Here it is, folks. The moment you've all been waiting for: The final James Bond movie to star Sean Connery. Unless you count Never Say Never Again, which I don't, because it's produced by a different studio and not a part of the actual series. This brings the series I started in December full circle. If you wish to read the rest, here they are:
- Dr. No
- From Russia with Love
- You Only Live Twice
- On Her Majesty's Secret Service
And now, finally, comes Diamonds are Forever. I don't know what brought Sean Connery back to the role of Bond ($$$) after retiring from the role with You Only Live Twice ($$$), but I'm betting it had something to do with getting a great script ($$$), or the promise of a chance to play a different side of 007 after the life-changing events of the previous movie ($$$), or possibly the opportunity to work with Goldfinger director Guy Hamilton again ($$$). Whatever the reason, Connery is back as Bond... with a vengeance!
After the events of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, highlight for SPOILER His wife was murdered SPOILER, 007 has an axe to grind with Ernst Stavro Blofeld, nefarious criminal leader of SPECTRE. The movie opens with Bond tearing his way across the world, tracking down Blofeld by choking henchwomen with their bikini tops and such. He finds Blofeld before the credits, trying to alter one of his men to look like him, to use as a decoy and escape Bond's vengeance. Bond gets him anyway, before the opening titles, and the viewer is robbed of the exciting, take no prisoners James Bond movie they were hoping for.
After that, Bond is pretty much fine, and ready to take on a mission again. He is assigned to pose as a diamond smuggler and follow the diamonds to their destination, in order to uncover the smuggling ring. The main Bond girl this time is Tiffany Case, played by Jill St. John, a fellow diamond smuggler who likes to wear wigs, apparently.
Bond traces the diamonds to their source, which is, of course, Blofeld, who plans to build a reflective laser satellite with them to take over the world. Oh hey, remember when Bond got his vengeance earlier? Well, that cooled him off some, since he's taking all this pretty lightly now. I would have expected all of those emotions to come rushing back, but Bond is over his pain and has moved on to his next girl already.
Diamonds are Forever is by far the campiest James Bond movie yet. It is loaded with dumb gags that betray the clever humor of the series' best entries. Among the worst is a scene where, on the run from some henchmen in Nevada, Bond storms onto the set of a moon mission being faked, steals the moon rover and takes off in it. Come on, guys! The space program was real just two movies ago, when you had Blofeld stealing rocket ships.
This movie is also the origin of the scene where Bond gets caught in some sort of death trap and manages to get out of it unscathed, calmly brushing dust off of his tuxedo or something. That's my least favorite version of James Bond. I like it when Bond gets messed up a little, not the guy who can casually walk through a gunfight sipping a martini.
And there's more. Cake bombs. Bickering gay assassins. Blofeld dressing in drag.
I've enjoyed the first six 007 movies to varying degrees, some less than others, but Diamonds are Forever is the first one that is downright crappy. They don't even give us a proper showdown between Bond and Blofeld at the end. After avoiding Bond's grasp for six movies, the final confrontation amounts to Bond swinging him around in a crane for a while, then leaving.
I think this is it for now. I hope you enjoyed my James Bond reviews. One day I plan on continuing on with the Roger Moore series, but this one kind of killed my will to go on, at least for the time being. With a new movie coming out later this year, though, I can't imagine these reviews being gone for too long.
James Moore will be back (someday) with his review of LIVE AND LET DIE