With Skyfall making its debut tomorrow, we round up the best and worst moments in the James Bond franchise. Warning: features parachute surfing, gondola hovercrafts and Sean Connery’s best lines ever.
We’ve tried eschewing the typical “girls, guns and car chases” that traditionally make 007 great and focus on less conventional standout moments of the Bond empire. And no, it’s not just Daniel Craig in swimwear.
1. Sean Connery in pretty much everything
There’s a reason why Connery is considered the best Bond by some. Even while meeting ludicrously named women (Plenty O’Toole, anyone?) or delivering Carry On-esque one-liners, Connery manages to rise about the waft of cheese to ooze sheer unadulterated sex appeal. Gravelly-voiced Scotsmen never go out of style, it seems.
2. James Bond leaps into the 21st century with Casino Royale
After the runaway success of Jason Bourne, the 007 franchise was challenged to produce a meaner, leaner Bond – and when Daniel Craig was cast, the naysayers came out. A beta-male blond Bond in tiny swim shorts? No thanks. Thank god Daniel Craig bulked up and delivered. He comes off as the athletic, physically-trained super spy Bond is meant to be – even if he is wearing a tropical shirt.
3. The Queen finally meets her most loyal subject
OK, so this isn’t actually in a James Bond film. But after years of whispers that the franchise was dead in the water, this was one way to very visibling that Bond wasn’t dead: by having him pop up in the most-watched Olympic ceremony of all time. Plus, you know, corgis.
It’s worth remembering that James Bond wasn’t always the sleek, efficient killer played by Daniel Craig. In fact, watch any Bond film back and you’re sure to find cringeworthy scenes like the ones below. Just embrace the cheese – America may have Jason Bourne, but we’ll always have Pierce Brosnan parachute surfing over icebergs.
1. The gondola hovercraft in Moonraker
When you’re planning your next 007 marathon, you might want to skip over Moonraker, Roger Moore’s fourth outing in the Bond franchise. While most older Bond films will inevitably jar thanks to a combination of vintage sexism, shoddy special effects and ill-judged racism (Odd-Job, anyone?), Moonraker is just objectively awful. Even the most capable 21st century FX team could not make a gondola hovercraft look cool.
2. Pierce Brosnan surfs a tsunami in Die Another Day
James Bond is meant to be the epitome of a cool, suave killing machine. You know what’s not cool? Parachute surfing. It’s parachute jumping for cowards and gap year tourists on overcrowded Thai beaches.
3. Kananga’s death in Live And Let Die
Live And Let Die was a very weird Bond movie: less secret agent spy fun and more blaxploitation tribute that wound up being, well, a little bit racist – especially considering its hero wasn’t Pam Grier and was actually a white Englishman. (Come on, one of the cars in it is called a “pimpmobile”.) But in terms of sheer ludicrousness, nothing beats main villain Kananga’s death scene. Instead of a satisfying dismemberment or a quip-filled shoot-out, Bond forces him to swallow a shark gun pellet, whereupon Kananga literally balloons and then explodes. What?
Skyfall comes out on Friday. www.skyfall-movie.com
Words: Zing Tsjeng