What The Film!? – Diamonds Are Forever

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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 to 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.

Do you know what today is? It’s the 8th day of the 007th month of 2013. The year isn’t important; the point is that it’s the month of 007, and you all know what fandom I belong to (The X Files, but James Bond is a close second). If you break down the franchise numerically, the 8th movie is 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever, Sean Connery’s very last outing as James Bond in the official movie franchise continuity. Yes, he played James Bond in 1983’s Never Say Never Again, but that’s like saying that Sean Connery’s character in The Rock,  a British secret agent arrested by the United States and imprisoned for life, was also James Bond. Never Say Never Again was an attempt at making a rival James Bond franchise by Kevin McClory, someone who had (through a long story) legally obtained the rights to make his own James Bond franchise.

A James Bond movie that co-stars Nicolas Cage? It’s like my wet dreams are having wet dreams.

After doing only one movie, George Lazenby left the James Bond franchise for good. His singular movie in the franchise has become something of a punchline among fans, despite being one of the more emotional and touching James Bond movies. There are plot elements and ideas woven into this James Bond movie that wouldn’t be visited again till 2006’s Casino Royale, nearly forty years later, presenting a more human James Bond, a daring attempt to make the new actor playing the role different from the Bond prior (Connery). It was a smart idea, similar to how when David Duchovony left The X Files, Fox didn’t just replace him with another Fox Mulder; they made the replacement a new character, one new to the universe. Lazenby’s James Bond was more personal, more emotional, and way ahead of the times; the Bond that showed emotion and killed in cold blood wouldn’t return till 1987’s The Living Daylights and wouldn’t fully be appreciated by audiences till 2006’s Casino Royale. 

Casino Royale: The movie that made people forget about the Jason Bourne movies.

There’s  a local theater here in Atlanta that I’ve mentioned before; it’s called The Plaza Theater, and they’re showing every single James Bond movie this month because they’re fucking awesome, and as you’ve guessed from the intro paragraph, tonight they presented the 8th James Bond movie, Diamonds Are Forever.

After the (lack of) overwhelming success of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, MGM basically begged Sean Connery to return to his most famous role (no, not Henry Jones Sr.), a role he promised he would never portray again (that is, until Bond again in Never Say Never Again (until portraying Bond through voice acting in the video game adaptation of From Russia With Love). The resulting film attempted to patch the plot holes and loose ends of the prior movie by making it a direct sequel, something the franchise wouldn’t try again until Quantum of Solace tied up loose ends from Casino Royale. Except not at all.

A friend of mine told me that an out of shape, balding man would never play James Bond, but one did. And it’s in this movie.

Yes, Sean Connery, the best Bond was out of shape and balding in this movie. No, that’s not a joke. In one sequence, there is a split second where his toupee falls off. It’s like the kind of joke you’d make up to make the franchise look bad. While many people consider Roger Moore’s Bond movies the worst in the franchise, people seem to forget that a lot of that corny bullshit known for the Moore era actually spawned from this movie. There are goofy stunts, there are some of the worst one-liners in the franchise, but James Bond does strangle a woman with her own bikini top.

Yes, he looks old, but the line “There’s something I need to get off your chest” before strangling her with her own top is one of the best in the franchise.

After the death of his wife Tracy at the hands of his nemesis Blofeld in the prior movie, James Bond is pissed. The intro sequence has Bond hunting down Blofeld by murdering the shit out of everyone he can find, working his way up the murder chain to Blofeld. It’s at this point, the vengeance plotline is completely abandoned. While in Quantum of Solace and Licence To Kill, Bond’s inner demons haunt him into making the mission personal, Diamonds are Forever kind of ignores the fact that the first person James Bond is ever close to’s death something worthy of an intro bit and nothing beyond that. Even when Bond finds out that Blofeld is still alive, he doesn’t seem to care. If someone walked in on James Bond pissing, that person would get a harsher reaction than Bond’s reaction to the fact that the person who killed his wife is still alive. Tracy’s death is one of the most important moments of the franchise and resonates throughout it; Bond’s own vendetta in Licence To Kill  to hunt down the killer of his friend’s wife is because of his own wife’s death. In Goldeneye, former double-o Alec Trevelyan even mocks this. Every single James Bond movie since Licence To Kill has involved a girl that Bond gets close to or promises to protect dying; often horribly, and yet the first movie to play up the consequences of this ignores it.

An old, out of shape, balding James Bond comes back to avenge his wife and gives up and stops caring after a few minutes of trying.

This is how Sean Connery left the franchise, not with a bang, but with… well, yeah, a bang.

Bond kills some of the very first gay characters on film by stabbing one with shashlik skewers and the other by throwing him over a railing with a bomb. He explodes. This is how the movie ends.

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