Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Double-0 Heaven?

Here we are again, time for another list o'things

This time we're going to talk about one of the longest running film series - James Bond movies.  As you long suffering readers will know what usually happens with these posts is I pick five examples of something I like and then ramble on about why I like them in the hope of persuading you likewise.  However, with this particular list it would seem churlish to miss out any of the actors who have played 007 and so I'm going to talk briefly about each and tell you which of their films is my favourite from each actor - however, we're only counting official movie Bond's so I'm afraid that legendary Blockbusters' host Bob Holness is omitted.

#1: Sean Connery
Arguably, and in many people's opinion, the Best Bond Sean Connery was not the original choice for the role Connery had previously worked as a milk delivery man.  Connery is remarkable for having returned twice to the role (Diamonds Are Forever is after Lazenby's turn, and also Never Say Never Again)

My personal favourite: From Russia With Love because not only is it very close to the novel, but it's a cracking spy story - and You Only Live Twice

#2: George Lazenby
A tricky one to pick a "favourite" here because Lazenby famously believed that one would be enough.  And ok, so there's a lot wrong with On Her Majesty's Secret Service (including the alleged fact that Lazenby had to be dubbed by another actor), but it still manages to be one of my guilty favourites of the series and contains a cracking soundtrack (Including Louis Armstrong's "We Have All The Time In The World") - again, almost an exact adaptation of the original book

#3: Roger Moore
Previously famous for playing Simon Templar in The Saint Moore is not to everyone's taste.  There are many, and who can blame them, that argue that the series got too silly in the latter half of his tenure.  Still, as with all things, your Bond is very much the one you first discovered - making Roger Moore very much my Bond.  True he stayed on one, if not two, films too many - but there's some good ones in there

My favourite: his first, Live And Let Die - and, inevitably, the one with the underwater car (The Spy Who Loved Me)

#4: Timothy Dalton
Dalton joined the franchise at a difficult time.  Firstly the format was starting to look a little old, secondly he had to follow the increasingly jokey Moore.  He also suffered from a first script that was written for Moore and from a loss of rights that left the series in hiatus for several years

Favourite film: Despite all of this Licence To Kill remains one of my favourite from the series - including, as it does, a plot taken from one of Fleming's original stories (Bond going AWOL to seek revenge on the people who attack Felix Leiter)

#5: Pierce Brosnan
Rather remarkably the former Remington Steele actor seems to have managed to make himself one of the most popular incarnations of James Bond.  This despite some very poor storylines (two so poor that I can't remember a thing about them).  My main issue by this point is the increase of daft gadgets (specifically the invisible car), but to be fair Brosnan is the best thing in the films

Best one: Goldeneye is the only one with a half decent script.  Half-way through the motorbike chase in Tomorrow Never Dies I realised that I just didn't care - and the less said about Die Another Day the better

#6: Daniel Craig
Shock horror, a blonde Bond - surely not?  There were many who balked at such a thing, believe it or not.  However Craig soon silenced his critics with a back to basics, heavily Bourne-Identity inspired first movie.  Admittedly the plot of the second one made no sense whatsoever and it remains unclear if he will make a third (with the copyright holders in financial meltdown)

Best one - Casino Royale was half an hour too long, and clearly an attempt to capitalise on the recent success of another character with the same initials - but still a great film. Speaking of which...

#7: David Niven
Of course, technically everyone in the more miss than hit comedy spoof version of Casino Royale played James Bond including Ursula Andress, Peter Sellars and many more (but not Woody Allen - who played Jimmy Bond) - but only Niven was the "true" retired agent, Sir James Bond

Sadly the humour doesn't quite make the grade and the ending is confused, but still worth a mention


Titus said...

Yes, Connery for me but I loved Live and Let Die (one of my all-time favourites, along with Goldfinger, for Honor Blackman alone) and I have a very soft spot for Timothy Dalton too.
Most of all, I love the fact that you get what it says on the tin with all the films. And the theme tune. And the title songs. How could you not mention Bassey!?!

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Titus - yeah, fair point about Dame Shirley

Dhiamonds harrre foevah, foevah...

The Bug said...

I haven't watched them all, but I had issues with most of the early ones because of the role that women played. Most of the time I could just roll with it - after all Bond isn't exactly a morality tale - but it did get tiresome. So my favorite is Goldeneye because I loved the female lead in that one. I also enjoyed Casino Royale (the Daniel Craid one) a lot.

The Bug said...

By the way - the song from Goldfinger is guaranteed to make me hoot with laughter :)

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Bug - yes. Bond is many things, but a new man he aint - and the books are worse

I've seen them all - at least one of them gets repeated each Bank Holiday here in the UK and i've seen all of them since Octopussy at the cinema (maybe even 2 before that, not sure...hmmm...)

Daft brainless fun - but not politically correct

Argent said...

Connery, of course, but Mr Craig makes a good Bond for me. Tim Dalton was just too humourless and Mr Moore, well....

iNd!@nA said...

James Blond never made the grade - or maybe it's simply because i haven't managed to stay awake long enough to see the end of the first movie and work out what was going on.
Dalton, on the other hand, is eminently watchable no matter how foolish the plot
and Mr Brosnan? not too shabby at all.

But no-one will ever sound like the lovely Mr Connery.

oh, and i miss the original Q. sigh.

the watercats said...

urgghhh.. I hate james bond full stop. Something about it brings back that rainy sunday round a boring relatives house feeling... that must have happned to me during an omnibus or something..

Lydia said...

What a fascinating post.
Enjoyed....I Enjoyed.