ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE (1969) introduced George Lazenby as the intended replacement for Sean Connery; while Lazenby does have his fans, his wooden acting leaves me just as convinced as I was last time I saw this that he wasn’t the man for the job. The movie itself, is quite good other than the leading man (and in a Bond film of course, that’s a lot to work around): A good scheme by Blofeld to earn amnesty and an aristocratic title by threatening worldwide sterility; a very low-tech entry in contrast to the increasing use of high-tech gimmicks; and Diana Rigg as the Bond girl, because I can forgive almost anything for the pleasure of watching her. On the down side, it’s way too long with too many car chases across the snow, and Bond’s penetrating Blofeld’s base without a disguise when Blofeld knows his face makes no sense (I know it’s because this precedes You Only Live Twice in the Fleming book series, but that’s not an excuse).With Telly Savalas as Blofeld, Joanna Lumley and Julie Ege among his dupes and the revelation of Bond’s family motto (The World Is Not Enough, which explains the title of one of the Brosnan films). “You British—how you love your exercise.”
BREAKING DAWN (2011) is, of course, Part One of the Twilight finale, wherein the bun Edward puts in Bella’s oven throws everyone from the Cullens to the Native American werewolves into a panic while Bella finds herself slowly wasting away to nothing (“It needs to sink its fangs into something.”). Watchable, but way too soapish compared to the parts two and three, and the idea of Jacob imprinting on an infant strikes me as rather squicky. “First the spelling, then the grammar.”
CROWN OF DALEMARK was another finale, wrapping up Diana Wynne Jones’ Dalemark Quartet by having a girl of modern-day Denmark yanked back in time to find herself working alongside the protagonists of the first three books to find the mystical symbols that will justify her uniting the kingdom. But along with the heroes, the monstrous mage Kankredin (of The Spellcoats) is also back … Excellent, and more enjoyable for having read the others relatively recently, so the continuity touches are more obvious.
Having run into Bram Stoker’s relative Dacre Stoker at a book signing, I wound up picking up DRACULA THE UN-DEAD by Stoker and Ian Holt. In this sequel, the survivors of the original tale are still traumatized by their experience, Quincy Harker is beginning to learn his background and then everyone has to deal with the return of Dracula, the revenge of Countess Elizabeth Bathory and the discovery some guy named Stoker has written a book about their adventures. The writing is stiff, but the odd mix of historical and supernatural elements worked for me, particularly the rationale for the original novel’s existence: Van Helsing dictated his story to Stoker as a way to gain immortality (and also warn the world against the vampire threat) only to have Stoker make up a lot (which rationalizes the departure from the original).