You expect me to give a postmortem on this Bond marathon? No, Mr. Blake, I expect you to wait till Skyfall. Tough cookies, bud, because I’m here to give you the lowdown on all things good (and bad) relating to the Bond. I’ve made it no secret that I’m still no Bond fan, but I still found a lot to love about the franchise. But that also won’t stop me from talking about what I hated.
Best Opening Sequence-GoldenEye
While there are a lot of misdirect openings in the series, this one demonstrates that you can play it straight and it will play off in the long run. It’s got the charming jokes to ease Brosnan over for the audience but also displays some top notch action around a plot point that will become essential later down the line. Plus, Sean Bean dies, which is always a good way to start your movie.
Best Action Scene-Storming the Castle (For Your Eyes Only)
If the suspenseful and nail-biting ascent to the top of the mountain isn’t enough, then we get a methodical, slow building sequence where Bond and friends make their way through the badguy’s abode. It’s one of the rare scenes where Bond’s mortality feels like a real possibility which makes the slow-building action even more exhilarating.
“Best” Action Scene-Lunar Chase Scene (Diamonds are Forever)
As if the lunar moon craft wasn’t ridiculous enough, they put in motorized tricycles to top it off. Genius.
Best Bond-Daniel Craig
As much as I want to be that guy and say George Lazenby or Timothy Dalton is the best, neither become the complete fulfillment of a Bond who is simultaneously charming and cruel. I think it’s Craig’s almost animalistic fury coupled with his cool cynicism that makes him my favorite Bond. He may be sleek, cool and sexy, but he’s almost a monster at times.
Best Bond Girl-Vesper
While there are a handful of Bond girls that constitute more than living sex dolls, Vesper stands out as the most compelling, complex and distinctive of them all. Her interplay with Bond and the way she challenges him as a character puts her up against bond in a way that no other Bond girl has. While perhaps not a complete equal, she’s able to remain simultaneously defiant and believably human, never becoming ultra-feminist or simply another doting doll.
Best Villain-Le Chiffre (Casino Royale (1967))
Bet you didn’t see that one coming. Beyond the fact he’s Orson Welles–well let’s be honest, he’s ORSON WELLES! Waxing on about his seemingly supernatural magic tricks and wearing those ridiculous glasses, Welles is an amusing spoof of the cigar chumping Bond baddie, but the fact stands that he could take the same exact character in a serious Bond role and it would work perfectly.
That’s a million dollar smile right there! The buffoonish and brutish Jaws is the perfect level of camp for some of the Moore era films. The fact he doesn’t say much and is a bit sluggish makes him somewhat endearing to me. I like my people like I like my films: slow as silent!
Worst Character- J.W. Pepper
This hick sheriff, besides perpetuating one of the most annoying stereotypes of all time, is a completely unnecessary character who’s every last line grates upon my ear buds and makes me desperately want to hit the stop button, eject the disk and smash the abomination into pieces of dust. This is Jar Jar Binks level of annoying right here. And he’s in two, count them, two films!
Worst Part of Bond Films-Underwater scenes
Best Theme Song-Live and Let Die (Paul McCartney and Wings)
I’ve been listening to this song for a couple of years now, and I think it’s fantastic. Heck, I’m listening to it right now. It’s that good. Also, I like the kind of songs that have distinctive parts and feel like they develop as opposed to simply having and opening and them a song for the band to put lyrics against.
Best Title Sequence-Casino Royale (2006)
This was the easy choice as it’s pretty much the only title sequence that doesn’t have a bunch of naked women being back-lit and writhing around. Screw that. I want to see some real creativity at work and this film does a fantastic job of building some cool effects around poker.
Worst Film-A View to a Kill
Beyond the fact that I have absolutely nothing nice at all to say in this film, and that it has such terrible moments as a chase scene with a fire truck and death by butterfly, it’s the fact that the film goes out of its way in order to just ruin the character of Q for me with an all-time low in the Bond series.
Best Bond Director-Guy Hamilton
Besides giving us the great Goldfinger, we also get what I think is the funniest Bond film with Diamonds Are Forever. Henchmen who go skipping after doing evil and transportation by massive hovercrafts and motorized tricycles, what’s not to love? I also think The Man with the Golden Gun is a solid Bond flick but I didn’t care much for the hokum that is Live and Let Die. Even then, we get three of the best Bond films from one funny director.
Best Film-Casino Royale (2006)
What separates this film from the rest, for me, is its humanity. While it could be easy to get wrapped up in Bond’s rampant ego and his brash exploits, the film takes the time to slow down and flesh out the characters, making them real, emotional beings that you can sympathize with by the times the credits have rolled. Bond may be that lofty guy who seems so far-fetched, but by the end he’s brought down to earth.
© 2011 James Blake Ewing