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Movies: Twenty-Two WTF James Bond moments

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Posted October 17, 2012 by Paul Fennessy in Movies

Skyfall’s release is on the horizon, and with largely the same screenwriters on board who were responsible for Quantum of Solace, there is plenty of potential for disaster to ensue. With that in mind, here are 22 of the series’ lowest points.

1. The plot (or lack thereof) for Quantum of Solace

Seriously, people have had acid flashbacks that have been more coherent and better structured than Paul Haggis’ unfortunate excuse for a script, in what was surely the Bond equivalent of The Phantom Menace.

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2. The Garbage theme for The World Is Not Enough

Garbage only really had one huge hit, though were still a somewhat underrated band in spite of their failure to consistently reach a mainstream audience. Yet that doesn’t excuse their anaemic attempt at a Bond theme for The World Is Not Enough. Can anyone hum the song now, let alone remember it existed? We’ll give you a tenner if you can.

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3. The homophobia in Diamonds Are Forever

Mr. Albert Wint and Mr. Charles Kidd are the principal bad guys in Diamonds Are Forever, and while it is never overtly stated that they are lovers, you don’t need to be a genius to come to that conclusion. Mr. Kidd notes that Tiffany Case is attractive, and then receives a dirty look from Mr. Wint. Moreover, the scene below, in which they hold hands after completing one of their customary evil deeds, consolidates these homosexual connotations. It would be a while again before homosexuals would appear in a positive light in Hollywood films.

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4. The car chase scene in Diamonds Are Forever

It’s car crash viewing – both literally and metaphorically.

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5. “I sure am boy!”

One of the worst moments in the history of cinema, let alone the Bond series. Watch it below and try not to cringe.

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6. Feminism fail

It’s easy to partially defend Bond’s casual sexism below by arguing that the films are a product of their respective eras, but that doesn’t make such misogyny easy to accept. Of course, the scene is by no means an isolated incident in the Bond series, which doesn’t espouse a politically progressive philosophy, sadly.

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7. More feminism fail

Just in case you weren’t appropriately outraged by the previous scene.

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8. The plot inconsistencies in Goldeneye/The Living Daylights

Where to start? Well, we suppose the fact that Joe Don Baker, the actor who plays Jack Wade (a good guy) in Goldeneye also plays the villain (Brad Whitaker) in The Living Daylights.

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9. The plethora of bizarre women’s names associated with the series

Were Octopussy, Holly Goodhead and Pussy Galore really what passed for subtlety back in the day? They’re so bad that it’s hard to even appreciate them from an ironic 21st century gaze.

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10. The mysterious hovering helicopter in Tomorrow Never Dies

Either helicopters have some sort of magical powers we haven’t heard about, or the screenwriters for Tomorrow Never Dies casually overlooked the fact that they simply cannot hover in that fashion (see 3:40).

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11. His short-lived marriage

James Bond getting married wasn’t a terrible idea in theory, but it was executed pretty poorly. Having the wife get shot to death straight after the wedding just felt like a lazy way to abruptly end a curious idea.

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12. Casting George Lazenby as Bond

Whoever thought it would be a good idea to replace Sean Connery, in the role he made iconic, with a little-known Australian model deserves a firm slap on the back of the head. The results were predictably disastrous, even if On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the sole film in which Lazenby starred as Bond, had its moments.

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13. Bond’s weirdly masochistic relationship with female baddies

It seems pretty much every Bond film features at least one incredibly sexy female baddie. And this situation is exploited in some films more than others. The scene below, for example, might as well have been written by an undersexed teenage boy.

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14. Xenia’s penchant for murdering people while in bed with them

This is simultaneously one of the weirdest sex scenes and one of the weirdest death scenes ever.

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15. This scene

We’re not sure what to single out in the scene below: the frankly mind-blowing first lines of dialogue, the really naff fighting, or Richard Kiel’s/Jaws’ hilarious overacting at the end.

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16. James Bond imitates Tarzan (no, seriously)

Remember that Homer Simpson quote about how woeful Octopussy is? The scene below, in which Bond does an inexplicable Tarzan impression, was surely at the forefront of the character’s mind when he made the quip. Jump to the 4:20 mark in the video below to see what we mean. Be warned though, that it will permanently ruin James Bond for you.

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17. Worst idea ever?

If there was ever an award for the most silly/inappropriate use of music in film ever, the scene below would surely be a strong contender to win. We’re big fans of both James Bond and the Beach Boys, but when combined, they make very strange bedfellows.

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18 Worst death scene ever!

How the series has recovered and maintained its credibility after moments like this remains a mystery.

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19. Jaws falls in love

There’s something unbelievably eerie about this scene. Perhaps it’s the fact that the girl so willingly elopes with a strange man, who she ostensibly knows nothing about.

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20. The end of the speed boat scene

This is actually a pretty decent action scene, but did we really need the hideous over-acting and cheesy accompanying musical soundtrack at the end?

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21. The single moment that killed Die Another Day

Die Another Day was poorly received for a number of reasons. The scene below, which was ludicrous even by the series’ standards, is a perfect example of why it was disliked by the vast majority.

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22. ‘Man talk’

And one more scene with blatant misogyny for good measure.

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About the Author

Paul Fennessy

Paul likes films, books, music and artsy stuff in general. He also likes writing about those subjects, preferably typing at 100 miles an hour while simultaneously slurping coffee and checking his Twitter stream.

  • Will

    I am hugely defensive of the Pierce Brosnan movies – all of them – I just feel he is the Bond of my era. Though yes, Die Another Day, was diabolically bad in places. The surfing of a wave created by a collapsing ice sheath as a result of a laser coming from an artificial sun satellite is a bit much but if it had been done with good CGI and in a less clunky way it could have been wonderful. Some kind of wonferful at least.
    My policy in life is that more is more and James Bond always serves this mantra. That said, Craig has played him as a thug with the grace of a troll. Skyfall will hopefully be good but I am unconvinced he has what it takes.

    • http://www.lisamcinerney.com Lisa McInerney

      “a thug with the grace of a troll”

      Perfect.

  • Will Fitzgerald

    I was gonna ask how one picks a single moment from Die Another Day as the worst and then I watched the clip…
    Also, the Tarzan impression is woeful but “No ma’am, I’m with the economy tour,” is pretty funny!

  • http://www.lisamcinerney.com Lisa McInerney

    I knew Bond was… um, not exactly committed to gender equality, but those clips… I have no words.

    Thank Jaysus I wasn’t born till the ’80s!

  • http://twitter.com/raptureponies Cáit

    This is just EXCELLENT. I’m actually showing these to a couple of friends here, in preparation for Skyfall and all that.

  • Andrew

    Thorough as this is, I find myself disagreeing with you on a huge number of these points, Paul. I’ll pick a few:

    2. I kinda liked the Garbage theme tune, and remember it as one of the better ones of the last few years (without being something I’d pay money for). Madonna’s and Sheryl Crow’s efforts were far, far worse.
    5. I also quite liked Billy Bob the cheesy Southern sheriff. Remember that Live and Let Die was made quite a few years ago, when that stereotype wasn’t as hackneyed as it is now. I loved watching that scene with my family when I was a kid, even if the 31 year-old me wouldn’t think much of it if approaching it now for the first time. More than any other era the Roger Moore 007 films were made as family films and should be remembered as such.
    6, 7 & 21. Well, yeah. The character of Bond was written as an odious, misogynistic prick (a bit like Ian Fleming himself, by all accounts). His character is actually diluted quite a bit in the films, but the makers were essentially just going with the character that was given to them. He’s meant to be a sexist pig from a certain era and we aren’t given any great reason to expect any particularly moral behaviour from him. It may not make him a likeable character, but it’s hard to take it as a flaw in the film.
    8. An actor playing two different roles in two different films is not a plot inconsistency.
    10. I don’t see what’s wrong with George Lazenby. He brought a sensitivity (which you appear to want from Bond) to the role that has probably only been matched by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale. The whole notion that he was crap is largely based on the fact that he only made one film. This wasn’t because the producers didn’t want him, but because the idiot he had as an agent advised him not to do more, lest he get typecast. The jackass.
    13. “…might as well have been written by an undersexed teenage boy.”I imagine the writers were well aware that a huge proportion of their audience was, in fact, undersexed teenage boys. Also, how much sex do teenage boys get? They’re pretty much all undersexed, partly for legal reasons.
    21. There were many, many moments that killed Die Another Day before that one. It’s dire.
    I don’t mean to come across as all snarky here, but the point of the Bond films has always been that they are silly, fantastical fun. if you took all these bits out you’d be left with Christopher Nolan’s Batman without a suit or a butler.

    To quote Alan Partridge, “Stop getting Bond wrong!”

    • http://twitter.com/fenno21 Paul Fennessy

      A lot of points there Andrew, which I’ll try to answer as concisely as possible.

      As far as Bond being fun and silly goes, I get that. Think of this list as a homage to the wackiness of Bond more than anything.

      On 8, if you look at the films as one big story, you can consider it a plot inconsistency, though I’m sure there’s a better word for it, admittedly.

      On 10, fair enough, I never warmed to Lazenby and think he pales in comparison to the likes of Moore, Brosnan and Connery, but I am aware that he has his defenders.

      On 13, true, it was probably catering to the primary target audience, but I still find it quite cringeworthy.

  • http://www.lisamcinerney.com Lisa McInerney

    It’s actually just occurred to me that I too remember and quite liked the Garbage Bond theme. I don’t agree that it’s better than Sheryl Crow’s though.

  • http://twitter.com/ToeMcD Tony McDermot

    The Garbage theme tune was great and I want me tenner.

    The thing about it was that it WAS a Bond theme, classically strung, excellently produced by Mr. Vig and sung by probably the only great, distinctive female British vocalist of the 90s.

    Also, how you didn’t include Dr. Christmas Jones, whose naming is entirely based around one awful pun at the end of the movie, in your list of bad female names is bizarre. Worst. Pun. Ever (in Bond).

    • http://twitter.com/fenno21 Paul Fennessy

      There was a lot of stuff I didn’t include for one reason or another. I’m sure I could come up with 22 more moments if pressed.

  • http://twitter.com/fenno21 Paul Fennessy

    So it seems quite a few people like the Garbage theme. Oh well. I’m not a big fan of many of the recent themes and find them pretty forgettable, save the Chris Cornell theme for Casino Royale and the new one from Adele, which are both excellent.

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