Best Of Bond .. Part I

I grew up watching James Bond movies. We had a ritual in my house from the time I was about 5 to 11. On Friday nights I would have swimming lessons, baseball or basketball games, some type of activity out of the house. After it was over with we would go pick up sandwiches from Bella Napoli and chicken wings from Scubber’s, two of the most outstanding establishments in Upstate New York. I can remember the smell of both locations, giant Italian cheese sub with Italian dressing and piled high with tomato and lettuce; the taste of Scubber’s wings and the meat literally falling off the bone. Woah sorry, got into the food a bit too much there. After we’d pick up the food we would go to Blockbuster or Hollywood Video. These were places where you could actually go in and rent movies, you would see the VHS box and hope that the rental copy was behind it, if no copy was behind it, that movie was already out for rent, the popular movies had 3-4 copies but the old school movies, two copies at most. I understand that Netflix, Hulu etc. has made it so convenient to stream and watch films and television shows but I feel bad for the people who will never get to experience the thrill of renting a movie from a video rental place, it was the goddamn best. The smell of the chocolate and popcorn mixed with the overwhelming amount of plastic and cardboard cutouts that littered the store. Nostalgia like you read about. When we would enter the store, I would peruse around the store for a while and my Mom would allow me to pick out two movies. This is where my love for cinema began, she was cool about what movies I could watch too, they weren’t kid movies, she didn’t let me get to Scarface until I was at least 12 or 13. My cousin Paolo always had all the best movies at his house, Scarface, Godfather, American Pie so after I would watch those movies there my Mom would give up and let me watch them at our house. I digress, so back to my selection at Blockbuster, eight times out of ten I would pick a James Bond movie. I would get home, dive into my sub and wings and watch Bond, Roger Moore was always my favorite even though I grew up in the era of Pierce Brosnan. I would get lost in these stories, Bond was so cool, the fights, the girls, the cars, the tuxedos, the villains, it was all there.

I was scrolling through Netflix the other day and low and behold, they have gradually started putting some Bond movies on the streaming service. All the Brosnan movies were there, so I started watching, next thing I know, I watched all four of Brosnan’s outings as 007. I will be honest, I have not seen any Bond movies in YEARS so this was a trip down memory lane. There is a new Bond movie, No Time To Die , coming out in April so I figured I would watch all the Bond movies and give you folks a rundown on my favorite elements, the best and worst films and all the stuff in between.

In these upcoming Bond blogs we will rank the performances of each of the actors that played 007. Ranking the films from worst to best along with my favorite bond girls, villains, songs and opening sequences. This is a timeless film franchise and it was a cool experience to go back and watch these films. I hope you enjoy, so here you go, lets start with the films of the Brosnan era:

4. Die Another Day (2002) – This is by far the most cheesy and over the top Bond film in the Brosnan era. The plot revolves around Bond being betrayed by someone close to him and ending up hostage to the North Koreans. We get Halle Berry at least, but only in the beginning and the end of the film. In between we are stuck with Bond fencing a British Billionaire who actually is a Korean military man who had facial reconstructive surgery so Bond won’t recognize him and he could fake his own death. Brosnan does a good job here by trying to make this somewhat enjoyable aside from the awful screenwriting and direction. Brosnan is always great as Bond, he just suffers from a poor story in this one.This doesn’t even feel like a bond movie at times. This arguably could be the worst Bond movie of all time. I give it a 5.2/10.

3. The World Is Not Enough (1999) – Bond is able to save the world from running out of oil in this Michael Apted film. Bond is assigned to protect the daughter of an oil tycoon, played by Sophie Marceau and the bad guy in this film is named Renard who cannot feel pain. We get Dr. Christmas Jones played by Denise Richards, it’s laugh out loud funny, she is legitimately one of the worst actors or actresses I have ever seen in a major motion picture. The film feels like a classic bond film, it drags at times and the plot line is sort of hard to grasp, the acting in this film is far superior than in Die Another Day, aside from Richards of course. This film isn’t a quintessential bond film but he does the job. I give this a 6.1/10

2. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) Brosnan’s second go around as Bond is his second best, ironically enough, the films got worse as his time as 007 went on. Tomorrow Never Dies tells the story of a media mogul played by Johnathan Pryce, he is awesome in this film. Pryce’s character is named Elliott Carver, his media company is not being allowed to be broadcast in China and he is determined to wage war between the Western World and the Chinese government. Carver is the perfect villain, he is eccentric, maniacal and 100% insane. Bond battles a wide variety of his henchmen in the film with the help from Wai Lin, a Chinese secret agent played by Michelle Yeoh, she is a complete bad ass in this film. I give this film a 6.3/10

  1. GoldenEye (1995) – Far and away the best Bond movie starring Brosnan. I argue that it is one of the better Bond movies to ever be made. A space weapon falls into the hands of a former M16 agent, 006, played by Sean Bean. Famke Janssen is awesome in this movie too, you might know her as the Mom from the Taken films. This movie is a great action/thriller film aside from it being a Bond movie. Brosnan is excited to be playing Bond and it shows. A film that you can watch over and over again. I give it a 7.6/10.

The Bond Girls
4. Izabella Scorupco as Natalya Simonova in GoldenEye

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3. Teri Hatcher as Paris Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies

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2. Halle Berry as Jinx in Die Another Day

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1. Famke Janssen as Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye

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The Villains
4. Robert Carlyle as Renard in The World Is Not Enough

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3. Alan Cumming as Boris in GoldenEye

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2. Johnathan Pryce as Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies

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1. Sean Bean as Alec Trevelyan in GoldenEye

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The Opening Song
The songs in Bond movies are iconic, everyone has their favorite, I won’t spoil what mine is but I will say that Roger Moore’s Bond era had the best overall lineup of songs. Brosnan’s Bonds had a couple of memorable tunes though as well.

4. The World Is Not Enough by Garbage – Woof. Not a great one, this is clearly the most forgettable of the four songs. It’s not very good and doesn’t get you in the mood that a bond song usually does. This is bottom of the barrel in terms of openers.

3. Die Another Day by Madonna – The more you listen to this song the more irritating it gets. At first listen you will be like, this song isn’t so bad but it ends up being annoying. I love Madonna, she’s a legend and is an all time beauty. I hate having to put her this low on the list but I have to stay true to the art that is Bond movies.

2. Tomorrow Never Dies by Sheryl Crow – Solid opening song to a solid Bond film, it definitely holds its own. Sheryl Crow gets into it and sells the performance, its worth a listen. It has that feeling of a bond movie with a sweet 90’s feel, brings you back to the days of soft 90’s alternative rock.

1. GoldenEye by Tina Turner – LEGEND. Tina Turner brings the heat, she is an all timer, she understand what a Bond song is supposed to be. This film was a return to Bond greatness and this song helped propel it there. Not much to say other than this is a great opening jam.

The Opening Sequence
Everyone knows that after we see the iconic gun barrel opening of Bond film that the immediate following sequence could be the most exciting scene of the film. So many iconic opening scenes throughout the years. The Brosnan films actually give us very good opening scenes but none better than the Tomorrow Never Dies opening scene. It also correlated with a phenomenal video game scene in Tomorrow Never Dies for the original PlayStation. Check out the game play of the PS version. This brought back so many memories, I literally just watched about 35 minutes of this.

As for the opening scene itself, it is pretty awesome and is everything you expect from the opening of a James Bond movie. Here it is.

So there you have it folks, the best of the Brosnan bond films. I hope you enjoyed this trip into the James Bond universe. These movies aren’t nearly as popular as they used to be but still really enjoyed sitting down and re-watching all of them over the last few days. I hope I can get to the Connery and Moore Bond movies sooner rather than later because there are some real gems in there.

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