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Non-Review Review: Never Say Never Again

Never Say Never Again has quite a lot weighing against it. Most obviously, there’s the fact that we already say this story at the height of the film franchise’s popularity, but there’s also a whole host of other issues that arise due to the attempts to distinguish this iteration of the character and story from the EON productions. There are times when the film can’t seem to decide if it is or isn’t Thunderball, just as there are times when it can’t decide if it wants to acknowledge the “other” Bond films, or ignore them completely. Despite that, there’s some good stuff on display here. The film famously opened against Octopussy, losing the box office battle. While neither is “vintage” Bond, I think that Never Say Never Again is the stronger of the two films. At least it serves as a better swan song for Sean Connery than Diamonds Are Forever.

The Bond who came in from the cold…

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Non-Review Review: Thunderball

This post is part of James Bond January, being organised by the wonderful Paragraph Films. I will have reviews of all twenty-two official Bond films going on-line over the next month, and a treat or two every once in a while.

Thunderball perhaps gets a bit of a bad wrap because it’s perhaps not quite as good as From Russia With Love or Goldfinger. I’d argue that very few Bond films are. Thunderball perhaps represents the first moment that the series came to a rest – the first three installments had been built around establishing the character, his world and the tropes and clichés that viewers could expect from movie to movie. Sometimes concepts evolved gradually (for example, the novelty henchmen grew from the three blind assassins to Klebb and her knifey boots to Oddjob), while sometimes they were introduced suddenly (Bond’s Aston Martin), but by the time the fourth film came around, all these elements had been fairly firmly established. As such, the fourth film seemed to be more intent on consolidating the series than in breaking new ground. Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that.

Bond isn't washed up... yet...

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