Off-beat opinions

I got a great comment from MJR/Slef in regard to my “Top Five Bond Girls” excerpt.

I’m shocked. Diana Rigg was excellent in the early Avengers, still good after Emma Peel was toned down to suit US tastes and far better than numbers 2-5 in this list, yet “she leaves this fan behind”???

Won’t not understanding Diana Rigg put people off the Ultimate Fan Book? It’s moved it down my list a bit…

In my experience, every Bond fan has some off-beat opinions. I don’t know a single fan who doesn’t harbor a secret (or not-so-secret) love for a movie that is generally regarded as bad. My “secret” love is Diamonds Are Forever, but I know fans who’ll swear up and down that AVTAK is underrated.

Here’s what I’ve found: If you take a big enough sampling of Bond fans, and ask them for a top five/bottom five, every single movie will appear on both lists. In fact, this robust variety is a big part of what inspired me to write the book in the first place.

In the “Survey Says…” sections of each chapter, I place my personal ratings next to surveyed fan ratings so that you can see where I’m off the beaten track (as in this case). BUT I always respect and validate fan opinion—as I do here, ranking Rigg #1 even though she’s not a personal favorite. And I don’t think it’s bragging to say I have real expertise in fan opinions; I’ve read the details of dozens of surveys and spoken with many, many fans.

No fan likes to feel that they’re being dissed by some author. I hate reading a book that says that my beloved Kara Milovy is a terrible Bond girl. So I structure The Ultimate James Bond Fan Book in a way that includes every fan; you love Rigg, I explain why, and then say hey, she’s not my favorite. Most fans don’t like Kara, I explain why, and then say why I love her. I hope that every fan can see himself in the book because of this structure. The reviews have been pretty favorable in that regard.

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8 Responses to “Off-beat opinions”

  1. Joe Bond Says:

    Bottom 5: (of the 21 “official” films)

    21. A View to a Kill
    20. Tomorrow Never Dies
    19. For Your Eyes Only
    18. Licence to Kill
    17. The Living Daylights

    Top 5:

    4. (tie) Goldfinger
    Moonraker
    3. The Spy Who Loved Me
    2. Thunderball
    1. Casino Royale

    But, I love them all and will watch any at them drop of a hat (with the possible exception of AVTAK).

  2. Deborah Lipp Says:

    You see? This is exactly what I mean. Moonraker is in my bottom five* and TLD is in my top five.

    *Actually sixth from bottom, but I’m including NSNA, so on your list of 21 films, it’s bottom 5.

  3. Joe Bond Says:

    Absolutely. Admittedly, TLD is a very good film with a great score. While I love Timothy Dalton, I just didn’t love him as Bond. Now, Moonraker on the other hand — I understand why people don’t rank it high. I just love the film. I don’t think it is a “guilty pleasure” however, because technically it is such a good film and so damn entertaining despite the outer space sequences.

  4. Deborah Lipp Says:

    Moonraker is an ambitious film, and it has wonderful moments. It also has bad moments, and it’s not cohesive—it doesn’t hang together as a single film.

  5. “Moonraker” is also a flat, unblinking case of near-plagiarism; something like half the film is a direct, uncredited remake of a little-known film Dino diLaurentis made before moving his operations to the US – “Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die”, starring Mike Connors as a CIA agent in Rio, Dorothy Provine (and henchman/chauffeur Terry-Thomas) as a British agent and Raf Vallone as the villain. (Though, in a moment of blinding creativity, they *did* reverse the CIA and BritIntel roles.)

  6. Umm – Top Five:

    1. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – it has Di Rigg, and it’s the most faithful adaptation of a book in the series. Not to mention “This never happened to the other fellow.”

    2. Casino Royale – second-most faithful book adaptation; nice little coda, great action sequences (though the airport sequence runs a bit long).

    3. Goldfinger – start of the gadgetry, first (relatively) large budget. Best line of the series: “No, Mr Bond – I expect yo to *die*.”

    4. For Your Eyes Only – the opening at Tracey’s grave and the helicopter sequence alone are worth it. This was actually announced Way Back When as the next film after “Secret Service”, but they realised that they’d wind up with two ski/snow pictures back to back. So a rush jobe was done to get “Diamonds are Forever” into production. Which may explaine why that film is how it is…

    5. The World is Not Enough – if only because Bond does something truly cold that he’s never done before.

  7. golden flea Says:

    i’m the only person i know who counts timothy dalton as his/her second favourite bond (after connery, naturally). i’d put both of his films in my top 5, along with casino royale, the man with the golden gun (the first bond film i ever saw, so it’s close to my heart), and goldfinger.

  8. […] rare fan: The kind who didn’t like Casino Royale. (And you know I absolutely adore fans with unusual opinions.) And one of her complaints was that the whole “prequel” idea didn’t work for […]

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