The issue with a documentary about a well-known individual or series is that there is sure to be people watching that want to know more about specific aspects that may not be covered or even referenced. This becomes even more of an issue when you are trying to document the story of a film series that spans fifty years and 23 movies. Everything or Nothing does a great job of telling Bond’s story, but there were still things missing.
The most notable absence of the whole movie is Sean Connery. I’m sure it was beyond the control of the people behind Everything or Nothing but it makes for quite a fault when the first Bond, the person that brought the character to life on-screen and then played a huge part in trying to bring about its demise, didn’t even bother to lend his voice or opinion to the proceedings. Luckily for the film, it reflects badly on Connery, much more than it does on the documentary itself, especially considering that this movie launched the Scottish legend’s career.
The movie more than makes up for it though. It does include every other Bond, from Lazenby to Craig. It also has some of the most random contributors, most notably Bill Clinton, who gives a very obscure President’s view of the history of Bond. It’s in these talking heads that some of the most interesting aspects of the series history is revealed. George Lazenby and his regret at how he handled his time as Bond is some of the most interesting watching, as is the backlash against a more edgy, mature Bond for Dalton’s Licence to Kill, especially considering how welcome that is for Craig’s time as 007.
In fact, there is a lot about the history of Bond that most casual fans would probably be unaware of, especially the obstacles it faced to get itself to the big screen. The very turbulent relationship between the producers that brought Bond to the screen and their star at the time, Connery, makes for more interesting viewing. Conflict seemed to be a key part of the history of the character, with great insight and time being given to the fall-out between producers Broccoli and Saltzman, as well as the seeming vendetta against Bond that would-be producer Kevin McClory had, trying to launch his own version of the character with Connery’s assistance.
As in-depth and detailed as it is though, there are aspects that I felt it were glossed over. The documentary has 23 films to cover but only ever gives the actual movies made, lip-service, making more time for scandal than the on-screen stories. Even when the stories behind the choices would actually make for interesting viewing, especially the choices that led to Die Another Day or Quantum of Solace. At times, the film feels like its more concerned with the successes and resilience of Bond rather than an actual in-depth look at the movie icon’s history. It’s not even like there is a lack of room; the film only clocks in at around ninety-minutes.
For the fiftieth anniversary, a celebratory Bond documentary is the way to go, but shining a light on some of the ways that they got Bond wrong would actually bring a fresh approach to what is supposed to be the “Untold Story.” It’s not like they don’t have the cast and people behind the film to give them that added insight.
Overall, Everything or Nothing is a great Bond documentary. It covers some very interesting and detailed parts of Bond’s history that many people may not have been aware of and would find surprising, especially when you begin to realise how close the series came to failing. It does feel like something is missing, not just Connery but also some background to individual films, the choices behind them and maybe some of the big mistakes made in the 23 films Bond has been a part of.
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)