films seen
average score
Alive and kicking
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1979 / 126m - UK
Action, Adventure
Moonraker poster

The last 70s James Bond, also the last one directed by Lewis Gilbert. It feels a bit like a last hurrah, mostly because the first hour is one big repetition of scenes and tricks from earlier films. It isn't until Bond is sent into space that things start to become interesting and Moonraker comes into its own.

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The US is sending one of their Moonraker rockets to the UK. Midway the journey the transport airplane is shot down, when they inspect the remains the Moonraker rocket is missing. The UK puts Bond on the case, who runs into some old enemies. After traveling half the world, it seems the real answer lies in space.

The first hour is a bit dull. Boat chases, fights on top of cable ways, various exotic locations. It's vintage Bond, but it's becoming a little repetitive. The scenes in space are way more fun though. Goofy and ridiculous, but that's when James Bond is at his best. Overall a pretty decent entry in the franchise, mostly thanks to the second half.

You Only Live Twice

1967 / 117m - UK
Action, Adventure
You Only Live Twice poster

This feels like two James Bond films rolled into one. We get to see Bond making a less than sociable trip to Japan, but then there's also a lot of space/Cold War stuff to wade through. The two narratives barely fit together, but because the film doesn't take itself too serious it still works.

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Tensions between the US and Russia are rising when an unidentified spacecraft steals a US ship. While the fight between the two nations escalates, all signs seem to point to a Japanese launch site. Bond is sent out to investigate, working together with the Japanese Secret Service to prevent WWIII.

It's nice to see the series didn't abandon its goofy roots. Underground lairs, hidden pathways, spies around every corner. It's all there, though never taking itself too serious. The biggest problem with these early Bond films is the length. Two hours is a bit long for something silly like this, but at least it never got boring.

The Spy Who Loved Me

1977 / 125m - UK
Adventure, Crime
The Spy Who Loved Me poster

One of the lesser Bond films I've seen so far. On paper, it looked good. There are plenty of secret lairs, silly evil henchmen, exotic locations and explosive situations, so much in fact that you could fill two films with them. But somehow Gilbert fails to execute it to its full potential.

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Two nuclear submarines are stolen, one British, one Russian. Both countries put their best secret agent on the job. The trail leads to Egypt, where agent 007 and Triple X meet up for the first time. Even though they're after the same thing, their collaboration is rather reserved as they can't quite trust each other.

As silly as it may be, The Spy Who Loved Me doesn't really radiate the fun and cheekiness of the better Bond films. Maybe it's because there's a bit too much repetition (we've already seen the sharks before, as well as the ski chase), maybe it's because the classic West vs Russia tension makes for a slightly darker tone. There's still some fun to be had, but I expected more.