Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Best of Bonds, The Worst of Bonds

I see the James Bond movies are finally being sold individually. The monster packages were never a temptation for me -- life's too short and money's too tight for a boxed set that includes Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, George Lazenby and Pierce Brosnan. If there'd been a Sean Connery set, I might have reached for the plastic. Maybe.

I haven't bought any of them, yet, but if they're cheap enough I expect there may be one or two future Amazon orders that get a little Bond padding in order to score the free shipping. My inclination is to get the very best and the very worst Bond movie from my childhood Bonds, Connery and Moore. The best Connery Bond is, without question, From Russia With Love. Worst? Hmm. Diamonds Are Forever is pretty limpid, and themesong aside I've never really been a fan of Goldfinger (my favorite Goldfinger line actually comes from MAD Magazine, referring to Oddjob's statue-decapitating hat: "That's nothing. You should see what he does with his underwear.") But I'd say the movie that qualifies as most endearingly awful is You Only Live Twice. The towering Connery, being made up to look like a Japanese peasant fisherman, or posing as an industrial chemist and ordering barrels of monosodium glutimate ... rich, rich material that. And all this is just a lead-up to Donald Pleasance.

Roger Moore -- now there's a horse of a different colour. Nearly all of them were stinkers, but there are several that really stand out: A View To A Kill, Moonraker, The Spy Who Loved Me ... all bad, but in a boring way. Live And Let Die is closer to the classically bad ideal, but I think the film that tops it is The Man With The Golden Gun, which achieves a giddy surreality with its sumo wrestlers, little person villains and phony third nipples.

Best Moore? How about For Your Eyes Only (if only for the poster)?


trentreimer said...

One thing I will say for Daniel Craig's performance is that he recaptured some of the Sean Connery Bond. Menacing Bond. You didn't feel like messing with Connery Bond. If Brosnan Bond was fighting a chipmunk you wouldn't really know who to put your bets on.

What I felt was sorely lacking in Casino Royale was the light hearted humorousness which has heretofore been that piece of the puzzle which makes the over-the-top ridiculousness of the story embraceable.

trentreimer said...

p.s. That last sentence is hideous. In attempting to communicate my dismay I may have created a monster.

Yahmdallah said...

I am the ultimate heretic when it comes to Bond movies. My favorite is "Octopussy." I have no excuse.

Whisky Prajer said...

TR - the new Bond has a grimmer sense of humor, it's true. But it's still there. I certainly laughed during that lengthy chase scene near the beginning of the movie. The guy he's running after goes up this, down that, through this tiny hole in the wall - and that last stunt is too much for Bond, who just bulldozes through the sheetrock. (Your final sentence, BTW, reads just fine in plaut-dietsch.)

Y-man - I thought Octopussy was a lot of fun, actually. I can't help feeling just a bit conflicted, however, at the sight of Bond made up as a clown.