Monday, 1 October 2012

Everything Or Nothing

This is a tricky one for me. As a certified Bond obsessive who can barely get through the day without whistling the James Bond theme or having sex with a beautiful, treacherous lady half my age (the former more often than the latter, to be fair), you'd think I'd be naturally predisposed to spraying loving review juice all over this new documentary about the history of the Bond films without a moment's thought. As it happens though, I expected very little from it: I knew I'd already be familiar with all the trivia and anecdotes and thought it would be little more than a throwaway attempt to cash in on 007's 50th anniversary celebrations. Turns out I was as wrong as a 53-year-old Roger Moore shagging a 23-year-old Carole Bouquet in For Your Eyes Only.
Everything Or Nothing is a straightforward, no-frills doc which probably could have been shown on TV or included as an extra in the new Bond 50 Blu-ray box set, were it not for the fact that it's so bloody well-made that it deserves nothing less than a constant theatrical run for at least the next two years. It takes us from James Bond's literary origins in Ian Fleming's novels of the 1950s and '60s right through to Skyfall, via every crucial touchstone in the character's cinematic history: the live US TV dramatisation of Casino Royale; the meeting (and eventual split) of producers Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman; the intrusion of Kevin McClory which led to Thunderball and its tragic remake, Never Say Never Again; the advent of each new actor and the circumstances in which they left the role, and every significant detail in between. And it's all illustrated with a perfectly-judged amount of clips, archive footage and new interviews.

In fact, for Bondoholics like me, it's the interviews that provide the most wank-worthy material. As well as various key players from the series' past fifty years, the likes of Christopher Lee, Mike Myers and even Bill Flipping Clinton pop up to chip in. But Everything Or Nothing's trump card is its brand new talking heads with all of the Bonds - except, of course, Sean McGrumpychops, who's notable by his grudge-bearing absence.
To see George Lazenby talk candidly about blowing the chance of a lifetime by becoming a fanny-happy drunk, or Roger Moore chuckle about the ethics of a UNICEF ambassador pushing a little Thai boy into a Bangkok river, or Pierce Brosnan recount the unbridled joy he felt when he finally secured the role ("I'm James bloody Bond!") are entertaining enough, but when Timothy Dalton - who, as we all know, is the best Bond ever - bubbles over with passion about his unique approach to the character, well, I almost wept.

For the rest of you normals, I suspect it won't be quite as emotional. But if you're the kind of person who's easily swayed into watching a Bond film when it pops up on ITV2 on a wet Saturday afternoon, then there's SO MUCH here for you too. You'll leave feeling like an expert, and you'll have had a bloody good time to boot. You'll even get to see Brosnan mock Die Another Day's kitesurfing scene, despite wholeheartedly endorsing it a decade ago.

Everything Or Nothing isn't a groundbreaking documentary. It's not The Imposter. But what it is is a fascinating, revealing, massively entertaining hour and a half, and a treat for anyone who's ever seen a Bond film. And for me, it's practically porn.


  1. The Digital Spy Guy seems to agree......although slightly less entertaining review!

  2. Had free tickets (some Sky thing) to see it. I'm a casual fan but was blown away by the detail. The only thing missing was noting Connery was being groomed to take over as Tarzan before committing to Bond.