Tuesday, January 25, 2005


James Bond

There was a James Bond marathon two weekends ago on one of the cable channels. I sort of watched them, kept it on all the TV’s while I did other stuff for work and around here and around the house. At some point, I decided I should write about them, and how much they suck. Or how much they don’t. When it comes to Bond films, I guess we should discuss gadgets, villains, cool stunts, longevity, and who plays Bond. I’ll give each area a thumbs up or down for its contribution to overall Bond excellence or suckiness. Let me emphasize again that I did not carefully study each film.

Gadgets are cool. I like the cool toys Bond gets to play with. I don’t get hung up on how realistic or “possible” they might be in the real world. Who knew they could pack so much stuff into watches and cars. The occasional shoe weapon is also fun. I’ll grant you that any movie can have cool gadgets, but Bond films have brought us a lot of gadgets over the years. Thumbs up for gadgets.

Villians are another matter. Thing is, for all the money the bad guys have to spend to carry out their plots, they could be knee deep in hookers and Cheetos til the day they die. What are they really hoping to gain? World domination? Who wants that headache? Throw the world economy into chaos? What’s going to be so much better for them if they’re successful? Maybe if I had followed the plots more closely, I’d have a better understanding. Feel free to enlighten me. The only two villains I can remember are Goldfinger and Jaws, coincidentally easy to remember because they’re both also movie titles. And yes, I realize Jaws was not a Bond movie. Oh, and Oddjob, but he was memorable Goldfinger’s right hand man. Vader didn’t need a movie named after him, and you don’t see Hannibal Lecter’s name anywhere in the title of Silence of the lambs. I would suggest that these are good examples of memorable villains, not just easily remembered names. Ask yourself how many Bond villains the average Joe knows the name of, and you’ll likely find that they are the same three I mentioned. Bond villains get a thumbs down.

Cool stunts. Any movie can have these, and can do them better, which leaves me in the same frame of mind as the villains. Thumbs down.

Longevity must be a factor somehow. If the movies totally sucked, we wouldn’t still see a new one every couple of years. On the other hand, if we give it enough time, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street may still catch Bond. Marginal thumbs up for longevity.

And that leaves us with who plays Bond. I prefer Sean Connery, followed distantly by Pierce Brosnan. The others I don’t really care for. Brosnan may be a special case because someone of my age might say he is “my” James Bond. If I’ve seen a Bond film in theaters, he was the one in it. However, I can also admit that he is not some compelling actor that I would seek out in other films. Come to think of it, has he made any other films? Yikes, thumbs down for him then. But Connery, of course, is Connery. I do like him in other movies, and he would be up there as one of my favorite actors. So out of five (?) Bonds, I like one of them. As strong as Sean Connery is, he can’t turn this area into a thumbs up. Marginal thumbs down.

So I end up with two definite thumbs down and one marginal thumbs down, along with one definite and one marginal thumbs up. Cross cancel and carry the thumb, and I get a clean thumbs down on Bond. I should say the marathon was rather freeing, since I didn’t have to look for something new every two hours. Aside from that, I am not likely to sit and watch a Bond movie even on cable, and even if it’s a new Bond movie fresh from the theaters.

Hell’s bells! I didn’t think I really had anywhere to go with this post, but it went somewhere.
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