Sunday, November 18, 2012

Remembering (vaguely) James Bond

The cover of last week's Entertainment Weekly declares in 2012 "Bond at his best," touting the latest Bond film, Skyfall, as the "most thrilling since Goldfinger."

I don't know that I'd go that far. (My brief take on it is below.) When someone asked me what the best Bond film was, my response: There is no best Bond movie (although if there were one, it would star Sean Connery as 007, of course), at least as far as I can recall.

Despite having seen and enjoyed most (if not all) of the James Bond movies—many more than once, thanks to the frequency they're aired on TV—I must admit I have some difficulty remembering the full plot of any given film. I recall scenes, but sometimes I cannot recall in which particular movie they appeared.

When I actually watch a given movie I can then put straight in my mind what was in it—much like when I hear a song I know but to which I cannot remember all the lyrics until I re-listen to it—but outside of that direct experience the films sort of bleed together into one conglomeration of villains and women whom he fought or f*cked (or both).

Thus, declaring a single "best" movie is impossible; there's merely best scenes.

For me, that the Bond films don't tend to have plots that are highly memorable is probably why they are so entertaining to watch over and over: Each time involves a bit of re-experiencing it, putting those scenes back into their plots, then having a nostalgic enjoyment that enhances the entertainment.


Skyfall is an entertaining, action-packed rumination on how James Bond could possibly be relevant in 2012. However, it does have Javier Bardem chewing up the scenery in an effort to pay homage to classic Bond villains.

It's tricky to balance the post-Bourne era with sufficient nods to the sensibilities of the movies that have come over the past 50 years.

Bond movies are supposed to be no larger than they are, operating in their own universe, amounting to entertainment that doesn't become irrelevant in the long term because they weren't all that relevant in the immediate.

But in 2012, with the franchise 50 years old, to pretend the latest movie wouldn't have to at least acknowledge the question of why the character should still be around is to be really living in the past.


A week after seeing Skyfall, I can still pretty much remember most of its plot, but I'm sure that will fade between now and whenever it comes to cable.

1 comment:

  1. The best on screen Bond was the first one: Barry Nelson!!!


So, what do you think?