I haven't done a speed rating since the Academy
Awards, so I thought it was time to do another to fit with my weekly
theme. So I present a Good/Bad/Ugly speed rating of all the 007 movies.
Let's face it, there are way too many for me to get into detailed analysis
of each one. At least not until I seriously run low on material.
Dr No: The first Bond movie, it set the tone
for the entire series. It's pretty mild compared to many of the later
films, but very Good.
From Russia With Love: The first 007 movie
with Desmond Llewelyn as Q, the first 007 movie with a big mean Germanic-type
baddie, and the first 007 movie to give us Bond's nemesis Ernest Blofeld.
Goldfinger: This movie contains the first
of the classic Bond theme songs. It also features one of the nastiest
villains ever in the series. "Do you expect me to talk? No, Mr. Bond,
I expect you to die!" Good.
Thunderball: This was supposed to be the first
Bond movie, but because of legal issues, wasn't. That's probably a good
thing, because this movie isn't nearly as good as it should have been.
It feels slow and draggy. Bad.
You Only Live Twice: Arguably the first rebirth
of the Bond franchise, this was scripted by Roald Dahl, who is better
known for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It recovers nicely
from the stumble of Thunderball, which is Good.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service: This is a
tough call. Some fans hate this movie, some say George Lazenby did a great
job as 007. I see this as "Bond as Tragedy." It stands apart
from the rest of the series. If the Bond series had never been made, this
would have been a great movie in it's own right. And Diana Rigg is excellent.
I'm going with Good.
Diamonds are Forever: Well, they may have
gone all out to make this movie, paying Connery an unprecedented 1.25
million plus 12.5% of the gross. Alas, the movie stinks. It's a bit confusing,
a bit silly, and you get the impression Connery didn't want to be there,
which was true. Also, the ambiguously gay villain duo are really lame.
Live and Let Die: Here's a tip: Bond is not
a bad mutha. This movie was released almost exactly two years after Shaft,
and they really tried, but Roger Moore is whiter than a bleached undershirt.
The Man With The Golden Gun: If you want to
watch a 007 movie but happened to leave your brain somewhere in the Ukraine,
this is a perfect choice. It's silly and fun, and Christopher Lee is in
it. Compared to most of the others in the series though, it's Bad.
The Spy Who Loved Me: This movie exists primarily
to prove that Roger Moore doesn't stink. He's good here. This movie hearkens
back to the days of the early Connery flicks. Plus, it features a villain
so nasty they had to bring him back in the next one. Good.
Moonraker: Say it with me now,
in a slow rising voice. Bond. . .in. . .space! Hmm, this movie came out
two years after Star Wars. Coincidence? I think not. Sure, it's
nothing like the aforementioned George Lucas space opera, but still, how
obvious can be for jumping on a trend? Bad.
For Your Eyes Only: Almost as good as The
Spy Who Loved Me, this is perhaps the epitome of a Bond film. Uncertainly
loyalties, duplicitous villians, and no seriously over the top global
destruction schemes. And how do you not love a movie that features Ernst
Blofeld dropped down a smokestack? Good.
Octopussy: The unbearable lightness of Bond.
This movie just doesn't hold up. It lacks substance, and when I say that
about a 007 movie, you know that's saying something. And the name is easily
the lamest of the entire series. Ugly.
Never Say Never Again: The name is of course
a play on the fact that Connery said he'd never again play James Bond.
The movie is a remake of Thunderball, which really wasn't begging
for a remake. Bad.
A View to a Kill: Christopher Walken is a
great actor, and thoroughly convincing as an unbalanced villain. But Roger
Moore was by this point overdue to be put out to pasture. James Bond isn't
supposed to look old. Great theme song, though. Ugly.
The Living Daylights: I don't care what people
say. Timothy Dalton was a great agent 007. I am saddened that he only
played the role twice. This movie is what I would call the second rebirth
of the franchise. Great locations, great stunts, and a slick plot. Bond
is cool once again. Good.
Licence to Kill: Bond as revenge drama. This
movie is a sort of meta-Bond movie, and I think it's misunderstood. It
does however feature what has to the be second worst vehicular stunt ever
done in the 007 film (the worst is the 360 degree airborne roll in The
Man With the Golden Gun) when Bond gets a tractor trailer up on one
side to avoid a missile.Bad.
GoldenEye: After a six year hiatus, Bond came
back with Pierce Brosnan, who really looks like he belongs in the part.
A good entry with a great theme song, this movie modernized the franchise
and brought Bond to a new generation. And that's a Good thing.
Tomorrow Never Dies: This movie was originally
going to be called Tomorrow Never Lies. The more I think about
it the more I like that as the title. In any case, this movie has me almost
as torn as I was over On Her Majesty's Secret Service. There's
too much inherent silliness, and Teri Hatcher's character was entirely
superfluous, but how can you not love a movie with both a remote controlled
BMW and Michelle Yeoh. Good.
The World is Not Enough: Something is wrong
when a serious drama director like Michael Apted gets behind the helm
of a 007 movie. What's more, one would think a serious drama director
would do a better job of making things less obvious. Bad.