Tag Archives: James Bond

Thanks for the Memories…

Craig DB5

It was recently announced that Daniel Craig had turned down an offer of upwards of $100 million to play the role of Fleming’s Agent 007 for two more films.  Having been in the role for 4 films spanning a decade, Craig was simply done.

The speculation, dream casting and multiple reports of whose in talks with producers has begun in earnest, but no matter who takes up the mantle, Craig’s legacy as James Bond is assured.

Man… Bat Man

From: Yahoo!

Can you imagine a world in which Pierce Brosnan is better known for saying “I’m Batman” rather than “Bond…James Bond”? According to the retired 007, that reality almost came to pass.

Brosnan Steele

Promoting his latest movie, The November Man, Brosnan revealed that he met with Tim Burton back in the late ’80s about the possibility of donning the Dark Knight’s cape, cowl and utility belt. But the conversation more or less ended before it began.  “I just couldn’t really take it seriously,” the Ireland-born actor wrote. “Any man who wears his underpants outside his pants just cannot be taken seriously.  That was my foolish take on it. It was a joke, I thought. But how wrong was I? Don’t get me wrong, because I love Batman, and I grew up on Batman.  As a kid in Ireland, we used to get our raincoats and tie them round our neck and swing through the bicycle shed.”

Brosnan wasn’t the only actor who was considered for the role before Burton’s Beetlejuice buddy, Michael Keaton, claimed it. Mel Gibson was one of the leading candidates, but Warner Bros. needed to keep his schedule clear for Lethal Weapon 2, which hit theaters two weeks after Batman in the summer of ‘89. Newly minted superstars like Kevin Costner and Alec Baldwin were also in play, along with such left-field candidates as Charlie Sheen and Bill Murray. (In a Late Show with David Letterman appearance earlier this year, the Ghostbusters star — who was randomly suited up as an early 20th century superhero, Peter Pan, at the time, saying “God, I would have been an awesome Batman.”

Dynamic Duo Batman 1989

In the end, Burton wound up selling the studio on Keaton, though his casting headaches continued beyond the movie’s hero. Sean Young came and went as Vicki Vale, while Robin Williams missed out on a chance to play the Joker, not to mention earning Jack Nicholson’s record-setting payout. For his part, Brosnan only had a mere six years to wait until his date with Bond was finally confirmed, by which time both Keaton and Burton had flown the Batcave anyway.

Slightly different from the norm… For Your Eyes Only (1981)

For Your Eyes OnlyUntil this role, Roger Moore had played James Bond in 4 films, but he had yet to portray 007. With ‘Eyes Only’, Moore proved he was indeed the successor to the 007 franchise, not just a placewarmer for the next guy.

Suave, sophisticated and a ladies man who did indeed save the world, Moore’s Bond was an adventure hero… now he was the world’s greatest secret agent. Connery, portrayed Bond before the gadgets and set the bar. Lazenby played a non gadget toting super-spy and nearly broke even with Connery’s 007, in his only outing. Finally, Moore’s Bond not only shook off Connery’s past (the opening montage was result of the Warner Bros./Kevin McClory legal battle) but stood poised to take him on, as he would just two years later.
Shark Bait Duo‘Eyes Only’ represented an Ian Flemming throwback Bond, no gadgets, just cunning, guns and girls. ‘Moonraker’ had pushed the gizmo envelope, and the films needed to step back to some old school spy caper… mission accomplished. Moore’s cold, dedicated agent harkened back to a Bond not seen since ‘OHMSS’ or ‘From Russia..” before it, and the change was good for all. Moore’s sequel of ‘Octopussy’ (which ran head to head with Connery’s ‘Never Say Never Again’) combined with ‘Eyes Only’ to deliver a one two punch of Bond films not experienced since the first two films in the series were released, ‘Dr. No’ and ‘From Russia..”.
Bond Deadly
This film qualifies as Bond Epic.  Bring the Sno-Caps and no Bathroom breaks!

5 Stars

Two steps forward, one step back… The World Is Not Enough (1999)

The World is Not EnoughPierce Brosnan had made great 007 strides in his two preceding works, but stutter stepped in this soft shoe Bond echoing back to Connery’s ‘You Only Live Twice’ and Moore’s ‘Moonraker’. And yes, there are worse Bond films than those.

The film seemed a little too hard pressed and little too rushed to set it all up. Brosnan played a fine 007, and he was set up with a great cast (Denise Richards makes for excellent Bond Girl fodder, but not as a nuclear physicist), but the story just didn’t hold together. Even cool points such as Q’s replacement, Zukovski’s return and the echo back to ‘universal Exports’ just weren’t enough to lift the story in softer places.
Bond and Doctor Jones
The disappointment of the Brosnan era, it’s still not as bad as ‘Man with the Golden Gun’ or ‘Diamonds are Forever’… so grab the popcorn, and yes, bathroom breaks are allowed.

3 Stars

Licence Revoked… Licence To Kill (1989)

License to Kill teaser posterIn a summer line-up consisting of ‘Batman’, ‘Star Trek V’, and ‘Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade’, was it all too surprising where this film ended up in Bond lore? The last 007 film to be released as a summer blockbuster (Goldeneye started the mid-November trend), it also served as Dalton’s Bond swan song, though it would take 6 years to realize.

‘License’ was originally titled ‘License Revoked’ and culled together several of the leftover plots from Ian Flemming’s original stories that producers, through the years, had left alone. This film gave us the perfect Dalton Bond, tough, gritty and walking the line of stone cold agent versus vigilante… darker than any Connery role since ‘Dr. No’ and colder than Moore in ‘Eyes Only’.

‘Licence’ was also the first film to nearly be branded by an ‘R’ rating, though it survived to PG-13. Although less 007 than ‘Living Daylights’, this film does make a good movie, and presents Dalton a bit more range to play off of with a well sewn supporting cast.
Bond and Girls
Falling short of epic, bring the popcorn but don’t worry, bathroom breaks are allowed.

3 Stars

One of the Best of Bond… From Russia With Love (1963)

From Russia With Love posterIf ‘Dr. No’ set the table for the franchise, ‘From Russia’ skipped right to the main course. Easily one of the best films in the series, and Connery’s finest Bond vehicle, ‘Russia’ proved that 007 was indeed the world’s greatest secret agent. Later sequels would add gadgets and gimmicks, ‘Goldfinger’ the penultimate example, but no films were as gritty and Spy caper worthy as ‘Dr. No’ and ‘From Russia..’.

A ‘Hunt for Red October’ before it’s time, ‘From Russia..’ mixed the Cold War paranoia with sauve and soFISTication, handling the chaos of the world in fistacuff ease. Connery versus Robert Shaw’s Red Grant on the Orient Express is still considered one of the best fight scenes in the franchise history, never mind on film. Before S.P.E.C.T.R.E. gave us too much Blofeld, 007 was upsetting their plans in style, with very little gadgets, a few guns and a whole lotta’ girls.

From Russia with Love

This film epitomizes Bond epic. Popcorn, Sno-Caps and no bathroom breaks.

5 Stars

“Pump her for information…” Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

Tomorrow Never Dies poster007 now lived in a woman’s world. He was commanded by a woman, assisted by a woman and needing to engage another woman as his contact, only to be saved by a fellow female secret agent. Sounds like a pretty good Bond film to me.

A great Brosnan vehicle, ‘Tomorrow’ set the tone for the sequals to come, more so than Goldeneye. The producing team at Ion was set after Cubby Broccoli’s passing, the unofficial heir to John Barry’s throne was found in David Arnold, and the rest of the peices still fit today, from opening titles to production design. Brosnan was able to work a script tailored towards his style, and did it well. His 007 seemlessly assimilated the styles of those Bonds before him, yet made it all his own. The opening montage surprisingly surpassed that of Goldeneye’s, standing as one of the best in the series, and set a pace that the following sequels have closely imitated.
Agents on the run
Storywise, it’s nothing we havn’t seen before, but brought all together, it makes for a great Bond vehicle, and perhaps Brosnan’s best Bond work as a whole. As is true with many of the better Bond films, the ‘I guess that really could happen’ quality is ever present.
Brosnan Never Dies
Not quite as epic as it’s predecessor in scope, definately up there in popcorn movie Bond lore. No bathroom breaks.

4 Stars

Every Saga has a Beginning… Dr. No (1962)

Dr. No posterAnd Dr. No is it.  With Casino Royale the property of another studio, United Artists (later MGM/UA) released the first ‘official’ James Bond adventure based upon Ian Flemming’s close to real life hero. With stars such as Richard Burton and Cary Grant approached for the title role of Bond, it was a dark horse Sean Connery who would set the pace for all others to follow.
Connery beginsNo gadgets, no gimmicks, but plenty of exotic locales and hot broad Bond Girls, as well as the gritty Flemming style, launched the longest running film franchise in history. Posessing what many believe the best ‘Bond Girl’ in Honey Rider and the best Felix Leiter in Jack Lord’s origination of the role, Dr. No is a hard 007 epic to beat.
Bond and Ryder
Though it’s  sequel ‘From Russia with Love’ would improve upon the formula, few Bond films have delivered such a one two punch in succession.  Reaching epic Bond proportions and no bathroom break.

5 Stars

Well, back to the old drawing board… GoldenEye (1995)

Goldeneye posterTimothy Dalton last played 007 six years and a lengthy court battle ago… dating back to ‘License to Kill’. When production began for Goldeneye, a throwback Bond adventure and the first not based upon any written work of Ian Flemming, Dalton stepped down. Dalton carried the mantle for 9 years through two mediocre films and was done. Enter Pierce Brosnan… one more time.

This time, though, Brosnan was the man. Not to say Goldeneye didn’t present some growing pains, as it was originally written for a grittier Dalton type Bond to play… it kicked off the Brosnan era no questions asked. Ultimately, it would be Cubby Broccoli’s final production at the helm, but he got the 007 he wanted and left the franchise secure for those who he’d selected to carry on.
Brosnan Bond
Though not the best Brosnan Bond vehicle, it was an excellent start, and served as the blueprint for the sequels which set the franchise off like a rocket for the next decade. Gadgets guns and girls, Brosnan helped return James Bond to the relic Judy Dench’s new M accused him of being; just plain cool.

4 Stars

“No Mister Bond, I expect you to die!” Goldfinger (1964)

Goldfinger posterI will admit, many consider Goldfinger to be the best Bond of all, nevermind the best Connery effort. And as an official Bond-O-phile, I too will cast my opinion… it’s really good, but not the best.

To me, it’s predecessors are two better films, with ‘From Russia..’ being the better Connery vehicle. Less gadgets, more spy caper. Goldfinger is a great 007 film, and indeed can fit my classification of epic, but there are some better 007 films.

Q Branch DB5

This movie does have it all, however, with a great sinister villian who is as human as the rest, a hot broad Bond Girl in Pussy Galore, and of course, another Felix Leiter… a trend that carries on today. And don’t forget… the DB5.
Bond and Masterson
Gadgets guns and girls, this film does reach epic and fill all the Bond requirements. Connery near the top of his 007 game.

5 Stars