James Bond fans are a serious lot, and the online discussions of the best movies, actors and chase scenes from the films get pretty intense. Quite honestly, I'm afraid to offer my opinions on any of those subjects. But I can with complete certainty name the worst people, places and things from the Bond films. With "Quantum of Solace," the 22nd Bond film (or 23rd, depending on how you classify "Never Say Never Again"), coming out this weekend, here are some of the most colossal blunders in the history of the franchise.
WORST BOND GIRL
Christmas Jones ("The World Is Not Enough")
Whether it was the director, producers, studio or casting director, whoever is responsible for hiring Denise Richards to play a nuclear physicist in this 1999 film needed to be fired. As anyone who has watched her reality show can attest, Richards would have a hard time balancing a checkbook or completing the Jumble, much less being entrusted by our government to dismantle rogue nuclear warheads.
WORST BOND GADGET
The Jet Ski ("The Spy Who Loved Me")
When you look at old James Bond films, the cars, women and most of the action scenes still look great. But the gadgets are horribly dated. In one Bond film, his car phone (with a cord, of course) is supposed to elicit oohs and ahs. In another, he pulls out a fax machine that's the size of a large microwave. But the boxy, oversize Jet Ski in "The Spy Who Loved Me" looks the most ridiculous. In 1977, when no one had seen one, it was a pretty awesome toy. In 2008, it looks as if Roger Moore is riding on an armoire.
WORST BOND OPENING-CREDITS SONG
"For Your Eyes Only"
Even some of the worst Bond movies have been blessed with great songs. "A View to a Kill" the movie was pretty awful, but the Duran Duran song by the same title was the best thing the band did since the "Rio" album. Even A-ha and Sheryl Crow pulled off passable Bond opening-credits music. Sheena Easton's "For Your Eyes Only" was one of the bigger Bond-theme hits, but still a truly horrible song. The only thing worse than the sappy tune was the New Age lyrics. Sample lyric: "Maybe I'm an open book because I know you're mine/ But you won't need to read between the lines."
WORST JAMES BOND
Timothy Dalton ("The Living Daylights," "Licence to Kill")
Dalton may be the most accomplished pure actor of the six who played Bond. He's certainly suave enough, and his films weren't the worst of the lot. But he never pulled off the character, and even without his mustache, he looked more like a fallen porn star than an international spy. He also delivered the iconic "Bond ... James Bond" line as if he were bored, or maybe stoned. He would have made a better villain.
WORST BOND VILLIAN
Elliot Carver ("Tomorrow Never Dies")
Even Jonathan Winters would have been a scarier choice than Jonathan Pryce, who plays Elliot Carver, a broadcast mogul who wants to start World War III and reap the profits in this 1997 Pierce Brosnan Bond film. First of all, there are no profits in media anything right now, so he'd be better off cornering the international beet market. And his gray hair and button-up black jacket make Carver look as if Ralph Nader raided Neo's wardrobe from "The Matrix."
WORST BOND FILM
One reason why "Casino Royale" was so refreshing was its return to the classic look for this series. In the beginning, Bond and his movies avoided influence from passing trends. But then a little movie called "Star Wars" came out, and Bond took off into space. There were no Wookiees, but man-giant Richard Kiel returned as Jaws, there was a space station that looked more high-tech than the Death Star and the bad guy's space shuttle fired really cool lasers. Pyew, pyew! The film is based on an Ian Fleming novel that had nothing to do with outer space.
WORST BOND HENCHMAN
Nick Nack ("The Man With the Golden Gun")
God bless Herve Villechaize. He may have been 3 feet 11 inches tall, but he was a Hollywood giant. He was great on "Fantasy Island" and that cameo on "Diff'rent Strokes." Still, he had no place playing a bad guy in a Bond film, even one of the bad Roger Moore ones. His battle with Bond at the end of this 1974 film - which ends with the spy locking him in a straw basket - was one of the most cringe-worthy moments in the series.