When the name George Lazenby comes up, one of two things happens. Either you have no idea who he is or you remember him as the dude who became the butt of many Bond jokes after playing the debonair superspy for one film. In the documentary BECOMING BOND, director Josh Greenbaum gives Lazenby a platform to tell his story and, more importantly, how he landed the role of James Bond in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service despite never acting a single day in his life.
What could have been a pedestrian story about a one-hit wonder ends up being an entertaining and engaging documentary. Instead of making it a run-of-the-mill feature doc with talking heads and footage Greenbaum cleverly uses a Drunk History approach to the story. Lazenby, still charming now as he was back then, sits in front of a camera and tells his own stranger than fiction life story while dramatizations play out on screen. It’s fun and provides a different dynamic to the basic documentary, making it extremely watchable and, at times, hysterical. Josh Lawson plays Lazenby with magnetic wink-and-a-smile charisma as he goes from being a used car salesman, to a male model and finally to playing Bond. Lawson is also joined by Jeff Garlin, Kassandra Clementi, Jake Johnson, and Jane Seymour to tell Lazenby’s life story.
Greenbaum created a refreshing spin on the feature documentary with Becoming Bond. He finely curates Lazenby’s wild personal story of selling cars, modeling, sex, drugs, drama, love, heartbreak, and Bond into an unexpected delight. The primary focus of the film is how Lazenby became Bond and then turned down six more films and a $1 million signing bonus — which made people think he was crazy. As Lazenby tells his story it becomes less about being James Bond and more about staying true to oneself are and not having anyone else dictate your life choices — even if that means turning down one of the most iconic roles in cinema.
Bill Nye has always been known as the fun-loving TV personality that taught us about the ins and outs of general science. After retiring his beloved show he popped up here and there and even became a contestant on Dancing with the Stars. But in David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg’s documentary BILL NYE: SCIENCE GUY, the bow-tie-clad science enthusiast is portrayed through a different lens. He’s not the goofy guy explainin the mechanics of airplanes or how gravity works. He’s looking to restore science in its rightful place in a world full of naysayers and haters.
A lot heavier than you might think, Bill Nye: Science Guy gives a captivating and in-depth look at Nye’s life as he steps out of his known persona of “Bill Nye” and into his more authentic self. The doc focuses primarily on Nye’s project of launching a spacecraft that could very well revolutionize interplanetary exploration — a project initiated by his late, great professor Carl Sagan. Wih Nye’s passion for science and undying need to educate the public about climate change and global warming, a huge chunk of the doc puts the spotlight on the debates he has with climate change contrarians like creationist Ken Ham and body builder-turned-meteorologist Joe Bastardi. It gets pretty real and heated, but still, Nye remains professional and civil… even though he knows and we know that he is right.
If you loved Nye before, Bill Nye: Science Guy will make you love him even more. Although not as hyper as he was in his iconic TV series, the documentary — which is a little more adult and serious — perfectly illustrates his passion for preserving science and for educating the masses on issues that are affecting the world. The documentary not only shows the growth of Nye as a purveyor of science and the need for more people like him but also the lasting impression he has left and continues to leave on avid followers of the original Bill Nye: The Science Guy.
Dino-Ray Ramos | Staff Writer