My Favourite Things About James Bond
My Favourite James Bond
In discussing my favourite things about James Bond, the first order of business, is to decide upon the definitive 007. Sean Connery is my favourite because he was the best and that is no surprise. There might be some competition from Daniel Craig, but the rest fall far short. If Cary Grant had accepted the role, I’d imagine he’d be between Connery and Craig. Read on to see how the rest rank.
6. I did read one article that ranked Brosnan as best Bond and I dry heaved a little. Not even close. He’s too smarmy, slick and refined almost to the point of being effeminate. He can’t be taken seriously as a license-to-kill super spy. Yes, Bond must be refined but that’s the veneer on a tough and rugged under body which Brosnan had none of.
5. Dalton, with his classical training, brought a grittier more serious version of Bond which was in sharp relief to Moore’s goofy Bond of the 80’s. This brought him more in line with Fleming’s vision, but unfortunately, he is entirely charmless and has the sex-appeal of chicken liver pâté.
4. Lazenby was a one-hit wonder and I thought he wasn’t too bad considering he was replacing the archetype Bond. With a martial arts background, his fight scenes had an aggressive athleticism. This purportedly carried a lot of weight in his screen test.
He possessed a scrappy, brawler quality that the finest, fitted tux, unfortunately, couldn’t quite dissipate. Described as smug by some, I saw this to be more swagger with an underlying confidence.
Breaking the fourth wall didn’t help his cause and the moment lives on in infamy as the worst three seconds in the entire Bond oeuvre.
3. Moore was definitely suave but his fight scenes were void of conviction to the point where I doubt he’s ever been in a real fight in his life or even knows what that’s like. I read somewhere that he even had a stunt double do his running scenes because he looks funny when he runs. As we will get into a bit later, his portrayal of Bond often erred on the hammy side.
2. Craig has the brawn and physicality, perhaps too much of both because he lacks a certain debonair charm. He has rugged good looks, but he’s not really handsome enough to be Bond. The Golden Ratio for beauty, established by the Ancient Greeks and based on symmetry, ranks him as the least handsome because his lips are too thin, his nose is too bulbous and his face is too wide.
1. Connery was handsome and menacing at the same time and he moved like a panther. His entire being just oozed cool. Being an amateur bodybuilder, he had the brawn and physicality to compliment the suave exterior.
Referencing the Ancient Greeks again and their Golden Ratio, he comes closer than any of the Bonds to having an ideal face garnering an impressive 89.2% rating, thanks to a perfect chin and near perfect nose.
As ideal as he was and we all know him to be, he still met with disapproval from Ian Fleming, the Bond creator. To him, he was an overgrown stuntman without the Bond finesse and elegance. David Niven was his Bond apotheosis. Fortunately, producer Albert Broccoli, persuaded Fleming that Connery was the right man. He later said,
“I wanted a ballsy guy … put a bit of veneer over that tough Scottish hide and you’ve got Fleming’s Bond instead of all the mincing poofs we had applying for the job…”
Honor Blackman, the Bond girl in Goldfinger, further endorsed Cubby’s choice, stating, “He was exceedingly handsome, virile and sexy and that really was the tenor of what the script was always trying to display.”
He just needed a few classes in finishing school which he received from director Terence Young. Young took him to his tailor and hairdresser and introduced him to the high life in London. He educated him in the ‘ways of being dapper, witty and above all, cool.’ Connery’s My Fair Lady transformation was a stunning success.
My Favourite Bond Movie
Five years ago when I was studying in New York, I took a long anticipated trip to the Met. After being completely overwhelmed by the Egyptian wing, I meandered through various corridors before stumbling across a small Fabergé egg display.
Before I knew it, the opening sequence of the James Bond film, Octopussy (1983), was vividly projected and played out in my mind. The sequence features the escape of a wounded British agent from East to West Berlin. As he reaches the safely of the British ambassador’s house, he falls down dead and drops a Fabergé egg on to the carpet.
It’s not the memory of Octopussy that makes this moment magical. Instead, of course, it’s who I was watching it with. My older sister, Eileen, was a huge fan of James Bond. I distinctly remember sitting in the playroom with her watching Bond running into a Tarantula web in the jungle, gliding across a lake in a crocodile-fashioned mini-sub and finally, some poor bastard getting French kissed by an octopus.
Fabergé egg. Octopussy. My sister. A feeling of closeness.
Nostalgia score, 8/10.
This must be some pretty damn strong nostalgia at work because let’s be honest, Octopussy is a really bad Bond film. Watching it 30 plus years later is a farcical, cringe-a-minute extravaganza.
The plot is so convoluted that I still don’t fully understand it. The villains are caricatures of themselves at the best of times. Bond’s usually clever and punny quips fall flat for lack of substance. The third act is literally a circus where most devastatingly, and undoubtedly marking a new low point of the franchise, Bond dresses up as a clown. As one critic put it, ‘too much clowning around and not enough grit.’
It ranks as possibly the worst of all time, excluding perhaps The World Is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002). Actually pretty much all of the Brosnan films, barring his first, GoldenEye (1995).
Yet, I still enjoy it. Actually, it’s my favourite Bond film. Nostalgia is an all-embracing feeling that spans for decades and defies all logic-driven arguments. Where Bond misses, nostalgia doesn’t.
Interestingly enough, all the reasons why it fails as a classic Bond picture, are pretty much all the reasons why it succeeded as a riveting, thrill ride in the mind of a young boy watching it with his older sister. Spiders, elephants, mechanical crocodiles, facehugging octopuses, over-the-top villains. A more comical and lighthearted Bond. A fight on a moving train. Bond in a gorilla costume. Come on! What’s not to love? When you’re 10.
My 5 Favourite Bond Girls
5. On the 40th year of the franchise, the iconic beach scene of the 1st movie was preluded by Jinx Johnson. This character portrayed by Halle Berry in Die Another Day in 2002 easily hailed her as one of best Bond girls in the franchise. Berry set the role a notch higher and set the trend for a modern Bond girl.
4. The South American beauty of Talisa Soto paralleled her character, Lupe Lamora in Licence to Kill in 1989. Her svelte figure and tremendous charisma cannot be undermined. This little villain character had mischievous acts that added more spice to the rivalry with another female lead in winning Bond’s heart.
3. Andrea Anders – an oppressed character that continues to be resilient by being a captivating seductress was what Maud Adams portrayed in The Man with the Golden Gun in 1974. I like how she was presented as an innocuous damsel who will eventually become the downfall of her transgressor. Adams is the only Bond girl to have appeared in three Bond movies.
2. The enchanting charm of Daniela Bianchi, comes in next as she played the character of Tatiana Romanova in From Russia with Love in 1963. The remarkable beauty of this Italian belle matched the innocence of her character. At 21, she is the youngest to have played the leading Bond girl role.
1. Ending off with the one who set the gold standard, the original Bond girl, Ursula Anderss. Yes, that tall, perfect physique on a white bikini with a hunting knife on the side, who would forget that iconic shot? That opening of Honey Ryder’s character in Dr. No was probably the most echoed scenes of all Bond movies.
My 5 Favourite Bond Villains
5. I don’t know if it’s the wicked grin or the unpredictable lucidity of Raoul Silva that makes his presence so creepy and terrorizing in the film Skyfall. Javier Bardem inhabited the role so disturbingly well that you can’t help think that Bond has met more than his match this time.
4. The archetype of a classic Bond villain, a dangerous blend of obsession, greed and insanity was what Gert Frobe portrayed as Auric Goldfinger. His memorable performance helped to immortalize 1964’s Goldfinger as one of the best Bond films of all time.
3. Possibly the best and most realistic fight scene in the entire Bond oeuvre takes place on the train in From Russia With Love between Bond the SPECTRE agent, Red Grant, played by Robert Shaw. Shaw’s calm and unsmiling demeanor combined with the line, “My orders are to kill you and deliver the Lektor. How I do it is my business. It’ll be slow and painful,” makes your blood run cold.
2. Who wouldn’t be petrified of a 7-foot, metal-toothed giant named Jaws who happens to have a penchant for jugular flesh and shark meat? This seemingly indestructible character was played by the late Richard Kiel in the 1977 movie, The Spy Who Loved Me. He was such a popular villain, that they brought him back in Moonraker.
1. Francisco Scaramanga in 1974’s The Man With The Golden Gun is the world’s most deadly assassin who never misses his man. And now he’s got 007 in his sights and reserved a golden bullet for the occasion. Christopher Lee did a stunning job giving a lighter tone to the character while exuding a great Bond equal. Like Red Grant, the best Bond villain is someone who most closely resembles Bond himself. A sort of Bizarro Bond to use DC vernac.
What is your favourite Bond movie and who is your favourite Bond actor? Let me know in the comments section below.
James Bond Gift Ideas
There is a lot of memorabilia out there, especially on Amazon, Etsy and Ebay. Amazon is usually cheaper with more selection and so I’ve chosen them. And if you’re not super satisfied with what you’ve bought, their returns policy is really good.
With so much to choose from, where do you start? My focus has been on cool, fun and quirky items, all garnering decent ratings from well-priced sellers.
Please note that I am an Amazon Affiliate and receive a small compensation if you use my links, but it will not increase your purchase price. If you use my links, I truly appreciate it 😉
James Bond Collection
This is a no brainer for any James Bond fan. I mean, if you haven’t seen all of them what kind of fan does that make you?
On that note, I’d better go and watch Never Say Never Again. It’s been so long that it feels like I haven’t watched it yet.
Check it out on Amazon.
Eject Button Cigarette Lighter
Goldfinger is regarded as one of the best Bond movies and the pimped up Aston Martin DB5 is definitely the most famous car. The ejector seat feature certainly helped to immortalize it.
It’s a cool, quirky gift for any Bond fan and is one of the most popular Bond items on Amazon.
Check it out on Amazon.