Movie Review: GOLDENEYE

It’s hard to imagine, but the first half the 1990s didn’t have a single James Bond movie released. Most shocking of all, before the November 1995 release of Goldeneye, most critics and causal movie fans were convinced that 007 wasn’t necessary. In many of the same ways as The Spy Who Loved Me brought the franchise back to life in the late 70s, Goldeneye was that for the mid to late 90s. Pierce Brosnan’s long-awaited turn as Bond was a true audience-pleaser. It even spawned one of the most popular video games of all-time. In fact, to this day, I still meet people who think this movie is an adaption of the video game.

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My GE Notes:

  • The score is the only truly negative thing about the film. Eric Serra makes Marvin Hamlisch and Bill Conti sound like John Barry and David Arnold.
  • That opening bungee jump is still one of the most impressive stunts in Bond history. Remember when bungee jumping was a huge fad?
  • Pierce’s first line is said inside a toilet stall. Not exactly Sean Connery at a casino table.
  • The pre-title sequence is solid, but having it take place 9 years before the movie starts always throws me off. Bond hasn’t aged a day!
  • Sean Bean as 006/Alec Trevelyan makes a formidable villain, but the twist would have worked much better with a lesser known actor and without the reveal in the trailers/promotions.
  • These Russian soldiers are the most easily shot men I’ve ever seen in a Bond flick. Add to the fact that they have horrendous aim, they might as well be dressed as Stormtroopers.
  • Speaking of soldiers being shot, besides the cameo of Minnie Driver badly singing “Stand By Your Man”, keep an eye open for Dougray Scott in the opening action sequence. Colonel Ourumov shoots him.
  • Did MythBusters ever do an episode on how Bond uses terminal velocity to drive off a cliff to catch a plane?
  • Tina Turner’s song is alright I guess. I like Tina, but the song (written by Bono and The Edge) sounds like a poor version of a Shirley Bassey ballad.
  • Speaking of music, and back to Eric Serra’s war-crime of a soundtrack, the music in the car chase between Bond and Xenia Onatopp (On a top? Onatopp.) sounds like a cross between Sonic the Hedgehog and a porno.
  • I’m a sucker for a Bond-in-a-casino scene, and this one is up there. Brosnan looks like he was born to wear a tux and say his name is Bond, James Bond. It’s interesting that his hybrid of Connery and Moore works best in his first outing, and less so in the next three movies.
  • They really play-up the words internet and CD-Rom and modem. Very mid-90s.
  • Boris has to be in the top five most annoying characters in the franchise.
  • Natalya Simonova is one of the most beautiful Bond girls, to go along with the fact that she might be one of the most capable Bond girls.
  • Judi Dench’s first go-around as M is a delight to watch. I still like her best when paired with Craig, but she has some really great dialogue to throw at Brosnan.
  • It’s pretty amazing that this is the only time a Bond production actually went to Russia for filming.
  • This Q lab scene ranks up there as one of the best in the series. Brosnan almost cracks up.
  • The BMW z3 roadster is beautiful, but wasted.
  • What was up with Wade being obsessed with gardening?
  • Robbie Coltrane steals the two scenes he is in.
  • Bond vs Xenia in the sauna is part action scene, part sex scene. It’s a terrific piece of fun.
  • The tank chase is a very memorable scene, but it does drag on a bit.
  • I don’t care what anyone else says, the train has a face and it looks like Sam the Eagle from the Muppets.

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  • Chair has to be the easiest password ever.
  • The beaches in Puerto Rico (subbing for Cuba) are stunning. I hope they still are.
  • Is it just me or does the Natalya crotch-shot last longer than it should?
  • This is one of the few Bond movies that doesn’t suffer from a lackluster 3rd act.
  • Every time I watch this movie, I try to count along with Bond. How many freaking times does Boris click the exploding pen?!
  • Pierce Brosnan is no Connery or Craig (or even Lazenby) when it comes to hand-to-hand combat, but his fight with Alec is bruising.
  • Alec Trevelyan gives us perhaps the most painful Bond villain death. First the bone-crunching fall, and then crushed by the antenna.
  • The movie ends with once again, the only thing truly wrong with it. A soft, elevator music of a song called “The Experience of Love”.

 

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Bond’s coolest moment? Walking through the casino, playing Baccarat against Xenia, ordering a vodka martini and saying his name. Classic Bond stuff. 

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? Having to check out Wade’s tattooed ass. 

Bond’s best line? “I like a woman who enjoys pulling rank.”

Best acting performance? Famka Janssen as Xenia Onatopp ranks as a great hench-person. Those eyes, those thighs! Ouch!

Bond’s #MeToo #TimesUp moment? Seducing the MI6 official there to evaluate him in Monte Carlo. 

Worst line in the movie? “Boys with toys.” Izabella Scorupco as Natalya Simonova.

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 97th time? Xenia’s taunting face in the train when Bond has to decide the mission or the girl. 

Best action sequence? The opening in the Russian chemical weapons facility. 

Who or what is the title song about? I’m guessing a woman who has been sexually attracted to Bond for a long time. The line “You’ll never know how I watched you
from the shadows as a child” still disturbs me. 

Best looking cinematic moment? That 3rd act in Puerto Rico/Cuba. It could be a postcard. 

How could the villain have succeeded? By not making it personal. Bond was his friend and shouldn’t have gotten him involved. 

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? Originally this was written for Timothy Dalton, so I think Dalton could have done this one minus some silly gags.

Does Bond ever think he might die? Just before he uses those gas tanks as cover in the pre-title action scene. 

What would have made the movie better? Hiring David Arnold to do the score. 

What’s in a name? Bond doesn’t go by any other name in this. 

What’s in a title? Goldeneye is the name of the Jamaican vacation home of the late Bond author Ian Fleming. 

Drinking game: Take a shot of bourbon each time Boris says “invincible” and “slugheads”.

“WTF?!” moment: When Bond walks past some freaky outdoor theater play in Monte Carlo. 

Fun fact: The original script for Goldeneye was so similar to 1994’s True Lies, that it had to be rewritten. 

Overall ranking: 6th out of 24. 

Review synopsis: Brosnan’s first Bond movie ends up being easily his best. He’s suave, urbane, and a natural for the role. The girls, the gadgets, the villains, the locations…it all checks off. It’s been over 20 years now and Goldeneye still ranks up there with classic Connery and Moore flicks, and it’s not too far off of Craig’s modern day best. It’s pretty damn close to being in the top tier of 007 adventures. 

 

 

 

 

The Men Who Could Have Been Bond

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For some actors, it’s the role that got away. For others, it was “thanks, but no thanks.” Not every actor is built to take on the role of James Bond. You go from working actor to international superstar as fast as an Aston Martin goes from 0 to 60.

We know the six actors that got the job over the past 55+ years, but what about all the others who were considered and who auditioned. I won’t get into the hundreds and hundreds of past contenders, but here are some of the serious could-have-been Bonds.

 

DR. NO (1962) – Sean Connery 

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Cary Grant – This legend was a close friend of producer Cubby Broccoli’s, but he was in his late fifties at the time and wasn’t interested in a longterm franchise commitment.

Richard Johnson

Patrick McGoohan

Richard Todd 

 

ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE (1969) – George Lazenby 

A composite image of the five top candidates (including ultimate choice George Lazenby, bottom right). Published in the October 11, 1968, issue of LIFE.

John Richardson 

On Her Majesty's Secret Service director Peter R. Hunt oversees a test love scene between John Richardson and an actress, moving her leg just so.

Anthony Rogers

Anthony Rogers smokes a cigarette during his James Bond audition, 1967.

Robert Campbell 

Director Peter R. Hunt helps Robert Campbell get into a shoulder holster, 1967.

Hans de Vries 

Hans De Vries and France Anglade, James Bond audition, 1967.

Timothy Dalton – He was offered the role, but felt he was far too young to take on Bond. He was in his early twenties.

Adam West – He was considered, but turned it down because he felt Bond shouldn’t be American.

 

DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER (1971) – Sean Connery 

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John Gavin – Hired after Lazenby left, and then asked to step down once Connery returned. He still got paid.

Burt Reynolds – Considered, but said no because Bond should never be played by an American.

Adam West – Second time considered; turned it down again.

Michael Gambon

Roger Green

Roger Moore – Unavailable due to his TV series The Persuaders.

 

LIVE AND LET DIE (1973) – Roger Moore

  • John Gavin, Adam West and Burt Reynolds were all considered again.

Julian Glover

Jeremy Brett 

Simon Oates 

Michael Billington – Had the strongest audition, and would have gotten the role if Moore said no.

 

FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (1981) – Roger Moore

  • Timothy Dalton considered, just in case Moore didn’t return.
  • Michael Billington, who auditioned for Live And Let Die and played Sergei Barsov in The Spy Who Loved Me, was considered.

Lewis Collins

Ian Ogilvy 

 

OCTOPUSSY (1983) – Roger Moore

  • James Brolin auditioned and was cast… unless once again Roger Moore didn’t come back.

 

 

THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS (1987) – Timothy Dalton

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Pierce Brosnan – He auditioned and was cast; promotional materials were made with him as the new 007, but at the last minute he couldn’t get out of his TV contract for NBC’s Remington Steele.

Sam Neill

Mel Gibson – Considered briefly, but that was about it.

Finlay Light 

Antony Hamilton 

Lambert Wilson

Simon McCorkindale  

 

GOLDENEYE (1995) – Pierce Brosnan

Liam Neeson – Considered, but wasn’t interested.

Sean Bean – Auditioned; ended up as the main villain.

Mark Frankel 

Adrian Paul

Paul McGann – Auditioned and was considered for the role, if Brosnan somehow passed.

 

CASINO ROYALE (2006) – Daniel Craig  

Henry Cavill – Was the runner-up to Craig. The only thing that kept him from getting the role was his age. He was 22 when he auditioned.

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  • Clive Owen, Eric Bana, Hugh Jackman, Ewan McGregor, Karl Urban, Dougray Scott were all considered… but either turned down the role or didn’t engage in the audition process.
  • Sam Worthington, Goran Visnjic, Julian McMahon, Alex O’Loughlin all auditioned and were considered seriously for the role of James Bond.

 

 

 

Why Is Every Bond Actor’s Final Film Considered A Failure?

Whether it’s our last job, or our last relationship, we like to think of the successes during it and not about the failures that led to the finale. The same thoughts can be applied to movies. It’s very rare for the final film in a storied franchise to end as successfully as its predecessors.

We’ve had six James Bond actors and each one of their last turns as 007 can be labeled as a failure. But why?

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To say that Sean Connery “mailed it in” for his final Bond film (Diamonds Are Forever) would be an insult to hardworking envelopes. After George Lazenby’s one turn — we will get to him soon — Sean came out of 007 retirement in 1971 to star in this mishmash of a flick. Connery initially retired in 1967 after his 5th Bond movie (You Only Live Twice) and probably made the right career choice. Sean had grown tired of the character and wanted to prove he was an actor capable of playing more than just the world’s greatest secret agent.

A record salary at that time of $1.2 million — which he gave to charity — was enough for Connery to say never say never again. Financially, Diamonds was a major box office hit. The movie was trash, but audiences were aching to see the original, the best, Bond back in action. Sean looked a lot older than 41, the villain and plot were weak and ludicrous, but who cares?! Sean Connery was back as Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007, even if it was only for one more time — officially that is.

 

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George Lazenby is the college basketball freshman of the Bond actors. He was “one and done” in a very underrated Bond film (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service). As the decades have passed, the film has gained a lot of traction as one of the best Bonds ever. What’s holding it back? George Lazenby.

Lazenby wasn’t an actor. He was cast for his looks and his physicality. Connery announced he was leaving Bond during production of You Only Live Twice and the hunt was one for the next Bond. Lazenby could have had a long career as Bond, even though OHMSS wasn’t as huge a hit as previous Connery-007 flicks. He foolishly turned down a seven picture deal, which lead to Sean’s return in Diamonds. Now OHMSS is one of those “oh you mean that one movie, the one where Bond gets married, with that one guy who only played him once?” Such a shame.

 

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To steal a line from the late, great Roger Moore, which I think he stole from a film critic… By the time 1985’s A View To A Kill was released, Roger Moore wasn’t just long in the tooth, he had tusks! Yes, Roger was a master at poking fun at himself. After 7 movies, 12 years as Bond, he knew it was over.

The longest running Bond actor probably should have called it quits after the box office success of 1983’s Octopussy. AVTAK has a hip (for the mid-80s) soundtrack, courtesy of Duran Duran’s title song, young villains played by oddities Grace Jones and Christopher Walked, plus a leading lady (Tanya Roberts) so young that her mother was younger than Roger Moore! AVTAK wasn’t the box office hit Moore and Bond producer Cubby Broccoli were used to. In December of 1985, 7 months after the movie was released, Moore officially announced his retirement. He was 58 years old.

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Licence To Kill, Timothy Dalton’s 2nd and last Bond movie, might be the film that nearly killed the 007 franchise for good. It came out in the very crowded summer of 1989. Batman, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Lethal Weapon 2, Ghostbusters 2, just to name a few of the competitors.

Dalton was never the audiences favorite for the part. Over time, he’s gotten more credit. Some call his take on Bond ahead of its time, thanks to the success of Daniel Craig. Dalton’s serious tone came right after the 12 years of campy Moore. Also, always being thought of as the second choice for the role after Pierce Brosnan couldn’t get out of his TV contract, didn’t help. The film itself kind of has a made-for-TV, Miami Vice feel to it.

To this day, it is still the lowest ranking Bond when it comes to box office numbers. I’m including cost adjustment for inflation. Thanks to these low numbers and some legal battles, we didn’t see another James Bond film on the big screen for 6 years.

 

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Pierce Brosnan had a very successful run as 007. All four of his movies were big hits. Critically acclaimed? Not so much. His 4th and final go at it came with Die Another Day. A movie so over the top that even Roger Moore made fun of it. Invisible cars, a Madonna cameo, kitesurfing a tsunami, and bad pun after pun after pun.

Much like Connery and Moore, audiences embraced Pierce’s Bond even if they knew the movies weren’t anything more than an excuse to stuff their faces with popcorn. With DAD, please add lots of cheese to your popcorn.

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So where does this leave our current 007, Mr. Daniel Craig. It could have ended last November 2015 with Spectre. Not as bad a way to go out as Diamonds Are Forever or A View To A Kill or Die Another Day, but it still wasn’t as great as Casino Royale or Skyfall. Hell, it might not even be better than Quantum of Solace.

When the 25th Bond movie is released — hopefully in late 2019 — Craig will go out with #5 and he will pass Roger Moore as the longest serving — in number of years — Bond actor. This final film is about his legacy now. Can he do what the actors before him failed to do? Go out on a high note.

Movie Review: SKYFALL

Sometimes movies are all about timing. The year was 2012. It had been four years since we last had a 007 adventure. The summer of 2012 gave us the London Olympics, which included a short film by future Bond director Danny Boyle, starring Daniel Craig as James Bond and Queen Elizabeth as herself (insert your own dirty Bond girl name).

On top of all that, it was the 50 year anniversary of the Bond movie franchise. A new batch of special Blu-Rays could be added to your DVD collection. When Skyfall was released in early November 2012, the timing was perfect. Just in the same way it was for Goldfinger in 1964, The Spy Who Loved Me in 1977, and GoldenEye in 1995. The audience desperately wanted a new Bond movie. It also doesn’t hurt to have a great song and superb villain. There was a reason why Skyfall grossed over $1 billion dollars worldwide and adored by film critics. It’s all about timing.

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My SKYFALL Notes:

  • While I miss the gunbarrel in the opening shot, I do enjoy how Bond in the hallway makes for a proper substitute.
  • This has the best cinematography of any Bond film thanks to Roger Deakins. As well as the best looking Bond clothes. Those suits by Tom Ford impeccably fit Craig.
  • I’d love to know more of Ronson’s backstory. Bond actually seems sad that his fellow agent is bleeding to death.
  • The pre-title sequence makes good use of Istanbul. Third time in the franchise. From cars to bikes to trains, this is an action sequence always on the move.
  • The cuff-straightening works for me. It’s a nod to the Moore/Brosnan old fashioned tie-straightening gag.
  • Adele’s siren song and Daniel Kleinman’s visuals for the opening credits work beautifully together.
  • As much as I love this film, the plot has far too many unbelievable steps. Silva’s plan needs us to just give in and accept that he thought of every contingency imaginable.
  • From locations, to British colloquialisms, I think this is the most British Bond movie ever made.
  • I could see “Turkish Scorpion Drinking” on ESPN 2 at 4am.
  • I would pay good money to see Bond’s three-month “death vacation.”
  • This script is one of the best in the franchise. So many great one on one scenes. Bong with M (Dench), Bond with new Q, Bond with (spoiler alert) Moneypenny, etc.
  • Bond doing DIY surgery is so Craig.
  • Ralph Fiennes is a great actor, but it’s almost too obvious that he will be the future M right from the start.
  • Severine is beautiful to look at, but wasted as a character.
  • Javier Bardem as Silva is a bizarre delight. From his rats monologue, to his dentures, to his Max Zorin hair, he’s my favorite Bond villain ever.
  • I don’t think Bond ever had a homosexual experience, but I do think he wanted to turn the tables on Silva.
  • Craig is easily the best runner of the Bond actors. He could give Tom Cruise a run for his money. Pun heavily intended.
  • What else is in Bond’s storage closet besides the Aston Martin?
  • I love Albert Finney as Kincade, especially when he calls Judi Dench’s M “Emma”.
  • I’m in the minority on this, but I enjoy the “Home Alone”/”Straw Dogs” third act.
  • I wanted a fight between Bond and Silva. A thrown knife to the back isn’t good enough.
  • I still get emotional watching Judi Dench die in Daniel Craig’s arms. This M and Bond duo had a genuine mother-son relationship.
  • Skyfall has one of the greatest epilogues in movie history. It ends with you wanting the next Bond movie to start ASAP. We got Spectre three years later, and its plot ruins everything that made Skyfall fantastic.

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Bond’s coolest moment? Entering the casino in Macau. A runner-up: kicking up the machine gun into his arms in Scotland.

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? That fight in the Komodo dragon pit was too much Roger Moore for a Daniel Craig Bond flick. 

Bond’s best line? When Severine asks Bond if he will kill Silva for her and James replies with “Someone usually dies.”

Best acting performance? In the greatest cast of a Bond movie, Dench is the MVP. In many ways, she is the true “Bond girl” in Skyfall.

Bond’s most “sexual predator” moment? Bond correctly guesses that Severine has been a sex worker since she was about 12 or 13, and what does he do? Next scene he sneaks into her shower for some steamy sex. Even Connery and Moore would say slow down!

Worst line in the movie? “Put it all on red. It’s the circle of life.” Yeah, five and a half years later I still don’t understand what the hell James meant. 

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 36th time? After Bond finishes his drink and traps the scorpion with his glass, he gives the hand gesture that he’s buying the entire bar the next round. With what money James?!

Best action sequence? It’s not the best fight in the series, but it’s the most beautifully shot… the silhouette fight between Bond and Patrice in the Shanghai skyscraper.

Who or what is the title song about? I think it’s about Bond’s childhood and what kind of man he has become. 

Best looking cinematic moment? Everything in Shanghai and Macau. 

How could the villain have succeeded? Silva did succeed. His goal was to kill M and he did. At the end, Bond failed to protect her. Silva did take his sweet time though, and was a tad too coy throughout.

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? Since they make Bond out to be too old for his job, I think a Pierce Brosnan pushing 60 could have worked. Having said that, Craig looks so comfortable in his 3rd outing. 

Does Bond ever think he might die? Not really, which is weird since kind of does die in the beginning. Bond is pretty fearless in this film. It’s as if he has a bit of a death wish. 

What would have made the movie better? Not much. I guess maybe cut out some of Silva’s pre-planned nonsense. 

What’s in a name? Bond doesn’t use an alias, but we do learn his parents names. Andrew Bond and Monique Delacroix.

What’s in a title? Skyfall is the name of Bond’s childhood manor in Scotland. 

Drinking game: Take a shot of Macallan whiskey each time the word “bloody” is said. I told you this is the most British Bond movie ever!

“WTF?!” moment: Judi Dench’s M becoming the first and only person in a Bond movie to say “fuck”. 

Fun fact: The original title of the movie was “Once Upon A Spy” and the original script had a few differences, including Bond killing M at the end for her screwing everything up. That’s pretty dark. 

Overall ranking: 1st out of 24.

Review synopsis: Skyfall does on the 50th anniversary, what Die Another Day couldn’t do on the 40th anniversary. Make us care about the legacy of James Bond. Only a handful of Bond films can combine action and pathos, like Skyfall does. Who knew Sam Mendes could direct an action movie? Especially one that IMHO is the greatest Bond movie of them all.

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James Bond Battle Royale

Six Bonds enter the train dining cart…only one Bond left standing.

The fighters: (all as James Bond) Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, Daniel Craig.

The location: inside the dining cart of a moving train; the most used Bond fight location.

The rules: hand-to-hand combat, no weapons allowed (aside from what is inside the train), every Bond for themselves.

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Before we see this battle royale, let’s take a closer look at each fighter and their respective styles.

SEAN CONNERY – Lean, mean and moves smoothly for a tall man. Early Connery is in great shape for that era. A swimmer’s body. His fighting style is ruthless, but still with a touch of class to it. He will be the thinking man’s fighter on the train.

 

GEORGE LAZENBY – His Bond fighting style was “bad ass.” In real life, George got the gig because he tested so well in the audition fight scenes. He actually broke the nose of the stunt man he tangled with. Just like Connery, in really good shape for that time. He will definitely take risks during the upcoming battle.

 

ROGER MOORE – All there is to say about Moore’s Bond fighting style is “judo chop!” Tall, in so-so shape, not much of a killer instinct in his scuffles. His charming personality won’t help him much on the train.

 

TIMOTHY DALTON – Think of him as Craig 1.0, but his fighting skills don’t necessarily match his no nonsense attitude. His face looks intimidating, but the rest of him not so much. His reputation will have to save him during the fight on the train.

 

PIERCE BROSNAN – If Dalton was Craig 1.0, Pierce was certainly Roger Moore 2.0 when it comes to ruthlessness. Brosnan has a few decent fights during his Bond tenure, but as the skinniest Bond he will have a lot to prove in the train Battle Royale.

 

DANIEL CRAIG – The bloody (literally), slightly insane Bond. Craig’s fighting style is similar to what we saw with the Bourne franchise. Craig’s Bond is in tip-top shape, but he is easily the shortest of the six men. But he is the scrappiest.

 

The train dining cart is empty, aside from the fully stocked bar and the tables. Our six Bonds are alone and sizing one another up. Brosnan and Moore are the easy targets and Lazenby and Dalton don’t hesitate to mix it up. Craig and Connery don’t engage just yet. Moore puts up a surprisingly good fight against Dalton, while Brosnan is having trouble with the much rougher Lazenby.

Connery jumps in against Moore, as the two actors who made the most 007 movies tangle. Connery dispatches Moore with the help of champagne bottle and a chair. He tosses Moore out of the window of the speeding train. Even at the end, Moore looks smashing. Lazenby finishes off Brosnan, who is grunting and sticking out his chin, with such a wild haymaker that it knocks Pierce out cold.

Connery turns his attention to Dalton and roughs him up badly. Craig and Lazenby engage in a frenetic brawl, but George’s old-fashioned brawler ways are no match for Daniel’s “whatever it takes” attitude. Brosnan awakens only to be bashed over the head with a whiskey bottle by Lazenby, and then Craig jams a butterknife into Brosnan’s neck and waits for him to bleed out, and he turns his attention back to Lazenby.

Connery strangles Dalton after delivering a beatdown that leaves Tim as bruised as he looked after he fought Sanchez in Licence To Kill. Craig chokes-out Lazenby with a long bar dishrag. Now we are down to the final two. Connery vs Craig. Sean uses his size advantage with his arm reach. Daniel hunkers down and uses his scrappy fighting style. Bottles, tables, chairs are all used during this confrontation. Connery thinks he has the upper hand as he stomps down on Craig, but Craig grabs a hold of Connery’s leg and flips him. Craig then tries to get Connery in a sleeper hold the same way he did to that Ugandan in Casino Royale. Connery does his best to shake Craig off, but after a long fight it’s no use. Connery loses this train fight.

Five Bonds dispatched. Craig’s Bond, a bloody mess as always, drinks a bottle of vodka at the bar while looking at himself in the mirror.

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Is There a James Bond Movie Timeline?

The quick answer to this headline is NO.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve watched Bond movies with the idea that these are just random missions, and events, in the life of one man. Think of James Bond like The Simpsons. The characters never grow drastically old, even if times change. If you try your hardest at creating a Bond universe timeline, you will end up with a massive headache and a nosebleed. With that in mind, I’ll give it a shot. The most important factor in all of this is YOU MUST throwout the silly notion that “James Bond” is a codename. There are a handful of times when his dead wife is mentioned, and thanks to the Craig films we know all about his childhood.

James Bond does have a codename. It’s 007.

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MY BOND MOVIE TIMELINE:

  1. Casino Royale – aka Bond Begins
  2. Quantum of Solace – a direct sequel to Casino Royale
  3. Dr. No 
  4. From Russia With Love – Spectre wants payback for Dr. No’s death
  5. Goldfinger
  6. Thunderball 
  7. You Only Live Twice 
  8. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – Bond still on the hunt for Blofeld/Spectre
  9. Diamonds Are Forever – very brief act of revenge for the death of Bond’s wife
  10. Live And Let Die 
  11. The Man With The Golden Gun – the return of Sheriff J.W. Pepper
  12. The Spy Who Loved Me
  13. Moonraker – Jaws reappears
  14. For Your Eyes Only – we see the grave of Tracy (Bond’s wife)
  15. Octopussy 
  16. A View To A Kill
  17. The Living Daylights
  18. Licence To Kill 
  19. Goldeneye
  20. Tomorrow Never Dies 
  21. The World Is Not Enough
  22. Die Another Day – we see many of the gadgets used in past films
  23. Skyfall – we see a weary Bond, sick of his job
  24. Spectre – a sequel to Skyfall… but completely ruins this timeline

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My timeline needs to be taken with a grain of salt. How does Judi Dench go from being Pierce Brosnan’s boss, all the way back to being young Daniel Craig’s boss? And of course, the film Spectre throws everything out the window with the ridiculous notion that Casino, Quantum, Skyfall are all connected. Oh and Bond and Blofeld are foster brothers?!

The only other film franchise with a more convoluted timeline is X-MEN.

Movie Review: GOLDFINGER

It doesn’t matter how old you are, or whether or not you have seen the movie from beginning to end. When someone says Goldfinger, you know it. The song, the painted girl, the gadgets, the title villain himself, the laser scene, Pussy Galore, Oddjob, etc.

Dr. No and From Russia With Love were the first two films in the Bond franchise, but Goldfinger was the first one to set the tone for the entire series for decades to come.

GOLDFINGER NOTES:

  • Not sure James needs the seagull on his head in the opening scene.
  • This is the first movie where Connery needed a hairpiece. And it shows. The top of his hair looks almost strawberry blonde.
  • Very cool editing having Bond look at his watch, light his cigarette, and have the bombs goes off all at once.
  • The “shocking, positively shocking” scene still holds up today, although I’m not sure that lamp was plugged in when Bond smacked it into the bathtub.
  • The combo of John Barry’s score with Shirley Bassey’s title song is dynamic 1-2 punch that is tough to beat.
  • I’m not a fan of the title sequence showing upcoming clips from the movie. Also, why slip in the helicopter scene from the last flick, From Russia With Love?
  • If there were ever a thing as “Bond goes on Spring Break” the scenes in Miami would be it.
  • Bond slapping his Miami girl’s ass, as he tells her to scoot off so he and his buddy Felix can have some “man talk”, is just one example that makes this the most misogynistic Bond movie. Or as some might call it… “a simpler time.”
  • Only Sean Connery could make a baby blue Terry cloth romper look cool.
  • Even though she is only in the movie for a few minutes, Jill Masterson (played by Shirley Eaton) makes a lasting impression.
  • How long did it take for her to be covered in gold paint? How long was Bond knocked out for? She suffocated from being covered in gold paint? Are we sure Oddjob didn’t karate-chop her?
  • 007 is really bad at his job in this film. His unnecessary meddling gets Masterson killed, her sister too eventually, and he presents himself as a target for Goldfinger.
  • Bond is at his snobby best when drinking Brandy.
  • This movie gives us our first ever Q branch scene. We get to see the legendary Aston Martin DB5 with all the bells and whistles. Q truly hates Bond in this scene.
  • Having GPS in a car must have blown the minds of 1964 audiences.
  • Goldfinger (played by Gert Frobe) is so badly dubbed throughout this.
  • The golf scene does nothing to change my belief that this sport is dull.
  • Don’t you think on Halloween caddies should dress up like Oddjob?
  • Bond’s caddie looks like someone out of Darby O’Gill and the Little People. Ironically, also starring Sean Connery.
  • Some similarities between the golf scene and the backgammon scene from Octopussy.
  • So let me get this straight: Goldfinger is obsessed with covering things in gold, he cheats, he lies, he’s overweight, he has a weird orange complexion…
  • Even though the clothes are from 1964, this might be the best dressed Bond has ever been. At the very least, he looks like he would fit in on Mad Men.
  • Oddjob’s hat baffles me. I know it has an iron rim. It can completely decapitate a statue, but not a human.
  • Bond does a lot of detective work in this movie, which I enjoy.
  • Oddjob speaks like a 16 month-old toddler.
  • In the novel, Pussy Galore is a lesbian. In this film, it’s only implied.
  • One of the rare times we see James with a 5 o’clock shadow. Also rare we get to see his handwriting.
  • Can we get a shared universe or crossover between “Pussy Galore’s Flying Circus” and “Octopussy’s Circus”?
  • James Bond in Kentucky is something you may never see again. And yes, you can see them drive past a KFC.
  • The mobsters cast in the film are from stereotype theater.
  • Goldfinger’s plan has a lot in common with Zorin’s plan in A View To A Kill. Replace gold with microchips, and a dirty bomb with an earthquake.
  • For those of you wondering what would have happened if Goldfinger’s plan had worked, Fort Knox’s gold would stop being radioactive in 2022. Only 4 years to go!
  • Pussy Galore has man-hands.
  • Connery saying “poo-say” is a delight.
  • I’ve never drank a Mint Julep. They look disgusting.
  • The car crushing scene sure does drag on.
  • The soldiers playing dead always cracks me up.
  • Goldfinger dressed up as an American General is pretty bonkers. The other soldiers can’t tell from his thick German accent? Do most military men carry a solid gold revolver?
  • Is Goldfinger’s death, being sucked out of an airplane window, the most embarrassing next to Kananga inflating and exploding in Live And Let Die?
  • Two gaffs really bother. The bomb defused at 007 seconds, while Bond says it was stopped with only three seconds to go. And there is clearly a man behind Goldfinger on the plane at the end of the movie. Where did he go?

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Bond’s coolest moment? Slipping out of his scuba wetsuit to reveal his white tux.

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? Flirting with the guard to get him to come into his cell and escape.

Bond’s best line?Manners, Oddjob. I thought you always took your hat off to a lady.”

Best acting performance? Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore ranks up there with the best Bond girls.

Bond’s most “sexual predator” moment? Bond forcing himself on Pussy Galore is the all-time answer to this question. All it takes is that barn scene for her to renounce her lesbianism.

Worst line in the movie? Bond being an old fuddy-duddy with his diss of the Beatles.

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 150th time? Pussy Galore’s co-pilot is reading a magazine while the plane is in flight.

Best action sequence? The car chase at night at Goldfinger’s plant.

Who or what is the title song about? It’s about the main villain and how James better watch out.

Best looking cinematic moment? The hilltop road scene in Geneva.

How could the villain have succeeded? By splitting Bond in half with his laser. Instead, he fell for Bond’s “Operation Grand Slam” bluff.

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? This is prime Connery. Just like with Moore in The Spy Who Loved Me and Craig in Skyfall, the third time is the charm.

Does Bond ever think he might die? During the famous laser table scene. Without the words “Operation Grand Slam” he would have been killed.

What would have made the movie better? Cut the length of the golf scene and the car crushing scene. And keep in Bond’s original reply when Pussy Galore tells him her name. “I know, but what’s your name?”

What’s in a name? No alias for James in this one. And he could have used one.

What’s in a title? Goldfinger is not only the name of the villain, but it’s also the title of the novel by Bond author/creator Ian Fleming.

Drinking game: Take a sip of your Mint Julep each time “Goldfinger” is said.

“WTF?!” moment: The gun-totting grandma!

Fun fact: This is the only Sean Connery – James Bond movie without the evil organization Spectre behind the villain’s plan.

Overall ranking: 7th out of 24 movies.

Review synopsis: Despite looking very dated in our #MeToo #TimesUp era, Goldfinger remains as fun a Bond movie ever made. There’s a reason why most people consider it the best. I find it slightly overrated, but you can’t go wrong with all the elements involved. This was the start of the Bond phenomenon and it’s easy to see why.

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