We’re getting near to the end now. The Bond movies will be removed from Amazon Prime Video at some point tonight (midnight?) and I will likely have three movies left to watch. I own a copy of one of them on iTunes. If the other two (including No Time to Die, which is the only Bond movie I have never seen) don’t move to a new streaming service right away I will rent them from iTunes. Everything is lined up for success.
So where was I? The last time I posted I had just started The World is Not Enough. It’s the first of a new trend of bad guys targeting M movies. It was okay but nothing special. The action sequences were starting to get cartoony again, and Pierce Brosnan was starting to seem a little out of his depth. He’s not bad per se, but he’s just no longer looking like someone who was born to play Bond. The pithy comebacks are not landing quite the way they used to. The villain is good. The henchman who can’t feel pain is blah. The diabolical plot is better than the previous movie but not all that interesting. It’s an average quality Bond movie. I liked it, but didn’t love it.
Die Another Day was better than I remembered it, but the longer I watched, the worse it got. I know it was the 20th movie and they wanted to honor that, but the call backs were just too much. The jet pack was cute and all but enough is enough. We’ve done the lasers thing before, we didn’t need to do it again. The bad guy was awful. The whole -I can’t sleep so I am rich- thing was dumb. The DNA replacement was idiotic. The invisible car was unforgivable. I mean… come on, folks. An invisible car? Give me a break, please. That wasn’t what bothered me the most though (close but no cigar). What bothered me the most was using slow motion in the action sequences. I hate movies that show action sequences in slow motion. I hate it.
Casino Royale is the only Ian Flemming novel that I read before seeing the movie. I read them all, in order of publication. Casino Royale was the first one. They didn’t make it into a movie until the 21st century because Flemming sold the rights to a different studio. The first film version was a made for TV movie in the US where Bond was an American CIA agent (I believe he was called Jimmy Bond). The first film was the spoof from the 60’s that I am pretty sure was written by Woody Allen. The book was good enough to make me want to read them all. The first few Connery movies are reasonably close to the books. Not exact but in the ball park. By the time Roger Moore comes around the only things the movies and the books have in common are the title and some of the character names. That’s all. The Casino Royale movie is someone close to the book. The card game and the torture scene are very similar. In the book it’s baccarat, not poker. I am pretty sure the double cross at the end came from the book too.
How is the movie? It’s the only post-Connery movie that legitimately holds up against the best Connery movies. It’s freakin’ awesome. It’s a reboot so it gave the studio the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start over, without the silliness and the gimmicks and the Bond-cliches. Where the Brosnan era action sequences were feeling goofy, these are riveting and intense. The goal isn’t spectacle anymore, it’s excitement and every single one of them works perfectly. This movie is so good it makes all of the crappy movies that came before it worth while. If I were to rank my favorite Bond movies I think Casino Royale would be forth behind From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, and Thunderball. Actually it might come in third, ahead of Thunderball. It’s not just a great Bond movie, it’s a great movie.
As I type this I am watching Quantum of Solace. It’s good, but it’s not even close to as good as Casino. All of the positives regarding the action sequences are still there. It’s super intense all the way through. Daniel Craig continues to be the perfect violent, vicious, mean and nasty killer Bond. The story just isn’t quite as good. It’s not bad, but it’s just not as good as Casino Royale. I am down to the last 15 minutes so I will consider this blurb my official entry.
Here is the complete list of movies, along with the Rottentomatoes.com score that I don’t always agree with. Three more movies to go, and when it’s all done I will finally be able to say that I’ve seen them all.
- Sean Connery
- Dr. No (1962) 95% – Finished
- From Russia with Love (1963) 97% – Finished
- Goldfinger (1964) 99% – Finished
- Thunderball (1965) 85% – Finished
- You Only Live Twice (1967) 74% – Finished
- George Lazenby
- On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) 81% – Finished
- Sean Connery (Again)
- Diamonds Are Forever (1971) 63% – Finished
- Roger Moore
- Live and Let Die (1973) 65% – Finished
- The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) 40% – Finished
- The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) 81% – Finished
- Moonraker (1979) 59% – Finished
- For Your Eyes Only (1981) 69% – Finished
- Octopussy (1983) 42% – Finished
- A View To A Kill (1985) 37% – Finished
- Timothy Dalton
- The Living Daylights (1987) 73% – Finished
- License to Kill (1989) 79% – Finished
- Pierce Brosnan
- GoldenEye (1995) 80% – Finished
- Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) 56% – Finished
- The World Is Not Enough (1999) 51% – Finished
- Die Another Day (2002) 56% – Finished
- Daniel Craig
- Casino Royale (2006) 94% – Finished
- Quantum of Solace (2008) 64% – Finished
- Skyfall (2012) 92%
- Spectre (2015) 63%
- No Time to Die (2021) 83%