You see ’em pretty much every fall, whether you’re looking for ’em or not – James Bond movie marathons on TV. No man won’t watch a Bond film – any of ’em – no matter how bad it is nor how many commercials the networks shove into it. Actually, it’s those frequent and lengthy commercial breaks that allow a man to relax and be able to say he’s done stuff around the house: Have a beer! Start a load of laundry. Get a bowl of chips! Vacuum just one room… and so on.
But as much of a Bond freak as I am, I’ve never watched the series in chronological order. For a long time, that was because they weren’t available to be watched in that way – at least not without buying the films outright – but for almost as long it was because I didn’t want to end on a Brosnan note. Sorry, Pierce fans – the man got bad scripts.
But now, with Daniel Craig at the helm, plus the plethora of video platforms, there’s nothing stopping any of us from doing a “25 Days of Bond-a-Thon” – One film per day. And yes, that will include watching the ’83 dumpster-drag Never Say Never Again. Don’t try to tell me it’s not an “official” Bond movie; Kevin McClory had Sean Connery, produced the original, and possessed every legal right to do a Thunderball remake. And Kim Basinger, so….
Especially if the last Bond you saw was the most recent, 2015’s Spectre, the pacing and sparseness of 1962’s Dr. No will take some getting used to. I suppose you could cure this by watching the series in reverse chronological order… in fact, I might just do that… finish off with Connery AND Jack Lord as CIA operative Felix Leiter – can’t argue with that!
What I think will surprise everyone who does this is how every Bond portrayal had tremendous highs and lows. We’ve already been over one of Connery’s dips – and ’83 wasn’t his only bad year. As much of a punchline as George Lazenby is for only having done ’69’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, his shocking physical aptitude made me rethink the notion that no one under 30 should apply for the job. Watching the late Roger Moore will be like driving across Texas: Impressive and fun every day, but you wonder every day when it’s all gonna end…. even though you know where it’s gonna end. Eon Productions should’ve known the 1980s were the wrong decade in which to impose an actor taking his cues straight from Ian Fleming’s books on the world, but looking at those films now I think Daniel Craig should be sending Timothy Dalton Christmas cards. For Brosnan, it was all downhill after Goldeneye, but since it started so high….. And why would “Quantum of Solace” even need James Bond?! A question erased by the moment-to-moment magnificence of Skyfall.
We have to wait another two years before we’ll see the next James Bond film in the series, so between now and then you’re probably going to wind up being exposed to most of the existing 25 a bunch of times. Might as well enjoy ’em on your own terms, and with a sense of purpose.