“When one is in Egypt, one should delve deeply into its treasures…”

Sorry, Bond fans, I’ve fallen behind with my Bondathon reviews recently. I’ve still been watching them so here’s the first of my overdue posts – expect the next one shortly!

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

THE VITALS

Director: Lewis Gilbert
James Bond: Roger Moore
Notable villain(s): Karl Stromberg
Notable Bond girl(s): Major Anya Amasova

A few weeks ago Richard E Grant presented a special report about Pinewood Studios for the BBC’s British Hidden Heritage TV show. It presented a fascinating insight into the history of the iconic studios and included footage from what was filmed there. Pinewood is, as surely everyone knows, the spiritual home of 007, with every Bond film having at least a couple of scenes filmed there.

In the footage shown it was revealed that one of the most impressive scenes from The Spy Who Loved Me was filmed on the 007 Stage at Pinewood, the scene where Karl Stromberg’s stolen booty is housed in his supertanker, Liparus. It really brought it home to me what a brilliant job the production crew do, turning a 334ft x 136ft stage in Buckinghamshire into the inside of a megalomaniac’s supertanker complete with two stolen submarines!

Anyway, back to the film. The Spy Who Loved Me is highly entertaining and pits 007 against one of my favourite Bond villains, Karl Stromberg. Stromberg dreams of establishing an Atlantean paradise by triggering a global nuclear war. In some respects, The Spy Who Loved Me feels like it was filmed on a much grander scale compared to some of the earlier films, with a larger cast, bigger set pieces and new, highly impressive gadgets. It’s not one of my ultimate favourites, but I think it definitely does hold its own.

★★★½

Moonraker (1979)

THE VITALS

Director: Lewis Gilbert
James Bond: Roger Moore
Notable villain(s): Hugo Drax
Notable Bond girl(s): Dr Holly Goodhead

In the history of Bond films, I’m sure Moonraker is one that will be remembered less favourably. It certainly is up there as one of the most extravagant Bond films where 007 goes, quite literally, out of this world.

Hugo Drax, Bond’s nemesis, has an ambitious plan that stretches further than the usual ‘I’m-going-to-blow-this-up’ terrorism strategy. He wants to wipe out every human on Earth and re-populate it with a hand-picked racial rainbow of superior humans. Bond, of course, has to stop this from happening.

When Moonraker was released in 1979 it undoubtedly impressed regarding special effects. From the safety of a studio, 007, Dr Holly Goodhead, Hugo Drax and, erm, Jaws were able to be transported to outer space to Drax’s secret space station. Unfortunately, these effects did little for me, especially when you consider that Ridley Scott’s Alien was also released in 1979, and I think it is for this reason that I didn’t enjoy this film that much.

★★½

Current order of preference: Goldfinger, Thunderball, The Man with the Golden Gun, You Only Live Twice, Dr. No, The Spy Who Loved Me, Live and Let Die, Diamonds Are Forever, From Russia With Love, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and, in last place, Moonraker.

You can read all my mini reviews and posts in my Bondathon series here.

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6 thoughts on ““When one is in Egypt, one should delve deeply into its treasures…””

  1. Moonraker is more of a guilty pleasure for me, even though I like Drax as an elegant but deranged villain. Spy Who Loved Me is perhaps the best of Moore’s Bonds, and Barbara Bach is one sexy Bond girl!

  2. Moonraker is so ridiculous that it’s almost hard to compare it to a lot of the other Bond films. It’s interesting that its plot is basically a remake of The Spy Who Loved Me in space. Drax is looking to do a lot of the same things that Stromberg wants to do. Plus, we have Jaws again, though he’s even goofier this time. Barbara Bach is my favorite Bond girl, and The Spy Who Loved Me is my favorite of the Moore films. It’s so much fun yet also has a convincing plot. I also agree about the remarkable set design.

  3. I’m still wondering which is the lowest moment in the Bond franchise; double-taking pigeon in Mooraker, or CG wakeboarding abomination in Die Another Day! The Spy Who Loved Me is great though, certainly one of the better Rog films.

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