Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Part three in the ongoing series "The Only 5 Bond Films you need to see"

On Her Majesty's Secret Service, 1969

Plot: James Bond woos a mob boss's daughter and goes undercover to stop Blofeld once and for all.

Reason for placement on the list:

So after James Bond gets his start in Casino Royale and has become the fine tuned machine in Thunderball, James Bond as a character once again gets to grow. This time, his obsession almost gets the better of him. Tracking down SPECTER and Blofeld especially has become his lifes work, so much that M is ready to take him off the case. A hasty decision to leave MI6 (thwarted by the smarts of Miss Moneypenny) Bond finds himself taking a small vacation. Upon this vacation he is given a chance to find Blofeld directly, but only by marrying a mob boss' daughter. Naturally Bond sees this as a means to an end, little did he know he would be able to find love again and perhaps even be a normal person again in the arms of Teresa. Thwarting Blofeld's plot, Bond feels he has completed his work that started back in Casino Royale. (Yes, I am officially tying SPECTRE as the organization that employed LeChiffre and the guy Bond kneecapped at the end) Accepting he can move on he once again gives his full love and humanity to another and marries Teresa. Unfortunately, Blofeld gets the final revenge and resorts to a cowardly drive by shooting and Teresa catches a bullet in the head. The film ends with Bond crying over her dead body to pretty much the saddest Bond ending ever.

Gun barrel sequence:
Being a new actor playing Bond, they once again re-shot the gun barrel. This time Bond kneels to shoot. Also when the blood hits the acutal opening, Bond gets erased from the screen.

Opening Number:

One could easily say this was the first rebooting of the franchise. While it did continue the story set by the previous 5 films, many different aspects were made different. The story is a little more serious, virtually no gadgets were used, the plot was a little more down to earth and so on. However the opening credits decided to pay homage to all that had come before by playing random clips from the previous movies with a non-singing instrumental song (an updated James Bond theme by John Barry that was later remixed very beautifully by Propellerheads) but still keeping the bond style to it:

As you saw at the opening of this song, this Bond is the only one to ever break the Fourth Wall and speak directly to the audience. Normally I am against breaking the 4th wall in films such as this but here it works. For one it's an awesome line and secondly this was a great way to let the audience know we were in for a very different Bond film.

Best Action Sequence:

To me, the action is cranked up high in this film. While Sean gave some great sequences, nothing matches the brutality of George's presence in the last 1/3 of the film. To me from when Bond is imprisoned in the gondola shack, to his skiing escape, running into Teresa, the subsequent car chase, the next ski chase (with avalance,) Teresa captured, the assualt on Blofelds lab and finally the bobsled chase are all one huge action sequnce.

Warren Miller ain't got nothing on these guys.

Gadgets used:

As mentioned above, gadgets are barely touched upon in this film. While Bond is mulling over his hasty decision to leave MI6 he pulls out a bunch of gadgets (that were all seen in previous films) and reflects upon his career. I wonder if Q Branch ever got pissed Bond didn't return that stuff. The only gadget that Bond actually uses is a electronic safe cracking machine.

The size of the thing hardly qualifies as a gadget but it works for us. Whats fascinating about it being so large is the movie opens actually with Q bitching to M about how outdated their equipment is and the future is in miniaturization. Guess the safe cracking tech wasn't quite there yet.

Best line:

As a girl writes a message on his inner thigh (under his kilt)

He is then asked "Is anything ze matter, Sir Hilary?"

"Just a slight stiffness coming on... in the shoulder."

Random points of interest:

-This has been the only Bond film to adhere closely to the original text. Pretty much everything you see on screen happens in the book. This also IMO leads to help out that Lazenby was the only actor to be the all around definitve Bond. All other Bonds have their pluses and takes sides of the character, but George fills all the shoes.

-Contray to popular belief, this film did not bomb at the box office. It did quite well actually. So why did George not do more? Unfortunatley, acting on advice from his manager he felt that perhaps the world was drastically changing and Bond would no longer have a place in it. George then pretty much sabotaged himself at press events for the film and got himself out of doing anymore Bond. Later on (and pretty much to this day) he regrets making this decision.

-This girl (one of the girls at the clinic):

would later go onto be this girl:

Next time, Bond goes dark and brooding.

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