Saturday, November 10, 2012

Weekend Weigh-in: What's the Best/Worst Bond Movie?

Skyfall is in theaters this weekend, but we thought we'd save that discussion for our upcoming podcast. Until then, let's hear from everyone on your favorite and least favorite Bond movies -- and remember, there are no right or wrong answers (unless your favorite rhymes with "Shmoctapussy").

If you're feeling ambitious, feel free to weigh in on the bonus questions we've answered in our "My Favorite Bond" pieces, which you can find here, here and here.



  1. My favorite is the little-loved The Living Daylights. I think Timothy Dalton is a fantastic Bond, and probably comes closest to the Bond in my head when I read the books. I like that Daylights toned down the goofiness of the Moore era, but still wasn't completely stone-faced like the Craig movies thus far (I haven't seen Skyfall yet, that'll be later today). Also, the score by John Barry is terrific, a percussive and exhilarating action score, one of my favorites of the era.

    My least favorite is a tough choice. My gut tells me that the aggressively cartoonish Die Another Day is demonstrably the worst in the franchise, and there's very little to like in A View To A Kill other than Patrick Macnee, a fun theme song, and Aryan Christopher Walken. That being said, I think Quantum Of Solace is my least favorite Bond movie. The thing that wrecks it for me is the action sequences, which are all edited in such a way as to make you wish for a migraine, as that would be a less severe headache. There's no sense of geography or momentum, only movement and noise. In the car chase that opens the movie, can anyone tell which car is which, or who's in front of who, or where they are in relation to one another? Because I sure as hell can't. Every action sequence has, by my count, eleventy billion cuts. Call me old-fashioned, but I think being able to see what's on the screen is an important part of the moviegoing experience. The movie's not bad in theory, the story is fine and the performances are solid, but the confusingly staged action cripples it to the point where it's the last disc I'll reach for when I'm in the mood for Bond.

    1. couldnt agree more on Quantum of Solace's action. I tried watching it recently and between the shaky opening car chase and uncomprehendable foot chase shortly after that, i had to turn it off. And the song is awful.

    2. This will not make me popular, but I kind of like the opening theme to Quantum of Solace. It's not among the ranks of the best Bond movie themes, but it's an interesting attempt to make something that sounds contemporary but still fitting into the tradition. I like it better than the Chris Cornell song for Casino Royale, anyway. Having said that, Adele's song for Skyfall is much better.

    3. I like The Quantum Of Solace theme up until Alicia Keys starts doing that weird vocal thing in the middle. Likes she's trying to do scales but forgot how.

  2. ah the bond movies heaven help me I love them but they can be all over the place sometimes. As for my favorite Bond film its gotta be Casino Royale, everything just seems to fit perfectly in that film. As for least favorite its gotta be Moonraker, the effects are super ridiculous, the plot is stupid, and it also features one of my least favorite things in the Bond films when Bond gets in touch with headquarters and they catch him mid hump with the Bond girl.

    To put Moonraker in seven words its this "Dear Moonraker please stop sincerely, good taste"

  3. Right now I think Casino Royale is my favorite. I remember thinking this isn't going to be that good, then that chase scene in the beginning with the crane and stuff just blew my mind. Then there's that one shot towards the end, where Bond is getting shot at while sitting behind a pillar, and the look on Craig's face is so freaking Bond like. Cool, and collected.

    Worst: Outside of Spy Who Loved almost any of the Roger Moore films. They're just hard to watch now.

    I loved SKYFALL. Want to see it again to make sure I love it. Working in the Signal Corp for the Army brought up one BIG issue with me. Don't want to say much more until the podcast get's posted.

  4. Best: From Russia With Love, the epitome of the Connery era.

    Worst: Die Another Day

    Honorable Mention Worst: Any Moore movie.

  5. I agree with many of the choices most people have already made, but I'll throw in my two cents.

    Casino Royale is just so well done, and it's pretty much just what a Bond movie should be, from the awesome opening credits and song all the way to the end. I think it's my favorite. I suppose my two honorable mentions have already been discussed in two previous columns: Goldfinger (for being the blueprint for future Bond movies, as well as just an enjoyable movie by itself) and Goldeneye (although that just might be my fond memories of the videogame talking. It's been a while since I've actually watched the movie. So it might not hold up as well as I remember it being).

    As far as worst, it's almost too tough to call. Moonraker is definitely up there, but I don't think I've seen enough of the ones labeled as "bad" to make that concrete decision. From what I can tell, Die Another Day, Tomorrow Never Dies, A View to a Kill*, Quantum of Solace, and The Man with the Golden Gun are all contenders for the "worst" Bond movie.

    *I give A View to a Kill a little bit of credit, as it has one of my favorite Bond songs to listen to by itself, Duran Duran's "A View to a Kill."

  6. This is such a big question that it's hard to answer. I thought it would be easy, but it's not. Goldfinger is just so iconic. But Casino Royale plays like a modern action thriller and keeps me on the edge of my seat every time. But Goldeneye was the first one I saw in the theaters, and always will hold a special place for me as it brought a new generation of fans to the franchise and just blew my mind to pieces. See, I can pretend to answer the question but not really do so. Anyway, those seem to be the popular choices, but you can't argue with quality. But as for the worst, I think Die Another Day was pretty crappy. Maybe one day I'll be able to watch it and just enjoy it with my mind turned off, but I don't have good memories of that one. I have memories of being bored in the theater and thinking about what I wanted to eat when it was over. I haven't watched it since then.

    Meanwhile, I can't believe we have to wait to weigh in on Skyfall. I'm so mad at you guys. I hate you, you're not my father, so stop acting like my father, you can't tell me what to do. I don't know what mom sees in you and ---, sorry, I went someplace else. Okay, I'm not really mad, but I'm so excited to talk about that movie and I feel like shaken up bottle of Coke Zero (official sponsor of FTM) that I hope it comes soon. Knowing you guys, you'll cover EVERYTHING I had to say and I'll just weigh in about 12 posts down with a "Yeah! You got it!"

  7. Best: The Living Daylights for all the reasons JP listed: Dalton's kick-ass Bond, John Barry score, fun but not cartoony feel, etc. Maryam d'Abo's Kara is also a different (vulnerable, scared) type of Bond girl the likes of which we rarely see in this series. Honorable mentions: From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only.

    Worst is tough because, to me, it means that you're watching a Bond movie and you're not having any fun whatsoever; everything/everyone in it is a chore to sit through and watch. By this criteria I cannot pile on the "Moonraker" abuse because, goofy as this movie is pushing the Bond canon to cartoon land, it's a fun flick to at least make fun of (which I don't because Lois Chiles is hot, Michael Lonside amuses me, the corny humor is off-set by some pretty sweet stunt/SFX work, etc.). So sue me, I'm a "Moonraker" apologist to the bone.

    That said, Worst: Live and Let Die because, while all Bond movies are dated to reflect their time, this one feels more archaic, dated and cheaply-made than even the early 60's Connery Bonds. Moore is too green in his debut (it shows), Jane Seymour looks constipated (age really improved her a decade later in the underrated "Octopussy") and the villain's death still elicits eye-rolling nods of disapproval any time I think about it. Plus, between Clifton James' unfunny Sheriff Pepper and the old lady cursing, the tongue-in-cheek British humor is in shorter-than-usual supply. Dishonorable mentions: Diamonds Are Forever, Never Say Never Again, A View To A Kill, Die Another Day.

    1. Oops, I confused Jane Seymour with Maud Adams from "Man with the Golden Gun" (who, like Bond, did return to both "Octopussy" and "A View To A Kill" in an uncredited cameo). Sorry! :-(

  8. Favorite Bond Film: Casino Royale Runner-ups: Goldfinger, From Russia with Love, & Goldeneye

    Favorite Bond: 1. Connery 2. Craig 3. Brosnan 4. Dalton 5. Lazenby 6. Moore

    Favorite Bond Credit Song: "Live and Let Die", Paul McCartney Runner-Up: "Skyfall", Adele

    Underrated Bond Film: Quantum of Solace(yeah, I said it.) Runners-up: Thunderball, Live and Let Die, and Tomorrow Never Dies

    Favorite Bond Girl: Vesper Lynd(Eva Green) "Casion Royale and Fiona Volpe(Luciana Paluzzi)""Thunderball"

    Bond Film I Shouldn't Like But Do: License to Kill

    Least Favorite Bond Film: Die Another Day

  9. Best: The Living Daylights – JP and J.M. Vargas have covered it brilliantly already, but to reiterate what I said in the comments on Patrick’s My Favorite Bond article: It has some humorous moments without the ridiculous over the top stuff that plagued the later Moore films, while having some real grit to it at times. I really liked the relationship between Bond and Kara; it was handled in such a different way to how he usual is with women and felt like a breath of fresh air. It’s a shame Dalton only did the two films, as I thought he was an excellent Bond.

    Worst: Die Another Day - Just utter rubbish from beginning to end.

  10. Only ever seen Casino Royale so I guess it my best and worst.

    Never been a Bond guy, the concept doesnt really interest me. But with all the praise Skyfall is getting I might go see it.

  11. Latecomer to the party!

    Best: I know I'm in the minority here (like, a minority of maybe 2 including me), but I'm going with On Her Majesty's Secret Service. I actually LIKE Lazenby in the role for the most part, Diana Rigg makes a great Bond Girl (one who was a little ahead of her time, it think), there is some awesome all-in-camera ski sequences (inconsistent day-for-night stuff be damned), one of my favorite lines from any of the films ("This never happend to the other fellow.") that is a great way of acknowledging that it's NOT Connery, no gadget stupidity (Q's only real contribution is radioactive lint), one of the best Blofelds, and a hell of an ending. The fact that it's quite faithful to the book (of which I'm a fan of the whole series) is a plus.

    From Russia With Love and Casino Royale are close for me. Russia is just a damn-good spy movie, and Casino Royale just exceeded every expectation I had going in. I knew I was going to like it when the gunbarrel made the surprise appearance after the opening scene.

    Worst: Die Another Day (nuff said), Live and Let Die (I kept expecting Shaft to show up) -- heck, I'll say any Moore film not named The Spy Who Loved me or For Your Eyes Only, Diamonds are Forever (Connery should have stayed retired) and Never Say Never Again (Connery REALLY should have stayed retired).