|From Moonraker, one of the Bond movies on the "Nah" list|
James Bond's latest adventure, Spectre, hits theaters tomorrow. Reception on this one is decidedly mixed (Daniel Craig's Bond seems to get it right every other movie), but it will no doubt be a box office sensation here as it has been in the United Kingdom. Love the Bond movies or not – and there's plenty of room to talk about the franchise's sexism – the fact that this is the twenty-fourth film in a fifty-year-old franchise is remarkable and ripe for analysis. How have six different performers treated the role? And over five decades, has the series ever been consistently good?
Wired writer Erik Malinowski tackled the quality question this week in an article breaking down which of the Bond movies work and why. After an apparently 50-hour binge-watching session, Malinowski was able to split the movies roughly in half keepers and half throwaways, with the edge going to the better ones. Much of the article talks about the merits of each individual film, but there's a recurring pattern: the best Bonds are a little campy, thrilling but not too dark or angry, willing to acknowledge their cultural context, and featuring a strong supporting cast for Bond to play off of.
Malinowski's run down is of course subjective but makes a good primer if you needed a refresher on less-remembered Bonds before catching Spectre. If the reviews are credible, there's 14 movies on that list that you might just want to watch instead
(Our collection includes most of the Connery, Brosnan, and Craig films. Ask at our desk to see if they're available!)