Three Second Movie Review: James Bond Series (Part I)

This is the inaugural “Movie Review in Three Seconds” segment of the blog.

The idea is simple.  In the spirit of Siskel & Ebert, I, along with one guest critic, review several movies on a scale of 1 to 10 with a short commentary that is no more than a paragraph.  It’s movie review for those with ADD, which is to say that it’s a movie review we would all want to read.

The scale works as follows:

  • 0 is movie that goes on your list of worst of all time
  • 1 is a movie that you could barely finish
  • 2 is a movie that’s a painful experience
  • 3 is a movie that’s just bad
  • 4 is a movie that had its moments
  • 5 is a movie so mediocre you can’t decide whether it was good or bad
  • 6 is a movie that was worth the price of admissions (however much that may have been)
  • 7 is a good movie
  • 8 is a movie you’d encourage your friends to see
  • 9 is a movie that goes on your favorites of all time
  • 10 is a movie that goes on your list of best of all time

In the first installment,  I review each movie in a series that I consider to be the greatest cinematic accomplishment in history: the James Bond franchise.  There will be multiple parts to the installment because there are 22 films in the series, now in its fifth decade.

My first guest critic is my sister Lisa, who has been brainwashed to like the James Bond series simply because we lived under the same roof.  Our movie biographies are at the end.

“Dr. No” (1962)

Joe:  6/10

Considering how old the film is, this movie is surprisingly enjoyable.  Yes, the pace is slow and the plot is lame, but the great moments that will go on to define James Bond and the franchise are aplenty.  That shot of James Bond lighting a cigarette at a casino in his first close-up.  That line, “Bond, James Bond” with the theme song as BGM.   That out-of-the-ocean appearance by Ursula Andress that Halle Berry couldn’t imitate if her Oscars depended on it.  That scene where Bond sets up the killing of Professor Kent with the line, “That’s a Smith & Wesson.  And you’ve had your six.”  An intriguing villain like Dr. No who utters clever lines like, “The successful criminal brain is always superior. It has to be.”  The action sequences look fake, but they’re neither boring nor brainless.  The movie does more with less explosions, a lesson Michael Bay can learn.

Lisa: 5/10

This is the first of the James Bond series and I had to see it ’cause I knew I had to. Boy was I in for a surprise. This movie was just slow and I didn’t understand half of the things that was going on.  I think it’s because I fell asleep during the movie, which I never do, but considering it was made in 1962 suggest that it was kinda ok for me to doze off a little bit.  I gave it a 5 ’cause it’s the first Bond series and considering that it was made in the 60’s

“From Russia with Love” (1963)

Joe:  9.5/10

Most people point to Goldfinger (1964) as their favorite Bond, but my choice is “From Russia with Love.”  This is not only a great Bond film; it’s a great film, period.  Growing up in the explosion-filled 90s, it may be difficult to appreciate this movie as an action movie, but the film has plenty of action in a tightly packed 1 hour and 51 minutes.  Bond travels from London to Istanbul, then to Belgrade on the Oriental Express before the movie closes in Venice.  It introduces Q and the gadgets.  It’s got an awesome teaser before the credits. What makes this film a real gem, though, is the intelligent storyline that involves SPECTRE, an organization introduced in “Dr. No” playing the Brits against the Russians without their knowledge.  Bond doesn’t even realize the existence of the villain–the cool Red Grant–until the end of the film.  If you watch only one James Bond film, watch this one.

Lisa: 8.5/10

This movie was made in 1963 and it consists of Bond going to different places is just incredible.  Love all the actions scenes and how he uses all kinds of gadgets! Can’t get enough of Q!

“Goldfinger” (1964)

Joe:  8/10

A clever premise–Goldfinger seeks to inflate the value of his gold by nuking the gold at Fort Knox–is topped by the greatest cinematic dialogue in history:

Bond:  “Do you expect me to talk, Goldfinger?”

Goldfinger:  “No, Mr. Bond.  I expect you to die!”

This movie is classic Bond.  Memorable standoff with villain:  golf with Goldfinger.  Check.  Villain with weird killing machines:  Oddjob and his hat.  Check.  Cool gadgets:  car with an ejector seat.  Check.  Bond being Bond:  “Why do you always wear that [pistol]?”–“I have a slight inferiority complex.”  Check.  Exotic locations:  Miami with hot women.  Check.  Creative deaths:  skin suffocation.  Check.  Despite being a 1964 film, the pace is surprisingly swift, something that can’t be said even for “From Russia With Love” (1963).  I love this movie because  it’s Bond at its best.  It’s a must-see Bond.

Lisa: 9/10

So this is one of my favorite Bond movies of all time. I love the villain Goldfinger and his second in command, Oddjob who uses his hat as a weapon! that is just great! Like Joe said, the best quote ever from a Bond movie.

“Thunderball” (1965)

Joe:  7/10

“Thunderball” is no “Goldfinger” (1964) but it’s certainly better than “Dr. No” (1962).   The problem is, you don’t appreciate this until you’ve seen the movie multiple times.  The film really gets dragged down by the underwater sequence at the end, where there’s a lot of action but no (and I mean no) dialogue and BGM crates the only suspense.  The movie gets better the more you see it because the underwater sequence, for all its flaws, is actually done really well.  But it only takes you so far, and it’s hardly helped by a boring villain and, worse, a forgettable Bond girl.  Most of the elements of Bond are there, but there’s no “wow” factor.  “Thunderball” is what you get when you mix the Bond ingredients correctly but it somehow comes out flat.  My rating may seem generous, but Bond ingredients mixed well always results in a good movie.  That’s what makes me a Bond apologist.

Lisa: 5.5/10

This is one of my not so favorite Bond movies. I gave it a higher ranking than Dr. No ’cause it is better and I didn’t fall asleep watching it.  I just didn’t like it. I think it’s because I was expecting more because this movie came after “Goldfinger” (1964). 

“You Only Live Twice” (1967)

Joe:  7.5/10

I really want to love “You Only Live Twice.”  It takes place in Japan.  Blofeld makes his first appearance.  Q plays a major role.  But I only like it, not love it.  One problem is that this is the first film that teeters off into the ludicrous:  even by today’s technological advances, it’s not possible to hijack a spaceship in space.  But the bigger problem is that, especially in the first half, the film is on cruise control.  We see Bond going to Japan seeing and doing a lot of Japanese things.  Occasionally there’s an action sequence that’s not particularly memorable, followed by more wandering around Japan.  The film really doesn’t pick up until the climax when Bond and his ninjas (!) invade Blofeld’s lair (!) that’s disguised as a volcano.  It’s not that the pace  of the film is slow–which is manageable a la ‘From Russia With Love.”  Rather, the movie at times is actually boring–quite a damnation.  The last third of the film–which I love–can’t save the entire film, but it does make it better than “Thunderball” (1965) because it doesn’t strike out in the clutch.

Lisa: 6.5/10

Like Joe said, I tried to love this film because it takes place in Japan, but it’s just that. There isn’t much action going on! I need more action in Bond films! The ending was def. cool with all the ninjas helping out Bond, but that was it.


About the Critics

Joe loves going to the movies to have fun, not to be educated.  The first movie he saw in theatres was either “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (1933) or “Speed” (1994), although common sense tells you the former must have been first.  He likes action films that have enough explosions but not so much to make you feel numb.  He loves dramas with inspiring stories acted well but is picky with the comedies.  He thinks most science fictions are misses, while rarely watches horrors.  He thinks there is a must-see film in every category–even in horror (“Cube” (1997), romantic drama (“The Notebook” (2004)) or children (“The Sandlot” (1993)).  His favorite actors are Tom Hanks and Matt Damon while favorite actresses are Jodie Foster and Anne Hathaway.  He hates Russell Crowe and, much more so, Renee Zellweger.  His favorite directors are Clint Eastwood and M. Night Shyamalan.  But above all, he loves James Bond.

Lisa loves all kinds of movies, even horror. Her favorites actors are Mark Wahlberg and Bruce Willis and her favorite actresses are Sandra Bullock and Kate Hudson.  She has been a fan of M. Night Shyamalan’s since she saw “The Sixth Sense” (1999). Her favorite movies include “The Notebook” (2004), “Shooter” (2007), “The Lake House” (2006), and “The Shawshank Redempion” (1994).


3 Responses to “Three Second Movie Review: James Bond Series (Part I)”

  1. 1 Jason the elitist November 8, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Loved and agreed mostly with the James Bond reviews by both the critics. However, as an elitist New York Times movie critic lover, Lisa lost me when she said her favorite actor was Mark Walberg, sorry Lisa…

    • 2 joesas November 8, 2010 at 11:48 pm

      Now that was quick! So long as you realize you’re an elitist snob, you’re welcome to be a guest critic. Even wrong ideas are welcome in this blog.

  1. 1 Three Second Movie Review: James Bond Series (Part III) | The World According to Joe Trackback on January 4, 2017 at 10:28 am

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