Some say this is the weakest Bond film ever. If so it speaks volumes that TMWTGG has so many redeeming bits. Before mentioning the positives, this is probably the most racist and juvenile of all the Bond movies. Not so shocking as its following in the footsteps of Live And Let Die. Guy Hamilton directed (in reverse order) TMWTGG, LALD, Diamonds are Forever and the immortal Goldfinger. Why his style deteriorated so much into bigotted, moronic camp is beyond me. Probably because the series was running out of money/ideas and the stamp of seminal Bond director Terence Young and original producer Harry Salzman were fading fast. But between bad slapstick and corny sexual innuendo and poor production value there are some moments of class and fun.
Its wonderful to see Christopher Lee as a Bond villain (he’s Ian Fleming’s cousin btw). His scenes are the best in the film, but unfortunately he is underused. Truly he is one of the warmest and most fitting actors to play a Bond villain, breaking ground for Christopher Walken and Javier Bardem. Herve Villechaize as his close sidekick Nick Nack is pretty undeniable and unforgettable. And their scheme is actually pretty cool. We finally get the first giant killer laser in the series! Their island headquarters is just about the coolest natural location in the whole series and provides the two best sequences which bookend the film - a surrealistic pre-title sequence and a lowkey, intimate and suspenseful climactic duel, a welcome departure from explosions and dying extras.
Britt Ekland is cast as Bond’s incompetent cutesy female junior spy sidekick. Fans hate her, but she does her job well and this is an obvious influence on Naomie Harris’ Moneypenny in "Skyfall". Hamilton loved using these type of clueless, bumbling females in his films and its pretty sexist. Shocking considering his Goldfinger gave us Pussy Galore, the series' most liberated and lethal woman. Then again, not so shocking when you remember Pussy is raped by James Bond and made into his willing second banana/love slave.
But the main reason anyone would watch this is to see Roger Moore start to fit into the James Bond role. This is his second film and the one that prepared him most for his masterpiece The Spy Who Loved Me.
Overall, its a pretty lame Bond movie. The first hour? Good. The last 20 minutes? Even better. But the time in between is probably as bad as the series ever got. Still somehow I might prefer it overall to later Moore vehicles simply because things are happening and it keeps things fun enough. But the worst of it is the worst a Bond film has ever given us.