Hey. I won't be able to see Skyfall until sometime next week when I'll be able to see it with friends. Until then, I have been rewatching all of the (official Eon produced) Bond films to try and rank them all. Some of them I have never seen before, so it has been really interesting to see some of these with a fresh perspective.
I am starting the Brosnan films later tonight, so I'll have my list ready to go either at the end of the week or the start of next week. Until then, why don't you all post your lists? I thought it would be fun to do, especially with Bond turning 50 and all that. Lets take a look back into the Best & Worst of James Bond.
Now I am not counting Non-Eon produced films on my list, like the original Casino Royale or Never Say Never Again starring Sean Connery in the role. I feel like we have a better Casino Royale with the modern one, and NSNA was pretty much just a remake of Thunderball, so why rewatch & rank that one when we already have Thunderball? However, if you want to count them on your list, go right ahead and do so.
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trying to rank them in order, always find this hard b/c i could switch my middle bunch a lot. Anyway...
2. From Russia With Love
3. Casino Royale
5. The Spy Who Loved Me
6. License To Kill
7. You Only Live Twice
8. Live and Let Die
9. The Living Daylights
10. Tomorrow Never Dies
12. On Her Majesty's Secret Service
13. Dr No
14. Man With The Golden Gun
15. Diamonds Are Forever
16. World is Not Enough
17. For Your Eyes Only
18. Quantum of Solace
20. Die Another Day
21. A View To a Kill
^ that was what i had in a thread on this a year or so ago. Rewatched Quantum and it was far better than my original thoughts on it. Would probably move that and the World Is Not Enough up higher, and move License to Kil, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Dr No, & Diamonds Are Forever down a bit.
1) Goldeneye & Live and Let Die
2) MOONRAKER (fuck everyone else this shit is entertaining)
4) Casino Royale
5) The Spy Who Loved Me
6) You Only Live Twice
7) The Man with the Golden Gun
8) The World Is Not Enough
9) License To Kill
10) Diamonds Are Forever
12) Tomorrow Never Dies
13) Dr. No
14) The Living Daylights
16) For Your Eyes Only
17) A View To a Kill
18) Die Another Day
19) From Russia With Love
20) Quantum of Solace
21) On Our Majesty's Secret Service
Yet to see Skyfall myself, but I'll get on that ASAP.
I know my list will possibly fall out of touch with the rest of the other Bond fans, but I really didn't care for From Russia With Love all that much (only saw it once) I like Connery as Bond, obviously, but that film I had a hard time getting into it as much as I do with all of the others. Quantum of Solace is one that i've seen twice over and both times I was bored out of my mind. I've been saying I want to give another go to hype myself for Skyfall, yet I haven't done so. Maybe my opinion on it will change after I re-watch it or maybe not. Moonraker being high will SHOCK everyone. Yeah, I know. I loved it though. I always said it's because it is the Bond story that fused science fiction into the plot more than any of the others have or will have. I know that's why I loved it. All the Bond flicks are fun, but that one reached a new level of fun for me. Rest are ranked pretty much by, once again, the fun I had/have watching them. Goldeneye will forever remain on top of my list although it share some company with LALD. Don't know what it is, but that story is one I dig. Watched it over so many times I couldn't tell you how many it's been. Plus, I dig me some Roger Moore. He was my personal favorite James Bond. I liked his approach to the character. Gave Bond a little bit something extra. I think that's why I prefer Octopussy over most people too.
So long story short, I can easily say that I love the majority of all these flicks. Only two that don't come off as entertaining were QoS & OHMSS which I felt both were pretty boring. I suppose that's the beauty of DVDs. You can watch them over again. I've always wanted to try and cram these into a marathon. I know that will take me over a day to do, but I should try it.
There's like four or five that are worth a shit. Casino Royale, The Spy Who Loved Me, Goldfinger, maybe Dr. No. That's about it. I do want to see Skyfall though, but that's mostly because of JAVIER BARDEM aka Anton Chigurh playing the villain.
I do love me some MOONRAKER though. It's kinda the satirical Bond flick. It's so fucking long and so much cheesy shit happens, it's amazing. And by amazing I mean I laugh my ass off when I watch it. Why are some of these scenes so damn long and nothing actually happens? But Bond in Space. Fuck yeah.
So I'll have my list done by tomorrow. Before then though, I thought I'd talk about some other aspects of James Bond.
SPOILERS INCLUDED SPOILERS INCLUDED
First of all, the actors. James Bond has had the fortune of being portrayed quite well throughout his five decades on the big screen. Honestly, with one exception, I have enjoyed every single Bond actor to date. I felt like each portrayal was different enough to stand on its own and at the very least, they all brought their own personality to the role and it has helped to keep the series fresh all these years to have each Bond be different rather than just having every lead actor copy each other completely.
As for picking a favorite, that is tough. I have found that a lot of people fall into one of several categories. First of all, many will automatically say whoever played him first, which would be Sean Connery. It makes sense as he brought the character to life and gave him his initial fame as a pop culture icon. Others will go with whichever Bond they grew up watching, which depending on your age, it could be any of them I guess. For me, Pierce Brosnan was the Bond of my youth. Others will automatically say whoever the current Bond is because, well, he's the new hotness, and that is obviously Daniel Craig.
Whichever Bond is your favorite, it is hard to go wrong as I loved what most of them brought to the role.
Starting off with the original, Sean Connery, is there anyway I can't praise this performance? Connery basically took the role and rode it like a hurricane. His immense charisma, high confidence & comfort, rugged look, and instant charm made him perfect. He could do anything to perfection from accomplishing his mission, to playing cards, to seducing the ladies. He was the Alpha Male of the Bond actors for sure. He owned the role like a pimp and made it his bitch. Considering his treatment of women in his movies, it is a portrayal of Bond that you probably couldn't get away with today as it is "Too Un-PC" and that only makes him stand out more. And what about the dialogue? Connery's Bond has had lines that have carried over into almost every Bond film since and are permanently ingrained in our collective consciousness forever. I also felt that he benefited from being in the best movies. I think all six of his films are easy top tens for me once I rank them. Always cool and always awesome, Sean Connery was the perfect first Bond.
Next we move on to George Lazenby, and quite honestly, he is the one Bond I didn't like. He only played him in one film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service". Now being the first Bond out of the box after Connery is a tough order to fill, but the other Bonds were able to do it and put their own stamp on the role (regardless of whether or not that movies they were in were that good). But Lazenby was just a bore. He had no charm and none of the believable toughness of Connery, and it was made even worse that he had to handle some heavier material like Bond getting married. The film itself suffered for it and we went right back to Connery for one more film before moving on to Roger Moore.
Now Roger Moore is often maligned and I'll be honest, of his seven Bond films, most of them didn't exactly light the world on fire (only one of them I would say is one of my favorites). However, whatever my problems his movies, I actually typically liked Roger Moore in the role. It kind of reminded me of Christopher Reeve's take on Superman in that, he was softer, friendlier, and has boyish charms. He wasn't Connery, but that was a good thing as he made his own mark. He made Bond seem likeable and fun to be around, while Connery was more forceful, Moore could usually just charm the pants off the women he encountered. Moore was the most lighthearted, sure, but that isn't a bad thing and I think it is good to have that interpretation. He made being a secret agent seem fun.
Now we move on to Timothy Dalton, who I honestly feel bad for. I felt like his take on Bond was a work in progress that was never fully realized. He only played Bond for two movies and never had that truly stand out film while playing the role. The stars just never aligned unfortunately. As for Dalton's performance, I actually really liked it. His version of Bond was darker and when it was time to act on his license to kill, he could be downright scary. He could be charming as well, but when he got mad (like in "License to Kill") he becomes downright ruthless and has no qualms about going over the edge to accomplish his goals. Again, neither movie was that great, and I wish Dalton had gotten a much better film to play the character in, mainly because I really did like his darker and vengeful take on it. Another point in Dalton's favor is that I have been told that his portrayal is actually the closest to how Bond is written in the Ian Fleming novels. I've never read the novels, but if that is true, then more power to him.
The first Bond movie I ever saw was "Goldeneye" with Pierce Brosnan in the role for the first time. I have heard people describe his take on Bond as "bland", but I don't see it that way. Brosnan plays the role almost as if he is never off the clock. He is always playing secret agent, and he's always got a poker face on. With those steel blue eyes and hard to read face, you really don't know what he is thinking or how he feels. And to be honest, that is how I picture a secret agent would be: Detached, secretive, & hard to read. In "Goldeneye" when he says "Shoot her, she means nothing to me" in regard to Natalya being a hostage, it is hard to tell if he really means it. It feels like he is always thinking, always has a plan, & might even be a couple steps ahead, even when things don't look in his favor. Granted, the movies he was in leave a lot to be desired. "Goldeneye" was fantastic, but after that, you have some of the worst entries in the series as they were pretty much just souless action movies. But Brosnan's Bond was always good to me. To be honest, assuming I have no prior knowledge of Bond & if you describe the character to me, I picture him looking like Brosnan, if that makes any sense.
And now we've got the modern day James Bond, Daniel Craig, and to be honest, it is yet another great Bond that offers something different. The most telling piece of dialogue is in "Casino Royale" when he buys his trademark Vodka Martini: "Shaken or stirred" to which Bond responds "Do I look like I give a damn?". Craig's Bond is a battle scarred tortured soul that seems to hate what he does for a living. He is a borderline alcoholic and it could even be argued that he has a gambling compulsion. He is the least handsome of the Bonds. He looks uncomfortable in the tux, just always looks like he is in hell, but he is still the best at what he does. It kind of reminds me of Rambo in a way as I always got the feeling that Rambo would go out there and put his life on the line in extreme ways because he was looking for a warrior's death. This Bond has nothing to live for but his work & he has no one he feels he can trust. And you know what? I like that take. Up until now, it feels like every Bond enjoyed what they were doing, but Craig seems to play it as if his gifts are a curse and something he really doesn't enjoy. Once again, different takes on the role are good, and this was a fresher take that Bond probably needed.
So out of the five main Bond actors, which one is my favorite? Well, I am going to go for the mega pimp and say Sean Connery. Yes he came first, and yes he owned the role and made it famous, so it is an easy answer, but honestly, he is just the one I enjoy the most. But like I said, with the exception of Lazenby, I have enjoyed every Bond to date.
Now lets get into another important aspect of Bond: The Bond Girls! Yes, those hotties that oozed sex appeal and added to fun and excitement of the Bond series. Some of were the girls us red blooded males grew up slobbering over and some of them were great characters that helped drive the movies and really added to the mythology. And then of course there were others that were so annoying, pointless, or bad that they are a shame to the title of Bond Girl. So here, I am going to list the Ten Worst Bond girls and my Top 15 Favorites. Fun times!
Top Ten Worst Bond Girls:
10) Kara Milovy from "The Living Daylights" (played by Miriam D'Abo) = After years and years of sex symbols and bombshells, I think they wanted to make the leading lady a little more ordinary and down to Earth. D'Abo is not ugly. That's for sure, but they played her up as being so ordinary that she comes off as bland. We are initially introduced to her as a sniper. That's awesome! But after that, she just turns out to be a completely regular person that got dragged into a tough situation. It isn't a bad idea, but they made her too bland to be memorable.
9) Tilly Masterson from "Goldfinger" (played by Tania Mallet) = Her motivation is interesting. She wants revenge on Goldfinger for killing her sister. Now her sister Jill was killed by Goldfinger earlier in the film and in a very memorable moment in the series, was found dead and painted entirely in gold. Strangely, the write off victim is more memorable than the person trying to avenge her. She starts off cool, but is quickly disposed of by Oddjob. It is cool that one of the greatest henchmen ever, Oddjob, got a kill, but it seemed weird that they included a character that was disposed of so quickly.
8) Melina Havelock from "For Your Eyes Only" (played by Carole Bouquet) = Like the previous entry, she does have an interesting motivation. She wants revenge on the main villain of the film for killing her parents. Unfortunately, she is given almost nothing to do and is ultimately forgettable. This would be OK if she were a side character, but she is the leading lady of the movie! She is linked to Bond at the hip all throughout and does almost nothing. Also, Bond lectures her about killing for revenge. Um...Bond, don't you do that all the time? I know this was the softer Roger Moore Bond, but he killed for revenge at the very start of this movie. It seems like a strange mixed message. Bouquet is stunning to look at, but there isn't much else.
7) Miranda Frost from "Die Another Day" (played by Rosamund Pike = Simply put, this movie was horribly written and so were its characters. Why did she betray MI6? I don't know. It is never explained. Not only that, but it is a horribly written twist because they keep building up there is a traitor and she is the ONLY other MI6 agent we see besides Bond. Well, gee, I wonder who it is! And I know Bond women are known to be in skimpy outfits, but why does she randomly show up at the end of the film in a belly shirt to fight Halle Berry?
6) Jinx from "Die Another Day" (played by Halle Berry) = The other Bond girl from Die Another Day was a dud as well. Berry's role in the film was a great source of hype for the film. Why wouldn't it be? She is an Academy Award winning actress and is hot as hell. It is a major coup for the series to get her. What went wrong? Well, she is basically just a bland performance that had some dialogue that just made me cringe. I don't know about everyone else, but to hear "Yo Momma!" quipped in a Bond movie was just as bad as hearing "Yippee" in a Star Wars movie. Ugh. But still, she did look great in that bikini, am I right?
5) Christmas Jones from "The World Is Not Enough" (played by Denise Richards) = Now Denise Richards was one of my childhood crushes and "Wild Things" helped get me through puberty. That said, she was awful here. What is wrong with this character is basically what everyone else has said about it. It is Denise Richards playing a nuclear physicist. Yeah. Nobody could buy that. Yes she's hot and looks great in the skimpy outfits, but them trying to pass her off as a high intellect was just comical.
4) Mary Goodnight from "The Man With the Golden Gun" (played by Britt Ekland) = Like I said, I have never read the novels, but I have been told that this character is actually very smart & capable. Here though? Wow. She is DUMB. She is just a totally incompetent & useless helper for Bond. That would be OK if she were just some nobody that Bond came across. But she is supposed to be part of MI6! Not a Double 0 Agent, but still I would expect someone like her to have a clue what they are doing in there, but no. She is stupid, gets scared easy, and is useless and it makes me wonder how the hell she got into this gig in the first place. "She looks good in a bikini" is the only good thing I can say about her.
3) Stacey Sutton from "A View to a Kill" (played by Tanya Roberts) = Remember what I said about Denise Richards? How no one could every view her as a nuclear physicist. Well this one is worse. This doe eyed blondie is one that they try to pass off as a geologist, and if possible, she is even less convincing than Richards. Whenever she talks her science talk, I just laugh. It is so poorly delivered that it borders on parody (of course this is also the same movie that has Christopher Walken as the bad guy, so there you go). What really puts her over the top is how annoying she gets. If I have to hear her scream "James!" one more time, I am going to put a bullet through my TV.
2) Lupe Lamora from "License to Kill" (played by Talisa Soto) = You know it is funny. Most people bash this film for Carey Lowell's character. Honestly, she does get annoying once in a while, but she also had her cool moments too, so I tend to be more forgiving. This girl however...UGH! First of all, she is totally useless. They push a love triangle between her, Bond, & Lowell's character. It goes nowhere and is resolved in the snap of a finger, and to me, plays against the darker tone that the film is supposed to have. Not only that, but Soto's performance is so wooden & so dull, that she gives off the impression that she doesn't even want to be there. At least with other girls on this list, I feel like they at least had fun doing it. But she totally sleepwalks through her performance and is only a bore whenever she is on screen. Just a totally useless character.
1) Bibi Dahl from "For Your Eyes Only" (played by Lynn Holly Johnson) = Ice Castles must have been a really big movie at the time. I've never seen it, but this Bond film isn't the first time I have seen a late 70s-early 80s film where Johnson randomly pop up. This "Bond Girl" is so bad, most lists I have seen don't even count her as a Bond girl. I just saw this film for the first time I was shocked to see her show up and then got repulsed by her presence. Basically, she looks like jail bait. I checked and she was in her early 20s at the time of filming, but she looks to be 16 or 17. Yeah, it is very creepy to see a girl that young looking hitting on a much older looking Roger Moore (even Bond has the good sense to turn her down...thank God). Watching her act sexy and get naked for 007 is actually a bit unsettling. Not only that, but she stays throughout the film and plays a role in the climax. WHY?! She is very annoying and looks so out of place here that it is staggering. Having her around throughout the movie almost feels like the Bond series got infiltrated by Disney.
Got the negativity out of the way, now it is time for the Top 15 Bond Girls!
15) Plenty O'Toole from "Diamonds Are Forever" (played by Lana Wood) = Yes, she is a minor character and is only on screen for a few minutes, but my reasons for putting her on here are purely gratuitous. First of all, who will ever forget her introduction and exchange with Connery? I mean that is just classic. And her exit was memorable too. She is wearing nothing by see through panties and gets tossed out of a window into a swimming pool. Again, you'll never forget that. A big breasted brunette getting tossed out of a window is the surreal kind of stuff I have come to expect from Bond films.
14) Octopussy from "Octopussy" (played by Maud Adams) = I know this movie isn't held in high esteem and I do believe this character as a huge missed opportunity to have a female mastermind as the villain. Instead, she is just another girl for Bond to seduce. However, she was the leader of a smuggling ring and an international circus and led that circus in the invasion of a palace. That has to stand for something right? She was also much older than other Bond girls (she was 38 at the time of filming) which gave her this cougar hot aspect to her and it is less creepy to see her making out with mid 50s Roger Moore. Because of the locations of this movie, she also benefited from some great sets and interesting visuals. It is also worth noting that this actress played a character in an earlier Bond film, so she's a bit of a familiar face which is nice.
13) Wai Lin from "Tomorrow Never Dies" (played by Michelle Yeoh) = Granted, this isn't the most memorable Bond flick, and this character isn't that spectacular. However, she is a bit of a bad ass and that is cool. She goes around and flips and kicks everything in her path and the scene where she was handcuffed to Bond and still managed to kick ass on the motorcycle was very cool. No skimpy outfits or anything like that, but it is nice to appreciate someone who is just purely tough.
12) Honey Ryder from "Dr. No" (played by Ursula Andress) = She has to be on the list, right? I mean she was the original Bond hotty. The image of her coming out of the water in a white bikini is one of the defining images of the entire series and she set the stands for the sexy ladies that were to come. She isn't much of a character though. She is pretty much there just to be the damsel in distress, to look hot, and is actually introduced very late into the movie, but the impact she had definitely makes her a worthwhile addition. I mean she really was a standard for beauty all her own and for what little material she had, she wasn't bad either. She was a pleasant presence on screen that made a huge splash.
11) Elektra King from "The World Is Not Enough" (played by Sophie Marceau) = Now this movie is stupid. Like really really really stupid. However, if I can take away one memorable aspect of it, it is Marceau's character. Not only is she gorgeous and nice to look at, but as we find out more and more about her character, she becomes more and more interesting. By the end, I was like "damn, she is really fucked up". In an otherwise forgettable movie, she was certainly the best aspect of the film. Had the writing been better, she might have been even stronger as a character. Like Octopussy, I felt like maybe they should have just made her the mastermind behind everything from the start, and it didn't help that they gave away the twist that she was a bad guy before they did it. It was weird, but at least she left an impression.
10) Tanya Romanova from "From Russia with Love" (played by Daniella Bianchi) = The original bad girl turned good. All it takes is that James Bond charm to warm the heart of even the iciest of evil spies. She's beautiful to look at and is used as a weapon to get to Bond and charm him into a trap, but sneaky ol' James is able to turn the tables seduces her into switching sides. It was a good way to set her apart from Honey Ryder and started the trend of Bond getting girls from the bad side to help him out which would have even bigger payoffs in later films.
9) Dr. Holly Goodhead from "Moonraker" (played by Lois Chiles) = I have actually found that a lot of Bond fans don't like her. I guess it might have something to do with "Moonraker" being looked down on in general, but I really liked her. She some of her line delivery is wooden and sure she doesn't sex it up as much as other Bond girls, but she is smart, has gadgets, and can do pretty much anything Bond can do. She's a really fun character and hell, she had sex with Bond in space. If that isn't memorable, I don't know what is.
8) Vesper Lynd from "Casiono Royale" (played by Eva Green) = Do I even need to say that Eva is absolutely stunning? Heck, she is probably the most exotic looking of the Bond girls. I also liked that they actually built her up as someone that Bond cares about, and are even able to devote the sequel to Bond dealing with her loss. She isn't just an expendable girl like most others and her loss actually matters. I also love that as Bond deals with his problems throughout "Casino Royale", she obviously has major issues to deal with as well that aren't fully revealed. She obviously isn't used to the kind of work that Bond is in with and he shakes her up a bit. Her ultimate betrayal is also very interesting and was actually kind of disappointing as I legit liked her prior to that point. She is certainly one of the better written Bond girls, that's for sure.
7) Natalya Simonova from "Goldeneye" (played by Izabella Scorupco) = Remember what I said about Denise Richards & Tanya Roberts being pretty faces that I do not buy at all as being intelligent? Well they could have run into that same trap here with Scorupco as I know she came from modeling and went into acting, and now she is expected to play a computer programmer. And you know what? I bought it! She does come across as intelligent as well as being feisty and quick to emotion, which balances her against Brosnan's more cold Bond. As a character, her drive is situation is very similar to Bond's as she finds herself betrayed by a trusted friend in her field of work and unlike Bond, she wears her feelings on her sleeve. And in addition to that, she is very cute. I've seen Scorpupco with long blonde hair and she looks nowhere near as good as here with the short read hair. Just perfect.
6) Fiona Volpe from "Thunderball" (played by Luciana Palluzzi) = Now there is no side switching here. She is the original Bond Bad girl. In some ways, she is the precursor to Xenia from Goldeneye as she likes to seduce men and then kill them, and she pulls it off. She is a lead assassin for SPECTRE and is a load of fun to watch as the bad girl trying to hunt Bond down and takes joy in killing. Her death is also very memorable as well.
5) Tiffany Case from "Diamonds are Forever" (played by Jill St. John) = She's just fun. She starts off as a diamond smuggler it is delightful to watch her play both sides against each other to get what she wants. You never know what side she is on and she plays the role with a bit of a sense of humor which makes her very charming. I have seen interviews with actress Jill St. John and she definitely inserted her true personality into the role. She had a blast doing the role and I had a blast watching her. Just delightfully fun.
4) Tracy di-Vicenzo from "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" (played by Diana Rigg) = I am not a fan of this movie, but if there was anybody that held it together, it was Rigg's character. She is highly notable among Bond girls as she was the one that got Bond to settle down and marry her. Of course she is killed at the end, allowing Bond to go back to being the polygamist we all know and love, but the loss of his wife is a trait that finds itself in future Bond films. Not only is she significant to Bond's history, but she is legitimately interesting and well played. By the end, she really does feel like the perfect girl for Bond to settle down with. I only wish she had starred along side Connery as that would have given the Bond marriage a bit more spice & meaning.
3) "Agent XXX" Anya Amasova from "The Spy Who Loved Me" (played by Barbara Bach) = She is basically the female HGB version of James Bond. She is good at her job, loyal to her government, and uses all of the same tools as Bond to get the job done. When both Bond & her are forced to work together, it is nice to see two like minded & similarly skilled people working together. Also, when it is revealed that Bond killed her lover on a previous mission, she delivers one of the most chilling lines of the series: "When the mission is over, I will kill you", and it is easy to take her seriously. Of course she also exudes sex appeal as well, as most Bond girls do. "The Spy Who Loved Me" is by far my favorite Roger Moore Bond film, and Agent XXX is a big reason why.
2) Pussy Galore from "Goldfinger" (played by Honor Blackman) = I mean my God, what is there to say? She makes the list the second you learn her name. Pussy Galore. That is just fantastic. You'll never forget her. No Bond Girl double entendre name has been able to top it since (not even Octopussy!). But it isn't just the name. She is also another example of bad girl turned good after Bond turns on the charm (apparently the character is a lesbian in the novel). She is a skilled pilot, a bit of a hard ass, & once again, just a fun character to watch. By the end of the movie, she probably winds up being more instrumental than Bond when it comes to saving the day. When this movie was all said and done, she took over for Ursala Andress as the standard for Bond girls to come.
1) Xenia Onatopp from "Goldeneye" (played by Famke Janssen) = She is the perfect Bond girl. No doubt about it. She is sexy as all hell, with her dark eyes, great look, tall figure, and personality that just oozes hotness. She is also a great villain. She uses sex to kill men, making her the black widow among the Bond girls. How awesome is that? How oddly hot is that? She kills the men she sleeps with? I personally can't think of a better way to go to be perfectly honest. But not only that, she is a total badass that has the largest body count of any Bond girl I can think of. She is just pure fun to watch and if we needed any more confirmation that she is the number one Bond girl, she even has a double entendre for a name. That pretty much covers all the bases for what people think of when they think of Bond girls.
And my list ranking the Bond films themselves will be out either tomorrow or Thursday.
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AGE OF ULTRON REVIEW + TOP TEN MATCHES FOR APRIL 2015!
OK, my work schedule got fucked around this week and with Thanksgiving around, I won't be able to see Skyfall until Sunday Night. Bummer.
So screw it, I'll go ahead and post my ranked list for the Bond films without it.
From worst to best:
22) For Your Eyes Only = This is one of the entries I had never seen before doing this little marathon and I was stunned by how much I didn't like it. It is actually the least silly of the Roger Moore films, which actually works against it because it just feels dull & lifeless. The characters, their motivations, & their actors are also boring and I already ripped into the Bond girls in this particular entry. Heck, the Ice Castles girl is the most memorable aspect of the whole movie and that is a VERY bad thing. The only saving grace of this movie is actually the cold opening as Bond has one last go around with Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Other than that, this entry is one I am sorry I watched. Many will argue that there are far stupider entries, and that might be true, but the worst thing a movie can be is boring, and this movie is that to a T.
21) Die Another Day = This one gets ranked exceptionally low due to the high expectations that came with it. It was Bond's 40th anniversary AND his 20th film overall. Add in the fact that they got academy award winning actress Halle Berry to be the leading lady, and I'd say we're in for one of the biggest Bond movies ever! Sure the previous two Brosnan Bond movies left a lot to be desired, but I always liked him in the role and I really thought they'd get their act together with this one. To my chagrin, they did not. Alot of people trash the invisible car. Honestly, I thought that was cool, and I expect that kind of stuff in spy movies. What I didn't like was how the entire movie was just about moving from one action scene to another with little rhyme or reason with major events like Bond being held prisoner in North Korea being quickly forgotten & overlooked. The characters (especially the villains) are so woefully underdeveloped that I am not even sure how the movie wants me to feel about them. It also hurt that the action scenes themselves were not impressive at all, so there wasn't even that much to look at from that standpoint. For example, the ice surfing scene looked like something out of Spy Kids. One other small thing: Bond films are known for having lavish openings & great songs. Well Madonna's song for this movie is by far THE WORST in the series. I don't know if I can describe what a headache would sound like, but that song would be a good place to start. Brosnan started off as a great Bond, but after his third stinker in a row, it was probably best to end it here for him and go in a new direction.
20) A View to a Kill = If Die Another Day is the "Batman & Robin" of Bond movies, then this is the "Superman IV". Roger Moore had overstayed his welcome in the role by this point. He was nearing 60 years old and there are so many blatant attempts to conceal that it is a stuntman working for him that it would probably make a dangerous drinking game. Oh and who plays the villain in this movie? Christopher Walken. That right there makes it feel more like a parody of James Bond, and yes, Walkenb as the bad guy is every bit as silly as it sounds. Mayday is kind of a cool powerhouse henchwomen but then they ruin that by having Bond seduce her. Yeah, ew. And the complete lack of chemistry between Moore & Tanya Roberts couldn't possibly be more obvious. Outside of some nice action sequences, this one is just a mess, and thankfully, it was Moore's last time in the role (he himself feels that this is the worst Bond movie he did).
19) On Her Majesty's Secret Service = A lot of fans like this one and I never understood why. I always found Lazenby to be a poor follow up to the Connery era, and I got truly annoyed with the action scenes. Why? Because most of them involve skiing. It is fine once. It is fine twice. But when I feel like half the movie is just ski chases down the same damn mountain, I am going to lose interest. It is another one of those unsafe drinking games I guess. This is a nitpicky thing, but I also didn't like the actor who played Blofeld either. Granted, I am a Halloween fan & naturally loved having Donald Pleasence in the role, but like Lazenby as Bond, I just wasn't feeling it with the recast. The saving grace of the movie is Diana Rigg as the girl that would become Mrs. Bond. Having her around does create some great material for Bond as he deals with love, marriage, and at the end, loss, all of which were unexplored experiences for the character at this point. Unfortunately, it just made me miss Connery even more because I would have liked to have had the Bond we followed for five previous films be the one to have this kind of development.
18) Tomorrow Never Dies = I really had to fight with myself which one was weaker: this one or The World is Not Enough. I ultimately went with this one because it might very well have the worst Bond villain ever (yes, worse than Walken). He is the owner of a mass media empire and he basically wants to start World War III. Why? To get ratings for his global television network. WHAT?! That has got to be the lamest motivation for evil deeds ever. The guy is already so powerful that he apparently has his own private army at his disposal, and all he wants is high ratings and the money that comes with it, even though he already appears to be the richest man in the world? So the whole driving force for the movie just baffled me. That said, this one does have some nice action sequences, especially with Michelle Yeoh in the mix. That counts for something, right?
17) The World is Not Enough = Yet another soulless action movie from the Brosnan era. In several ways, it is actually more insanely stupid than Tomorrow Never Dies. The movie is so poorly written, that most of the characters wind up looking stupid through their decisions. And for some reason, they blew their twist before they did the twist. Also, the villain himself has an interesting set up & backstory, but is ultimately forgettable in execution. And yes, Denise Richards is terrible in this. So what did I like about this movie (besides the action sequences)? Sophie Marceau as Elektra King. She saved this from being a total bust and is actually one of the more interesting characters in Bond's history. The bad writing unfortunately effects her as well, but at least she left an impression.
16) Quantam of Solice = First of all, this has got to be the coolest title for any Bond film. Unfortunately, the movie itself doesn't quite live up to it. I understand that Casino Royale is a tough act to follow, but this one just seemed to go right back into the soulless action movie territory of the Brosnan era. Everything just seems to be about chases & explosions. I do like that they actually tried to tie it in to the previous film and actually make it a direct sequel with Bond having to deal with unresolved issues from that entry. That is all interesting, but none of it is fleshed out all that well and everything moves so fast that parts of it feel rushed or forced. Fortunately, Craig is still good in the role here and his presence adds a lot to even the weaker moments of the film. I have had some people tell me that this is unquestionably the worst Bond film. I think a lot of that is just being disappointed after Casino Royale was so awesome, but I can see why people don't like it.
15) The Man With The Golden Gun = This is another one that I had never seen before and I was REALLY excited for it. I read the plot summary and saw that Christopher Lee is Scaramanga, an assassin that wants to duel with Bond to the death to give him the ultimate challenge AND he has his own unique personalized weapon, The Golden Gun. MY GOD THAT SOUNDS AWESOME!!! (Insert James Bond Vs. Dracula joke here). Unfortunately, the movie didn't quite live up to my expectations. Lee is great in the role and there are some very sweet moments, but it is bogged down by a lot of the silliness we usually get from the Moore Bond era. It worked for Moonraker, but here it just waters down a great concept. Any scene with Nick Nack, Scaramanga's dwarf hecnhman/man servant, is just downright silly. Mary Goodnight is one of the most obnoxious Bond girls ever and her stupidity just serves to annoy. When it is Moore & Lee playing hero & villain, the film does have legit great moments. Heck, the final duel starts off awesome....and then it ends in a Fun House. WHY?!? Oh well. It is still an OK entry, but it could have been so much more with that premise.
14) Live & Let Die = The first Roger Moore Bond film has its ups and downs. The story is a bit muddled and drags at times, but there is a lot of flavor to the movie. Setting it in New Orleans puts Bond in a different environment from what we are used to by this point, and it also covers some unexplored areas like drug trafficking and voodoo ceremonies. Solitaire is a fun addition to the growing list of Bond girls (and who will ever forget Bond's method of seduction?). There are also some memorable baddies like Mr. Big, Baron Semedi, & that one henchman with the claw for a hand. Overall, it was a solid first go around for Moore as Bond.
13) Octopussy = This is one that often gets bashed, but I kind of like it. It is weird, no doubt, and as I've stated, I feel they blew a huge opportunity to have a great female mastermind villain in Octopussy herself. There was a lot of mystery surrounding her too, so it could have been great. And come on, she is the only female character in the Bond series to have the movie named after her! How can you not make her the villain? I would have much rather had her as the bad guy than the less colorful schmucks that were. Though one of the henchman had a buzzsaw yoyo for a weapon. How can you not love that? Anyways, I like this one for its locations in India (very exotic and pretty), and to be honest, I love that Q actually got to get actively involved in the mission. That was a nice wild card thrown into the mix. There are stupid moments, like Bond letting out a Tarzan yell, & putting on clown makeup, but it is balanced out by some great sequences too, like the on the train, or at the palace, & the final plane crash. So yeah, this one could have been better, but it is one that has always entertained me.
12) The Living Daylights = Timothy Dalton's first Bond movie was straight up solid. Great action (the scene in the plane was great), I liked Dalton in the role, the settings were great. The tools were in place. What works against the film is the fact that it doesn't cover too much new ground with Bond. Everything that happens in this movie is just straight up Bond formula that we've seen several times done better. I talked about it earlier, but I did feel that D'Abo was very bland in her role of leading lady. This isn't a wildly incompetent entry by any means. It was just missing a little bit of the punch that most other first entires for a Bond actor seemed to have.
11) Moonraker = You know what? Screw you people. I like Moonraker. Is it silly and outlandish? Yes, but as a 70s spy movie about a mission to outer space, I wouldn't want it any other way. This movie has a space battle with lasers for crying out loud. If they had done that in Casino Royale or Goldeneye, the movie would have lost me completely, but in the more light hearted Roger Moore era, it fits perfectly. And you know what? It is fun. It has all the aspects people had enjoyed about Bond up to that point but throws in this huge weird aspect of space travel which helps it to stand out. I liked Holly Goodhead (snicker snicker) a lot as well. My one major knock on this movie where they took the silliness too far was how they handled Jaws. In the previous film, Jaws was an unstoppable brute that was a great match for Bond. He was the biggest badass possible and gave Oddjob a run for his money as the series' greatest henchman (more on his first movie later). In this movie, they basically turn him into Wile E. Coyote as he constantly chases after Bond and ultimately faces pratfall after pratfall. To me, it really undermined the awesomeness that Jaws captured in the previous entry. And heck, he survived that movie! You'd think they'd keep him going strong in the sequel, but nay. Other than that though, I enjoy Moonraker quite a bit and embrace it's over the top nature.
10) License to Kill = I am surprised I am ranking this one as high as I am. In some ways, it does more wrong than the other Dalton film, The Living Daylights. There is a dumb love triangle with the two girls that doesn't amount to much and sometimes the movie feels like an episode of Miami Vice as opposed to James Bond. That said, I respect this film for taking as many risks as it did. By centering the story around James Bond trying to take down a drug lord that did harm to his best friends allows for a darker tone and more intense James Bond that we usually see. Also, Bond going rogue to accomplish his mission to avenge his friends was pretty intense as well. The drug lord, Sanchez, is also a really good and menacing villain too, and of course, the action scenes are pretty darn good. Dalton unfortunately never got that one great Bond movie, but this one took enough baby steps in the right direction to make me enjoy the film and wish that Dalton had gotten one more crack at it.
9) Diamonds Are Forever = This is the weakest of the Connery Bond films...and it kicks ass! After sitting through the boring Lazenby for one film, this one goes right back to the king and starts off with a bang with Bond going on a rampage to get to Blofeld. Tiffany Case is one of the most fun Bond girls ever, and overall, this movie serves as a nice conclusion to the "Blofeld Trilogy" of Bond movies. Big moments, memorable characters, and a great last hurrah for the Connery Bond era. (not counting Never Say Never Again).
8) You Only Live Twice = Well this one starts off about as awesomely as you can. Bond gets killed. That's big "WHAT?!" right off the bat. Of course we all know he isn't dead, but this film is yet another strong entry for Connery's Bond. After several movies of build up, we finally get to see Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the mastermind behind SPECTRE and its great! It is Donald Pleasence, so how can you go wrong? Setting the movie in Japan also provides a different look for the movie. We also get Ninjas...how can you not love that? We also have a pit full of piranhas. How is that not awesome? Overall, I love this movie.
7) Dr. No = The first Bond movie is going to get ranked high. It is the first time we get to see the character of James Bond come to life. The movie is a lot smaller than the films that would follow, but it was a great start to the franchise that would set up all of the aspects that we would come to love about the series during Connery's run as Bond.
6) From Russia with Love = The first sequel to Bond was a step forward for the series. The movie was more ambitious. Everything was just bigger than what we had seen in Dr. No. The characters are more dynamic, the action scenes are bigger, and the scope of the story is enhanced. I also have to say that I love the main villain, Rosa Kleeb. She technically isn't the mastermind behind everything (Blofeld is, hidden in the shadows this time) but it is nice to see a bad ass female villain taking charge of the movie. The girls in general played bigger roles this time around with Tatiana's loyalties being a major focus of the story as well.
5) The Spy Who Loved Me = Say what you will about the Roger Moore era for Bond, he definitely has this classic under his belt. This isn't just the best Moore Bond movie, but one of the best Bond movies period. It possesses some of the over the top nature that the Moore films were known for, but it is all worked into a great story with a grand scope, so it is wildly interesting. It has a lot of great stuff in it like a huge underwater base, and Jaws, who is a pure force of nature in this one. HE KILLS A FRIGGIN SHARK!!! For all the goofy stuff they did with him in Moonraker, he was pure bad ass in this one. And honestly, I loved the dynamic of having Bond team up with basically a Russian Female version of himself. Agent XXX is a great & fun character (in addition to just being smoking hot) and her love/hate relationship with Bond provides some great stuff as well. When I think of the best of James Bond, this is one of the films that come to mind for me. Great entry.
4) Casino Royale = After a string of three straight soulless action movies from the Brosnan era, this was exactly what the series needed for a reboot. Daniel Craig steps into the role perfectly and provides a fresh take on the character, and the movie does a fantastic job of creating tension while still keeping the movie grounded. The best scenes of the movie to me involve Bond playing cards with everything on the line. Eva Green makes for a nice addition to the long list of Bond girls and LeChiffe is the best and most interesting Bond villain since Goldeneye. Whenever Bond's life is on the line, it is a big deal and the movie maintains its tension throughout. Unfortunately, the last half hour or so doesn't quite live up to the rest of the movie, but still, this is easily one of the finest Bond movies.
3) Thunderball = When Connery was playing Bond, every movie just seem to get bigger and bigger. The climactic battle on the speedboat was a definite sign of that as it was a very ambitious thing to have at that time in the series. We also get a jetpack AND underwater sex. This movie has everything! Connery is great as always and the movie itself stays exciting throughout. Fiona also makes a great henchwomen and is first truly hot Bond bad girl. Blofeld's Number Two also makes for a great main villain throughout the movie.
2) Goldfinger = For many, this is the quintessential Bond film. You have one of the best Bond girls in Pussy Galore. You have one of the best Bond villains in Goldfinger (no Mr. Bond I expect you to die!). Probably the best Bond henchman ever in Oddjob. I also love that the movie was centered around a plot to take down Fort Knox as that was a nice change from the usual storm the secret base type of plot. Something familiar was actually on the line this time around. The imagery and entertainment of this movie makes it one of the most exciting and most memorable entries in this film series. Also, this movie featured Sean Connery at his very best as Bond. Obviously I listed all of the Connery Bond films in the Top Ten, but this one was definitely his best & his highest mark while playing the character.
1) Goldeneye = This was the first Bond movie I ever saw, and I wondered if me ranking it this high was in large part because of that. After re-watching it again, I have to say that it is definitely good enough for me to consider the absolute best in the series. First of all, the action scenes rank up there among the best in the series (the Tank chase definitely stands out). Also, the characters are some of the most dynamic in any Bond movie. I already put over Xenia as my favorite Bond girl ever, with Natalya ranking very high as well. Also, I love Alan Cumming's character of the evil & arrogant programmer. Alec Trevalyan (played by Sean Bean) is also my favorite Bond villain ever. Making him a former 00 Agent and friend of Bond turned evil creates a completely different dynamic for the film that had never been done before and adds a level of importance to everything that happens. In addition to that, everything has the feel of a classic Connery Bond film but updated for modern times and done much bigger. It has everything that you want in a Bond movie from the gadgets to the action to the women, and everything in between. Also, this is by far Brosnan's best go around as Bond. In a string of weak entries, this was his finest hour in the role.
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