by Alison Janssen
Up until a few weeks ago, I'd only ever seen two Bond movies: From Russia With Love and the one with Pierce Brosnan and the handcuff motorcyle chase.
To close this gap in my cultural knowledge, my fiance and our streaming Netflix account consipired to show me what I've been missing, and we've been watching Bond almost exclusively for many, many evenings. You guys, I had no idea these movies would be so much fun.
It all started with the Peter Sellers Casino Royale, which was hilarious and has inspired me to sing that theme song roughly ten times a day, usually with made-up-lyrics about my cats. ("And Princess/and Captain/they sit out in the sun/all day and then go/to Cas-in-o Roy-ale! Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doodoodoodoo.")
We haven't gone strictly in order -- not everything was streaming on Netflix, so there's been some jumping around to what we could easily get, with catching up on disc when we can make it to Four Star. We're very near the end of the Bond universe, now. All we have left are to rewatch From Russia and the handcuff motorcycle one, and then finishing it all up with the second Daniel Craig.
I've been surprised by how many had shark tanks (or sharks in the wild near the villian's base). Five, if you count Never Say Never Again, which I do (the others were Thunderball, For Your Eyes Only, Licence to Kill and The Spy Who Loved Me). Only one had a villain who used a spider as a weapon (Dr. No), and three with snakes (Moonraker, Never Say Never Again, and Live and Let Die which should count as at least three for the sheer volume and terrifyingness of the snakes used. Snakes in a coffin?! OMG WORST NIGHTMARE!)
In terms of title songs, I think "Live and Let Die" is the best song outside of Bond-context, but otherwise much prefer female vocalists during the opening. Shirley Bassey FTW! (The opening songs for some of those 80s Bond movies were TERRIBLE.)
My favorite Bond girl was ... Diana Rigg, I think. Because in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, it almost seemed like SHE was playing Bond, and Lazenby was playing the Bond girl. I did love Jane Seymour, too, but she's disqualified due to too many snakes in that movie. Halle Berry was also amazing as Jinx. Least favorite is Denise Richards, hands down.
Villains are harder to narrow down to favorites/least favorites. There was so much to love about each of them! Christopher Walken was pretty amazing, but I think that's because I just like him in general, and it was funny to see him so young and blond. I spent most of The Man With the Golden Gun waiting for Gandalf the White to come back up 007 against Saruman. I did love Hugo Drax, if only because his plan seemed the most crazily ambitious. I mean, really. A space station! Filled with genetically perfect twentysomethings! To repopulate the earth after he wipes out humanity with neurotoxins! And Sean Bean gets points just for being Sean Bean. Mmm, Borimir. But I think favorite villian might go to Telly Savalas, because he manages to kill Bond's wife AND get away and, you know, he had the coolest SECRET LUGE ESCAPE ROUTE!
Which brings me to my fiance's conspiracy theory: Bond flims are actually propoganda films for the Olympics. There's skiing! Luge! Figure skating! Wrestling! More skiing! It's like they pick an Olympic sport to feature for each film and run with it, making sure to make it look super cool and exciting because James Bond does it.
Do you have a favorite Bond villian? Or a favorite Bond? I liked each of them in their own way, so I don't know that I have a favorite.
Although the latest Bond does look an awful lot like the man I'm about to marry ...