Never Say Never Again Irvin Kershner

Never Say Never Again Irvin Kershner
I can only imagine how exciting it must have been when Never Say Never Again was released in 1983. After 12 years of increasingly silly Roger Moore entries, the news that Sean Connery would be returning as James Bond for the first time since Diamonds Are Forever must have been cause for celebration — not least for Connery, whose involvement might have had something to do with a rumoured five million dollar payday. Produced independently of the official Bond franchise, as a result of a lawsuit in which producer Kevin McClory won the remake rights to Thunderball, Never Say Never Again follows the same basic plot as the earlier film, with SPECTRE, presided over by the flamboyantly sinister Largo (Klaus Maria Brandauer) and Blofeld (an entertaining Max Von Sydow), once again stealing two nuclear warheads. Only an aging 007 can stop them. Irvin Kershner's flat direction seems to miss the point of the Bond series; his ugly colour palette (muddy browns and greys) contrasts woefully with the glossy, glamorous approach favoured by other Bond directors. The pacing is erratic and sometimes downright glacial; Douglas Slocombe's musical score and Lani Hall's theme are atrocious; and most of the action sequences are shockingly lifeless, save for an impressive motorcycle chase that provides the film's only real thrills. Connery is undoubtedly the film's chief asset — he can lend an air of dignity to even the lamest puns — but the film doesn't really pursue the intriguing implications of a middle-aged Bond, devolving instead into a lifeless retread of the typical Bond-ian shenanigans. Well into his 50s, Connery looks very creaky during his action and love scenes, although '80s-era Kim Basinger sure is easy on the eyes. The new special edition includes some fairly interesting documentaries and an Irvin Kershner commentary, but Connery's last 007 adventure seems destined to remain only a curio for the most devoted Bond fans. (MGM)