Dr NOOOO!! – The Worst Of Bond

‘Tis the season for end-of-year lists. ‘Tis also the season for James Bond’s filmography to clog up our TV listings.

While this means 007th heaven when it comes to out-and-out Bond classics like From Russia With Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964) and Casino Royale (2006) – as opposed to the 1967 effort starring David Niven and Woody Allen – it usually also means a repeat showing of some of the super spy’s not-so-super offerings.

Following the excellent Skyfall (2012), there is genuine anticipation for Spectre, Craig’s fourth outing in the role. But for now, let’s moonrake over the Bond movies that are a load of thunderballs.

Which are the worst Bond films in your opinion?

1. Die Another Day (2002)

Die Another Day

You have to feel sorry for Pierce Brosnan; a genuinely good actor when given material he can get his teeth into (The Matador (2005) being just one example). But when it came to his tenure as 007 – a role he was born to play – he was ill-served and none more so than in this nadir for the franchise. A strong opening reel wherein Bond gets captured by the evil North Korean army and is tortured and eventually released by a reluctant British government promises much, but the default switch soon gets flipped and before we know it we’re being asked to swallow gubbins involving an ice palace, a space laser and a car with a cloaking device. To make matters worse, Madonna puts in a performance that would insult a piece of wood and a smarmy Toby Stephens is so over-the-top it’s laughable. To top it off we have Bond Kite. Surfing. On. A. Tsunami. A film so bad everyone went away and took a very long and hard look at themselves and came back with Casino Royale.

2. A View To A Kill (1985)

A View To A Kill

After six movies and 12 years in the role, the 57-year-old Roger Moore was looking a little long in the tooth to be playing the walking killing and sex machine that is James Bond. However, in classic ‘one last job’ style, they renewed his license to kill one more time for a film that proved to mark the end of an era. Moore has been quoted as saying that A View To A Kill was his least enjoyable 007 experience and it shows in the uncomfortable expression glued on his face, not least of which during his seducing of Tanya Roberts’ Bond girl, a woman whose mother was younger than Moore. However, it’s the genuinely squirmy bedroom scene between Moore and Grace Jones’ May Day that will have you sitting uncomfortably in your seat. Whoever thought that was a good idea is anyone’s guess. A tired and flabby movie (featuring a half decent villain in Christopher Walken’s Zorin to be fair) that marked a sad end to Moore’s reign.

3.  The World Is Not Enough (1999)

The World Is Not Enough

Only in the world of 007 would Denise Richards be cast as a nuclear physicist – and one called Christmas Jones at that. The rot had been setting into Brosnan’s tenure since Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), but the nudge wink approach adopted throughout Moore’s residence was well and truly back following the Dalton years (the most underrated Bond in my book) and Brosnan’s solid debut GoldenEye (1995). While Robert Carlyle is better than the material he’s given playing international terrorist Francis Begbie… sorry, Renard, the narrative is all over the place, while the stunts merely reheat what we’ve seen before (ski chase? Yep. Helicopter action? You betcha). And let’s not forget that immortal line given by a post-coital Bond to Jones: “I thought Christmas came only once a year.” Wahey!

4. Octopussy (1983)

Octopussy

While Moore’s sixth outing in the tuxedo has its merits – an inclination towards a more serious plot being the most welcome – there’s a point in Octopussy when the cast and crew probably looked at each other and collectively realised that, by being a Roger Moore Bond movie, it therefore should contractually get very silly indeed. Moore must have raised an eyebrow in the way only Moore can when he read in the script that he’d have to get dressed up in a clown outfit to save the day. Maud Adams is at least Moore’s age and is the best thing about the film (the movie is named after her character after all), but Louis Jourdan doesn’t cut the mustard as the villain and tennis pro Vijay Amritraj should probably have stayed on the courts rather than turn up as Bond’s Indian ally Vijay.

5. Quantum Of Solace (2008)

Quantum Of Solace

The fates were against Quantum Of Solace. The back-to-basics Casino Royale had given the franchise the shot in the arm it so desperately needed and the pressure was on from the studio to keep the cash tills ringing. The decision to directly follow the events of Casino Royale certainly made sense as it provided the opportunity to explore the themes thrown up by Bond’s traumatic previous outing. However, the Writers Guild of America strike proved a crippling blow to the script’s development and things got so bad that Craig himself ended up trying to rewrite certain scenes. The script’s lack of cohesiveness shows in the undercooked dialogue, while director Marc Forster’s lack of action credentials revealed itself in the uneven set pieces; many of which tried to emulate the jittery Bourne-style shaky cam, but came off as confused and second-rate. A film that leaves you shaky, but not stirred.

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22 comments

  1. theipc · December 30, 2014

    GREAT post!!

  2. Andrew · December 30, 2014

    I was let down so hard by Quantum. It should have been incredible, and it was so…lazy, rushed and dumb. Thankfully Skyfall brought things back to where they should be.

    I’m very underversed in the Bond universe, but I’m slowly checking off more films.

    • Three Rows Back · December 30, 2014

      Quantum had real potential but it’s a mess. It’s not really a ‘Bond’ film (whatever that means). It’s the one blemish on Craig’s otherwise excellent tenure as 007.

  3. Stu · December 30, 2014

    I can’t really argue with any of your choices here. One and two would be my first two choices as well. The tsunami bit was a real low.

    • Three Rows Back · December 30, 2014

      It was awful wasn’t it? I watched last hour or so of the film the other day and it’s shocking despite Brosnan’s best efforts.

  4. Ted S. · December 30, 2014

    I agree on all of them except Quantum of Solace, I thought it’s a good follow up to Casino Royale. Sure it would’ve been better had the writers didn’t go on strike but I still enjoyed it. I would put Moonraker in its place, that was such an awful Bond film. In fact I think I would rank Die Another Day and Moonraker on the same level of awfulness. Both films took a lot of elements from the Moonraker novel, which was a great read but somehow the films were awful!

    • Three Rows Back · December 30, 2014

      I can completely appreciate that Moonraker should be on this list. I can’t give you a reason why I don’t dislike the film; maybe it’s good old nostalgia. It’s where Bond jumped the shark isn’t it?

  5. keith7198 · December 30, 2014

    I quite liked Quantum, not as much as Casino or Skyfall, but still quite a bit. For me it is Die Another Day. It was just ludicrous.

    • Three Rows Back · January 18, 2015

      Sorry for not getting back sooner Keith. QoS was just a bit of a mess for me. It had plenty of poential; it just didn’t match up to that potential.

  6. keith7198 · December 30, 2014

    I quite liked Quantum, not as much as Casino or Skyfall, but still quite a bit. For me it’s Die Another Day. That thing is just ludicrous.

    • Three Rows Back · December 30, 2014

      Quite. For me, QoS is too much of a mess unfortunately. Die Another Day is a low isn’t it? Utter tripe.

      • keith7198 · December 30, 2014

        Indeed it is. There has always been a degree of the ‘unbelievable’ with the Bond films but Die Another Day is downright stupid at times. Not sure how that film came into being.

  7. ruth · January 2, 2015

    Oh Die Another Day is definitely an abomination. Even my love for Toby Stephens doesn’t cloud my judgment, ahah. The World Is Not Enough is not far behind, I mean Denise Richards’ casting alone is proof the producers lost their marbles for a while there.

    • Three Rows Back · January 18, 2015

      Sorry for the delay in responding Ruth. I thought you might defend Die Another Day because of Toby. Glad you didn’t!

  8. vinnieh · January 2, 2015

    Excellent post, love hearing the thoughts of fellow Bond fans.

    • Three Rows Back · January 2, 2015

      Thank you Vic. Do you agree?

      • vinnieh · January 2, 2015

        I definitely agree with you about Die Another Day.

      • Three Rows Back · January 2, 2015

        Glad to hear it!

      • vinnieh · January 3, 2015

        Got any more Bond related posts coming up soon?

  9. Tom · January 13, 2015

    Wow, keen insight on some ‘Quantum of Solace’ trivia; I did not know that script was suffering from the Writer’s Strike. I actually neglected that that even happened in ’08. But the more you know!!!

    I am actually one of the only out there (surely) that guilty enjoys the stupidity of most of Pierce Brosnan’s outings. I must clarify though: That’s an enjoyment that can only make allowance for ‘Goldeneye,’ ‘Tomorrow Never Dies,’ and ‘The World is Not Enough.’ I absolutely could not get on board with ‘Die Another Day.’ My threshold for dumb movies is surprisingly high, but that one. . .man. That one was really bad.

    • Three Rows Back · January 18, 2015

      Cheers Tom. I’m an apologist for Moore, so I guess I can’t criticise anyone who stands up for Brosnan’s era. He’s a fine actor and deserved more than the shoddy scripts he had to work with. GoldenEye was good though. As for QoS, yeah, that’s a case of ‘what if?’ for me. A better script and who knows?

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