Ernst Stavro Blogfeld

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This week’s entry has been inspired by my eldest son, Ollie.

Admittedly, my blog is often inspired by our boys, it’s just that they don’t usually know about it. They are an endless source of comedic material, as they each stumble from one inadvertently-hilarious situation to the next (very much like their father).

On this occasion, however, whilst Ollie didn’t necessarily come up with the idea I have moulded into this week’s entry, he certainly ignited the spark in my twisted little mind.

On Wednesday morning, as he got ready for school, Ollie randomly starting talking about James Bond, and asked me whether I thought a good replacement for Daniel Craig would be Sean Connery. I immediately laughed at this suggestion, and his little face dropped.

“But you said Connery was the best Bond ever!”

I had to explain to Ollie that, whilst that is indeed the case (and anyone who suggests otherwise is mistaken), there are two very good reasons why, when Daniel Craig does eventually hang up his Beretta, and trades in that Aston Martin for a Honda Jazz (the vehicle of choice for the modern pensioner), Sean Connery is not really a feasible replacement.

Firstly, and surely the main reason why Connery is no longer suited to the role of James Bond, is that he is really fucking old. Hang on, let me check…. Yeah, he’s 87. Even the most die-hard Connery fans must now accept that his age effectively rules him out of an unlikely return as 007. I guess he could perhaps make a cameo appearance somewhere, but I get the impression Sean might not be up for that, as, by all accounts, he was a miserable git forty years ago, and his mood has seemingly deteriorated with each passing year.

Secondly, Connery has already returned to the role of Bond twice – officially, in 1971’s hugely disappointing Diamonds Are Forever, and then unofficially, in the 1983 abomination which was Never Say Never Again.

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If we were to plot those two films on a ‘Disappointment Graph’, and continue the ‘Curve of Failure’ as it descends down past Stockport County’s start to the 2017-18 season, every Radiohead album since Ok Computer, and the KitKat Chunky with Peanut Butter, Lord only knows how dire a Connery-led Bond film would be now. It might even be worse than Battleship *shudders* (seriously, if you haven’t seen it, just imagine Rihanna – yes, that Rihanna – battling alien sea-monsters in order to save the planet… then lower your already rock-bottom expectations by 80%).

As ever, I digress.

Once I had explained to Ollie that Sean Connery was not a viable replacement for Daniel Craig (who, for what it’s worth, has been an excellent Bond, and I for one am delighted he has agreed to do another film), the conversation went thus:

“Well, what about George Lazenby then? He looks young.”

“No, Ol. He already looked middle-aged in OHMSS, and that was released in 1969. He’s nearly as old as Connery.”

“Timothy Dalton?”

“Also too old.”

“Roger Moore?”

“Too dead.”

“Pierce Brosnan?”

“I still haven’t forgiven him for Die Another Day.

The conversation got me thinking, however, that if any of those actors were to return as James Bond (with the exception of the late great Sir Roger, may he Rest In Peace), the film titles and plot lines would need to be adapted to suit their advancing years in life.

Just imagine, if every Bond film had featured older versions of the actors….

Dr, No, Please (1962) – Following a week or two of suffering with a burning sensation whilst urinating, Bond attends his local GP surgery and undergoes a prostate examination.

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From Russia For Love (1963) – An ageing 007 struggles with erectile dysfunction, so purchases some mail order Viagra pills from the Soviet Union.

Coldfinger (1964) – After decades of repeatedly pulling the trigger on his Beretta and Walther PPK, James Bond develops Reynaud’s Syndrome in his right hand, and starts a prescribed course of Nifedipine.

Thunderball (1965) – Bond wins £500,000 on the National Lottery, by successfully guessing five numbers plus the Thunderball. He then wastes the money on pointless things that he doesn’t need, because it’s always old people who seem to win the lottery, when they no longer need the money.

You Only Live Twice More (1967) – Having cheated death on countless occasions – sometimes in extremely unlikely, and physically impossible, circumstances – Blofeld (a relentless cat lover) informs Bond that he has now used up seven of his nine lives, and will shortly run out of luck. He then leaves him in an easily escapable situation.

At Her Majesty’s Secret Pleasure (1969) – Bond inappropriately slaps Moneypenny on the arse, following a meeting with M, and is charged with sexual harassment. Following a public announcement of the charges, 2,453 further women come forward with their own allegations, and Bond is sent to jail. His incarceration is, however, kept secret by the Government.

Diamond Weddings Are Forever (1971) – In a highly improbable alternative universe, Bond actually settled down with Moneypenny at the age of 24, and they now celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary at a swanky hotel in London.

Live A Bit Then Die (1973) – Now in his late 80’s, Bond reflects on a lifetime spent in the world of espionage, and ponders his own mortality.

The Man With The Older Gums (1974) – After decades of smoking, Bond visits the dentist, and is diagnosed with periodontal gum disease.

The Spine Who Loved Me (1977) – 007 undergoes back surgery, to have two discs in his lumbar spine replaced, following which he has a new lease of life, playing golf twice a week with Q, and attending local Council meetings about all the dog poo and litter in the streets.

Manraking (1979) – Roger Moore spends a delightful summer’s afternoon in the garden, something he wouldn’t have been able to enjoy, had he not undergone spinal surgery just two years earlier.

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For Your Eye Test Only (1981) – Having written-off a very expensive Aston Martin prototype for the third time this year, and following an unfortunate incident where Bond mistakes a hat-stand for Moneypenny, and is caught indecently exposing himself to it outside M’s office, Q-branch insists 007 undergoes an eye-test.

Octogenarianpussy (1983) – Bond moves into a retirement village, where he meets 86-year-old Maud Adams, who, like all single women in their eighties, is surrounded by hundreds of cats.

A View To A Kilimanjaro (1985) – Following the passing of his fourteenth wife, Bond’s children insist he should ‘get away for a bit’, so he books a Shearing’s Coach Tour of Tanzania.

The Living Room Lights (1987) – Having nagged him for weeks, Bond finally succumbs to Moneypenny’s demands, and fixes the two blown lightbulbs in their lounge.

Licence to Grill (1989) – Timothy Dalton organises a BBQ for the residents of his retirement village, which ends in disaster when one elderly neighbour chokes to death on a spicy chicken wing. Bond immediately assumes foul play, and breaks an ankle whilst trying to vault over the retirement home wall, after he spots a white cat on the other side, and assumes Blofeld has returned once again.

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Goldeneyes (1995) – Pierce Brosnan faces his most terrifying enemy yet, after it transpires Sean Bean’s character, Alec Trevelyan, did not in fact die when a 1,500-tonne satellite dish landed on his face in Cuba. Now in his late-sixties, Alec has developed cataracts, which, due to a quirk of nature, have turned his eyes gold.

Tamara Never Dies (1997) – 007 befriends his 102-year-old neighbour, Tamara Titsworth, who claims to have cheated death even more times than he has. Rather inevitably, they sleep together, before enjoying a delightful game of Bridge with Frank and June from across the corridor.

The Waltz Is Not Enough (1999) – Despite a moderately well-received Tango in the first round of their retirement home’s dancing competition, Bond and his partner, 82-year-old former model Betty Bangzer, fail to win a prize after she slips during their Viennese Waltz in the final.

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Dine Another Day (2002) – Bond goes on hunger strike in his retirement home, after his carers refuse to allow him to sleep with a gun under his pillow, ‘just in case’.

Chicken Royale (2006) – A decrepit Bond is clearly confused, and increasingly agitated, whilst trying to order lunch at a busy Burger King in the heart of London.

Quandary of Solace (2008) – Having witnessed yet another lover murdered before his very eyes, Bond finally decides that enough is enough, and he would be better off seeing out his remaining years without any female company.

Skyfall (2012) – Bond breaks a hip falling from an unstable ladder in his front garden, whilst trying to re-position his satellite dish in order to watch Bargain Hunt.

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Spectacles (2015) – Thirty-four years after failing his eye test in For Your Eye Test Only, Bond finally accepts that it is time he started wearing varifocals, but insists it will only be for ‘close up reading, and the occasional assassination’.

Thanks for reading x

Credits:

Blog inspiration – my son, Ollie

Blofeld picture (and title) – my good friend, Ant

Everything else – me.

 

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The Name’s Blog, James Blog (Part II)

Well, here it is, my personal top 10 Bond films in descending order:

  1. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

You don’t need me to explain the start of this film, when Alan Partridge does it so well for me:

What follows from an admittedly dubious opening, is a really slick and watchable Bond film. The theme tune, when Steve Coogan isn’t singing it, is a classic. The villain, whilst not the best, does have another very cool base – this time underwater – and Barbara Bach, who is admittedly a bit funny looking, is a passable bit of eye candy as Roger Moore’s love interest.

But this film deserves to be in the top 10 for two very good reasons: Firstly, it marks the debut of Richard Kiel as the unforgettable henchman ‘Jaws’.  Secondly, whilst I would always prefer Bond to be driving an Aston Martin, how frigging cool is a Lotus Esprit that turns into a submarine?!

Quite simply, this is the second best film to be released in 1977.

  1. From Russia With Love (1963)

This film just oozes class. It was only the second Bond release, following just a year after Dr No., but already Connery had made the role his own, and looks more comfortable this time around. Due to the success of Dr No., United Artists doubled the budget for From Russia With Love, and it shows – there are some superb locations. Robert Shaw, as Donald “Red” Grant, is fantastic; the evil Rosa Klebb and her dagger shoes give us the first taste of gadgetry in a Bond film; and Daniela Bianchi as the Bond girl is extremely easy on the eye – if a little rubbish when it comes to achieving anything practical (although, in her defence, she is drugged for part of the film). The soundtrack is also fantastic and, were it not for Connery’s next outing in the role, this would be my favourite of his 007 portrayals.

  1. The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)

I’ve surprised myself a little here. When I was at law school, a friend and I watched all the Bond films back-to-back (up to and including The World Is Not Enough, which was the latest release at the time), to raise money for charity. We called it a ‘Bondathon’, amazingly just one year before Alan Partridge did the same thing (he even called it a Bondathon too). I swear one of the show’s writers must have overheard my friend or I discussing it in the pub at some point, and stolen the idea.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, it took us a little over 43 hours to watch them all, and The Man With The Golden Gun was the point at which we nearly admitted defeat. When you have been up all night, you’re slightly delirious from lack of sleep, and Roger Moore is trying to be suave (but looks more like he’s having a stroke), it does leave a nasty taste in the mouth – although that may, in fairness, have been all the Red Bull we had consumed. For years, I couldn’t watch this film and, in all honesty, I wasn’t sure I ever would again.

However, I saw it just a few months back, and not only managed to survive the ordeal, but really enjoyed it. Christopher Lee is a fantastic actor, and makes a superb villain, along with his French midget henchman Nick Nack on their desert island paradise lair. There is a flying car, which is pretty ridiculous, but it somehow works and, speaking of cars, one of the greatest motoring stunts in cinematic history (long before CGI ruined everything) takes place on a twisted and disintegrated bridge. It would be even better without the silly sound effect they added afterwards but still.

Even Britt Ekland, whilst bloody useless, does a fine job of squeezing into a little bikini.

  1. The World Is Not Enough (1999)

This film, aside from being a very good Bond release in itself, will always hold a special place in my heart for two reasons. Firstly, as I’ve already explained, it was the last film that my friend and I watched when we completed our ‘Bondathon’ more than 10 years ago. Secondly, it marks an emotional farewell to Desmond Llewellyn, who had played ‘Q’ for 36 years.

He apparently had no plans to retire from the role, but there is an emotional scene when he more or less hands over to his successor, ‘R’ (played by John Cleese) and then slowly lowers into the ground. Sadly, Desmond passed away just one month after this film was released, and I remember it being screened at Leeds Festival the following summer when, following this scene, there was a spontaneous standing ovation for him. Very touching, and it still brings a tear to my eye when I think about it.

Back to the film – there’s good plot and a decent performance from Pierce, Robert Carlysle is great as the psychopathic villain, and there is a fantastic chase scene on the Thames prior to the opening credits.  Garbage’s theme isn’t one of the best, but it’s not awful either, and Denise Richards is in it, back when she was quite pretty.

  1. Goldeneye (1995)

Ok, The World Is Not Enough is very good, but when it comes to choosing Brosnan’s best contribution to the franchise, this is a no-brainer. Goldeneye was his debut, and what a debut it is. Right from the explosive opening, when Bond bungee jumps down a dam before (somewhat recklessly) chasing after a falling plane, it’s all out action. Isabella Scorupco would probably be in my top 3 Bond girls (and when you consider her competition in this film alone is a femme fatale who crushes men with her thighs – yikes – that’s some going), while Brits Sean Bean, Robbie Coltrane and Alan Cumming are all excellent in their supporting roles. Talking of Brits, it was a bold move to cast Judi Dench as a female ‘M’, but she plays the role fantastically, and continued to do so until the latest film just a few years ago.

I’m personally not a huge fan of the Tina Turner theme, and don’t get me started again on Bond driving a (this time convertible) BMW, but it shows how good the film is if, despite these issues, it still sits just outside my top 5.

  1. Casino Royale (2006)

Speaking of the Top 5, and of very good debuts, this film introduces the latest actor to play Bond, Daniel Craig. It commences with quite a dark opening scene, showing Bond carrying out two assassinations (without so much as a flinch) in order to earn his double-O status, and culminates – via some high stakes Poker (updated from the Baccarat that Bond plays in Fleming’s book of the same name) – with his love interest drowning herself. Hardly laugh-a-minute, and a million miles from good ol’ Roger’s Bond, but it’s a very classy film with some excellent action scenes.

I will backtrack slightly on one of my previous comments, by saying that Mads Mikkelsen almost convinces us that French bankers can be threatening, and Eva Green as the Bond girl is certainly up there, but it’s Craig who really makes this film what it is. Plus, the Aston makes a timely – if all too brief – return (with the invisible paint thankfully misplaced by Q branch) for a short-lived car chase, that ends up with Bond rolling the car and nearly killing himself.

I know a lot of people place this as their favourite Bond, and it is excellent, but I’ll make a case for the next 4 being better.

  1. Live And Let Die (1973)

By far the best of Roger Moore’s efforts, in my opinion, and again it was his debut. It’s interesting that my favourite offerings from Roger, Timothy, Pierce and (technically) George, are their first films as 007.

Solitaire is my favourite of all the Bond girls (don’t judge me) and the opening scene with the fake funeral procession is fantastic – in fact, the whole voodoo theme, with Kananga and Baron Samedi, is great.

Paul McCartney’s theme tune is up with the best, and the stunts are extremely well done – including Bond’s iconic escape from being eaten by crocodiles by running over their backs.

Bond at it’s very best… almost.

  1. Skyfall (2012)

Where do I start? This film is every Bond fans’ dream. The action is non-stop, the stunts are explosive, there are so many in-jokes and references to earlier films that it’s hard to spot them all on the first viewing, and it all ends back at Bond’s family home for a thrilling showdown in Scotland, with Bond having travelled there in the old Aston Martin DB5. Wow.

We bid farewell to Judi Dench as ‘M’ at the end of the film, but she is replaced by the equally brilliant Ralph Fiennes, who I hope remains in the role for some time. Ben Whishaw (who voices Paddington in the recent film, if you didn’t already know), does a great job of taking over – and revitalising – the role of Q, and Javier Bardem is pretty terrifying as the bad guy.

In fact, the only bad thing I can think of regarding this film is (whisper it) the theme tune courtesy of Adele. I know it’s really popular, and it won lots of awards, but I just don’t like it. I don’t mind her personally, but they could have at least tried to find a singer who could pronounce the name of the film properly. Still, it’s not as bad as Madonna’s effort.

  1. The Living Daylights (1987)

Surprised? Ok, so it’s Dalton playing Bond, but that’s no reason to discount it. The plot is great, the action sequences are among the best in the series, the A-ha theme tune is my favourite of all time, and it’s just a very, very good film. I can watch this one over and over again (in fact, I did not so long ago), and although I know it backwards, I never tire of it.

It’s perhaps my guilty pleasure when it comes to Bond, and most would place it far further down, but this is my list, so screw you if you don’t agree. In fact, I can only think of one Bond film that I prefer…

  1. Goldfinger (1964)

Yep. It just had to be, didn’t it? From the Shirley Bassey theme tune, to the Aston Martin DB5 (complete with ejector seat), to Connery at his very best and Honor Blackman at her (much, much younger) finest, to Oddjob and his bowler hat, his boss in the title role, big productions, great action sequences and stunts, charm, wit, charisma, and a laser going dangerously close to Bond’s secret weapon – ending his favourite pastime, if not his life.

Quite simply, it is cinematic perfection.

So, there it is ladies and gentlemen. Thanks for humouring me.

You might not agree with some (or most) of my list, but any Bond fan would be hard pushed to disagree with my winner.

Oh, and a good friend of mine, since reading the first part of this blog entry, has pointed out that I could/should have referred to Bond’s evil nemesis as Ernst Stavro Blogfeld.

Damn.

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The Name’s Blog, James Blog (Part I)

I am a BIG James Bond fan.

Now, that sentence originally said HUGE fan, but I decided that it might give the impression I am one of those nerdy comic-book store virgins, who will snort at you disdainfully, before correcting your pronunciation of some obscure character from Star Wars (for what it’s worth, I love Star Wars – well, the original trilogy anyway – and would certainly admit to a little nerdiness myself, but I do occasionally see daylight, and have actually kissed over three women, so I’m going to distance myself from that type of fan).

I enjoy the Bond films, to the extent that I can quite happily name them all in order, tell you who played 007, and rate the ‘Bond girl’ out of 10 (perhaps I shall save that for a later Blog), but I draw the line at knowing every miniscule detail of every film.

I decided, however, that it was about time I placed the series in order, as a countdown from my least favourite Bond film to my overall winner – and that, dear reader, is what follows.

I will qualify my list, by explaining that this is my own personal countdown, so there will be some surprises (I even surprised myself at points) and some that you will almost certainly disagree with if you, yourself, are a fan, but I will try to explain or justify why each has been given its particular place in the sequence.

Oh, and I am only including official Bond releases, so the truly awful Never Say Never Again can piss right off as far as I’m concerned.

Lastly, because my full run down would be too long for just the one blog entry, I’ll start with a countdown from number 23 to number 11, and leave my top 10 for next time.

  1. For Your Eyes Only (1981)

See, immediately I feel I have to explain myself. I am absolutely certain that this is not the worst film of the franchise, and if I took the time to re-watch it now, I am sure I would place it far higher up my list, but hand on heart I cannot remember a single thing about it – other than the fact the Bond girl looks a little like one of my Aunties (which makes it very difficult to find her attractive). For that reason, it cannot possibly be that good, and to anyone who dares question me, consider this: Bond’s car in this film is a Citroen 2CV. No further questions, your Honour.

  1. Moonraker (1979)

Utter pish. The plot is awful; the theme tune is awful; the Bond girl has a ridiculous name (even by Bond standards), and is dull in both looks and personality; and if it weren’t for one of cinema’s greatest villains, Jaws, making an appearance (RIP Richard Kiel), then it would most likely have pipped that appalling Citroen 2CV advert into last place.

  1. Thunderball (1965)

Oh dear, I’m going to start upsetting people soon. Ok, so Tom Jones’ theme tune is pretty good – as far as Tom Jones tracks go – and the main villain is all right, I suppose, but this film just lacks something and, for me, it’s the weakest of the Connery outings (we’re pretending Never Say Never Again didn’t happen, remember, although it’s interesting that NSNA was based on Thunderball, so they had two bites at the cherry and cocked them both up). It’s adequate, but nothing special, and I just don’t like it.

  1. Quantum of Solace (2008)

Easily Daniel Craig’s worst film (well, to date I guess, although I do hope it stays that way). The plot makes little sense, the action sequences – whilst dramatic and adventurous, which is perhaps the only saving grace for this abomination – are nauseating (literally, they made my wife feel sick due to the shaky way in which they had been filmed), and the Jack White/Alicia Keys theme tune is crap. Worst of all though, the baddy is a French environmental scientist – three words which are not particularly synonymous with all things menacing (well, I guess ‘scientist’ can be, if it is preceded by the word ‘mad’, but you get my point). History has taught us that no Frenchman will ever take over the world, especially if he also happens to be an environmental scientist with a penchant for eating apples in a pervy way.

  1. Octopussy (1983)

Roger Moore at his campest. Unfortunately, Roger Moore at his campest is often bloody awful, as it is here. His penultimate outing, whilst not his worst, sees old Rog looking jaded and a bit bored with the role, and it doesn’t take long for the viewer to become just as despondent. The film also features a cameo role for Vijay Amritraj, a former Indian tennis player who, at one point, uses his tennis skills to fight off would-be assailants. I mean, come on. Rita Coolidge’s theme All Time High is passable however, and is just about enough to give this film a teen placing in my list.

  1. Licence To Kill (1989)

Timothy Dalton played Bond twice and, oh my, how the films differ. This one starts dark – with Felix Leiter’s wife being raped and murdered, before Felix himself is maimed by a Great White shark – and just gets darker. The Bond girl, Pam Bouvier, is quite easy on the eye, despite her name sounding like she should be Homer Simpson’s other sister-in-law, and the theme tune is average, but generally speaking this is a pretty poor effort. So much so, I don’t think anyone was too sad to see Dalton leave the role after this film, even though I personally rate him as 007, and as an actor generally.

  1. Dr No (1962)

If it were not for this film, the franchise may never have existed, so for that at least we give thanks. Actually, in parts it’s quite good – with one of the very finest Bond girls in Honey Ryder – but again it fails to live up to the Connery releases which followed it, and the villain is a bit naff. In case you haven’t seen it, he’s called Dr No (the clue is in the title). Stupid name, really. But this film did set the trend for Bond as a character, and launched Connery’s career as a result, so we shall forgive its little faults – of which there are quite a few.

  1. Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

Generally regarded as a bit shit, and I’d agree on the whole, but – unlike my doting other half – I quite enjoy the laughable campness of Mr Wint and Mr Kidd (will they, won’t they – it’s like a gay Ross and Rachel), and you can’t very well put a Bond film which features the winning combination of Sean Connery as Bond, Ernst Stavro Blofeld for the villain, and Shirley Bassey singing, near the bottom of the list, can you? The only shame is, despite that being a blueprint for a great Bond film, it simply isn’t. It’s like getting all the best ingredients in the world, then making a bland and tasteless flan. And the Bond girl is whiny, ginger, and a bit ropey looking, even when she’s in her skimpies. Connery should have quit while he was ahead.

  1. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

I struggled to work out which is my least favourite Pierce Brosnan film and, as will become clear with the next entry, this just about edges it. Teri Hatcher is a bit rubbish as Bond’s non-Asian love interest (Michelle Yeoh, in contrast, is pretty good), Sheryl Crow’s theme song is worse, and don’t even get me started on Elliot Carver as the bad guy. As with Quantum of Solace, you cannot try to make a convincing world-dominating nutter, out of the description ‘psychopathic media mogul’. Putting ‘psychopathic’ before it, does not make it scary. Consider this: ‘Psychopathic koala bear’. ‘Psychopathic Victoria sponge’. See? On the whole, Brits make good bad guys, but Jonathan Pryce doesn’t. Plus, it won’t matter how many cool gadgets you stick on a BMW, it’s still not an Aston Martin, and so Bond should not be driving one. Bond has boinked his way around the globe, killing countless bad guys along with way, so he doesn’t need to try and emphasise his genitalia by driving a BMW, which is, frankly, the only reason people buy them.

  1. Die Another Day (2002)

And on that note, the fact that Bond was back in an Aston Martin by the time this, admittedly not very good, film was released, is one of its few redeeming features – even if that was somewhat spoilt by the decision to give the car the power of invisibility. Jesus wept. Some of the stunts in this film are too over-the-top for words, and once Toby Stephens takes over as the main villain (having undergone considerable facial surgery to turn him from North Korean to North Kensington), it all gets a bit daft. But, so help me, I quite like it. It’s not a great Bond film, not even close, but as a film that you can watch over and over, and just enjoy for what it is, it’s ok. Halle Berry, whilst not my particular cup of tea, is a passable female lead, and does a sterling job of emerging from the sea almost wearing a bikini, but I actually prefer the very beautiful Rosamund Pike as the femme fatale and the scene on the plane when the two fight each other in tiny clothes is AWESOME. Am I coming across as a bit pervy yet?! The Aston, when you can see it, is involved in some fantastic car chases, culminating in a race around a melting igloo (yeah, erm…) and the stunts as a whole, whilst ridiculous, are well filmed. Brosnan is pretty darn good in the role too, which makes it surprising he was handed his P45 after this film. In fact, the more I think about it, if we leave all the daftness to one side, there’s only one thing holding this film back as being higher up my list. Ladies and gentlemen…. Madonna.

  1. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

Ok, it’s not as bad as everyone makes out. OHMSS appears to be the whipping boy for most people’s least favourite Bond film, but even Lazenby in the lead role isn’t that bad. I am not sure he warranted the seven film contract he was apparently offered (and thank God he turned it down), but he does a half decent job and, when all is said and done, the plot is pretty good and the action scenes, very much like Diana Rigg at the end of the film, are well shot (that can’t be classed as a spoiler, as the film came out 46 years ago, so if you’ve not seen it by now…). Plus, Louis Armstrong does an excellent job with the theme tune “We Have All The Time In The World”, which was the last song he ever recorded before he sadly passed away a couple of years later. All in all, quite a slick entry into the franchise, and not anywhere near as poor a film as it has been labelled.

  1. A View To A Kill (1985)

Roger Moore’s final outing as 007, and by no means his best, but we’re now firmly into mid-table ‘average’ territory in my countdown and this sits nicely in 12th. It’s nowhere near good enough to warrant a top 10 placing, but in my opinion is better than the films which precede it. The Duran Duran theme tune is, again, really good, and any disappointment of having the utterly barking mad Grace Jones playing an equally mad villain-turned-heroine (short of actually having man parts, she’s about as masculine as they come), is more than matched by the excellent Christopher Walken – who also does ‘crazy’ particularly well here. It’s nicely filmed, has a decent enough storyline, and ends explosively on the Golden Gate bridge. Standard Bond fare, so it’s only right that it feature at the midpoint of my list.

  1. You Only Live Twice (1967)

I really like this film, and if nothing else it deserves recognition for having the coolest bad-guy lair of the entire series (which, if you haven’t seen it, involves fans’ favourite Blofeld turning a volcano into a garage for the Soviet spacecraft he’s just nicked) but it misses out on my top 10 because it isn’t quite as good as the releases which follow. Plus, it is slightly spoilt by having Connery undergo an entirely unconvincing makeover to make him appear (not in the slightest) Japanese, and the half-decent theme tune is even more spoilt by that fat useless pillock, Robbie Williams, sampling it in Millenium many years later.  So close to the Top 10, yet so far.

I hope that has whet your appetite for Bond, and I’ll be back with my Top 10 countdown next time.

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