Everything or Nothing - The Untold Story of 007

Everything or Nothing - The Untold Story of 007
Made in: Great Britain
Language: English
Director: Stevan Riley
Year: 2012

Synopsis: It's no secret that the world's greatest spy was conceived in the mind of writer Ian Fleming, who himself worked for the British Secret Service during the Second World War. Surprisingly, a number of elements in the James Bond novels quite vividly reflected real-life experiences in Fleming's life, and what we considered to be escapist fun actually held deep psychological meaning for the writer.

The documentary also takes us through 007's perilous journey from print to the silver screen. We learn about producers Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli and Henry Saltzman, whose collaborative efforts launched one of the most well-known film series in history.

Through interview footage of Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson (Cubby's daughter and stepson), who produce the current Bond films, and Steven and Hilary Saltzman (Henry's Saltzman's children), we get an intimate and heartfelt look at the two men.

We also learn about the intricate and often controversial process of casting each of the actors who have portrayed 007, starting with Sean Connery. And through interview footage, we hear a number of interesting anecdotes from each of their experiences.

The Good: Most James Bond documentaries I've seen focus on the gadgets, the women, the villains, and the spectacular stunts/special effects. Everything or Nothing concentrates heavily on the behind-the-scenes creative process that Broccoli and Saltzman went through.

We really get to know the two men, and the process of making the first Bond film proves to be a pretty exciting ordeal. Seeing one of the world's most successful action movie series from this perspective is quite refreshing, and no less interesting than other "making-of" specials.

Of course, we get to see interviews from the numerous actors who've played Bond (with the exception of Sean Connery). There are a good number of interesting tidbits/anecdotes from George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig, and halfway through you might feel a little sympathy for Lazenby and his one-time gig as 007.

There's also a good deal of humor, particularly coming from Roger Moore and his self-deprecating jokes. One particular reference about his role in UNICEF had me laughing out loud.

The Bad: Everything or Nothing does leave the viewer wanting more, and I wish they could have added some more interview material from Timothy Dalton and Daniel Craig.

Who would like this film: This is obviously one for big fans of the James Bond movies. Although the focus is more on the lives of producers "Cubby" Broccoli and Henry Saltzman, there's probably a lot of new stuff about the movies that even the most ardent Bond fans might not have known about.

The editing of the documentary is very clever, as scenes from the Bond films are intercut to emphasize certain points of the interviewees.

Overall, this is a very different behind-the-scenes look at the Bond series, and there's a good helping of emotion, excitement, and clever humor.

(3 and 1/2 out of 4 stars)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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