Although it won’t be until November 2012 that we find out if the latest Bond film, Skyfall
, should find a place on this list, it brought to mind putting together the 10 Worst James Bond films. Full transparency, you’re going to see below that the Daniel Craig installments are all on this list. It’s not because of Craig per se, but the direction in which the franchise has gone – namely, hoping that modernizing it and attempting to ground it in a grittier reality will make it more like the Bourne
series and its ilk.
What makes James Bond great is
his womanizing, his ability to escape situations more through gadgetry and wits than his physicality, and the clichés that surround his mystique. No one takes him seriously and believes real spies are anything like him, that’s what makes it fun. There are other espionage movies to deal with those elements. If producers wanted to go a different direction, that’s fine. Just stop calling the character James Bond.
And I won’t be swayed by those who counter this argument by stating the latest films are more in line with the original books. After 20+ films, that ship has sailed (Also, I don’t know how to read). Recalibrating things simply to meet the current market is valid financially but does nothing to assuage the emotions tied into a character people have grown to known on-screen for decades.
Sorry for the rant, and now on with the list which does not include the unofficial Bond films, Never Say Never Again
which brought Sean Connery back during the Roger Moore era) or the parody film Casino Royale
starring David Niven. This list is strictly dissecting the official Eon Productions efforts.
© Columbia Pictures
I begin the list here and reiterate that it’s not so much that the film is horrible (though I felt it was far too long, was a bit bored, and it has possibly the worst poker scene in cinema history), it’s that this isn’t James Bond. The character Daniel Craig
is asked to play is a sociopathic wrecking ball whose license to kill reads: “James Bond”. No more vodka martinis (shaken, not stirred)? No Q? No thanks. (And yes, I realize Q wasn’t a prominent figure in the novels and that’s the direction the franchise has taken … I just don’t like it.)
9. 'For Your Eyes Only'
The overall movie is just mediocre but what lands it on the list is the opening, where Blofeld is finally killed (in a rather ridiculous manner). One, it’s a little tragic to ‘off’ one of the most notable villains just to get things started (especially in such a ridiculous manner). Also, chronologically, this is six movies removed from when Blofeld was responsible for the death of Bond’s wife (more on that in pick#7). If you were going to let it go this long, just let it go.
8. 'On Her Majesty’s Secret Service'
The lone George Lazenby entry in the series, the shame here is that he wasn’t a terrible James Bond (plus Diana Rigg is a dynamite choice for Bond girl). Having the bad idea to have Bond get married is where everything quickly goes to pot (and if you saw pick #8 first, this will feel like a prequel). Thankfully, after this screenwriters would stop having the terrible notion of Bond being in true love (until Craig’s incarnation came along).
7. 'Tomorrow Never Dies'
Really? As great as it was to see Michelle Yeoh
get a chance to kick some butt in a big budget action film, even that wasn’t enough to make up for a maniacal Jonathan Pryce hoping to rule the world via setting the news agenda (Ted Turner could not have been amused). Oh, and there’s a stealth boat. A stealth BOAT. Was the only important news the kind that took place on the high seas? Dumb.
I’m not altogether sure this wasn’t made simply to release a movie with Octopussy as its title. The stranger thing is that for such a bland movie, the plot of this story isn’t so terrible: A British secret agent’s death and a fake Fabergé egg lead Bond to a secret organization of smugglers whose activities are a diversion for a nuclear attack. Wait … no, that’s pretty lame. Even worse, it’s all quite boring. Even the smarminess of Roger Moore doesn’t help much.
Many find this one of the very worst in the franchise, what with the ridiculous space laser battle, that it’s still Roger Moore, and that it marks the return of Jaws (and his silly change of heart). However, for all of those reasons, I find it to be completely entertaining. Sure, it still makes this list because it’s all sorts of shoddy filmmaking … but it crossed the line so much it pleased my warped sense of good fun. Just because a movie makes a ‘worst of’ list, doesn’t mean it can’t be a hoot to watch.
4. 'Diamonds Are Forever'
While I love Bambi and Thumper, the film is a schizophrenic mess. At times too campy, at others too serious, it’s a shame this is how Sean Connery would go out (since I’m not counting Never Say Never Again as part of the franchise). And Jill St. John as Tiffany Case is one of the most ineffective Bond girls of the series, written and performed poorly.
3. 'The World is Not Enough'
For anyone who’s seen this, I doubt much explanation is needed. Between casting Denise Richards
as nuclear materials expert Dr. Christmas Jones, having Bond and M be fooled by Elektra King (Sophie Marceau) so hilariously, and a villain who can’t feel pain but is tragically heartsick … well, the movie sucks. Is that a technical enough explanation?
© MGM and Columbia Pictures
Whereas my knock on Craig’s entry into the franchise with 2006’s Casino Royale
had a lot to do with the new direction being taken with the character, this one is just plain bad. The villain was completely forgettable, the plot had something to do with potable water, and this was merely a setup to make a trilogy within an established series of films. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. If you wanted to go in a new direction, invent a new spy.
It really isn’t a question of what they got wrong here … because EVERYTHING was wrong. The villains are anything but menacing, the extreme use of CGI was ridiculous, and then there’s Jinx. Bringing Halle Berry
in as a Bond girl is fine, she’s an attractive woman and I get that. But she’s also an NSA agent and meant to be Bond’s equal? I have nothing against strong women but this one’s a head-scratcher. It’s played all wrong and may be the worst character in Bond history. Sorry, Halle. This had failure written all over it long before they cast you.