Released to not only cash in with the release of Skyfall, but also the 50th anniversary of the James Bond movies, Everything Or Nothing (which takes it’s title from the name of Cubby Broccoli’s production company EON who make the Bond movies) takes a look back at the history of 007, specifically on film, but also his origin in Ian Fleming’s novels.
The film starts out with a great composite shot of all the Bonds shooting down the barrel and with Christopher Lee, who played villain Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun, introducing us to Ian Fleming – sadly the rest of the films struggles to reach these heights again as it goes on to become something akin to a super-expanded DVD extra.
The first sequence, which deals with Fleming and how Broccoli and his producing partner to be, Harry Saltzman, gained the rights to bring Bond to the big screen in probably the documentary’s most interesting part as we see clips of the original TV version of Casino Royale, with its Americanised ‘Jimmy Bond’, through to the stories by associates on both sides about how it was far from a smooth journey to the release of Dr. No in 1963.
From there we descend into a lot of talking heads, most of whom weren’t actually involved (or in some cases born) telling us about Sean Connery’s time as 007. Unfortunately Connery’s ongoing feud with, seemingly, everyone he’s ever made a movie with, means his side of the story goes largely untold and he comes across mostly as the bad guy who was ungrateful and did his best to hold up the producers for more money.
As we head into Lazenby and Moore’s eras we get more insight thanks to some very frank interviews from the two actors with Lazenby in particular, admitting to being hugely out of his depth during the filming of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and clearly stating it was his fault that the transition between Bond’s at that stage was rather rocky.
Moore too is surprisingly frank about how he chose to develop Bond from Connery’s cold killer and womaniser character into the more larky, suave and family friendly version of Bond and Cubby Broccoli’s daughter (and current producer) says that this was something done with full agreement from the producer but led to him splitting from longtime production partner Saltzman.
With a diversion into the circumstances surrounding unofficial Bond, Never Say Never Again, and the painting of its producer Kevin McClory as very much the bad guy almost going so far as to state the stress he caused was responsible for Cubby Broccoli’s declining health.
We then reach the Dalton, Bronsan and Craig eras which are dealt with very quickly which is something a shame as there are hints that are just as many stories to tell but, maybe because all the players are still with us, we don’t get to hear anything more than the surface of these.
While I enjoyed Everything or Nothing, and it does tell the story of this astonishing (on several levels) series of films, it also comes across as something of a propaganda vehicle for EON Productions side of things and therefore ends up feeling a bit empty, particular as it nears present day and Judi Dench and Sam Mendes bring it to the level of big back slapping contest.
This leaves it feeling like it really should have been an extra bonus feature on a special edition of Skyfall rather than being released as a stand-alone movie.