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DISCussion Special: Bond 50 – Best and Worst of Bond

The long awaited release of the 23rd Bond movie, Skyfall, is set to hit theaters, and when any Bond movie hits the big screen, the rest of series comes out in a big box set. The Bond film series is now 50 years old and all the movies are now on Blu-ray for the first time. To celebrate, two of Player Affinity’s biggest Bond fans will look at the highs and lows of the series in a DISCussion Special. You can check out our scores and the special feature details at the bottom of the post.

BEST FILM

Kieran’s Pick: Casino Royale
I have been a fan of the Bond series ever since I was a child, and there are many classic films in the series, but my pick for the best Bond is the 2006 reboot Casino Royale. This movie brings Bond into a much more realistic spy world, has an excellent plot, great characters and actors, fantastic action scenes and character moments and best of all,  a dark, gritty tone that is so refreshing for the series.

Runner-Up: Goldfinger
Goldfinger is one of the most ironic Bond films, having many of the tropes fans know and love and memorable scenes and images throughout.


John’s Pick: From Russia With Love
 One can’t help but admire what Martin Campbell, Daniel Craig, and company brought to the table for Bond’s big 2006 reboot (a.k.a. Casino Royale), but From Russia with Love, for me, represents Bond at his purest and most satisfying. An old-school film for a truly old-school hero, this series doesn’t get much better than the train fight between Sean Connery and Robert Shaw (as Donald Grant).

Runner-Up: The Spy Who Love Me
Roger Moore really put the pieces together for his third 007 outing, The Spy Who Loved Me, featuring the unforgettable Jaws (Richard Kiel).


WORST FILM

Kieran’s Pick: Moonraker
Moonraker did something very stupid: try to blend the series with sci-fi. This is an example of the Bond series at its worst, showcasing the worst aspects of Roger Moore’s run in the series and amounting to a cash-in on the popular trends in cinema (i.e. Star Wars).

Runner-Up: Die Another Day
The saddest aspect of Die Another Day was the potential at the start of the movie. Then Halle Berry shows up and the movie becomes incredibly stupid. Even Roger Moore was critical of the movie and that is saying something seeing the stupid stuff that happened in his films.


John’s Pick: Die Another Day
Ice palaces, invisible cars, DNA replacement … next to nothing works in 2002’s Die Another Day, Pierce Brosnan’s final James Bond film.

Runner-Up: The Man With the Golden Gun
The Man with the Golden Gun, Moore’s second film, is as much a broad comedy as it is an action movie, and it doesn’t do either genre well at all.

UNDERRATED


Kieran’s Pick: The World is Not Enough
There is only one reason why The World is Not Enough is dismissed as a Bond film: Denise Richards. Otherwise, The World is Not Enough is a very strong entry, attempting to bring the series into the real world with two great villains and an awesome opening action scene.

Runner-Up: Licence to Kill
Is it right to call Licence to Kill underrated when a load of people call it underrated? Regardless, Licence to Kill was ahead of its time, being more violent and brutal then previous Bond films and having an excellent revenge and spy plot.


John’s Pick: For Your Eyes Only
The Bond films of the 1980s are often the butt of jokes, but it’s actually a surprisingly ripe decade for the superspy, and it all began here, with Roger Moore’s fifth and most serious outing as 007. He travels to Greece and Italy, and we get a lot of villain misdirection, one of the series’ strong suits when it comes to plotting.

Runner-Up: Licence to Kill
Many thought 1989’s License to Kill would destroy the franchise, but on second look, Timothy Dalton’s second and final Bond film is like a grittier (but only just) take on Miami Vice. Laugh if you must, but it’s a better-than-solid film.

OVERRATED


Kieran’s Pick: Thunderball
Thunderball is a very underwhelming Bond film, featuring lackluster action scenes and confusing underwater fights, none of which are memorable.

Runner-Up: For Your Eyes Only
For Your Eyes Only has its supporters: I am not one of them. For Your Eyes Only features a bland style and stunts, a cringe worthy ending involving a Margaret Thatcher look-alike (regardless of your political beliefs) and an indifferent end to one of the best Bond villains. And it’s a bad sign that the main Bond Girl ends up getting outshone by a character who is underaged.

John’s Pick

John’s Pick: You Only Live Twice
Fun fact: Roald Dahl wrote the screenplay for this, the fifth James Bond adventure. It’s funny, then, that it’s one of the worst in the franchise. But that’s mostly just me. You see each film in the franchise to this point get bigger and bigger. This is where it finally went overboard.

Runner-Up: Thunderball
You Only Live Twice‘s predecessor, it was almost that breaking point as well. The series’ first great villainess — Fiona Volpe — salvages it.


BEST BOND ACTOR



Kieran’s Pick: Daniel Craig
There is a still a fringe minority who still hate Daniel Craig as Bond. They are very, very wrong! Craig is easily the best actor to play the iconic character, a perfect fit for the gritty approach the series has taken and very convincing during the action scenes.


John’s Pick: Sean Connery
C’mon. Is this a serious question? Everyone who followed was just imitating.

BEST BOND GIRL


Kieran’s Pick: Vesper Lynd
Eva Green is a very talented actress and played one of the best Bond girls to date, giving us an emotional, believable character that was an intelligential match for Bond.

Runner-Up: Elektra King
Sophie Marceau is another talented actress from France and she was one the best aspects of The World is Not Enough. She gave Elektra King a full range, from a traumatized woman to a master schemer, and Elektra is the only Bond girl to play the main villain.


John’s Pick: Tracy DiVincenzo
In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, she became Tracy Bond. It’s not hard to see why, of all the women in the franchise, 007 chose her to settle down with her …

Runner-up: Vesper Lynn
… though he probably would have went with Vesper Lynd if things worked out differently in Casino Royale.

BEST VILLAIN


Kieran’s Pick
: Ernst Stavro Blofeld
Blofeld is the only recurring villain in the series and he is easily an excellent and iconic villain in film history because of his diabolical schemes. Donald Pleasence was fantastic as Blofeld in You Only Live Twice.

Runner Up: Le Chriffe
To reboot the series, Casino Royale needed a great villain and Mads Mikkelsen certainly supplied us with that, giving us a man who was cold, selfish, sadistic and well-motivated. Only the Bond series can get away with having an asthmatic villain.


John’s Pick: Auric Goldfinger
When Auric Goldfinger spoke the immortal words “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die,” a villain for the ages was born.

Francisco Sacramanga
Although the film around him was a mess, Christopher Lee’s take on Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun is truly inspired.

BEST SONG

Kieran’s Pick: “Goldfinger”
Goldfinger is an iconic Bond film and it has an iconic power ballet by Shirley Bassey to match. It is so good The Simpsons parodied it in the excellent episode “You Only Move Twice.”

Runner Up: “You Know My Name”
Casino Royale was the Bond film to break the mould and it needed a song to match it: enter Chris Cornell’s rock song that played over a brilliant titles.

John’s Pick: “Live and Let Die”
The Bond series has just one Oscar nomination to its name—for this unforgettable ditty by Paul McCartney and Wings. Incidentally, the film it’s named after is another forgotten James Bond gem.


Runner-up:Nobody Does It Better”
Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better” played over the opening credits in The Spy Who Loved Me. It’s just a very moving song that presumably had a lot of play outside the series.


Bond 50

Dr. No
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
98% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 8.2/10

From Russia With Love
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
96% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 9.0/10

Goldfinger
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
96% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 9.6/10

Thunderball
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
86% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 6.8/10

You Only Live Twice
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
71% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.6/10

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
83% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 8.2/10

Diamonds are Forever
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
63% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 6.3/10

Live and Let Die
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
65% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 6.2/10

The Man With the Golden Gun
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
50% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 5.3/10

The Spy Who Loved Me
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
80% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.6/10

Moonraker
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
62% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 5.0/10

For Your Eyes Only
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
70% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 6.6/10

Octopussy
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
48% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 5.6/10

A View to A Kill
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
38% (poor)
Player Affinity Score: 5.3/10

The Living Daylights
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
74% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.5/10

Licence to Kill
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
72% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 8.6/10

Goldeneye
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
81% (very good)
Player Affinity Score: 9.3/10

Tomorrow Never Dies
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
54% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 7.1/10

The World is Not Enough
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
51% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 8.0/10

Die Another Day
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
59% (average)
Player Affinity Score: 4.6/10

Casino Royale
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
94% (excellent)
Player Affinity Score: 9.5/10

Quantum of Solace
Critics Rating (Rotten Tomatoes):
65% (good)
Player Affinity Score: 7.1/10

DISC DETAILS

DVD Special Features: N/A

Additional Blu-ray Special Features: Disc 1: Dr. No: Commentary with Director Terence Young and cast and crew; 6 Featurettes; Original Theatrical Trailer, TV and radio spots; Photo Galleries: Disc 2: From Russia With Love: Commentary with Director Terence Young and cast and crew; 2 Featurettes;  Animated Storyboard Sequence; Original Theatrical Trailer, TV and radio spots; Photo Galleries: Disc 3: Goldfinger: Commentary with Director Guy Hamilton; Commentary with the cast and crew; 3 Featurettes; Original Screen Tests with Theodore Bikel and Tito Vandis; Original Theatrical Trailer, TV and radio spots; Original Publicity Featurette; Original Radio Interviews With Sean Connery; Photo Galleries: Disc 4: Thunderball : Commentary with Director Terence Young; Commentary with Editor Peter Hunt and Screenwriter John Hopkins; 4 Featurettes; Original Theatrical Trailer, TV and radio spots; Photo Galleries: Disc 5: You Only Live Twice: Commentary with Director Lewis Gilbert and cast and crew; 4 Featurettes; Animated Storyboard Sequence; Original Theatrical Trailer, TV and radio spots; Photo Galleries: Disc 6: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service: Commentary with Director Peter Hunt and cast and crew; 4 Featurettes; Original Theatrical Trailer, TV and radio spots; Photo Galleries; Disc 7: Diamonds Are Forever: Commentary with Director Guy Hamilton and cast and crew; 3 Featurettes; Deleted Scenes; Original Theatrical Trailer, TV and radio spots: Disc 8: Live and Let Die: Commentaries with Director Guy Hamilton, Roger Moore and Tom Mankiewicz; 3 Featurettes; Original Theatrical Trailer, TV and radio spots; Photo Galleries: Disc 9: The Man with the Golden Gun: Commentary with Director Guy Hamilton and the cast and crew; Commentary with Roger Moore; 2 Featurettes; Original Theatrical Trailer, TV and radio spots; Photo Galleries: Disc 10: The Spy Who Loved Me: Commentary with Director Lewis Gilbert and cast and crew; Commentary with Roger Moore; 3 Featurettes; Original Theatrical Trailer, TV and radio spots: Disc 11: Moonraker: Commentary with Director Lewis Gilbert and cast and crew; Commentary with Roger Moore; 4 Featurettes; Original Theatrical Trailer; Photo Gallery: Disc 12: For Your Eyes Only: Commentary with Director John Glen and the cast and crew; Commentary with Roger Moore; Commentary with Producer Michael G. Wilson and crew; 4 Featurettes; Animated Storyboard Sequences for Snowmobile Chase & Underwater; Music Video performed by Sheena Easton; Deleted Scenes and Expanded Angles; Original Theatrical Trailer, TV and radio spots; Photo Galleries: Disc 13: Octopussy: Commentary with Director John Glen; Commentary with Roger Moore; 4 Featurettes; Original Screen Tests with James Brolin; “All Time High” Music Video; Original Theatrical Trailers: Disc 14: A View to a Kill: Commentary with Director John Glen and the cast and crew; Commentary with Roger Moore; 4 Featurettes; A View to a Kill Music Video performed by Duran Duran; Original Theatrical Trailers and TV spots: Disc 15: The Living Daylights: Commentary with Director John Glen and cast and crew; 3 Featurettes; Deleted scenes with introductions from Director John Glen; The Living Daylights Music Video performed by A-Ha; Original Theatrical Trailers: Disc 16: Licence to Kill: Commentary with Director John Glen and cast; Commentary with Producer Michael G. Wilson and crew; 3 Featurettes; Licence to Kill Music Video performed by Gladys Knight; “If You Asked Me To” Music Video Performed by Patti LaBelle; Opening Titles Sequence; Original Theatrical Trailers; Photo Galleries: Disc 17: GoldenEye: Commentary with Director Martin Campbell and Producer Michael G. Wilson; 8 Featurettes; Deleted scenes; GoldenEye Music Video performed by Tina Turner: Disc 18: Tomorrow Never Dies: Commentary with Director Roger Spottiswoode and Dan Petrie, Jr.; Commentary with Vic Armstrong and Producer Michael G. Wilson; 2 Featurettes; Interview with Composer David Arnold; Deleted and Extended Scenes with introduction from Director Roger Spottiswoode; Tomorrow Never Dies Music Video performed by Sheryl Crow; The James Bond Theme (Moby’s Re-Version): Disc 19: The World Is Not Enough: Commentary with Director Michael Apted; Commentary with Peter Lamont, David Arnold and Vic Armstrong;  4 Featurettes; Opening Titles Sequence; The World Is Not Enough Music Video performed by Garbage; Deleted, Extended and Alternate Scene; Original Theatrical Trailer; Photo Galleries: Disc 20: Die Another Day: Commentary with Director Lee Tamahori and Producer Michael G. Wilson; Commentary with Pierce Brosnan and Rosamund Pike; 5 Featurettes; MI6 Datastream Trivia Track with Branching Video; Opening Titles Sequence; Photo Galleries: Disc 21: Casino Royale: Becoming Bond; James Bond: For Real; Chris Cornell Music Video: Disc 22: Quantum of Solace; 2 Featurettes; “Another Way to Die” Music Video; Original Theatrical Trailers: Disc 23: Bonus Material; The World of Bond **Being Bond **SKYFALL Videoblogs

Amazon Price: $101.86 (DVD), $170.00 (Blu-ray)
 

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