007 Chatter: Musings on Bond Villains and Top 7 Picks

It’s the last day of the Bond month, the 50 year anniversary of the first Bond film, Dr. No, which opened in the UK on on October 5, 1962. These 007 posts are also part of the Skyfall countdown which will open on November 9 here in the US! As I don’t cover the horror genre on this blog, I figure it’d be fitting to do a post on those wicked Bond villains on Halloween.

Special thanks to Raul Marin of The Movi3 Lounge for this guest post!
Three of his picks actually match my own top five I posted two years ago 😀


Just as the day turns to night, the month celebrating the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise comes to a sudden end. However, this is only the beginning of more to come! There is another film to look forward to in a few days, as Daniel Craig will once again play the iconic role in Skyfall.

As we all anticipate this next film with great excitement, I invite you to think about the villains that we have seen in the franchise over last 50 years. There are six men who have had the pleasure of playing this amazing role. They have dazzled us with their strength, charm, and bravery to save the world against impossible odds. Before we can appreciate the amazing acts of this extraordinary British agent, we have to recognize the worthy adversaries he has encountered before saving the world. Before you can have a hero, you need a villain that can challenge him or her to overcome adversity. After winning many battles, you become a hero with your good deeds and amazing courage. When life is on the line, there has been no one better than James Bond to save humanity from chaos and destruction. The beauty of this franchise has been that someone with the talent and abilities of Bond has been needed to bring down the most dangerous and criminal-minded villains on the planet.

The role of villains in this franchise is something special. To put this in a better perspective, Bond has what it takes to be a devastating villain in any film. He is a strong, determined, and fearless agent that will do what it takes to save the world. The villains on the other hand, use their abilities and resources to establish world order and domination under their control. They also share the same characteristics as Bond. Which brings up a great point: it is not about the strengths and abilities that you have; it is about what you choose to do with them. Since we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of this incredible franchise, it is only fitting to recognize the seven best Bond villains. Of course, there have been many villains throughout these 23 films, but there are seven in particular, who went beyond the expectations of a great villain.

There’s even a book dedicated to the evil masterminds of the Bond franchise

It is not enough to simply have the role of a villain in a film; it is something that should be earned in the eyes of the director and the audience. What makes these seven villains stand out more than the rest are a couple of characteristics; mainly the possession of power. In their respective films, there is no question of the power, influence, and authority that they have over the people that work for them, and the fear they have caused in the world because of that. Another characteristic that they all share is style. This can be interpreted in a lot of ways, but the reality is, they each demonstrate their personalities with great charisma, elegance, and even a sense of humor. Above all, they each demonstrate a relentless, diabolical, and cold-hearted hunger for killing Bond, and destroying whatever gets in the way of their dreams.

Many, if not all, villains in this franchise have had evil henchmen whose jobs are to make killing Bond easier them. They may not be complete villains, but if you still cringe at their presence on screen, they have done their job well. Jaws and Oddjob did the best jobs of that in my humble opinion. Soon, Javier Bardem will add himself to the list of actors that have graced fans everywhere with their on screen presence as a villain in Skyfall. It may be too early to say that he belongs among the best, but there is certainly great excitement and expectation for him to be among the ranks of the most evil men that Bond has had to face.

It is with great pleasure that I list my top seven Bond villains:


Dr. Julius No (Dr. No) – played by Joseph Wiseman

Hugo Drax (Moonraker) – played by Michael Lonsdale



Frank Sanchez (Licence to Kill) – played by Robert Davi



Aris Kristatos (For Your Eyes Only) – played by Julian Glover



Le Chiffre (Casino Royale) – played by Mads Mikkelsen



Emilio Largo (Thunderball) – played by Adolfo Celi



Red Grant (From Russia With Love) – played by Robert Shaw




Special Recognition:

  • Jaws – Moonraker, The Spy Who Loved Me
  • Oddjob – Goldfinger


Now your turn! Who are YOUR picks of top Bond villains?

Weekend Roundup: Comic-con, 007 & Despicable Me

Happy Monday all!

Well I *survived* the Comic-con weekend, that is I haven’t exploded from jealousy from reading all those tweets and coverage of those who were lucky enough to be there!

Dan Fogarty of FogsMovieReviews had an extensive coverage of the event, check out this awesome costume gallery and his thoughts of why Comic-con is so world-renowned. He was kind enough to send me these two pics via Twitter from Hall H where both The Hobbit AND Man of Steel‘s panel were held.

Armitage starring as Thorin in The Hobbit
The unbelievably gorgeous Man of Steel himself … Henryyyyyyyy!

Oh my, I tell you, if I had already been screaming at the top of my head seeing Andrew Garfield last year, they might have to carry me off in a stretcher seeing those Richard Armitage and Henry Cavill back to back! [swoon…]

So thanks Fogs!!

***

Well, this week is rather lackluster movie-watching for me but hey, we did secure The Dark Knight Rises IMAX tickets for next Saturday night at 7PM, woo hoo!!

I figure it might be less crowded than Friday night, but so far about half of the tickets are sold for Saturday so I think it’ll be as busy. I heard from my buddy Ted that the Man of Steel trailer WON’T be in front of the IMAX showings of the latest Nolan’s trilogy because the film itself is already too long at 2 hrs and 44 minutes. Bummer!! I hope that isn’t true!

Ah well, I can’t wait for Saturday already. This is gonna be an epic weekend alright! So did you all get YOUR tickets yet?

***

I’ve also been in a Bond mood as I had just finished another post for the 007 Chatter series. So I re-watched The Living Daylights, one of my favorite Bond movies is Timothy Dalton’s debut. After all these years I still LOVE this movie (yes despite Joe Don Baker as a lame villain) solely because of Dalton’s performance. Right from that rousing opening sequence and the clever way he’s revealed the first time as the then new Bond, I was done for. I like my James Bond dark and gritty, but Dalton is also such eye candy. Now why wasn’t there a gratuitous scene of him emerging from the water like Craig did in Casino Royale?! 🙂 I even like the sub-plot with the Afghan Mujahideen, that last half hour is exhilarating-ly action-packed and the plane fight scene shows Dalton’s physical prowess.

Then after that, I started watching Dr. No…. the film that started it all. I saw it ages ago but have forgotten much about it. I do remember liking Connery in the role. I was reading the EMPIRE 007 special edition and there’s an article on Dr. No. One of the producers was saying how when Connery left their office, they’d go to the window and watch him walk. They all loved the way he moved and I’d have to agree. There’s such inherent machismo and playfulness that’s so effortless, it’s not manufactured in any way. I LOVE the scene when the famous line ‘Bond, James Bond’ was introduced.

Wouldn’t you know it, it was all inspired by a woman! ‘Trench, Sylvia Trench.’

Anyway, here’s my mini review of…

DESPICABLE ME

Truth be told, I wasn’t all that interested in seeing this movie. The trailer looked fairly generic, and even with the great reviews (81% on Rotten Tomatoes) I kind of forgot about it. But then I saw the trailer for the sequel with those adorable minions singing ‘Ba ba ba ba ba banana… ‘ and I just couldn’t wait to see it!! So yeah, the main draw for me is really those yellow minions in denim overalls and they did not disappoint.

Starring Steve Carrell as Gru, a criminal mastermind whose grand mission is to steal the moon with the use of a shrink rays weapon. His life takes an unexpected turn when he adopts a trio of orphan girls as pawns against his main nemesis, Vector (Jason Siegel). The story itself is nothing special, in fact it’s pretty predictable all around but still it’s quite entertaining. Some reviews compared this to a Pixar movie and though there are some tender emotional moments between Gru and the girls, the plot in this one is far more frivolous and not nearly as tightly-written as say, Toy Story.

I’ve always loved Steve Carrell and his brand of humor shines here in his voice work, even though his Russian-ish accent sounds odd at times. The three orphan girls are such darling and you truly feel for their desire to be loved. In fact, I teared up during such of those moments, yes even despite its predictability that beneath the cold-hearted exterior, Gru is a softie. But to me my favorite characters are those minions!! They didn’t quite overpower the story but definitely a delight every time they appear on screen. Seems like the way the sequel’s trailer is centered solely on them, they might have more screen time in Despicable Me 2? I certainly don’t mind it, I could watch those helium-voiced yellow creatures all day!

Final Thoughts:

I think the idea of villains vs. villains is quite fresh and boasted by wonderful, endearing characters, it makes for quite a pleasant movie for both kids and adults alike. Whoever think of those minions is a genius, I can’t get enough of them! 😀

Three and a half stars out of Five
3.5 out of 5 reels


Well, what did YOU see this weekend, folks? Anything interesting?