Everyone loves a good James Bond movie, right? Our charming British spy, who’s armed with snazzy gadgets, sophisticated charm, and always ready to save the world from the hands of villains.
But, let’s face it, not all Bond movies are created equal. In fact, there are a few that even the most die-hard fans struggle to defend. Let’s check some of the Bond flicks that didn’t quite hit the mark, where the license to thrill was, sadly, revoked.
Casino Royale (1967)
Before you blink in disbelief, let’s make it clear that we’re not talking about the modern-day version with Daniel Craig. No, we’re discussing the lesser-known and far less celebrated 1967 movie which holds a mere 5 rating on IMDb.
‘Casino Royale’ isn’t your typical Bond movie. It’s actually a satire and not part of the official Bond franchise. Featuring David Niven as the original James Bond, the movie strays a long way from the usual sleek and serious tone we’ve come to expect. Instead, it opts for a light-hearted, almost slapstick style that left many fans scratching their heads.
The plot itself can be confusing with its multiple James Bonds, a concept that might sound intriguing on paper but left the audience more puzzled than entertained in reality.
To top it off, this version of “Casino Royale” lacks the polished execution of other Bond films, often feeling more like a disjointed collection of scenes than a smooth, cohesive storyline.
Die Another Day (2002)
Despite the film’s initial box office success, its IMDb rating of 6.1 tells a different story about how it’s been received over time.
Starting with a promising setup, “Die Another Day” had all the elements of a classic Bond film – espionage, action, fancy gadgets, and exotic locations. However, many fans felt that it took these elements and turned them up to an unrealistic, and even laughable, degree.
The movie’s plot, which involved Bond being captured and tortured for 14 months in North Korea, was a bold move that eventually led to a rather over-the-top storyline involving gene therapy, diamond-faced villains, and an invisible car.
These elements came across as excessively fantastical even by Bond standards, resulting in many fans feeling a sense of disconnect with the film.
Perhaps the most controversial aspect of ‘Die Another Day’ was its heavy reliance on CGI effects. While CGI is often used in action films, it seemed to detract from the usual realism and practical effects that Bond films are known for, leaving many fans disappointed.
Never Say Never Again (1983)
Although it marked the return of Sean Connery in the role of 007 after a 12-year hiatus, the movie still struggled to win over audiences and currently holds a 6.2 rating on IMDb.
This unofficial entry into the Bond franchise was actually a remake of “Thunderball,” a much more successful Bond film from 1965. ‘Never Say Never Again’ was produced outside of the official Eon Productions series due to a legal dispute, and many fans argue that it lacks the unique charm and consistency of the franchise’s mainline entries.
The story itself involves Bond, who’s nearing retirement, going up against his old enemy, SPECTRE. While it might sound like a classic Bond plot, many viewers felt that the execution fell flat. Critics and fans alike commented on the lack of the traditional Bond theme music and iconic opening sequences, which they felt added to the movie’s disjointed feeling.
Although Connery’s return was much anticipated, some fans felt that his portrayal of Bond in “Never Say Never Again” didn’t quite match the energy and charisma he brought to the character in his earlier performances.
The action scenes, while exciting, were said to be lacking in the grace and style that are synonymous with Bond movies.
despite being one of the highest-grossing entries in the series, has earned a middling 6.2 rating on IMDb, marking it as one of the less favored installments.
The film saw Roger Moore return for his fourth outing as the suave super spy, but this time the franchise took a leap into the world of science fiction.
Inspired by the success of Star Wars, Bond was catapulted into outer space, a departure from the usual earth-bound adventures that didn’t sit well with a significant number of fans.
‘Moonraker’ begins in a traditional Bond manner with the theft of a space shuttle, leading Bond on a globe-trotting mission to uncover the truth.
However, as the film progresses, it becomes increasingly outlandish. Bond ends up in a space station fighting a plot to wipe out the world’s population and repopulate it with ‘perfect’ humans.
The critics and fans often criticize the movie for its campy humor, unrealistic plot, and over-the-top action sequences.
While all Bond movies require a certain suspension of disbelief, the spectacle of Bond in space was a step too far for many viewers. They felt that the film strayed too far from the franchise’s roots in spy-based action and intrigue.
A View to a Kill (1985)
another James Bond movie that has not been embraced by fans as warmly as some others, reflected in its IMDb rating of 6.3. It holds a dubious distinction as being one of the least-loved entries in the franchise.
This film marked Roger Moore’s seventh and final turn as James Bond, and by this point, many fans felt that he was past his prime for the role. Moore himself has stated he felt too old to be playing Bond, especially given that he was older than his leading lady’s mother in real life.
‘A View to a Kill’ follows Bond as he uncovers a plot by the villainous Max Zorin (played with icy charm by Christopher Walken) to destroy Silicon Valley and corner the world’s microchip market.
Despite the solid villain and a memorable theme song by Duran Duran, the movie was criticised for its perceived lack of originality and the noticeable age gap between Moore and his leading ladies.
In addition to the age issue, many fans felt the film was too much of a retread of older, more successful Bond films.
The plot was seen as a lesser rehash of ‘Goldfinger,’ and while Walken’s Zorin was a high point, many other elements of the film were seen as falling flat. Critics pointed out the unusually weak script and a sense of staleness to the proceedings.
IMDb’s rating system, which did not start until 1990, has been under criticism for its potential bias towards more contemporary films.
Many classics and films made prior to the 90s may not receive the same recognition or accurate rating due to the demographic of IMDb’s users who predominantly rate movies they have seen recently or during their lifetime.
That said, the ratings of recent James Bond films such as “Skyfall,” “No Time to Die,” “Quantum of Solace,” and “Spectre,” might decrease over time as the initial excitement fades and they are critically re-evaluated by future generations.
The passing of time often brings a new perspective and allows for a more objective analysis of a film’s merits and shortcomings.