Voting closes 31 December
- From Russia with Love
- No Time to Die
Voting closes 31 December
I went with:
From Russia With Love over No Time To Die
Moonraker over On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Looks like NTTD will defeat FRWL, but I voted for the latter. Granted the most recent film includes a couple of important deaths (Felix and…oh, yeah Bond), but I didnt find either of them as memorable or iconic as Krilencu getting shot while climbing out of Anita Ekberg’s mouth, Kronsteen taking a poisoned kick to the shin, Rosa Klebb going down spitting and screaming like a rabid housecat or, certainly, Red Grant giving Bond what was still, 60 years later, the fight of his life. Even the death of the faux Bond at the start of FRWL is more effective to me than watching Terminator Bond push on through multiple bullet hits and grenade explosions before finally succumbing to a full-on barrage of ship-to-shore missiles. Sometimes bigger isn’t better.
MR vs OHMSS was harder. Laz’s entry included the most important death in the series, plus the guy who “had lots of guts” and the fella who falls Wile E Coyote-like the full height of that cliff (drawing huge laughs and a near-ovation at a recent cinema screening I attended) but ultimately I went with MR, for “Play it again, Sam,” Drax’s “giant leap,” the sniper in the tree, the knife-throwing corpse, the Wilhelm-screaming victim of parachute theft and, especially, poor Corrine going to the dogs.
In my opinion, while the more recent Bonds have definitely not stinted on the quantity of deaths, they’re not so good at making them creative, memorable or, lets face it, fun.
The tone is significantly different.
During preproduction of LIVE AND LET DIE they scouted sites across Jamaica and came upon a sugar cane mill (something we may imagine resembles the cocaine grinder of LICENCE TO KILL).
Back then Eon decided against using it because they felt it was something too grisly for a Bond film, OHMSS’s snow plough notwithstanding (or perhaps adding it to the reasons the film underperformed; wrongfully IMO).
And we can see their reasoning: The Bond film indulges our yearning for thrills and excitement - but rarely dips into splatter. The total amount of film blood used over the first three decades of the series probably wasn’t much more than what an ordinary action film of today uses during its runtime. Bonds instead excelled in giving their deaths a bizarre quality, a surreal element of horror and satire at the same time.
A lot of this went out of the window when the films turned towards ordinary action. It may look all more impressive now, faster and more violent. But that cozy creepiness of tarantulas, shooting scarecrows and New Orleans funerals arranged for the victim-to-be is often missing. Not entirely absent, but so rare the memorable deaths became a special event in themselves.
Let’s hope Eon invests into a creative death consultant for their next production. CBn happens to have one of the best with @Jim, just saying…
Agreed all around. Thinking back, the only death that made a lasting impression on me from the Craig era was that of Dimitrios in CR. That’s partly because his and Bond’s battle with the knife occurs in tense silence in a room full of unsuspecting bystanders, but also because it’s happening at a Body Worlds exhibit, a bizarre concept that would have seemed right at home in a Fleming novel.
Bond’s own death is disappointingly pedestrian in a generic action film way, especially when you consider all the wonderfully imaginative and complex ways the villains of the past tried to do him in. As Drax says, “You defy all my attempts to plan an amusing death for you,” but who knew the answer was to stop trying and just fire a boring old missile? As heroic exits go, it’s not quite as big a letdown as Captain Kirk’s, but it’s close.
The Brosnan era had it (Xenia getting squeezed, Zao getting a chandelier to the face, etc) but indeed, it was largely absent in the Craig era. I’d also like to see more comedy and irony in the villain dispatches next time. I also point out MR’s high placing in all of these polls. It’s clearly a film the fans appreciate, which goes against the usual narrative. Good to see.