James Bond has never really been a thing for me. Obviously I know all the tropes, cliches, musical stings, and classic lines, and I’ve certainly read a lot about him (particularly when it comes to how the movies portray women, sex, and race) but I haven’t ever made a concerted effort to actually watch the series. Most people my age seem to discover the movies through their parents’ love for them, but my mother was never interested in Bond and so neither was I.
Even still, Bond’s hard to avoid completely and I’ve seen a few of his movies here and there during my short time on this Earth. I saw The World Is Not Enough as a kid and Goldfinger as a young burgeoning cinephile working my way through a “must-see” classics list, but neither left much of an impression on me. I saw Die Another Day as a teen and laughed at the camp and silliness (I can still hear “Oh look, parachutes for the both of us!” in my head perfectly) and I saw Goldeneye in college a few years later and was pleasantly surprised by how much darker and moodier Brosnan had been. I began to pay attention to the series more with the announcement of Daniel Craig as the new Bond but my track record with the movies was still spotty going forward. I saw Casino Royale when it came out because of all the praise and loved it. I skipped Quantum of Solace because of all the hate. I hated Skyfall despite all the praise, and I skipped Spectre because of all my hate for Skyfall. And that’s it for me and James Bond. Out of the 24 canonical movies in the series (does canon apply to Bond?), I’ve seen 6 and really only remember the Craig ones. I’ve never seen any other Connery movies and I’ve never seen Lazenby, Moore, or Dalton in the role.
I think part of me has always been somewhat put-off by the hypermasculinity and overt misogyny that the character is associated with. I understand that the character was invented in an era when Bond’s misogyny would have been seen by men as “cool,” but watching 24 movies starring a guy like that never appealed to me. But I’m a movie geek at heart and so, to fill in this gap in my movie-watching history, I decided that one of my New Year’s resolutions would be to watch every single James Bond movie before the end of 2017.
Starting this week with Dr. No, I’ll be watching one James Bond movie every two weeks and posting my thoughts about them here. By the end of the year, I hope to 1) have filled in one of the biggest, glaring holes in my film knowledge, 2) properly contextualize how one of the most important and influential film series has portrayed women, sex, and race, 3) come to a better understanding of who Bond was, is, and could be in the future, and 4), hopefully, enjoy some dope-ass spy movies.