August 24th. That was the date I began my James Bond odyssey. I wanted to do it last year to coincide with his 50th anniversary, but I never got around to. Well, I watched the first three and then stopped. So this year I decided to push on through and finish it all. And after almost two and a half months, I did.
To embark on a journey like this is to exercise one’s patience, not only because there are 23 movies to get through, but also because not all 23 are good. In fact, about half are bad. I was introduced to James Bond through Pierce Brosnan and Goldeneye, some time in 1995 or 1996 (I would’ve been about a year old when Dalton’s Licence To Kill took to the screens), and so for me, I knew no other Bond and had only heard of classics like Goldfinger through fleeting conversations with childhood companions and adults. I had always known about Sean Connery and Roger Moore but had never seen them in action. Had my love for movies kicked in sooner, I’d have written this recap while growing up with The Beatles and Michael Jackson.
Nevertheless, the odyssey is over. At least till Bond 24 comes out. Was it as inspiring as I thought it would be? Yes. The greatest part about this feat was not waiting for the end to arrive, but observing the way both Bond and his movies evolved — and devolved — as the years went by. He took on different faces with different actors, handled different gadgets, slept with different women, and faced off against different villains, all to the same rhythm and beat. I’d say the movies of the ’80s were the darkest, where Moore was pushing 60 and the franchise felt complacent. Year after year, movie after movie, we were given the same old story, but with varying components. I noted this in some of my reviews.
But Bond has also had his good times. They’ve not been as numerous, but they’ve been noteworthy enough. The more recent ones have at least been consistent in providing quality entertainment, with the exceptions of Die Another Day and Quantum Of Solace. The most recent, Skyfall, is the prettiest, and it might just be the most different in terms of content and direction. It’s the only installment to present Bond as an all-rounded believable man, and not just an action hero who gets all the ladies. In Skyfall, he gets all but one lady. And only very briefly.
I had initially wanted to accompany this journal entry with a few lists, but I’ve since found it impossible to rank certain categories. I’m a fan of lists, but not when they make my life difficult. When I’ve got three movies vying for two spots, and I can’t decide which to kick out, something tells me the list shouldn’t be completed. And so no list will be completed. Just as well. I think the Bond series is fine the way I’ve left it. Completed, appreciated, and thoroughly enjoyed.
If you want to read my reviews for all 23 Bond movies, you can reach them here.