Greetings Bond lovers, it's time to take an in depth look at the latest installment of the popular franchise which hits theaters this weekend.
Bond's loyalty to M is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.
What better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of James Bond films then to release what some critics are already calling "the best Bond movie ever".
Daniel Craig once again reprises the role of the iconic agent with a license to kill in this 23rd film in the enormously popular series. This will be his third go around as Bond, having portrayed him in 2006's Casino Royale and 2008's Quantum of Solace. Judi Dench returns as M for the 7th time, having debuted back in 1995 in the Pierce Brosnan film Goldeneye. Of course no Bond film would be complete without Q, the man who creates all of the fun gadgets for 007. Ben Whishaw (most recently seen in Cloud Atlas) joins the cast as the new Q. Rounding out the stellar cast is Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Bérénice Marlohe and Albert Finney.
Occupying the director's chair for Skyfall is the Academy Award winning Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Revolutionary Road), who gets to play out a boyhood dream of working on a Bond film for the first time ever.
The first time I saw a Bond film in the theatre was in 1981 when For Your Eyes Only was released and I became an enormous fan of the franchise. I have since seen every subsequent film that was released on the big screen so, needless to say, I am bristling with anticipation at the thought of watching Skyfall. I always believed that Sean Connery was the best Bond ever but after seeing Casino Royale in 2006 I'm not so sure anymore. Connery often gets the nod I think more out of pure nostalgia and the fondness people have for those classic Bond movies, but Craig's version of the character is the one closest to the original novels by Ian Fleming. He's much grittier and emotionally damaged and therefore has a lot more depth to him. I'm pretty sure that Fleming would be rolling his eyes if he'd seen how Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan interpreted 007.
It's amazing to me that it's been 50 years already since Dr. No was first released and that the popularity of James Bond hasn't waned one bit over that time. Skyfall has already opened overseas and it has grossed over $300 million so far, so clearly there is still an enormous appetite for more adventures of everyone's favourite super spy.
I think what makes a James Bond film so appealing to most people is its winning combination of high-octane action sequences, globe trotting adventure, romance and humour, not to mention Bond himself being one heck of a suave, ultra-cool dude. They are the personification of pure entertainment. Hopefully with Skyfall, Daniel Craig will further cement the legacy of 007 being one of the greatest cinematic characters in the history of film.
I for one think that this is going to be a spectacular film and easily one of the highest grossing films of all time. Here's to another 50 years of James Bond!
Just for fun, here are some lists of my personal favourite Bond memories.
Top Bond films in order of preference:
1. Goldfinger (1964) - Sean Connery
2. Casino Royale (2006) - Daniel Craig
3. From Russia With Love (1963) - Sean Connery
4. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) - George Lazenby
5. Live and Let Die (1973) - Roger Moore
6. Thunderball (1965) - Sean Connery
7. Dr. No (1962) - Sean Connery
8. The Living Daylights (1987) - Timothy Dalton
9. Diamonds Are Forever (1971) - Sean Connery
10. For Your Eyes Only (1981) - Roger Moore
11. You Only Live Twice (1967) - Sean Connery
12. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) - Roger Moore
13. Quantum of Solace (2008) - Daniel Craig
14. Licence to Kill (1989) - Timothy Dalton
15. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) - Roger Moore
16. Octopussy (1983) - Roger Moore
17. Goldeneye (1995) - Pierce Brosnan
18. The World Is Not Enough (1999) - Pierce Brosnan
19. Die Another Day (2002) - Pierce Brosnan
20. A View to a Kill (1985) - Roger Moore
21. Moonraker (1979) - Roger Moore
22. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) - Pierce Brosnan
Top 5 Bond Villains:
1. Auric Goldfinger (played by Gert Fröbe) - Goldfinger
2. Ernst Stavro Blofeld (played by several different actors) - appeared in From Russia With Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever and For Your Eyes Only
3. Oddjob (played by Harold Sakata) - Goldfinger
4. Francisco Scaramanga (played by Christopher Lee) - Man with the Golden Gun
5. Jaws (played by Richard Kiel) - The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker
Top 5 Bond Girls:
1. Pussy Galore (Honor Blackman) - Goldfinger - greatest name ever!
2. Solitaire (Jane Seymour) - Live and Let Die
3. Teresa di Vicenzo (Diana Rigg) - On Her Majesty's Secret Service
4. Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) - Casino Royale
5. Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) - Dr. No
Top 5 Bond theme songs:
1. Live and Let Die - Paul McCartney
2. Goldfinger - Shirley Bassey
3. Nobody Does it Better (from The Spy Who Loved Me) - Carly Simon
4. You Only Live Twice - Nancy Sinatra
5. All Time High (from Octopussy) - Rita Coolidge
If for some reason you're not interested in seeing the latest Bond film then you can head down to the Paramount for the newest film from Deepa Mehta (Fire, Earth, Water) called Midnight's Children. Based on a Salman Rushdie novel, it tells the story of a pair of children, born within moments of India gaining independence from Britain, who grow up in the country that is nothing like their parent's generation.
Enjoy your weekend everyone, I'm off to have a martini... shaken, not stirred of course.