This 23rd film premiere coinciding (not accidentally, we are all certain) with the anniversary of the release of Dr. No and 50 years of Bond glory, is really bringing Bond to the masses.
1. Royal Approval
Like the Queen’s Bond tribute wasn’t enough during the Olympics, the biggest news in this arena is the announcement that Prince Charles and Camilla will be attending the October 23rd Skyfall premiere–and the screening will (fittingly) benefit Charles’ chosen charities: those that support members of the three intelligence agencies – the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), the Security Service (MI5) and GCHQ. How cool is that? Seriously. A franchise that has been glorifying an undoubtedly hard, tragic, and far less glamorous lifestyle for 50 years is going to give back–yes, just a tiny amount–to the families and people who have served.
2. Global Holiday
I told you about Global James Bond Day. Everyone in the world will celebrate the birth of the film franchise and what it’s done for cinema. And this isn’t just some namesake event: “Worldwide events celebrating Bond’s golden anniversary include a global online and live charity auction event organised by Christie’s in London, a global survey to discover the favourite Bond film country by country, a film retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, a Music of Bond night in Los Angeles hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and Designing 007: 50 Years of James Bond Style opens at TIFF in Toronto.” Hell yes.
3. A View to a Thrill
Part of a yearlong celebration of Bond, the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu (England) has a special exhibit open to the public: Bond in Motion, which features 50 different vehicles from Bond films. Staring at that 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III three feet in front of you brings Auric Goldfinger that much closer to everyday Bond fans.
4. Favorites from the Fans
The interwebs are letting Bond-obsessed fans, like me, have our say, too. Which is not only fun, but also pretty great, since we seem to think we know everything and have the best opinions. In conjunction with its Facbeook page (James Bond 007), 007.com is letting fans vote for the Best Bond Movie Ever. Visiting the tab on their page will display 22 film posters that link to video clips and info for each film (a great way to recap if you aren’t trying to watch all the films before the Nov 9 US premier, like me) and let you select which film you think is the best of Bond. They are also posting “Fans Favourite Bond Moments: Between now and the release of SKYFALL we’ll be posting one of your favourite Bond moments every day, with commentary from you, Bond’s biggest fans.” A while back they asked us followers of James Bond 007 to tell them our favorite movie moment. Now, each day they release a clip and commentary from some of the people who wrote in about it. What fun! I’d certainly love to see my favorite clip up there–I suggested Q’s last briefing in The World is Not Enough.
5. Major Media
Because the 50th is garnering such attention, we’ve also seen major American media outlets pickup on the history and premiere. Sure, Bond’s style frequently makes it into men’s magazines, but I don’t think I’ve seen this much heat on the full franchise in quite some time. If you want to know the history behind Bond–and I mean, a whole lot of history, from the life of Fleming, Saltzman, and Broccoli to the upbringing of Connery–check out “The Birth of Bond” by David Kamp in Vanity Fair. It’s incredibly interesting and filled with a lot of fun facts–Roger Moore was supposed to be the first Bond! Fleming didn’t like Connery! There are also connections drawn between Bond and Scooby-Doo and Don Draper, but you’ll just have to read to find out how. Vanity Fair has also recently released staff picks for the best of Bond and a slideshow of images from the franchise–many of which show behind-the-scenes takes with the people not on screen, like Young, Saltzman, and Broccoli. You can also pick up the LIFE special edition (I snagged it yesterday) which has a photo of Connery and Fleming that I just adore.
6. Going MainstreamFinally, in one week, all 22 films will be released on blu-ray. Now, I bought the last big box release in college–pre-Craig–so I don’t think I’ll be jumping all over this. But anyone with a blu-ray player (again, not me) should be eating this up. I hope many moms and dads will pass on the “Oh, James!” love to their kids the way my dad did with me.
Although I don’t actually recall what the hype was like with Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace (sorry, I was in college, and excessive sorority life may have dimmed my memories–except the one where I wanted to give up Bond forever at the midnight showing of QoS), I do think that it was nothing compared to this. I am glad, for one, because I think QoS almost ruined Bond–I still don’t own the movie–but also because I hear that some folks gave up after The World is Not Enough (fucking Denise Richards), and that there are some, God forbid, who don’t know anything about what came before GoldenEye. Let them eat cake, or drink vodka martinis, and get educated!
I guess here would be a good place to tell you that this really is a Bond for the people–even the poor, common American like myself. Not only will I be dressing like leading ladies to celebrate, and sending James Bond postcards for GJBD, in late October I will be traveling to London. My tickets are already booked for Bond in Motion, and I have more than one free afternoon available to see Skyfall in theaters. I’ll be arriving home just in time for the midnight US premiere, which I wouldn’t miss for the world–jet lag be damned.
After all, you only live twice.