Netflix Bond, Lack of Bond

Alright Netflix – Hulu skunked you on the James Bond series but maybe you can redeem yourself with some good movies featuring the stars of Bond.

Sean Connery will always be my Bond. I first saw him as a wee tyke in Diamonds are Forever, one of my first movie memories. Growing up I loved catching the expurgated versions on network television. When VCRs came around, you can imagine how ecstatic I was.

The Longest Day

Connery has never been the most prolific of actors but he has 93 imdb credits to his name, including such gems as The Man who Would be King, The Rock, Marnie, The Hill, The Molly Maguires, and my favorite Robin and Marian. Netflix has exactly three Connery titles: The Longest Day (pre-Bond), Playing by Heart, and the animated feature Guardian of the Highlands. Poor showing Netflix.

The Wild Geese

Ignoring the abortive Lazenby attempt, Roger Moore took over the mantle with Live and Let Die. Moore too has 93 imdb credits but not nearly as many gems. Netflix has but a single Moore title. Thankfully it is probably his best non-Bond effort: the mercenary saga, The Wild Geese with Richard Burton and Richard Harris.

Hot Fuzz

After Moore retired the 00 designation, Timothy Dalton attempted to bring back Bond’s edge. He has 67 imdb credits, including the delightful Penny Dreadful series. Netflix has Hot Fuzz (hysterically funny) and Disney’s Secret of the Wings.

Not well played at all, Netflix. Just counting Hulu’s Bond movies, they beat you on these three actors.

James Bond Week – Hulu

Hulu of course has nowhere near the depth or breadth of the movies available on Netflix. However someone in their programming and procurement office is pretty savvy.

Hulu

At the beginning of the month, just in time for Spectre, Hulu acquired the exclusive rights for a slew of Bond films. Connery is well-represented, with Goldfinger, From Russia With Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, and Diamonds are Forever – even the non-canon Never Say Never Again. Only his first, Dr. No, is not available. Goldfinger and From Russia With Love are justifiable classics. The others are worth watching just for Connery though Never Say Never Again is a very lazy remake of Thunderball.

From Russia With Love

All seven Bond entries from the Moore tongue-in-cheek era are here: The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View to a Kill, Moonraker, The Man with the Golden Gun, and Live and Let Die. Both Dalton’s The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill are available. Heck, they even have George Lazenby’s single outing as Bond, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. That one is worth watching for the absolutely radiant Diana Rigg.

The more recent Brosnan and Craig entries are not on Hulu but 16 movies of the franchise is 16 more than Netflix or Amazon Prime have.

Mockingjay Double

Unfortunately I will be missing the Mockingjay double feature but both Hulu and Amazon Prime have The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One streaming in time for the theatrical premiere of Mockingjay Part Two. Netflix has….umm…the not really a satire Starving Games so good luck with that.

No Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Buy!

I love going to the movies (duh!) but it’s expensive. I try to finesse every FREE ticket offer and discount to keep my costs down and allow me to attend more often.

Spectre

Best Buy currently has an endcap of single James Bond titles for $7.50 each. Each one contains not only a Blu-Ray but also a digital HD copy AND $7 movie money towards Spectre.

The $7 Spectre coupons are also on many of the Bond films at Target. Many Targets also have cheap Bond Collections with digital HD copies (but no Spectre coupons).

I got the Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, and Roger Moore collections from Target, along with Quantum of Solace which had a Spectre ticket. I bought The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill, each with Spectre tickets from Best Buy.

So now I have three tickets for Spectre and all of the canon Bond films on digital HD/UV/Vudu except for George Lazenby’s single turn as Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Wal-Mart and Best Buy (and likely Target as well) have Peanuts movie cash on various children’s features (the Ice Age series, the Garfields, Penguins of Madagascar, Epic, etc) as well as on some DVDs of Peanuts specials.

Fleming, Ian Fleming

I just used that title so that I could highlight the fact that Ian Fleming not only wrote the James Bond novels but was also responsible for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Netflix has recently put the following on instant:

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) – Rated G

“Dick Van Dyke stars as quirky inventor Caractacus Potts, whose magical flying car transports his family and lovely lady friend to Vulgaria, a kingdom strangely devoid of children, ruled by the evil Baron Bomburst.”

From Russia with Love

Sean Connery as James Bond

Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, Diamonds are Forever, Never Say Never Again (aka Thunderball 2: Electric Boogaloo)

Non-Bond recommendation: Well I guess you can’t beat the role he won an Oscar for: The Untouchables.

George Lazenby as James Bond

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Non-Bond recommendation: Umm, well, that’s all he did really. Give On Her Majesty’s Secret Service a whirl and try to stay awake.

Live and Let Die

Roger Moore as James Bond

Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View to a Kill

Non-Bond recommendation: The Wild Geese

The Living Daylights

Timothy Dalton as James Bond

The Living Daylights, Licence to Kill

Non-Bond recommendation: Mary, Queen of Scots

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond

Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough

Non-Bond recommendation: The Long Good Friday

Daniel Craig as James Bond

Okay, these aren’t available but Craig is pretty entertaining in Archangel.

My Name is Moore, Roger Moore

While the Connery Bond selection was disappointing (initially – then they added the three best ones), the Moore one is heartening. My two favorite Roger Moore – James Bond films are available on instant Netflix (Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun) as well as The Spy who Loved Me, Moonraker, Octopussy, For Your Eyes Only and A View to a Kill.

Live and Let Die (1973) – Rated PG

Roger Moore steps in as the suave, sophisticated Agent 007 in this eighth Bond installment. Bonds investigation of the murders of three fellow agents in New York soon puts him on the trail of Mr. Big (Yaphet Kotto), a Harlem crime boss plotting a globally threatening scheme involving tons of self-produced heroin. Jane Seymour plays Mr. Big’s Tarot card reader, the beautiful Solitaire, whose loyalties are quickly cultivated by the charming Bond.

Live and Let Die is the first and easily the best of the Roger Moore Bonds. The story is a bit problematic as the hero and main damsel in distress are white Anglo-Saxons and the villains are ummm well not so much but strangely I didn’t find that offensive so much as silly – “Watch as a white man infiltrates Harlem!” and it works as an adjunct to the then current Blaxploitation era.

If you can get past that then there is quite a bit of fun to be had here. The villains are fun (particularly Yaphet Kotto and Geoffrey Holder) and, frankly, more interesting than Bond. Our main damsel is played by a gorgeous 22-year-old Jane Seymour. The locations are interesting as are the situations – basically the operative word for this movie is fun.

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) – Rated PG

Francisco Scaramanga (Christopher Lee), the world’s deadliest assassin, has set his sights set on 007 (Roger Moore). James Bond has a license to kill, but Scaramanga isn’t playing by anyone’s rules as the cat-and-mouse game of death takes the two from the Far East to Scaramanga’s island lair.

First let me state that yes I understand that this is not a good movie. Yes Herve Villechaize is tremendously annoying. Yes the martial arts subplot is quaint and lamely attempting to cash in on the then-popular Bruce Lee craze. Yes J.W. Pepper (from Live and Let Die) makes a very unwelcome appearance here. Still with all that I have a huge soft spot for Christopher Lee as Scaramanga, Britt Ekland is quite cute and Roger Moore is still a little charming.

The Spy who Loved Me (1977) – Rated PG

This one is pretty good and is better than The Man with the Golden Gun though I like it less.

Moonraker (1979) – Rated PG

I really like the opening gag of having Bond jump out of a plane without a parachute to steal someone else’s in mid-air. After that though the rest of the film flips back and forth between aping the success of The Spy who Loved Me (even to the extent of having Richard Kiel return as Jaws), amping up the gadgetry and playing Bond for cheap laughs.

For Your Eyes Only (1981) – Rated PG

Taking a few pointers from the failures of Moonraker, Bond has almost no gadgets in this film and the one-liners are toned way down. Not only that but Bond encounters a woman who is quite willing to sleep with him and he turns her down.

Octopussy (1983) – Rated PG

See Moonraker above.

A View to a Kill (1985) – Rated PG

How can you go wrong with Christopher Walken as a villain? Well let us just say they did – after this they attempted to reboot the franchise with Timothy Dalton as Bond.