Just in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of James Bond on the screen, Netflix has made 007's cinematic outings available for instant viewing. If you have a Netflix account that allows for streaming films directly to your television, computer or portable look-at device, you can glory in all things Bond. But where to start?
How about "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"? I know there is this temptation to think that Sean Connery is the ultimate Bond, but that's just a myth. (Sorry, Mark!) Connery's Bond films reflect the increasingly obvious smarminess of man himself and that element is just too great an obstacle for Sean's increasingly thick brogue to overcome with all its exotic charm.
George Lazenby may be not great improvement over Connery, but he gets plenty of chances to send up his replacement status in a way that avoids sheer parody. And, frankly, he's not only an improvement over Connery, but makes a pretty good argument that Roger Moore should never have been offered the role of Bond when you consider what he eventually did to it.
As if to help take your mind off the fact that Bond isn't played that guy in the toupee you grew used to, the plot of "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is more labyrinthine and complex. As if that weren't enough, you get Telly Savalas, a secret message scrawled in lipstick, Diana Rigg and the only twist ending in Bond history!
Roger Moore started out his career as James Bond as not only a much less smarmy womanizer than Connery, but a much less juvenile stalker than his Bond became. "The Man with the Golden Gun" is one of the overlooked gems of the Bond canon. Heck, you've got Christopher Lee as a villain not only with a nifty golden gun, but three nipples! Then here's Herve Villechaize before anybody ever heard the phrase "De plane…de plane!" Toss in not just Britt Ekland, but Maud Adams and cover with a generous layer gravy in the form of borrowing heavily from the Kung-Fu exploitation films so popular at the time and "The Man with the Golden Gun" is a Bond experience with fun of such purity that it almost cannot be equaled.
I don't care what anybody says, Timothy Dalton was the best James Bond until Daniel Craig came along. "The Living Daylights" owes far too much to the Connery/Moore/Brosnan string of Bond films to ever give Dalton the justice he is due. Before Craig turned Bond into a character with viable Oscar potential, Timothy Dalton was taking him seriously. Dalton did he best to overcome silly scenes like descending down a snowy hill atop a cello and the ultimate slap in the face: Jon Don Baker as a villain. The result is the first mature James Bond and a precursor to the rebooting of the character for Daniel Craig.
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