Bond… James Bond.
I’ve been a fan since I saw the trailer for For Your Eyes Only on SuperChannel, and tried to buy a James Bond book for the road trip to New Brunswick, though my father did not approve.
Once we relocated to Bermuda and finally had to break and buy a VHS machine, I got to work my way through all the films, all of which I love passionately, some more than others. I’m also familiar with a lot of the behind the scenes stuff, because that’s the kind of movie geek I am. I’m passionate about how films get made, from the production design, to the stunts, to the politics that sometimes come into play when these films are created.
As such, there was nothing really new for me in this documentary, though I certainly did enjoy how Riley presented it all within an hour and a half, not to mention the interviews he got to fill it out! Nice.
There was the creation of the books by Fleming, the horrid television adaptation of Casino Royale, the joining together of Albert ‘Cubby’ Broccoli and Harry Saltzman to bring the film series to the screen.
From there it’s a whirlwind romp through the films, some are completely glossed over without mention, though there are clips from all of them present throughout.
It mentions briefly the shooting of You Only Live Twice in Japan and Sean Connery’s decision to leave the series after that, the casting of George Lazenby and the mistakes off-screen that he made. Roger Moore talks about the worry he had following in Connery’s footsteps, as Saltzman and Broccoli fall apart.
The moment that Pierce Brosnan (who laughs at some of the ludicrous things that happened in his last Bond film) was so close to making The Living Daylights before Remington Steele was brought back for a final season.
Broccoli’s daughter, Barbara and stepson, Michael Wilson, stepping in to take the reins from their father to continue the epic series… and the battles with Kevin McClory over control of Thunderball and James Bond himself.
All of this is covered up to and including the 50th anniversary Bond film, Daniel Craig’s 007 in Skyfall.
As a documentary, this thing could easily have run three hours, and been completely engaging, I point to the fantastic Never Sleep Again as a prime indicator of a brilliantly made behind the scenes documentary, and that only covered seven films and clocked in at 240 minutes!
Still, for true Bond fans, there isn’t going to be much here that you don’t know or haven’t seen before on the extensive extras that have been packaged with each film. Still, it serves as a brilliant introduction to the films for some who may be a little wary about them, or don’t know their history like die-hard fans.
Having said that, it certainly did fire up my desire to watch the films again, and even now, Doctor No is roaring away on my blu-ray player.
A series that after 50 years is still going strong, changing with the times, and the actors who have portrayed him.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need a martini.