I am always in the mood to watch or discuss James Bond films, but especially now with the recent release of “Spectre.” A week or two ago an entertainment magazine ranked the James Bond films from No. 1 to No. 24. I thought I would do the same. Today will be the films ranked No. 13 to 24. Friday or Saturday with be the rest of the films. Here goes!
No. 24 — “The Man With The Golden Gun” (1974) — It could have been one of the best in the series with Christopher Lee chosen as Francisco Scaramanga, the world’s top assassin that James Bond (Roger Moore) must stop. But the humor was very close to slapstick and some of the supporting cast were fingernails against a chalkboard annoying.
No. 23 — “The World Is Not Enough” (1999) — It has one of the best opening sequences of any Bond film that starts with 007 (Pierce Brosnan) jumping out of a high-rise building in Bilbao Spain and ending with him chasing one of villains in a wild boat battle on the Thames River in London. You can shut off the DVD after that.
No. 22 — “A View to A Kill” (1985) — This film has some terrific moments including the final battle between Bond (Moore) and Zorin (Christopher Walken) atop San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. But Moore was too old to play Bond by this time, Zorin is more of a cartoon character and Tanya Roberts chewed up the scenary as Stacy who Bond needs help from to stop Zorin.
No. 21 — “Moonraker” (1979) — “Star Wars” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” were popular movies of the time. This film tried to ride the wave of that popularity and is too far-fetched even for a Bond movie.
No. 20 — “You Only Live Twice” (1967) — The film has a great plot, great action and is set in the world of Japan. Sean Connery was tired of playing Bond and would leave the series after this film. He mailed in his performance and that brings this film down.
No. 19 — “Quantum of Solace” (2008) — Not an awful film, but compared to Daniel Craig’s debut as Bond in Casino Royale (2006) and his other two efforts as 007, this slow-moving adventure pales in comparison.
No. 18 — “The Living Daylights” (1987) — Timothy Dalton made a respectable debut as James Bond. But he’s too restrained in this performance.
No. 17 — “Live and Let Die” (1973) — Moore starts as James Bond with this one. It has one of the best Bond theme songs ever courtesy of Paul McCartney and Yaphet Kotto’s Kananga/Mr. Big is a good villain. The plot goes from one of politcal intrigue to Bond trying to stop a simple drug trafficker. Kananga/Mr. Big’s demise at the end is weak.
No. 16 — “Die Another Day” (2002) — The film’s opening sequence is strong with plenty of action as Bond is on a mission to North Korea and then there are some good moments as M (Judi Dench) and Bond (Brosnan) deal with the cost of having to get him out of there. There are some far-fetched moments in this film, but Brosnan ended his tenure as 007 on a good note.
No. 15 — “Octopussy” (1983) — The wonders of India are the backdrop to this adventure as Bond investigates the death of one of his colleagues. Louis Jourdan is a teriffic villain as Kamal Khan and who can argue with a finale that includes Bond fighting with Khan’s bodyguard on top of an airplane while it’s in the air? There are some plot points that seem a little convoluted, but this was a solid 007 entry.
No. 14 — “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969) — George Lazenby stars as James Bond in his only outing. Lazenby’s Bond is a guy just trying to make a living and is more human than Connery’s Bond. I wouldn’t have wanted every Bond movie like this. But it was a good change of pace and it worked.
No. 13 — “Goldeneye” (1995) — The series had been held up six years because of legal disputes and Bond fans were hungry for a new film. Brosnan, in his first effort as 007, didn’t disappoint. He gave us a perfect combination of being suave and capable of making life miserable for the bad guys.
I will post the rest of my rankings either Friday (Nov. 19) or Saturday (No. 20).
UNTIL NEXT TIME. . .