Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Names Bond, James Bond...

He's cool. He's suave. He's James Bond! Today marks the day of GROOVERS AND MOBSTERS PRESENT: BOND, JAMES BOND

I was kindly asked by Andy Hart to take part in the multi-Bond marathon, along side some of the finest bloggers on the net. Each of us picked a Bond, picked a film, and went to work! Taking all of our Bond knowledge and cramming it into one jam packed post. Which Bond did I pick? You know I went obscure - George Lazenby and On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Not because I think he's the best Bond. But rather that I think he's the most, arguably, lambasted Bond, and I don't think it's all his fault.

So, be sure to click the link above for all the Bond goodness, and while you're at it, read my thoughts on Lazenby and On her Majesty's Secret Service below the dotted line!


The simplest way to summarize George Lazenby’s brief stint as the iconic James Bond is to simply take everything the 2006 Bond film Casino Royale does righ, carry it to the highest area of mediocrity, and you’ll end up somewhere near On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. As pure an example of a misguided effort if ever there was one.

Caught in some frail attempt at being all things at once, Lazenby’s Bond is ultimately a mock-up of all Bond was and ever would be. A collection of Bond archetypes wrapped into one character. The audience never connects with Bond because he feels disconnected with himself. Bond moves flawlessly between playboy, cynic, thinker, tough guy, and lover without ever a reason. Such personality changes occur only by the will of the writers, as they try desperately to combine previous Bond incarnations with their own ideas for the future.

The result is a blend of high aspirations with unlevel storytelling. The first hour and a half of the film alone is spent setting up Lazenby’s Bond, and the world in which he lives. The writers do so by blending plot elements, and characters, from the Connery days with their own spin, trying to balance them into a cohesive story. It doesn’t work, and the viewers pay the price for it. Narrative wise it all works out, just not in favor of those who find themselves particularly drawn to Connery.

Still, the most unfortunate thing for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is Peter R. Hunt’s direction of fight sequences. Watching Lazenby punch vaguely in the direction of a bad guy, followed by a quick cut to said bad guy flying the other direction, is hardly thrilling (not to mention the countless continuity errors it causes). By the ending these scenes get borderline silly, failing to capture the intensity and grittiness it seems Hunt was aiming for.  This comes in stark contrast to Hunt’s elongated action sequences (such as the infamous ski scene) which are creative, well thought out, and shot (though they are noticeably outdated).

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service may be one of the more faithful Bond adaptations, it’s just not one of the better ones. Even in its best moments, the movie can’t help but feel as if there’s always something wrong.

Remember to read everyone's post, here!

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