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Bond: Never Say Never Again

11.10.2008by:

As I mentioned in my OCTOPUSSY review, 1983 was a big year for Bond, as there was not one, but two Bond films coming out that year. This is due to the fact that, years before the official James Bond franchise began, Ian Fleming worked on a film treatment for the character with Kevin McClory. The script was not picked up, and Fleming turned the story into his novel, THUNDERBALL. When the film version was produced, McClory was given a co-producer credit on the finished film. Afterwards, an agreement was reached giving McClory the right to produce another film version of THUNDERBALL in ten years- as Cubby Broccoli & co., assumed the franchise would have run it’s course by then.

Of course, the series went on, and McClory started work on his own film in 1975. It never got off the ground, until the early eighties when McClory teamed up with producer Jack Schwartzman (father of actor Jason Schwartzman, and husband of Talia Shire), who managed to sign Sean Connery to play Bond. This was huge news at the time, and everyone assumed that the resulting film, NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN would destroy OCTOPUSSY at the box office. Alas, OCTOPUSSY was a much more successful film, and NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN has been more or less forgotten. Is the film worth revisiting?

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN

PLOT: SPECTRE hijacks two nuclear missiles, and an aging James Bond, now considering retirement, is sent to recover them.

REVIEW: I’ve never been a huge fan of this film. I think it was a real missed opportunity, as the mere fact that Connery was willing to return to the role at this point in his career, promised a much better film than the one we ended up getting.

There are many reasons why this film doesn’t quite work. One major reason is Irwin Kershner’s direction. Yes- I know he directed THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK- but at the end of the day, no one would call that “an Irwin Kershner film”, it’s George Lucas’ film. In order to compete with the official franchise, they needed to make NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN an epic- but the finished film is anything but, and it plays out like an expensive TV movie.

NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN’s only redeeming feature is the cast- which is top notch- led of course by the one and only Sean Connery. We also get Kim Basinger, Barbara Carrera, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Max Von Sydow, and even Mr. Bean himself, Rowan Atkinson- who shows up as bumbling agent Nigel Small- Fawcett (cheeky!), and would essentially recreate the role for his own spy spoof, JOHNNY ENGLISH, yeas later. There’s also a pretty rad motorcycle chase mid way through- but even that pales in comparison to any of the action scenes in OCTOPUSSY. It’s not a surprise that OCTOPUSSY cleaned it’s clock at the box office.

BOND

Sean Connery returns to the role after twelve years. Surprisingly, Connery is actually in better shape here than he was his last “official” Bond, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. While he was in his fifties, he was still very fit, and looked great- although he wears a particularly unconvincing toupee in this outing (which actually slips off at one point if you look carefully). Despite the long absence from the role, he doesn’t miss a beat, and picks up right where he left off. The film may not be good- but Connery sure is! Also- the title was suggested by Connery’s wife, as a dig at his constant vow that he would never return to the role.

VILLAIN

Klaus Maria Brandauer as Largo. I actually prefer him in the role to Adolfo Celi in the original- so that says something right there. Brandauer is a first class actor, and he brings equal parts charm and madness to what’s essentially a fairly thinly written role. He’s one of the few real highlights of the film.


Max Von Sydow fares less successfully as Blofeld- as he’s only onscreen for a few minutes, and seems way too grandfatherly and passive to be playing such an evil character.

BOND GIRL

Yum- twenty nine year old Kim Basinger as Domino. Her screen time is fairly limited, but she’s gorgeous, and makes a great Bond girl.


I also really liked Barbara Carrera as Fatima Blush- the villainess. She was so good in the role that she actually earned a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actress in a dramatic film.

BOND MUSIC: Ughhhh!!! Michel Legrand is on hand to provide a truly horrendous musical score. I cannot believe this did not get re-scored, and the music is truly wretched. There's also a fairly lame theme song by Lani Hall.

BODY COUNT: Bond silences a mere two baddies in this film.

NUMBER OF WOMEN BOND SLEEPS WITH: It’s Connery, so he ends up sleeping with four women in this one. Welcome back Sean!

BEST ONE- LINER: There’s a great line where Bond meets up with Fatima Blush. She’s water skies into him, soaking his suit. She says, “Oh no, I’ve made you all wet”, to which he replies- as only Connery can, “yes, but my martini’s still dry.” Classic.

BEST DOUBLE ENTENDRE: A great one. Blush is about to blow Bond’s balls off, but first she wants to here him say that she’s the greatest sex he’s ever had- to which he coolly replies, “Well, to be perfectly honest, there was this girl in Philadelphia...”

BEST GADGET: Bond’s fountain pen/ rocket launcher is pretty awesome (and practical).

RECEPTION: While OCTOPUSSY beat it at the box office, it was still nonetheless a very successful film, pulling in $55 million in North America, and $160 million worldwide.

GRADE: 5/10- overall a very mediocre film, saved only by the top notch cast.

Previous reviews: DR. NO, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE , GOLDFINGER, THUNDERBALL, YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE, ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER , LIVE AND LET DIE, THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, MOONRAKER, FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, OCTOPUSSY

Source: JoBlo.com

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8:37AM on 11/10/2008

crap

4/10 maybe the worst ever

glad its not an official eon productions bond film
4/10 maybe the worst ever

glad its not an official eon productions bond film
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9:28AM on 11/10/2008

B.O.R.I.N.G.

Oh yeah, this one. This one had me scratching my head asking, "Why did they even bother?" Connery seems to be playing Bond very tongue-in-cheek like Moore, the music is TERRIBLE, the direction is pedestrian at best, the action scenes are completely half baked... and why is Blofeld so nice??? A total snoozer.

4.5/10
Oh yeah, this one. This one had me scratching my head asking, "Why did they even bother?" Connery seems to be playing Bond very tongue-in-cheek like Moore, the music is TERRIBLE, the direction is pedestrian at best, the action scenes are completely half baked... and why is Blofeld so nice??? A total snoozer.

4.5/10
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3:30PM on 11/10/2008

I liked it...

I always loved the back-story on how it got made, (mentioned before the actual review) plus the fact that it brought back the only real bond, connery, who still totally killed in the role despite being more more grey hair than black...

Speaking of, to give this film a 4/10, must mean that almost every single roger moore-led bond flick must be getting a score of 2 or less, cause they are pretty much all infinitely worse and more cheesey....

As for the film, it was also a box office
I always loved the back-story on how it got made, (mentioned before the actual review) plus the fact that it brought back the only real bond, connery, who still totally killed in the role despite being more more grey hair than black...

Speaking of, to give this film a 4/10, must mean that almost every single roger moore-led bond flick must be getting a score of 2 or less, cause they are pretty much all infinitely worse and more cheesey....

As for the film, it was also a box office success, just not as big as octopussy-- but honestly, how do you beat an 8-sided vagina?

In all seriousness though, I always liked it a bit more than thunderball for the details-- The beginning is the best fake-opening since from russia with love -- And it actually, finally makes sense for an older bond to be needing time at the hospital (whereas in thunderball it seemed stupid to me) ...The huge guy in the hospital that attacks bond, and the crazy, replaced retina/ blood-shot eye of the fake captain, both of which are bad ass and far better than the bore that is thunderballs hospital scenes...

Also, unlike thunderball, the second act doesnt take place mostly in hotel room sets...

Oh, and the videogame between largo and bond was amazing at the time... Plus Kim basinger in her prime in a dance studio with a two-way mirror-- I mean come on, what more can you ask for?

Gotta disagree with this review big time, Id give it at least a 7.
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5:18AM on 11/11/2008

I liked it...

This was passable; definitely not a perfect film, but it was good seeing Connery in the role again.

His love(or 'sex' scene, if you will) with Fatima Blush was something only Connery could pull off...and possibly Dalton or Craig.

A plot hole is the presence of Blofeld, as he is just a mysterious man with a cat; unless a sequel was being set up.

The main villian could have been Largo himself, handling the stolen weapons...but, hey.

Too, Connery pushed for Bernie Casey as Felix
This was passable; definitely not a perfect film, but it was good seeing Connery in the role again.

His love(or 'sex' scene, if you will) with Fatima Blush was something only Connery could pull off...and possibly Dalton or Craig.

A plot hole is the presence of Blofeld, as he is just a mysterious man with a cat; unless a sequel was being set up.

The main villian could have been Largo himself, handling the stolen weapons...but, hey.

Too, Connery pushed for Bernie Casey as Felix Leiter, which I thought was interesting.

6/10 for me.
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2:26PM on 11/11/2008

Why bother?

I managed to get through viewing this one once, but have since never watched the whole thing again. If a Bond is on cable, I almost always watch it, except this one. Love Connery, but dated crappy musical score KILLS it for me.
I managed to get through viewing this one once, but have since never watched the whole thing again. If a Bond is on cable, I almost always watch it, except this one. Love Connery, but dated crappy musical score KILLS it for me.
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