Sunday, August 11, 2013

How I became the James Bond fan that I am

If you've met me or visited my twitter or facebook pages, you probably gleaned that I am a big fan of the Bond franchise. I know, I know, who doesn't like Bond?
I claim to be a super fan sometimes, but there are Bond fans out there that put my Bond-knowledge and devotion to shame. Whatever, it's not a competition. Unless it's a James Bond trivia competition. Those happen.

Anyhow, I came to love Bond  the way most Bond fans of my generation did; because of our dads.
Most Bond fans I talk to, on the internet, and in person, can trace their MI6 adoration to sitting in front of the TV with their dads, watching Roger Moore shoot, ski, and seduce. (Is it just me or do dads always prefer Moore?)

I caught bits of Dr. No when I was six or seven, when my Dad was watching it on TV. It was my first introduction to Bond and I remember thinking it was scary. I was scared of the "dragon", although I knew it was some kind of vehicle, not an animal. Can't say the same for Honey...
The hottest person to ever mistake a tank for dragon.
Another time, my Dad was watching You Only Live Twice, and I watched an assassin creep into the rafters and lower a piece of thread down so he could pour poison down the thread and into Bond's mouth. At the last moment Bond shifted in his sleep and the girl was the poisoned one. THIS SCARRED ME FOR LIFE. For the rest of my childhood, I had trouble sleeping in a new place, especially if there were rafters.   
I always thought a ninja was going to drip poison in my mouth.
 I didn't get to see all of the film because my mom had made me go to bed. But I sneaked out of bed and was peeking out from behind the corner of the hallway, secretly watching femme fatal Helga seduce Bond, trap him in a crashing plane while she made her graceful parachute escape.

This brings me to my next Bond memory/association; Goldeneye.
I didn't realize it until this year, but in the title song Goldeneye by Tina Turner, she sings the words "You'll never know how I watched you from the shadows as a child."  Which accurately describes one of my first Bond-film viewings.This was the first Bond film I ever watched in it's entirety.
Goldeneye was great, and really is one of the best Bond films. Top 3. I dare you to argue that.
It became easy to be a fan of the movie when my brother and I owned...that's right...A NINTENDO 64.
And if you're a gamer at all, what was probably THE best game ever made for Nintendo 64? Goldeneye.

Natalya if you run into the line of fire again, I swear to god...

This movie was my first introduction to Sean Bean, playing Alec Trevelyan in Goldeneye. I had NO idea that 6 years later Sean Bean would be in another franchise that became a big deal for me. (Boromir anyone?)

After Goldeneye I started to feel like I knew what Bond was about, I mean, how could you not? Beautiful women, guns, cars, casinos, and espionage. I was not an uber-fan at this point, though I really did like action movies more than the average teenage girl, and Bond films were good action movies. Over the next few years I caught bits of Pierce Brosnan's films Tomorrow Never Dies, and The World is Not enough. Not exceptionally great Bond films, which is a shame, because Brosnan really rocked the role. I remember not being blown away by these two films, but my brother found them humorous and when my brother finds something to be entertaining and funny, most likely I will too.

Brosnan's last Bond film Die Another Day was the first Bond film I saw in the theaters!
I was so excited for it and went to see it with some friends. It was a blast. It's not great, apart from the opening scene, really not. But I was 15 years old, the utter cheese-factor in this movie escaped me.
 I loved it. This was also the first Bond film I bought on DVD.

I remember EXACTLY where I was when I heard that the next Bond was blond.
My brother Cameron and I were at home watching Goldeneye, and he mentioned the news.
Cameron and I were big fans of the Antonio Banderas Zorro movie, and when we pictured a blonde Bond, we pictured this guy:
If you don't remember, this character gets a very Alec Trevelyan-like death.

We didn't really know what to think about a blonde Bond. However when Cam found out that 'blondie' was going to be Daniel Craig, he, being a fan of Craig in Layer Cake, was happy with the decision, and that was enough for me.
BESIDES: Daniel Craig's hair is really not that light, and while everyone purports that Bond "HAS to have dark hair" come on, Roger Moore had really light brown hair. Bond is described as having dark hair in Ian Fleming's novels, but since when have our movie characters always looked the same as they do in books? This is the biggest hair-color issue I've ever seen fans of anything have. (No one fussed this much over redhead Lois Lane in the 2013 Superman movie Man of Steel.)

When Casino Royale was released, it was then that I started to become the fan that I am now.
I saw Casino Royale in the theater with my family and best friend Heather, and Heather was QUITE taken by Mr. Craig. I didn't have a crush on him, but I liked him. I thought Pierce Brosnan was a great Bond, but honesty, I can't imagine him being able to put on the poker face that Craig did in Casino Royale.

Hooray for the return of Felix Leiter!

Heather and I LOVED this movie, and Chris Cornell's theme song You Know My Name, became our phone ringtones for each other.
I bought a read Ian Fleming's Casino Royale, though I preferred Craig's Bond to the Bond in that book.

Since then it's been a steady learning journey though online forums and articles about the franchise. I have books about the franchise written by fans, and a nice little selection of Bond collectables.
The game changed when I ordered a set of all the Bond films up to Quantum of Solace, I was able to go back as see entire Bond films I'd only caught bits of growing up.
I confronted the "dragon" in Dr. No, the poison-assassin in You Only Live Twice, the MANY MANY snakes (my biggest fear) in Live and Let Die, and Bond was there for it all.
I'm not sure how long the franchise will keep going. There will be great movies, and there will continue to be terrible ones as well, but I will love them :)


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. What did you think of skyfall? Not being a big Bond fan I, honestly, loved the movie, but I've heard some Bond fans have issues with it.

  3. I'm curious: After watching them all and reading some of the books, is Goldeneye still in your top 3? As a fellow Bond fanatic, I find that bit of your post hard to handle (sorry!). :-)
    BTW, you can (or at least you could, when I was in college) take a class on Bond, for credit, at The New School in NYC.

  4. One of my earliest memories of falling in love with the Bond series was sneakily watching the VHS tape of Goldfinger over and over, until I was caught in the act by my brother one day (I'd professed to hating it, but by God did I love - and still do love - that film).

    The sneaking around watching Bond on the sly definitely falls in line with my experiences and the first Bond I saw in the cinema was Die Another Day, too.

    Loving what you've posted on your blog, too. Getting a follow from me!

  5. Love this post! First memories I think might have been a Sean Connery one, but first one in the theater was TND. Can't say I'm one of those fanactis but probably a fan like you!