You know the feeling: you want to rewatch a Bond film… but which one? You’re familiar with them all. But some of them you have seen more than others. And some of them you want to watch again, despite knowing them by heart.
It’s all about mood, of course. But our current mood is also an indicator what kind of new Bond film we would like right now.
At the start of this year, this is my top five I want to rewatch:
Moonraker (one of my most watched, but it is so much fun)
Quantum of Solace (haven’t seen it that often, but it could be my favorite CraigBond)
Live and let die (it is so audacious for a reboot)
A View to a kill (probably my least watched Bond - but the more I see it the more I find things to like about it; plus it has got Roger Moore).
Diamonds are forever (Thanks to Mr.WintKidd I have begun to see many things in it I had not been aware of before, and it is frighteningly weird and therefore entertaining).
I like them all but probably don’t watch them as much as the others. I think Octopussy somehow seems to be a film people aren’t as familiar with as much, but it’s great. Just about as good as TSWLM and MR in my book, with a fair share of darkness as well. I enjoy the lower key tones of TMWTGG and Dr. No, and even though I’ve critiqued FYEO in the past it’s a film I’d like to dig in to more. Same goes for QoS, which is the most interesting in the Craig era in terms of production and artistic choices.
Interesting thread idea, and timely as I was recently thinking about this very topic!
Goldfinger - 60th anniversary of such an important entry in the series so it feels like it needs a watch.
View to a Kill - similar to secretagentfan, I’d say this has become my least watched in the series, so would like to give it a reappraisal. Octopussy used to be in this position and when I rewatched it a year or so ago I absolutely loved it and it has become one of my go-to’s. I’m hoping VTAK has a similar effect, it’s like uncovering a hidden gem!
Moonraker - one I always enjoy but haven’t watched for some time. I know I’ll enjoy it.
The World is Not Enough - this one has been dropping in my rankings. I had always rated it rather well, but I really struggled with it in my last watch, so would like to give it another go to see if it recovers in my estimation.
Tomorrow Never Dies - this has become one of my favourite go-to’s and my appreciation for it continues to grow.
I’m not surprised by the Moore and Brosnan domination of my list (one entry each to reappraise, one to just enjoy). In the last year or two, I really focused on Connery and Craig’s entries, so don’t feel the need to reach for those too soon.
I was lucky enough to visit Switzerland and Piz Gloria last year, and really exhausted OHMSS “location scouting” so I think that one will have a rest.
Dalton’s are favourites of mine, so they will inevitably have watches.
After Craig’s era, and with a pretty bleak world at the moment, I would say that my list affirms this quote: the kind of Bond film (and expanding that to Bond) I would like now is Moore and Brosnan. Perhaps a coincidence - a Bond “Moore Brosnan” than not!
With the Daniel Craig era ending in such a disappointing and downbeat fashion, and who knows when we’ll get the next James Bond film, I think I’d probably go with watching my favorites of all the other 007s. So, in chronological order:
Oh, and I’m not quite done making my casting takes in another thread, so could someone very kindly make an entry in the Casting the Continuation Novels thread so I can continue. Much appreciated, thanks.
I guess the five I’m most interested in seeing this year (and it helps that there are 12 months in a year) are:
Thunderball: just because I’ve given it such a drubbing lately, and it’s been forever since I gave it a fair shake.
No Time To Die: because even though it’s the most recent, I’m already having trouble remembering about 90% of it, so it’ll be like a new film for me.
Moonraker: because I know me, and there’s no use pretending I’ll get through a whole year without watching it at least once.
Octopussy: because after I get the expanded version of the soundtrack, I’m going to be playing the movie in my head, anyway.
Casino Royale: to share with my daughter. So far she’s seen TSWLM, OP and TND and the reaction has been a resounding “meh.” If the traditional formula is a miss, I figure Craig’s Neo-Bond, or “Bond through the side door” is the last chance to get her interested in any way, shape or form. Or maybe I should double down on “traditional” and try GF, but I’m thinking part of the issue is the sheer antiquity of some of this content.
For a long time I was anti-AVTAK largely because of Moore’s age and I thought Octopussy would’ve been a better ending for his Bond. Those two criticisms remain but that doesn’t change the fact it’s a hidden gem. I won’t list all of its strengths (they are numerous) but I’ll say it has more iconography than better Bond films. And of course California Girls. The strengths outweigh any negatives for me now.
The last great ‘formula’ Bond movie. If anyone wants a modern Moore type film they should give this a spin. I wouldn’t be alarmed in the slightest if the Bond 26 creative team cited TND as an influence.
An actor’s 3rd portrayal of 007 is normally his best.
Sir Sean-Goldfinger:Blueprint for franchise.
Sir Roger-SWLM: He even said it was his best.You gonna argue with him?
Pierce-TWINE 2nd best PTS in series. “You’d miss me.” BANG! “I never miss.”
Daniel-Skyfall. Made it his own.
Tie between Live and Let Die & License to Kill.
If only Timothy had done a 3rd.
Funnily, I’ve only just rewatched a large part of the series during the last four months of 2023. What I left out were the Brosnans. Which is perhaps a bit unfair to that era since between ‘95 and ‘02 he was James Bond and kept the series in business, also bringing many new fans into the fold. Kids who often never had the opportunity to see the first sixteen films on the big screen - and are now approaching middle age.
So I may rewatch these four films - and possibly add DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER to make it five.
I appreciate what Brosnan did to keep the series alive and vital. However, I don’t really enjoy his tenure; they are without a doubt my least favorite titles of the entire run of 007 movies. I don’t hold Brosnan responsible for that though. I reserve that enmity for EON, who I don’t think ever fully understood exactly what their goal was other than keeping the flame alive and treading water creatively. No real risks were taken, which made the Craig era all that more exciting by contrast. Only my subjective personal opinion and not presented as objective fact for everyone (anyone?) else.
I tend to avoid the Brosnan entries, partly because there’s so much other content I prefer but also because I’m harboring a hope that someday I’ll find a way to love them, and it still feels “too soon” to try. I don’t know how much temporal distance I’ll need – or if it will ever happen at all – but I figure trying to force it too soon is only going to push me further away. Someday I’ll think, “You know what I’d like to see?” and it’ll be one of the Brozzas, but until I have that moment, I’m staying away. (I’m not getting any younger, so maybe dementia will help.)
In fairness, I should admit I watched TND last year with my daughter because we’d been enjoying Remington Steele and I had hopes it’d sway her to Bond. It didn’t work but I did find it a pleasant enough diversion, overall. Then again, it was always the one I liked best from him. When it first came out, I liked it enough to go back a second time, but it was far less fun on the repeat viewing. To this day it’s the last Bond I’ve seen multiple times in the cinema. Hard to believe I lined up for FYEO a total of five times. (!)
In retrospect I believe that during the 90‘s the biggest risk for Bond movies was to not succeed anymore - so EON consolidated first and risked later. Although they took a risk on GE with the score and were scolded for it. They risked making Bond a full blown action hero in TND and kind of succeeded because 90‘s audiences loved that. They risked a personal love/hate relationship with the female villain in TWINE and succeeded at the box office (but got blowback later on for not being daring enough), and they risked going full MR on DAD and allowing an indie darling (at that time) to direct with the most contemporary editing tricks, succeeding with the biggest box office of the era (but getting severe blowback later on for being of its time).
Did the Craig era take a lot of risks?
I think much fewer than it is widely believed.
Sure, casting Craig was a risk. Killing his Bond off was a risk. But the rest? Firmly following the trends of its time: becoming Bond in CR (Batman begins and countless other origin stories), going hard shaky cam in QOS (the other B), having a fascinating nihilist opponent (The dark knight), treading a lot of water while retconning for fan service in SP (Marvel) and concluding that with killing off the main character (Logan).
Compare the risks LALD took when establishing a new Bond with CR and you will hardly consider the latter as daring. Compare the trend following of the Moore era with that of the other eras, and you will see: this is what Bond films did since DAF.
I’m not necessarily sure I’d say that the Brosnan era really took all that many risks either. It was more of a floundering around, throwing as many ideas against the wall as they could to see if any stuck. They tried something more akin to a classic approach with GE, turning Bond into Rambo, then turning him into a soap opera character, then going in a strange sci-fi direction with the last one. No plan, no cohesive vision for the character or the films.
The Craig films didn’t really have this either, but it’s not as though one era was full of risk taking and the other wasn’t. Other than casting a short, blonde man to play Bond, EON hasn’t taken much in the way of risks in a long time.
In retrospect I think part of CR’s appeal for me was that it did feel fairly daring, basically tossing aside the safe and time-tested formula to take the approach of “How would we adapt Fleming in 2006 if we’d never done it before?” After DAD, I wasn’t at all sure if I wanted to see any more Bond films, but I was sure of one thing: the old formula had been milked dry. CR was just the course correction they needed.
However…everything after CR felt, to me, not like equally bold and innovative experiments but rather like four sequels to CR, four attempts to keep the magic going when no one in charge was 100% sure how they’d managed it the first time. A lot of folks have pointed out that Craig Bond was essentially 007 remade in the image of Jason Bourne, and in this sense I feel that’s apt: the Bournes started with an updated adaptation of a great Ludlum novel and got progressively less interesting in the same way the Craig Bonds did, and for the same reason: some films stand fine on their own but they’re not built to support a long line of sequels. Ultimately whereas it took the Classic Bond formula 20 films to run completely out of steam, for me the “reboot” took far fewer.