Never Say Never Again (1983)

IRVIN KERSHNER

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

United Kingdom/USA/West Germany, 1983.   TaliaFilm II Productions, Woodcote, Producers Sales Organization.   Screenplay by , based on an original story by , , .   Cinematography by .   Produced by .   Music by .   Production Design by , .   Costume Design by .   Film Editing by .  

Years after Saltzman and Broccoli began the mega-successful James Bond franchise, writer-producer Kevin McClory decided to start his own rival series of Bond films, managing to accomplish only this one, a remake of Thunderball (he had worked on a screenplay treatment of the story with Fleming before it was a novel and thus still had claims on plot elements). Broccoli’s response to the competition was to open For Your Eyes Only with the death of a Blofeld-like villain (McClory legally prevented United Artists from using him again after Diamonds Are Forever). Though it doesn’t have the sheen of the best Bond films, Never Say Never Again is a fun and energetic film that surpasses its original (which is the worst of the Connery Bonds) and gives audiences what they were missing from the more tongue-in-cheek Roger Moore films.  Sean Connery returns to the role that made him famous as the secret agent who discovers a plot to steal nuclear weapons and hold the world hostage while on vacation at a European spa. The journey he then goes on includes crossing paths with the archvillain responsible for the plot (Klaus Maria Brandauer) and the beautiful young woman (an outstanding Kim Basinger) who is trapped with him.   also enjoys some fun moments as the bad Bond girl, enduring one of the funniest deaths in the whole series. I’m not really sorry that McClory never got his rival series off the ground, because he didn’t have the right feel for a lot of the fun accessories that make the real Bond films so great (cool gadgets, a catchy theme song, stunning locales), but this singular effort is still pretty solid.

Golden Globe Award Nomination:  Best Supporting Actress (Barbara Carrera)

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