Bond. James Bond.

5 October 2012  marks 50 years since the first James Bond movie was released. Dr No was the first of what will be 23 official James Bond movies (Skyfall is released next month) or 25 if you include two unofficial Bond movies produced in the 1967 (Casino Royale) and 1983 (Never Say Never Again). With over $12 billion in revenues (when adjusted for inflation) the Bond films have been a financial and cultural phenomenon. Who can say they have not heard of the expression “Bond, James Bond” or would fail to recognise the iconic theme tune? James Bond is associated with fast cars, beautiful women, gadgets, guns and adventure, not to mention the vodka martini, “shaken not stirred.”

Christchurch is part of the celebrations. The CBS Canterbury Arena is hosting a musical celebration on 4 October 2012:  The music is Bond. James Bond.

What is the best James Bond movie of all time? It is hard to compare movies from 50 years ago to movies of today. It is tempting to choose a favourite Bond based on who has portrayed him (there have been six people play Bond). Or maybe you might pick a more recent release because it is relevant and production qualities appear better. I find myself having to consider them all to make a decision.

I would quite happily ignore all the Roger Moore movies as, although he brought in some humour and suaveness to the role, the movies were essentially rubbish and it still surprises me that the franchise didn’t stop there. Timothy Dalton’s tenure is vastly underrated – the films are better than Moore’s and in most cases, Pierce Brosnan’s. Casino Royale with Daniel Craig in the role was an excellent film, ditching the by now cliché gadgets and going for a more raw portrayal of the character, whilst amping up the action in an attempt to ward off the onslaught of franchises like Mission: Impossible and Bourne.

For me ‘Dr No’ is still one of the best, even with the ‘monster’ scene (it was moving so slowly, why didn’t he just move out of the way instead of being burnt to a crisp!?) but Goldfinger is my favourite Bond movie. It still had the rawness of the original Bond film and initiated the use of gadgets and one-liners we associate with the character including one of my favourites, “Do you expect me to talk, Goldfinger?” “No, Mr Bond… I expect you to die.” Here’s hoping that won’t happen and Bond will continue to entertain for another 50 years.

What is your favourite Bond movie and why?

Christchurch – this week in history (1 – 7 October)

1 October 1870
Opening of Canterbury Museum building, designed by B.W. Mountfort.

3 October 1988
Park Royal Hotel opens in Victoria Square.

5 October 1899
First Boer War contingent leaves Lyttelton.

7 October 1864
Opening of a 12 night season of Lyster’s Royal Italian and English Opera Company. The opera was “Lucia di Lammermoor”.

More October events in our Christchurch chronology.