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The Lucky 13: Favorite James Bond Films

November 7, 2012

Daniel Craig’s third outting as 007 aka. James Bond hits theaters and IMAX this Friday, and before I attend the advanced screening tonight for “Skyfall”, I thought I’d look back at 50 years of James Bond and list my Lucky 13 favorite James Bond films. Do you agree with my list? What is your favorite Bond film? Please comment, share this page, and remember…martini, shaken, not stirred. YEAH BABY! Oops, wrong movie.

13. “The Man with the Golden Gun” – I’m no big fan of Roger Moore as 007, but I’ll give his films credit, some of them were clever, and throughly entertaining. This film was somewhat of a mix for me, but I can honestly say the best thing about this movie that earns it as a rewatchable Bond film was the performance of Christopher Lee as Scaramanga, who was intended to be a villain of similar skill and ability to Bond himself.

12. “Thunderball” – The movie does take time to get started and may have one too many long underwater sequences during which it’s impossible to tell what’s going on down there. Nevertheless, it’s an enjoyable entry in the Bond series. Sean Connery is still very much appealing as Bond. It doesn’t have much memorable scenes persay, but it’s entertaining enough thanks to Connery’s presents, and as long as the actors stay above water.

11. “The Living Daylights” – T-Dalt! An underrated Bond in my honest to God opinion, definitely better than Moore, and like our current Bond, Dalton took the character to darker/grittier places, which probably at the time people were just not ready for/ They want the silly, lighthearted 007. If only people would’ve accepted him, it would’ve been great to see how far Timothy Dalton could’ve gone. Yes, he got a sequel, but it just wasn’t as good as this first entry.

10. “Moonraker” – Without question this maybe the most absurd entry in the Bond franchise, but that’s why I loved it enough to put it on this list. James Bond in space! From California to Venice to Rio, the Amazon rainforest, and finally into outer space, James Bond must prevent a plot to wipe out the world population and to re-create humanity with a master race. Sounds somewhat familiar eh Austin Power fans? Laughable, but enjoyable, with impressive visual effects for it’s time.

9. “Dr. No” – The very first James Bond film ever! So why is it so high on my list? I liked it, but I didn’t love it. Why? The very first James Bond film I ever saw was “Goldfinger”, and that movie pretty much set the standard for me on what makes a great James Bond film. So later in life when I finally came across the very first film, I was somewhat underwhelm by it. The villain of Dr. No is so-so, but the women, oooh DAMN! Don’t get me wrong Bond fans, this is good movie, but it’s not as great as the other Connery Bond films, well, it is better than “Thunderball”.

8. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – This is that guilty pleasure Bond film, people are divided on this movie ’cause it’s the first post-Sean Connery film, and Lazenby left people with mix feelings, some found him boring, others found him suitable for the role. Ironic since he made it abundantly clear that this would be the one and only Bond performance he intended to make. The movie contains some of the best action sequences ever to reach the screen (at the time), especially that opening ski scene, it has a touching love story, and a subplot that has agent 007  threatening to resign from Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Lazenby can handle the action sequences without a hitch, but can he match up to the calibar of Connery? Not likely enough.

7. “The Spy Who Loved Me” – As I stated before, Roger Moore was never my favorite Bond, but without question his best Bond film was “The Spy Who Loved Me”. Not only was the story probably the best one at the time, it was widely reciecved as the better adaptation of the previous novel, which in some cases was a lackluster. The movie however introduces us to a fan favorite villain…Jaws. What more could you ask?

6. “Diamonds Are Forever” – After George Lazenby left a questionable mark on the character of James Bond, Sean Connery returned at the prime age to finish off the character (until he returned one last time in the midst of Roger Moore mania in “Never Say Never Again”). Based on Ian Fleming’s ’56 novel of the same name, the story has Bond impersonating a diamond smuggler to infiltrate a smuggling ring, and soon uncovering a plot by his old nemesis Blofeld to use the diamonds and build a giant laser. Bond has to battle his nemesis for one last time, in order to stop the smuggling and stall Blofeld’s plan of destroying D.C., and extorting the world of nuclear supremacy.

5. “Quantum of Solace” – Daniel Craig makes this is second outting as Bond, it’s the first sequel since the Timothy Dalton films to be a direct sequel to predecessor. The early Bond films introduce the criminal organization known as SPECTRE which make on and off again returns in those films. Now in todays modern era of James Bond spy thrills we’re introduced briefly to the Quantum group. Which will make a reappearence in later films, not in “Skyfall” however, and thought the story maybe mute at times, the action sequences are breath taking, especially the airplane sequence near the third ACT, and Craig continues to prove he is the best Bond since Connery. The thing that held this movie back was the revenge aspect, James Bond is not about revenge, didn’t work for T-Dalt, and it barely works here.

4. “From Russia with Love” – My favorite book by Ian Fleming, adapted pitch-perfectly, and Connery’s performance as James Bond is at it’s finest. It’s a landmark as the top best sequels around and the best part II in any sequel category, amongst the ranks of “Godfather Part II” “Empire Strikes Back”. If you’re looking for a perfect account on old school Cold War spy games, this is the film for you.

3. “GoldenEye” – Pierce Brosnan wasn’t my favorite Bond at all. But, his very first appearence as MI6 secret agent in this movie was his best one ever. “GoldenEye” makes some interesting changes to the franchise,  M was recast, with actress Judi Dench becoming the first woman to portray the character, replacing Robert Brown. The movie was the first Bond film made after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, which provided a background for the plot. And the introduction of the films protaganist 006. Director Martin Campbell would return nearly a decade later to direct the reboot that would change it all.

2. “Casino Royale” – After the laughable “Die Another Day”, the final entry in Brosnan’s Bond saga, the 007 franchise took a hiatus for a bit. In the midst of franchise reboots sucess like “Batman Begins” and the high-octane spy thrills of Jason Bourne, the producers of James Bond decided that a reboot of the titular character was a must. Starting from the ground floor up, the casting of Daniel Craig began as an uproar; Blonde-Bond?!?! But with movies such as “Layer Cake” under his belt, Craig might be the smartest choice in some time. Martin Campbell returns to direct his second Bond film, and certainly ups the action, suspense, and Bond-ness that made the original Connery films so memorable. Based on the very first book by Ian Fleming, “Casino Royale” gives fans a first hand look on how Bond earns the 007 title and his first mission as a true MI6 agent, which will lead him down a dark path making him into the man we’ve come to know and love for generations.

1. “Goldfinger” – Critics today are calling “Skyfallto be the BEST BOND MOVIE EVER, and I’ll be the judge of that come tonights screener, but until then, “Goldfinger” will remain my favorite. It has the best quotes, the best villains, the best gadgets, the best car, the best opening song, the best everything. In my opinion it’s the most superior performance of Sean Connery’s career as the character. If anything this was the movie that defined Connery as…SEAN CONNERY. But that’s one fans opinion.

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