Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pay Attention 007

Let's see you get out of this one, Mr Bond...
(oops, sorry, wrong Yaphet Kotto movie) 
Fox Classics here in Australia has been showing the entire James Bond series of films in order, which gives me a chance to catch up on what once was one of my favourite franchises. There have been some big surprises. The Sean Connery films that I remembered with real affection can often be quite dull, On Her Majesty's Secret Service is much better than I recalled and only one Bond in my rating schemata gets two A's and that's Roger Moore (my least favourite!) Anyway here's my grading system A = excellent, B = very good, C = pretty watchable, D & E = sometimes watchable, F = terrible.

Dr. No (1962-Sean Connery)(slow start to the series but it has its moments)
From Russia With Love (1963-Sean Connery) (much improved but a weak ending)
Goldfinger (1964-Sean Connery) (self effacing, good humoured, silly, a great theme song and a terrific climax. It also contains my favourite Bond dialogue: Pussy: "I'm Pussy Galore." Bond: "Of course you are.")
Thunderball (1965-Sean Connery) (pretty thin beer this, too many underwater sequences, but three gorgeous female leads)
You Only Live Twice (1967-Sean Connery) (I quite liked this one and it had the first classic Bond secret-fortress-explosion-denoument)
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969-George Lazenby) B (a bit of a shocker this: Lazenby is good! Diana Rigg is great. The music is fantastic. The ending perfect)
Diamonds Are Forever (1971-Sean Connery) (wrong direction completely for the series here)
Live and Let Die (1973-Roger Moore) A (Moore's first. Great theme, great villain (Yaphet Kotto), great Bond girl (Jane Seymour) lots of witty scenes and stunts)
The Man with the Golden Gun (1974-Roger Moore) F (what a disaster, even with the impeccable Christopher Lee)
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977-Roger Moore) A (ever notice the connection between great opening titles and themes and the better James Bond films? - is this the best Bond theme song? The rest of the film is pretty well crafted too)
Moonraker (1979-Roger Moore) D (Yikes. They keep doing this to Roger Moore, just when he has some momentum going they stick him in a clunker).
For Your Eyes Only (1981-Roger Moore) D (Carol Bouquet is in this one which gets it above an E)
Octopussy (1983-Roger Moore) E (its starting to get embarrassing now)
A View to a Kill (1985-Roger Moore) F (the nadir)
The Living Daylights (1987-Timothy Dalton) C (Timothy Dalton gives it a shot - he's ok)
Licence to Kill (1989-Timothy Dalton) E (the poor chap looks tired and fed up all the way through)
GoldenEye (1995-Pierce Brosnan) B (new life in the franchise but I'm not really convinced by Brosnan)
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997-Pierce Brosnan) C (it's getting pretty silly already)
The World is Not Enough (1999-Pierce Brosnan) D (over the top and not very bright)
Die Another Day (2002-Pierce Brosnan) E (please stop now. Oh, they did, I see)
Casino Royale (2006-Daniel Craig) C (lots of people loved this, not me. I thought it was at least half an hour too long and often quite dull)
Quantum of Solace (2008-Daniel Craig) F (tied with Golden Gun for the worst Bond)

Casino Royale (1967-David Niven & Peter Sellers) C
Never Say Never Again (1983-Sean Connery)  B