A James Bond theme song is what initially got me hooked on this franchise, and the openers rely on the theme song. Together, they are a package deal that kicks off each Bond flick.
BEST BOND THEME SONGS
I have to give a little disclaimer in each of these breakdowns. First, a song only makes the list if it’s a title song. So, Octopussy‘s ‘All Time High’ can’t make the cut. Second, the song has to stand as a Bond Song. See, Duran Duran’s ‘A View To A Kill’ was a huge success–the only Bond theme to make No. 1. However, I hear that song and I think 1980s and 1990s music. I don’t think Bond. Third, the song lyrics better relate to the film. Finally, I don’t know anything about music, so I cannot speak intelligently on the matter, but good Bond songs are distinct. They mix a slow and fast pace, properly use instrumental moments, and have strong, clear, and often distinct solo vocals.
1. Diamonds Are Forever (Shirley Bassey)
2. Live And Let Die (Paul McCartney and Wings)
3. Goldfinger (Shirley Bassey)
4. The World is Not Enough (Garbage)
5. GoldenEye (Tina Turner)
6. Thunderball (Tom Jones)
WORST BOND THEME SONGS
1. Another Way to Die (Alicia Keys and Jack White)
2. Licence to Kill (Gladys Knight)
3. Man with the Golden Gun (Lulu)
4. The Living Daylights (a-ha)
5. Moonraker (Shirley Bassey)
6. All Time High (Rita Coolridge)
Another Way to Die from Quantum of Solace is a duet. And it sucks. Just like the movie. Licence to Kill is wholly unforgettable. Even though I literally just watched the opener two hours ago, I still can’t remember it. Man with the Golden Gun rhymes like a bad poem I wrote in second grade. The Living Daylights is just boring. Moonraker and Octopussy‘s All Time High are kind of off–a little slow and a little too much about loving 007.
Shout out: Although it’s not a title theme, Casino Royale‘s ‘You Know My Name’ by Chris Cornell is a great, great song for the introduction of James Bond. Had the opener scene included the merest hint of nudity it certainly would be the best combo.
BEST BOND OPENERS
Again, a disclaimer, or rather more of a foreword to the listings of Bond openers. A Bond opener is not what the film starts with–that is more of a foreword or overture. The Bond opener is the part that comes just after, and includes the theme song and opening credits. Good Bond openers are easy to spot and always include these elements: naked female bodies or at least a graphic form of the naked female body, bright colors and abstract graphics and designs, inversion of foreground and background, movie-theme appropriate elements, guns, and still screen shots. If the opener has parts of the film depicted, they do no take precedence but are merely background. Dr. No pioneered the graphic side of the Bond openers, while From Russia With Love debuted the use of the female form.
1. Die Another Day
2. Diamonds Are forever
3. Live and Let Die
4. The World Is Not Enough
Die Another Day is genius. I like the song, although it’s too techno for Bond. The opener is key to the movie because it shows the torture Bond goes through, which is important to his suspension from MI6. It portrays the female form as fire, ice, and electricity, while showing scenes of Bond’s torture, which take a backseat to the graphics. Diamonds Are Forever is made complete by the fabulously (read: sexually) placed diamonds and a cat throughout the opener. Live and Let Die Faces turn to skulls. Things burn. Shit gets real. The World Is Not Enough does a great job of using movie-relevant details, like phallic oil pumps and liquid female forms made of oil. Goldfinger Wonderful gold bodies with images from the film projected. Thunderball has lots of boob-bouncing from the naked women swimming, and a phallic man with a spear. It works.
WORST BOND OPENERS
1. For Your Eyes Only
2. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
3. A View To A Kill
4. Tomorrow Never Dies
6. The Spy Who Loved Me
For Your Eyes Only Feels like a music video that wants to be a Bond opener. Features Sheena Easton. No other Bond film features the singer in the opener. Not to mention she looks like the evil god-person in Ghostbusters. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Instrumental theme song with images from all the other Bond films. Uh, weird? A View To A Kill Bad laser graphics, neon, more neon, women skiing in fire with more neon. Tomorrow Never Dies Microchips, guns, shattering glass, smoke women, and I feel like I’m in an I-SPY book. Awful. Moonraker uses appropriate theme items, but it just doesn’t work. The Spy Who Loved Me is just too slow. Gymnastics on a gun? Naked women goose-stepping? No thank you.