The 5th October 1962 saw the James Bond franchise as we know it today, first appear in cinemas. Dr. No was Sean Connery’s first foray into the role which he would be best known for. But today, sees the 23rd film of the franchise, Skyfall make its way onto the pearl screen.
I’m not a huge Bond fan, hence, why I missed the actual anniversary, but I am a casual viewer, liking what I like and hating the rest. The fast cars and loose women of the Bond universe is not really my thing but I do enjoy a decent action film and Bond has provided some good ones.
My highlights would include: Goldfinger (1964), Goldeneye (1995), Casino Royale (2006) and even the most derived of the franchise, Die Another Day, the lightest and most outrageously flippant of the series. Invisible car anyone?
Obviously from my last review, Thunderball (1965) counts as one of my least favourites, as do all the Rodger Moore films and I’m not taken with Timothy Dalton either, though I haven’t seen one of his in years. But even though George Lazenby may not have been the best Bond by any stretch, his only film of the series, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) is defiantly my number one, and the best conceived film of the entire franchise.
Goldfinger was fun; Goldeneye was a good revival after Dalton and Casino Royale rebooted the franchise for the post Bourne era. And that in itself can be a problem. With Jason Bourne’s success at changing the action genre in the way that it has, is there still room for Bond?
Yes, there is. As long as he can adapt, he can be a timeless character in an ever-changing ocean of global politics. In the 2000’s, super-villains are becoming terrorists, certainly in the post 9/11 world and the governments are still fighting one and other over the same resources. Bourne has his uses and thanks to the likes of Paul Greengrass, the landscape has become more about reality than just outright action, but as long as Bond keeps it up, there’s no doubt that there’s plenty more Bonds on the way and by the 75th Anniversary in 2037, there may still be films coming out for the next generation of Bond fans.
As for Skyfall, Sam Mendes has taken the reins and I’m curious as to how the man who has brought us Amercan Beauty (1999) and Road To Perdition (2003) will hold up directing and all out action film. Well, personally I hope that he can bring his own sense of artistry to the franchise, though only time will tell.
But the big question is, will one of the cinemas most notable fans ever direct a Bond movie? Well, Christopher Nolan, What do ya think?