The James Bond series was a monumental series for me growing up and, as I planned on featuring one of the 20+ films in the series as a Key Movie, I just couldn’t choose. Since I can’t choose a single one, I am reviewing each and every Bond film continuing with today’s entry, The Spy Who Loved Me
Welcome to Key Movies Of My Life James Bond Edition.
Today’s Key Movie:
Nuclear Submarines are disappearing across the globe and there is only one man who can find out who or what is causing this crisis, Bond, James Bond.
In yet another globe trotting adventure, Roger Moore once again takes on the role of James Bond 007 where he finds himself teamed up with Agent XXX in the adventure to literally save the world.
Why this movie?
From the get go, Bond is once again in the arms of a villainous woman who is intent to kill him. It’s no surprise really as what woman wouldn’t want this philandering super-spy dead, but seeing his record, he always seems to end up in bed with a one of the enemies at least once per film so why not start the film that way and get it over with right?
This movie is yet another one that really shows how comfortable Roger Moore is in his role. By the time you get to this film, it almost feels as if he has been Bond for much longer than just two films as he fills the role perfectly in every way. As expected, the series has aged along with the times and, as this one lands in the late 70’s, the film comes off a little more over the top but somehow manages to remain fairly grounded while also taking big risks like a pretty cool submersible car or the giant with metal teeth.
Okay, you like this film, but is it really a ‘good film’?
This is one of the most exciting and intense Bond films so far. Taking a nod from the last entry, we dive deeper into the darker, more intense 007 but also one that manages to keep his attitude light in the face of danger. Moore channels a Bond that feels a little more like a proto-Indiana Jones in this adventure as he switches between the negotiator to the adventurer with an incredible ease. Many people seem to view Moore as a campier version of Bond thanks to some of the latter poor choices in specific moments of his films but it is in entries such as this that we really see him as one of the best.
The main love interest in this one is rather unique in that she is not only a temptation for Bond but also an opposing agent who is quite adept in her job. Anya Amasova aka Agent Triple X ,yeah on the nose there, is played by the gorgeous Barbra Bach and manages to be one of the best of the ‘Bond Girls’ to come. (Bach also somehow ended up married to ex-Beatle Ringo Starr and are still together since 1981). Anya is every-much Bond’s equal as she is introduced as the KGB’s best operative who is also being sent to investigate the missing Submarines. In the film, she proves to be able to hold her own in every way, even showing Bond a thing or two along their journey. You see, Bond is responsible for the death of Agent XXX’s fellow spy and lover in the opening moments of the movie and for the entire film she intends on getting revenge, keeping Bond at arms length, almost toying with him. Yes, they do end up together, but very much on her terms even though Bond feels as if he is getting the upper hand.
We see a ton more gadgets introduced in this film showing more of Q branch bringing the classic Gadget Trope of the Bond Series closer to what we have come to know and love. From ticker-tape message watches to submersible cars, the Q branch really gets more exposure this time around. I particularly love that Desmond Llewellyn gets more screen time in this one as the head of Q branch, Major Boothroyd aka ‘Q’, establishing him as even more of a mainstay for the franchise since his first appearance in From Russia With Love. We even get the start of the semi-rivalry between he and 007 and it is delightful.
The villain of the film is one Karl Stromberg, who is more of a super-villain akin to Lex Luthor than any of the Bond Villains so far. For the first time, we find a villain for Bond who has pretty pure motives with no financial aspirations, his notion in this one is to simply destroy the world so that he can start a civilization underwater not unlike the city of Rapture in the video game series Bioshock. While he is the main villain, he comes across as a reclusive Orson Welles type who happens to live in a base that looks almost exactly like the main base of the Legion of Doom from Super-friends, The Hall of Doom. Instead of being located in a swamp Stromberg’s Atlantis is located in the ocean, but the similarities are pretty spot on. Seeing that Super-friends aired almost a year later, it stands to reason that they took some inspiration from this very film. Additionally, remember that moment in Austin Powers with the sharks with Freakin Laser Beams….that was inspired by this film sans the laser beams. Needless to say, Stromberg has a thing for sharks.
While Stromberg is the main villain, the main antagonist is one of the most memorable as well. Played by Richard Kiel, we are introduced to the giant known simply as Jaws who is quite the enemy. He is literally a giant who, not only has a knack for surviving almost any thing thrown at him but also has a set of solid steel teeth that he uses to bite people with. Yeah, you heard that right, not unlike a Vampire, he literally bites people to death via the neck. Yeah, serious super-villain stuff here.
Now, lets talk about the theme song this time around. Every Bond film is known, not only for the gadgets, villains and Bond Women, but also for theme song itself. In later years, the release of the Bond Theme Song for a specific film would almost be as eventful as the first trailer or the announcement of a new actor in the role of James Bond. The theme song for The Spy Who Loved me is unique in the fact that it is the first Bond Theme to not share it’s name with the film but rather have it mentioned in the lyrics themselves. The theme is called Nobody Does It Better and it is one seriously one of the best. Sung by the iconic Carly Simon, this is one of the catchiest and enjoyable songs for some time. To me, it is as good as the iconic Goldfinger song sung by Shirley Bassey and it is a perfect earwig, refusing to leave your head even days after watching the film.
For your enjoyment, here it is:
All in all, this is an excellent example of a Bond film and could easily be considered one of the top in the series. As with any of the Bond films there is a certain suspension of disbelief required but this one makes it pretty easy to do.
OK, where do I get this movie?
You can grab a copy pretty much anywhere. I found it here for around $7 on Blu-ray and honestly, if you haven’t seen a Bond film yet, this one is a really good start.
As usual, here is the trailer.
Late To The Game 3/7/2019
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