Blog Archive

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Bond, Best to Worst:

James Bond is an enormous franchise of 24 movies.  Some, however, are much more watchable than others.  Since the stories are only loosely connected in any sort of timeline, it's possible to only watch the best Bond movies and ignore the rest.  Up until this past month, I hadn't seen much of the Bond-verse, but now that stands corrected.  Having watched the whole series, I can accurately judge the Bond franchise from best to worst.  Once the Bond movies stop being pleasant as you go down the list, that's the sign of when to quit watching for your own mental health.  I found something enjoyable about every single Bond movie, but if not for my Pokemon like quest for completion, I doubt I would have finished watching every single Bond movie on its own innate quality.

1.  Thunderball
2.  On Her Majesty's Secret Service
3.  Goldfinger
4.  The Man with the Golden Gun
5.  Octopussy
6.  You Only Live Twice
7.  From Russia with Love
8.  A View to a Kill
9.  Dr. No
10.  For Your Eyes Only
11.  Tomorrow Never Dies
12.  The World is Not Enough
13.  Goldeneye
14.  Die Another Day
15.  The Spy Who Loved Me
16.  Moonraker
17.  Casino Royale
18.  Diamonds are Forever
19.  The Living Daylights
20.  Quantum of Solace
21.  Skyfall
22.  Live and Let Die
23.  License to Kill
24.  Spectre

As we can see, Modern Bond (post-Roger Moore) just plain isn't as good as classic Bond (pre-Timothy Dalton).  Even so, there were some real stinkers in the old Bond movies that more modern Bond movies, even filler Bond movies not based on Ian Fleming's writing, were able to surpass.

The Spy Who Loved Me felt like too much of a retread of previous storylines, with only the underwater car really standing out.  Moonraker's hokey pretending to be in zero gravity, a privately funded space colony and space shuttle fleet well beyond anything the US GDP managed to produce, and the sudden sprouting of laser guns that technological levels even today are still nowhere near good enough to emulate, simply stretches the limits of believability.  Diamonds are Forever was too distorted from Fleming's original vision, too reliant on campy humor, and Sean Connery clearly didn't even want to be there anymore.  Live and Let Die is simply gross in its depiction of blacks, and License to Kill is completely unimaginative and uninteresting given that Bond has descended to fighting lowly drug dealers.  Is that really a job for MI6?

If I had to draw a line, I would stop watching Bond at 18.  Diamonds are Forever is the lowest allowable limit before watching Bond just becomes a chore instead of a pleasure.  Daniel Craig's Bond is terrible.  There's no gadgets, no romances, no infiltration of enemy bases via ingratiating yourself to the enemy and spying on him/her to get the information necessary to send in the marines to take down the evil organization, nothing remotely Bond-like at all about these movies.  If Daniel Craig weren't telling me he was Bond, I never would have known.  Casino Royale is okay because it is based on a Fleming novel, so it was difficult for the makers to mess it up too badly.  The rest are just garbage.

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