Thursday, November 8, 2012

Five Reasons Why... Andrew Loves The James Bond Series

Andrew: So far during our 7 Days of 007 week, Sarah and I have been able to watch and review a James Bond movie every night, but tonight Sarah had to work late, so we’re not going to be able to review one tonight. Instead, I felt like this would be a good chance to share exactly why I love this series so much. I thought about it all day, and these are the Five Reasons Why I love the James Bond Series.

When I was a kid I almost felt like Desmond Llewelyn's Q was
another grandfather to me. That's how often I watched thesefilms.
1.) The Gadgets – Let’s be honest, there isn’t a single guy out there who has seen any of the Bond movies who WASN’T jealous of all the cool gadgets MI6’s Q Branch creates. Off the top of my head I can think of a watch with a laser cutter (GoldenEye), a jetpack (Thunderball), a briefcase with hidden guns and knife (From Russia With Love), the Aston Martin DB5 (Goldfinger),  a magnetic watch (Live and Let Die) and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Bond used Q’s gadgets to get out of jams, to gain information…pretty much anything you can think of (yes, including undressing women!) Q Branch was absent from Daniel Craig’s first two Bond films, but Skyfall sees the character resurrected by Ben Whishaw in a nice modern take on Major Boothroyd. I’m excited to see what inventions he comes up with for 007 in future installments. 

2.) The Girls – Oh c’mon, of course I couldn't leave out the Bond girls. I am a red-blooded male after all. But it’s not just the attractiveness of the Bond girls, it is how they increasingly became stronger female characters as the series progressed. The series has come a long way since Honey Rider’s famous introduction; from Bond girls like Honey and Tatiana from From Russia With Love who were almost nothing more than pretty faces, to Grace Jones’ May Day, Famke Janssen’s Xenia Onatopp and Halle Berry’s Jinx being strong soldiers/spies on par with 007. Craig’s films have been a mixed bag in this regard with Vesper Lynd being a great one, Quantum of Solace’s being absolutely forgettable, and Skyfall has one hit (Naomie Harris’ Eve) and one miss (Berenice Marloh’s Severine).

3.) The Villains – When I was a kid I thought Richard Kiels’ Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me was the COOLEST villain because of his steel teeth and brute strength. I don’t know anyone who didn’t. But I’ve always been a fan of Oddjob, Emilio Largo, Baron Samedi, Scaramanga (The Man with the Golden Gun!), Max Zorin (The Walken!) and Alec Trevelyn/006. Much like the series as a whole there have been hits and misses with the strength of the villains (How terrible was Dominic Green? Do you even remember what film he’s from?) but for the most part the series is chock full of memorable baddies. Skyfall might have one of the series’ best with Javier Bardem’s Silva, but he certainly has a lot of competition.

Is there any question as to why Richard Kiel's villainous Jaws is a fan favorite? The dude has METAL TEETH. The only thing wrong with him is that he's too tall to play as in GoldenEye 64.

4.) The Bonds – The character of James Bond is, in and of himself, kick-ass. But it’s very possible that the series never would’ve taken off if not for the sheer awesomeness of Sean Connery’s original 007. While Connery will always BE James Bond, his successors have all put their imprint on the series and I’ve always appreciated them for their own portrayals. Roger Moore’s cheekiness made the cheesiness and absurdity of his films more bearable. I love the darkness of Timothy Dalton’s Bond, particularly when avenging the death of Felix Leiter’s wife in License to Kill. I will always believe the Pierce Brosnan was the perfect combination of all his predecessors. Craig’s version has begun to give Connery a run for his money in the “Best Bond of All-Time” debate, but while Craig might be the best to play Bond, Connery will always BE Bond.

5.) The Intangibles – There are so many aspects of the James Bond franchise that I love, but I honestly wouldn’t have delved so far into the movies as I eventually did if it weren’t for two particular things – the first is the classic Nintendo 64 videogame GoldenEye 64. I don’t think I need to go too in-depth as to why that game had such an imprint on me, because I’m pretty sure 98% of guys my age feel the same.

The second thing was the first time I ever saw a Bond film in theatres, when my cousin T.J. and I snuck in to see Tomorrow Never Dies in 1997. T.J. was 12 and I was only 10, so we had to buy tickets to some other movie and sneak in, but we ended up being the only people in the theatre and we had a blast. I’ll never forget being amazed at Michelle Yeoh’s walking down the side of a building, or Brosnan driving a motorcycle while Yeoh was sitting turned around in front of him because they were handcuffed to each other, or the way Jonathan Pryce’s Elliot Carver was killed by 007. It’s not the best Bond film in the series but it’s one I’ll never forget seeing on the big-screen and it made me want to watch all the others that lead up to it.

I could go on and on and on about why I love this series, but those are the five most basic points I could come up with! We’d love to hear the reasons why you, dear readers, might love the Bond series!

Photo Courtesies: jamesbond.wikia.comFilmophilia

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