What The Film!? – A View To A Kill


What The Film!? is a weekly column exclusive to Under The Gun Review that brings to light the general fuckery Hollywood hoped you’d never notice. Written by Dane Sager, this column shows no mercy to films that try and pull the proverbial wool over our eyes.

If you know a film with major plot holes or those that make you scratch your eyes out, tell us! Email utgjames@gmail.com with the subject “What The Film” and we’ll try to get your suggestion featured on the site.

“Jesus, Dane, another James Bond What The Film!?” Look, I spent a month breaking down something that resulted in getting borderline death threats because I pointed out that Tonks is a stupid Fan-Fiction type character in the Harry Potter Franchise. Yes, she dressed differently (is there a Hot Topic in Diagon Alley?), has a totally unique power to herself, was directly related to Sirius Black and married Remus Lupin. She is literally the character I compare other characters to when trying to figure out if it’s a bad character. The point is, after getting mountains of hate, I wanted to attack something I enjoy and love. Clearly this means another James Bond What The Film!?. I’ve already done enough of these that I actually am unaware what Bond movies I’ve done already, but I know I haven’t done 1985’s A View To A Kill.

“She’s not a Mary Sue! She has a flaw!” Making her clumsy is the easiest and cheapest flaw you can add to a character. Doesn’t count.

Now, while I critiqued the hell out of the characters in Harry Potter, I’m not going to pretend that James Bond is a better character. He isn’t. Goldeneye 64, commonly believed to be a first person shooter, is actually a third person shooter because all James Bond ever was is a gun.

A View To A Kill is viewed as one of the worst James Bond movies ever made, often beating out Moonraker, Octopussy (which deep down, I can never hate. It was my first Bond movie), and even beating out the unforgivable Die Another DayWhile its reputation isn’t warranted, it doesn’t hold the throne of worst movie in the franchise.

How many people had to sing on for the idea that Madonna should not only do the worst Bond theme in history, but also cameo in the movie?

The fact of the matter is that any long-running franchise, be a TV show, movie series, videogame, or even a band, the longer it goes, the more likely it is to become a parody of itself. The Simpsons, James Bond, Saturday Night Live, Batman, Final Fantasy, Mario, and more have all gone from being cutting edge to a joke. You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. However in the case of James Bond or Batman, they seem to realize when they’ve become the joke and try to fix it. This is why every awful James Bond movie is typically followed by a great one. After Moonraker, there was For Your Eyes Only. After A View To A Kill, there was The Living Daylights. After Licence To Kill, there was Goldeneye. After Die Another Day, there was Casino Royale. 

The biggest problem is that they became comfortable with what they were doing. MoonrakerThe Spy Who Loved Me, and even Octopussy made a lot of money (as James Bond movies are wont to do). While Roger Moore was fifty-eight years old, they still decided to cast him as James Bond, most likely because Octopussy made significantly more money than the competing Sean Connery James Bond movie, Never Say Never Again. Producers saw that their parody did better than what they were parodying and were confident. Knowing that their Official James Bond wasn’t in danger, they decided to continue on the same path they were on. A path where the actor playing James Bond was literally older than the parents of the Bond girl in the movie.

Octopussy: where James Bond becomes a clown, literally as well as figuratively.

The plot of the story From A View To A Kill had Bond investigating the death of a police officer in France. While investigating, he goes undercover as a police officer and follows the exact route/shift that the dead officer had in order to try to unravel what happened. The assassin of the officer starts to go after Bond, knowing that someone is on his trail. It’s tense, it’s interesting, it’s not really something Bond has done before. It’s less booze, bullets, and boobs, and more cat and mouse. How did the movie adaptation match up?

It didn’t. It didn’t even adapt the title correctly. It went from From A View To A Kill to A View To A Kill. It has stupid action sequences that are could be cool if they weren’t undermined by how they’re executed. When Bond popularized snowboarding in the first scene by using a destroyed snowmobile’s skid as a single ski to escape attack helicopters, it’s less effective when they put on California Girls by The Beach Boys for absolutely no reason at all. There’s some subplot about Bond investigating race horses being drugged, but it’s god damned James Bond. He’s saved the world almost twenty times at this point, and he’s being brought in to investigate a race track? Come on, MI6, use your assets wisely. This movie is awful.

The involves Bond going to America (which is rare for Bond) and fighting Christopher Walken. Woah, wait, Christopher Walken is the bad-guy? The guy who never seems to fit correctly in any movie he’s in? The guy who is so awesomely weird that he makes every god damned movie better? He has bleached blond hair like some sort of David Bowie/Eminem hybrid and he throws a man out of a blimp for disagreeing with him.

I take back every bad thing I have said about this movie.

 The movie was so overwhelmingly cheesey and corny that the next James Bond movie, The Living Daylights had Timothy Dalton playing much more grounded, violent, emotionally deeper, and believable James Bond. Despite being a precursor to how Daniel Craig played the role, he was not warmly received and Bond didn’t recover till Goldeneye (which ironically was written to be a Timothy Dalton Bond movie). In a nutshell, that’s James Bond, where every few years it gets too big to fail and ends up doing just that.
But hey, Christopher Walken as a James Bond villain and one of the most dated/awesome James Bond themes ever. Even the bad ones are worth seeing once.
DANE SAGER WILL RETURN: IN THE MATRIX FRANCHISE. You can follow him on Twitter and Tumblr!
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