Ranking A View To A Kill

I previously ranked some of the James Bond movies hereherehere, and here. I watched A View To a Kill last weekend with my son. It was the last of the Roger Moore movies, from 1985. Although it’s the one I’ve probably seen most in my life, as it used to come on HBO regularly when I was a kid, I haven’t seen it in probably 30 years. There was a lot I didn’t remember!

For one thing, it’s actually fairly quiet and circumspect, as far as Bond movies go. That’s probably one reason I don’t remember much–like my son last week, I probably bailed during the talky parts and only came back during the action scenes. Much of the first half of the movie concerns racehorses being doped at a horse farm in rural France, while much of the second half features a genuine romance developing between James Bond and a sweet heiress who’s inherited her family’s oil wells in California and is determined to hold onto them, despite the legal maneuvering of the villain Zorin. I was a lot more into the plot as an adult than I’m sure I ever was as a ten- or -eleven-year old.

Since the Bond movies are formulaic and their quality is based on how well they fulfill the formula, I created a little rubric to rank the Bond movies, with several categories a movie can get points in. We’re going to tweak the formula slightly for this movie. A Bond film gets 2 points if the movie is one of the top 4 Bond movies for a category, and 1 point if it’s in the top 8, plus a couple special categories. Here are the criteria, with a maximum of 14 points available:

Story/Plot–2 points–Is the plot coherent and logical? Are the stakes high?  (2 points, top 4; 1 point, top 8)

Action–2 points–Are the stunts exciting? The car chases thrilling?  (2 points, top 4; 1 point, top 8)

Villain–2 points–What’s a Bond movie without dastardly villains and their henchmen? (2 points, top 4; 1 point, top 4)

Setting–2 points–The Bond movies are all about exotic locations. (2 points, top 4; 1 point, top 8)

Gadgets, Vehicles, Lairs–2 points–What’s the cool stuff?  (2 points, top 4; 1 point, top 8)

Bond girls–2 points–The ladies, oh yes, the ladies. (2 points, top 4; 1 point, top 8)

Sean Connery or Daniel Craig?–1 point–These are the best Bonds (no need to debate) and get an automatic extra point if appearing in the film.

Musical theme–1 point if in the top 5

A View to a Kill
Story/Plot–The story is well-written, Zorin’s scheme to corner the world market in semiconductors by inducing an earthquake in Silicon Valley is fairly sensical by Bond villain standards, and the romance between Bond and heiress Stacy Sutton is surprisingly sweet. An unexpected result: this is in the Top 4. (2 points)
Action–A great climactic scene atop the Golden Gate Bridge, along with an entertaining car chase through the streets of San Francisco, put this in the Top 8. (1 point)
Villain–Zorin, played by a very young Christopher Walken, doesn’t quite live up to the standards set by other villains. (0 points)
Setting–Rural France and San Francisco are nice, but not quite exotic enough to score here. (0 points)
Gadgets, Vehicles, Lairs–No special cars or special gadgets, and Zorin’s lair is unremarkable. The vast mining operation he is using to drain a lake that will trigger earthquakes in Silicon Valley is more impressive, but not enough to score here. (0 points)
Bond Girls–Grace Jones? I don’t think so. Tanya Roberts as heiress Stacey Sutton is sweet but not a classic Bond girl. (0 points)
SC or DC? No
Music–Theme song is by Duran Duran and is a real classic, so much so that it practically takes over the soundtrack. There’s relatively little use of the classic Bond theme, with an orchestral version of the Duran Duran song playing throughout. Pushes Thunderball out of the top 5. (1 point)
Total: 4 points

Rejiggered points for other movies:
Skyfall moves into the Top 4 for Action (+1)
Raoul Silva in Skyfall moves into Top 4 for Villain (+1)

On Her Majesty’s Service moves into the Top 8 for Setting (+1)
The Man With the Golden Gun moves into Top 4 for Setting (+1)
Live and Let Die moves into the Top 8 for Gadgets/Vehicles/Lairs (+1)
Thunderball moves into the Top 8 for Gadgets/Vehicles/Lairs (+1)
The Man With the Golden Gun moves into the Top 8 for Bond Girls (+1)
Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale moves into Top 4 for Bond Girls (+1)
Thunderball (-1) for Music

And, here are the updated results:
1) The Spy Who Loved Me (12 points)
2) Casino Royale (10 points)
3, 4) Goldfinger, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (tied with 9 points)
5) Skyfall (8 points)
6) Thunderball (6 points)
7, 8, 9) Live and Let Die, Spectre, The Man With the Golden Gun (5 points)
10, 11) Die Another Day, A View to a Kill (4 points)

One Comment on “Ranking A View To A Kill

  1. Pingback: Ranking From Russia With Love – Nicholas Bruner

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