The Hunger Games return with such a sequel twist that you can't believe writer Suzanne Collins didn't think of film when writing. Catching Fire builds up with all types of subversive messaging which is interesting but also brings into relief the limitations of the genre and film.
Cormac McCarthy’s bones and Ridley Scott's style do not make The Counselor something more than an interesting curiosity. A film that seems destined more to be remembered as that move where Cameron Diaz does that thing with the car than anything else.
For centuries alchemists tried to make gold from base metals. Today, we make microchips from sillicon, which is common sand, but far better than gold. Now, for several years, we had a profitable partnership, you as manufacturers, while I acquired and passed on to you industrial information that made you competitive, succesful. We are now on the unique position to form an international cartel to control not only production, but distribution of these microchips. There is one obstacle - Sillicon Valley in San Francisco.
As the last film starring Roger Moore A View To A Kill marks the end of an era. Enduring political hardships in Paris and the burning down of the famous 007 stage producer Albert R. Broccoli manages to get A View To A Kill in front of audiences. Entering the modern era James Bond must fight a villain bent on controlling the new microchip market.
On a recovering mission James Bond (Roger Moore) retrieves a microchip from a fallen comrade. Bond is then chased by Russians across the frozen tundra and escapes in a hidden submarine. In London Bond turns the chip over to M (Robert Brown) where Q (Desmond Llewelyn) explains that the chip is impervious to the EMP pulse given out by a nuclear blast. The chip Bond retrieved was taken from a Russian manufactering plant. Somebody has been selling the plans to the Russians. Bond suspects Max Zorin (Christopher Walken) who bought the previous company that the plans leaked out of.
Bond and Tibbett
Visiting a horse track Bond observes Zorin and his female companion May Day (Grace Jones). At the race M sets Bond up with horse trainer Godfrey Tibbett (Patrick Macnee) who believes that Zorin’s prize horse is being used to fix the races. In Paris Bond meets a contact who has inside information about Zorin’s origins however May Day kills the contact before he can leak any information. Bond attempts to chase her down but eventually loses her.
Bond and Carl Mortner
Knowing that Zorin is having a horse sale at his estate Bond and Tibbett go in undercover. On the estate Tibbett follows a horse that disappears through a trap door in the stable. Once in the room Tibbett and Bond set up a device to confuse the bugs in their room while the discuss what they will look into. While on the balcony Bond witness Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts) arrive and meet Zorin. At the reception Bond witnesses Zorin write Stacey a check. Sneaking into Zorin’s office Bond makes a copy of the check which is for five million dollars. Returning to the reception Bond meets Dr. Carl Mortner (Willoughby Gray) who is Zorin’s primary veterinarian on the estate. After making Zorin mad Bond begins talking to Stacey who May Day drags away form 007’s company.
That night Bond and Tebbett sneak into the secret lab under the stables and find out that Zorin uses a microchip transmitter to administer horse steroids mid race. After disposing of some guards Bond and Tebbett return to their rooms. Zorin is made aware of the break in and finds a vial misplaced by Bond when he was in the lab. Suspecting Bond Zorin goes to his room to find it empty. Across the hall Bond sneaks into May Day’s room to have sex with her. Zorin tells her to go ahead to avoid suspicion.
In the morning Zorin has Bond come to his office. While there Zorin takes secret pictures of Bond and finds out that he is a secret agent for MI6. While Bond goes to meet Zorin on the riding grounds he tells Tibbett to go into town and report to MI6 however while in town May Day kills Tibbett. On the riding grounds Zorin gives Bond a wild horse to ride and installs his horse transmitter onto the it to make the horse even wilder. While riding though Bond is able to keep it under control forcing Zorin to have his men attempt to kill Bond. Thinking that Tibbett is there to save him Bond gets off his horse and into the car only to find May Day driving and Tibbett dead. Bond is knocked out and the car is pushed into the river. By breathing the air in the tire Bond is able to escape.
General Gogol scolding Zorin
At the race track General Gogol (Walter Gotell) scolds Zorin for killing Bond without authorization. Zorin fires back and tells Gogol that he no longer considers himself a KGB agent. Gogol warns Zorin that no one leaves the KGB. Later on his blimp Zorin makes an offer to a room full of business men. However after he demands a hundred million dollars from each business, when one of them refuses Zorin has him thrown out of the blimp over San Francisco Bay.
Also in San Francisco Bond meets up with his contact Chuck Lee (David Yip) from the CIA. He tells Bond that Zorin has been working on an oil rig off the coast and that Carl Mortner was actually a German scientist during WWII who experimented on pregnant women in hopes to create higher intelligence in their unborn children. Only a few children survived and many of the were psychotic. After the war the Russians grabbed the scientist but he then disappeared at the same time Zorin appeared in America.
Pola and Bond
Under the cover of night Bond sneaks into the oil rig and finds out that the oil pump is actually a water pump sucking water out of the ocean. After a close call Bond jams the pump and finds a KGB team attempting to sabotage the pump by blowing it up. Making it to the shore Bond finds a member of the other team Pola Ivanova (Fiona Fullerton) who was stealing a tape from Zorin. While in the bath house Bond finds the tape and swaps it out before Pola leaves with General Gogol and the wrong tape. Bond plays the tape and it is a recording of the conversation Zorin had with the business men o the blimp.
Under the guise of a reporter Bond meets with the Division of Oil and Mines. While leaving Bond sees Stacey Stutton meet up with the Division head. After her meeting Bond follows her to her empty mansion. Inside Bond tells her that he’s a reporter looking Zorin who is trying to pay her off for her land. Just then Zorin’s men bust into the house which Bond takes care of.
Stacey and Bond
The next morning after experiencing a mild earthquake Stacey figures out that Zorin is digging into a fault line and is using the pump to pump water into the fault line. Bond asks Chuck Lee to ask Washington for help unfortunately he is killed before Bond realize that the message never got away. That night Bond and Stacey sneak into the Oil and Mines division looking for files that could be evidence proving Zorin’s plan. Zorin and May Day catch them though and trap them in an elavator after setting the building on fire. Bond and Stacey escape the burning building and use a fire truck to escape the police who Zorin told started the fire.
The next day Bond and Stacey visit Zorin’s mine and find out that Zorin actually plans to flood all of silicon valley by blowing up the mine that is being dug under a lake. After being caught Bond and Stacey are chased by May Day deeper into the mine. Zorin begins flooding the mine as Stacey escapes and May Day realizes that Zorin has left her to die. May Day and Bond return to the main cavern and attempt to stop the bomb from activating all the explosives by taking it outside. No being able to carry out in time May Day sacrifices herself by putting it on a trolly and holding the dead mans switch allowing the bomb to explode outside the mine.
Escaping in his blimp Zorin takes his father figure Mortner with him and kidnaps Stacey. Able to grab a hanging rope just in time Bond is able to hang from the blimp and ties it to the Golden Gate bridge. In an attempt to kill Bond Zorin falls to his death off the bridge. Mortner also tries to kill Bond with some dynamite but screws up and blows himself up in the blimp. Bond and Stacey make their way safely down the Golden Gate bridge. General Gogol awards Bond with the highest medal of the Russian army.
Cubby Broccoli on location
With the financial success of Octopussy production on A View to a Kill began immediately. Early on it was decided to bring a modern take on the main plot with the idea that could someone take over the microchip market. From there came the idea that the villain would flood silicon valley. It was also decided that the villain would have a blimp under his employ and the production team asked if Fuji Film would fly one of their famous blimps over the Golden Gate bridge so that they could film it. Many of the shot were used in the final film.
Shooting in Switzerland
With the cast coming together rather easily shooting began in Iceland for the pre titles sequence. Dealing with the massive ice bergs and the extreme cold of the water there were several instances that the team had to abondon the equipment to save themselves. In the end there was no lose of equipment nor anyone hurt. However there was much difficulty with the helicopter stunts. The first two remote control helicopters, which were very expensive, became defective and crashed at unexpected times. Thankfully the last helicopter that was sent out to the production team worked just as it was suppose to. Once again Willy Bogner helps shoot the ski sequence in mountians of Switzerland. While on location one of the snow mobiles sled’s broke and Bogner improvised the scene in which Bond takes it and uses it as a snowboard.
The burned 007 Stage
As Peter Lamont waited for Ridley Scott’s film Legend to finish shooting on the 007 Stage on Pinewood Studio’s the call came down that the stage had caught on fire and very nearly burned to the ground. With the 007 Stage out of commission the team had to scramble and re schedule the entire film so that Lamont had time to design new sets to fight other stages. Producer Albert R. Broccoli decided that the stage had to be rebuildt which would take three months to do after a month of clearing the debris out of the way.
Jumping off the Eiffel Tower
Director John Glen
With the plan in place the production team set off to Paris to shoot the car chase and the jump off the eiffel tower. To create the stunt B. J. Worth was brought on board to see if the stunt was possible. Using an hot air balloon Worth worked out the logistics of the low altitude jump. Producer Michael G. Wilson was also able to help out with some calculus. He figured out that the parachute would have to open within three seconds of the jump so that the diver could properly clear the base of the tower.
Shooting the Tower
However getting the proper permission to jump off one of the most well known landmarks in the world was a little more difficult. In the end the team had to get permission from four different police organizations in Paris to perform the stunt. However as the planning continued a man and women did a parachute jump off the tower without permission which became a concern to the team thinking that the police would no longer allow them to perform the stunt. Finally they were able to convince the police to let them do the stunt. Worth had a temporary platform installed so that he could get a running start off the tower allowing him to clear more room from the base. On the first take everything went perfectly and there was no reason to use the back up diver Don Calvedt.
On the Tower
Mad that he wasn’t able to do the jump Calvedt called his friend Bill Sweeney and the next morning the two of them did the jump off the Eiffel tower without permission. Unknown to them the production team showed up to continuing shooting inside the tower. As director John Glen is setting up his shots of the day the two divers flew past him. The two gentlemen were caught by the police and once again tied up the shooting of the film with legal tape. For a small period of time the city of Paris nearly revoked all permission to shoot in the city at all. B. J. Worth had to fire Calvedt on the spot and was never again allowed to work on a Bond film.
The mansion in which the production shot in actually owned by a Duke that believed that he was to be reincarneted as a horse and built the mansion according. While on location Patrick Macnee drove Cubby Broccoli’s actual Rolls-Royce which he loaned to the film. A duplicate car was purchased however to sink the car in a later scene.
By September the team moved to San Francisco where they were greeted with open arms. The mayor at the time was a huge Bond fan and actually like Roger Moore as Bond over Sean Connery. This allowed the team to get whatever permits they needed. While shooting on Fishermans Warf Maud Adams visited Roger Moore and John Glen. John Glen actually thought it would be great if she was an extra in the back ground. This makes three films that Maud Adams has appeared in.
City Hall on Fire
For three weeks the fire engine chase was filmed in the streets of San Fransisco at night. Although the team had a shaky relationship with the local fire fighters at first the firefighters grew to have fun with the shooting and even let Roger Moore drive the truck around a little bit.
Meanwhile John Glen was allowed to set city hall on fire. The had to convince the officials however that they could control the fire. They were also allowed to hose down the entire front of the building. The mayor warned her employees to close their windows however one forgot and completely covered the inside of that one office in water.
The Golden Gate to scale
Back on Pinewood studios a section of the Golden Gate bridge was built so that the climatic final battle could be shot safely. Not only was a full sized section of the bridge was built with a blimp over hang but so was a section of the bridge built inside the stage as well was a 1/4th scale model. Only five percent of the scene was actually shot on the Golden Gate bridge.
Building the new stage
With only one set left to shoot on the 007 Stage was still not finished. Peter Lamont went to Cubby Broccoli and told him that there was nothing left to shoot but the mine sequence and that they needed the stage. Broccoli agreed and filmming continued. Even though the shooting had begun within the stage the famous stage was finished on January 7 1985 and was officially opened. Pinewood studios renamed the stage at the last second to be the Albert R. Broccoli 007 Stage.
With the film premiered in San Fransisco Roger Moore announced that A View to a Kill would be his last film in the role of James Bond. Years later Moore can be quoted saying that A View to a Kill was his least favorite film and that he was way to old to be playing James Bond. He also felt that the Bond franchise had lost it’s way with how violent the series had become.
In 1985 A View to a Kill was one of the biggest box office films but has been received very poorly by critics and Bond fans for years.