So let me get this right: It's CR then QOS, then GE, then DN -(etc)-> SF-> Spectre --(#25, 26, and on and on..), then NSNA?
Watching the Films in Book Order, from a 2015 perspective:
The First 007 adventure, starring Daniel Craig as James Bond and Judi Dench as his boss, M. We start by witnessing the two assassinations that earn Bond his 00 licence, then his going beserk in Madagascar. Apparently38 is too young and reckless an age for an SBS commando to be promoted to this sort of work. I’m looking forward to finding out more about the organization behind Le Chiffre.
Live and Let Die
Roger Moore replaces Craig as Bond, with a much mellower take on the character. Bernard Lee replaces Judi Dench as M, and we are introduced to M’s secretary, Miss Moneypenny (Lois Maxwell). It’s unlikely that Mr. White is working for Mr. Big’s organization, unless the joke is in Mr. White – a white man – working for a black villain? And what was with that hairbrush – why didn’t Bond just text Quarrel?
Ah, Moneypenny mentioned a ‘Q’ in the last film, and now we get to meet him. Who hired this Jaws guy to go after Bond, before Drax hired him, someone from Mr. White’s organization? And who’s this guy in the red pajamas, talking to Col. Scott?
Diamonds are Forever
Sean Connery replaces Roger Moore – couldn’t they have found someone in better shape? I don’t see what all the excitement is about. Don’t know why he’s after this Blofeld fellow either, but he seems to have put paid to him after three attempts. Strange, making such a fuss over one little laser satellite, after all the action on Drax’s 200 m space station.
From Russia with Love
Connery must have hit the gym after seeing the reviews of his first film. Ah, there’s that guy with the red pajamas again – so he works for this SPECTRE organization. Perhaps Mr. White works for SPECTRE too. Looks like Blofeld survived that bashing he took in DAF. Seems quite a comedown, stealing a mechanical coder after all the high-tech goings-on two films earlier. Are Sylvia and Miss Caruso supposed to the same character? She does mention that the last time she saw Bond he left for Jamaica. Who’s this Dr. No that Kronsteen mentions Bond killed? Perhaps he was the guy with the plaid socks at the beginning of CR.
Ah. But how did Kronsteen know in advance? At least now we know what SPECTRE stands for – why didn’t Bond? Why do Sylvia and Bond introduce themselves at the Chemin table, like they've never met? What’s this about Bond using a Beretta for the last ten years? He’d already been using Walther products, including the PPK. The plot concerns one experimental missile on a TV screen? Seems the budgets have shrunk considerably since MR. And what a thing to say to Quarrel! How could they have written such a line in these enlightened times?!
Do they even keep gold in Fort Knox anymore? Very topical, having North Korea backing the villain. Goldfinger doesn’t need to explain what a laser is – we’ve all seen them before.
From A View to a Kill
Roger Moore is back, looking even longer in the tooth than Connery did in his first film. Robert Brown replaces Bernard Lee. So now Walter Gottell – whom we last saw as Morzeny in MR and FRWL – is playing the head of the KGB. Still, why was he talking to Col. Scott in MR? Exciting ski scene – a first for the series!
For Your Eyes Only/Risico
Like Connery, Moore was able to shape up a bit after his previous entry. Whether that was really Blofeld in FRWL becomes moot, as he’s disposed of for good this time. Why have we never heard of this 'Theresa Bond' before now? The ski scene in AVTAK must have been so well received it’s repeated here, only longer.
Quantum of Solace
Finally, Bond goes after Mr. White and the organization responsible for Vesper’s death (Spoiler Alert: it isn’t SPECTRE). Don’t know why he took so long to get to it, but at least they brought Daniel Craig back for this one – it wouldn’t have made sense for Connery or Moore to do the avenging. Judi Dench also returns as M.
The Hildebrand Rarity (filmed as Licence to Kill)
Introducing Timothy Dalton as 007- a good choice after Daniel Craig. However, I question the wisdom of having two dark, gritty revenge tales in a row, this one about avenging Felix Leiter. Strange, too, making Krest a minor character and killing him off halfway into the film. Robert Brown returns as M and Caroline Bliss replaces Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny for one brief appearance.
Connery is back, along with Bernard Lee and Lois Maxwell. SPECTRE also returns, stealing atomic bombs in order to ransom NATO for one hundred million pounds. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just host another poker tournament? And who’s the guy with the cat? Is Blofeld supposed to have survived that chimney drop? And shouldn’t Felix have a limp?
The Spy Who Loved Me
Moore returns, and so does Jaws, gone bad again and working for Stromberg. Even cooler ski scene than in FYEO, made better by keeping it short.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
George Lazenby replaces Moore for this outing, which features endless ski chases. Seriously, two movies in a row? So Blofeld is back, in the guise of Telly Savalas – get used to it. Bond loses his bride in this one; no surprise there, as he'd already lost one wife named Theresa. That 'all the time in the world' epitaph in FYEO proved quite prophetic. I guess we’re in for another gritty revenge story next.
You Only Live Twice
Or not. Seems the only characters Connery’s Bond is interested in getting his hands on in this film are Ling, Aki, Helga and Kissy. I suppose this is what happens when you replace your lead in the middle of a story arc. Blofeld clearly suffered after he “branched off” in the previous film – so much so that he felt it necessary to introduce himself to Bond again. Did they really have to make Donald Pleasance look so much like Dr. Evil? I suppose it will be up to another actor to finish Blofeld off later. Pretty unimpressive spacecraft, after the ones in MR. Still, a fitting ending for Connery’s reign, as he saves the world and floats off with Kissy.
The Man with the Golden Gun
Blofeld will have to wait, I guess. Moore is back again and looks even better than before. The stakes aren’t as high this time, and neither is the budget. What’s all this talk about an ’energy crisis’? We own Iraq now, don’t we? And after Bruce Willis was promised $70 million for a hit in The Jackal, $1m a shot seems like pretty small beer.
Octopussy & The Property of a Lady
Age has caught up with Moore again, but the film is an improvement over the previous entry. I’m assuming Maud Adams is playing a different character. Like with YOLT, Moore’s final appearance in the series ends well, with Bond floating into the sunset with a suitable partner.
The Living Daylights
Timothy Dalton returns, along with Robert Brown and Caroline Bliss (in expanded roles) for the last time, ending his involvement in the arms of Maryam D’Abo. A bit of a jolt after two Moore entries in a row, but this is what kept the series fresh – and confusing.
Don’t know what to make of the rest; perhaps Pierce Brosnan’s four should be lumped in with Never Say Never Again as ‘unofficial’ films, since Ian Fleming didn’t have anything to do with them. Same for Skyfall, although if you were going to include it, it would have to come somewhere after Thunderball, since there’s the Aston Martin. As for SPECTRE, perhaps it should come between DAF and FRWL.
Or, if you really want to mess with your head, try reading the books in film release order.