Trust the Gene Genie

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Cai- Cai- Cairo

Well, now that the new Bond has been officially named, I thought it would be a good time to make a list. 'Cause lists are fun.

The Bond films, of course, have been around for 40 some-odd years and there's 20 features -- not counting "Casino Roayle" (spoof and non-spoof) -- in the collection. Opinions vary on the best, the worst and the most laughable of the series depending on why you watch the Bond films. But here's what I think:

Best Bond film: 1964's "Goldfinger" -- I think it's one of Sean Connery's best performances and, as far as world-domination plot's go, the storyline for "Goldfinger" is pretty dang original, far-fetched though it may be. Not to mention the swinging theme sung by the incomparable Shirley Bassey and probably the best Bond girl name of the franchise, Pussy Galore. Talk about sqeem-factor watching that with your parents as a kid. Anyway, "Goldfinger" is Bond at the height of what is truly James Bond.

Worst Bond Film: 1979's "Moonraker" -- Make no mistake, there have been some stinkers. And I was never crazy about Roger Moore. He certainly should have stopped long before the '80s began. But of the series, "Moonraker" stands out simply because the premise was so weak, the special effects were so poor and Moore was at his worst. 'Though it would be hard to argue he was ever at his best. And it's not to say "The World Is Not Enough" and "Tomorrow Nevre Dies" aren't bad, because they are. But Brosnan was a far surperior Bond compared to Moore.

Sentimental Favorite: 1971's "Diamonds Are Forever" -- If memory serves, this was the first Bond film I ever saw. Shirley Bassey was back for the killer theme song and it had those freaks Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint. The scorpian scene always creeped me out as a kid and I loved Connery's swagger. I used to imitate at school (this was like fourth or fifth grade) while standing in line the way he stood while waiting for Blofeld on the off-shore drilling platform thinking it made me as cool as Bond. Anyway, I still dig that movie.

Unexplicable Critic's Favorite: 1969's "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" -- It has Telly Savalas.

Most Undeservedly Maligned: 1987's "The Living Daylights" -- I had no problem with Timothy Dalton as James Bond. And I think "Living Daylights" is one of the best of the series. The story holds up really well, Dalton actually acts, which may be what turned some people off and the movie never feels half-baked, a chronic Bond film ailment. It's a great film. However, '89's "License to Kill" is another story.

Best Sean Connery Bond Film: Well, "Goldfinger." But we all know, with the execption of the terrible, terrible remake "Never Say Never Again," you can go with any Connery era Bond film and do well.

Best Roger Moore Bond Film: 1977's "The Spy Who Loved Me" -- Like I said, I'm no fan of Moore, but "Spy" was, all around, a pretty decent film. His first, "Live and Let Die" is another solid choice, but, with the VooDoo and the bayou, it gets a little hokey, even for a Bond film.

Best Timothy Dalton Bond Film: See above.

Best Pierce Brosnan Bond Film: For me, it's a straight up tie between his first and his last, 1995's "Goldeneye" and 2002's "Die Another Day." "Goldeneye" literally ressurected the franchise. It was explosive, exciting, well-acted, well-plotted and just flat-out entertaining. But it hasn't aged well, surprisingly. "Die Another Day" had the exact same effect to the franchise after film quality had become really stagnant with Brosnan's two middle films. "Die" was fresh, doing things a lot of other Bond films had never done, like using real geo-politics, successfully finding a darker tone without drowning the Bond swagger and encorporating serious character development.

So, "Casino Royale," the new film with the new Bond. I think producers are doing it right. I'm excited. I think it'll be good.

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