Live and Let Die (1973)

Bond8

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Getting cartoony here…

I thought the change from one Bond to another would be a good one. I mean, when I began watching James Bond, it was with Pierce Brosnan, which of course changed to Daniel Craig, and I know that both were pretty good in their own way, but Roger Moore I just don’t get. At least not yet. Live and Let Die, of course, was the film with the opening title song by Paul McCartney. Pretty cool song, I’ll admit, on its own, but as a James Bond song…it just feels weird and cartoony, and honestly…I think it made the entire tone of the film feel like Looney Toons. Maybe it’s just me, though.

Alright, so MI6 has some agents getting killed off left and right for no apparent reason, and obviously James Bond is set to investigate. Well, these agents were investigating a man named Kananga, a heroin dealer in the United States. Pretty soon, Kananga learns about Bond’s investigation, and every turn that Bond makes, Kananga isn’t far behind. Meanwhile, Bond meets Solitaire, the next Bond girl who apparently has the ability to see the future. All of a sudden, James Bond is wrapped up in Tarot Card-reading, voodoo, the rising of the dead, and inflatable baddies. All I have to say is that this movie jumped the croc.

It’s not that Roger Moore is a bad James Bond by any means, but his movie suddenly introduced us to the world of the supernatural, and it stopped making a lot of sense, ultimately losing its grip on reality that we loved so much. I don’t know if they were attempting a Temple of Doom or what, but James Bond isn’t Indiana Jones. The supernatural is a pretty awesome plot device…for some movies, and James Bond isn’t one. Apart from the supernatural, the film also has some cartoony elements. Apart from the tacky theme song that doesn’t seem to match James Bond, there’s also a moment where a bad guy is inflated and starts flying away. Like a balloon. Come on…

I’m forced to think that ideas are running out for these Bond flicks. I know they aren’t, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling as much from this flick. Okay, so the part where James Bond jumps on alligators is pretty awesome, seeing how it really was Roger Moore jumping across real alligators. That’s super dangerous, and I’m pretty sure PETA would have a fit…but that doesn’t ultimately save the film from destruction. All it does is give you a memorable scene…which given, the series has been low on for a while. However, one memorable scene doesn’t patch the film up.

That said, the action is actually pretty well done. Bond is known for its immense chase scenes, and the speed boat chase scene used in this film is both heart-racing as well as humorous at times, perfect for James Bond. The fight scenes have been better in the past, but I can see they are making an effort to enhance the way they are done. They just need to perfect how to do a fight scene without speeding anything up, and the movies are really going to do a lot better. The gadgets…also have been better. They need to have that….element that kids would be like – “I want one!”…but what kid would really care about a magnetic watch?

Ultimately Roger Moore needs some more practice before he exhumes that James Bond spirit. There needs to stop being supernatural stuff, because this isn’t the X-Files, this is James Bond. This also isn’t an episode of the Looney Toons, so they need to get more realistic. Live and Let Die had some good ideas, but for the most part, the film was drowsy. I do know that Moore has fans, so I’m waiting to see that film that have fans cheering.

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