Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: The Man With the Golden Gun Ultimate Edition DVD

The Man With the Golden Gun is another weak entry in the series, though it's better than Diamonds Are Forever (both of which were directed by Guy Hamilton). The whole film is slow moving and it feels about an hour longer than it actually is; this is probably due to the lack of many action sequences in the first half of the film (as pointed out by an excellent film critic). I liked it a lot more when I was younger; I recall the title song being my favorite song in the world for a few months back in the 80s. Watching it recently was somewhat less exciting and mostly made me realize that I'd love to live in a house designed by Ken Adam.

It's an unfortunate waste of a decent cast, too. Christopher Lee is menacing enough and the supporting cast includes the amusing Clifton James and stalwart Soon-Tek Oh, both of whose work I always enjoy. The weakest part of the cast is Britt Ekland, tho she fills a bikini like few others. Storywise, there's not much tension as Bond is hunting down a man we think is hunting him. The truth of the matter and its connection to some early dialogue isn't that interesting, really. Truly, the biggest stars of the film are the Asian locations and the sets; both the slanted headquarters and Scaramanga's funhouse are cool and there's some great miniature work for the power station's destruction.

Bonus features include a few different video bits about the spiral car jump, still an amazing stunt. I'm not a huge proponent of creators revising their work years later but I'm not sure why they didn't just erase the slide whistle sound from the car jump, especially since nobody says anything good about it in retrospect.

The commentaries have lots of talk about how the production of this movie discoved the Phang Na area for the rest of the world and how it's all a huge tourist mess now. There's also some good talk about the cast, with many saying that Herve Villechaize was quite the ladies' man when not working. Roger Moore has a commentary to himself, as well, and does a very informative job, making a repeat viewing go a lot easier than it should for this draggy film.

Update (2/23/13): interesting to see this film has the lowest bodycount of all the Bonds and Bond himself only kills one. Come to think of it, he hardly draws his gun.

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