Countdown to ‘Skyfall’: Day 0014 – ‘A View to a Kill’

As the mid-1980s rolled around, the James Bond franchise began to show signs of wear.

The main star, Roger Moore, began to approach retirement age. In tonight’s film, ‘A View to a Kill’, Moore was 57 years old. His age became apparent even in previous films,  but in ‘AVTAK’, it’s painfully obvious that many of the action scenes were shot using a stunt double.

It also became increasingly creepy that a middle-aged James Bond was romantically pursuing women half his age. In fact, Moore was shocked when he found out that he was older than a female co-star’s mother!

Moore’s age aside, ‘AVTAK’ featured an uninspired plot revolving around a rich industrialist’s plan to flood Silicon Valley in California, ensuring his monopoly on the computer microchip market.

All was not lost, however. One bright spot in the film was the outstanding performance of Christopher Walken as villain Max Zorin. Walken became the first Oscar-winning actor to portray a character in a Bond film (Sean Connery won an Oscar in 1987, well after his run as 007. Other later Oscar winners in the Bond franchise include Judi Dench, Halle Berry, Benicio del Toro and Javier Bardem).

Also notable was the movie’s theme song, sung by Duran Duran. The theme remains the only Bond song to reach the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S., and it was also nominated for a Golden Globe award.

‘AVTAK’ was Moore’s swan song as 007. He would hang up the Walther PPK following the film, having played the secret agent in seven movies for a total of 12 years.

Lois Maxwell would also retire from her role as M’s secretary, Miss Moneypenny, following ‘AVTAK’. She had appeared in all the official Bond films up to this point.

A critical failure (it holds a 40% “Rotten” rating at Rotten Tomatoes, the lowest rating of any Bond film), ‘AVTAK’ marked the lowest point in franchise history. Thankfully, a switch in actors and focus would result in improved quality.

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