6.30.2011

Don't Eat The Red Snow.

ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE (1969)
Well, this never happened to the other fellow.

Time to say goodbye to suave, witty, and badass Sean Connery, and hello to the Australian male model, George Lazenby. Skeptical? Me too. I'll give them props for at least do a tasteful turnover of actors. We get a slow introduction to Lazenby...a car chase, lighting a cigarette, taking a sip of smoke through his lips. Sitting beside his gun, his hands on the car wheel, the binoculars covering his face. They hold out on showing him as long as they can, until finally the reveal, complete with the ever satisfying, "Bond, James Bond." But can Lazenby fill the big shoes Sean Connery left him? Read on to find out! I'll give you a hint: the answer is no.

James Bond: George Lazenby. It's not personal. Really. Truth me told, he does his job to the best of his ability. He's very straight face, he's got some charm, and he does a good job with halfhearted double entendres. But he's just...how do I put this? Too fucking posh. Maybe it's the way he carries himself, or the fact that he spends half the movie in a skirt, or the fact that most of his fight scenes involve skiing and turtlenecks. I'm just finding it hard to believe he'd really be willing to get dirty. This isn't to say Bond isn't posh, exactly. Sure, he likes the high life. He lives it up. But there's also something very rugged about Bond. Something that says even though he likes fancy cars and nice hotels and women in furs, he also doesn't mind rolling in the mud and chopping down trees and doing hard, manly work. And there's something about Lazenby that makes me think he lifts his pinky when he drinks his tea. Most probably has something to do with the fact that he sounds like an old lady when he fights.

There's also a different between being as careless as a boy, and as irritating as a boy. Bond generally isn't very mature, period, but his boyish attitude comes out of his recklessness. This Bond is more like that irritating kid in the back of the bus who won't stop telling everyone about his cool red Power Ranger toy. He's way too chatty. There's witty banter, and then there's shut the fuck up. Not to mention, he's a petty little shit. He gets in a fight with M. over a mission, and after not getting his way, threatens to resign. Really? Why call the movie "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" when he's willing to resign over a petty argument? But hey, guess it doesn't matter because M. rolls over like a useless dog for Bond.

Bond...in love? We're introduced to Bond's love interest while he's playing cards with a pair of tits. Oh wait! That's not just any pair of tits, that's Tracy Di Vicenzo's pair of tits, hanging off the lovely Diana Rigg. In all truthfulness, Tracy is my favorite part of this movie. She makes for a great Bond girl--she's sassy, she's got connections, and she's aloof. The Bond girls always "try to resist" James Bond, but Tracy is one of the few who pulls off her distant attitude well. I think it can all be summed up by the fact that he more or less prostitutes her into his bed for the first time after she loses money she can't pay back in a game of cards, and her reaction to his advances is a simple, disinterested, let's-get-this-over-with "Hm". If nothing else, she makes for a good challenge. 

A challenge which gets more...challenging when we realize that Tracy is the daughter of a high end mobster, a mobster who then hires Bond...to fuck her into submission. Wow. So is this a Bond film or a porn film? Did he seriously just tell Bond his daughter needed to be tamed by the way of the cock? I understand outrageousness is Bondtastic, but. More on the porn film part of this movie later.

Meanwhile, Bond and Tracy start to fall in love. Whodathunk? And this is the only Bond movie in which, halfway through, we get a montage of Bond and the Bond girl falling in love. Not a car chase, not an explosion, no. Instead, he's taking her on dates, walking through the park with her. Who switched my movie with Breakfast At Tiffany's? Allow me to sleep through his section...

Bond girls: Hey, a roomful of Bond girls! I'm awake again. It turns out, Blofeld has a room filled with sex starved young women who are there...to heal their allergies or some convoluted fucking plot. And what does Bond do? He gives the sex-starved chicks a lesson on the word genealogy. While they all eat dinner seductively. There's a banana in the mix. It happens. But, of course, after dinner, all the ladies want a little dessert. And so he proceeds to have a good twenty minutes hoping from bedroom to bedroom, having his way with the women of the place. This won't end badly. Not at all. Except for the fact that it does when it ends up blowing his cover. Er...whoops?
Image from virginmedia.com.

Villains: Well, I figured, even if the rest of it isn't great, it has Blofeld, and he's going to be awesome, right? Well. No, not right. He's actually really fucking boring in this movie. He's got the most over elaborate world domination plot, and he cut off his earlobes. Er. Not really all that sinister.

However. There is one villain who stands out among the wreckage. And that is Irma Bunt (Ilse Steppat), also known as the deadliest cock block known to man. She's mean, she's got a face like a bulldog, and she's got a thick "don't fuck with me" accent. She's one of those women that would be terrifying if you just happened to bump into her on the street anyway, but since she's an evil henchwomen who's manipulating an army of Bond Girls, yeah, I'd say she's pretty fucking badass. Plus, she kills Tracy, so props for her.

Most badass moment: Turning a snow machine...into a death machine. Don't eat the red snow.

Most ridiculous moment: As Bond waits for his safe-unlocking device to work, he flips through a playboy. Bitch, Bond doesn't need a playboy to look at breasts. He snaps his fingers and breasts magically appear. On a silver fucking platter. With complimentary twins. What is this?
You know it's all gone to shit when Bond says "I do".


Overall: The thing is it's not a particularly bad movie on its own. It's very much a British spy film, complete with various Bond costumes and deceptions, his complicated love affair with Tracey, kilts, curling. It most probably resembles the slow pace of the book more than the other movies. It has its charms. But it's just...not a Bond film. There's not enough car chases, not enough explosions, not enough sex. It didn't help that it felt like two completely different movies in one. First, we have Bond propositioned by a mob boss to marry the boss' daughter and all the complications involved in that. Second, we have Blofeld hypnotizing women who have allergies so that they might become some deadly squad of assassins or something like that. The two probably have some connection, but if they do, I missed it completely. The only way they intervene is that Tracy "just happens" to show up at the ski rink. Convenient, no? But convenience is kind of the name of the game with this movie, with cute little gimmicks that I could do without, like a car chase "just so happening" to break into a car race. Overall, I come out of the movie with one reaction: "Ehhh."

15 comments:

  1. "Instead, he's taking her on dates, walking through the park with her. Who switched my movie with Breakfast At Tiffany's? Allow me to sleep through this section..." LMAO!

    Great review! I haven't delved into this particular Bond in a longggg time, and your review confirms my noncommittal desire to do such a thing. So thanks for that.

    It's a good film, but it's not a good Bond film.

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  2. Bwahaha! I'm glad you liked it! This was definitely one I hadn't seen in a while either and finally got around to rewatching...and then was sorry that I did. It wasn't a bad film. It was actually a really excellent spy movie, with a romantic twist. Any other movie and it would've been badass. But as a Bond? It just didn't really fly with me.

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  3. Stellar review, but this is my least favorite of the Bond films. Lazenby was a total Bond girl and not my fave MI6 agent. A pussy-whipped 007 with a gold ring is not sexy and definitely not a worthy replacement for Sean Connery. It was Bond jumping the shark.

    I like Diana Rigg. Her character was cool, but I did not for one instant think that after the slew of babes before her that she suddenly had the Magic Vagina that tamed Bond's Mighty Penis. Even if he was supposed to fuck her into submission.

    Plus, the plot was so convoluted and boring that I had to work hard to pay attention in some parts. Like the love montage, where my sugar levels rose so high, I had to take a pill. The best part was Irma. She really was badass in attitude and looks. And she killed off Mrs. Bond. Yay!

    I know you and Matt liked this, but for me, this one is a horse head in my bed.

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  4. Loved the review, but for me I can't think of it as a Bond film. He's just way too fancy and yeah the whole I'm going to get married thing...

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  5. Be fair. Ian Fleming actually wrote Tracy into his novels, so Bond getting married isn't actually that crazy of an idea. I'm with you, baby. I'm not a huge fan of this one. In fact, I watched about ten minutes and I was all, "I hate action movies anyway, wtf am I doing?" Because it's half action, half romance, and that just confuses me and my romantic comedy-inclined sensibilities.

    But yeah, Bond dating, falling in love, etc., isn't actually all that crazy. Fleming wrote it first. Just saying. :)

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  6. The ending to this film was surprisingly sad actually...I mean, George Lazenby is an awful, awful Bond but he did try his best.

    Speaking of Bond films that aren't really like Bond films, Daniel Craig's two, particularly the last one, are so un-Bond like it makes me sad to think of them in the Bond canyon.

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  7. @ Melissa--I'll agree with you that it's definitely my least favorite Bond thus far (and it's going to be hard to top this one). Diane Rigg...is one of those women who, if anyone could tame Bond, could probably do it, but you're still reeling from the fact that someone's actually tamed Bond.

    Irma was really the best part! And the plot definitely had be scratching my head. I almost didn't bring it up, since...it's a Bond movie, right? No plot required. But this was off the wall. It's like they were trying to make a British spy film, and then half way through remembered it was supposed to be a Bond movie. Disjointed for the suck.

    @ Brent--Got to agree with you there. Not a bad film on its own, but not really Bond worthy. He was a fancy little nancy boy, wasn't he?

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  8. @ Elizabeth--She only speaks the truf! I agree that we must all bow down to the wisdom that is Ian Flemming. Because book!Bond is really a genuine spy, detective style, who is coldhearted but...definitely doesn't have the same Hollywood flair as he's gotten with the movies. And I have to give this movie props for (seemingly) trying to return to the book Bond (though, to be fair, this isn't one I've actually read). Yet, at the same time, Bond has really become a bigger character than anyone could realize, and this movie just doesn't age well in the scheme of things.

    BUT! You're right, Bond falling is love isn't actually that ridiculous. Casino Royale anyone? I totally bought it, even though it was "Bond's first" and all.

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  9. @ Cherokee--See, that's the thing about this movie. As much as I WANT to dislike it...the ending actually really did pull on a couple heartstrings. Which is why I think if this hadn't been in the Bond mix, it would've actually been a good spy movie.

    Oho, and we're gonna have to take this outside. I'm actually a fan of the controversial Craig Bond, but I will give you this--it's definitely a departure from the rest of the Bond series. It's much darker, much more gritty, and has a lot more grey areas than the other Bonds. Which has its pros...and its cons. I definitely want more of the old, campy humor injected in Craig's permanent frown.

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  10. You're right. I'm still reeling because someone tamed my Bond. And yeah, I forgot that ol' Ian had set up a romance for 007 in his books. It's just that for me after the awesomeness of Sean Connery, Lazenby was a 180 WTF and so was the love story.

    Diana Rigg is way cool. She was my dad's fave badass babe til Sigourney Weaver and Geena Davis. He adored her in The Avengers TV series with Patrick MacNee. She was wicked cool in there. If you ever get a chance to see the series, do so. The movie they did with Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman could not come close.

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  11. Word. I agree with you there. If the romance had been cleverly crafted...maybe. But with Lazenby? It just came off as stilted romantic-action movie wtf crap.

    Sigourney Weaver is definitely a badass. And I still have to watch that movie with Geena Davis! I swear, I'm getting there! I almost watched it the other night, but then fell into a pile of suck instead. I may have to check out the Avengers if only for some Diana Rigg action.

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  12. Huh....quiet the Lazenby hating lot, eh? OHMSS is surely not my favorite Bond film, but neither is it my least favorite(that would be anything with rich poofter-boy Moore). Everybody thinks of franchise re-boots as a modern thing, but keep in mind that a re-boot is exactly what this movie is. Consequently, the folks at Eon obviously decided to make this new Bond a bit different. Yes, there is romance....yes Bond falls in love....but, we do get some great cinematography, the fight scenes are pretty good punch-ups, the ski chase is exciting and this is the last Bond film that has that great 60's spy-vibe. Also, I think the theme music is one of the best themes in the series. After the Connery films, I would call this the best in the series.

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  13. Thanks for commenting! I'll agree with you there--the best thing about this movie was definitely its spy-vibe. And for that, I think it was an excellent spy movies all on its own. I just wasn't entirely buying it as a Bond movie. But in all fairness to Lazenby, I haven't seen the Moore films in quite some time, and I'm (unfortunately) making my way towards them. So by time they roll around, I may be singing an entirely different tune about Lazenby.

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