50 years of Bond
This year marks the 50th year anniversary of one of the most well known film franchises of all time, the 007 series. James Bond has been a household name for the majority of this 50 year span and has been seen in many different films. There are about 23 *official* 007 movies, and of these 23 I myself have seen 19. Not only has this franchise had an impact on movies as a whole, but on me as well.
Ian Fleming was the creative mind behind first bringing 007 to life through the pages in his book series. In 1962, one of the books came to life with the first *official* movie titled Dr. No. This was the first Bond movie in the franchise and is one that I consider to be in the top 3 of the best of all time. In this film, Sean Connery was brought in to play the MI6 agent James Bond and, not until recently, he would stand undisputed as the best.
Connery would go on to star in 7 more Bond films, another being what I would consider the best in the series, Goldfinger. This movie set forth the standard that all Bond movies would follow for the coming years. Things you have come to expect from a Bond movie started here, like a theme song song by a popular artist, high tech gadgets, a main villain who is crazy, and the comical one-liners from both Bond and the villain. This movie is at the top of the list for most Bond fans as the best one of all time.
There was one movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, that starred a different actor as Bond, George Lazenby, for only one film. This is one of the few I haven’t seen so I personally can not speak for his performance as the agent. Apparently there was much conflict between him and the director, so Lazenby did not want to come back for future installments. Connery was brought back for the next film, Diamonds are Forever, but received mixed reviews from fans and critics alike due to how campy it was as well as Connery’s age. The next actor to portray James, Roger Moore, would do a fantastic job. Moore starred in 7 Bond movies as well, and even though he was no Connery, he would still be considered as one of the best by most fans.
The next two Bonds would be less than memorable for the franchise. First, Timothy Dalton took over from Roger Moore. He was a weird looking guy that just didn’t seem to fit the character very well to me. There were only two movies with him as 007; I’ve only seen one of them, and it was far from the best. However, that is nothing compared to the facepalm-inducing Pierce Brosnan years. There isn’t a single person I have met who enjoyed Brosnan as Bond, or the movies at all. Somehow he lasted 3 whole movies, none of them being anything close to noteworthy. He managed to tarnish the name of James Bond and many were skeptical that the franchise could ever be as good as the Connery/Moore days. Then there was Daniel Craig.
I remember the announcement of Daniel Craig being the next Bond like it was yesterday. Many were appalled that he was chosen, exclaiming things such as, “Bond can’t be a blond! What is this madness?” and I can say I was apart of this group. Casino Royale was released in 2006, and I did not go and see it. In fact, it was just until recently I watched Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. I can safely say that there is no doubt Daniel Craig is Bond. Casino Royale brought the franchise back to greatness, making it one of the best in the series.
However, the follow up, Quantum of Solace, did not fare too well with fans or critics. It is still a great Bond movie, but was not up to standards set by Casino Royale. This year, celebrating Bond’s 50th year, Skyfall was released. This movie brought back so much life to the Bond franchise and cemented Craig as one of the best Bonds in the ranks with Connery and Moore. I have even heard some say he is the best there has been. This is a pretty bold statement, and I feel that those who have said this haven’t seen many of the Connery films, especially not Goldfinger, but it’s still a valid opinion. Craig has signed on for another 2 Bond movies after Skyfall, and after that movie I can safely say Bond is back in great hands and has risen from the Brosnan days with success. Hopefully we are treated with another 50 years of this fun and exciting franchise.