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October 8, 2012: "50 Years of Bondage by the Numbers (Pt 1)" 
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Post October 8, 2012: "50 Years of Bondage by the Numbers (Pt 1)"
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Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:50 pm
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Post Re: October 8, 2012: "50 Years of Bondage by the Numbers (Pt 1)"
James Berardinelli wrote:


I remember you once responding to a post on the Dark Knight Rises forum about planning on re-watching all 22 Bond films prior to Skyfall. How do you exactly plan on going about doing this? I've only seen a handful of 007 movies, but I want to watch all of them before going to see Bond 23 on opening day. I was thinking about buying the complete Blu-ray collection, seeing as I have no other way of accessing the films. (Netflix takes too long, and even with the eight-film plan, I still wouldn't be able to get through all of them in time.) Would you recommend buying the complete set (I would simply sell all of the films in the collection that I dislike or simply hate.), and how are you going to watch all of the movies from the beginning?


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Post Re: October 8, 2012: "50 Years of Bondage by the Numbers (Pt 1)"
I think JB's analysis of Bond's longevity is spot-on. In many ways, the reason the character has survived for so long is that he's so simply defined. There are a few basic elements that need to be in place in order for him to be recognized as James Bond--a framework, in other words. Onto that framework, the style and taste of the times can be applied. That's the skin.

I think this is also the reason why different generations have "their" Bond. My dad got me into Bond. His first Bond movie was Goldfinger (on TV, I think, or maybe a re-release--he's not that old), but the movies he really internalized were from the early Roger Moore era. Not great movies, but he likes them anyway. My first Bond movie was GoldenEye, which I'll always have a soft spot for, although I readily recognize that the early Connery films are the gold standard.

There is a similarly long-running adventure character to whom the same thing applies. Batman has been reimagined many different ways over the years, often to the point where someone raised on one version of the character can't stand the versions that seem to contradict it. Sit the kids today down with the Adam West Batman and their faces will quickly be in their palms. They might not realize that when Frank Miller's landmark comic series The Dark Knight was released in the 1980s, fans of the 1960s Batman had no idea what to make of it. Many rejected it, even though it was the brooding, violent version of the character that today's fans would hold up as the "definitive" interpretation. We'll see what Batman is like in another 10 or 20 years.

Rich kid. Parents killed. Grows up to fight crime with technology, wits, and fists. That's Batman in a nutshell. Same goes for Bond and his strong drinks, fast women, and dedication to Her Majesty's Secret Service. Everything else is negotiable.

---

I wonder if Lazenby would have been better received if he had been encouraged to put his own spin on the character a la Roger Moore instead of impersonating the Connery interpretation. That's my objection to him--not that he's stiff, but that he's imitative. They so clearly wanted Connery for that movie, and the result is like going to see a tribute to your favorite band instead of the real deal. They made Lazenby into a Connery lookalike, right down to the clothes and haircut.

---

Anyway, a great (half) installment of ReelThoughts. One thing I always appreciated about ReelViews was the full catalog of 007 reviews, which is the sort of specialized collection that a lot of critics don't have.

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Post Re: October 8, 2012: "50 Years of Bondage by the Numbers (Pt 1)"
I enjoyed this reel thought very much as a huge Bond fan! I noticed that you have reviewed all Bond films so I also had a peek in the ones that you mentioned in part 1 and it was interesting indeed. I have seen all the films more than once as I have all of them in my personal collection a mix of DVDs and blu rays and my favourites are:

Bond: Connery
Bond Villain: Goldfinger
Villain henchman : Oddjob
Gadget: tricked out Aston Martin car (Goldfinger)
Music: Goldfinger
Plot : Goldfinger
Bond line: a tie between Discipline 007 discipline! (Goldfinger) and Bond, James Bond (Dr No)
Villain line : No Mr Bond I expect you to die - Goldfinger in reply to Bond's comment: Do you expect me to talk?
Bond Girl: Pussy Galore

Do I have to write what is my favourite Bond's movie? lol

Cheers

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Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:15 pm
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Post Re: October 8, 2012: "50 Years of Bondage by the Numbers (Pt 1)"
I just checked Roger Ebert site to read his review of "From Rusia with Love" and he has not reviewed, at least I could not find it. Ebert has "Goldfinger" as one of his great movies thou. I then went to Rotten Tomatoes and FRWL does not appear either lol which makes think that the compliment of Ken to James Berardinelli as one of the few critics in reviewing the whole James Bond series is quite true. I Liked all the first 4 entries of James Bond but Goldfinger is my very favourite even FRWL is the favourite of the two JBs (Bond/Connery and Berardinelli) ;-)
Cheers

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Post Re: October 8, 2012: "50 Years of Bondage by the Numbers (Pt 1)"
50 years. What a fantastic series of movies!! There is nothing like it. I own every movie and way too many books on Bond and Fleming.

Bond has the unique ability to evolve and act as a mirror to the realities of that day. I can imagine a college thesis on Bond's evolution and continuities.
It's particularly interesting to look at the Moore years in context of society at that time. Generally we regard them as camp or crap, but audiences were perhaps "needing" that kind of Bond as an escape from the post Vietnam and recession period of the 70's and into the 80's.
The clothes, oh man, the clothes... Blue leisure suits that Cousin Eddy would pick up happily as a 'quality item'. If nothing else, we can learn from these mistakes that Bond James Bond wears or should wear a black tuxedo and not try to fit into the fashions of the day.

Evolution of villains... Damn. Just a few:
Goldeneye-post breakup of Soviet Union villains
License to Kill - drug dealer villains (right around time of Miami Vice series, correct?)
Moonraker -space race
View to a Kill - Boom of Silicon Valley, real estate villains.
Thunderball - there's got to be a way to tie this to the then emerging popularity of Jacque Cousteau.
Goldfinger - during the debates about eliminating the gold standard.

Perhaps the least successful ones were the ones that most poorly reflected the worries of the day? I don't know.

To peel open time magazines of the day and look at Bond in context of history is really looking at ourselves and our escapism of choice, which really doesn't escape much at all. This is a big reason why Bond is so durable and can be hewn to fit his era.

For another clever Fleming work, check out Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The gadgets, the clever names ("Truly Scrumptious", "Caractacus Potts") the villains, henchmen, hell, even Gert Frobe is in there with Desmond Llewelyn. My kids and I love this movie and it's music.

(Sorry for the above verbal diarrhea. Big day today. Busy...)

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Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:24 pm
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Post Re: October 8, 2012: "50 Years of Bondage by the Numbers (Pt 1)"
Sean wrote:
James Berardinelli wrote:


I remember you once responding to a post on the Dark Knight Rises forum about planning on re-watching all 22 Bond films prior to Skyfall. How do you exactly plan on going about doing this? I've only seen a handful of 007 movies, but I want to watch all of them before going to see Bond 23 on opening day. I was thinking about buying the complete Blu-ray collection, seeing as I have no other way of accessing the films. (Netflix takes too long, and even with the eight-film plan, I still wouldn't be able to get through all of them in time.) Would you recommend buying the complete set (I would simply sell all of the films in the collection that I dislike or simply hate.), and how are you going to watch all of the movies from the beginning?


I'm in the process of re-watching them now, at a clip of 2-3 per week. I bought the DVD boxed sets when they came out about 10 years ago, so that's what I'm using. They look good enough that I feel no need to upgrade to Blu-Ray (although I have the two Craig films in that medium).

As for how I'd recommend you watching them... It's a matter of finances, but if you're going to buy, I'd go with the cheaper DVDs at least for the Connery/Lazenby, Moore, and Dalton films. HD starts to make more sense with the Brosnan and especially Craig movies. Your mileage may vary.

Of course, if you've got the money, nothing wrong with buying the Bond 50 set, but I think it's overpriced.


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Post Re: October 8, 2012: "50 Years of Bondage by the Numbers (Pt 1)"
unwindfilms wrote:
I just checked Roger Ebert site to read his review of "From Rusia with Love" and he has not reviewed, at least I could not find it. Ebert has "Goldfinger" as one of his great movies thou. I then went to Rotten Tomatoes and FRWL does not appear either lol which makes think that the compliment of Ken to James Berardinelli as one of the few critics in reviewing the whole James Bond series is quite true. I Liked all the first 4 entries of James Bond but Goldfinger is my very favourite even FRWL is the favourite of the two JBs (Bond/Connery and Berardinelli) ;-)
Cheers


I believe GOLDFINGER is generally regarded as the best Bond movie, at least by those who are familiar with the entire series. For me, it's #3 (behind FROM RUSSIA and ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE). In many ways, I think OHMSS is the best Bond, but I have problems with Lazenby. Maybe if he had been in a few more movies, he would have become more familiar, but he sticks out in OHMSS, and not in a good way.


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Post Re: October 8, 2012: "50 Years of Bondage by the Numbers (Pt 1)"
James Berardinelli wrote:
unwindfilms wrote:
I just checked Roger Ebert site to read his review of "From Rusia with Love" and he has not reviewed, at least I could not find it. Ebert has "Goldfinger" as one of his great movies thou. I then went to Rotten Tomatoes and FRWL does not appear either lol which makes think that the compliment of Ken to James Berardinelli as one of the few critics in reviewing the whole James Bond series is quite true. I Liked all the first 4 entries of James Bond but Goldfinger is my very favourite even FRWL is the favourite of the two JBs (Bond/Connery and Berardinelli) ;-)
Cheers


I believe GOLDFINGER is generally regarded as the best Bond movie, at least by those who are familiar with the entire series. For me, it's #3 (behind FROM RUSSIA and ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE). In many ways, I think OHMSS is the best Bond, but I have problems with Lazenby. Maybe if he had been in a few more movies, he would have become more familiar, but he sticks out in OHMSS, and not in a good way.

In OHMSS, it was more about Diana Rigg as the one Bond girl who wasn't a bimbo, at least for the time (one could make an argument for Olga Kurylenko's character in Quantum of Solace since she holds a distinction of being one of the women in the Bond films who doesn't leap into bed with the eponymous protagonist). I appreciate the earlier Connery films now because of how closely they held to the original Fleming novels compared to later films. The most cringe-worthy adaptations of the Fleming books for me were Moonraker (even among Bond girls, Lois Chiles cannot act her way out of a paper bag if she was given neon-lit instructions) and The Spy Who Loved Me (I do believe that this is the one story that Fleming forbade to be made into film, leading to the loosely-based [as in, just the name] abortion that spewed into theaters).

JB, if you're watching the Bond films in order of release, then I hold sympathy for you given how bad it gets later...

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Post Re: October 8, 2012: "50 Years of Bondage by the Numbers (Pt 1)"
Where is all the Roger Moore hate coming from? The first Bond I saw was The Spy Who Loved Me and for me Roger Moore was Bond.He does not have the menace of Daniel Craig or rakishness of Connery but his movies were fun to watch and he never took the part too seriously. Unlike Timothy Dalton or Pierce Bronson who are kind of forgettable as Bond just like their movies. It is testament to the character's appeal that Bond survived their boring iterations more so than Roger Moore's take. Even though Daniel Craig brings the most believable Bond in the series he has probably the best with Casino Royale and the single worst movie in the franchise with Quantum of Solace. Moore's movies at least had some fun elements if they were less than perfect but Quantum had nothing going for it. No real villain,no gadgets,no girls and no story elements identifiable Bond. It was the first time I had been bored in the series and it was if the film makers had never seen a Bond movie in their life.After walking out of Quantum and watching a lady berating her husband for making her watch that and his movie picking privileges were over I thought that would never happen in a Roger Moore movie.


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Post Re: October 8, 2012: "50 Years of Bondage by the Numbers (Pt 1)"
oakenshield32 wrote:
Where is all the Roger Moore hate coming from? The first Bond I saw was The Spy Who Loved Me and for me Roger Moore was Bond.He does not have the menace of Daniel Craig or rakishness of Connery but his movies were fun to watch and he never took the part too seriously. Unlike Timothy Dalton or Pierce Bronson who are kind of forgettable as Bond just like their movies. It is testament to the character's appeal that Bond survived their boring iterations more so than Roger Moore's take. Even though Daniel Craig brings the most believable Bond in the series he has probably the best with Casino Royale and the single worst movie in the franchise with Quantum of Solace. Moore's movies at least had some fun elements if they were less than perfect but Quantum had nothing going for it. No real villain,no gadgets,no girls and no story elements identifiable Bond. It was the first time I had been bored in the series and it was if the film makers had never seen a Bond movie in their life.After walking out of Quantum and watching a lady berating her husband for making her watch that and his movie picking privileges were over I thought that would never happen in a Roger Moore movie.


That woman obviously never watched OCTOPUSSY. Or THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS.

As for Roger Moore in general, he started weakly and ended weakly. But I enjoy SPY and FOR YOUR EYES ONLY and even MOONRAKER, despite its numerous flaws. And it's not really Moore so much as the writing. With Connery, they were at least attempting to adapt the Fleming stories. By Moore, they were using titles, names, and cherry-picking plot elements, but the scripts were largely stitched together and often made little sense.


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Post Re: October 8, 2012: "50 Years of Bondage by the Numbers (Pt 1)"
oakenshield32 wrote:
Where is all the Roger Moore hate coming from? The first Bond I saw was The Spy Who Loved Me and for me Roger Moore was Bond.He does not have the menace of Daniel Craig or rakishness of Connery but his movies were fun to watch and he never took the part too seriously. Unlike Timothy Dalton or Pierce Bronson who are kind of forgettable as Bond just like their movies. It is testament to the character's appeal that Bond survived their boring iterations more so than Roger Moore's take. Even though Daniel Craig brings the most believable Bond in the series he has probably the best with Casino Royale and the single worst movie in the franchise with Quantum of Solace. Moore's movies at least had some fun elements if they were less than perfect but Quantum had nothing going for it. No real villain,no gadgets,no girls and no story elements identifiable Bond. It was the first time I had been bored in the series and it was if the film makers had never seen a Bond movie in their life.After walking out of Quantum and watching a lady berating her husband for making her watch that and his movie picking privileges were over I thought that would never happen in a Roger Moore movie.



Like I said before, I came into the Bond Series just as the Moore era was ending and the short Dalton one was beginning. That might be why I consider Dalton to be underrated. His Bond was a human one who could be truly dangerous. I'd rank him lower than Connery or Craig. But ahead of Moore, Brosnan and Lazenby.

Moore was good in The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only and to a slightly lesser extent Live And Let Die. But as was pointed out, the central problem with many of the Moore Bonds was the screenwriting.

James Berardinelli wrote:
And it's not really Moore so much as the writing. With Connery, they were at least attempting to adapt the Fleming stories. By Moore, they were using titles, names, and cherry-picking plot elements, but the scripts were largely stitched together and often made little sense.


Bingo! The creep into cartoon territory began in the Connery era around You Only Live Twice. But it reached a level of ludicrousness in the Moore period. Moonraker's a prime example. Previous efforts had pushed the level of plausibility. But this one could have easily been an Austin Powers spoof with a quick rewrite.

I suspect that part of the reason for the less than warm reception of Dalton had to do with the fact that it may have been too much of a hard turn. After the silliness of the last two Moore efforts, to go into contemporary realism with License to Kill and The Living Daylights may have been too much.

Brosnan started off pretty good with Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies. The World Is Not ENough had its problems. But ti gets points for trying. By Die Another Day, the series was becoming just another generic action movie franchise. The re-boot was necessary and it worked quite well.

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Post Re: October 8, 2012: "50 Years of Bondage by the Numbers (Pt 1)"
Jeff Wilder wrote:
oakenshield32 wrote:
Where is all the Roger Moore hate coming from? The first Bond I saw was The Spy Who Loved Me and for me Roger Moore was Bond.He does not have the menace of Daniel Craig or rakishness of Connery but his movies were fun to watch and he never took the part too seriously. Unlike Timothy Dalton or Pierce Bronson who are kind of forgettable as Bond just like their movies. It is testament to the character's appeal that Bond survived their boring iterations more so than Roger Moore's take. Even though Daniel Craig brings the most believable Bond in the series he has probably the best with Casino Royale and the single worst movie in the franchise with Quantum of Solace. Moore's movies at least had some fun elements if they were less than perfect but Quantum had nothing going for it. No real villain,no gadgets,no girls and no story elements identifiable Bond. It was the first time I had been bored in the series and it was if the film makers had never seen a Bond movie in their life.After walking out of Quantum and watching a lady berating her husband for making her watch that and his movie picking privileges were over I thought that would never happen in a Roger Moore movie.



Like I said before, I came into the Bond Series just as the Moore era was ending and the short Dalton one was beginning. That might be why I consider Dalton to be underrated. His Bond was a human one who could be truly dangerous. I'd rank him lower than Connery or Craig. But ahead of Moore, Brosnan and Lazenby.

Moore was good in The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only and to a slightly lesser extent Live And Let Die. But as was pointed out, the central problem with many of the Moore Bonds was the screenwriting.

James Berardinelli wrote:
And it's not really Moore so much as the writing. With Connery, they were at least attempting to adapt the Fleming stories. By Moore, they were using titles, names, and cherry-picking plot elements, but the scripts were largely stitched together and often made little sense.


Bingo! The creep into cartoon territory began in the Connery era around You Only Live Twice. But it reached a level of ludicrousness in the Moore period. Moonraker's a prime example. Previous efforts had pushed the level of plausibility. But this one could have easily been an Austin Powers spoof with a quick rewrite.

I suspect that part of the reason for the less than warm reception of Dalton had to do with the fact that it may have been too much of a hard turn. After the silliness of the last two Moore efforts, to go into contemporary realism with License to Kill and The Living Daylights may have been too much.

Brosnan started off pretty good with Goldeneye and Tomorrow Never Dies. The World Is Not ENough had its problems. But ti gets points for trying. By Die Another Day, the series was becoming just another generic action movie franchise. The re-boot was necessary and it worked quite well.


After Fleming died just before Goldfinger was screened the producers got more "imaginative" with the book adaptations not always with quality results but always entertaining. Eon production initially did not have the rights of Casino Royale which is the first Bond book Fleming, they acquired it later and with the competition of Jason Bourne in mid 2000's, they adapted it using the style of the Dark Knight/Christopher Nolan (No wonder why he wants to direct a Bond movie lol). I liked Casino Royale as it fitted my mood on those years but by now I would like the debonair/dashing Bond back ;-)

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Post Re: October 8, 2012: "50 Years of Bondage by the Numbers (Pt 1)"
James Berardinelli wrote:
Sean wrote:
James Berardinelli wrote:


I remember you once responding to a post on the Dark Knight Rises forum about planning on re-watching all 22 Bond films prior to Skyfall. How do you exactly plan on going about doing this? I've only seen a handful of 007 movies, but I want to watch all of them before going to see Bond 23 on opening day. I was thinking about buying the complete Blu-ray collection, seeing as I have no other way of accessing the films. (Netflix takes too long, and even with the eight-film plan, I still wouldn't be able to get through all of them in time.) Would you recommend buying the complete set (I would simply sell all of the films in the collection that I dislike or simply hate.), and how are you going to watch all of the movies from the beginning?


I'm in the process of re-watching them now, at a clip of 2-3 per week. I bought the DVD boxed sets when they came out about 10 years ago, so that's what I'm using. They look good enough that I feel no need to upgrade to Blu-Ray (although I have the two Craig films in that medium).

As for how I'd recommend you watching them... It's a matter of finances, but if you're going to buy, I'd go with the cheaper DVDs at least for the Connery/Lazenby, Moore, and Dalton films. HD starts to make more sense with the Brosnan and especially Craig movies. Your mileage may vary.

Of course, if you've got the money, nothing wrong with buying the Bond 50 set, but I think it's overpriced.


I know you don't like Octopussy, Live and Let Die and The Living Daylights since you gave these films 2 stars each. If you don't like any of these films, then why watch them again? Wouldn't you steer clear of the Bond films you don't like and not waste time watching them? Or do you think another viewing may change your mind on them?


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Post Re: October 8, 2012: "50 Years of Bondage by the Numbers (Pt 1)"
Quote:
I liked Casino Royale as it fitted my mood on those years but by now I would like the debonair/dashing Bond back


I totally agree with you that would be great but the problem is that the filmmakers seem to feel that is a dated type of character from another time and generation. I guess their notion is that we should have an edgy,Americanized, UFC/MMA Jimmy Bond that really kicks serious butt. I hope someday that they might do a Mad Men kind of Bond where is it set back in the 60's during the Cold War and they can use those great looking clothes and Eastern European models and actresses. I always like hearing the line "Goodbye Mr Bond" in a Russian accent


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Post Re: October 8, 2012: "50 Years of Bondage by the Numbers (Pt 1)"
oakenshield32 wrote:
Quote:
I liked Casino Royale as it fitted my mood on those years but by now I would like the debonair/dashing Bond back


I totally agree with you that would be great but the problem is that the filmmakers seem to feel that is a dated type of character from another time and generation. I guess their notion is that we should have an edgy,Americanized, UFC/MMA Jimmy Bond that really kicks serious butt. I hope someday that they might do a Mad Men kind of Bond where is it set back in the 60's during the Cold War and they can use those great looking clothes and Eastern European models and actresses. I always like hearing the line "Goodbye Mr Bond" in a Russian accent


Haha The Bond of 60s was the best, bring it on ! :mrgreen:

Getting tired of this Bourne, James Bourne or Bourne again lol

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Post Re: October 8, 2012: "50 Years of Bondage by the Numbers (Pt 1)"
ck100 wrote:
I know you don't like Octopussy, Live and Let Die and The Living Daylights since you gave these films 2 stars each. If you don't like any of these films, then why watch them again? Wouldn't you steer clear of the Bond films you don't like and not waste time watching them? Or do you think another viewing may change your mind on them?


It's a completest kind of thing. My opinion of them hasn't improved, although each time I watch OHMSS, I am a little more impressed, probably because Lazenby is growing on me.

I also didn't like DIE ANOTHER DAY. That one also got **.


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Post Re: October 8, 2012: "50 Years of Bondage by the Numbers (Pt 1)"
James Berardinelli wrote:
ck100 wrote:
I know you don't like Octopussy, Live and Let Die and The Living Daylights since you gave these films 2 stars each. If you don't like any of these films, then why watch them again? Wouldn't you steer clear of the Bond films you don't like and not waste time watching them? Or do you think another viewing may change your mind on them?


It's a completest kind of thing. My opinion of them hasn't improved, although each time I watch OHMSS, I am a little more impressed, probably because Lazenby is growing on me.

I also didn't like DIE ANOTHER DAY. That one also got **.

Die Another Day was the first Bond film I ever saw, so i've got a bit of a soft spot for that one.


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Post Re: October 8, 2012: "50 Years of Bondage by the Numbers (Pt 1)"
Can today's Bond really be that imitative of Bourne if Bourne is essentially a spy character in the Bond archetype?

Who's imitating whom?

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Post Re: October 8, 2012: "50 Years of Bondage by the Numbers (Pt 1)"
Welcome to the forum, Ken. :lol:

Re: Bond influencing Bourne influencing Bond again: you're right... so surely turnabout is fair play in this instance?


Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:16 am
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