now in order to make it the best that it can be. Hopefully I'll find the time to do them eventually, but right now there's just too much on my plate. Appreciate your understanding in the matter.

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