October 2015


goldeneye_ver2Goldeneye

  • Year:  1995
  • Director:  Martin Campbell
  • Series Rank:  #11
  • Year Rank:  #39
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  none
  • Bond Girl:  Izabella Scorupco (Natalya Simonova)
  • Bond Villain:  Sean Bean (Alec Trevelyan), Famke Janssen (Xenia Onatopp), Gottfried John (General Ourumov), Alan Cumming (Boris Grishenko), Robbie Coltrane (Valentin Dmitrovich Zukovsky)
  • Bond Support:  Judi Dench (M), Samantha Bond (Moneypenny), Desmond Llewelyn (Q), Joe Don Baker (Jack Wade)

It had been six years since the last James Bond film.  The Dalton films were great for Bond fans like myself, but they had not been as financially successful as had been hoped and there were many who weren’t ready for that kind of colder, harder Bond after the years of Roger Moore.  So, in comes Pierce Brosnan, who everyone had been agreeing for years should be James Bond (and was actually supposed to be back before Dalton was hired), and we get a bit of a hybrid.  He’s got a bit more of that Roger Moore charm (although, as Veronica points out, he has the looks to pull it off – I agree, as when I ran Freshman Orientation at Pacific my senior year, instead of using a picture of myself for my bio, I used a picture of Brosnan) and a little bit of those silly lines keep crawling in, but he’s a bit harder-edged as well.  When he’s asked, at the end of the film, “For England, James?”, he replies “No.  For me.” (more…)

license_to_kill_ver2Licence to Kill

  • Year:  1989
  • Director:  John Glen
  • Series Rank:  #6
  • Year Rank:  #24
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  none
  • Bond Girl:  Carey Lowell (Pam Bouvier), Talisa Soto (Lupe Lamora)
  • Bond Villain:  Robert Davi (Sanchez), Anthony Zerbe (Milton Krest), Benicio del Toro (Dario), Wayne Newton (Joe Butcher)
  • Bond Support:  Robert Brown (M), Caroline Bliss (Moneypenny), Desmond Llewelyn (Q), David Hedison (Felix Leiter)

“We have all the time in the world.”  That was what Bond said to his wife as she lay dead in his arms.  It was a moment of genuine emotion for Bond, even if George Lazenby wasn’t really a good enough actor to pull off the line.  That was it for emotional moments for Bond.  Yes, he would occasionally get angry, but in all of Roger Moore’s time, except for when he kicked Locque’s car down the cliff, we never really saw much in the way of emotion from him.  But now we have Timothy Dalton, and we get this line: “Don’t you want to know why?” (more…)

living_daylights_ver2The Living Daylights

  • Year:  1987
  • Director:  John Glen
  • Series Rank:  #9
  • Year Rank:  #30
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  none
  • Bond Girl:  Maryam d’Abo (Kara Milovy)
  • Bond Villain:  Jeroen Krabbé (General Koskov), Joe Don Baker (Brad Whitaker), Andreas Wisniewski (Necros)
  • Bond Support:  Robert Brown (M), Caroline Bliss (Moneypenny), Desmond Llewelyn (Q), Art Malik (Kamran Shah), Thomas Wheatley (Saunders), John Rhys-Davies (General Pushkin), John Terry (Felix Leiter)

I have found most people tend to think that Timothy Dalton is either one of the best or one of the worst Bonds.  They don’t seem to be neutral about him.  I fall on the “best” side of the fence.  This is James Bond as he was written by Ian Fleming, not the ridiculous aging punster that Roger Moore had become. (more…)

view_to_a_killA View to a Kill

  • Year:  1985
  • Director:  John Glen
  • Series Rank:  #23
  • Year Rank:  #126
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  none
  • Bond Girl:  Tanya Roberts (Stacey Sutton)
  • Bond Villain:  Christopher Walken (Zorin), Grace Jones (May Day), Patrick Bauchau (Scarpine)
  • Bond Support:  Robert Brown (M), Lois Maxwell (Moneypenny), Desmond Llewelyn (Q), Patrick Macnee (Sir Godfrey Tibbett), David Yip (Chuck Lee)

We were a few minutes into the film when Veronica asked me about something that was going to happen.  “I don’t remember anything about this film that isn’t in the Duran Duran video,” I told her.  I like the song a lot; it’s my favorite Duran Duran song and I grew up with it.  It might seem odd then that it doesn’t earn a Nighthawk nomination for Best Original Song, especially since I rank it as the best Bond song ever.  That’s because 1985 is a great year for original songs and it doesn’t make it higher than 7th.  And that’s a shame because the song is the best thing about this film, by a long way. (more…)

Never Say Never Again

  • never_say_never_againYear:  1983
  • Director:  Irvin Kershner
  • Series Rank:  #15
  • Year Rank:  #52
  • Oscar Nominations:  none
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  none
  • Bond Girl:  Kim Basinger (Domino Derval), Prunella Gee (Patricia Fearing)
  • Bond Villain:  Klaus Maria Brandauer (Maximillian Largo), Barbara Carrera (Fatima Blush), Max von Sydow (Ernst Stavro Blofeld)
  • Bond Support:  Edward Fox (M), Pamela Salem (Moneypenny), Alec McCowen (Q), Bernie Casey (Felix Leiter)

Should I count this film?  Certainly the books I own don’t, but those books are official books, published with the cooperation of Eon Productions.  This isn’t an Eon film, but thankfully it is a Bond film because it comes between Octopussy and A View to a Kill and it is desperately needed. (more…)

Octopussy Poster 2Octopussy

  • Year:  1983
  • Director:  John Glen
  • Series Rank:  #24
  • Year Rank:  #120
  • Oscar Nominations:  none
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  none
  • Bond Girl:  Maud Adams (Octopussy), Kristina Wayborn (Magda)
  • Bond Villain:  Louis Jourdan (Kamal Khan), Kabir Bedi (Gobinda), Steven Berkoff (General Orlov)
  • Bond Support:  Robert Brown (M), Lois Maxwell (Moneypenny), Desmond Llewelyn (Q), Vijay Amritaj (Vijay)

For Your Eyes Only was a big step forward for the Roger Moore films.  It had been the directorial debut of John Glen, who had edited three previous Bond films.  With Glen returning for the next film, could, perhaps they do it again?  Well, perhaps they could have, but they didn’t even try.  The final two Moore films would be the worst of the lot, filled with jokes, lackluster villains, unimpressive Bond girls and a Bond who was clearly too old for the role.  And I have a hard time deciding which one is worse. (more…)

for_your_eyes_only_ver2For Your Eyes Only

  • Year:  1981
  • Director:  John Glen
  • Series Rank:  #12
  • Year Rank:  #27
  • Oscar Nominations:  Original Song
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  Original Song
  • Bond Girl:  Carole Bouquet (Melina Havelock), Lynn-Holly Johnson (Bibi Dahl), Cassandra Harris (Countess Lisl van Schlaf)
  • Bond Villain:  Julian Glover (Aristotle Kristatos), Michael Gothard (Locque), John Wyman (Erich Kriegler), Stefan Kalipha (Hector Gonzales)
  • Bond Support:  Lois Maxwell (Moneypenny), Desmond Llewelyn (Q), Geoffrey Keen (Minister of Defence), James Villiers (Bill Tanner), Topol (Colombo)

It can say a lot about your view of James Bond in how you react to one particular scene in For Your Eyes Only.  Bond and Colombo have staged a daring raid on the drug warehouse of the film’s primary villain.  Locque, the main assassin, has escaped and is driving up to the top of a cliff while Bond is running up steps, hoping to cut him off.  Bond does and shoots him and Locque ends up dangling off a cliff in his car.  Bond makes it clear that he knows Locque was trying to set him up to kill Colombo.  He then kicks the car and watches as Locque falls to his rather gruesome death. (more…)

moonraker_ver2Moonraker

  • Year:  1979
  • Director:  Lewis Gilbert
  • Series Rank:  #18
  • Year Rank:  #54
  • Oscar Nominations:  Visual Effects
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  Visual Effects
  • Bond Girl:  Lois Chiles (Holly Goodhead), Corinne Cléry (Corinne Defour), Emily Bolton (Manuela)
  • Bond Villain:  Michael Lonsdale (Hugo Drax), Richard Kiel (Jaws), Toshiro Sugo (Chang)
  • Bond Support:  Bernard Lee (M), Lois Maxwell (Moneypenny), Desmond Llewelyn (Q)

This wasn’t supposed to be the next Bond film.  It was supposed to be For Your Eyes Only, which is interesting since Moonraker was the only original Fleming novel they hadn’t yet filmed (the rights to Casino Royale were owned by a different company and the rest of the pre-Brosnan films will take their titles (and sometimes a bit of their stories) from Fleming’s Bond short stories).  But, the success of Star Wars clearly had an impact.  There’s a reason that this James Bond film was nominated for Best Visual Effects.  The impact of Star Wars was wide-ranging; this was the only year between 1945 and 2010 that the category had five nominees and it’s for a reason.  That’s the only explanation for the fact that this film concludes with an outer-space battle complete with laser guns and then the space shuttle flying across the upper regions of the atmosphere, shooting down germ bombs. (more…)

The Spy Who Loved Me

  • spy_who_loved_meYear:  1977
  • Director:  Lewis Gilbert
  • Series Rank:  #14
  • Year Rank:  #28
  • Oscar Nominations:  Original Score, Art Direction-Set Decoration, Original Song
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  Original Song
  • Bond Girl:  Barbara Bach (Anya Amasova)
  • Bond Villain:  Curt Jürgens (Stromberg), Richard Kiel (Jaws)
  • Bond Support:  Bernard Lee (M), Lois Maxwell (Moneypenny), Desmond Llewelyn (Q), Walter Gotell (General Gogol)

Guy Hamilton had directed the best Bond film to date (Goldfinger), but his three later Bond films all had greatly diminishing returns.  So the producers went back to Lewis Gilbert, whose previous Bond film, You Only Live Twice, was the worst to that point and is still one of the worst ever.  Yet, somehow this worked.  Gilbert moved away from the comedy that Hamilton had been stamping on the series, brought back the Russians as rivals, went with just a single Bond girl for only the second time and made the film that many (though not me) consider the best of the Roger Moore era.  I do think it is the second best of the Moore films though.  It established a less punny Moore, had a truly disturbing secondary villain and provided some good Bond action. (more…)

The Man with the Golden Gun

  • man_with_the_golden_gun_ver1Year:  1974
  • Director:  Guy Hamilton
  • Series Rank:  #22
  • Year Rank:  #87
  • Oscar Nominations:  none
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  none
  • Bond Girl:  Britt Ekland (Mary Goodnight), Maud Adams (Andrea Anders)
  • Bond Villain:  Christopher Lee (Scaramanga), Hervé Villechaize (Nick Nack), Richard Loo (Hai Fat)
  • Bond Support:  Bernard Lee (M), Lois Maxwell (Moneypenny), Desmond Llewelyn (Q), Soon-Tek Oh (Lt. Hip), James Cossins (Colthorpe)

If Live and Let Die was the Bond blaxploitation film, then The Man with the Golden Gun is the Bond Shaw Brothers film, including a scene where four people, two of them teenagers, manage to take out an entire dojo of villains.  I have this film ranked as one of the worst of all the Bond films and if you want to know how bad it is, consider that they managed to finally have Christopher Lee play a Bond villain and it’s still terrible.  To be fair, that’s not Lee’s fault, as the scenes with him are rather effective – the problem is that every scene without him is generally pretty awful, and thinks to the excruciatingly bad performance by Britt Ekland, even some of the scenes with Lee aren’t all that good (but that’s her fault and not his). (more…)

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