Monday, November 10, 2008

In celebration of the new Bond film coming out this week, I am presenting to you my full theory of the 5 Bond films you need to see. I postulate if you accept Bond as a cornerstone of Modern Mythology, there are only 5 films you need to see to get the core essence of the Bond archetype. Any other Bond films can be viewed of course (except for the 5 Bond films you should NEVER see, but thats a different theory) but these 5 are the core 5. These 5 films help define hie overall character throughout his entire life and show us the true side of James Bond.

To accept this theory one must throw a few things out the window. The character has been around on film for over 46 years now and in print longer. So the first thing one must accept is chronological differences. Obviously if the character was real, that 46 years he could not have been working the whole time and technology jumps around. The second thing to accept is any continuity issues with characters. Multiple different persons playing Bond and other characters has to be thrown aside already in the Bond world, for our purposes one must do so as well.

Each presentation will use both video and images to help justify each films placement (and to just generally geek about Bond lore.) Each presentation also contains spoilers for each film. So if you haven't seen any of the films and want to, please skip that entry.

So enough blathering. On with the first film:

Casino Royale-2006

James Bond must stop the banker to worldwide terrorists from wining millions of dollars in a high stakes poker game and discover who is really behind it all.
Yes, that at its core doesn't sound all that exciting, but the film is awesome and does a really great job rebooting the franchise. Also, this description may be while I don't write copy for a living.

Reason for placement on the list:
While it may be recent in its release date, it comes first in our sequence. This film starts us out with James Bond. The opening of the film shows us Bond becoming a 00. Not yet is he the super agent we know later. He is rough, he is crude, he is kind of a thug.


Through this film he begins to open his mind to the "big picture" and fine tune his skills. With Vesper he fell in love, was betrayed by that love and lost her completely. This helped root Bond into the womanizing man we know later. Not allowing himself to love helps him feel no emotion towards any woman that he needs to bed for Queen and Country. While this can sometimes be helpful, it has a bad side to it as well, but more of that on the next film. His love for Vesper is so great he is willing to quit the business for her but her betrayal and death led Bond to realize he is who he must be and his life has no place for love. The filmmakers in relaunching Bond with this film gave me a great spring board for this theory to really work. As he builds up the whole film to become the true James Bond, the last scene goes along way. By saving the iconic "Bond, James Bond" for the end followed by the James Bond theme, we are shown that he is truly the man now and well on his way.

Gun barrel sequence/Opening number:
Every Bond film has the gun barrel scene and opening number and each is an entertaining piece in itself.

Usually these scenes are separate for this presentation, but since the film uses them so well together (and gives a justification for the gun barrel existing in the first place) you get them in one. I loved the playing card motif of this intro. While rebooting the franchise the opening was still very much in line with a proper Bond opening number.

I do recommend clicking the HQ button on the player for the best video and audio experience.

Best Action Sequence:
I would have to say the parkour inspired chase through the construction site takes the cake for the best action sequence here.

Gadgets used:
As with any James Bond film, gadgets should be used. A good does of technical do-hickeys are always great for the successful agent in the field.

Unfortunately, Casino Royale (in their effort to modernize the franchise) did away with gadgets for the most part. Here we only get to see a gps locater/bio monitor implanted into Bond.

Random points of interest:
I love seeing the explanation of how Bond got his old school Aston Martin from the poker match. So sad when he destroyed the newer one.

Felix Leiter: One

Best Line: (every bond film has at least one "one-liner" that stands out from the rest.
One of the most painful scenes in any Bond film but it does give us this great quip:

James Bond: I've got a little itch, down there. Would you mind?

Come back tomorrow for our second installment, Bond in his prime!

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