My Bond With Bond
I can't remember my first James Bond movie. It just feels like it's always been part of my life.
I grew up during an era when a Bond movie on T.V. was just as much of a part of Chritmas and Easter as Brussel Sprouts and Chocolate Eggs.
I have certain Bond movie memories:
- Being 5 and renting "A View To A Kill" from the video shop with my Uncle, and my Auntie not being best pleased. Apparently she hated Roger Moore (some people have no taste).
- Watching "The Man With The Golden Gun" with my Dad on the T.V. upstairs back when, if you had two T.V.'s in your house, you were considered rich.
- Collecting stickers of "The Living Daylights" from Trio chocolate bars and plastering them over my bedroom door.
- Taping "Goldfinger" off the T.V. and nearly wearing the tape out.
- Catching the end of "Octopussy" and thinking "why the fuck is he dressed as a clown?"
I suppose I grew up in quite a strange era for the franchise as after "License To Kill" was released, when I was 8, the series was dormant for 6 years. However, with them being virtually on constant rotation on the television, it didn't feel like a you were missing out that much. After all, I still had 16 films to seek out to rent or record.
When I left school and got my first job, I immediately starred buying the official VHS tapes. There was a Woolworths right by my workplace and I'd walk there on my dinner break and grab a couple. Within a couple of months I'd got them all and they took centre stage amongst my video collection. It was also during this time that I borrowed "The James Bond Encyclopedia" from the library. It became my bible. Bond was the first franchise that I took an active interest in the 'behind the scenes' stuff: Producers, directors, actors, order of release, etc. I devoured it all.
During my late teens/early twenties (or as I like to call them, "My Movie Douche Years") I started getting into different types of cinema but my love for Bond remained, even though it was a difficult period for the series. We were in the latter stages of the Brosnan era and it remains my least favourite era to this day.
I was 21 when I went through my first breakup. I did what most movie fans do, when going through tough times, I bought lots of movies. I had my first dvd player by then, the time had come to take the plunge and upgrade the collection. All 19 titles. I can remeber coming home from the work, seeing the parcel on the kitchen table and the smell as I opened the box. Even thinking about it now makes my stomach feel funny. I was like a pig in shit.
This was back in the days when you got plenty of extras and a collectable booklet with your physical media. They really went for it with the extras. You sometimes got three documentaries per title and not just five minute fluff pieces but informative, enjoyable twenty five minute retrospectives. I was enjoying them almost as much the films themselves but not quite.
The films had been restored and I was seeing them in widescreen for the first time. They were stunning. I've gotten rid of plenty of dvds after upgrading them to Blu Ray but not these, they remain my favourite DVD releases even now.
Is Bond the best written, directed or acted series of films in cinema history? Of course not but I can find at least one thing in every movie to like (yes, even "Die Another Die"). They are pure entertainment. To me they are the cinematic equivalent of comfort food. If I've had a bad day I know I can stick on a Bond film and within ten minutes all is good in my world.
Despite some bumps along the way, and the fact that the Mission:Impossible series is probably doing classic Bond better than Bond itself at the moment, I still believe that nobody does it better.
Thank you James.