Sunday, July 13, 2008

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Director: Guy Hamilton

Starring: Sean Connery, Jill St. John, Charles Gray, Jimmy Dean

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: Diamonds Are Forever"... forever... forever... forever...

Plot: A diamond smuggling investigation leads James Bond to Las Vegas, where he uncovers an extortion plot headed by his nemesis, Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

My Rating: 5/10

Would I watch it again? Not likely. If I do it's because so much time will have passed and I'll slap it in to see if it's as bad as I remember it. It will be. It willlllll be.

Coming off of the excellent ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE (1969), it's not an easy thing to try and top. "Fuck that! Let's turn Bond into a goddamned cartoon character and shit on everything that's come before it!", said the producers of the series. I have no proof that they said that but I couldn't help but feel that those words passed through their lips at some point prior to making this film.

It PAINS me to trash a pre-Brosnan Bond film. There will be another before we get to him. If you take out Lazenby and Dalton (both excellent Bonds), the last Connery Bond picture, the last Moore Bond picture and Brosnan Bond pictures are their a long shot.

So what's wrong with this one since so many fans love it so much? For starters it's a live action cartoon. The pre-credit sequence is the weakest so far. I'm serious. Watch it for yourself (skip the rest of the movie if you've seen it already) and you'll see how amateurishly the sequence is put together. It looks as bad as a cheap Bond knock-off and it looks/feels like a hack directed it. Guy Hamilton made GOLDFINGER for fuck's sake and this is the best that he can do? It's childish at best. FUCK, I wish Lazenby had stayed on because I guarantee they wouldn't have done this story. It would have likely stayed on the same level of seriousness and professionalism that OHMSS had.

One huge issue I had with this is that it's almost entirely set in Las Vegas. Now, it's always neat seeing Vegas in a movie before it became what it is today. THAT'S neat. I remember going there as a child in the late 70s and seeing this picture brings back some memories (especially of Circus Circus). But to have a Bond film spend so much time in one spot gets old and fast. The action sequences aren't thrilling and the one with Bond in a moon buggy is downright silly.

I can't really blame Connery for much of anything because he does a good job with what he has to work with. But then he's the only reason this film is being made so he should have taken more of an interest. He's clearly enjoying himself as he plays with the women, cars and toys. St. John does a good job as his main squeeze, Tiffany Case. My problem is with her character, not her acting. She's a soft, attractive girl that goes from the likable bitch to the unlikeable fawning silly person. Lana Wood as (and has) Plenty O'Toole is bad, bad, bad. If that woman didn't have plenty O'knockers she'd be working at a diner instead of being a Bond girl. Her character is literally a "throwaway".

[Plenty is thrown out of a 10th floor window by some bad guys and lands in a swimming pool]
Bond: [looking down] Exceptionally fine shot.
Cool-Ass Bad Guy: I didn't know there was a pool down there.

Bond isn't challenged much in this one. Sure he's being burned alive in a funeral home crematorium but then he's pulled out of it with barely an explanation. He would have been dead in seconds. Instead, after about a half minute of struggling, he's pulled out by someone and there's only a little scorching on the casket's exterior. Whatever. There are two characters that stand out. Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint (played by Putter Smith (his first acting gig) and Bruce Glover (badass father of Crispin), respectively). They're ruthless badass motherfuckers that kill for a living...and they LIKE it. Oh, and they're gay. They are easily the best thing about this movie. Their humor is dry, witty and downright creepy. If you should ever see this do yourself a favor and pay very close attention to their mannerisms. They're fucking hysterical. They also get a lion's share of some great lines.

After planting a bomb on a helicopter and detonating it shortly after takeoff...
MR. KIDD: If god had wanted man to fly...
MR. WINT: He would have given him wings, Mr. Kidd.

and another...

Mr. Kidd: Well, they're both aboard and I must say that Miss Case seems quite attractive...
[Mr. Wint glares at him]
Mr. Kidd: ...For a lady.
Mr. Kidd: Heh heh heh heh!


The rest of the movie can kiss my tight Bondian ass. Except, maybe, the elevator fight. THAT was a good one. Having Bond fist fight a guy in such tight quarters was neat and inventive. One more thing that bugs me about this movie is how self aware everyone is in the movie. Everyone seems to know who Bond is. When Bond kills the guy in the elevator he switches their wallets. When Case asks him who he killed he pulls out the guys wallet and says, "James Bond". Then she freaks out saying that you can't just kill James Bond and expect nothing to happen. How the FUCK would she know who James Bond is and that he's a SECRET BLOODY AGENT. She's just a fucking smuggler for cryin' out loud. And this isn't an isolated incident. There are more.

"Do you seriously feel threatened, here? Ugh."

The big finale action set-piece tiresomely takes place on an oil rig!!?! It's weak and it's lazy.

Unlike the film, I'll end on a positive note. Bond throws out a great line that stunned me that it was included in the film...

Bond: Weren't you a blonde when I came in?
Case: Could be.
Bond: I tend to notice little things like that - whether a girl is a blonde or a brunette.
Case: Which do you prefer?
Bond: Well, as long as the collar and cuffs match...

Giggidy, Giggidy...Giggidy Goo!

Scorethefilm will return with his thoughts to...


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