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Monday, November 12, 2012

Granillo: “Skyfall” and Baseball’s Golden Age

Kissy Suzuki! could have been a hit if she wanted to be.

Granted, those fans who swear fealty to “classic Bond” are, nearly unanimously, in the bag for the one and true Bond, Sean Connery. He’s Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle to Roger Moore’s Dave Kingman or Daniel Craig’s Roger Clemens. Connery had no use for submarine BMWs or nuclear physicists played by Denise Richards, and he never took his charm to the moon. But Connery’s run wasn’t perfect and anyone thinking otherwise is whitewashing their childhood the same way baseball fans choose to forget that the only reason Ty Cobb had 46 inside-the-park home runs was that no one knew how to field baseballs in those oversized parks at the turn of the century.

“From Russia With Love”, for example, starts out with a group of villains walking through their henchman-training facility—a large, outdoor room with temporary walls and no roof that magically suppresses the sound of all the gunfire going on within. In “You Only Live Twice”, Bond puts on a Spock wig and some thick(er) eyebrows and magically becomes Japanese, though he never speaks a word of it. “Goldfinger”, the movie most Bond movies are compared to, featured a megalomaniac who was more than happy killing 50,000 men, women and children in order to make a few million dollars and whose plan to do this involved a team of stunt-flying bombshells crop-dusting Fort Knox with a lethal neurotoxin.

These are the three best Bond movies starring the single greatest Bond ever and yet they still have such prominent, glaring weaknesses, weaknesses that would never see the light of day today. And all that is before we mention any of the chronic shortcomings present in every Bond movie, including the stunted, sped-up fight scenes, the cheap, bloodless deaths, and the terrible acting from non-essential characters. We typically let those blemishes go as a product of their time, but, like second and third string players on the Washington Senators or St. Louis Browns, they must be acknowledged for what they are.

The Sean Connery Bond movies have many terrific strengths and helped create some iconic scenes in movie history, but there’s a lot in there that doesn’t stand up past the filters of nostalgia. Much like comparing today’s players—from Albert Pujols and Justin Verlander down to Matt Treanor and Lew Ford—with the “golden age” contemporaries of Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle, saying that 2012’s “Skyfall” is the greatest Bond movie ever does not take away from Sean Connery’s legendary run as the secret agent. One does not wash away the other.

Repoz Posted: November 12, 2012 at 02:41 PM | 104 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Nasty Nate Posted: November 12, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4300675)
I have watched very few 007 movies but caught some of 'Goldfinger' the other day. So, uh, Bond rapes that chick, right?
   2. Alex Vila Posted: November 12, 2012 at 03:10 PM (#4300683)
I thought it was a submarine Lotus Esprit.
   3. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: November 12, 2012 at 03:11 PM (#4300686)
I have watched very few 007 movies but caught some of 'Goldfinger' the other day. So, uh, Bond rapes that chick, right?


Depends; did she get pregnant?
   4. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: November 12, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4300688)
The best thing that ever happened in a Bond movie: thrilling underwater SCUBA battle! Bond wins, of course. And then Sean Connery swims away, clambers ashore, unzips the wetsuit... to reveal the tuxedo that's been under there the whole time. Calmly walks into the party, already in progress.
   5. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 12, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4300691)
For the true Bond aficionado, it's still George Lazenby or nothing.
   6. JJ1986 Posted: November 12, 2012 at 03:19 PM (#4300697)
weaknesses that would never see the light of day today


Today they just have no idea how computers and networking operate.
   7. The Fallen Reputation of Billy Jo Robidoux Posted: November 12, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4300707)
Today they just have no idea how computers and networking operate.


Part of me thinks that was semi-intentional in Skyfall given the film's tendency to explicitly reject gadgets and technology. I don't think audiences really know, either. I mean, Dark Knight Rises assumes there is no way to reverse a bunch of financial trades made by masked villains after breaking into a stock exchange.

Are there any films that get this stuff right?
   8. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: November 12, 2012 at 03:29 PM (#4300711)
I agree with the writer. The series as a whole is fun, but no single Bond movie is truly great. Off the top of my head, The Spy Who Loved Me, From Russia With Love, For Your Eyes Only, Live and Let Die, and Casino Royale are probably the best. The Sean Connery ones are iconic, but they're not very good movies for the most part (even by silly 1960s action movie standards).
   9. BDC Posted: November 12, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4300715)
These are the three best Bond movies starring the single greatest Bond


Wait a second, who seriously thinks that You Only Live Twice is better than Dr. No?

The first three Connery Bond movies are highly incredible, but they are fast-moving and clever films that have been imitated endlessly, their own many sequels forming only a small part of that imitation. They move too fast for you to ask questions about their realism except in retrospect and at leisure. The films with Craig show a nice level of seriousness (the cartoony feel of the Moore and Brosnan films got embarrassing early on, and Dalton I can't even visualize in the character; though as with Lazenby, I'm sure he has his proponents). I'd wait a few years to see if the Craig films are particularly memorable or distinctive. As noted, they don't really set high marks for credibility either.
   10. Gonfalon B. Posted: November 12, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4300723)
I have watched very few 007 movies but caught some of 'Goldfinger' the other day. So, uh, Bond rapes that chick, right?

What part of the word "galore" don't you understand?
   11. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: November 12, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4300729)
I see the Connery Bond films as cartoons, as well as the couple of Moore ones I've seen. (I don't like Moore at all in this role).

I've only seen Casino Royale with Craig and loved the darker edge. I don't know how you can compare Craig vs. Connery; both seem near perfect for what they were trying to do.
   12. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: November 12, 2012 at 03:59 PM (#4300736)
The more important question: Which is worst movie of the series, Moonraker or Die Another Day? I'm gonna have to go with the latter.
   13. GEB4000 Posted: November 12, 2012 at 04:00 PM (#4300738)
From Russia With Love has the best Gypsy threesome in a Bond movie.
   14. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: November 12, 2012 at 04:01 PM (#4300739)
The Sean Connery ones are iconic, but they're not very good movies for the most part (even by silly 1960s action movie standards).

I don't know about that. They pretty much pioneered the concept of the "silly action movie". At the time all the good action movies were war movies or Westerns, weren't they? In the field of silly 1960s action movies the Sean Connery films are competing with their own knock-offs (Dean Martin's Matt Helm movies, "Modesty Blaise", "Fathom" starring Raquel Welch) and things like "Fantastic Voyage" and "Barbarella" and "Robinson Crusoe On Mars". Maybe they look bad by comparison with "Cat Ballou".

[edited to add the word "good" and add more examples]
   15. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: November 12, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4300749)
Crispix, there were the silly "based on history" action movies in the late 50s and early 60s. "The Buccaneer", "The Vikings", "Taras Bulba"** pop to mind; these weren't war movies per se.

** "There's only ONE WAY to keep faith with a Pole. Put your faith in your sword and the sword in the Pole."
   16. Moeball Posted: November 12, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4300750)
Which is worst movie of the series, Moonraker or Die Another Day? I'm gonna have to go with the latter.


The answer is in the titles...

Moonraker or Die Another Day?
o r ker or ie A other D y?
M on a D n a

MaDonna?

   17. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: November 12, 2012 at 04:18 PM (#4300753)
The best thing that ever happened in a Bond movie: thrilling underwater SCUBA battle! Bond wins, of course. And then Sean Connery swims away, clambers ashore, unzips the wetsuit... to reveal the tuxedo that's been under there the whole time. Calmly walks into the party, already in progress.


The scuba battle scene that you referenced takes place in Thuderball, but the tuxedo scene is from the beginning of Goldfinger. Bond sneaks ashore of an unnamed banana republic and plants a bomb to destroy a heroin processing plant. After planting the bomb he removes his wetsuit to reveal a perfectly pressed white tuxedo. He then enters a club and calmly lights a cigarette while the bomb explodes and bedlam ensues.

The Daniel Craig Bond films are completely different films than the Connery/Moore films. The newer films are more similar to Jason Bourne series than they are to the old Bond films.
   18. Curse of the Andino Posted: November 12, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4300755)
Wait a second, who seriously thinks that You Only Live Twice is better than Dr. No?


Anyone who saw the Japanese girl (Mie Hama) Bond married and developed urges.
   19. OsunaSakata Posted: November 12, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4300761)
If you haven't already seen it, this is awesome.
   20. Gazizza, my Dilznoofuses! Posted: November 12, 2012 at 04:41 PM (#4300773)
Anyone who saw the Japanese girl (Mie Hama) Bond married and developed urges.


This.
   21. GEB4000 Posted: November 12, 2012 at 04:42 PM (#4300774)
Die Another Day had so many fake CGI stunts that it eliminates a key feature attraction of Bond movies--real people doing crazy stunts.
   22. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: November 12, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4300780)
Which is worst movie of the series, Moonraker or Die Another Day? I'm gonna have to go with the latter.


Diamonds are Forever.
   23. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: November 12, 2012 at 05:16 PM (#4300814)
Die Another Day had the ridiculous fencing scene with Madonna, the ridiculous torture sequence, Bonds' ridiculous escape from the sub, the ridiculous scenes in Cuba, and the completely ridiculous chase scene in Iceland. And, of course, the ridiculous special effects and story.
   24. SteveM. Posted: November 12, 2012 at 05:50 PM (#4300834)
Die Another Day had the ridiculous fencing scene with Madonna, the ridiculous torture sequence, Bonds' ridiculous escape from the sub, the ridiculous scenes in Cuba, and the completely ridiculous chase scene in Iceland. And, of course, the ridiculous special effects and story.


Don't forget the invisible car! Or the rocket car where you see its clearly a model. I thought the story in Die Another Day was not bad, but it was undermined by B Movie effects.
   25. dr. scott Posted: November 12, 2012 at 05:54 PM (#4300836)
Live and Let Die is the best Moore film. Wacky bond meets 70's blackspoitation film left me with only good memories, though I no longer know what they are...

Dalton's first film (living Daylights) was fantastic at the time. Some of this could have been because I was comparing it with the last few awful moore films... But I thought it was smart, lots of fun twists, good action, and a nice brisk pace. The other Dalton film was terrible, but mostly it was the writing in Licence to Kill... Dalton was fine.
   26. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: November 12, 2012 at 06:09 PM (#4300850)
I agree re Dalton. The contrast between The Living Daylights and License to Kill is striking. The former is one of the better Bond movies -- probably a B+. The latter is absolutely terrible.

I think Moore and his movies are underrated. He made two really terrible movies, Moonraker and View to a Kill, but Live and Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me, and For Your Eyes Only are all excellent IMO. Octopussy is pretty good, and the Man with the Golden Gun is ok.
   27. McCoy Posted: November 12, 2012 at 06:24 PM (#4300856)
I've watched all the Bond films and used to watch them on TBS as a kid all the time but I've realized that they are unwatchable drek full of bad acting, bad writing, bad effects, and bad fighting. The new ones, as someone else already said, are not Bond films but Bourne films. That is good and bad.
   28. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 12, 2012 at 06:36 PM (#4300863)


I've watched all the Bond films and used to watch them on TBS as a kid all the time but I've realized that they are unwatchable drek full of bad acting, bad writing, bad effects, and bad fighting. The new ones, as someone else already said, are not Bond films but Bourne films. That is good and bad.


Fully agreed. I've _tried_ to like Bond films - they are of a genre that I love - but I just can't.

The bad scripts and bad acting performances don't support the overlong, overdone, and preposterous action sequences.
   29. Gamingboy Posted: November 12, 2012 at 06:39 PM (#4300866)
It's hard to really judge James Bond movies, because what makes a good movie and what makes a good James Bond movie can be so very different sometimes. Like, I think Casino Royale is a better movie movie than Skyfall, and From Russia With Love is probably a better movie movie than Goldfinger, but I think that if you were to ask the average Joe what the better "Bond" film is, they'd probably say Goldfinger and Skyfall.
   30. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: November 12, 2012 at 06:43 PM (#4300870)
The last 3 Moore movies were horrible , each getting progressively worse than the last. The "Tiger"scene and the "Tarzan" scene in Octopussy are examples of all that was wrong with Roger Moore being Bond. That of course and the judo chop that Mike Myers makes fun of in the Austin Powers movies.
   31. zonk Posted: November 12, 2012 at 06:53 PM (#4300874)
So what's wrong with me that 'Bond films' do absolutely nothing for me?

I've seen a few, new and old, every Bond (or nearly every Bond)... I like plenty of other 'guy movie' archetypes -- I love a good western, for example. I even liked the Bourne movies (to a diminishing degree as the franchise progressed...) and can appreciate a good spy thriller.

But the Bond movies - I skip past them whenever someone does a marathon, I have very little desire to see skyfall, etc.

Maybe it's time I just face up to the fact that I'm Ray's evil twin... or is that benevolent twin?
   32. Sunday silence Posted: November 12, 2012 at 06:55 PM (#4300876)
this a fun discussion for post season...

In Roger Moore's defense, he had unenviable position of having to follow a great act (Sean COnnery's). He played it more for humour and I think he even said that was deliberate because Connery's was so stoic. I think it works more or less although I like Connery's better.

On the You Only LIve movie: I thought Mie was quite striking, really liked her but I thought the cinematography was really off. It seemed there were a lot of long range shots of her and very little close ups or anything to really give her her due maybe I am misremembering it. I like the musical score a lot too.

From Russia With Love was perhaps the only one where the plot engaged me. That girl was also really beautiful. Also the way the two chicks: Talisa Soto and Carey Lowell in License to kill play off against each other was sort of an interesting plot to me.

HOnestly, at this pt. I only watch them for the chicks, so my question is: Wouldn't an R rated Bond be better?
   33. Red Menace Posted: November 12, 2012 at 06:55 PM (#4300878)
I had watched most of the Bond movies before (and those that I'd missed I'd seen parts of), but I made a point of watching all of them in order leading up to Skyfall. Like diamonds none of them are perfect. You compare them to each other as you would different vintages from the same vineyard. I agree with 25 that there's a distinction between a good movie and a good Bond movie.
   34. robinred Posted: November 12, 2012 at 07:06 PM (#4300887)
I thought the Casino Royale reboot with Craig and Eva Green as the "true love" interest was a good movie; I think Craig works well in a 21st century spin on the role. I have never been a huge fan of the series, although I have seen large swaths of many of the movies on cable TV. I have never seen one in a theater, but I may go see Skyfall.
   35. OsunaSakata Posted: November 12, 2012 at 07:32 PM (#4300899)
I may be biased because my mother thought was Roger Moore was handsome and Sean Connery was ugly. But I think Connery's looks improved with facial hair. So I think of Sean Connery best in The Untouchables and Outland. Yeah, I realize Outland lacked realism, but I loved the performances of Connery, Sternhagen and Boyle.
   36. salvomania Posted: November 12, 2012 at 07:38 PM (#4300903)
My favorite scene in any Bond movie is when Jill St. John slides the cassette tape into the ass of her tiny, tight bikini bottom.

I was also a fan of Moore's first, Live and Let Die, as it was the first Bond movie I saw in a theater as a kid and it had a lot of memorable scenes/characters: Kananga, and his henchman the enormous bald man with the sunglasses and the pincer hook for a hand; the alligator farm; the southern sheriff who's trying to chase Bond and is almost decapitated as Bond flies over him in a speedboat, the voodoo, the New Orleans funeral, etc. It definitely made an impression on a 10-year-old.
   37. bob gee Posted: November 12, 2012 at 08:05 PM (#4300927)
i thought roger moore's worst ones were either the for your eyes only (though i didn't like "the lovers" scene) or view to a kill.

i'd say worst overall was either die another day or quantum of solace. i thought craig gave a really good performance on a very poor script. think casino royale = one of top couplein the series.

agree #36 RE: jill st.! and i didn't see that until i was older. thought live & let die was one of the best in the series as well.
   38. McCoy Posted: November 12, 2012 at 08:25 PM (#4300948)
That of course and the judo chop that Mike Myers makes fun of in the Austin Powers movies.

The "judo chop" wasn't unique to Moore. Connery also did the "judo chop" as well and had a ton of horribly staged fights as well.

It's kind of weird in that pre-Lee you had Connery and Moore doing fake "karate" and then after post-Lee Bonds for the most part stopped doing "karate" until the Bourne movies came along and now they do the Bourne style of "karate".
   39. dr. scott Posted: November 12, 2012 at 09:04 PM (#4300969)
I agree re Dalton. The contrast between The Living Daylights and License to Kill is striking. The former is one of the better Bond movies -- probably a B+. The latter is absolutely terrible.

I think Moore and his movies are underrated. He made two really terrible movies, Moonraker and View to a Kill, but Live and Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me, and For Your Eyes Only are all excellent IMO. Octopussy is pretty good, and the Man with the Golden Gun is ok.


Agree, for awhile I thought Living Daylights was the best bond film i'd seen (saw it in the theatre when it came out) but Im less emphatic on that point these days, and just point to it as what i really want in a bond film.

I could not stant Man with a golden gun, and though I liked the Moore films when I saw them on cable and in the theatre as a kid, when I watched them later... Live and Let Die was the only one that really stood out.

As i side note i knew the grandson of Albert R. Broccoli (Producer behind all the Bond movies till he passed away), and awarded him a couple film grant to make short films while he was at Stanford. Last i saw he was an editor on the last Bronson Bond film. Creative, smart, kid.... well i guess he's not a kid anymore.
   40. BDC Posted: November 12, 2012 at 09:08 PM (#4300972)
They pretty much pioneered the concept of the "silly action movie"

Exactly. The Craig movies, as many have noted, have a different and more serious premise (in many ways it's much closer to Ian Fleming, as the torture scene in the Craig Casino Royale, lifted straight from the novel, indicates; Fleming had a scary propensity to take himself seriously). But the first three Connery movies were slick adult entertainment that commented ironically on itself as it was going by ("Bond, James Bond. … Shaken, not stirred") and, to my mind, all the better for walking that thin line between camp and suspense-drama.

Then they forgot to hire a story editor for Thunderball and the series deteriorated quickly.
   41. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: November 12, 2012 at 09:24 PM (#4300986)
It is amazing the lack of consensus on the Bond films, aside from having Goldfinger near the top and Die Another Day near the bottom.

Just in the mid-80s Roger Moore category, I've seen Octopussy, For Your Eyes Only, and A View To A Kill. Would describe them respectively as too ludicrous and cartoonish to be good, too half-assed to be good, and just right. All three of those categories plausibly apply to all three of them. Since each one is a series of set-pieces, it depends on how those set-pieces affected you on a given day. I thought Quantum of Solace was a waste of time just after seeing it, but the parachuting sequence, the fight scene on the scaffolding, the girl's vendetta against the general, the high-tech opera sequence (unrelated though it was to the plot ... whatever happened to the Quantum organization anyway?) all stuck with me.

Thunderball is the least worth watching (though I haven't seen the Dalton ones or Moonraker). The 952 minutes of slo-motion combat between indistinguishable scuba divers was probably unprecedented and fascinating at the time, but I got nothing from it. Just listen to the theme song twice a day for a week. The song is great.
   42. Gamingboy Posted: November 12, 2012 at 09:46 PM (#4300999)
Just listen to the theme song twice a day for a week. The song is great.


I would pay good money for a closer to come in to that song.
   43. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: November 12, 2012 at 09:50 PM (#4301003)
He STRIKES like Thunderball. Sounds more like Adam Dunn's music.
   44. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: November 12, 2012 at 10:06 PM (#4301008)
The 952 minutes of slo-motion combat between indistinguishable scuba divers was probably unprecedented and fascinating at the time, but I got nothing from it.

You hadn't had your fill from "Sea Hunt", I reckon. Every episode Lloyd Bridges would have to engage in an underwater fight. Nothing more tedious.
   45. Walt Davis Posted: November 12, 2012 at 10:16 PM (#4301013)
In first grade, I had a Thunderball lunch box.

That's right, I've always been cooler than you.

   46. Belfry Bob Posted: November 12, 2012 at 10:21 PM (#4301016)
The worst? That's easy...Moonraker. Hands down.

After that, A View to a Kill, any of the Brosnans except Goldeneye, License to Kill, Diamonds Are Forever, The Man with the Golden Gun (Christopher Lee wasted, Clifton James back as the moronic J.W. Pepper), and Live and Let Die (I see a lot of love for this one here. The ending alone, with Kananga blowing up like Bruce in 'Jaws' is painful enough...but the mix of blaxploitation and Bond just didn't work at all for me, though I did love Geoffrey Holder and Yaphet Kyotto as the bad guys - but the sheriff character? God, just kill me...and then they brought him back for another film!)

Next group, either so-so or flawed but still ok...Thunderball, You Only Live Twice (the score, Nancy Sinatra's dreamy rendition of the title song, the scenery, and Mie), Octopussy, For Your Eyes Only, The Spy Who Loved Me, Quantum of Solace.

The Hall of Fame: Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, The Living Daylights, Goldeneye, Casino Royale, Skyfall.
   47. Belfry Bob Posted: November 12, 2012 at 10:23 PM (#4301018)
In first grade, I had a Thunderball lunch box.

Walt, I still have one, with intact thermos...a Christmas gift from my brother about 10 years ago.
   48. Richard Posted: November 12, 2012 at 10:25 PM (#4301022)
(though I haven't seen the Dalton ones or Moonraker)

I always think of the Dalton ones as "The Welsh ones" thanks to Lynne in I'm Alan Partridge.

Btw, youtube blocked here, but if the link in 19 isn't the start of The Spy Who Loved Me with Alan Partridge's commentary overdubbed, you should drop everything and find it now...
   49. BDC Posted: November 12, 2012 at 10:52 PM (#4301033)
The worst? That's easy...Moonraker

By contrast, Moonraker is one of Fleming's better novels. He tended to alternate readable pulp (Casino Royale) with Godawful raving pulp (Lie and Let Die), and Moonraker (the third novel) was an uptick. The best novel, IMO, is From Russia with Love. Goldfinger is also enjoyable in a 12-year-old-boy type way, the rest go from bad to worse.
   50. Walt Davis Posted: November 12, 2012 at 11:01 PM (#4301038)
Walt, I still have one, with intact thermos...a Christmas gift from my brother about 10 years ago.

Owning a Thunderball lunch box in the 1st grade -- cool. Owning one now ...

Ahh, the thermos. I musta broken 3 of those a year. I doubt the Thunderball thermos made it past early Dec (post-Thanksgiving turkey soup).
   51. Walt Davis Posted: November 12, 2012 at 11:05 PM (#4301039)
On Her Majesty's Secret Service -- I don't think it was Lazenby that made this film.
   52. Cooper Nielson Posted: November 12, 2012 at 11:09 PM (#4301041)
Which is worst movie of the series, Moonraker or Die Another Day? I'm gonna have to go with the latter.

Diamonds are Forever.


Agree with this. Diamonds Are Forever seemed like a cheap Friday-night TV movie. The casting (Jill St. John) and the sets were low-rent, and Connery was too old and was just coasting. I also didn't like A View to a Kill very much -- by that time, Moore was far too old for the role and Grace Jones terrifies me.

Skyfall was pretty good, but Casino Royale was better.
   53. BDC Posted: November 12, 2012 at 11:17 PM (#4301045)
Doesn't Diamonds Are Forever have that low-speed car chase in a crowded valet-parking lot? It's so weird it's funny.
   54. OsunaSakata Posted: November 12, 2012 at 11:31 PM (#4301049)
I consider "We Have All the Time in the World" from Her Majesty's Secret Service as the best song given Tracy's death.

I went to a bachelor party in the late 1990s which was a James Bond marathon. Diamonds are Forever was embarrassingly sexist and homophobic to us, especially given there were two gay men at the party (though not involved with each other).

One day I had $20 burning a hole in my pocket and bought the Aris Kristatos, For Your Eyes Only watch from this collection. The reasons for picking that one are complicated, but they included not picking a popular villain like Odd Job from Goldfinger.
   55. Belfry Bob Posted: November 12, 2012 at 11:37 PM (#4301055)
By contrast, Moonraker is one of Fleming's better novels.

I've often thought someone should actually make a movie based on the novel. Maybe even a period piece, circa 1952ish.
   56. caprules Posted: November 12, 2012 at 11:42 PM (#4301060)
I just got back from Skyfall. I really enjoyed it. At one point, about halfway through, the traditional Bond music starts and I started bobbing my head, my wife laughed at how much I was getting into it. The first half feels like a decent - good spy movie, and then then it becomes a movie that is what Bond should be and pays homage to Bond of old. Really fun.
   57. Belfry Bob Posted: November 12, 2012 at 11:58 PM (#4301070)
I consider "We Have All the Time in the World" from Her Majesty's Secret Service as the best song given Tracy's death.

Beautiful song. A bit over-produced, but a fine example of John Barry's lush style. Louis Armstrong's last hit...doesn't fit in with his career, of course, but it adds another bittersweet note to the concept of Bond's final words in the film.

Visited several of the sites used in the filming of OHMSS while in Switzerland, including Piz Gloria, Blofeld's Alp-top fortress, and the ice rink in Grindelwald where Tracy finds Bond after his escape from Blofeld.
   58. Belfry Bob Posted: November 13, 2012 at 12:04 AM (#4301074)
The first half feels like a decent - good spy movie, and then then it becomes a movie that is what Bond should be and pays homage to Bond of old. Really fun.

It really did hit the right notes. As someone said, not as good as Casino Royale, but darn good. Just to see the Aston Martin in real 007 use was a genuine treat; I was grinning ear to ear.

(Thunderball was my first Bond film at the movies...I was 11. My parents wouldn't let me see any of the first three...too violent and sexy. Luckily, those were the day of re-releases, so I saw all of the first three on the big screen in various combinations, usually as double features.)
   59. Red Menace Posted: November 13, 2012 at 02:49 AM (#4301138)
I disagree with some of the hate being thrown toward A View to a Kill here. Yes, it's not good, but its a lot closer to middle-of-the-pack then it seems the consensus is giving it. Christopher Walken is a great villain and at least Grace Jones is memorable, unlike a lot of Bond girls. In comparison Octopussy has nothing to offer.

The Spy Who Loved Me is also getting short changed. It's the crown jewel of the Moore period and an easy top 5 pick.
   60. Cooper Nielson Posted: November 13, 2012 at 03:34 AM (#4301144)
The Spy Who Loved Me is also getting short changed. It's the crown jewel of the Moore period and an easy top 5 pick.

Agreed. It's the best of the Moore films, and perhaps the "prototypical" James Bond movie if not necessarily the best. It has pretty much everything -- good and bad -- that James Bond movies are famous for.
   61. Belfry Bob Posted: November 13, 2012 at 03:47 AM (#4301146)
Walken is great, as always, and Jones is fine...but Moore was 57 and looked 65, Tanya Roberts as a scientist was absurd, and Patrick Macnee, GOD, JOHN STEED is treated like a lackey by Bond...that's unforgivable. Unthinkable!

Octopussy does have Maud Adams and Louis Jordan (the best Dracula EVER in the BBC TV version years ago) and the really sexy woman who heads up Octopussy's girls...but it also has the Tarzan yell and Bond ordering a tiger to 'sit'. Ugh.

Spy Who Loved Me did have Barbara Bach and Richard Kiel, but I liked For Your Eyes Only better among the Moore Bonds. If they'd left out the skating and nymphet stuff, it would have been darn good, IMO.
   62. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: November 13, 2012 at 06:29 AM (#4301152)
"I'm to eliminate all free radicals."
"Do be careful!"
   63. Gonfalon B. Posted: November 13, 2012 at 09:11 AM (#4301175)
I consider "We Have All the Time in the World" from Her Majesty's Secret Service as the best song given Tracy's death.

Beautiful song. A bit over-produced, but a fine example of John Barry's lush style. Louis Armstrong's last hit...doesn't fit in with his career, of course, but it adds another bittersweet note to the concept of Bond's final words in the film.


It depends on whether you have bangers or sausages for breakfast. Armstrong's "We Have All the Time in the World" was a hit single in England, but it never charted at all in America. Of course, the official charts are wholly inadequate for making sense or shape of Armstrong's discography.
   64. Rants Mulliniks Posted: November 13, 2012 at 09:29 AM (#4301185)
I've seen all of them, but I haven't been blessed with the kind of memory that enables me to keep them straight. Ursula Andress is still the best Bond girl though. Craig is my favourite Bond.
   65. RickG Posted: November 13, 2012 at 09:47 AM (#4301190)
My wife LOVES the Bond movies -- her father was a huge fan -- so I've seen many of them, though I can't keep the old ones straight. Die Another Day must be the worst Bond ever since we own it, and yet I've never seen it.

Quantum of Solace was not a good movie. But, it improves exponentially if you watch it immediately after Casino Royale, back to back. Suddenly a lot of things that made no sense make a lot of sense...you can see the threads connecting the two. It seems like Casino and Quantum were the same story, but they had to break it up somewhere, so they broke it at the 2/3 mark and by the time the second half came out it made no sense.

Casino Royale is still the only movie of any sort I've seen twice in the theater. What a fabulous movie.
   66. Belfry Bob Posted: November 13, 2012 at 10:01 AM (#4301193)
RMc quotes the one movie no one has mentioned, the Thunderball remake Never Say Never Again...I guess it belongs in the middle group; great fun to see Connery in the role again, some solid zingers like the one he quotes, my faves being: "I hope that now you're on the job that we'll have some gratuitous sex and violence." and "Well, there was this night in Hong Kong"...Barbara Carrera was wonderfully beautiful and over the top as Fatima Blush, and Kim Basinger was beautiful. It had the worst score of any Bond movie, it was nothing but one big wink at the audience, which gets boring after awhile, and it was a remake of a not-that-interesting movie.

The 'original' Casino Royale was a god awful mess, and belongs at the bottom of the heap.
   67. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: November 13, 2012 at 10:08 AM (#4301197)
For Your Eyes Only has Carol Bouquet. It also has the best underwater fight scene IMO.

The best Bond girls are Bouquet, Jane Seymour, Eva Green, Ursula Andress, and Halle Berry.
   68. Belfry Bob Posted: November 13, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4301199)
Owning a Thunderball lunch box in the 1st grade -- cool. Owning one now ...

Yes, it's not exactly cool. At least I can say that it was a gift. (It is, however, on display on a shelf in the dining room.)

Ahh, the thermos. I musta broken 3 of those a year. I doubt the Thunderball thermos made it past early Dec (post-Thanksgiving turkey soup).

Yep, that's why lunchboxes with intact Thermos are so much more coveted among collectors. (I insist I knew nothing about this until receiving the Thunderball lunch kit...and I don't own any other ones. Honest.)
   69. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: November 13, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4301200)
Never Say Never Again was ok. Not terrible, but not particularly memorable. I thought the villain was really good (can't remember the actor's name).
   70. zack Posted: November 13, 2012 at 10:15 AM (#4301202)
What about the first Casino Royale? Now that is film-making at it's...LSDiest.

You could probably put all the Bond movies on a camp to serious scale that ranges from Casino Royale to Casino Royale.
   71. Belfry Bob Posted: November 13, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4301204)
The best Bond girls are Bouquet, Jane Seymour, Eva Green, Ursula Andress, and Halle Berry.

I like this list. I'd add Diana Rigg and Mie Hama. If I could only vote for five, I'd bump Seymour and Berry off the list in favor of those two.
   72. Belfry Bob Posted: November 13, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4301208)
Never Say Never Again was ok. Not terrible, but not particularly memorable. I thought the villain was really good (can't remember the actor's name).

Klaus Maria Brandauer...probably most famous for Out of Africa. He's a genuine actor. He was one of the good things in the movie.
   73. BDC Posted: November 13, 2012 at 10:29 AM (#4301212)
Brandauer is indeed one of the most distinguished German stage actors (he is Austrian, but has worked a lot in Berlin). If you like him as a Bond villain, get the film Mefisto, which is a great picture about acting, but also has some political-thriller elements.
   74. Belfry Bob Posted: November 13, 2012 at 10:29 AM (#4301213)
What about the first Casino Royale? Now that is film-making at it's...LSDiest.

A triple feature of this, Myra Breckenridge, and Return to the Valley of the Dolls would be a great afternoon of sixties moviemaking at its most incoherent.

You could probably put all the Bond movies on a camp to serious scale that ranges from Casino Royale to Casino Royale.

Good point. If they remade the novel of Moonraker with Craig, that would be a potential bookend. (Though since the story has to do with post-war Britain and its place in the new world order at the time, it would be better if done as a period piece, which would leave Craig out.)
   75. JJ1986 Posted: November 13, 2012 at 10:31 AM (#4301214)
You could probably put all the Bond movies on a camp to serious scale that ranges from Casino Royale to Casino Royale.


I think QoS is even more serious. It's basically a straightforward espionage adventure film with nothing amusing in it.
   76. Belfry Bob Posted: November 13, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4301220)
It's so weird it's funny.

Diamonds was full of 'so weird it's funny' moments.

Bond escaping the bad guys by moon buggy?

The gay hit men? (not funny. just weird. Even THEN it was weird. I think everyone in the theater flinched every time Putter and Glover came into view.)

Jimmy Dean as Howard Hughes?

Plenty O'Toole ending up dead in a swimming pool for no reason whatsoever?

Connery wearing the worst hairpiece ever and working a good 30 pounds overweight?

A Mustang Mach I as the 'hot car'?

The aforementioned 'chase in the parking lot'?

Charles Gray playing Blofeld as if he were about to fall asleep?

What a lazy mess this was.
   77. Perry Posted: November 13, 2012 at 11:59 AM (#4301297)
So are Bond movies like baseball? The best one is the one you saw when you were 12?
   78. Gamingboy Posted: November 13, 2012 at 12:10 PM (#4301311)
The one thing from Quantum of Solace that I kind of liked was the idea of that 21st-century SPECTRE group.. QUANTUM. I'd like to see them come back, sort of like how SPECTRE disappeared in Goldfinger only to show up again in Thunderball.

   79. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: November 13, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4301353)
I'm not a true Bond aficionado, but I do enjoy the movies. My mom was a big fan, and took me to see The Spy Who Loved Me in theaters when I was a lad.

Overall I didn't care for Moore, but I really did enjoy Spy Who Loved Me. Possibly because of what #77 says.

Also, I adore Never Say Never Again, but I don't think I could come up with a logical defense for it.
   80. Millon deFloss Posted: November 13, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4301391)
Daniela Bianchi is a much under-rated Bond girl in "From Russia With Love." Her Russo-Italian accent is wildly funny, too.
   81. The District Attorney Posted: November 13, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4301399)
The "We Hate Movies" podcast just posted a good takedown of Die Another Day. I really think it is the worst. Bond has an invisible car, but the bad guys instantly track its heat signature and shoot it, causing it to become visible? MI6 has a holodeck? We can "wipe your DNA slate clean" and make you an entirely different person? The plot proceeds like Axe Cop. Berry's part is written like one of those "back-door" television pilots (because that's essentially what it was). And Brosnan doesn't seem to give a crap at all.

Given how similar the films generally are, it can actually be difficult to describe why one is good and another is bad. The Spy Who Loves Me feels to me like it's running on all cylinders in a way that the other Moore films don't. (And no, it's not the first one I saw, or the one I saw when I was 12.) I guess it's just the right balance. Some of Moore's have rather great ideas -- Christopher Lee is Bond's dark mirror! Christopher Walken and Grace Jones as villains! -- but the scripting and acting don't carry it off. His others don't even have that much.

I liked The Living Daylights a lot, but in Licence to Kill, he essentially becomes Sonny Crockett or something rather than James Bond, and I really do not like it. (Dalton plays it fine, but it's just not what I want to see from my Bond movies.)

I think GoldenEye is fantastic and the other Brosnans are forgettable. So, I essentially give one "must-see" film each to those three Bonds.

Connery and Craig delivered consistent product, although I still feel like Craig does not look the slightest bit like "James Bond."

I'm in the camp that views Connery not doing OHMSS as the great tragedy of the series. Lazenby wasn't an actor, and they worked around it as well as could possibly be done, but it's not a fixable problem.

Her Russo-Italian accent is wildly funny, too.
Well, somebody's accent, anyway. ;-)
   82. philphan Posted: November 13, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4301417)
As I was reading this thread, I started thinking "What, no love for the 'original' Casino Royale?" Glad to see that extremely strange movie got its due. It is an excellent film for utilization in "Six Degrees of Separation," with its combination of David Niven, Peter Sellers, Woody Allen, Orson Welles, and, of course, Ursula Andress. (Not to mention George Raft!)
   83. Paul D(uda) Posted: November 13, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4301420)

I have high hopes that Idris Elba will be the next Bond.
   84. Traderdave Posted: November 13, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4301429)
I had such high hopes for Brosnan. There is so much about him (looks, style, etc) that could and should have made him an outstanding 007, but the results were so weak.

   85. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: November 13, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4301431)
I have never liked the Bond franchise very much. Too much cartoon for my tastes. I have enjoyed the Craig reboot pretty well, and I think Skyfall is about as good a take on "new James Bond franchise does old James Bond elements" as you're going to see. The fight scene in the Shanghai skyscraper was brilliantly filmed, and I love the set piece that closes the action at Skyfall.
   86. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: November 13, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4301433)
The gay hit men? (not funny. just weird. Even THEN it was weird. I think everyone in the theater flinched every time Putter and Glover came into view.)

I just want to point out that Putter Smith is a genuinely great jazz bass player. I have no idea how he ended up playing a villain in a Bond movie.

The scuba battle scene that you referenced takes place in Thuderball, but the tuxedo scene is from the beginning of Goldfinger. Bond sneaks ashore of an unnamed banana republic and plants a bomb to destroy a heroin processing plant. After planting the bomb he removes his wetsuit to reveal a perfectly pressed white tuxedo. He then enters a club and calmly lights a cigarette while the bomb explodes and bedlam ensues.

Memory is a funny thing. I also thought it was a black tuxedo.
Well, whatever: action-packed bomb-planting scene! White tuxedo! Best thing!
   87. McCoy Posted: November 13, 2012 at 01:55 PM (#4301442)
I had such high hopes for Brosnan. There is so much about him (looks, style, etc) that could and should have made him an outstanding 007, but the results were so weak.

Brosnan would have made a good Bond in the early 80's but was a poor choice for a Bond of the late 90's and early 2000's. By that point the world wanted a more rugged and dirtier lone hero and that isn't Brosnan. Late 80's and early 90's simply wasn't a good time for James Bond period. The Cold War was over and our biggest enemies at the time were drug dealers.
   88. Gamingboy Posted: November 13, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4301451)
I'm in the camp that views Connery not doing OHMSS as the great tragedy of the series


Bond is full of what-ifs like that. What if Connery had done OHMSS? What if Brosnan had taken over in the late 80s instead of Dalton (his near-casting as Bond led to so much publicity that it led to Remington Steele being renewed, which ironically took him out of the running)? What if Spielberg had decided to go ahead and offer to do a Bond film for the Broccolis instead of going with his friend George Lucas' idea of doing a "1930s James Bond" about a archaeologist? What if Dalton had been able to do another movie or two? What if there wasn't the whole stupid fight with Kevin McClory? What if Alfred Hitchcock had directed a Bond (he was Fleming's first choice)? What if David Bowie had been the villain instead of Christopher Walken in "View to a Kill"?

Countless, really.
   89. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: November 13, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4301457)
What if Never Say Never Again hadn't been in the works at the time Roger Moore's contract had run out? They were ready to move on to Dalton (or James Brolin) for Octopussy, but were afraid of going up against the off-brand Connery Bond with a new guy in the role.

   90. Gamingboy Posted: November 13, 2012 at 02:16 PM (#4301464)
Oh, and what if they had done For Your Eyes Only instead of Moonraker? They only did Moonraker because Star Wars and 2001 had hit it big.
   91. BDC Posted: November 13, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4301485)
What if Alfred Hitchcock had directed a Bond (he was Fleming's first choice)?

IIRC Fleming's ideal film James Bond was David Niven (who did get into the farrago version of Casino Royale, of course). By the time of the first films, though, Niven was too old for the part.
   92. Swedish Chef Posted: November 13, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4301501)
I don't care much for Bond, I don't think I've seen any since college. But I'm fascinated by the longevity of the franchise. I wonder at which point in time it switched from "let's see if we can milk it for one more sequel" to a never-ending assembly line of movies.
   93. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: November 13, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4301509)
My top 5 in no particular order:

From Russia with Love
Goldfinger
The Spy who Loved me
Casino Royale
Goldeneye


also I think that the Dalton and Brosnan Bond's were entertaining but Craig is definitely 2 or 3 steps above.


On a side note, Roger Moore was on Stern yesterday and I can't believe he is 85.
   94. Belfry Bob Posted: November 13, 2012 at 03:02 PM (#4301519)
Oh, and what if they had done For Your Eyes Only instead of Moonraker? They only did Moonraker because Star Wars and 2001 had hit it big.

This really worked well, too, just like Live and Let Die's homage to Shaft and Hell Up in Harlem.

I'm surprised we didn't see James square off against some dinosaurs or aliens in the nineties.
   95. The District Attorney Posted: November 13, 2012 at 03:22 PM (#4301548)
I have high hopes that Idris Elba will be the next Bond.
Obviously this would have made no sense in 1963, but nowadays, why not? If you can can cast a short blond guy, you can do it. He certainly has all the "tools". (There's seemingly no need to replace Craig any time soon, however.)

What if Brosnan had taken over in the late 80s instead of Dalton (his near-casting as Bond led to so much publicity that it led to Remington Steele being renewed, which ironically took him out of the running)?
Yeah, this is another point of divergence where I feel things definitely could have been better. It's not a knock on Dalton, but I think that would have been the perfect time for Brosnan to get it.

Heck, Dalton himself allegedly was considered to replace Connery, despite being really young at the time. At least if you don't think much of the Moore era (and assume Dalton would have played the role in the same manner as he did later), that might have been sensational -- the equivalent of doing the late-2000s reboot 30 years earlier, with a guy who could have plausibly stayed in the role for decades...

I'm fascinated by the longevity of the franchise. I wonder at which point in time it switched from "let's see if we can milk it for one more sequel" to a never-ending assembly line of movies.
It's true, there really is no counterpart in that respect. (Although I'm sure Disney will try its damndest to change that with Star Wars.)
   96. OsunaSakata Posted: November 13, 2012 at 03:23 PM (#4301550)
A friend once suggested that James Bond was a Time Lord who had too high a sex drive and was exiled to Earth where he couldn't impregnate human women. Then Timothy Dalton played Rassilon in the Doctor Who episode "The End of Time".
   97. Gamingboy Posted: November 13, 2012 at 06:54 PM (#4301782)
A friend once suggested that James Bond was a Time Lord who had too high a sex drive and was exiled to Earth where he couldn't impregnate human women. Then Timothy Dalton played Rassilon in the Doctor Who episode "The End of Time".


What about the various Ms, Qs, Felix Leiters, Miss Moneypennys and such? Are they Time Lords as well?

I'm fascinated by the longevity of the franchise. I wonder at which point in time it switched from "let's see if we can milk it for one more sequel" to a never-ending assembly line of movies.

It's true, there really is no counterpart in that respect. (Although I'm sure Disney will try its damndest to change that with Star Wars.)

Godzilla pulled off the feat shortly after he fought Mothra for the first time. He's had FAR longer hiatuses than 007, however.
   98. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 13, 2012 at 07:23 PM (#4301810)
The Daniel Craig Bond films are completely different films than the Connery/Moore films. The newer films are more similar to Jason Bourne series than they are to the old Bond films.
Two real problems with this: conflating the Connery and Moore films is madness, and while Casino Royale was very smartly, deftly edited, with great facility for placing the actors in space and in relation to each other (and thereby letting us know what the hell was going on, who was in danger, and so on), the second Craig film, Quantum of Solace, with a different director and editor, is the antiBourne in those regards.

The opening car chase in QoS, where the cars are difficult to distinguish and at times you don't even know which is in front and which is behind, is an abomination. One minute in and I knew the movie was going to be a slog. It was.


edit: and why the hell didn't they work with a real poker player in devising the seminal hands in Casino Royal?
   99. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 13, 2012 at 07:27 PM (#4301816)
Maybe it's time I just face up to the fact that I'm Ray's evil twin... or is that benevolent twin?
Ray's evil twin makes Atilla look like a simpering pantywaist.
   100. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: November 13, 2012 at 07:37 PM (#4301833)
What about the various Ms, Qs, Felix Leiters, Miss Moneypennys and such? Are they Time Lords as well?


Perhaps the next Bond film, sans Craig, will explore the quantum mechanics of the wormhole that connects all of the various Bond universes together. Maybe Spock could cameo as himself. But new Spock, from the reboot, not Leonard Nimoy.
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