Monday, March 8, 2010

On Her Majesty's Secret Service - 5/5

Massively underrated. That's how I would describe "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". Of course, the direction that the Bond films were moving prior to this one was for bigger/more ridiculous plots and stories so when we hit this one its somewhat of a shock. What? A love story? IN BOND?! Ironically, with a new Bond, a new director, and a new focus - this movie slays most of its predecessors and its followers. Its fairly different, even for Bond standards, which allows it to stick out and stick it to you.

PLOT: James Bond is still after Blofeld. But its been two years and despite some valiant efforts, he can't find him. So when he is taken off the case Bond takes 2 weeks leave. Of course, this leave has other intentions than rest and relaxation. For Bond has struck a deal with the devil, after meeting Tracy earlier, he finds himself in a deal to get a lead on Blofeld if he is willing to court and woo Tracy, the daughter of a crime syndicate big man. Unfortunately, the plan goes too well and Bond finds himself in love too with Tracy. But he has a job to finish and heads off to Switzerland to take on Blofeld and his new identiy once and for all.

STORYLINE 5/5: This is what I'm talking about. Despite the fucking ridiculousness of "You Only Live Twice" this one gets back to basics. Lets talk character development, solid pacing, a somewhat believable story line, and generally a film that feels more like a spy movie than an action movie. It does get a bit over the top towards the end with the idea of brainwashing but even that was done in a way that could have easily been done using the SPECTRE ideology that has been shown off before. Not to mention the love story that coincides with the main spy plot is actually quite interesting and believable. Not to mention it all comes together splendidly by the last act of the film and pays off in the final moments making this one of the most emotionally attached Bond films yet.

BOND 4/5: Lazenby is by far the weakest Bond yet. As a replacement for Connery he looks the suave but never really gives us that tough cold demeanor that is necessary for a believable spy. Luckily, his rather lack luster acting is made up for (immensely) by the character of Bond in this one. Bond is not your 2D character that we had in the last one, nor is he that much of a dick like normal. He actually seems human in this one and it gives the film a credibility that we haven't seen before. He still has his quirks and his style, but its toned down for a more realistic approach which I fully applaud.

VILLAIN 5/5: Now this is fucking Blofeld! Hell's yeah! Telly Savalas as our enigmatic SPECTRE number one is sly, scary, and deviously brilliant. Despite a quirky and thinker that he was previously, he does everything here - cooks up viruses with his own hands, shoots people, and runs a complex all the while playing the pieces like a chess game. His henchwoman Bunt is somewhat lackluster but he makes up for it here.

BOND GIRL 5/5: If I could give a 6/5 for Tracy I would. She is the BEST Bond girl out there. She is not only beautiful and charismatic on screen (her chemistry with Lazenby is quite stellar too) but she isn't a dumb bimbo! She is deep, puzzling, and more human than any Bond girl before. By the end of the film, you are as filled with hope and love as she is - whcih makes the ending all the more impactful.

"On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is a monster film that stands the test of time and ranks as one of the best Bond films made ever. It's a unique take on the series, with things that would have only worked in this one and despite some minute flaws - is expectional in almost every aspect. 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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