Diamonds Are Forever

Diamonds Are ForeverSynopsis: A fortune in stolen diamonds thrusts James Bond into action in this thrilling adventure! Sean Connery returns as Agent 007 and teams up with the beautiful Tiffany Case (Jill St. John) to prevent his nemesis Blofeld (Charles Gray) from using the diamonds in a deadly laser satellite.

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Welcome to The Critical Eye’s ‘Mission Briefing Version’ commentaries of the James Bond movies.

Via thirteen key categories, over the course of the next few months we will rate and/or comment on each picture in brief. These MBV blurbs will also sometimes feature guest commentators, Bond fans and non-fans alike, thus offering a variety of perspectives on this iconic series.

We hope that you will enjoy TCE’s unique take on the world of 007.

Diamonds Are Forever

Date of viewing: May 2, 2013

DAFOpening Credits

The Thorn: 4.0 – The credit sequence is a fine idea, using diamonds as its primary motif, but what mars it is the pre-credit sequence, which is poorly conceived, poorly edited and poorly delivered. It’s meant to be the triumphant return of Connery (who was paid a then-astronomical sum), but it comes off as unusually lazy and unimaginative. “Where is Blofeld? Where is Blofeld?”: Blow it out your hole, man!

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Ok

The Consultant: 8 – That silly hop/turn is now gone. Congrats!

The Dude: 7 – “Cai…Cai…Cairo!” This whole point-of-view sequence of Bond tracking down the Blowfish is completely outrageous and makes me feel as though anyone willing to fly to Cairo and choke a “Marie” (n-b. A Marie is a type of wrinkled sea creature found in only the most desolate Hollywood sets.), could find the Chameleon… Sorry Blowfish. However, the theme song is perfect and moves with the melancholic drive one would expect.

DAF
Story

The Thorn: 5.5 – I like the idea that Bond goes an a “real” mission, this time trying to weed out a diamond smuggling ring instead of some insane ploy to hold the world at ransom, but I hate how it’s developed; the various pieces aren’t put together especially well. Ultimately, it all leads to more megalomaniacal madness, with the diamonds being used to zap enemies from outer space – unless a ransom of a gajillion dollars is paid. Le sigh.

The Horrible Dr. B: 0 – The story involves another great evil plan by Blofeld but we get to appreciate it only at the end of the movie. See Worst Moment.

The Consultant: 5 – I’ve seen humpback whales blow less than the story in DAF. To be fair, the story was somewhat coherent. After all, nothing can focus a high powered laser, meant to destroy places like red china, quite like diamonds. The lack of story-telling was the big elephant in the casino if you ask me. The scenes were plopped together so badly that I felt like a henchmen drowning in a big tub of poop. I wish I had the gall to describe it in more specific details, but it makes me feel tired just thinking about it. Come to think of it, I believe my mind just developed a defense mechanism. Weird.

The Dude: 2 – The whole basis of the plot is ridiculous, but still infinitely better than “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, which admittedly isn’t saying much, but is worth mentioning. Why half the characters keep up the acts when they are alone is something I will never know… Alas!

DAF
Banter

The Thorn: 7.5 – Actually, I was pleasantly surprised by how decent the one-liners and quips were; they haven’t been this good since ‘Goldfinger’ or even ‘From Russia With Love’. There are plenty of horrendous ones, too (mostly courtesy of Messieurs Kidd and Wint), but I was just happy to be fed a few chuckles; it dulled the pain I was subjected to for the rest of the film.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Quantity over quality. Gets better at the end of the movie.

The Consultant: 7 – I equate good banter to zingers. You know, like just before Bond has his way with Tiffany, he would state in a sly voice, “there’s nothing to worry about when Bond is on the Case”. I gave this category a 7 because there were a few one-liners that were well placed, but the tempo of the conversation was soooo slow. “Three minutes and counting”, nuff said.

The Dude: 9 – I thoroughly enjoyed the corny one-liners and the filler in this one- Connery exudes a very fun energy throughout, which in my mind, compensates for his lack of speed and agility… At least a bit.

DAF
Villains

The Thorn: 4.0 – Blofeld is a great character but I hate Charles Gray’s rendition. He’s better than Dr. Evil Loomis from ‘You Only Live Twice’, but he’s kind of lame, glassy-eyed and stuffy. Meanwhile, the main henchmen, Kidd and Wint, are a gay (Again! Why are gay people bad guys in James Bond films?) duo who toss a line like a brick in a plate-glass window. As for Bambi and Thumper, they’re sexy but totally unconvincing as threats to Bond; they could only overwhelm Bond because he’s too bloated with caviar.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – Charles Gray is my favorite actor playing Blofeld; he plays the role of a sophisticated evil genius perfectly. Unfortunately, Blofeld is not complete without the Spectre organization. Mr Kidd and Wint are weird, gay and creepy. They kill with style. The american minions are the dumbest, which is accurate but painful to watch.

The Consultant: 7 – Blofeld was very dubious as a villain. He seemed to have devised a great plan, but would make the most boneheaded mistakes like not killing Bond when he approached the oil rig. I mean seriously, as a villain, you would think that no matter who came out of that grey balloon would not need to live, but not Blofeld. He decides to wait to see who it is and when it’s Bond, as in the only person to foil his plan, he gives him a tour! Maybe an exception could be made for Jesus, but he wouldn’t have needed that balloon to get to the rig now would he. Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint were definitely creepy. I wouldn’t want them around my school playground.

The Dude: 8 – The Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint characters were casted via some sort of community service aiming to reintegrate Klingon-speaking fellows into the real world. Lest we forget, it did not succeed, and somewhere deep beneath Kansas soil, there is a Klingon who once played the role of Mr. Kidd in “Diamonds are Forever”. I give a 4 each to Thumper and Bambi, mostly for the stupidly long scene where Thumper plans a simple kick while staring at Bond.

DAF
Bond Girls

The Thorn: 4.0 – Tiffany Case is alright, but she doesn’t appeal to me in any way, despite the dimples above her tush. My favourite is the buxom Plenty O’Toole, but she’s a total airhead; frankly, after looking and touching you’re gonna want some pillow talk, you know? Bambi and Thumper were pleasing to the eye (especially Thumper!), but were inefficient assassins to say the least; acrobats they may be, but ninjas they’re not.

The Horrible Dr. B: 0 – American dumb blond. Cant get worse. Exception: Bambi and Thumper; they kick ass.

The Consultant: 8 – Plenty O’Toole, I hated seeing you go, but loved watching you leave. Tiffany Case, you’re like a diamond, pretty to look at, but not worth the investment. Bambi and Thumper, crazy a55 81tche5. Sylvia Trench, MIA.

The Dude: 10 – Although this time there are only two, they more than made up for quantity with quality; you have the pseudo-smart business-oriented woman who has a bit of backbone and a minor role in the development of the story, and Plenty O’ Toole, the uninhibited gold digger with an unavoidable penchant for unwanted swimming. And they both meet the Bond standard, which is amazing considering the standard for Bond has decreased significantly…

DAF
Gadgets

The Thorn: 3.5 – There are a few gadgets, almost all plausible, but they’re boring or pathetic. A pocket finger trap? Why did Q devise this one, I wonder? Fake fingerprints? Excellent, but it looked like Connery was peeling glue off his thumb. A grappling gun? Fine, IF Bond goes rock climbing. A slot machine ring? Hahaha! Q worked his magic with this one. Literally… how does that one work, exactly?

The Horrible Dr. B: 10 – Low tech as I like them.

The Consultant: 8 – When Q presumably developed that pocket mouse trap, he out did himself! Now, you’ll have to pardon the crudeness of my next comment, but I’m glad Q finally got some “booty”. It’s not everyday he gets to put on his ring to finger a bunch of slots until they bust.

The Dude: 5 – 1 point for the snapping cigarette case and 1 point for the fingerprint covers. A major disappointment in this one was not having a single scene where Q explains to Bond the gadgets he’ll be using (instead, Bond just calls Q up after using them, saying: “Well that was fantastic.” And an additional 3 points for the voice-modulator scene (I thought it was surprisingly well synchronized, except for a few minor slip-ups… Well done!)

DAF
Vehicles

The Thorn: 2.0 – There are a couple of cool American sports cars, but then there is Blofeld’s “battle submarine”, which is shaped like a sunflower seed and looks like a model, and the !@#$ moon buggy!!! For God’s sake!!! The moon buggy chase sequence is so bloody horrific that it’s all I can think of when ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ is mentioned. Who wants to watch Bond drive around in a tinfoil-wrapped piece of crap straight out of a b-movie? Who thought this was a good idea? Frankly, for me, it’s one of the lowlights of the WHOLE series.

The Horrible Dr. B: 0 – The chase with the lunar module and mini 3-wheeler is pathetic. Blofeld personal sub looks good but never was used as intended.

The Consultant: 8 – Muscles cars, mini 3-wheelers, and a mean moon machine! Yay!

The Dude: 1 – Picture this: a shot of an old woman hobbling away desperately, following a shot of sprinting athletes chasing her. The shot goes back to the old woman conveniently turning a corner, and then back to one of the athletes tripping and spontaneously combusting. Change angles a couple of times and make it last 10 minutes, and at the end make the old woman escape. This is exactly how I felt watching the moon buggy escape the dirt bikes and cars.

DAF
Locales

The Thorn: 5.0 – Amsterdam is nice – for the short time we’re there, anyway. Las Vegas is somewhat impressive, what with all its lights, but that’s about it. I wouldn’t want a postcard or picture of it. And the finale on the oil rig? Who came up with THAT?

The Horrible Dr. B: 0 – The movie features an interesting car chase in the middle of 70 Las Vegas. Boring otherwise.

The Consultant: 6 – It was Vegas. Alright, one scene in Cairo, but I’m not convinced.

The Dude: 8 – I enjoyed the movement of the film, from Cairo to Britain to Holland to South Africa to the U.S., and the fact that all the locations were pretty well tied-in with the plot, and each served a purpose, instead of simply being there for the sake of it. I really enjoyed the “Whyte House” tower, right in the middle of the desert, alongside the underground research laboratories which to me, made it adequately Bond-ish.

DAF
Stunts

The Thorn: 5.0 – The car chase in Reno is contrived but well-executed. The car driving on two wheels was a cool stunt (at least until the poor editing at the tail end of it). And Bond’s dive off of the rig was impressive. But then there are poorly-staged moment like the elevator fight. Or when Bond smashes Blofeld’s submarine around on the oil rig. And the fight with Bambi and Thumper is absolutely pathetic, a total joke.

The Horrible Dr. B: 5 – We can see several interesting car stunts. However, it’s annoying when we can see the equipment (like ramps) setup in the scene used specifically for the stunts. Explosion effects are really bad.

The Consultant: 9 – The car chase with the police was very well choreographed. The moon machine chase ended with Connery hoping off the 3-wheeler himself. A good fight scene in the elevator, if not for the poor setup.

The Dude: 7 – I really enjoyed the elevator close-quarters fight scene, which Sean Connery was actually in, but other than that, the stunts were pretty restrained in this one, making you really feel that Bond has aged and will soon be doing paperwork.

DAFSoundtrack

The Thorn: 7.0 – The theme song’s ode to superficiality is disgusting. It’s probably typical of America losing its moral compass after the ’60s, but hearing how diamonds are better than men because at least they don’t lose their luster is sexist to the extreme. I hate hearing crap like that. But Shirley Bassey’s vocals are great, as is the music, and Barry’s score is one of the more memorable of the series.

The Horrible Dr. B: 0 – The opening song is catchy but has creepy lyrics. The movie definitely lacks background music.

The Consultant: 1 – Standard Bond themes, that’s it, that’s all.

The Dude: 10 – Fantastic- I really enjoyed the placement of the theme- This is to me the perfect usage of the Bond soundtrack to create atmosphere, and the slight variations on the instruments was a nice touch. Again, the song for this film is great.

DAF
Best Bond moment

The Thorn: When Bond uses Blofeld’s cat to kill him in The Whyte House. This is one of the rare moments in this film when Bond displays some ingenuity. It might even be the only time. Sure, he couldn’t have known that Blofeld had predicted the move, but at least he showed some smarts. Faster, pussycat! Kill! Kill!

The Horrible Dr. B: The best moment is definitively when Bond meets the 2 Blofelds. The scene features a clever coup by Bond, but the main reason why this scene is the best moment is because this is when the movie starts. See Worst Moment. The second best moment is when Bond get his ass kicked by Bambi and Thumper.

The Consultant: His reaction when he realized that Tiffany Case put back the cassette he just switched!

The Dude:     Bond: “You are English?”
Peter Franks: “Yes, I’m English.”
Bond: “I speak English!”
Peter Franks: “…”
FIGHT SCENE INSERTED HERE.

DAF
Worst Bond moment

The Thorn: The campy moon buggy sequence. I can’t spew enough venom at it. Watching Connery riding around in that contraption makes me sick to my stomach. Then there’s the moment when Bond gets burned alive in the funeral parlour. What a cheat! It’s like those moments when your hero is in danger… and then wakes up; it was just a dream. !@#$ you. Or how about the moment when Bond gets buried alive? Blofeld, Kidd and Wint could easily have killed him, but instead they drive him out in the desert to be buried. And just leave him there to escape. WTF!!!

The Horrible Dr. B: The worst moment spans from the beginning of the movie up to the scene with the 2 Blofelds. This covers 75% of the movie. Before that meeting, where we finally discover Blofeld’s evil scheme, we have no clue what this story is about and where it is going; it’s painfully boring and not required for the rest of the story.

The Consultant: Having even allowed Bambi and Thumper land a hit…

The Dude: When he is finishing off Peter Franks, he “bashes” him with a fire extinguisher, causing him to fly over the staircase. The only problem is that the fire extinguisher looks so heavy in Connery’s hands that you almost feel that he’ll go flying along with it, as he mildly bumps Franks off the stairs.

DAF
Overall Impression

The Thorn: 4.0 – ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ is a bastardization of all that Bond once was. It’s basically an empty vehicle for cheap gimmicks, and is devoid of any real substance on most fronts – the music excepted. It’s Sean Connery as Lounge Lizard Bond, bloated, out of shape, bored and smug as all get out. In fairness, the franchise was going through the motions as much as Connery was; it’s utter nonsense and it’s no fun. When Bond says “Welcome to Hell, Blofeld” in the opening sequence, I should have clued in that this is where we -the audience- were going to be all along.

The Horrible Dr. B: 0 – At the beginning of the story, when being debriefed about his mission, Bond complains about its simplistic nature; he was right, it is a boring mission. At the end of the movie, Blofeld complains that his minions (more specifically Tiffany) lack intelligence; they do and so does the story. The movie does have some gems (pun intended), but they are buried in a vast wasteland (pun also intended). This is a sad Bond movie: Connery (the best Bond actor) and Gray (the best Blofeld actor) are perfect for their role but in this movie they are dragged in a long, boring story, amidst trashy and dumb Americans. Worse they are asked to do stupid things like a lunar moon chase, wear pink and being dressed in drag. Painful waste of good talents.

The Consultant: 5 – The movie had nothing to do with spies or espionage. It was just a Bond lovefest where people would turn a blind eye to the what-not-to-do of the secret service. That bit where Blofeld “cloned” himself and the cat, I mean, wow, he must have spent a fortune. Too bad that accounted for 1.43% of the movie. There really wasn’t anything inherently clever. I’m glad to have seen this movie but I’m happier that I’ll never see it again.

The Dude: It’s better than ‘You Only Live Twice’.

James Bond will return inLive and Let Die

2 responses to “Diamonds Are Forever

  1. Pingback: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service | thecriticaleye·

  2. Pingback: Sushi Girl | thecriticaleye·

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