It seemed only right to have a month dedicated to one of the greatest film franchises every committed to the big screen. March was my month; so I decided to do the complete series; in just 007 days!
I am a fan of the series, the character, the actor’s who have played the role, but I’m no die hard. I can see it’s faults, Connery isn’t my favourite, neither is Goldfinger the best film for me. Some of the Moore films are really poor, though some are among my favourites as well. I had a stand off with Dalton’s film for years; just couldn’t bring myself to watch them, just thought Dalton was all wrong for the part; how wrong was I?
What I was looking forward to was the intensity of seeing them all so close together, it brings home the differences each actor brought to the role; the formulaic approach the studio adopted after the first 2 films. The influences of the times, Live and Let Die borders on Blaxploitation, Moore’s fall into that generic 80’s comedy, nearly becoming a spoof of the films in the end; the double take pigeon isn’t the sort of thing I want to see in a Bond film!
While with each new incarnation of Bond, came the stronger films, the full reboot should we say is my favourite set of films; yes even Quantum of Solace has grown on me the more I’ve watched it. Yet it is still a massive dip in comparison to Skyfall and Casino Royale.
So let’s start at my favourite Bond – Daniel Craig; I really wasn’t sure about his appointment, but I was hoping he would prove me wrong. Well he did, after 20 minutes of Casino Royale I was happy with Craig, happy with the what they were doing with the reboot; happy that they had given Bond a new lease of life. For me they sealed the deal with the last line of the film, when he announces his name in the trademark fashion followed by the classic Bond theme. Then they dropped the ball; Quantum of Solace just seemed so out of step with what Casino Royale had given me. I was disappointed, but I’m over that and seeing it again wasn’t so bad. Sam Mendes however delivers a film that for me is better than Casino Royale, Skyfall is my favourite Bond film period – here is my Letterboxd review.
Again Dalton was an actor I didn’t feel was the right choice, so much so it was nearly 15 years before I watched his 2 films. How wrong I was; Dalton’s Bond (my 2nd favourite) is a class act, darker, gritty and actually looks the part. I really enjoyed watching The Living Daylights and License to Kill again, and would have been happy with Dalton doing a couple more.
Connery who the majority of people think is the quintessential Bond, though I don’t think that. True he brought the character to life; his delivery of Bond’s introduction was one of the best and he carried the character with ease. Yet i do think he got quite bored of it all, very evident in Diamonds are Forever, a film I used to think I liked a lot, but after this re-watch, its actually rather poor. On the whole Connery’s first four films are all decent efforts, Dr No’s lack of back story, leaving Bond’s character a mystery to the audience was a great idea. It also didn’t drag the story into a typical origin film. I had forgotten how good From Russia with Love was, Goldfinger and Thunderball while not fantastic films are the first to really set the formula that the rest of the series followed. Goldfinger was the best Bond villain of the early films.
Lazenby has to be the unluckiest actor to play Bond; On her Majesty’s Secret Service isn’t a bad film at all, and Lazenby’s Bond is pretty good. While taking the Bond Formula, they actually did more with it. The villain (Savalas) was on a par with Goldfinger, the action was great, giving Bond a heart possible the films biggest fault; and maybe sealed Lazenby’s fate!
Brosnan came in after Dalton and along with Martin Campbell on directing duties they deliver a great Bond film in Goldeneye. I really liked this and Brosnan was a solid Bond, from looks to the one-liners. Having thought Goldeneye was my favourite Brosnan film, I actually found I enjoyed Tomorrow Never Dies more; 2 for 2. Then came The World is Not Enough, while not has bad as some of the Moore films, I could sense the downward turn in quality. Die Another Day continued the slide spectacularly taking the Bond franchise to it’s lowest point for me; my worst film of the series.
Moore’s Bond campaign started very well; Live and Let Die is amongst my favourite films, while The Man with Golden Gun isn’t as good, it has been a long time since I’ve seen it. I enjoyed watching it again. The Spy who Loved me was also a good watch, aside the Ashton Martin, the white Lotus is my favourite car! It then becomes a roller coaster of good and bad films, with A View to A Kill actually derailing the whole thing. It got to the point where I was quite bored of Moore’s Bond.
While there are a number of films I could watch over and over again, there are a few which I doubt I’ll ever load into my DVD player; A view to a kill, Die another day and Diamonds are Forever are easily my worst films.
Now as for the Bond song, one of the worst is Quantum of Solace’s, closely followed by Die Another Day. I never liked Casino Royale’s when I first heard it but that has grown on me quite a lot. Goldfinger and Diamonds are forever are great, though I think Moore’s collection of films had the stronger title songs. Live and Let die For your Eyes only, even A view to a kill are all very strong, but my 2 favourite James Bond themes are; Skyfall and Nobody does it better.
A great monthly challenge – though I doubt I’ll ever do all 23 in 7 days again!