Monday, February 11, 2013

The Bond Project: The End? (Part Two)

I know, I know.  It seems as if we cannot stop the Bond Mania.  I believe this will be the 30th post on Flying Houses dedicated to James Bond.  I am sure there are other sites on the internet that have more Bond memorabilia, but this will be the last one (seriously--The Bond Project is officially over as of this post unless I decide to watch Bonds 1-20 + Never Say Never Again and replicate what my colleague Mr. Maronde has endeavored to provide--and I do not think I have the patience for that).  Also, this is the last day I can publish this post in good faith because Skyfall will be released on DVD and Blu-ray tomorrow.  Happy Valentine's Day.  

A Bond Project Wrap Up: Part Deux
by Jay Maronde

This is it. My last Bond article for a minute (Until Bond #24--JK). It’s probably best this way. Most women don’t want to hear too much about James Bond while at the bar, and thinking about James Bond all day leaves one quite prone to telling women at the bar all about Bond.  But after ranking all the films, it seemed to me that there were still some things left unsaid—ratings to be made, pithy comments I never got to commentate—so here dear readers is a long list of Bond Bests including the best cars, Bond girls, henchmen, and villains.
Let’s start with the cars because some of the choices are a little bit obvious.

TOP 5 Bond Movie Cars

1.       The Silver Birch 1963 Aston Martin DB5
No vehicle has ever been more iconic or more fully aligned in the world’s understanding of a character. The car has been in numerous films and plays a huge role in Skyfall.
2.       The Aston Martin “Vanish”
Die Another Day wasn’t that great of a film, and everyone hated this car but I think it’s super awesome for Bond to be driving an invisible car. Aston Actually designed and produced this car strictly for the film and while in real life you cannot purchase an invisible car, you can however purchase a V12 Vanquish and get your 007 dreams on.

3.       The Lotus Espirit S1
From The Spy Who Loved Me. I’m not necessarily a large fan of the film or of seeing James Bond outside of an Aston, but a car that turns into a submarine is clearly so James Bond that it hurts.

4.      The BMW 750iL
From Tomorrow Never Dies. James Bond has a smart phone that not only starts his luxury car but can also completely control the machine.  Oh and by the way, Bond has this smart phone over a decade before the release of the iPhone.

5.       M’s Jaguar XJ Ultimate Long Wheel Base

“Just get out of the way! Don’t you know the car!?!” M’s car is a standout. A real touring saloon that Bond steals with M inside.  Just imagine being able to power around London in one of Britain’s finest luxury cars with police lights to avoid all the traffic troubles!

Honorable Mention: The BMW R1200 Motorcycle

From Tomorrow Never Dies. As an avid motorcyclist I would like to consider myself somewhat knowledgeable of the various types of motorbikes, and the BMW R1200 had long been a favorite even before Bond put one through all of its courses while handcuffed to Wai-Lin. The R1200-C model inspired by the film was even better.

TOP 5 Bond Henchmen
1.)    Jaws

Always Jaws. He’s the only henchmen to reprise his role. He’s so famous it hurts and Richard Kiel still does appearances for the James Bond franchise.
2.)    Dario

From Licence to Kill and played magically by Oscar winner Benicio Del Toro. I would suggest watching this whole movie just to catch the glimpses of early genius at being so creepy. Truly, if Jaws wasn’t Jaws, Dario would easily be #1.
3.)    Oddjob

 The classic hat throwing monster mute dude might even be more famous than the villain for which his featured film is named (Goldfinger). The actor Harold Sakata paid a high physical toll to film his death scene as he was really electrocuted.
4.)    Nick Nack

Herve Villechaize is remarkable, fun sized, and hilarious. He is the only redeeming factor in what could be one of the worst Bond Films: The Man with the Golden Gun.
5.)    Xenia Onatopp
The only lady to make this list will actually appear in this article twice as what’s really better than a lady henchman who kills via fornication?

Honorable Mention:   The two weirdos from Diamonds are Forever.

Credited as Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd and played by Bruce Glover and Putter Smith, these two hand-holding murderers are funny as all get out and eliminated in a lovely manner by Bond, but not before the very end of the film.

TOP 5 Bond Villains

#1: Silva

Skyfall’s epic villain is played masterfully by the remarkable Javier Bardem. To be honest, Silva is without a doubt the surprise of Skyfall. A real twisted warped evil villain, so weird and evil on so many levels that he easily tops our #2 on this list.

 #2: Max Zorin

The genetically engineered villain from A View to a Kill, played as only could be done by Academy Award winner Christopher Walken. It’s really hard to top Walken when it comes to the “creepy factor,” and had Bardem been anything less than stupendous, Walken would easily be #1

#3: Auric Goldfinger

“Ha ha ha, no Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.” One of the earliest villains in the canon could easily be the best. Mega rich and super weird, Goldfinger not only operates on numerous continents, but also has a plan to rob Fort Knox.

#4 Telly Savalas

Savalas is easily the best Blofeld amongst the several actors to play the part—creepy, scheming, and definitely trying to ruin the entire world. While Blofeld appears numerous times throughout the James Bond canon, Savalas easily does the best job.

#5: Hugo Drax

Evil, Hitler-esque, and eugenically-minded, this super villain from Moonraker not only intends to destroy the whole world, but plans on repopulating it with his sort of people. Oh yeah, and he steals the space shuttle and builds an international space station several decades before the real ISS.

Honorable Mention: Gustav Graves and Colonel Moon

Two villains in one from Die Another Day. Granted, both of these actors are supposed to be playing the same deranged North Korean bent on world domination, but without both of their wonderful performances this already rough movie completely falls on its face.

TOP 10 Bond Girls
        Well, now that we’ve come to the very end and to the part that everyone has been waiting for, I must be honest and admit that ranking these 10 women might have been even harder than ranking the films themselves, as there are soooo many beautiful women in the world of Bond. I’m sure I will upset a lot of people with this list, but IDGAF, this is my article and my opinion.

#1: Agent Caruso

The busty Italian agent that Bond has hidden in his closet at the opening of Live and Let Die. Played magically by the horror film classic Madeline Smith, and reportedly working through being massively anxious due to Roger Moore’s insanely jealous real life wife being on set during filming, Miss Smith is amazing. Her busty physique has provided her with mountains of work throughout the years, but her doe eyes, plush pouty lips, come hither attitude, and bad Italian accent are absolutely perfect to compliment the debonair Moore. Further, Bond should totally be involved with a real life sex symbol, not just a very pretty actress.

#2: Honey Ryder

The original Bond girl herself, played by the super famous Ursula Andress comes in a very close second—such a close second that if I preferred blondes she could easily be first. 

#3: Vesper Lynd

Played by the radiant Eva Greene, Vesper Lynd is the only woman who Bond ever loved. Casino Royale’s main female lead is gorgeous, and I know more than a few women who dream of being her.

#4: The Countessa Tracy  Di Vincenzo 

Played  by one of the biggest stars of the day Dame Diana Rigg, the only woman who Bond ever marries is gorgeous, and while her performance against George Lazenby leaves just a little to be desired, this co-star of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service certainly gets the job done.

#5: Xenia Onatopp

The villainess who literally screws people to death is the only person to appear on multiple lists in this article. This remarkable lady henchman from Goldeneye was a little known actress but major model and sex symbol before this film, and Famke Jannsen has since gone on to remarkable silver screen greatness as the X-(wo)Man Jean Grey and numerous other roles.

#6: Dr. Christmas Jones

Denise Richards being a James Bond girl and then later marrying Charlie Sheen easily serves to prove how much that guy is “winning.” Her role in The World is Not Enough  was almost written for her Playmate of the month self and her name leads to one of the best puns in the canon when at the end of film Bond says: “I thought Christmas only comes once a year”

#7: NSA Agent Jinx

Played by the stunning Halle Berry, to not include Jinx (Bond’s American spy counterpart in Die Another Day) would be utterly remiss. I almost wish I could put her higher but Jinx trying to be the American Bond only serves to highlight how super awesome Bond really is.

#8: Domino

The kept woman from ThunderBall. Miss Claudine Auger was Miss France before attaining this role. Her beauty is still remarkable all these years later and her chemistry with Connery is beyond reproach.

#9: Maud Adams

BUT NOT FROM OCTOPUSSY. It sounds completely crazy but Adams can’t have the award for the movie named after her character. To be honest, she was too old in that film and she only made Roger Moore look older. However, a few years before that, she starred as Scaramonga’s girlfriend in The Man with the Golden Gun, and while I utterly loathe Moore’s treatment of her during the film, her beauty shines through so much that she easily makes this list.

#10: Strawberry Fields

We never learn the real first name of Gemma Arterton’s character in Quantum of Solace until the film’s final credits, but the actress is absolutely perfect as a foil towards Daniel Craig’s Bond. Her death scene is as fine of an homage to the James Bond Canon as has ever been dreamed.

Honorable Mention: Carey Lowell

As CIA pilot Pam Bouvier from Licence to Kill. I just love Carey Lowell. 

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