I watched most of them as a child, but I was too young to understand most of the plots when I had, and I recently went through the path of rewatching all the movies in order [at least the officially produced one, skipping the first Casino Royale make and Never Say Never Again since that is just Thunderball.... again].
I am so far up to half way through Octopussy but my studies have gotten in the way for a bit and am on a short break....I should mention a quick thing. I tend to disagree with many of the common reviews of the older bond movies. Maybe I am more patient with the slower pace of some [if you are looking for pure adrenaline modern action movie they are not it, but have large portions of suspense, and intrigue with it (which many modern movie viewers would call "slow" probably)]. I think most all of them hold up as they did at the time, but changes in taste to more pure action movies may turn you off to them so keep that in mind as you go through this. Some get cheesy as heck, such as the last few Connery ones. Anyway... My opinion on them watching them recently:
The first few Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball are probably the best Connery ones. I still love these ones seeing them again. Of course they all have their cheesy moments, but they do a great job of actually playing with the darker side of James Bond, and show off how he isn't just some playboy spy, but actually sacrifices a lot of himself for queen and country [especially one thunderball scene shows it well]. The books are a lot more about this, but the movies not quite as much. Special shout out to the Scuba War scene in Thunderball, I think that thing doesn't get enough credit. These first four are easily what a lot of classic bond scenes come from, especially Goldfinger.
The next Three are odd, I am going to skip the Lazenby one until I finish the next two Connery ones, despite it coming out between the two. You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever are where the Connery movies..... get weird and cheesy. I mean YOLT has him dressing up as a "Japanese Man" to infiltrate this area, but people keep trying to assassinate him while he is blended in, clearly showing no one buys his disguise, but don't worry he goes and fights a volcano full of machine guns with an army of ninjas at the end... Cool stuff in that movie actually but way silly at points. Diamonds are forever though.... Man... Him driving through the desert on some weirdo moon rover and just so much of that movie lol... But Mr. Wint and Kidd are pretty classic.
You Only Live Twice convinced me that Shenmue is a work of FACT and not FICTION. Bond goes on a Japanese Dock, within 20 seconds... A forklift [Probably being raced by Vinny] runs him down, and then he instantly gets attacked by a bunch of Dock Workers.
As I said about all of them have some good stuff in it, even diamonds are forever, but those last couple get very silly.
Now the Black sheep of bond... George Lazenby. Honestly I really really enjoyed this movie. I still am not a huge fan of Lazenby as bond. He just never had the charisma of most others to me, but the movie itself is actually quite good. Does a great job at showing the vulnerable side of bond, and more emotional side.
Then comes Roger Moore. Honestly he was always my favorite bond growing up [and I grew up well past his prime, in the 90s]. That dude just had charisma and class that I think no other bond ever showed. The downside of Moore is he got a bit too playboy spy in the films writing, and you didn't see much of his darker side. That is more of the writing of the films, less of him as the actor. It got better past the first few movies, but at a point they just basically have him invite a woman to bed every time they need to change a scene in these first couple. I think his "action movie one liners" surpass Connery a bit.
However, his first movie Live and Let Die is easily my least favorite so far up to what I have rewatched [up to Octopussy]. Intro song is great, but man the whole time Bond just feels like he is doing stuff below his pay grade [and even at one point basically admits to it in that film] but he keeps getting caught against guys it feels like he should be too good to get caught against. Plus just not nearly as much good intrigue to it I feel. Also you get the Sheriff J W Pepper as comic relief [in this and the next film] which is basically there for you to laugh about how much of an idiot he is. Has some plusses and minuses to him. Some neat scenes, but easily my weakest Moore so far, as far as the writing goes for the movie itself. Moore I think is great and acts well, just the plot of it never worked for me. Much of this maybe had me just not able to understand why these guys who were basically just some drug thugs were catching him so much so easily. I mean I get it if some super villain does... but this movie messed up my suspension of disbelief a fair bit. I think this movie may have more positives to it that if I got over this part I would enjoy more.
The Man with the Golden Gun is I believe one of the lower reviewed ones out there, but man is it one of my favorite. The whole thing is about an epic duel between a crazy assassin guy, and bond. Plus a ton of cool intrigue that actually makes it happen, but minus an overarching plot point that is just a blah mcguffin. Easily one of my favorite Moores, despite what the critics say. Goodnight as a bond girl I feel was a bit disliked, but I actually liked her a great deal. A bit of a pitiful inept agent that gives her a bit of endearment to me.
The Spy Who Loved Me. Only thing I can say bad about this one is the actual villain himself is a touch forgettable and could have had a bit more emotion from the bond girl, but man this one is great. Probably the last great bond song [and probably one of THE best, often tied up with Goldfinger by most]. The first appearance of Jaws, the big invincible guy with metal teeth. The "guy bond punches but never seems to hurt" is a henchmen archetype you see throughout the series, but this guy is easily the most perfect example of it. Also, one of the best opening to a movies [pre title] that I have seen, and great transition to the song.
Moonraker To me another of The Man with the Golden Gun, most people seem to hate, but I love. It is obvious near the end this movie came out after star wars, but man I still love some of those ending scenes, especially the SPACE BATTLE The villain to me is especially good on this one, which I feel had been a problem in a number of other earlier ones. Some cool action scenes, and good humor in it too. Jaws has some great character development, if not at some parts a touch silly [but heck, Jaws always was a touch silly...]. Also... Get ready to see some 7Up Product placement, and one of the weirdest "uh, I guess he is in Mexico now dressed as a cowboy for no reason?" or maybe it wasn't Mexico but it was something like that. It doesn't just feel to me like they put star wars on james bond, it def feels like it is its own thing.
For Your Eyes Only This one tried to get a fair bit grittier. Still not as much as the earlier ones [And I hear Dalton gets pretty dark?] More of a help out this girl revenge story, and more of moving bond away from just some lady hungry sex fiend like some of the earlier ones got him into [which is quite contrary to a fair bit of his character implied in the early ones ( his reasonings and such ) and the books, contrary to those early moore ones]. Some good intrigue and whatnot in this one, along with some cool stuff all around. This one is probably the most Connery of them, while still holding onto Moore and his charisma., but also one of the less overall exciting ones to me.
Anyway, I am half way through Octopussy right now, but that is my take! I imagine many will disagree with me, as it seems most reviews do as well... Oh well! If you can laugh through some of the silly points, and love intrigue, action, and whatnot, I highly recommend you watch through them all. As a massive MST3K fan I really can enjoy the silly points along with the tons of cool points.
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