007 Chatter: Discussing the enduring appeal of James Bond

In case you didn’t know, October is Bond month as the producers are celebrating the UK premiere of Dr. No on October 5, 1962. So, as part of Bond’s 50th Anniversary, I thought I’d invite two of my friends and fellow Bond fan Michael from It Rains… You Get Wet and FC’s staff Ted S. to discuss the enduring appeal of this ultra-popular franchise. Now, on to the Q&A…
///


What’s your first introduction to the world of 007? Did you read the Ian Flemming’s books?

Michael: I have my mother’s younger brother, my uncle, to thank for the introduction to the world of OO7. He took me to the movie theater, decades ago during my childhood, for my first ever James Bond film, which turned out to be the third in the series. I’d not heard of the character, nor had I ever read any of Ian Fleming’s novels to that point in time. I wouldn’t read my first Bond book for a couple more years, when I turned teen. That first novel would be From Russia With Love.

Ted: I think it was my father who introduced me to the Bond films, he used to watch them when we were living in the Far East, I was pretty young then.

I read many of the Bond novels, couldn’t name them all but the first one was Casino Royale, I started reading the books after I saw the films.

Ruth: I’ve got to admit I never read any of Ian Fleming’s novels [gasp] I got my first introduction to Bond through the movies, which I’m guessing most people are in my camp. I might take up one of the novels at some point though, I might start with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.


What’s your earliest experience watching a Bond movie? What age and which Bond movie?

Michael: I was age 11 when I saw Goldfinger, and I documented this particular memory in a TMT from last November.

Ted: I don’t remember when I first saw a Bond film but I think it was in my early teens, the first movie I saw was Dr. No and the scene that I always remember was the introduction of Ursula Andress‘ character when she walked out of the water and in that swimsuit, I was instantly in love with her. It’s reason why I tend to date voluptuous women. 🙂

Ruth: I think I was in Junior High when I first saw a Bond movie. I can’t remember the exact movie though, my memory isn’t as good as Michael’s ahah, but I think it was a Roger Moore movie, perhaps Moonraker? So I grew up watching Moore’s Bond movies and to this day, his movies are still fun to watch for nostalgia’s sake.
///


This Guardian article said … the key to Bond’s evergreen appeal is that, as well as some enjoyable nostalgia, he delivers the reader a harmless slice of old-fashioned adventure in a readily digestible form.

What do you think about that? Now what appeals to you most about the Bond franchise?

Michael: I think there is some validity to that, but I think there’s more to it. The Ian Fleming novels and short stories that employed the character created a rather iconic niche, primarily with men, when they first came out. The hooks (espionage, gadgets, and sex) being rather obvious. Heck, even JFK read them. Here’s the thing, though. When the character and series were adapted to film, well, both men AND women discovered a lot to their liking. So much so, the appeal became instantly more universal from that point (with Dr. No) forward.

To such a degree you can ask just about anyone, no matter their gender (or age), who is their favorite Bond, or what their favorite flick is, and they will have an opinion. And in 50 years, it’s likely to be long-standing.

Ian Fleming with Connery the set of From Russia With Love

Ted: The reason I love the Bond franchise is because it’s a fantasy for most if not all men want to live, saving the world from the bad guys; dates beautiful women, wear expensive suits and drive super expensive cars. Travel all over the world and eat at fancy restaurants. It’s pure escapism.

Ruth: I think there’s certainly an escapism aspect that makes Bond movies so fun to watch. I mean, real spies are likely closer to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy‘s George Smiley, so they don’t lead a glamorous life, driving fast cars and wooing women all over the world. What appeals to me most is the adventure and awesome scenery we’ve come to expect in each film. I get to live vicariously through his globe-trotting lifestyle fighting bad guys!

As a woman, obviously there’s also a certain eye-candy element to the franchise, I mean Bond is the quintessential dream guy. I mean he’s good looking, stylish, sophisticated, etc. and what girl hasn’t dreamed of being swept off their feet by a man who obviously knows how to woo a woman, even if it’s just for one night! 😉
///


How many Bond movies do you own and which one(s) do you watch most often? If you have a Bond memorabilia, do share!

Michael: All of them, for sure, via the Ultimate Edition volumes on DVD. My Blu-ray collection is far from complete, though. My wife can back up  those statements, and perhaps not happily, since she has to live with me (and them) 😉

Ted: Currently I have about 8 or 10 on Blu-ray, I’ll be adding to my collection once more comes out on BD next month. The ones I watched often are Casino Royale, The Living Daylights (on DVD), License To Kill, Thunderball, From Russia with Love, For Your Eyes Only, Tomorrow Never Dies, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (on DVD) and Quantum of Solace (yes I really like this film).

I just bought The Living Daylights and Tomorrow Never Dies on Blu-ray this week so now I have 12 Bond films on that format.

I’m picking up GoldenEye and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service later this weekend and then my Bond collection is complete. I don’t want to get the complete collection because I couldn’t sit through some of the awful ones like A View to a Kill, Live and Let Die, Diamonds Are Forever and so on.

Ruth: I actually don’t have very many of them: I only have Octopussy, For Your Eyes Only, The Living Daylights on DVDs and Casino Royale and Licence To Kill on Blu-ray. That’s it!

I know that over the years my brothers and I probably have bought the same movies several times over in different format, starting with those darn VHS! I’m glad I haven’t bought any of the DVD sets though, as I’m hoping to get those glorious 50th Anniversary Blu-ray set one of these days! I know there are some awful Bond movies I don’t like in that collection but I figure I can watch the special features on them, I’d think those are still fun to watch. Speaking of memorabilia, I wish I could get a hold of all those GQ Bond issues below, and this book on the making of Licence to Kill!


Who’s your favorite Bond actor and why? Feel free to rank the five Bond actors if you so choose.

Michael: It’s who it has always been since that one night back in January of 1965. Sean Connery. I do agree with you that someone like Timothy Dalton was closer to the character Ian Fleming devised and wrote about. But, it’s still Sean blessed Connery for God sakes were talking about! I firmly believe he’s been the most charismatic of all the actors who’ve portrayed this character on film. Plus, he had an aura of physicality that matched his persona (best evidence of that would be the classic fight on the train between him and Robert Shaw as ‘Red Grant’ in From Russia With Love and John Kenneth Muir’s recent piece on The Top Five: James Bond Fight Sequences). This facet only recently approached by another — that someone being Daniel Craig. In other words, Sean remains the yardstick all others are measured against (at least by those of us a certain age, that is).

 And since you asked, here would be my ranking:
1. Sean Connery
2. Daniel Craig
3. Timothy Dalton
4. Pierce Brosnan
5. Roger Moore


Ted:
This is kind of a tough question for me, as for film version of Bond I’d have to go with Connery BUT I believe Timothy Dalton is truer to what Fleming wrote in his novels.

My Ranking:

  1. Sean Connery
  2. Timothy Dalton
  3. Daniel Craig
  4. Pierce Brosnan
  5. Roger Moore

I don’t think we can really judge Lazenby since he’s only appeared in one film.

Ruth: Anyone who’ve read this blog long enough knows who my all time favorite Bond is 😉 In fact I just paid a tribute to him just last Friday. I think as time goes by I like Dalton more and more, and perhaps the fact that he’s so criminally-underrated makes me like him more. I mean he epitomized what I envision a super spy would be (and apparently he’s what Fleming envisioned in his books, too): gritty but NOT thuggish, sophisticated and confident without being cocky, relentless yet loyal to a fault, and his Bond appreciates a beautiful woman but not in a lewd way. Plus he’s just so darn good looking! I mean he’s the ONLY Bond that makes my heart goes pit-a-pat, not to mention Dalton is the tallest Bond with the BEST voice.

I could go on and on but here’s my rating:

  1. Timothy Dalton (natch)
  2. Daniel Craig
  3. Sean Connery
  4. Roger Moore
  5. Pierce Brosnan

Note: I’m not saying I dislike Brosnan, as I like his first two Bond movies. It’s just as time goes by, his portrayal of Bond just seems too cocky to me that it rubs me the wrong way. Plus his Bond movies seems to be the most sexually vulgar (especially his sex scene with Halle Berry) that I find repulsive. Moore might be whimsical but his movies have nostalgic value to me so I just can’t put him as least favorite Bond.


What would you like to see in future Bond films? Or in other words: What’d be your ideal Bond movie be?

Michael: This is both an easy and hard one to answer. Easy because of the likes of actors like Idris Elba, Karl Urban, and your favorite Gerard Butler. Hard due to the fact that someone else, totally unknown to us all, will arrive somewhere down the line and make the iconic role their own. The point is, it’s the character of OO7 that makes the series. What’s obvious is that not one actor has carried the series for all of five decades. It’s Bond that is the brand.

If I could somehow manipulate the space-time continuum, I’d remake one particular James Bond film from the 60s to produce my ideal Bond movie. I’d have Sean Connery star in what I and others consider to be the best story of the entire series, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. I mean, Connery paired with who I consider the best Bond girl ever, Diana Rigg. There’d be no words to suffice.

Ted: I would love to see someone like David Fincher or Chris Nolan directing a Bond film. Bring his character more to reality and well make the film quite violent and brutal; I know that will never happen since the franchise is so lucrative for the studio, they will never risk doing a hard R-rated Bond film.

Ruth: I know we’re supposed to let bygones be bygones… but just looking at the poster below I found the other day, well, ideally Dalton gets to do one more Bond movie! I’d have LOVED to see him in something like Casino Royale where he gets to display his gritty as well as vulnerable side.

But ah well, I better learn to just let it go. Now, for the future, in line with what Ted said, I’d like to see quality directors tackle a Bond movie and put a fresh spin to it whilst still keeping the elements of a Bond film we’ve come to know and love. I don’t know if making it more violent is the answer, I mean it could still be PG-13 but have a really intriguing storyline that puts Bond in a different light somehow.

Well it’s more like a fantasy Bond movie… that is to see Clive Owen, someone I’d have liked to see as Bond, play a Bond villain. For once it’d be nice to see a Bond villain who might look as cool as the super spy himself, ahah. He’s in my actors wish list I’d like to see as a Bond villain.

Another fantasy of mine would be seeing Dalton himself as a Bond villain, that’s never been done before but I think he’d be perfect. And also Alan Rickman, as he could easily play an elegant baddie like Moonraker‘s Hugo Drax. I’d LOVE to hear him utter the words “So long, Mr Bond” in that iconic voice of his! 😀



Thoughts on seeing Daniel Craig in at least five more Bond films AFTER ‘Skyfall?’ Is this a good idea you think or should the producers find someone new after say, 5 years?

Michael: I’ve certainly enjoyed Daniel Craig as the most recent incarnation of Bond. But, I think an actor can overstay their welcome in the role (cough *** Roger Moore). More than two more, beyond Skyfall, and that might be too much 😉

Ted: I wouldn’t mind seeing Craig in one more film but after that the producers should look for a new actor, get a new face and have that actor create his own version of Bond.

Ruth: I definitely think Craig should just do two more Bond movies after Skyfall, tops. As much as I like him, I feel that he already looks so old now that I can’t imagine five years from now. We might get another Never Say Never Again conundrum that Connery faced when he looked more like an AARP rep than a suave super spy!

So yeah, my take is: I want to see a fresh face in a few years. Anyone on this list (save for that guy in the show Revenge) would be a fine choice in my book!


We hope you enjoyed reading our Bond Q&A. Now we turn it over to you… what are your thoughts about this franchise’s enduring appeal?

Spotlight on My Favorite Bond –Timothy Dalton in Licence to Kill

I have James Bond in my mind today, and in case some of you didn’t know, this coming October the Bond franchise is celebrating its 50th anniversary. So for Bond month we’ll have some related posts to mark the festivities. A few sites have started a Bond-related series, such as the Bond-a-thon that MTV Movie Blog is running right now and just yesterday, the movie they highlighted was Licence to Kill, woo hoo!

I’m glad they had something positive to say about it: Unlike the majority of the movies in the series, Bond has a believable motivation. We’ve known Felix Leiter since “Dr. No,” and when something genuinely awful happens to him, we care, and we care that Bond cares, especially when it kicks off a journey for vengeance.

But what got me overjoyed was last Friday my friend Michael sent me a link via Twitter to John Kenneth Muir’s appreciation post on Licence To Kill. I have intimated in more than one occasions that Timothy Dalton is my all time favorite Bond, as you probably have read in this post, but Mr. Muir absolutely nailed the reason why I love him so…

Beyond the stunts, Timothy Dalton absolutely excels as Bond in this film. He’s called upon to undergo a series of personal crises here, and gives the audience a fully human Bond who pushes himself to the limits of human endurance, both in terms of injury (as in the finale) and in terms of control over his emotions.  Some people worried that this Dalton Bond was “too sensitive,” but his is — pretty clearly — the Bond of the Ian Fleming books.  He smokes too much, drinks too much, and when he lets himself feel his emotions, he’s absolutely off the rails.

Oh my! I couldn’t say it better myself! I have seen this film recently and it absolutely renews my appreciation for it. Here’s the Bond resigning clip that shows that Bond has a heart… but still very much a bad ass!



So today I feel like indulging a bit and turn the spotlight on the Shakespearean-trained Welsh actor in his second outing as Bond… in pictorial… because sometimes, pictures speak so much louder than words!

Now, if you think the movie is devoid of humor, then you’d be wrong. Though Licence to Kill is by definition a much darker, grittier tale that’s a departure from the Roger Moore’s Bonds, but there are some fun, lighthearted moments scattered throughout, such as this one when Q shows up in Bond’s hotel room:

How Dalton came to play Bond

Director John Glen on set with Dalton

And for those who ever thought that Dalton was a ‘back-up’ Bond (like one Variety writer said in their recent post), well they need to do better research. The actor had said in The Living Daylights documentary that Albert Broccoli had offered him the role as far back as 1968 when he was only 24! It was Dalton himself who turned down the role, saying he was far too young for the role, “Originally I did not want to take over from Sean Connery. He was far too good, he was wonderful. I was about 24 or 25, which is too young. But when you’ve seen Bond from the beginning, you don’t take over from Sean Connery.”

Wikipedia also noted that he was approached again in the late 70s but he wasn’t keen on the direction the films were taking (this was Roger Moore’s era, natch!). It’s true that he finally accepted the role in 1986 when Pierce Brosnan couldn’t get his contract out of the TV series Remington Steele, but it didn’t mean that he was the producer’s second choice as Dalton was already considered before Brosnan even entered the picture!

In any case, it really is a shame Dalton only got two Bond movies under his belt. I like Daniel Craig, I mean Casino Royale is one of my favorite Bond movies now and you know I’m looking forward to Skyfall. But Dalton’s performance, which was way ahead of his time, will always be the one I remember most fondly. I’m sure glad that it seems that more people seem to appreciate Dalton and his Bond movies more as time goes by. Rightly so!


That’s it folks. Thoughts on Dalton and/or Licence To Kill? Well, let’s hear it!

007 Chatter: Best and Worst Bond girls of each Bond actor

In anticipation for Bond 23, a.k.a. Skyfall (view trailer) coming on November 9th, 2012, Ted and I are starting a new monthly series called 007 CHATTER… look for it sometime in the first week of each month.

I’ve also added a new category for this, so click on 007 Chatter on the category drop-down menu for all Bond-related posts.

Two and a half months away until Skyfall arrives so the countdown continues. This time my pal Ted and I set our sights to the Bond girls! They’re as essential to a Bond movie as his Walter PPK, and they have quite an enduring appeal. Once a Bond girl, always a Bond girl. I subscribe to IN STYLE magazine and within the 600+ pages of the September issue is a segment on guess what, Bond girls!! It marks the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the first Bond film, Dr. No. I like the intro they wrote:

It’s the most exclusive sorority in the world — a sisterhood of desire, bikinis and deadly weapons.

I also saw this amazing info-graphic created by CableTV.com that shows every single Bond girls from the 23 Bond movies, yes including Skyfall.

Click to see the full infographic

Well, not every Bond girl is cut from the same cloth however, so here’s our picks of the best and worst from Connery all the way to Daniel Craig [we purposely skip George Lazenby’s single Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service]. I do think that Diana Rigg as the ONLY Bond girl that the playboy super-spy married would belong in the BEST list.

So here we go:

TED’s LIST

BEST WORST
Connery Honey Ryder Tiffany Case
Moore Solitaire Mary Goodnight
Dalton Pam Bouvier Kara Milovy
Brosnan Natalya Simonova Christmas Jones
Craig Camille Strawberry Fields

///

Sean Connery

It’s a challenge to choose the best and worst Bond girls from all of Connery’s films, but I believe many people will agree with my choices.

Best: Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder in Dr. No – the scene where she emerged out of the beach is still the best intro to a beautiful woman ever filmed. I instantly fell in love with her as a young teenager and maybe it’s the reason why I tend to date blonde ladies with curves 🙂

Worst: Jill St. John as Tiffany Case in Diamonds Are Forever – In my opinion this was one of the worst Bond films ever produced and it has probably the worst Bond girl in Jill St. John. Her is a perfect example of damsel in distress, even she spent most of the movie in a bikini, I just found her character annoying.

Roger Moore

Let’s face it most of Moore’s Bond films were pretty dreadful but many of the Bond girls were quite beautiful.

Best: Jane Seymore as Solitaire in Live and Let Die – The first time I saw this film and her character appeared on screen, I thought she’s the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. I think she’s only the reason why I can watch this Bond flick again and again. This was one of the worst Bond films ever made.

Worst: Britt Ekland as Mary Goodnight in The Man with the Golden Gun – Another bad Bond flick, unfortunately it also have one of the worst Bond girls. Ekland’s character is another damsel in distress and not much else.

Timothy Dalton

He’s only done two Bond films so this one was easy to choose.

Best: Carey Lowell as Pam Bouvier in License to Kill – She’s a sexy lady who can fire a shotgun and flies an airplane. With her long legs and beautiful eyes, yeah I’m in love with her.

Worst: Maryam d’Abo as Kara Milovy in The Living Daylights – I hate to keep repeating myself but again her character is another damsel in distress and not much else.

Pierce Brosnan

He starred in four Bond films, two good ones and two very bad ones.

Best: Izabella Scorupco as Natalya Simonova in GoldenEye – I think her character is more of a sidekick to Bond than just another eye candy. She actually helped Bond get out of trouble in some tight spots.

Worst: Denise Richards as Dr. Christmas Jones in The World Is Not Enough – I mentioned this on an earlier article so I’ll mention it again: Denise Richards played a doctor, Denise Richards played a doctor! Richards’ so unbelievable in this role that I have to wonder if she’d slept with the producers to get the job!

Daniel Craig

He’s the current Bond and so far we’ve only seen two of his films but here are my best and worst.

Best: Olga Kurylenko as Camille in Quantum of Solace – I’m sure many people would’ve gone with Eva Green in Casino Royale but I like Olga better. She and Bond had the same agenda and will do whatever it takes to get it. I really dug the scene where she told Bond what happened to her family and then Bond apologized to her for messing up her attempt at killing General Medrano.

Worst: Gemma Arterton as Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace – I don’t even know why the filmmakers decided to include her in the film, she served no purpose whatsoever to the story. Maybe halfway through filming, they realized they only have one pretty girl so they had bring in another one just to please the audience.

RUTH’s LIST

BEST WORST
Connery Pussy Galore Kissy Suzuki
Moore Octopussy Stacey Sutton
Dalton Pam Bouvier None 🙂
Brosnan Elektra King & Wai Lin(tie) Christmas Jones
Craig Vesper Lynd Camille Montes

Sean Connery

I have to confess that my memory of Connery’s Bond films are a bit hazy, and I had just seen Dr. No for the first time recently.

Best: Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger – Not only does she have THE most memorable name in the history of Bond girls, she also has one of the best introduction. Bond’s response “I must be dreaming,” always makes me laugh, I mean it’s just perfect! She’s also a pilot and knows Judo, and though there are hints that miss Galore is gay, Honor Blackman said in the Bond Girls Are Forever documentary that she played the role as if she had been abused in the past.

Worst: Zena Marshall as Miss Taro in Dr. No – Since I just saw this recently, it’s still fresh in my mind. I can’t stand it when Hollywood used to employ Caucasian actress to play an ethnic character. In this case she’s supposed to be a Chinese girl and Zena was made up with heavy eyeliner to make her eyes appear smaller [roll eyes] On top of it, her character is just lame. I’m glad Bond girls have come a long way since then, well most of the time anyway.

Roger Moore

I grew up watching Moore’s Bond films so I remember them fondly. Though I prefer the grittier Bond like Dalton and Craig, Moore’s Bond flicks are guilty pleasures for me. They’re preposterous fun!

Best: Maud Adams as Octopussy in Octopussy – The film is kind of a guilty pleasure of mine, but I really like seeing a Bond girl not only get the title role but she’s also a powerful business woman who’s beautiful as well as shrewd. Swedish-born Adams is the only Bond girl (besides Eunice Gayson as ‘Trench, Sylvia Trench’) who appears in two Bond films. I quite like the way she speaks, sounds seductive and elegant, without sounding like a bimbo.

WorstTanya Roberts as Stacey Sutton in A View To a Kill – For a geologist, Stacey just doesn’t seem that bright to me and unlike Maud, the girlish way Tanya talks annoys the heck out of me. It’s a terribly-written Bond flick to begin with, and having her as the Bond girl certainly doesn’t help matters. She doesn’t seem able to do single darn thing without Bond’s help!

Timothy Dalton

My favorite Bond somehow got a bad rap for being way ahead of its time… and also for being the least promiscuous of them all [in the 007 universe apparently it’s a bad thing] as the film comes out in the age of AIDS and safe sex.

Best: Carey Lowell as Pam Bouvier in License to Kill – I like her spunk and as a CIA agent, she definitely doesn’t need Bond’s help to take care of the bad guys. I like the fact that Bouvier has her hair cut short when Bond hints that she needs a makeover. She looks sexy and in control in that sparkling dress and bright red lipstick, no wonder Bond did a double take when he saw her!

Special Honorable Mention: Talisa Soto as Lupi in License to Kill. As the girlfriend of Bond villain Sanchez, no doubt Lupi is pretty much just there for eye candy. But I think she’s quite memorable and she definitely looks stunning in that red lace dress at the casino.

Worst: None. Controversial I know but I quite like ALL of Dalton’s Bond girls.

I know people don’t like Maryam d’Abo as Kara Milovy in The Living Daylights, but to her credit, I don’t think she’s as much a weak Bond girl as people think. The more I watch this movie the more I grow fond of her, yes even her delirious cooing to Bond “You were fantastic. We’re free!” to which Bond replied, “Kara, we’re inside a Russian airbase in the middle of Afghanistan!” But then she redeemed herself and proves her mettle when she’s left behind with the Mujahideen, fighting her way to finally get into the plane with Bond. I also like that she’s the only Bond girl who actually has a legitimate career as a concert cellist.

Pierce Brosnan

I enjoyed the first two of his Bond flicks, but the last two leave much to be desired. Now that I think about it, I’m not too keen on Brosnan’s style as Bond either. He’s just way too smug for his own good, but he does have some terrific Bond girls cast in his movies.

Best: Sophie Marceau and Michelle Yeoh (tie). I can’t pick which one I like best between these two. I like Sophie’s elegance and her background as an heiress who falls for her kidnapper is quite intriguing. The film is crap yes, but I have a soft spot for Sophie as a Bond girl. Michelle is one of those tough girl who could practically kill Bond with her martial arts skill. I like her earlier chase scenes between her and Bond in Carver’s secret lab in Hamburg, Germany.

Special Honorable Mention: Famke Janssen as Xenia Onnatop in Goldeneye. She’s more of a Bond villainness but I think she deserves a mention as who could forget the cigar-smokin’ beauty with killer thighs? I’ve always liked Famke, especially as Dr. Jean Grey in the X-Men movies. I can’t believe she’s now relegated to a damsel-in-distress role as Bryan Mills’ ex-wife in Taken, you’d think after such a bad-ass role she could almost get a role as a female superspy!

Worst: Denise Richards as Dr. Christmas Jones in The World Is Not Enough – Even with our ‘suspension of disbelief’ radar turned on at full force, it’s still hard to take in someone who looks and talks like Denise Richards, dressed in tank top and short shorts, as anything requiring an advanced degree, let alone a nuclear scientist!! Plus, Bond’s quip at the end about ‘Christmas only comes once a year’ is just sooo cringe-worthy!


///

Daniel Craig

Though Craig’s only got two movies so far, but one of his Bond girls has become one of my favorites Bond girls of all time. We’ll see how Naomie Harris and Bérénice Marlohe would fare when Skyfall is released.

Best: Eva Green as Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale – I just love her from the moment she appeared on the train to Montenegro. Her banter with Bond is one of my all-time favorite scenes, and not just from a Bond movie. Vesper is no bimbo, but she’s also more than meets the eye. Eva plays Vesper in such a bewitching way that it’s easy to see why even someone like Bond who could have any woman he wanted would give it all up just for her.

Worst: Olga Kurylenko as Camille in Quantum of Solace – Sorry Ted but I just don’t like this movie and though Olga is beautiful, she makes for a boring Bond girl to me. Yes she’s got her own personal vendetta so she has no time to make love with Bond, and that’s completely fine by me, yet she just isn’t a charismatic character. It’s not her fault though, I think the film is just poorly-written.



Well that’s our list. I’m sure every Bond fan has their own pick of best and worst Bond girls, so let’s hear it!

007 Chatter: Our picks of six worst Bond villains

In anticipation for Bond 23, a.k.a. Skyfall (view trailer) coming on November 9th, 2012, Ted and I are starting a new monthly series called 007 CHATTER… look for it sometime in the first week of each month.

I’ve also added a new category for this, so click on 007 Chatter on the category drop-down menu for all Bond-related posts.

Ted’s Picks

In my opinion there has never been a great villain in a Bond film, there were some decent ones but I’m still waiting for the Hans Gruber or The Joker type of villain to appear in a Bond flick. With the upcoming Skyfall, I do hope Javier Bardem can pull off a great villain that I’ve been craving in a Bond film since well forever.

That being said, there were so many bad Bond villains throughout the franchise, below are my top three worst Bond baddies and henchmen/women.

Max Zorin and May Day from A View to a Kill

This was a tragedy, how could you have Christopher Walken playing a villain in a Bond flick and yet his role was so badly-written? I mean come on, it’s Christopher Walken, he could’ve been the best Bond villain ever had the writers came up with a better concept for his character. Instead what they came up with was to have him play a mad industrialist who’s trying to monopolize the tech world by destroying Silicon Valley, really? I think Steve Jobs has done a better job of that and he didn’t even have to kill millions of people to accomplish it. Then they decided to include a henchwoman played by Grace Jones; she’s one scary woman and not in a good way. I’ll leave it at that.

Maximilian Largo and Fatima Blush from Never Say Never Again

There were so many things wrong with this remake of my favorite Bond film, Thunderball. First, Sean Connery was way too old to play Bond, it was creepy watching him romances the very young Kim Basinger. Then somehow they decided not to make the movie exciting, seriously try watching this flick and not fall asleep. In an interview, Irvin Kershner (yes the same director who made The Empire Strikes Back) said he didn’t want to include too many action scenes in the movie but was forced by the studio to shoot a couple of additional of action set pieces. If you saw the movie then you know how lackluster those sequences looked on the screen, Kershner flatly admitted that he just didn’t care for those scenes and decided not to put much effort into directing them. Well Mr. Kershner you accomplished your mission.

But the worse offense to me was the casting or should I say miscasting of the main villain. In the original film, Largo wasn’t a great villain but the actor who played him did a decent job with it. In this remake, Klaus Brandauer was cast as Largo and he might be the least intimating Bond villain ever. I remember the first time I saw this film, when his character appeared on screen, I tried hard not to laugh because he’s such a dorky looking person that I thought, really he’s supposed to be Bond’s main antagonist? Now I thought the casting of Barbara Carrera as the henchwoman Fatima was a good idea but he character was so boring that she didn’t add much to the story, she’s no Xenia Onatopp. To be fair though, the character from the original film wasn’t that strong either.

Dominic Greene and Elvis from Quantum of Solace

I’m one of the few people who enjoyed this film but again they totally miscast the main villain. Mathieu Amalric played the CEO of the mysterious Quantum organization and he was just wrong for this role. He’s not a bad actor by any means but for a Bond villain, I wanted to see someone who’s intimating and can actually kick Bond’s ass. Now I understand that most CEO of big companies look more like Mathieu Amalric, for example Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates came to mind. But in a film world, I want to see a bigger than life person not some dorky looking dude.

To add insult to injury, the filmmakers thought hey why not include a henchman who looks like pedophile and not have him doing anything except looking creepy throughout the movie. The role of Elvis was played by Anatole Taubman, I had to look it up on imdb to make sure since his name was never utter in the film. Of all the henchmen in the Bond franchise, he’s probably the least intimating of the bunch.

HONORABLE MENTION:

Mr. Big/Kananga from Live and Let Die


Ruth’s Picks

Now, my picks are focused on the main villain. They’re agonizingly-bad enough on their own without the *help* of a henchman.

Brad Whitaker in The Living Daylights

I was watching The Living Daylights the day I wrote this. I like this movie, mind you, but man, what the heck was the casting manager thinking casting Joe Don Baker as the shady arms dealer. Up until then, I actually quite like the double-crossing General Koskov (Jeroen Krabbé) and Pushkin is played by the always-watchable John Rhys-Davies. But Whitaker is just sooo cheesy, I mean, even Art Malik as the as the Afghan Mujahideen leader is a thousand times cooler than this guy. The moment he appears I swear this movie just stoop down a few notches to become a barely B-movie action flick!

Such a shame considering how classy Timothy Dalton is as Bond. Even his death being pinned under a giant Wellington statue is rather lame, though his personal war museum of himself dressed up as historical military leaders like Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, even Attila the Hun is preposterous fun.

Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies

I think the idea of a media mogul as a Bond villain is quite clever and timely for the beginning of the 21st century, now if only they cast someone remotely interesting. Johnathan Pryce had zero charisma and his overacting didn’t help matters. I find it hard to believe him in the role of a headlines-obsessed, power-hungry megalomaniac.

I find him to be a weak villain in every sense of the word, he never even fight Bond or anyone in a hand-to-hand combat, and he manages to mock Michelle Yeoh’s Wai Lin’s Kung Fu moves. I mean she’s a skilled Chinese spy, I kept wishing she’d just break his neck in one swift kick!! When Bond finally offed him with his own sea drill (ouch!), it wasn’t a moment too soon.

Renard in The World in Not Enough

Now, unlike the two I mentioned above, Renard is actually played by a capable actor, Robert Carlyle. So it’s a pity that he’s written up to be such a feeble character. It had so much potential, I mean the guy has a friggin’ bullet in his brain which makes him immune to pain as it destroys his senses. You’d think he’d be this cool, bad-ass baddie, but he barely has any screen time and ends up playing second fiddle to his lover Elektra.

Now, I actually like French actress Sophie Marceau in the role of an oil heiress who falls for the man who abducts her. Interesting story if it had been explored a bit better, but the whole two-villains idea falls flat here. Poor Carlyle, not only does he have to put up with having this constipated look throughout the movie, he also has to put up with Denise Richards playing a nuclear scientist!!

HONORABLE MENTION:

Nick Nack (Hervé Villechaize) in The Man With the Golden Gun

Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens) in Die Another Day


Now that you’ve read our pick of the worst Bond villains, check out my wish-list of actors I’d like to see as 007’s nemesis.



Well, those are our choices, folks. Now, who’s YOUR pick of the worst Bond villain ever, let us know in the comments.

THIS JUST IN! Skyfall teaser trailer debuts

As you loyal readers know by now, there’s not a lot of movies we anticipate more than Skyfall here at FlixChatter. My pal Ted and I even started a 007 Chatter series as a countdown to the movie in November.

There’s a lot to be excited for here apart from Daniel Craig returning, there’s Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes directing, flanked by a slew of Oscar winning actors, and now we’ve got this tantalizing new trailer. Check it out:

Ok, this definitely amp up my excitement tenfold. I love that first shot of Bond overlooking the London skyline with the Big Ben looming in the background. There’s something foreboding and eerie in that majestic shot, and that shot of a row of coffins draped in British flags is disquieting.

The whole word association game starts out with Bond looking unperturbed but his mood abruptly changes with the mere mention of Skyfall…

Country: London
Gun: Shot
Agent: Provocateur
Murder: Employment
Skyfall: [pause]
Skyfall: Done!

With that Bond leaves the room as Dame Judi Dench’s M and Ralph Fiennes’ Mallory watches from behind the glass. Just what the heck is Skyfall? Is that what’s written on his secret mission dossier, kind of like For Your Eyes Only? And who is Mallory? Is he a good or bad guy?

No sign of Javier Bardem as the baddie however, perhaps Mendes is saving him for the full trailer? In any case, the rest of the 40-second teaser shows that all the reasons we go see a Bond movie is present: glamorous locations (filming took place in the UK, Shanghai, and Turkey), sexy Bond girls frolicking with our hero, Bond being chased all over and high-octane action shots such as a train crash, etc. All of those are well and good, but this one promises something *more* which is the most intriguing part of all.

The trailer ends with Bond saying “Some men are coming to kill us. We’ve got to kill them first.” Well, will he? There’s rumor swirling around that an important character might die in this film. I have an inkling who might that be, but I’m sure I’ll still be gasping when that happens. This looks poised to be Craig’s best bond yet. Bring it on, Mr. Mendes!


What do you think folks? Don’t you wish this comes out next week instead of November? 🙂

007 Chatter: Seven directors wishlist for the next Bond movie

In anticipation for Bond 23, a.k.a. Skyfall coming on November 9th, 2012, Ted and I are starting a new monthly series called 007 CHATTER… look for it sometime in the first week of each month.

I’ve also added a new category for this, so click on 007 Chatter on the category drop-down menu for all Bond-related posts.

Ok, so last month we’ve singled out seven actors we think might be a good pick to play Bond. Now, we set our sights to the directors who’d do the franchise some good.

Skyfall‘s director Sam Mendes is quite an unlikely choice to direct a Bond film given his theater background and his films often deal with troubled ordinary people, a far cry from the ultimate action hero. But that fact is what makes Skyfall so promising to me. Some have said that this next Bond flick will be lighter on action but with heavier character development and I welcome that. Now I think we can still expect some high-stunts action sequences, car chases, what have you, but there’s nothing wrong with giving this 50-year-old franchise more depth and profundity.

Well, without further ado, these are seven directors Ted and I think could do the franchise some good:

TED’s and RUTH’s PICKS:

Kenneth Branagh

Ted: Ah now we are finally talking about a director whom the producers might already be considering to direct the next one. He’s a Brit and he’s just made a big budgeted action film, Thor.  Also, he’s already signed on the reboot another espionage franchise, the untitled Jack Ryan film. So not only is he a Brit but he’ll also have the experience of working on a spy flick, so it’s a win-win for the producers. I think Branagh can bring back those classic styles of the Bond flicks from the 60s.

Ruth: The multi-talented Irish thespian maybe known for his Shakespearean work, but he’s far more versatile than than, as proven with the success of the comic-book adaptation of Thor, among others. I’m certainly optimistic about him directing the fifth Jack Ryan spy thriller with Chris Pine. As an accomplished triple threat, actor/writer/director, he’s also got a knack for casting [case in point: then-unknown Tom Hiddleston as Loki in Thor] so perhaps we’d have another star in the making with a yet unknown Bond actor.

TED’s PICKS:

David Fincher

Fincher was actually going to direct another spy franchise back in early 2000s (Mission: Impossible 3). But because of the dispute between him and the studio over the film’s tone, he left the project. With Fincher’s style and flare, his Bond flick could be one of the best ever made, heck he already directed James Bond aka Daniel Craig in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo so maybe Craig will help convince the producer to hire Fincher for the next Bond flick. We know Fincher can handle big-budgeted films so that won’t be a problem. He’s never done an action film before but some of his films has some great action sequences, for example the foot chase scene in Se7en and the shootout sequence in The Game, so he can definitely stage great action set pieces. Also, his schedule is wide open since Disney put an axe on 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, he was set to direct the remake of the 1954 film but Disney new chief wanted save some cash. But because he’s American, I don’t think he’ll ever be consider for the gig.

Park Chan-Wook

Another candidate I don’t believe Bond producers will ever consider, but it would be awesome if Park Chan-Wook gets to make a Bond flick. Actually I think the South Korean director should’ve directed Quantum of Solace. Most of his films dealt with vengeance and I think Quantum would’ve been a great film had he directed it. Like Fincher, this man knows how to shoot great looking films, his Vengeance Trilogy are some of the best looking films I’ve ever seen and they’re pretty low budget. So imagine if he has $200mil to shoot a film, it would look spectacular. And with a character like Bond, he could explore the darker side of the character.

Quentin Tarantino

Some may remember right before the producers of the Bond films decided to reboot the franchise, Tarantino was on The Tonight Show and started talking about much he wanted to make Casino Royale (per MI-6 HQ.com). He told Jay Leno, “Just give me $50mil and I can make an awesome Bond flick based on Casino Royale novel.” Well a couple of years after QT made his comments, that movie came out but unfortunately QT didn’t get to direct it. For the next Bond flick, I think the producers should consider QT as their next director and I know it’s very unlikely since they have strict rules against hiring non-European directors. QT is a Bond fanatic so I know he can make a great Bond film but again I don’t think it will ever happen.

Honorable mention:

Kathryn Bigelow – Now here’s a director that I don’t believe the producers will ever consider, she’s an American and well she’s a woman. But look at her resume, she can definitely direct a big action film. Point Break is one of my favorite guilty pleasure action films; she also made another great and very underrated action film, Strange Days. Oh yeah she’s an Oscar winner too. So come on now the Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, let’s put her on the list of the next Bond director.

RUTH’s PICKS:

Christopher Nolan

I know Nolan has expressed interest in directing a Bond movie. In fact, he even admitted on several occasions of that the intense action sequence in the snowy mountain area in Inception was inspired by growing up watching Bond films. Well, considering how astounding his Batman films and Inception were, I think the 42-year-old Londoner could potentially do something very intriguing with this franchise. On his IMDb profile, it’s said that Nolan’s films often have ‘obsessive protagonists with a troubled past,’ well then Bond would be a perfect character for him to tackle. Plus, given his huge fan-base, it’d certainly be a good move financially for the studios as well.

Surely rising star Tom Hardy would be very keen on this idea. He’s even said that he’d do the role if Nolan is directing. He told Metro UK, “I’d love to play Bond with Chris Nolan (as a) director or something, it would be awesome.” Yes indeed!

Matthew Vaughn

Here’s another young, talented Londoner who’s expressed interest in directing a Bond movie. He’s said in many interviews that his X-Men: First Class was partly inspired by the 60s Bond films, describing it as “… part Bond flick and part John Frankenheimer political thriller.” Vaughn quite forthright about his desire to do a Bond movie in this Bleeding Cool article:

I sort of want the Brocollis to regret never hiring me. I was very keen to direct Bond. I don?t know if I am any more, to be blunt, now that I?ve done this. I really love Daniel [Craig], though you know, it might be interesting if they one day decide to cast Fassbender as Bond, then maybe I? ll go ?Hey!?

Fassbender’s Magneto was practically Bondian in his quest for personal vendetta, he even had the strut down pat. It’d be great to see these two team up in a Bond film. Maybe his wife Claudia Schiffer could even have a cameo as a Bond girl 😀

Brad Bird

This is the off-the-beaten path pick as Bird is American, but it’d be great if the Broccolis make an exception once in a while. Somehow they don’t seem to mind about the Bond actor not being from the UK, so why not the director?

The critical and box office success of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol proves that Bird could tackle live-action flicks as well as he does animated features. He’s obviously able to take a formidable but stale franchise to new heights with innovative and thrilling action sequences. He’s sort of made an homage to Bond movies with The Incredibles, and given his screenwriting track-record, he’d be able to balance the thrills and gadgets with engaging characters and narrative. Oh, perhaps Michael Giacchino could work on the Bond score? Now, that’d be a winning combo!


Like this post? Please submit to Reddit. We’ll be eternally grateful! 😀


Well, those are our choices, folks. Please vote below and if you pick ‘other’ please let us know who it is and why in the comments.


Everybody’s Chattin’ … and the Bond casting poll update

HAPPY FRIDAY, all! 

Man, I just realized I haven’t done an Everybody’s Chattin’ post in ages. As you can tell, I’m not big on structure or keeping up w/ series like my blog friends [you know who you are :D] but I promise I’ll keep this post more regularly from now on.

Now, before I get on the links, I just want to update you with the results of the Bond casting poll from a week ago. My Twitter pals might already know this but the winner with 173 votes is… drum roll please…

Richard Armitage!

Well I know the Armitage Army is quite a fervent bunch ahah, but hey, just look at this guy, I wholeheartedly endorse this lean, 6’2″, green-eyed actor as the super spy. In fact, as I’m going to start watching BBC’s Spooks in between Sherlock to see more Richard in all kinds of Bondian action!

Ok, it’s Friday, so a bit of confession can’t hurt 🙂

Well, after watching some Spooks clips and The Hobbit behind the scenes & press conference videos, last night I had a dream I was part of The Hobbit set in New Zealand. It was during break and the couple of hundred of cast and crew are all sitting in this lush park of some sort. It was almost dark and we’re all sitting in clusters of people and somehow, in my group is Thorin himself [Richard is playing the leader of the dwarfs y’see] and Frodo [Elijah Woods] or someone who look like him. I honestly can’t remember the whole details, the only part I did remember is asking Richard how long he’s been on location. It was quite noisy with so many people around us and so he had to lean very close to me to hear what I was saying, tee-hee… he replied that it must have been around 10 months or so. In any case, it’s one of those dreams you really don’t want to wake up from. Oh man, to be amongst the cast of the most anticipated movies of all time AND sitting next to such a gorgeous creature! 😀 😀

Now time for the links!

  • Ryan over at the fantabulous The Matinee gets the spotlight on him as he’s being interviewed by Kid on the Front Row on his blogging history, podcasting, etc. A very insightful post on a truly inspirational blogger, check it out!
    … 
  • I always love an unconventional movie lists, and recently Andrew from Encore’s Entertainment did a Nurse Appreciation post by listing some of his favorite nurses in movies.
    … 
  • Tyler of Southern Vision has come up with a bunch of interesting art-house lists, this time he turned his attention to war films. Check out which films make his Top Ten.

    … 
  • The Elephant Man is one of those films I’ve been meaning to see for a while, and Andina reminded me why in her excellent review of this David Lynch film.
    … 
  • Ok, last but not least, the Ten Best Actor Relay Race that I did a couple of weeks ago is now in Sam Fragoso’s hands this week. Check out his blog Duke & the Movies to see which actor he took out and added in. The race is definitely getting more and more interesting, well done Nostra!

Oh, with The Avengers only a week away, my pal Terrence is gearing up for his Avengers Initiative, a week’s worth of Avengers-related posts from friends, including yours truly. You don’t want to miss all the fun!


Well, before you click away to these awesome posts, tell me what’s your viewing plans this weekend?