My James Bond Retrospective: A View to a Kill

As I progress through these films, I’ve noticed that the quality of my reviews has begun to drop of late. To be honest, it’s tough to thoroughly enjoy these films the worse they get, and I have found myself wanting to plow through these reviews as quickly as I can. I apologize for that.

While I certainly enjoyed films like The Spy who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only, and I thought Moore’s performance in those films was quite good (and, for my tastes, more enjoyable than Connery’s), Moore had too many weak films to be known for his standouts, and unfortunately his reputation as Bond characterized by the weaker films, especially since neither of those two aforementioned films had the same impact on the franchise that Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, or some of the later films would have.

By this point, Moore was 57 years old. This was the biggest criticism most had of the film. Moore himself, in a 2007 interview, said, “I was only about four hundred years too old for the part.” Sean Connery remarked about the film, “Bond should be played by an actor 35, 33 years old. I’m too old. Roger’s too old, too!” Moore was appalled to discover that his female co-star’s mother was younger than he. A View to a Kill was the actor’s least favorite film.

1985_a-view-to-a-killA View to a Kill was the first EON Productions Bond film to debut outside of England. The film opened on May 22, 1985, at the Palace of the Fine Arts in San Francisco. It premiered in the UK on June 12, 1985, at the Odeon Leicester Square Cinema in London.

The film opens with a ski chase (surprise, surprise), and despite ski chase ubiquity in Moore’s Bond films, this one starts off well. It quickly delves into the ridiculous, however, when The Beach Boys’ “California Girls” begins playing as Bond “snowboards” his way through the remainder of the chase.

The film has several enjoyable moments, but overall, it’s rather tough to watch. Once again, the film relies heavily on too many tropes that have unfortunately become characteristic of Roger Moore’s Bond films. We know that his films are capable of so much more as we’ve seen in The Spy who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only, but it’s almost as if the producers were trying to pigeonhole Moore into a particular mold. Sure, he had kicked things off in Live and Let Die with a slightly more comedic type of Bond, but that quickly turned from an endearing quality of Moore’s version of Bond to an annoying identifier of almost every film and not just the character. Moore played a more tongue-in-cheek Bond, which was fun to watch, but the films themselves began to rely on comedy, and that just didn’t work for Bond.

This version of 007 has more than run its course.

While there isn’t anything overly negative to say about this film, there is absolutely nothing great to say about it either. In fact, the film rests entirely in mediocrity. It’s not boring, per se, but it’s not particularly exciting. Stacey Sutton (played by Tanya Roberts) isn’t an awful character, but at the same time, she’s not particularly interesting either. She’s little more than a pretty face that tags along with Bond over the course of the film.

The villain isn’t all that great either. Zorin (played by Christopher Walken) is about as formulaic a Bond villain as could be. The character is representative of the film overall. There’s a formula that works for a Bond film, and when well executed, can be a huge success. A View to a Kill sticks to the tried and true formula, but it’s so formulaic and vanilla that it’s practically boring. The film lacks any imagination at all.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to continue watching these movies. I’ll acknowledge their importance to pop culture, but I’m finding it really tough to move on from one film to the next.

Thankfully, something very new awaits…

Up next, The Living Daylights.

(Click to go back to the list.)


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