A Bond Newbie’s Thoughts on 007: Introduction

I’ll admit it, I’m a film snob. Get me started on the most over used visual metaphor in cinema being reflective bars that signal emotional imprisonment and we may chat all night. Want to debate whether Pasolini’s handling of Jesus in gritty black and white for The Gospel According to St. Matthew was a humanizing contradiction to biblical epics or something of a neo-realism gimmick? I’m there. But trying to discuss the newest action film starring Jason Stratham or family drama with Sandra Bullock will leave me dumbfounded. It’s precisely because of this that I have decided to take on the gargantuan task of wading through all 50 years of James Bond. The Blu-ray’s are affordable, so why the hell not? I’m tired of feeling like a snooty troll. I know these films entertain millions of people and I want to know why, dammit.

Sam Mendes has inspired me with every feature he has made to date. While most critics find his work uneven, pat, or tried, I find him challenging, with a finger on the cultural pulse. His next film will be Skyfall, the first Bond movie I have ever in my life actually been excited for. Thus, I’ve decided to turn that interest into a creative exercise.

I intend to present as accessible an opinion possible about every Bond film ever made. This is meant as a challenge to me, a way to learn what makes these films so enjoyable and enduring. I’ve been accused of not being able to “enjoy” movies more times than I like to count. Instead of pissing and moaning like a pretentious asshole, I want to put myself to the test. Since these movies have grossed over $4billion, I have to assume there are no more “enjoyable” films in existence than 007s, so this will be my best effort to explore. Hey, perhaps my “somewhat objective” opinion will be enlightening.  Maybe my oblivious eye will discover something new or fascinating. I have literally no assumption of where this will take me. My only promise is that I will finish. Hopefully, if nothing else, these write-ups will be more enjoyable to read than they will likely have been to write. My plan is to work backwards (sort of) through the series. My reason for this is simple: I have to build a stomach for this stuff and I can’t start with Sean Connery to do so.  I will withhold my thoughts about Skyfall until I’ve published essays on the entire series. Having just seen Casino Royale, I will begin with that, while it’s on my mind.

P.S. Prior to my viewing of Casino Royale, I watched only one other Bond movie beginning to end in my entire life (sure I’ve lied about this…A LOT… but the number truly is that small). It was Die Another Day. I hated it. But I’ll try it again soon. Keep this mind as you strum through my reviews.

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