Sunday, 13 May 2012

They say you should never go back

The Seventies are here and so is James Bond's seventh big screen outing.

The good news (thanks to the studio, United Artists) is that Sean Connery has come back. It only cost a then record $1.25 million some of which was used for charity. Mr Kidd and Mr Wint are good too and Shirley's back on theme tune duties. That's. About. It.

Diamonds are Forever is horrifically camp which probably explains why Adam West was considered for the role and the storyline is peppered with just plain stupid elements.

To begin with Connery is unseen as he pursues old enemy Blofeld across the globe. Obviously still upset at Blofeld's murder of his wife, Bond is very determined popping up in Japan and Cairo amongst other places before a rather plump and sweaty Mr Connery locates Blofeld and his attempt to use mud to make himself a plastic surgeoned double. It looks like the years since Connery last picked up a Walther PPK have been good to him and have taken the edge of his ability to deliver a decently pithy one liner and he now keeps a mousetrap in his pocket.

Sean Connery because he's not as camp as the other guy

Echoes of Goldfinger see a diamond smuggling scheme take centre stage early on. Several links of the smuggling chain are dispatched in entertaining ways from South Africa to Amsterdam. So far, so good but then the action shifts to Las Vegas. Gaudy and kitsch Vegas is home to elements that will plague the Bond series for much of the next decade. Tiffany Case and Plenty O'Toole are the early incarnations of Bond girls having daft names for the sake of it in an attempt at a euphemism. See also later, Dr Goodhead, Chu Mi and Jenny Fleck.  Don't even start on Bambi and Thumper. Just be glad Sgt J W Pepper hasn't reared his ugly head just yet.  In fact Las Vegas' image of all style and no substance is soaked into Diamonds Are Forever.

Whilst in Las Vegas Bond attempts to get to grips with the smuggling supply line by playing craps and taking in casino shows. His efforts culminate in a laboratory infiltration and posing as the greatly named Klaus Hergersheimer. When rumbled Bond escapes in a moon buggy. A moon buggy. Despite this Roger Moore still accepted the role. Following the moon buggy incident is the world's worst car chase. Twenty miles per hour around a car park.  Someone, somewhere thought this was a good idea.

 Worst escape vehicle ever

Before long Bond gets to the crux of the matter, only to find it's Charles Gray's Blofeld. Yes, Charles Gray, The Narrator who last had a knife stuck in his back in You Only Live Twice (his leg has also grown back). The crafty bastard now seemingly shed of his S.P.E.C.T.R.E is bent on using the smuggled diamonds in a laser toting satellite. As weapons go it's a bit crap. It's intense beam of diamond enhanced light makes things go red and wobble.  Needless to say Washington DC is on it's hitlist unless Blofeld gets his big bag of swag. Even Dr Evil wouldn't be this lame....

Bond pitches up at Blofeld's oil rig base in a zorbing ball. Blofeld is no longer worthy of a volcano lair and Bond is happy to roll around in inflated polythene rather than a sexy speed boat. Blofeld is defeated rather predictably and Bond gets to go cruising with Tiffany Case and dispatch Mr Wint and Mr Kidd with some brandy and a cheap thrill.

It's dispiriting that the best part of Diamonds Are Forever is Bond's conversation with a rat.

'One of us smells like a tart's handkerchief..............I'm afraid it's me. Sorry about that old boy.'

 I am NEVER doing this again. Never. Never.

Diamonds Are Forever makes me feel uncomfortable. Our ruthless yet charming spy is being reduced to a stunt man smuggling cheap innuendo. It's as if Carry On Spying went viral. The only hope is that the next incumbent of the role will bring a fresh start. Hope can be cruel sometimes. Diamonds Are Forever proves the old adage that you should never go back.

James Bond will return and this time he'll be ginger.