Friday, 7 November 2008

Top 5 Bond Pre-Title Sequences

As requested then, these are my top 5 pre-title sequences - the opening scenes of most Bond movies that usually fit between the gun barrel sequence and the opening titles. My memory for this sort of stuff is pretty shocking, so I've spent a couple of hours trawling through YouTube to remind myself what sequence goes with what film. For a change I've managed to pick a few films that didn't feature Connery as Bond and were made after 1977.

1. The Spy Who Loved Me (Location: Austrian Alps)
This was, I believe, the first Bond film I saw in the cinema. Roger Moore leaves a "lady friend" behind in a alpine cabin to answer a call to return to HQ. Skies off, with a spectacular mountain backdrop, only to be attacked by a group of Russian agents. Despite some ropey effects (Moore clearly in a studio in front of a blue screen) and a worryingly camp yellow ski suit, it's a spectacular start to the film. Ends with Bond skiing over the edge of a massive cliff, heading into free fall before unfurling a parachute emblazoned with the Union Jack.

2. Goldeneye (Location: Chemical Weapons Facility, USSR)
Brosnan's first movie, and the first Bond film for some six years, gets off to a stunning start with this fantastic sequence. An incredible bungee jump off the top of a dam, Bond uses a grapling hook to reach the bottom, then hooks up with 006 to infiltrate and plant explosives inside a Russian weapons factory. They get caught, 006 is shot and 007 is left to attempt an escape on his own. Despite being heavily outnumbered he manages to get out of the facility, rides a motorbike off a cliff before free falling after a light aircraft. Bond manages to board the plane, overpower the pilot and pull the aircraft out of a seemingly terminal nosedive, before flying to freedom as the factory explodes. Somehow I found all this perfectly acceptable despite my dislike of the Moore era. I'm so fickle.

3. Goldfinger (Location: unknown Latin American country)
A more subtle opening but one that displayed many of the devices that would become traditional in later films. Bond swims up to his target, with what looks like a fake duck stuck to his head. Plants explosives in an enemy base, departs, stepping out of his wetsuit to reveal an immaculate white tuxedo. Plenty of close up opportunities on his Rolex Submariner. He arrives at a local bar for a quick drink, during which the bomb goes boom, Bond nips up stairs to see a "lady friend" who is waiting in the bath. Mid kiss he is attacked from behind, but manages to place the girl in the way. Eventually overpowers his attacker, before electrocuting him in the bath with an electric heater. Departs with a witty one liner "Shocking! Truly Shocking!".

4. The World Is Not Enough (Location: Bilbao & London)
Possibly a little on the long side, this is almost a mini-film in it's own right. It's the London scenes that do it for me. Bond talks with Q (Desmond Llewellyn's last performance as Q before his death) in Thames Bank house before smashing out the back in the Q-boat in pursuit of the same assassin he saw in Spain. The chase ends at the Millennium dome with the assassin attempting an escape in a hot-air balloon before taking her own life when it is clear escape is impossible.

5. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (Location: Lisbon)
Lazenby in a new Aston Martin DBS is overtaken by a mystery female in a Mercury Cougar. He spies her walking down a beach towards the sea about to take her own life. Bond races down to pull her out of the ocean only to be pounced on by a couple of armed thugs. Eventually overcomes them only to see the girl, Teresa Di Vincenzo, driving off in his DBS.

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