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Sean Connery's Last Bond Film Is A Flawed Winner
on January 12, 2001
Holding the rights to Thunderball, Kevin McClory decided to make a new Bond Film in 1975. Amazingly enough, Sean Connery was interested in playing Bond again if he had script approval. The film originally was going to only loosely based on Thunderball, but after a few years of legal battles with EON it became simply a remake of that earlier film. Still, it is a good Bond film, even though it does have its flaws. The most obvious strength that Never Say Never Again has is Connery, Sean Connery. Even though he looked his age, he looked fit and ready for the usual Bond action. In fact, he looked like he was in better shape than he was for his last Bond film, Diamonds Are Forever, in 1971. The plot of the film very closely follows that of Thunderball, with some updating of the details and technology for 1983. Director Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back) does a fine job with the movie, and the cast gives some excellent performances (including Klaus Maria Brandauer as Largo, Barbara Carerra as Fatima Blush - her performance and character seems to be the blueprint for Xenia Onatopp from Goldeneye, Kim Basinger as Domino, Bernie Casey as Felix Leiter, and the great Max Von Sydow as Blofeld). The weaknesses of the film? It doesn't quite LOOK as spectacular as the official Bond films - it has a lower budget look to it than the EON films. Another flaw: the characters of "M" and Nigel Small-Fawcett, both of whom seem like they belong in a Bond spoof rather than the real thing. Both of them ruin their respective scenes due to the attempts at comedy by Edward Fox and Rowan Atkinson. The music is often great (some really good Jazz), but at other times seems inappropriate for particular scenes. The lack of the "James Bond Theme," also detracts a little from the film (but not much). But when you've got Sean Connery, a solid plot, and a good (overall) supporting cast, you've got a winner. NSNA could have been better, but for a Bond film outside of the official EON Productions banner Never Say Never Again acquits itself quite nicely. It's a shame that the DVD wasn't given the Bond Special Edition treatment, but it is still worth buying anyway.