Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Bond Girls

Here is another installment in James Bond week, written by Cash with input from Tino:

Worst Bond Girls

1. Tanya Roberts as Stacey Sutton in A View to a Kill

-- She's like a Pussycat Doll: cast for her looks without regard to any actual talent.

2. Denise Richards as Dr. Christmas Jones in The World is Not Enough
-- Can anyone actually buy Denise Richards as a "nucular physicist" in hot pants? I didn't think so. The terrible script did her no favors, but really, my pinky finger would be more convincing in the role than Denise was in this movie.

3. Britt Eklund as Agent Mary Goodnight in The Man With the Golden Gun
-- Britt Eklund does nothing to make me believe that she is smarter than her dumb character (who is inexplicably a secret agent, despite the fact that she's totally helpless and gets in the way the whole movie.) Also, she has no pluck. She is certainly pretty, though. But can we really believe that a British agent would scream and run for cover when Nick Nack, a midget, jumps up and starts throwing wine around? I don't think so.

4. Corrine Clery as Corrine Dufour in Moonraker
-- Part of the problem is probably the language barrier, but a real actress could rise above it. (See Michelle Yeoh, for instance.) Instead, she's trapped in a thankless sacrificial role that ends when the villain sics his attack dogs on her.

5. Lana Wood as Plenty O'Toole in Diamonds are Forever
-- Lana, Alicia Silverstone called: She wants her lousy Southern accent and affectations back. Bad Southern/slangy accents are worse to me than bad British accents. And this one was BAD. And her character serves no purpose whatsoever beyond eye candy.

6. Angela Scoular as Ruby Barlett in On Her Majesty's Secret Service
-- Again, the character is slangy and annoying, but Bond beds her anyway. I actually felt bad for James instead of the girl, which is saying something, considering James is a walking STD. But in this case, I just wanted her to shut up.

7. Caroline Bliss as Miss Moneypenny in The Living Daylights
-- Miss Bliss was totally acceptable in Licence to Kill, but her few short scenes in The Living Daylights made me cringe even in comparison to Maryam D'Abo's rather bland Kara Milovy.

Best Bond Girls

1. Eva Green as Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale
-- Smart, witty, beautiful, great verbal and physical chemistry with Bond, and her part was perfectly played in a way that made the audience understand why Bond's heart was broken and why he developed his mantra: Trust no one.

2. Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder in Dr. No
-- OK, she's beautiful and athletic and she has love handles (small ones, but they're there). That's great in and of itself, but Honey Ryder stuck to her guns when she declared that the Crab Key dragon was real even when Bond mocked her for it. (He was right, but so was she.) Honey's no push-over. She carries a knife in her utility belt bikini, and when a man molested her as a teenager, she got her revenge by putting a black widow in his bed. "It took him eight days to die," she told Bond, showing no remorse. Rad.

3. Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger
-- I found out after watching the movie that Pussy Galore is actually a lesbian, which is why she continually rebuffed Bond's initial sexual advances. He got her in the end, but then she saved his skin, as well as the skins of all of those who work at Fort Knox. She was the real hero of the movie. And I like the self-assured way she looked at Bond: That alone was enough to level their playing field.

4. Michelle Yeoh as Wai Lin in Tomorrow Never Dies
-- She is a spy herself, so she can keep up with Bond in all his escapades. She even handcuffed him to a shower. She wears lockpick earrings, scales down buildings in cool (magnetic?) boots, and kicks the butts of all the bad guys with her marital arts training. And the real plus: Michelle can actually act! It's just a shame the script wasn't as good as her character.

5. Judi Dench as M in GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale, Quauntum of Solace
-- She has natural chemistry with both Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig, and her authoritative lines are perfectly delivered. A brilliant choice to play the head of Britain's Secret Service. I even like her in The World Is Not Enough, a movie that has little to like.

6. Carole Bouquet as Melina Havelock in For Your Eyes Only
-- Her husky voice, iconic legs, and yards of shining dark hair probably make the most memorable marks in this movie, but she keeps up with Bond and is determined to do her part in their hunt to take out her father's killers. She's an equal with Bond without being as physically menacing as some of the other great Bond girls. And I have to give her props for that, because, hey, I couldn't beat up five guys either, but I'd like to think I could keep up with Bond in determination and ingenuity.

7. Barbara Bach as Agent XXX Anya Amasova in The Spy Who Loved Me
-- She is also a spy, and she puts Bond in his (misogynist) place when she matches and betters him intellectually (and in other ways, too) in their assignment debriefing. She pulls off a convincing Russian accent and has the grace to hate James Bond for half of the movie.

8. Joie Vejjajiva and Qiu Yuen as Lt. Hip's nieces in The Man With the Golden Gun
-- When Bond gets himself stuck in a dojo whose occupants are all hell-bent on killing him, Lt. Hip's teenage nieces show up and take down the entire dojo with their kung fu expertise, no thanks to James Bond himself. Quite simply one of the best sequences in a Roger Moore movie.

9. Halle Berry as Jinx in Die Another Day
-- The script was bad (I have no idea who -- if anyone -- could pull off her rotten dialogue), but she brought some much-needed assuredness and physicality to the film. She elevated a pretty bad movie and deserved better than what she got. I saw this movie shortly after I saw X-Men and I assure you, Jinx kicks Storm's butt.

10. Blanche Ravalec as Jaws' girlfriend Dolly in Moonraker
-- In a campy movie so bad it was almost good, Dolly marked the pinnacle of cheese. Fortunately, I accepted it and now acknowledge it as a brilliant casting decision. Additionally, Jaws and Dolly are like Ricky Smith and his girlfriend in Better Off Dead, a movie that must have stolen its meet-cute from this one.

11. Gemma Arterton as Agent Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace
-- Gemma was stuck in the thankless role of secondary Bond girl who dies near the beginning or middle of the film: like Rosie in Live and Let Die, Paris in Tomorrow Never Dies, both Masterson sisters in Goldfinger, Corrine Clery in Moonraker, and Caterina Murino in Casino Royale, to name just a few. The difference here is that Gemma brought an unusual amount of emotion to the otherwise quiet role. The character's brave act and spunk at a key moment offset her quiet personality perfectly. I actually cared and mourned for her Agent Fields when the villains killed her, coated her in oil, and left her black body on Bond's bed. It's not easy to make me care about a Bond girl, especially such a minor one, but I cared (albeit briefly) for this one. To quote M: She didn't deserve to die like that.

Simultaneously Scary and Awesome

Famke Jannsen as Xenia Onatopp in GoldenEye
-- Her sexual fetish is killing men while making love to them. She likes to squeeze them to death with her strong thighs. Frightening. She also screams all the time. Scary. Her eyes pierce like a laser and her death is pretty gruesome, and is no more than she deserved.

Grace Jones as May Day in View to a Kill
-- May Day seems to get a sexual charge out of beating up men, too. Plus, she's ultra-toned, pretty tall, wears angular clothes, has a buzz cut, and wears violent, angled make-up. And when Christopher Walken's Zorin leaves her to die, she turns on him and sacrifices herself to help Bond save the day. Yep: scary but awesome.


Laurel said...

I agree with Michelle Yeoh, she was awesome. She had some amazing "marital" arts skills. :)
Impressive posts.

cash said...

He-he. Hey, Cardine, why didn't you proofread my email?

Cardine said...

I guess I didn't notice. I'm getting used to online bad grammar/spelling that if it's mostly good, I don't notice there's something wrong. Also, I thought nucular was purposeful.

And I totally, totally agree with the scary/awesome ones.

If you want me to fix something, I can. It's not too late. :)

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