People across the internet go on and on about which is the best of the James Bond spy franchise, picking their favourite and then saying that their choice is obviously the correct way. However, nobody ever goes to say why the other films aren’t as good as their favourite. In one of my frequent online experiments with culture, I’m going to work out once and for all, which is the best Bond of all – by eliminating the other films for single acts of rubbishness they commit. I thought up nine questions, designed to test the series. If a film does not live up to the question I ask it, then it loses and will be eliminated. The film left standing after my nine questions shall be the winner. Let the elimination commence!
Question 1: Can You Remember What Happens?
Thunderball has something to do with submarines, and For Your Eyes Only had a Greek dude who was the villain. Octopussy has this one scene where one of the allies gets killed with a buzzsaw thing, which is cool, and I think Roger Moore dresses up as a clown. The Living Daylights was the first Timothy Dalton one, and he was a good Bond. These are the sum remembrances I have for any of these films.
Eliminates: Thunderball, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, The Living Daylights.
Question 2: Who Plays Q?
If Desmond Llewelyn is not playing Q, the film is rubbish and must be taken out back and shot. I’ll let Casino Royale off, because Q doesn’t actually appear in that one. However, he is played by someone else in Dr No and Die Another Day (John Cleese, natch), and I refuse to let those films off so lightly.
Eliminates: Dr No, Die Another Day.
Question 3: Does Bond look past it?
James Bond is a superspy! And more than that, there is a policy that says all 00-Agents have to retire when they reach 45. Despite this, Bond looks pretty rough in Never Say Never Again and A View To A Kill. (Never Say Never Again, by the way – I only include that here so that nobody thinks I’m dissing Lord Moore. I don’t consider it a real Bond film, so don’t even GO THERE). Yeah, those two films are pretty much eliminated.
Eliminates: Never Say Never Again, A View To A Kill
Question 4: Is the Villain Up To Much?
From Russia With Love has a great villain – Red Grant – but sadly nobody remembers him, and he’s out of the picture long before the final act. Instead we have Rosa Klebb, a butch Russian lesbian who has a dangerous shoe. Ooh, scary. The Spy Who Loved me also has a bad villain, a really old guy who sits at a table and likes fish. There’s another old guy in Tomorrow Never Dies, a journalist who says “delicious” far too often and is no match for Bond. I’m also including For Your Eyes Only and The Living Daylights on this one.
Eliminates: From Russia With Love, The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, The Living Daylights, Tomorrow Never Dies.
Question 5: Is the death scene of the villain insanely stupid/bland?
Again with the Klebb – she spends a few minutes waving her leg at Bond before she gets shot – where’s the fun in that? Bond literally inflates someone to death in Live and Let Die, whilst Le Chiffre dies without Bond punching him once. Lame! The Man With The Golden Gun sees Bond pretend to be his own statue before shooting the otherwise badass Scaramanga, and nothing will ever remove the image of a fat German bloke getting sucked out of a fake window in Goldfinger. If I remember correctly, he even makes the noise a balloon does when you let go. Real classy, guys.
Eliminates: From Russia With Love, Live and Let Die, The Man With The Golden Gun, Goldfinger, Casino Royale.
Question 6: Is Space Travel involved?
Moonraker has lasers. That’s about the only good thing I can say about it. Actually no, I’ll give you Jaws’ last line. That was pretty funny.
Question 7: Does Bond get the wrong girl?
Poor Pierce Brosnan. The role of James Bond offers you the chance to roll around with stunning women, and yet in every one of his films he ends up with the least appealing of the two women who appear. Why couldn’t Xenia reform in Goldeneye? Couldn’t they have found someone less irritating than Christmas Jones to be his lover in The World Is Not Enough? Whose decision was it to kill off Teri Hatcher, and WHY did Rosamund Pike have to be a villain? She’s so hot! Poor Pierce got a string of bad luck, it seems. Also Timothy Dalton’s Bond shows highly impaired judgement when he picks the CIA agent lady instead of Talisa Soto in License to Kill.
Eliminates: License To Kill, Every Pierce Brosnan Film.
Question 8: Does Blofeld not look like Donald Pleasence?
I can accept only two kinds of Blofeld: Donald Pleasence, or obscured Blofeld. All other forms of Blofeld are unsatisfactory, and towards the end they get really strange (Diamonds are Forever – what’s going on there? Face transplants?) I’d also like to take this moment to point out the weirdness of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’s bobsleigh scene.
Eliminates: Thunderball, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever
Question 9: Are black people bad?
Eliminates: Live and Let Die
The Lone Survivor: “YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE.”!!
It has a kickass opening, a superb villain, a decent song, an underground hollowed-out volcano superbase, and people getting poisoned by string. Fantastic. You Only Live Twice has survived my nine questions, and proves itself to be truly the best Bond film of all time. Dispute THAT, fanboys!