After re-watching the mostly abysmal Never Say Never Again, I wasn't too keen on fitting in a quick watch of Diamonds Are Forever, a movie I barely remembered and didn't recall being particularly wowed by in the first place.
Turns out this one is actually not too bad.
The film opens like a Saturday morning cartoon with Bond making his way to Blofeld's lair and encountering a cloning mudbath which actually IS as silly as it sounds. Once the plot starts, though, Diamonds Are Forever finally starts resembling a movie and a somewhat convoluted plot involving dodgy diamond trades, diamond-powered satellites, gay serial killers, cat clones and plenty of ladies far too young for old Sean in inexplicably skimpy outfits, begins. Oh, and it turns out the safety of the entire world rests upon one cassette tape. Clearly one of Blofeld's better constructed megalomaniac plans.
Two things prevent this Bond outing from being on the same level as Never Say Never Again:
1/ Sean Connery is actually making an effort.
2/ Despite the film being mostly forgettable, it develops at a good pace and remains involving until the very end.
Diamonds Are Forever really is one of the least memorable 007 flicks, I nearly forgot the entire thing the day after watching it! A lot of it has to do with this whole diamond plot which isn't too bad in itself but never fully grows into something too fascinating. The idea of two murderers who basically go around killing anyone who possesses the diamonds in ridiculous ways is quite fun and they do well with that but that just constitutes a kind of minor subplot which culminates in an absurd but very funny final sequence. A sequence which boasts a glorious shish kebab-related death and a cake bomb. Entire scenes from that movie would have felt right at home in one of Blake Edwards' Pink Panther movies, just switch Shirley Bassey for Henry Mancini and you've got yourself one hell of a Clouseau flick. With the whole laser satellite thing going on, it feels a bit anticlimactic to end the film on a gritty old oil rig, by the way.
Not quite the scale I was expecting if I'm honest...
Where's Moonraker when you need it?
So the film is a bit of a mess, full of cartoonish shenanigans that don't quite make sense together. Including a scene in a circus where a woman turns into a gorilla and a scene where Bond gets his ass handed to him by two acrobatic gals. But when things get silly, they do so in a fun way, sort of like You Only Live Twice but without the exotic settings, the sumo wrestlers and the political incorrectness. For a final official comeback to the franchise, Sean Connery does a decent job here, to be fair, and Jill St. John makes a fab Bond girl. Donald Pleasence is missed as Blofeld but Charles Gray makes a fine replacement nonetheless, he and all his doubles.
Overall, not an essential watch but not bad either.