One more day until Casino Royale hits the theaters. Are you excited about it yet? Have you been following all of the Bond coverage and pretending that you're a superspy? I've personally had the Goldfinger theme song stuck in my head for days. At first, it made small errands (like going to the post office) fun and exciting. I'd pretend I was on a secret mission, and that the stamp on my letter contained a secret microdot that had to get to New York by Saturday. After that was another death-defying mission at the grocery store (plans for the enemy's HQ hidden in the canned vegetables). However, at this point I'm going a bit mental. Get out of my head, Shirley Bassey!

Hopefully my mental slippage won't be too obvious as we immerse ourselves in Part Two of the History of Bond Films. If you missed the first part, you can catch up quickly and be ready for Casino Royale by Friday. Make it your mission, in fact. "Gooollllldifing ... " er, sorry.

Onwards through the doors of MI6 and into Bond history we go -- just don't call me Moneypenny.

Moonraker -- 1979
Even though the credits for The Spy Who Loved Me ended by saying "James Bond Will Return in For Your Eyes Only," the producers decided to rush Moonraker into production to try to capitalize on the success of films like Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The plot centers around a villain named Hugo Drax who wants to destroy all life on earth and then rebuild it using the Adams and Eves of his choosing. A key plot device was the then fledgling space shuttle program, and culminates with a full-on laser gun battle between Drax's men, and Bond leading a group of U.S. Marines ... in zero gravity. It couldn't get much worse than this, although we still haven't hit A View To A Kill yet. Jaws returns in this film, and fails to kill Bond more than once, but eventually meets a girl and becomes pals with Bond. Because, you know ... you often befriend someone who has thrown you out of a plane without a parachute. Ah, those British and their traditions.

Pure Bond:
Dr. Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles): You know him?
James Bond (Roger Moore): Not socially. His name's Jaws, he kills people.


For Your Eyes Only -- 1981
James Bond finally gets revenge in this one, only six movies and twelve years later. The opening sequence of For Your Eyes Only has Bond offing Blofeld (apparently) by dropping him into a smokestack at the end of a fairly exciting helicopter ride. We haven't seen Blofeld since, so maybe he actually managed to rid himself and the world of the cat-stroking, bald villain. Oddly enough, this scene is thought to be a dig at Kevin McClory, since he owned the rights to remake Thunderball, which starred Blofeld as the main baddie. The EON producers were unable to use the name Blofeld in other films due to McClory's litigation, so they effectively (without saying his name or showing his face) erased him from the Bond timeline and continuity. Basically, a pissing match between producers saying, "Oh, you want to use that guy in your film? We'll kill him off. Take that!" Anyhow, the rest of For Your Eyes Only is fairly standard stuff, a missing device that could launch the nuclear missiles aboard Britain's submarines against any global target. The main villain in the film, Aristotle Kristatos, is played by Julian Glover who had roles in both The Empire Strikes Back and Indiana Jones and the last Crusade. Oddly enough, Steven Spielberg was in talks with Bond producer Albert Broccoli to direct For Your Eyes Only, but he ended up being offered Raiders of the Lost Ark instead.

Pure Bond:
James Bond (Roger Moore): Now put your clothes back on, and I'll buy you an ice cream.


Octopussy -- 1983
Aside from several of the Bond girls, this was the movie with the most suggestive name. I remember it raising eyebrows around my house when I was a kid. Octopussy had the distinction of being the film that came out the same year that Kevin McClory's Thunderball remake entitled Never Say Never Again was also released, pitting Moore against Connery. The films were released just months apart from each other, with Octopussy coming out in June and Never Say Never Again in October. While Connery's film had the bigger opening weekend, with almost eleven million dollars, Moore's has grossed twelve million more in the long run, to a total of $167 million. Most people attribute that to Octopussy being the better of the two films. It featured another British agent (009) getting killed, and Bond being assigned to his case, which involves Faberge eggs and other stolen treasures. The title of the film doesn't come from the villain (as had been the case with Dr. No and Goldfinger), but rather from Maud Adam's Octopussy character. It's not her real name (which we never find out), but rather her father's nickname for her. She is extremely wealthy and trains women in combat and gymnastics on her own private floating city. Bizarre enough for you yet? Well, if you're a woman and you are able to join Octopussy's ranks, you have a small blue octopus tattooed on your butt. Now that's just weird, people. This was the 13th Bond film made, and didn't turn out out to be unlucky for anyone. Although it was the last Bond film to announce "James Bond will return in *insert next movie title here*" at the end of the credits.

Pure Bond:
Vijay (Vijay Amritraj): Is he still there?
Q (Desmond Llewelyn: You must be joking! Double-0 seven on an island populated exclusively by women? We won't see him till dawn!


A View To A Kill -- 1985
Christopher Walken! Grace Jones! Duran Duran! Moore's last James Bond film! There's a lot going on here, but A View To A Kill is probably the worst Bond film of the whole bunch. Moore runs around with a leather jacket on, and just looks far too old to be playing Bond (he was 58 at the time). The film was also disappointing because the story is so weak, and basically a remake of Goldfinger. Walken's Max Zorin character wanted to corner the market on computer microchips, so he had an elaborate plan to trigger a double earthquake that would destroy Silicon Valley, making him a very rich man. This was also Roger Moore's least favorite of the Bond films, and after filming was done he decided to step down from the role. The movie made less than the previous Octopussy did at the box office, but ironically the theme song sung by Duran Duran hit the number one spot on U.S. music charts, and remains the only Bond song to have done so.

Pure Bond:
Pola Ivanova (Fiona Fullerton): In my dressing room, later, did you know I was an agent with orders to seduce you?
James Bond (Roger Moore): Why do you think I sent you three dozen RED roses...?


The Living Daylights -- 1987
It's a new Bond as Timothy Dalton steps into the role and allies with Sallah from Raiders of the Lost Ark against a power-hungry Joe Don Baker. There's a lot going on in this movie, and Dalton does the best he can with what he's given, but he's always been a third-tier Bond to me. He looks constantly sleep-deprived, and he always seemed a little too menacing and not quite debonair enough. Anyhow, Bond is called into MI6 and told by General Koskov (Jeroen Krabbe) that the KGB is being run by crazed General Pushkin (John Rhys-Davies), who has revived the practice of SMERSH, which literally means "death to spies". Bond is sent off to eliminate Pushkin, because Russia and Britain are playing nice now. Along the way, Bond finds out that Pushkin has been investigating Koskov, who is the real crazy general. So crazy that he has partnered with Joe Don Baker, a maniacal arms dealer, in an effort to bring about WWIII. Now, as a personal aside here, Joe Don Baker has to be one of the worst actors to ever appear in a Bond film. If you haven't seen the classic Mystery Science Theater episode featuring his movie Mitchell, then you need to run out and get it right now, it's entirely worth it. My favorite thing about this film was the a-ha song, hands down -- the rest of of it is forgettable. Except perhaps Dalton and D'Abo sledding down the ski slopes on a cello case.

Pure Bond:
James Bond (Timothy Dalton): Whoever she was, I must have scared the living daylights out of her.


Licence To Kill -- 1989
Bond quits! This was the darkest and grittiest film in the series by far, and the first one to ever be rated PG-13, although they all have since been rated that (the PG-13 rating first appeared in 1984). Bond's frequent CIA collaborator Felix Leiter finds his wife raped and murdered on their wedding day, gets severely maimed himself, and Bond swears revenge for his friend and his wife. He goes after Sanchez, the drug lord responsible, and runs afoul of both the DEA and MI6. M orders him onto another case, but Bond quits and returns to fight the war on drugs in the U.S. and against Sanchez on his own. There's a high body count in this one, no humor, and the lack of some kind of giant plot to turn everyone in the world into gerbils or anything like that. Because of this and the sheer amount of movies that came concurrently during the summer of 1989 (Batman, anyone? Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade?), which was one of the most profitable summers in movie history, Bond got lost in the shuffle and the film performed lower than expected. This was the last Bond film to ever get a summer release, and its performance ultimately resulted in Dalton dropping the role, although he was contracted for a third film. Benicio del Toro played henchman Dario in this film, being the youngest actor to ever play a Bond baddie at 21.

Pure Bond:
James Bond (Timothy Dalton): Watch the birdy, you bastard.


GoldenEye -- 1995
The longest gap between Bond films since Dr. No in 1962 - six years! This was partly due to the lead role being recast, and to the failing health (and later death) of legendary producer Albert "Cubby" Broccoli. Ironically, Brosnan had signed to play 007 after Roger Moore stepped down, but was unable to get out of his Remington Steele television contract. He was finally able to take the reins in this movie, and managed to straddle the fine line between Connery's suaveness, and Moore's sense of humor with his own combination of their two styles. The film opens with Bond and 006 (Sean Bean) working together, and 006 apparently being killed. Nine years later, Bond is assigned to find a missing satellite weapon called GoldenEye, that has been stolen by Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen) and her associates. Eventually you find out that the person pulling the strings is ... should I tell you? Ah, you've probably all seen it anyhow. Don't expect a great actor like Sean Bean to be killed off in the first moments of a movie, never to be seen again. 006 is indeed running the show, and Bond has to shut things down. This film not only revitalized the entire Bond series, but it also gave birth to the Nintendo 64 version of GoldenEye, which remains a classic amongst first-person shooter video games. Check out the opening titles of the film which are meant to depict the fall of the Soviet empire.

Pure Bond:
Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen): You don't need the gun.
James Bond (Pierce Brosnan): Well, that depends on your definition of safe sex.


Tomorrow Never Dies -- 1997
Bond takes on a media magnate played by Jonathan Pryce in Brosnan's second outing in the role. He teams up with Chinese secret agent Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) and together they stop Carver (Pryce) from trying to start a war between China and Britain, giving himself exclusive media rights to the coverage. It's not a great movie, but the scene where Bond drives his BMW from the backseat with his cell phone remote control is one of my favorite James Bond action sequences. Michelle Yeoh managed to hold her own against Brosnan, and she even had a much cooler arsenal of gadgets hidden, spy-style (but alas, no Q counterpart). Rumors are that this film was supposed to be called Tomorrow Never Lies (since Carver is making the next day's headlines himself), or Tomorrow Never Comes. According to those same rumors, someone made a typo and accidentally called the movie Tomorrow Never Dies, and it stuck. Teri Hatcher appears as a Bond girl to "satisfy her husband's lifelong goal of being married to a Bond girl," card-tosser and famous magician Ricky Jay plays terrorist Henry Gupta, and despite the absence of Cubby, the producers had another hit on their hands.

Pure Bond:
James Bond (Pierce Brosnan): [Whilst being in bed with his Scandinavian language tutor] I always enjoyed learning a new tongue.
Moneypenny (Samantha Bond): You always were a cunning linguist, James.


The World Is Not Enough -- 1999
I could never figure out what the title of this movie meant. It might be a take on William Wordsworth's poem, "The World is Too Much With Us," signifying the ill-fated love between Elektra King (Sophie Marceau) and Renard (Robert Carlyle). Elektra is the daughter of Sir Robert King, a personal friend of M's, and after he is killed M asks Bond to keep an eye on her. She had a troubling experience with a kidnapper when she was younger, resulting in a severed ear. Ah, but little does Bond know that she actually developed Stockholm syndrome with the kidnapper (Renard), and they have put a secret and deadly plan into action that will explode a nuclear bomb in a strategic region, meaning other countries will be forced to use her King pipeline, bringing her billions. Carlyle's Renard was a great villain, but given the fact that he had a bullet slowly working it's way into his brain (courtesy of an earlier encounter with 009) and cutting off all of his feelings of pain, they didn't do much with it. Great action sequences counterbalanced by Denise Richard's horrible acting. This one sits in the middle of the Brosnan scale.

Pure Bond:
James Bond (Pierce Brosnan): [in bed with Jones] I was wrong about you.
Dr. Christmas Jones (Denise Richards): Yeah, how so?
James Bond: I thought Christmas only comes once a year.


Die Another Day -- 2002
Brosnan's last Bond film is a bit of an odd one. It has a big star in it (Halle Berry as Jinx) that shares a lot of screen time with Bond, and opens with a time-lapse sequence of Bond being tortured for 14 months. During his escape, his captor General Moon apparently dies, only to return as the villain later, having gone through gene reconstruction surgery. Bond teams up with Jinx as they try to stop the Icarus project, an orbital platform that was originally meant to light the dark areas of the Arctic with. Of course, it's now been perverted into a weapon. Come on scientists, any time you invent something that can affect the weather, alter human DNA, or reanimate dead tissue, you know it'll eventually all go wrong. Anyhow, North Korea tries to get the weapon for themselves, but Bond is there as always. It was rumored that Berry would be getting her own spinoff Jinx movie after this film, but that fizzled out awhile ago. While this film took a critical drubbing, I enjoyed it. It's about time someone captured Bond and tortured him, and M is right to distrust him, because what if he had revealed secret information under duress? Not only was this Brosnan's last turn as Bond (he was meant to return for Casino Royale, but eventually decided that he was tired of the role as the producers dragged their feet), but it was the first film not to have Desmond Llewelyn in it. We'll miss you, Q.

Pure Bond:
Verity (Madonna): I see you handle your weapon well.
James Bond (Pierce Brosnan): I have been known to keep my tip up.

Bonus!


Never Say Never Again -- 1983
Okay, so by now you've read some of the controversy about Thunderball back in 1965, and Octopussy in 1985. Well, as I mentioned earlier, Kevin McClory, who had originally developed the screenplay for Thunderball with Ian Fleming successfully sued the EON producers, and won the rights for that Bond film only. Which seems pretty useless. If you ask us, it's like winning the rights to Die Hard II, and not the first or third movies. The caveat was that McClory had the rights to the Bond character, settings, and other elements only from the Thunderball storyline, but only after a certain period of time had passed. So, McClory was (miraculously, if you ask ask) able to get not only financing, but also Connery to return in the lead role. McClory later tried to assert that he owned the rights to the movie Bond, and Sony Pictures was in talks with him to start up a rival Bond series. Although, In 1997, MGM eventually bought out the rights entirely, and given that Sony bought MGM/UA in 2005 and is releasing the new Casino Royale film, McClory's attempt is somewhat ironic.

Pure Bond:
Nurse (Lucy Hornak): Mr. Bond, I need a urine sample. If you could fill this beaker for me?
James Bond (Sean Connery): From here?