The tag line reads ‘the untold story of 007’. Is it? Yes, if you know nothing about the production history of the franchise; and no, if you know everything that a modern internet age Bond fan does! The film charts the franchise’s fifty years, from Ian Fleming himself, the conception of the novels, the struggles to get the books made into films and the film franchise as a whole.
Let's not kid ourselves here; the film belongs on a DVD as a special feature. The documentary is not strong enough to stand on its own merits as a cinema release. It's obvious that with the fiftieth anniversary that MGM released this (even with a small release) to try and cash in. In the screening I was at, there were four of us in a large Odeon cinema. What's so wrong with it? It's not that it’s bad – far from it; I just wanted more.
The documentary spends a good deal of it's all-too-short 90 minute run, introducing Fleming, his very interesting World War II back story, the novels themselves and then, of course, the birth of Broccoli and Saltzman’s relationship – which lead to the forming of EON productions: Everything Or Nothing. This section of the 90 minutes is very well put together and very interesting; where the film falls short is not enough time is spent on the Bond films. Yes, we get a good amount of time spent on the 1960’s and Connery’s era. Also, they took time with Lazenby and delivered for the first time an honest account of the reason he only did one film! However, the film skims over the details of
Moore’s era (which
surprised me as he made seven films). Once you've skimmed Moore,
then the film practically leaps through Dalton
and takes little enough time with Brosnan, leading us to the last few minutes
of the film which act as a trailer for Skyfall.
It’s not all bad; there are some genuine revelations within the documentary, some great insights into the making of these films, you hear the truth behind the never-ending court battles with Kevin McClory and the
Battle of the Bonds in
1983, the truth behind Connery leaving the series and the fall of his
relationship with Broccoli and especially Salztman. There are some genuine
moments that are shared for the first time here with fans. But, for me as a massive
fan, it didn’t deliver enough detail and enough time spent with all the Bonds.
It felt in the most part as trying to stick to a 90 minute format, and it is
obvious there is enough material to have this be a much longer documentary that
would actually deliver the untold 007 story.
Rating: 3 out of 5