Posts tagged “eon productions

Skyfall (2012)

James Bond film #23 (Daniel Craig Bond)

Skyfall (2012)

Note: This review is spoiler-free, so read without fear.

It’s been 4 years since the last Bond movie, the longest gap between two films with the same Bond actor, but Daniel Craig returns for Skyfall 50 years after Dr. No (1) was released in 1962. Though the story arc that spanned across his first two films has come to an end, Skyfall continues to delve deeper into Bond’s and M’s personal lives, exploring the history behind their relationship through the eccentric villain played by Javier Bardem. Most good Bond movies are usually strong in some areas but weak in others; Skyfall has the unique position of being categorically awesome. It’s hard to fairly judge a movie the night of its release, but Skyfall just might be the best Bond movie in the entire series.

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Quantum of Solace (2008)

James Bond film #22 (Daniel Craig Bond)

Quantum of Solace (2008)

Daniel Craig returns as James Bond in Quantum of Solace, the 22nd Bond adventure and the first to be a direct sequel to the prior Bond film. And when I say direct, I mean immediate. Quantum picks up mere moments after the conclusion of Casino Royale (21), Bond speeding down a seaside highway with the captive Mr. White in his trunk. It’s an interesting approach, giving us a chance to see exactly how Bond deals with Vesper Lynd’s death; and the revelation that there’s a SPECTRE-like organization called Quantum, with members in every major national government, is a great chance for the more personal story of Casino to bloom into a larger-scale affair. Unfortunately, Quantum was produced during the 2008 writer’s strike, a fact plainly evident in its scatterbrained script. Though it’s still slick and action-packed, Quantum of Solace (21) is a huge downgrade from the phenomenal Casino Royale (21), plagued by confusing storytelling and inferior direction.

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Casino Royale (2006)

James Bond film #21 (Daniel Craig Bond)

Casino Royale (2006)

Every actor to play James Bond brings their own style to the character and, subsequently, their films. Sean Connery was rugged and brash; he was always game for the ladies or to crack a one-liner, but he was more apt to shoot from the hip and judo chop his way to the heart of SPECTRE’s nefarious plots. His films were classic Cold War espionage adventures that established the tropes of the series. George Lazenby’s Bond was more of a softie, falling in love and getting married, and his solo outing included instances of romance to accommodate that new side of Bond.

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Die Another Day (2002)

James Bond film #20 (Pierce Brosnan Bond)

Die Another Day (2002)

After GoldenEye (17) rebooted the James Bond series in 1995, its two successors more or less spent their time adding explosions and computers to old Bond plotlines. This isn’t quite the case with Die Another Day (20), the 20th Bond film (!!), which tries to reframe in the series in the new cinematic landscape of 2002. It deserves some recognition for thinking outside the box, but most of what it tries ends up failing, and the film ultimately collapses under the weight of all its gadgets and one-liners.

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The World is Not Enough (1999)

James Bond film #19 (Pierce Brosnan Bond)

The World is Not Enough (1999)

 Pierce Brosnan returns as James Bond for 1999’s The World Is Not Enough (19), the last Bond of the 20th Century. The action is kicked into overdrive for the 19th Eon Production, the story shirked in favor of big action set pieces and double crossings. In it, Bond goes up against Renard, a Soviet terrorist who can’t feel pain because of a bullet slowly making its way through his brain. Don’t worry, if that’s not unrealistic enough for you, you still get to watch Denise Richards try to play a nuclear physicist. The World Is Not Enough (19) is a roller coaster ride of action scenes that moves so fast you might get lucky and not realize how inane it is until it’s all over.

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Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

James Bond film #18 (Pierce Brosnan Bond)

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)

The second Brosnan Bond, Tomorrow Never Dies (18), had quite an act to follow after 1995’s GoldenEye (17). Producers Barbara Broccoli (Albert’s daughter and associate producer for the Dalton movies (15-16)) and Michael G. Wilson (stepson of Albert and producer with him since A View to a Kill (14)) had brought Bond back in a big way; could they manage to do it again? With no more Ian Fleming stories to adapt, an original story was written (also the case with The Spy Who Loved Me (10)), and the story that Bruce Feirstein came up with was a wonderful merger of classic Bond plots and modern global issues. Tomorrow Never Dies (18) continues the modernization of the series that GoldenEye initiated, bringing more of the Bond tropes back for an Information Age update.

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GoldenEye (1995)

James Bond film #17 (Pierce Brosnan Bond)

GoldenEye (1995)

GoldenEye was released in 1995 after 6 years of a world without Bond, still the longest gap between any two 007 adventures. Because of the delay and all the legal tanglings that caused it, Timothy Dalton opted out of the role and Pierce Brosnan stepped into his place, a man who has come to define James Bond for pretty much all of Generation Y. Also huge is the fact that this is the first post-Cold War Bond, a point referenced to extensively and used to hang the plot on. In a lot of ways, it seems like a reboot of the series; the big change-up in production personnel is clearly evident. GoldenEye brings Bond up to speed in the modern world, finally stepping out of the mold it crafted in the 60s and 70s.

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Licence to Kill (1989)

James Bond film #16 (Timothy Dalton Bond)

Licence to Kill (1989)

If anyone ever wanted to see James Bond in rampage mode, they need look no further than 1989’s Licence to Kill. Running with the darker realism of The Living Daylights (15), Licence to Kill sees Bond going vigilante after a Colombian drug lord destroys Felix Leiter’s life. The film that follows has the most graphic violence of any Bond to date and an almost complete lack of light-hearted moments. It’s the most we’ve ever strayed from the Bond film formula, replacing all the campy elements of the franchise while retaining the spectacular action, and the film excels because of its willingness to stand apart from its predecessors

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The Living Daylights (1987)

James Bond film #15 (Timothy Dalton Bond)

The Living Daylights (1987)

The Living Daylights is the first Bond film with Timothy Dalton, a man who would certainly be the most forgotten Bond if it weren’t for Mr. George Lazenby. While Roger Moore altered Bond to make him more comical and suave, Dalton dials back the self-awareness and plays the role more like a serious spy. It’s not a bad idea, and we’ll see that approach work well when we get to Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, but there’s very obvious tension on display in this film between Dalton’s new take and the material’s inability to adapt alongside him.

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A View to a Kill (1985)

James Bond film #14 (Roger Moore Bond)

A View to a Kill (1985)

A View to a Kill marks the 7th and final appearance of Roger Moore as James Bond, Agent 007. It’s been a fun ride that’s lasted 12 years, but as anyone who watches this film could tell you, Moore is 57 years old and looking it. It’s time for some new blood, but not before Moore takes down Christopher Walken, co-starring as the rich and insane Max Zorin. Despite the promise that an unhinged Walken might suggest, A View to a Kill is as worn-out and tired as its leading man.

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