Saturday, October 8, 2011

Watching James Bond films. All of them. In order.

So... this week I've taken on a new and exciting challenge: I'm going to watch all the James Bond films, ever single one, in the order they were made. Now, I'm not a complete masochist so I'm not going to set any kind of time limit on this: I'm not watching all 22 (twenty two!) back-to-back! I'll take it nice and slow; I'll put on the tux, shake my vodka martini and then relax and watch Bond, SPECTRE and all manner of exciting things.

Dr. No (1962 / Terence Young / Sean Connery)

And what better place to start than at the beginning? Dr. No, the film that started it all, is still a decent litle thriller by today's standards. It's packed to the brim with awesome and very memorable moments - Ursula Andress emerging from the sea! - and it cracks along at a decent pace, with attempted spider-aided assassination, fist-fights and car-chases. It doesn't have some of the classic elements we came to associate with later Bond films - gadgetry is decidedly thin here - but it does a lot of what you'd expect from a Bond film and does it well.

Sean Connery lays down a serious argument for his place as Best Bond Ever with his brilliantly suave performance, whether flirting in the casino or punching SPECTRE agents in the head - leaving the bloodied, dead agent in the car for the valet to deal with! There's no evil henchman on show (although sometimes that's a good thing) but Dr. No himself with his EVIL METAL HANDS is charismatically evil, a perfect villain.

The unavoidable criticism of the film, sadly, is that the ending just isn't very good. After such a decent story and some brilliant scenes, Bond and Dr. No's fight in what appears to be a climbing frame over the er... yellow-lit toxic bubbling water of death is really pretty lacklustre. Having built him up as a booming-voiced overseer, a metal-clawed monster, a smooth-talking SPECTRE agent, Dr. No's ignoble exit into the - oh so terrifying! - bubbling water is a complete let down really. Still, at least they make up for it a bit by blowing up the base... We all like a good explosion!

It's a good film, great fun to watch and, in many respects, just what you want from a James Bond film. But it's not perfect. Right, on with the list.... From Russia With Love next.

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