Archive for October, 2012

Ranking the Bond Movies: #9 – Thunderball (1965)

He always runs, while others walk…”

Da na NA NA na na!

Who doesn’t love Thunderball? It’s one of those quintessential Bond films. It has a bunch of scenes that have become hallmarks of the franchise. Plus — man — all those underwater scenes… perfection.

My only issue with Thunderball was that some of the sequences were kind of weak compared to other films of the franchise (specifically the Connery era, since that’s pretty much all that’s left on this list. We know it’s better than most of the Moore films, so it comes down to comparing it to the other Connery films). Of course, others were some of the strongest of the franchise, like that underwater battle. But other scenes — the final showdown on Largo’s boat, the opening sequence, that Mardi Gras chase — they’re just kind of weak to me. I just don’t enjoy this as much as the other eight films left on this countdown.

So really my only issues with the film are when I rank it among the others. Otherwise, I love the film.

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Pic of the Day: “I don’t believe that story about Josey Wales.” “You don’t?” “No, sir, I don’t. I don’t believe no five pistoleros can do in Josey Wales.” “Maybe it was six. Could’ve even been ten.” “I think he’s still alive.” “Alive? No sir.” “I think I’ll go down to Mexico, and try to find him.” “And then?” “He’s got the first move. I owe him that. I think I’ll try to tell him the war is over. What do you say, Mr. Wilson?” “I reckon so. I guess we all died a little in that damn war.”


Ranking the Bond Movies: #10 – Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

This is kind of a cop out, I know. Quantum of Solace is almost definitely the better film. But I just can’t put that one in the top ten. And I’m still playing my hunch that Skyfall is going to be a top ten film. So this really a temporary thing. Assuming Skyfall makes top ten, what’ll happen is, this’ll drop to #13, Quantum will be #12, and what #9 is (don’t want to spoil it just yet) will be #10. And all will be right with the world.

That aside — I really like this movie. It’s probably Connery’s most ridiculous Bond film. But for some reason it’s very enjoyable to me. Maybe it’s because I love the location of Vegas, I love the Slumber, Inc. section, I love Tiffany Case, I love that Blofeld is in it, I love that Vegas car chase (not the moon buggy chase). It definitely doesn’t hold up as well as Quantum of Solace does, and I probably should have that here, but, like I said, it’s a temporary ranking anyway.

I don’t know — there’s just something about Connery’s Bond movies that just feels right.

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Pic of the Day: “He was growing into middle age, and was living then in a bungalow on Woodland Avenue. He installed himself in a rocking chair and smoked a cigar down in the evenings as his wife wiped her pink hands on an apron and reported happily on their two children. His children knew his legs, the sting of his mustache against their cheeks. They didn’t know how their father made his living, or why they so often moved. They didn’t even know their father’s name.”


Ranking the Bond Movies: #11 – Quantum of Solace (2008)

Quantum of Solace will always be a tricky film for me, because it’s very much dependent on Casino Royale. In many respects, it can stand alone as its own film, but you really don’t get the dramatic impact of the film without having seen its predecessor.

Now, it’s a great film. It really is. It has everything about Bond, and for being the shortest entry in the franchise, it sure has its fair share of action. And it’s definitely a film I’d watch more than maybe the ranking suggests. But — I don’t know — it just doesn’t feel like a top ten Bond film for me. It feels like a #11.

It would be impossible to argue that it isn’t a top ten film. Mostly I’m sort of hedging my bets by putting it here, in the hopes that Skyfall completes a sort of trilogy in the series (or leaves this alone as a pseudo-sequel to Casino Royale. Either way, it’s gonna do one or the other) and ends up itself being a top ten film. In that case, my ranking of this one ends up all right.

So it’s not like I don’t think Quantum of Solace isn’t a top ten Bond film, it’s just — we’re in a weird position at the moment, where I really need Skyfall to let me know where I’m going to rank this one. I need to know where it fits in the series first.

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Pic of the Day: “Ready? Okay, when we get outside and we get to the horses, whatever happens, just remember one thing… hey, wait a minute.” “What?” “You didn’t see Lefors out there, did you?” “Lefors? No.” “Oh, good. For a moment there I thought we were in trouble.”


Ranking the Bond Movies: #12 – Licence to Kill (1989)

It took Timothy Dalton two tries to get it right, but that’s okay. I actually don’t feel bad admitting he’s my least favorite Bond. Mostly because I don’t like the way they handled the character during his two films. But this time, unlike with The Living Daylights, they got it right. To the point where it makes me wonder what would have happened if legal problems didn’t derail the franchise for six years after this (though they kind of needed to happen, since the franchise needed that period to catch up to the times).

Anyway — I really like Licence to Kill. The first time I watched these films, I came out of them really liking this, and thinking, “Well, it’s Timothy Dalton, so I bet most people just consider his two films as “whatever.” Just two forgettable entries between the three more prominent Bonds (and everyone just forgets Lazenby entirely). But when I watched it, I went, “Wow, this is actually really good. And then two years passed, and all I really remembered about it was that I enjoyed the film and that it had that awesome Sorcerer ending to it. I thought that maybe I was overrating the rest of the film purely because of the end sequence. But actually — the rest of the film holds up.

I like how grounded the film is. This film might be one of the closest films to the Daniel Craig era than any of the post-1970 films. The gadgets are pretty realistic, the story is definitely realistic, and for the most part, it’s grounded in an emotional story rather than action scenes. And I really liked that about it.

There are a lot of things I like about this movie, but I’ll save them for the article itself. Just know that while a lot of people might think to overlook this film, it’s actually one of the better Bond movies of all time. It’s kind of a shame I couldn’t put this as a top ten, but on the bright side, it’s actually a really solid #12. It’s better than all of the films that came before it on this list, and, while I can’t say it’s better than the next 11, it does have a very comfortable place just outside the top ten, and, to me, that’s all right.

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