For Fresh Eyes Only: Diamonds Are Forever
I really did not like Diamonds Are Forever. And I really, really hope that it’s just because I’m tired of Sean Connery and not of Bond as a whole. He was fun for awhile but he got visibly bored with the role multiple movies ago, and this one is no exception. Couple that with the overall flippant attitude of the film and I was begging for the credits to roll for the entire runtime. A gigantic slap in the face of an opening did not help matters. There’s not a single standout action scene, there’s yet another boring plot about nuclear power, and worst of all none of the comedy works.
This is the first time we’ve seen our hero since holding his dead wife in his arms shortly after their wedding, rambling to convince himself that everything was alright. It was a haunting moment that I haven’t been able to forget about, but Diamonds Are Forever really wants me to forget about it. In the very first scene of the film Bond has already hunted down Blofeld (Charles Gray) and he drowns him in pit of mud (I’m assuming it’s mud, it very likely wasn’t knowing the humor level of the rest of the movie). It’s an embarrassing end to a character who’s been built so well for a majority of this franchise. It feels like a total betrayal.
But, of course, Blofeld isn’t really dead. As we come to learn, he somehow has made perfect copies of himself for such occasions. Eventually Bond does kill what we’re lead to believe is the real Blofeld, but why would we care. We’ve been very clearly told that none of this matters, that Blofeld is a just a means of giving Bond something to pursue into infinity. Obviously these are things that we already know, but stripping away even the veil of self-seriousness completely destroys any possible immersion. If they don’t care why should I?
But that’s not what this film is going for. It’s camp. So let’s examine the rest of it with that in mind. It wants you to have a fun time at movies and forget about it as soon as it’s over. I can confirm that the latter was achieved. As I sit attempting to write this, I struggle to remember a damn thing about it. Even looking through my notes, I’m questioning if these things even happened. Crispin Glover’s dad and another guy were two creepy henchman who accomplished next to nothing yet ate up multiple whole scenes. A 70-year-old children’s entertainer at a casino played scientist to turn a black woman into a gorilla. An elephant played slots. Bond interrupted a fake moon landing filming and got into a way too long low speed rover chase. Bond was somehow able to nearly drown two trained fighters at the same time, using one hand for each. It’s like the people that made Casino Royale ‘67 got one more go and made something about 2% more confident.
I can’t say that there’s nothing here. Once again the Bond girls bring it. Jill St. John as Tiffany Case is the one consistent role in the film, and Lana Wood’s Plenty O’Toole had the one bonafide laugh of the entire movie when she tells Bond her name. And there’s another great Bond theme song. But these aspects are not unique and not overly well done. Maybe in time I can look at it more objectively, but Casino Royale ‘67 almost completely soured me on the concept of comedic Bond films, and it’s going to take a lot more than this to get me to come around. I had a miserable time watching Diamonds Are Foreverand I’m afraid for the even more campy entries in this series that I know are to come. I don’t know what tone Roger Moore’s films aim for generally, but at this point I’m starved for anything new and I really hope that the fresh face alone will push me through.
Marcus will return to discuss Live and Let Die.