17 November 2012

Finishing Up John Gardner’s Bond: COLD (a.k.a. Cold Fall)

COLD (1996)
By John Gardner

Four years ago this month, a James Bond film came out in theaters, Barack Obama won the presidential election, and I reviewed the second-to-last of John Gardner’s James Bond novels, SeaFire. In fact, all that happened in the space of one week. This month, a James Bond film came out in theaters, Barack Obama won the presidential election, and so I have to complete the cycle and review the last James Bond novel from John Gardner, COLD. (The title is an acronym; I am not shouting at you.)

This has been a long journey. When I reviewed SeaFire, I expected to finish up the Gardner series within a few months. But then I just couldn’t make myself do it. I read my first Gardner novel back in eighth grade, the mid-1980s, and it has taken this long for me to finish them all. The completist drive within me insists seeing this through to the end—and that means I may have to finish the Raymond Benson 007 novels as well. At the current rate, I’ll be through those in twenty years, and probably have re-read all of Fleming’s books three times over, and Charlie Higson’s “Young Bond” novels. (Which completely embarrass Gardner and Benson, by the way.)

08 November 2012

Ranking the James Bond Teaser Sequences

Tomorrow is the premiere of Skyfall in the U.S. I have my ticket, I am ready to go… and in the waiting period I wish to stop and reflect on the Bonds of the past and ask the most important question: “Is that opening scene thingy any good?”

The “Teaser” or “Pre-Credits Sequence” is a 007 tradition since From Russia with Love, and quickly evolved into their own mini-movie. The best of them combine action and mood and give the viewer the sense of meeting James Bond for the first time, every time. Here is my rundown on all the teasers from the films, rated on a scale from “000” to “007.” I think you know which ranking is the high one.