Ranking Bond: An Introduction

Let me set this up by giving you a little backstory — I knew nothing about Bond until 2006. I hadn’t really seen any of the films; I’d seen GoldenEye, The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day, and then maybe a clip or two of the early Connery films (like Ursula Andress coming out of the water, Bond and the laser in Goldfinger, Oddjob… that stuff). Then, in January or February of 2007, Casino Royale was playing on my school’s film series. And a friend of mine said, “We should go to that.” And I was leery — to me the word Bond constituted hokey, tongue-in-cheek films from the 60s, the likes of which were parodied by Mike Myers. Plus, I knew how bad Die Another Day was. So I was like, “Why the fuck would I want to see that?”

But my friend said — “No, trust me, you should go to this. It’s really good.” So I went, and I was blown away. Because to me, Casino Royale is kind of like The Dark Knight of Bond films — it’s so good it transcends the fact that it’s part of a certain franchise. It’s just a good movie, first and foremost. And then I got excited to see Quantum of Solace when it came out, and slowly became a fan of the franchise. But — I hadn’t actually seen any of the earlier films. My Bond knowledge was purely Brosnan and Craig.

So what I did was, right after I graduated college (like, actually right after. As soon as all my assignments were in and I had nothing left to do), the first thing I told myself I was gonna do was watch all 22 Bond movies in order as a graduation present to myself. Since I’d bought the DVD collection but never actually watched them. (This is before the Oscar Quest, even. I watched the Bond movies before I started the Oscar Quest.) I managed to get Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball and half of You Only Live Twice (up to the helicopter chase with Osato’s secretary) watched before my actual graduation. Though I ended up actually having to watch the last two over again, since it was senior week when I was watching them, and I got progressively drunker over senior week and couldn’t remember anything I watched.

So that’s where our story starts — with me watching all the Bond films.

The thing with me watching all the Bond films, though, is that I was only watching them just to have seen them. I sort of kept track of how much or how little I liked each of them, but mostly the idea was just to have seen them. And then I went off on the Oscar Quest and forgot all about them.

But then, when they announced that Skyfall was coming out — well, in January, when I set up my preview articles for the year and my interest in Skyfall picked up exponentially since I knew the date and all the teasers and posters and stuff started coming out — I thought, “Well, wouldn’t that be a good idea — counting down my favorite Bond films leading up to the release? To get in the mood.” Plus it allowed me the chance to watch them again, since I actually didn’t remember much of a lot of the films. (Shockingly so. Going through these again was almost like watching them for the first time. But it was better that way, since the synopses ended up so much more entertaining because of it.) I also had the Ranking Disney articles planned, so this slid into the schedule really easily.

So now that it’s all explained (mostly it was my way of killing space, since I do that), let’s get into how this is all going to work…

Each day, from now until November 8th (November 9th, the day Skyfall is coming out in the U.S., will have something special. I’ll talk about that in a second), I’m going to put up an article about each of the 22 Bond films that have already come out. If you’ve read the Ranking Disney articles, you have pretty much the exact idea of what these articles will look like.

The only difference between these and the Disney articles — I have a Bond expert. Well — a huge Bond fan. I’m calling him an expert, because, relative to me, he knows his shit. That person is TokyoRemix (Fuck yeah, promotion!), who is, without a doubt, my go-to car person. And Bond person. And since there are lots of cars in Bond, the term expert really seems to apply.

Basically how it’ll work — I’ve watched all the films (and even if I haven’t finished them yet, would you know the difference?), and I’ve made my official rankings for how much I’ve enjoyed the films, or whatever. More so than with the Disney articles, these are really pure in the sense that — I knew exactly where I wanted to rank certain films. The only real fluctuation between films on this list will be one spot. Usually I’ll say that this film can be swapped out with one of the ones next to it. But generally, my rankings are exactly how I feel about the films.

So I’ll set up the film in an introduction, then basically, just like with Disney, go through the plot, with lots of screenshots along the way (because who doesn’t love screenshots?). And along the way, we’ll talk about all the important shit in the film and how it relates to the Bond franchise: cars, characters, gadgets — all the important stuff. I’ll have my expert come in and talk about stuff, mid-article. Mostly it’s for me, since I know next to nothing about cars, so this is my way of sort of becoming more informed (even though I will continue to not give a shit about cars. Mostly I like trivia and stuff, which is really what I intend to get out of it). Then, once the ‘film’ is over, we’ll both put our final thoughts on the film, to give a dual perspective on what we think about the film in relation to the franchise and simply on its own.

The way I describe it is — I’m a movie fan who loves Bond, he’s a Bond fan (or Bond “idealist,” as he called it) who loves movies. Between the two of us, I feel like we’re giving a complete picture about what we think about the quality of these films. The thing I liked most about it was that — our rankings are actually pretty close, save about three films we disagreed on. And even then, our disagreements were usually slight. Like, we disagreed on what the bottom film in the franchise was, yet both of our lists have the same two films as the bottom two, just with them switched for our own personal reasons. So that’s not so much as a disagreement as much as a matter of personal taste. There’s really only one film that I think we didn’t really agree on, and that’s probably because it’s one of the more divisive films in the franchise.

So to me, that says — if (and I know it’s almost impossible, but hear me out) we were ever to create a completely objective list as to what the best Bond films are — to me that list would look a lot like our lists. Since, completely independent of one another, we both basically agreed what the top 10-12 films were in the franchise. Same 12. Our top tens might be a little different (though I believe our top fives are exactly the same, and our top ten lists might only have a one film difference. And even then, I’m pretty sure it’s the kind of thing where the film he had in his top ten, I had at #11, and vice versa), but overall, we completely agreed about what the best films were. So I have to imagine that a consensus list, if you got everyone that had seen all 22 films in the franchise and had them rank them, would look a lot like our lists. And that makes me happy.

Oh, and also — after the synopsis of each film, I’m going to, like the Disney articles, have some facts and trivia and stuff. You know, run time, release date, box office, what number it is chronologically in the series, theme song, what Fleming novel (if any) it’s based on, who did the music, who directed it/wrote it, etc. And then I’ll have quick lists of all the cars and locations and gadgets, a cast list, and even a list of who the major characters in the film are, so in case you weren’t sure who the Bond villain was for a particular film, or what the name of his henchman was, you can just look it up. And then of course, there’s the trivia section at the bottom, which is always fun.

So that’s how these articles are going to work. Then, on November 9th, I’m going to put up an article that ranks my favorite Bond theme songs and credit sequences. (Because how could you not?) And then for the rest of that weekend, I’ll put up some other fun articles like I did with Disney, of stuff like — my favorite villains, henchmen, Bond girls, etc, as well as my favorite cars and stuff. And if TokyoRemix is up for it, I’ll put his lists up too.

But for now (and for the next 21 days), we’ll be ranking a Bond film every day, and building even more excitement (if that’s possible) in anticipation of Skyfall coming out.

The first article goes up in an hour. So get ready.

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