19) 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever
Sean Connery is probably the best James Bond ever. He was certainly better than George Lazenby, but oddly, Diamonds Are Forever still seems like a step backwards. When he retired from the role following You Only Live Twice, it was at the right moment. It was time for someone else to take 007 in a different direction. Luring him back with $1.25 million might have seemed like a good way to make money for the producers, but it was ultimately bad for his legacy and it was bad for this movie.

This should have been the crescendo. It should have been Return Of The Jedi-esque following the low note On Her Majesty’s Secret Service ends on. It should have been the final slugfest between Bond and Blofeld, but instead, it’s just a poorly executed missed opportunity. The stupid Blofled creating lookalikes gag doesn’t work, and the diamonds could have been stolen on their own without incorporating the satellite laser. There had to be a better way to let these two come face to face.

Unfortunately, this is what we have. So, we might as well celebrate some of the positives. Plenty O’Toole is one of the all-time great Bond names, and Las Vegas is the perfect location for 007. Like the circus, it’s a conduit for surprises, intrigue, weirdness and strange sexual encounters. I wouldn’t mind seeing every fifth or sixth Bond movie go back there. Plus, this movie has Felix Leiter, and he is a seriously underutilized character.

Diamonds Are Forever isn’t bad. It’s just disappointing.

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