Never Say Never Again 1.0 stars

With this, the opportunity existed to re-chart the course of the James Bond series, to re-think the image of him perpetuated by Roger Moore, to take into account, for one thing, the number of years -- twelve of them -- that have passed since Sean Connery last occupied the role. But no. Connery elects instead to pick up the role at precisely the point where he had said "never again," and to pretend that Roger Moore had never come along to say "whenever." Any advantage of Connery/Bond over Moore/Bond, then, is hardly decisive: both Bonds are essentially fairy-tale figures, and as such in limited need of characterization. And -- to switch to remote areas -- the nonparticipation of such Bond regulars as Ken Adam to do the sets and John Barry to do the music (or at least to reprise, at appropriate moments, that twanging signature theme) engenders a sense of something missing. This is felt most acutely in the music department, where Michel Legrand has filled in with something that might pass muster in a supper club, something, that is, that might enhance an attack on a tough steak, but hardly seems adequate to the attempted recovery of a pair of purloined nuclear warheads. No matter how much legitimacy Connery brings to the Bond role, no matter how much popular support he commands, he still seems to be making his claim in exile. With Kim Basinger, Barbara Carrera, and Klaus Maria Brandauer; directed by Irvin Kershner. 1983.

Duncan Shepherd

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