Has James Bond Ever Truly Been In Love?

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On this Valentine’s Day, I’m taking a look at the love life of a man who has enjoyed “a bachelor’s taste for freedom.” This terrific line comes from James Bond himself in the film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. In this movie, it is perhaps one of only a handful of times that 007 has fallen in love.

From Dr. No to You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever, Sean Connery’s Bond never falls in love with his Bond girl. He’s usually too busy forcing lesbians and health clinic workers into having sex with him, and occasionally slapping some of his ladies around. George Lazenby’s one Bond movie is On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and yes his Bond does feel something for Tracy. Okay, he does slap her too. Tracy is probably the first bipolar Bond girl, which makes sense considering James Bond has his fair share of psychological issues as well. Most fans agree that Tracy is his one true love because he marries her. But does he really love her, or is he just forcing himself into love? They fall for each other under stranger circumstances, and thanks to Louis Armstrong and a dating montage, we are to believe the ultimate womanizer is ready to settle down.

So there we have it. James Bond is done with all other women. Tracy is his one and only. However, after this sweet courtship clip, Bond goes on his mission and has sex with at least two women, more likely three. The only woman I’m sure he doesn’t screw at the Piz Gloria is Irma Bunt. As Bond fans know, he does marry Tracy, only for her to be killed later on their wedding day thanks to Blofeld and Bunt. Of course Bond loved Tracy very much, but I still don’t think she was his greatest love. More on that later. Oh and a fun fact: George Lazenby and Diana Rigg (Tracy) absolutely detested each other on set.

The Roger Moore era certainly didn’t have any true love in the 70s and 80s. In fact, I think Roger’s 007 bedded the most ladies. He even had some waiting in the closet for him until he was done with another lady (see: Man With Golden Gun). Moore wasn’t as rough a lover as Connery, but his Bond wasn’t loving either. Live And Let Die? Lies to a young girl and takes her virginity. Moonraker? Has sex with Drax’s assistant and gets her killed. Maybe he cared for Octopussy the most, but that just might be because all the other women in the Bond era were old enough to be his daughter.

When Timothy Dalton became James Bond we were in the grips of the AIDS crisis. Was it time for Bond to settle down again? Or at least start using condoms? In Dalton’s first flick, The Living Daylights, after a quickie on a yacht with a bored vacationer, 007 only hooks up with Kara. In fact, for the first half of the movie, our too-cool-to-settle-down hero is kind of put into the “friends zone” by her. Dalton’s second and final Bond movie has him back to basics, although still not too promiscuous.

Pierce Brosnan’s 007 gives the impression that he falls in love very fast, but I’m not buying it. Paris Carver, Elektra King and Miranda Frost are women he has sex with and who eventually die. Brosnan’s acting seems like he knows a backstory full of passion and romance, that the audience isn’t quite in on. He stands and leans over these three dead women in particular in a very odd fashion. Think of Brosnan’s Bond as Moore’s, except his is a little more sensitive. Both men had to deal with two young, regrettable Bond girls in Christmas Jones and Stacy Sutton. So they have that… umm… bond.

Forget about Tracy Bond. Let’s talk about his true love… Vesper Lynd. Casino Royale sees a new Bond (Daniel Craig) start from the beginning of his espionage career. Vesper and Bond instantly hit it off on the train. Thanks to some sharp dialogue in the script, I don’t think we have ever seen James meet his love match like this. She is intelligent, beautiful, witty, sultry, and as cynical and sarcastic as him.

This is what makes Casino Royale one of the greatest Bond movies ever. We believe these two characters are falling in love with each other. Bond is already willing to toss away his young career for her. That’s why her betrayal (spoiler alert: she lies and steals from him) is so gut-wrenching. Bond is shaken to his core and we understand why he never trusts women again. Guys, gals, we have all been there. Heartbreak is real and it takes years to recover from. When James says “the bitch is dead”, we get it. He’s ready to move on, but he will never forget this sickening feeling.

Craig’s Bond doesn’t sleep around as much as Connery or Moore or Brosnan did, but he definitely isn’t monogamous either. Just ask Strawberry Fields and Severine. Well don’t ask them. They’re dead. Look, it doesn’t matter which actor plays Bond because about half his ladies end up dead. At the end of Spectre, we see Bond ride off into the sunset with Madeleine Swann. She told him she loved him after knowing him for about three days. It’s hard to buy a man like Bond, after what he went through with Vesper, to end up with Madeleine. I’m sure in 2019, we will see Craig’s Bond with a new girl(s). Because that’s how we like our James Bond. Someone with an even more complicated love life than our own.

So on this Valentine’s Day, if you don’t have anyone special to love, maybe you should be more like Roger Moore’s James Bond and love yourself.

 

Recasting Bond Movie Roles

Elegant Woman Ready for a Shoot

There have been Bond actors who have been hired and replaced (John Gavin, Pierce Brosnan). Well, the same goes for some Bond girls and villains. Before the next Bond flick  comes out, casting rumors usually fly around. Sometimes there’s a bit of truth to them, but most of the time it’s just bloggers looking for click-bait.

With this in mind, I’m going to go back in time and take some famous Bond movie roles and recast them with actors who may have done as good — if not better — a job than the one who was cast.

I love most of the original casting choices. I’m just going rogue casting director here!

 

DR. NO (1962)

Character: Dr. No (villain)

Actor cast: Joseph Wiseman

Actor considered: Christopher Lee

My choice: Yul Brynner

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THUNDERBALL (1965)

Character: Domino (Bond girl)

Actress cast: Claudine Auger

Actress considered: Raquel Welch

My choice: Suzanne Pleshette

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THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN (1974)

Character: Francisco Scaramanga (villain)

Actor cast: Christopher Lee

Actor considered: Jack Palance

My choice: Ricardo Montalban

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THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977)

Character: Jaws (henchman)

Actor cast: Richard Kiel

Actor considered: N/A

My choice: Arnold Schwarzenegger

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OCTOPUSSY (1983)

Character: Octopussy (Bond girl)

Actress cast: Maud Adams

Actress considered: Sybil Danning

My choice: Kirstie Alley

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A VIEW TO A KILL (1985)

Character: Max Zorin (villain)

Actor cast: Christopher Walken

Actor considered: David Bowie

My choice: Malcolm McDowell

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TOMORROW NEVER DIES (1997)

Character: Paris Carver (Bond girl)

Actress cast: Teri Hatcher

Actress considered: Monica Bellucci

My choice: Elizabeth Hurley

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DIE ANOTHER DAY (2002)

Character: Jinx (Bond girl)

Actress cast: Halle Berry

Actress considered: Salma Hayek

My choice: Madonna

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CASINO ROYALE (2006)

Character: Vesper Lynd (Bond girl)

Actress cast: Eva Green

Actress considered: Olivia Wilde

My choice: Mia Kirshner

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SKYFALL (2012)

Character: Raoul Silva (villain)

Actor cast: Javier Bardem

Actor considered: Kevin Spacey

My choice: Johnny Depp

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Movie Review: SPECTRE

After the critically-acclaimed, highest grossing Bond movie ever, Spectre was destined to have a difficult time living up to Skyfall. Much in the same way Quantum of Solace had to follow the vastly superior Casino Royale. Despite problems during production (script leaks, Daniel Craig’s noticeable boredom, etc.), there’s still plenty to like about Spectre. Also quite a bit to feel like it underachieved.

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This most recent Bond flick starts out the way God intended. With the classic gunbarrel sequence finally at the very beginning of a Daniel Craig-James Bond movie. The pre-title sequence takes place in Mexico City during the “Day of the Dead.” From the opening one-shot track in the middle of the hectic parade, to a building being blown up, to Bond fighting inside an out-of-control helicopter… this is the best pre-title sequence in the Craig era and IMHO one of the best in the entire franchise. Bond is south of the border to carry out an unauthorised mission to stop a terrorist bombing plot. We later learn Bond’s orders came from his beloved, deceased “mum”/”ma’am”/M (Judi Dench). Bond confronts his prey, Marco Sciarra, grabs his fancy organization ring, and kills him by kicking him out of the helicopter. That leads us to Sam Smith’s dull “Writing’s On The Wall” theme, which won an Oscar for Best Song for some odd reason. The title credits had a little too much soft-core octopus-porn for my taste.

Returning to London, Bond is suspended from field duty by the new M (Ralph Fiennes) for the destruction he caused in Mexico City. M is about to lose his job to wormy Max “C” Denbigh (Andrew Scott), the head of a new privately backed spy agency, that intends to use drones and cameras instead of the pre-historic 00-section.  After a humorous meeting with Q (Ben Whishaw), Bond goes rogue (shocker, right?) and travels to Rome to attend Sciarra’s funeral. He seduces Sciarra’s widow, Lucia, played by the underused Monica Bellucci. She tells Bond all about the mysterious criminal organization that her husband belonged too. Bond uses the ring to infiltrate their meeting, where he witnesses a massive mountain of a man (Dave Bautista) crush a man’s skull and sees a familiar face as the group’s leader. What follows next is an underwhelming car chase through the streets of Rome and Vatican City at night, with Bond’s new Aston Martin vs a Jaguar.

This leader, Franz Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz), has an assassination order for the “Pale King”. Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) informs Bond that the Pale King is Mr. White, a former member of the organization’s subsidiary Quantum. Bond asks her to investigate Oberhauser, whom he presumed dead years earlier. Bond finds Mr. White in a snowy village in Austria, where he learns that White is dying. He tells Bond to find and protect his daughter, Dr. Madeline Swann (Léa Seydoux), who will take him to L’Américain. He commits suicide after wishing Bond good luck. Bond goes to the clinic where Swann works and has to rescue her from Oberhauser’s henchmen in a snow-plane vs jeeps battle. 007 and Swann meet Q who explains the links between this Oberhauser fellow and Bond’s previous missions. Yes, all four of Craig’s movies are tied together. Le Chiffre, Dominic Greene and Raoul Silva all worked for the same organization, which Swann identifies as SPECTRE. More later on this reversed engineered plot.

Swann takes Bond to L’Américain, which is not a person, but a hotel in Tangier. They find evidence directing them to SPECTRE’s crater base in the Sahara. Taking a train to a remote station, Bond and Swann encounter that gigantic henchmen. Craig and Bautista engage in a train fight almost as good as Sean Connery vs Robert Shaw in From Russia With Love. It’s one of Spectre’s best highlights. After Bond disposes of the hulking beast, he and Swann go to the base. Oberhauser reveals that he has been staging terrorist attacks around the world, and funding Max “C” Denbigh’s new spying agency in order to control world-wide surveillance. Bond is tortured as Oberhauser and tells Swann all about how when James was an orphan, Oberhauser’s father became his temporary guardian. Believing that young James supplanted his role as son, Franz later killed his father and staged his own death. This timeline gets fuzzy and the movie doesn’t do an adequate job of explaining it all. For some reason, he adopted the new name Ernst Stavro Blofeld based on his mother’s bloodline. He went on to form SPECTRE and make his longterm target James Bond. Or as he puts it… the author of all his pain. Bond uses his watch to blow up the room and escape with Madeleine, destroying the base in a huge explosion and assumes Oberhauser/Blofeld has died in the blast.

Bond and Swann return to London where they meet M, Q, and Moneypenny with the intention of arresting “C” and stopping his spying network from being activated. Swann and Bond are abducted separately, while the rest of the group proceed with the plan. After Q succeeds in preventing the program from going online, a struggle between M and C ends with C falling to his death. Bond is taken to the ruins of the old MI6 building, scheduled for demolition after Silva’s bombing in the film Skyfall. He encounters a disfigured Blofeld, who tells him that Bond must escape before explosives are detonated or die trying to save Swann. Bond goes on a mad search to find Madeleine and they escape by boat as the building collapses. Bond shoots down Blofeld’s helicopter with his Walther and it crashes onto the Westminster Bridge. As Blofeld crawls from the fiery wreckage, Bond confronts him but decides not to kill him because Madeleine has made James a changed man or something. Bond leaves Blofeld to be arrested by M, then walks away from the scene with Swann. After picking up his fixed Aston Martin DB5 from Q, Bond and Madeleine drive off together to start their new lives. An ending that seems to say “Daniel Craig will NOT be back as 007”, but we know better now.

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Bond’s coolest moment? Craig’s Bond is a bitchy, snarky Bond. So I like when he dismisses Tanner’s helping hand off the boat, and when he briskly walks and talks with Moneypenny and barely looks at her.

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? That car chase in Rome has one too many moments that seem out of place in the Craig era. A while back I wrote that Spectre might be Daniel Craig’s Roger Moore 007 movie. Perfect example.

Bond’s best line? Telling the bartender to throw his health drink down the toilet, to “cut out the middle man.”

Best acting performance? Even though he doesn’t rank up there with Bardem’s Silva or Mikkelsen’s Le Chiffre, I think Waltz does his best as the iconic Bond villain Blofeld.

Bond’s most “sexual predator” moment? Having his way with an Italian widow he barely knows. It’s a very Connery move.

Worst line in the movie? Not so much a bad line, but when M says he knows what “C” stands for…”careless”…let’s just say it’s a missed opportunity. Close second is Swann telling Bond she loves him. Not buying it.

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 12th time? It’s implied that Madeleine shot Oberhauser when she was a young girl. I believe so.

Best action sequence? It’s a tie between the helicopter fight and the train fight. Sam Mendes is an underrated action movie director.

Who or what is the title song about? I think it’s Sam Smith singing as Bond and expressing on what he has been missing out on in life. It’s kind of a downer.

Best looking cinematic moment? Pretty much everything in Austria, especially Bond on the lake. It looks like Daniel Craig in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo sequel we never got.

How could the villain have succeeded? How about not letting a little kid named James Herbert Bond, who you barely knew, get so under your skin that as an adult you make it your life’s goal to ruin his?

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? Really no one else besides Craig. But he is definitely sleepwalking through this. I’m kind of surprised he is coming back for a 5th movie.

Does Bond ever think he might die? He shows actual fear during the train fight. Bond is throwing kitchen items in a desperate attempt to survive.

What would have made the movie better? This might take a while… drop the foster brother stuff. Stick to the original leaked screenplay which had a Bond vs Blofeld deadly poker game rather than that silly torture room scene. Also, the last line of the script is “We have all the time in the world” which would have set up a reboot of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service!

What’s in a name? No alias in this one, unless you count Bond calling himself Mickey Mouse in Italian.

What’s in a title? Spectre falls in the line of naming the movie after a villain or person or organization. Goldfinger, The Man With The Golden Gun, Octopussy, etc.

Drinking game: Take a drink of this every time the word “assassin” is said. Oh and please add some vodka to it… https://youtu.be/U4V4DK_3-Bc

“WTF?!” moment: Did Moneypenny have sex with Max “C” Denbigh? Who was that dark-haired man in her bed when Bond calls her?

Fun fact: Dave Bautista is quite memorable as the henchman Hinx, yet his name is never said throughout the entire film.

Overall ranking: 11th out of 24

Review synopsis: Spectre feels like the “most Bond” type of flick Craig has done. They check off a lot of boxes and that keeps this from being a poor entry in the franchise. But screwing up plot lines and timelines, which now makes Craig’s final turn in 2019 harder to predict, keeps it from being as great as Casino Royale and Skyfall.

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My Bond 25 Pitch

A few months ago, I gave a very basic idea on what the next Bond movie should look like. This is my official pitch for Bond 25 (2019). A boy can dream right?

*Memo to Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson regarding Bond 25 script ideas. This is an outline of thoughts on the plot, locations, and characters that screenwriters Purvis and Wade can polish up. I know there will be some backlash over the title of the film (Devil May Care), but I think it’s too good of a Bond title not to be used. Throw some money at author Sebastian Faulks, since we will also take some ideas from his novel.

SYNOPSIS:

James Bond must stop a young American billionaire from manipulating crypto-currency and taking control of every nation’s space program.

 

LOCATIONS:

  • Dubrovnik, Croatia (pre-title sequence)
  • London, England
  • Oslo, Norway
  • Lillehammer, Norway
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Kyushu, Japan (climax at Tanegashima Space Center)

  • Title song DEVIL MAY CARE by Lana del Rey. Example: “Million Dollar Man”.

 

GADGETS:

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  • Tesla 2020 Roadster.
  • Bulletproof skiing jacket.
  • Pen with laser pointer, that is an actual laser.
  • Omega watch that can blind enemies for 30 seconds.
  • Tom Ford sunglasses that can be used as a camera/video.

 

MAIN CAST:

Daniel Craig as James Bond 007 – Bond is being pushed towards a desk job and becoming a 00 instructor, since he is always threatening to retire. After this mission he will be replaced by a younger agent. He has recently broken up with his unnamed girlfriend and it’s become common knowledge with the MI6 staff. At the end of the movie, Bond stays as 007 while his potential younger replacement becomes 008.

Adam Driver as Bryce Talbot – The young American billionaire who owns and operates the company Techmera. He has hands in everything from crypto-currency, to social media, to self-funded space exploration. He wears a black glove on his left hand because he suffers from Main de Singe AKA- Monkey’s Paw. His left hand is extremely larger than his right. More like a gorilla hand. He’s shy and has wild mood swings. He intends to steal billions in crypto-currency, and defund every major nation’s space program so Techmera will be the only space superpower.

Alice Eve as Olivia Talbot – The mysterious wife of Bryce Talbot is beautiful and British. She has only been married to him for a couple of years. She and Bond become intimate in Norway, but Bond doesn’t trust her and thinks she is setting him up to be trapped. She turns out to be an MI6 agent deep undercover as Talbot’s girlfriend/fiancé/wife. In fact, she is set to replace Bond as 007 and he will become her teacher. She ends up as 008, since Bond proves he still has what it takes to be a 00 agent.

Rinko Kikuchi as Ayaka Ueno – An agent for Japan’s PSIA. She is Bond’s guide in Japan as they try to uncover Talbot’s plot. She and Bond become lovers. Ayaka has been working for Talbot from the start and has been spying on Bond since his mission briefing in London.

Naomie Harris as Moneypenny – She really ribs Bond about his new “devil may care” attitude about his personal life. She also has some choice words for Bond’s brand of sexism.

Ben Whishaw as Q – After he briefs Bond on the gadgets, they both go meet Talbot and Olivia at a Techmera event.

Rory Kinnear as Tanner – He’s become M’s right hand man more than ever.

Rose Namajunas as Hush – She is Talbot’s bodyguard and MMA trainer. She’s petite but lethal. She and Bond have a couple of tussles.

Tobias Santelmann as Hansen – An assassin in Norway for Talbot. He’s handy with a knife and he and Bond engage in a brutal hand-to-hand knife fight, with Bond winning.

Goran Visnjic as Glosel – An eccentric arms dealer who is shipping weapons of mass destruction in his oil tanker. One of his prize possessions is his pet great white shark. Bond defeats Glosel during the pre-title sequence.

Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter – Leiter shows up in Norway to help Bond with some info. The CIA has been spying on Talbot and his wife Olivia for some time.

Ralph Fiennes as M – He isn’t as hard on Bond in this movie since he thinks Bond is on his way out. He lets Tanner, Q and Moneypenny become Bond’s micromanagers.

 

CREW:

Director- Taika Waititi

Screenplay- Neal Purvis and Robert Wade

Composer- David Arnold

Cinematography- Adam Arkapaw

Costume Designer – Jany Temime

Production Designer – Dennis Gassner

 

ACTION SEQUENCES:

  • Scuba diving, sinking oil tanker during pre-titles in Dubrovnik.
  • Ski chase in Lillehammer.
  • Knife fight in Oslo.
  • Car chase in Tokyo.
  • Climax at Japanese space center.

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Review: DIE ANOTHER DAY

2002’s Die Another Day is the first time we see 007 in a post-9/11 world. While this movie was released about 14 months after the attack, Pierce Brosnan’s 4th and final turn as Bond only hints at the serious world we were living in at the time. The rest of movie comes across as a bonkers Roger Moore-style of Bond flick, mixed with popular action movies of the late 90s and early 2000s.

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When I saw this in the theater and witnessed the first ever CGI bullet being shot at an audience during the gunbarrel sequence, I knew this was going to be a Bond flick that stood out.  The first half of the film is the best Brosnan-Bond movie since Goldeneye. The second half? Less said the better.

Bond surfs his way into North Korea, because when you think North Korea you think surfing. He has taken the place of a diamond smuggler in order to inflitrate a military base. We meet Colonel Tan-Sun Moon, who is illegally trading weapons for African conflict diamonds. Looking at it now in 2018, the idea of having North Korea as the enemy makes Die Another Day seem accidentally ahead of its time.

Moon’s top henchman Zao soon discovers that Bond is a British spy here to assassinate the Colonel. Apparently, someone at MI6 is working with Moon and snitched on Bond. Bond narrowly escapes by blowing up a briefcase full of diamonds, which become neatly embedded in Zao’s face. Bond chases after Moon in a hovercraft through a minefield. This isn’t the best Bond pre-title action sequence since the hovercraft chase looks like two guys driving a bar of soap. At the end of this, Colonel Moon appears to have died, while Bond gets captured by North Korean soldiers and imprisoned by the Colonel’s father, General Moon.

After the bizarre title sequence filled with scorpions and ice water, and Madonna’s nonsense song, we see a long-haired, bearded Bond after 14 months of captivity and torture in his North Korean prison. Brosnan looks more like a well-fed Robinson Crusoe, than a spy who has been through hell. He is traded for Zao in a prisoner exchange involving the Americans and Brits. He is immediately sedated and taken to meet M, who informs him that his 00-status is suspended under suspicion of having leaked information while being tortured. Bond escapes MI6 custody to go find the double agent in the British government who ratted him out.

He swims to Hong Kong harbor and checks into a fancy hotel in a very amusing scene, where he learns from a Chinese agent that Zao is in Cuba. In Havana, 007 gets help from a Cuban sleeper agent. Then Bond meets NSA agent Jinx (Halle Berry), who enters out of the water Honey Ryder-style. After some poorly-written flirting, Bond and Jinx have wild sex. There are knives and fruit and everything! This is the first time we ever see Bond orgasm! Bond follows her to a gene therapy clinic, where patients can have their appearances altered through DNA restructuring. Your move Face/Off!

Bond locates Zao inside the clinic, where he is attempting to become a German man. Yup, it’s starting to get wacky. After the two fight, Zao leaves behind a pendant which leads Bond to a cache of diamonds, identified as conflict diamonds, which bears the symbol of the company owned by a young, brash billionaire named Gustav Graves (Toby Stephens). Graves’ claim to fame and fortune was discovering diamonds in Iceland a year ago.

Back in London, Bond meets Graves and his assistant Miranda Frost (Rosamund Pike), who is an undercover MI6 agent. After a cool Madonna cameo, Bond and Graves engage in a sword-fight. Graves loses to Bond in the epic fencing match, and to show what a good sport he is, he invites James to Iceland for a scientific demonstration of his new pet project. M tells Bond of MI6’s doubts about Graves, and Bond is suddenly back to 00-status and headed to Iceland with Frost to investigate Graves. Jinx is also hot on the trail, since the Americans also find Graves fishy.

At his ice palace in Iceland, Graves unveils a new orbital mirror satellite called “Icarus”. It focuses solar energy on a small area and provides year-round sunshine for crop development. However, it is also a weapon of mass destruction for Graves. Jinx is captured by Graves and Zao, because she is a horrible spy. We learn that Graves is actually Colonel Moon from the pre-title sequence. Not shocking. Not positively shocking. Moon used the gene therapy technology from Cuba. He changed his appearance, creating the identity of Gustav Graves and amassing his fortune from sale of the conflict diamonds. All in less than 14 months! Bond confronts Graves/Moon, but Frost (who Bond shagged the night before) arrives to reveal herself as the traitor who betrayed Bond in North Korea. Bond escapes in what can only be described as a cartoonish CGI action scene, involving melting ice caps and kitesurfing. Bond then returns to the palace in his invisible Aston Martin to rescue Jinx.

Remember when I wrote the first half of this movie was good? The second half of Die Another Day is way too outlandish. It’s so off-the-wall that A View To A Kill is telling it to take it down a notch. Graves uses Icarus to melt the ice palace, which will drown Jinx inside, all while Zao pursues Bond into the palace in his own suped-up vehicle. This Jaguar vs Aston Martin chase across ice is pretty snazzy I must admit. Bond kills Zao by shooting a giant diamond chandelier to fall onto him (more on this later). Bond saves Jinx from drowning in the melted ice palace.

Bond and Jinx pursue Graves and Frost to the Korean peninsula and stow away on Graves’ cargo plane. Graves reveals his true identity to his General father and his plan for Icarus. He wants to cut a path through the DMZ with concentrated sunlight, allowing North Korean troops to invade South Korea. General Moon tries to stop the plan that would certainly lead to nuclear war, but he is murdered via Graves’ electrocution suit and by gunshot.

Bond attempts to shoot Graves, but he is prevented by one of the soldiers on board. In the struggle, a gunshot goes through the fuselage, causing the plane to descend rapidly. Bond and Graves (still in his Electro-Man suit) fight to the death, while Jinx attempts to regain control of the plane. Frost and Jinx then have their own brawl with swords and knives, which is honestly better than the Bond vs Graves/Moon battle. The plane passes through the Icarus beam and is damaged to the point where it is coming apart. Jinx stabs Frost and Bond opens up Graves’ parachute, causing Graves to be pulled out of the plane and sucked into one of its engines. Bond and Jinx escape from the disintegrating plane in a helicopter from the cargo hold, carrying away Graves’ stash of diamonds in the process. After some sexual innuendo, Bond and Jinx make love in a bed full of those diamonds.

Die Another Day - HeadStuff.org

Bond’s coolest moment? Walking into that Hong Kong hotel lobby, not caring how he looks. This could be from any classic Bond movie.

Bond’s most embarrassing moment? Bond kitesurfing away from an avalanche/tidal wave is one of the most embarrassing moments in the entire franchise. Brosnan looked like the only live-action character in an Ice Age or Happy Feet animated film.

Bond’s best line? Bond’s “I’ve missed your sparkling personality.” Followed right by Zao punching him in the stomach and saying “How’s that for a punchline.”

Best acting performance? Rosamund Pike as Frost is terrific in her limited role. You can see the future Oscar-nominee has some real talent.

Bond’s most “sexual predator” moment? Not much to choose from, so I will go with Bond tricking Frost into making out for longer, as if Graves’ goons were still spying on them.

Worst line in the movie? “Yo mama!” should never be uttered in a Bond film. I hope Halle didn’t improvise that.

What I noticed for the first time after watching this for the 89th time? 14 months after 9/11. Bond held captive for 14 months. M saying “the world changed” while Bond was away. All connected.

Best action sequence? I really enjoy the sword fight at the Blades Club. It seems so out of place in a Bond movie, but it’s well choreographed and it never disappoints when I see it.

Who or what is the title song about? Your guess is as good as mine. I’m guessing it has to do with Bond’s survival mentality. But why the hell is Madonna singing “Sigmund Freud…analyze this…analyze this…analyze this…”?!

Best looking cinematic moment? Like I mentioned before, the Jaguar vs Aston Martin car chase on a frozen lake in Iceland is beautiful to watch, even if the action is ridiculous.

How could the villain have succeeded? By not faking his own death. He could have done his entire plan from North Korea. He would still have to kill his father I guess.

Which other Bond actor could have starred in this movie? I guess an in-his-prime Roger Moore makes sense, but this really is perfect for Pierce. He always tried to be a hybrid of Sean and Roger, and you can see it in this movie.

Does Bond ever think he might die? Before the prison exchange with Zao, Bond knows he is about to be shot by the North Korean firing squad. Brosnan does a good job of portraying Bond’s “so this is how it ends” facial expression.

What would have made the movie better? Cut the entire kitesurfing escape and the plane action climax. The movie is too silly for a movie two hours and ten minutes long.

What’s in a name? Bond takes the name (and sunglasses) of diamond smuggler Van Bierk. Notice how Bond is also already dressed like him before taking his identity.

What’s in a title? Die Another Day is one of a handful of Bond titles that has no connection to Ian Fleming or anything related to Bond history. It’s the third and final in the Brosnan-Bond “soap opera” title-sounding flicks: Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day.

Drinking game: Take a sip of your mojito every time a character utters a bad pun. This movie has more bad puns and one-liners than the three previous Brosnan-Bond flicks. #PunAnotherDay

“WTF?!” moment: Bond has the superpower to fake a heart attack! How did he learn this trick? Why did he ever learn how to do this?

Fun fact: Pierce Brosnan suffered a knee injury during the pre-title action sequence, which prompted the production to stop shooting for seven days.

Overall ranking: 19th best Bond movie out of 24 Bond movies.

Review synopsis: This is the 20th official James Bond movie and it came out on the 40th anniversary of Dr. No. They tried to throw everything but the kitchen sink here. The tone shifts, the eyeroll-worthy puns, the embarrassing CGI and an invisible car, didn’t give Pierce Brosnan a proper send-off as Bond. In fact, this movie (despite it being a huge box-office hit) made producers reexamine the franchise. This lead to the much needed Daniel Craig era. With all that said, Die Another Day is still highly entertaining in the same ways A View To A Kill and Diamonds Are Forever are.

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Let’s Talk Villain Deaths

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Whether they are trying to start World War III, or create financial crisis, or just steal water from Bolivia, Bond villains usually have a righteous kill coming their way. Sometimes they even survive to live to die another day. Let’s take a look at each Bond villain’s demise.

  • Dr. No has an ironic death. His metal hands can’t grasp the metal railing after Bond overloads the reactor and knocks Dr. No into the reactor pool. His death looks extremely painful. I give his death a 006 out of 007.
  • Rosa Klebb certainly had her kicks in From Russia With Love. In a climactic fight with Bond, she tries to kick him with her poisoned switchblade shoe, but Bond girl Tatiana takes her sweet time in deciding to shoot Klebb. I like her death strictly for actress Lotte Lenya’s nearly orgasmic last gasp and pose. I give her death a 005 out of 007.
  • Shouldn’t Goldfinger have died in some manner involving gold? Goldfinger is sucked out of the cabin of a plane through a ruptured window. I’m gonna just come out and say it. He was too fat for that tiny window. I give his death a 002 out of 007.
  • In Thunderball, Bond is fighting Largo on board his yacht, and Largo is about to shoot Bond when Bond girl Domino shoots him with a harpoon gun. I like a good revenge killing. After all, Largo did have Domino’s brother killed. I give his death a 004 out of 007.
  • You Only Live Twice, but for Blofeld he goes on and on and on. He escapes, via an Epcot-like ride, after Bond pal Tiger Tanaka throws a ninja star at his wrist.  No death, so this gets a 000 out of 007.
  • New Blofeld, same result in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Blofeld survives a bobsled fight with Bond, although he does appear to have broken his neck. He definitely is a pain in Bond’s neck. We see Blofeld wearing a neck brace driving his right-hand woman Irma Bunt. She opens fire on Bond and his new wife Tracy. Bond survives, but Tracy is shot in the head. No death, so this gets a 000 out of 007.
  • Will somebody please kill Blofeld?! In Diamonds Are Forever we have the same villain now thrice. Oh and three different actors each time. Blofeld tries to escape at the end in his tiny submarine, but Bond gains control of the launch crane and crashes the sub into the control room. We don’t see him live or die. No visible death, so this gets a 000 out of 007.
  • Live And Let Die gives us the villain Kananga and the most ludicrous death in the history of James Bond movies. Bond fights him and they both fall into a shark pool and Bond forces Kananga to swallow a compressed-gas pellet, causing his body to inflate and explode. No, really. I’m serious. His death gets a 001 out of 007.
  • Francisco Scaramanga is The Man With The Golden Gun. The world’s deadliest assassin challenges Bond to a duel. Bond stands in the place of a mannequin of himself that Scaramanga kept around and when he walks by it, Bond turns to fire and kills him. Pretty clever. How did Bond have time to change into the mannequin’s clothes? I give his death a 005 out of 007.
  • Karl Stromberg is a poor man’s Blofeld in The Spy Who Loved Me. His death might be one of the most vicious in the franchise, especially coming from Roger Moore. He shoots Stromberg in cold blood a few times. Including in the groin. I give his death a 005 out of 007.
  • Hugo Drax takes a giant leap for mankind in Moonraker, after Bond shoots his heart with a poison-tipped dart. Bond then escorts him out the space station and Drax is last seen floating off into space. A very cold death. I give his death a 005 out of 007.
  • Aristotle Kristatos is the main villain of For Your Eyes Only and it isn’t Bond who does him in. Bond ally Columbo throws a knife into the back of the double-crossing Kristatos. A boring death for a dull villain. I give his death a 002 out of 007.
  • Octopussy villain Kamal Khan dies in a plane crash. This far too dull for a flashy enemy of Bond. Especially for as fun and wacky a movie as Octopussy is. I give his death a 002 out of 007.
  • Max Zorin has the most fun dying out of any other Bond villain, in the film A View To A Kill. Zorin, before plunging to his death from high atop the Golden Gate Bridge, lets out a self-amusing laugh. Typical Walken. That’s a 006 out of 007.
  • Triple-crossing Soviet General Koskov, from The Living Daylights, looked like he was about to die when his jeep collided with a plane. But nope, he survived. He is later arrested and sent back to Moscow. That’s a 000 for 007.
  • Robert Davi plays drug lord Franz Sanchez in License To Kill. Lets just say he is a real “hot head”. Sanchez killed Bond’s pal Felix Leiter’s bride. He also took Leiter’s leg! Bond shows Sanchez his cigarette lighter. A gift for being the best man at the couple’s wedding. Sanchez, covered in gasoline after his fight with Bond, is set a blaze. He stumbles into a wrecked tanker, blowing it up and killing himself. Great death. But did he ever really have time to read the inscription on the lighter and understand why Bond wanted revenge? Still, a great death. I give his death a 007 out of 007.
  • Alec Trevelyan is 006 and he is a very bad dude in Goldeneye. Faked his own death, wants to destroy Britain’s economy. After a brutal fight on top of a gigantic satellite dish, Bond catches and releases Trevelyan, who plummets to a backbreaking death. I give his death a 007 out of 007.
  • Elliot Carver is the Rupert Murdoch-type of villain in Tomorrow Never Dies. Bond kills Carver with his own sea drill after both actors deliver some cringe-worthy lines. I give his death a 002 out of 007.
  • Bond doesn’t really want to kill The World Is Not Enough villain Elektra King, but she gives him no choice. After taunting him that he can’t kill her because he will miss her too much, Bond shoots her in the heart and says, “I never miss.” This death gets a 006 out of 007.
  • Of course Die Another Day would have a bizarre villain death. Former Korean, Gustav Graves, attempts to escape by parachute but Bond opens the parachute which causes Graves to be sucked out of the plane and into one of its engines. All of this is going on while Graves is wearing an electric suit of armor. I give his death a 003 out of 007.
  • It’s time to get serious in Casino Royale.  Le Chiffre isn’t even killed by Bond. He’s taken out by his higher-up, Mr. White. Le Chiffre gambled away too much of their client’s money. I give his death a 002 out of 007.
  • Even though Bond doesn’t technically kill Dominic Greene in Quantum of Solace, it’s still a brutal way to go. Or should I say, another way to die? Bond captures Greene and interrogates him about his evil organization, leaving him stranded in the desert with only a can of motor oil to drink. Later, M tells Bond that Greene was found dead in the middle of the desert, shot twice and with engine oil in his stomach. I give this death a 007 out of 007, even if Bond didn’t actually do the deed.
  • A thrown knife in the back is the way the flamboyant Silva dies in Skyfall. He even has time to slowly walk up to Bond and give him about five different emotions before finally calling it a life. I give his death a 005 out of 007.
  • We meet again Mr. Blofeld. In Spectre, we learn Bond and Blofeld are foster brothers. Forgetting about this silly plot point, Bond finally has a chance to murder Blofeld but doesn’t because Bond has “found love” with his latest lady. As Blofeld crawls from his helicopter wreckage, Bond confronts him but empties his gun and leaves him to be arrested. Yawn. It gets a 000 out of 007.

Bond vs Bond: 1983

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“Bond is back. The real one.” That was how many entertainment reporters and film critics described Sean Connery returning to the role of James Bond in 1983’s Never Say Never Again.

I was only five years-old, but I do remember the Summer of 1983. It was the battle of the Bonds. At this time I was watching more 007 movies than Sesame Street. I believe the first VHS of a Bond movie I got as a gift was around this same time. If my memory is correct it was You Only Live Twice. And it seemed like at least once a month, a Bond movie was the ABC Sunday Night Movie. I couldn’t be any happier as a child.

My parents took me to see Octopussy in early June of ‘83 and it was a hoot. By this time Roger Moore was so settled in as 007, that maybe he was a little over the hill for the role. But that didn’t stop me or my family, or the movie-going public from seeing a Roger Moore – Bond movie.

Also in the Summer of ‘83, Sean Connery was set to return to the role in Never Say Never Again. An non-official entry into the world of Bond films. The title came from Connery’s wife, as Sean was famous for saying “never again” to playing Bond. Some production nightmares delayed NSNA and it was pushed to the Fall of ‘83. We never did quite get the head-to-head showdown.  Moore vs Connery. Bond vs Bond. Who is the real 007? Kill or be killed at the box office.

TALE OF THE TAPE

Opening Party for "Movie Star"

ROGER MOORE

Movie: Octopussy (June 1983)

Tenure Up To This Point: 6 official Bond movies (1973-present)

Age During Filming: 55

 

SEAN CONNERY

*Never Say Never Again is not an official James Bond movie*

Movie: Never Say Never Again (October 1983)

Tenure Up To This Point: 6 official Bond movies, 1 unofficial Bond movie (1962-1967, 1971, 1983*)

Age During Filming: 52

 

Which movie, which Bond won the worldwide box office battle?

Octopussy $183.7 million

Never Say Never Again $160 million

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I do remember being a little confused. Roger Moore was like my Bond father and Sean Connery was like my Bond stepfather. I loved watching them play the role when I was a young boy, but I couldn’t understand how they could both be 007 around the same time, in two different films.

Short story of a very long story revolves around a producer named Kevin McClory. Back in the early 1960s he managed to talk Ian Fleming into making Thunderball before Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman started the official Bond film franchise. When the time came around to finally making Thunderball, McClory meddled and got the right to produce the film with Cubby and Saltzman, but no other official Bond movies. He could only remake Thunderball and McClory attempted just that in 1975 and finally succeeding in 1983. Never Say Never Again is very much a remake of 1965’s Thunderball.

Why did Connery want in on a rival Bond movie? He and the producers (Broccoli and Saltzman) ended on bad terms in 1967, although Sean did return for one other movie in 1971 (Diamonds Are Forever). Sean Connery always felt used and under-appreciated by them and this was his chance to get some revenge. He had been the first, and in most minds the best Bond. Official or unofficial, Sean Connery was back as 007.

For Roger Moore, who was good friends with Connery, he was a very popular Bond in his own right. Octopussy was his 6th out of 7 Bond roles and it was his chance to finally step out of Connery’s massive shadow.

As great as Connery was as Bond, a true Bond movie needs a few classic elements. The famous gun barrel opening,  James Bond theme, title song with sexy girls dancing around, etc.  Never Say Never Again wasn’t legally allowed to have all of those Bond goodies. Octopussy of course could. That’s a major difference.

Can you imagine in today’s social media-driven world if a rival Bond movie challenged the current franchise? Just like what happened in 1983? How about Idris Elba vs Daniel Craig? At the end of the day, there can only be one James Bond at a time. And it’s the one with all the official goodies.