In the James Bond franchise, each movie is vastly different from the last. There will always be a whole new host of characters, locations, villains, and sometimes even weapons and vehicles. The series has no story arcs or continuity, which is what makes it unique. Usually when you watch a movie that is a direct sequel to another, you find yourself immediately comparing storylines, acting, music, action scenes, etc. With James Bond it’s a different story. No two movies focus on the same plot, so it’s harder to make comparisons, because there are always fresh ideas. There hasn’t been a Bond movie to date that has failed to impress, but some of them brought on some defining moments and set standards in the franchise.
Dr. No was the very first Bond movie ever produced. It starred Sean Connery, the first actor to ever take on the role of the fictional double agent. This movie wasn’t just brilliant because of its remarkable adaption of the novel, but because it was one of the movies in the series (if not the only one) carrying the most defining moments, which made Bond’s adventures what they are today. For one thing, this film included the very first time James Bond introduced himself as, “Bond… James Bond.” This became one of the most famous phrases in the history of movies. That in itself is enough to make Dr. No a masterpiece. The film was well-structured, and was cutting edge for its time. We also saw Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress), the very first Bond girl to ever be shown on screen, and the first death-defying stunts that would soon become traditional.
1995 marked the fourth “new beginning” in the Bond universe, with Pierce Brosnan taking over Timothy Dalton as Bond in GoldenEye. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the film altered the way the franchise was perceived. It just did something to the series that made it different (in a positive way of course). It may have been because the film inspired a video game many believe to be the “standard of the first-person shooter,” or because it featured an agent who betrayed MI6, a concept that’s rarely seen in the series. Either way, GoldenEye was packed with excitement and suspense. You didn’t know what would happen from one moment to the next. It remains one of the best Bond films of all time.
From Russia With Love was the second Bond movie released, and the second to star Sean Connery. In this adventure, Bond finds himself to be part of an assassination ploy, all to retrieve a stolen Soviet encryption device. What makes this movie special is that it “solidified” the Bond franchise, and what the “norms” are for the franchise. Any flaws present in Dr. No were patched up, and the road for Bond was finally paved. On top of that, From Russia With Love introduced the “newness” to the series. It had little to no reference to the previous film, and started fresh, as if it was another franchise completely. It had more characters, each with their own diverse backgrounds, and an equal amount of action scenes. One of Connery’s best performances in his entire career was in this movie as well.
As the years go on, it’s inevitable that we’ll see more defining moments in the James Bond series. It’ll be exciting to witness the performances of future actors after Daniel Craig, and the adventures after Skyfall. Throughout the 50 years our favourite double agent has been on the big screen, we’ve already seen a number of events that will stand the test of time. It’s been rumoured that the next James Bond movie comes out in 2014. Where will the series go from here? What will the future bring?