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 How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?

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ironpony
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PostSubject: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:46 pm

Basically when having this discussion with other friends who are Bond fans, I am not sure how I would pick a favorite Bond girl and villain?
When it comes to ranking with the women, I could go for who is the best looking and sexiest like Domino Derval, although her character isn't very interesting, beyond looks and sex appeal.
Or I could go for a girl who is not as high in the looks department for me, but has a much better character development like Vesper Lynd, or Tracy.
When it comes to picking villains, I could go for the villain who is the most iconic in looks and performance such as Donald Pleasance's take on Blofeld, or I could go for the villain who is given the best character arc in terms of story, like Renard.
What do you think, or how would you pick?
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FieldsMan
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:49 pm

Welcome to forums! 

Personally, it's combination of character and performance for Bond villains, and character, performance and sex appeal though not necessarily in that order. Using your example of Domino, I confess I'm much more forgiving when it comes to performance because she looks so damn good - possibly the sexiest in the series. 

You've got a good case for Blofeld in that Pleasance's Blofeld is huge figure in pop culture, and depending on my mood I might be more interested in watching that. However, overall I'm more drawn to Savalas' Blofeld for the better writing and character. When I need a laugh Grey's Blofeld is probably the best. And what is the best? It's all subjective. Though there isn't much food to Waltz's Blofeld. 

And there is very little character development to Eva Green's Vesper. 

FWIW, my top five main Bond girls and villains would be something like this:

1. Tracy Bond
2. Elektra King
3. Natalya Simonova
4. Pussy Galore
5. Tatiana Romanova

1. Max Zorin
2. Rosa Klebb
3. Elliot Carver
4. Auric Goldfinger
5. Franz Sanchez
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ironpony
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:10 pm

Thanks for the welcome!

However, does Electra King count as a Bond girl technically though?  I would count her as a villain.  If we are counting all the bad Bond girls as not villains, that would mean the only female villains in the series are Rosa Klebb and Irma Bunt, since they didn't sleep with Bond, but don't the villains that sleep with Bond count as villains still?

And yeah, I suppose Vesper doesn't have the most character development by any means, but I guess what I mean is that she develops Bond as a character a lot, and that is why she would be a contender for me. Judging by your Bond girl list though, it seems you are going for character narrative more than looks though, am I right?
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Erica Ambler
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:14 pm

Hitchcock said, “The more left to the imagination, the more the excitement" and he was right.

Mystery is an essential part of sex appeal. That’s why the women you don’t possess will always be more exciting than those you do. Also, why most marriages fail.

That would make Vesper the best Bond girl in the novels but definitely not in the films. Although Eva Green’s French-Australian accent was undeniably mysterious. Mysteriously bad.
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FieldsMan
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:44 am

ironpony wrote:
Thanks for the welcome!

However, does Electra King count as a Bond girl technically though?  I would count her as a villain.  If we are counting all the bad Bond girls as not villains, that would mean the only female villains in the series are Rosa Klebb and Irma Bunt, since they didn't sleep with Bond, but don't the villains that sleep with Bond count as villains still?

And yeah, I suppose Vesper doesn't have the most character development by any means, but I guess what I mean is that she develops Bond as a character a lot, and that is why she would be a contender for me.  Judging by your Bond girl list though, it seems you are going for character narrative more than looks though, am I right?

I view Elektra as the main Bond girl and the main villain. Renard is her instrument to destruction, complete with the deformity characteristic of the henchman. I'd also consider Klebb to be the main villain of FRWL, and Bunt to be the hench(wo)man, but there's no right or wrong. Some believe Grant is the main villain in FRWL. It doesn't really matter.

Therein lies the major problem with Vesper in that she's made a prominent vehicle for Bond's 'development', which is not only entirely unwarranted, but undermines his character. 

As I said, it's a combination of sex appeal, character and performance and I believe those Bond girls epitomise those categories (except perhaps Daniela Bianchi, but she equips herself well enough to play the honeytrap pawn amongst the major players.
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ironpony
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:31 am

Oh okay. I feel that both Grant and Klebb are both villains and you can pick either is ones favorite.

As for Vesper being a vehicle character, is that really a bad thing? Vehicle characters are useful in fiction, and perhaps even necessary for certain types of plots and stories. I just never had problems with vehicle characters before.
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FieldsMan
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Sat Nov 11, 2017 12:15 pm

Of course there has to be a reason for each character in fiction. Vesper's presence in CR shouldn't have anything to do with creating the Bond we all know and love by dressing him, smoothing out his rough edges (which he shouldn't have if he's a Naval Commander who's had a career in intelligence prior to being promoted to the ELITE section), psychoanalysing him, etc.
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ironpony
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:50 pm

Oh okay. I liked the origin story in how she created him and I think I would pick her as my favorite. But if we are going by looks and pure sex appeal, then maybe Lucia Sciarra or Xenia Onatopp. But Lucia Sciarra was a very brief Bond girl, in a movie that wasn't as much of a favorite of mine. So how do you pick then really?
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:43 pm

ironpony wrote:
So how do you pick then really?

There isn't an objective criteria. It's up to you and your tastes. Though I think you could start by looking a little deeper in CR06 and realising that Vesper isn't a good Bond girl. wink
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:26 pm

Hmm well if Vesper is not a good Bond girl, then who is?  You pick Tracy Bond as your favorite and she would probably be my second choice.  Pussy Galore probably third.  But I'm going by how well I thought the character was represented and not sex appeal much.

What about the best villains?  Is Renard the best based on that he has possibly the most compelling backstory, with the the reverse Stockholm syndrome and falling for his kidnap victim, and thus becoming his downfall?

Or should I go by performance and Donald Pleasance's Blofeld is the best, even though I don't like YOLT as a movie as a whole much?
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:14 am

I don't think you can get better Bond girls than Tracey or Pussy since they're great characters played by two of the sexiest and most talent actresses of that era. Vesper isn't a good Bond girl because the writing is woeful - and to make matters worse they ruined one of Fleming's better characters. And amongst Claudine Auger, Sophie Marceau, Izabella Scorupco and Luciana Palazzi, she seems too girl-next-door for a Bond girl. And too gothic. 

Again it's a matter of personal taste. I like Renard but many don't. And as I said, Elektra's the main villain in my eye but the argument still holds for her - she's got an exceptional backstory bled from a hypothetical Fleming novel of the 90s. Zorin has a positively Flemingesque back story also which I think informs Chris Walken to go full-Walken and it's a joy to watch. On the flip side, we don't know much about Carver's past beyond that anecdote he tells Paris after the station break, and yet I find him to be one of the most compelling villains because of his delicious dialogue and Pryce's charmingly riotous performance as one of Bond's most unhinged adversaries. I don't recall we learn all that much about Klebb's past either, and yet I find her all the more interesting than Le Chiffre, which spends over an hour of the film building up his character before Bond meets him. I guess Ambler's Hitchcock quote rings true for some of the Bond villains also.

Donald Pleasance's gives a slimy performance as Blofeld, but I don't think he delivers the best performance in my eyes. Lotte Lenya, Gert Frobe, Telly Savalas, Christopher Lee, Michael Lonsdale, Christopher Walken, Robert Davi, Sean Bean, Jonathan Pryce, Sophie Marceau and Javier Bardem all give superior performances. 

Side note: I'd love to see a version of Thunderball with Adolfo Celi's real voice. He has such presence and could have been one of the best but the dubbing lets him down. I guess they got lucky with Goldfinger and couldn't repeat the magic twice.
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ironpony
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:33 am

Oh okay.  I agree that Vesper is more girl next door, but I didn't see it as a negative, just different.

Claudine Auger is very goodlooking, but my main complaint, is I felt her character wasn't really given much interesting to do or say, minus the underwater sex sequence.  I agree the other Bond girls are all very good, especially Tracy.

I like Electra a lot too, it's just even though Renard is not the main villain I just like him slightly better as a character per say, but it's very a close call between the two.

I agree all of those villains are good, but one I would add to that list is Robert Shaw and Xenia Onatopp, unless you are not including non-boss villains.

I really didn't like Adolfo Celi though and thought we was one of the weakest villains in the franchise.  He just talks about how he likes fishing and skeet shooting, but he's not too bland or something for my taste. I like Walken as well, but A View to A Kill, I remember being one of the worst movies in the franchise, so that brings him down, one he doesn't have a good movie to be in. But perhaps I need to watch AVTAK again, and I might feel differently about it on another viewing.
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:23 am

Eva Green is plain-looking compared to the other Bond girls I mentioned. That's not a good thing when we're meant to buy that Bond falls head over heels for her.
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:26 am

That's true, she is plain looking.  I'm not even very physically attracted to her myself.  But I was rating based on how she developed Bond's character and not looks.  As for Bond falling for her, I don't mind that Bond falls head over heels for a more plain looking woman.  He was falling for personality traits more so, and love is about a lot more than looks.  I feel for a plain looking girl once, so I bought it myself.

But perhaps it's a matter of taste, cause even though Eva Green is not my type, looks wise, and I am only rating her on character arc in the story, a lot of guys think she's really hot it seems.
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Sun Nov 12, 2017 2:41 pm

I almost forgot what a cockup Eva Green's accent was. "....  and off yeur perfectly foamed arz."
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Sun Nov 12, 2017 3:00 pm

FieldsMan wrote:
Welcome to forums! 

Personally, it's combination of character and performance for Bond villains, and character, performance and sex appeal though not necessarily in that order. Using your example of Domino, I confess I'm much more forgiving when it comes to performance because she looks so damn good - possibly the sexiest in the series. 

You've got a good case for Blofeld in that Pleasance's Blofeld is huge figure in pop culture, and depending on my mood I might be more interested in watching that. However, overall I'm more drawn to Savalas' Blofeld for the better writing and character. When I need a laugh Grey's Blofeld is probably the best. And what is the best? It's all subjective. Though there isn't much food to Waltz's Blofeld. 

And there is very little character development to Eva Green's Vesper. 

FWIW, my top five main Bond girls and villains would be something like this:

1. Tracy Bond
2. Elektra King
3. Natalya Simonova
4. Pussy Galore
5. Tatiana Romanova

1. Max Zorin
2. Rosa Klebb
3. Elliot Carver
4. Auric Goldfinger
5. Franz Sanchez

Some of it has to do with the mood I'm in or the era a person is born in. Most of my favorites are from the 80's, which is when I first started going to the theater to see the films (starting in '83 with Octopussy).

I wouldn't even bother trying to rank them in numerical order, and some show up in more than one category:

My favorites are:
BOND GIRL
Domino Durval
Holly
Natalya
Kara
Elektra
Miranda
Xenia
Severin
Fatima
Jinx

Favorite Villains:
Zorin
Largo TB
Largo NSNA
Kamal Khan
Alec Trevelyan
Elektra
Gustav Graves
Raoul
Brad Whitaker

Favorite Henchman
May Day
Necros
Wint and Kidd
Bambi and Thumper
Baron Samedi
Zao
Fatima Blush
Fiona Volpe
Xenia

Best Supporting Character
M (TWINE)
Sheriff JW Pepper (LALD)
Moneypenny (TLD)
Kamran Shah
General Gogol (OP)
Felix Leiter (TB)

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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Sun Nov 12, 2017 6:59 pm

Cool.

Domino Derval is an interesting pick cause when I first started watching Thunderball, I though, that has got to be the sexiest looking Bond girl of them all. But then her character shows, and she's really a boring character for me, or at least is not given much to do, or not given much to work with I thought.

So it's a tough call for her.
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:48 pm

Good to see more love for the Brosnan era in your listing, Grav. The NSNA love I will never understand. Even Basinger is wasted. 

Top 10 Bond girls for me:
1. Tracy
2. Elektra
3. Fiona
4. Paris
5. Natalya
6. Pussy
7. Tatiana
8. Severine
9. Sylvia
10. Stacey

Main Villains
1. Max Zorin
2. Rosa Klebb
3. Carver
4. Goldfinger
5. Sanchez
6. Elektra
7. Blofeld (Savalas)
8. Trevelyan
9. Drax
10. Scaramanga

Henchmen
1. May Day
2. Xenia Onatopp
3. Red Grant
4. Irma Bunt
5. Oddjob
6. Prof. Dent 
7. Dr. Kaufman
8. General Ouromov
9. Dario
10. Locque
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ironpony
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:52 am

I don't know why the Brosnan era is so hated by so many fans today.  I think the villains and women were improved by then actually, compared to the late Moore era.

I also didn't think that NSNA was not near as bad as everyone said is.  It's not necessarily good, and Basinger perhaps was wasted, but it has some good elements in and it's a mixed bag for me.  But not near as terrible as fans make it out to be. It was actually well received when it came out. I like Brandauer's Largo a lot better than Adolfo Celi's.  And I would say that Fatima Blush is one of the hottest Bond henchwomen, and just as good as Fiona Volpe.
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:14 pm

ironpony wrote:
Cool.

Domino Derval is an interesting pick cause when I first started watching Thunderball, I though, that has got to be the sexiest looking Bond girl of them all.  But then her character shows, and she's really a boring character for me, or at least is not given much to do, or not given much to work with I thought.

So it's a tough call for her.

Thunderball is my favorite Connery film, so everything about it tends to get over-represented when I put a list together. I also have a hard time including DN or FRWL in any list because it didn't feel like the series we know really got rolling until GOLDFINGER, so it's hard to compare the first two films with the rest, since the formula wasn't quite established.

With Domino, maybe I'm more attracted to the actress that dubbed the English dialogue for Ms. Auger, because there's something aloof and slightly stand-offish about Domino. Now that I think about it, 3 of my Top 10 Bond Girls are like that: Domino (TB), Holly, and Gala Brand Miranda Frost. So I guess I have a type. The scene where Bond is about to tell Domino that her brother is dead...the way she misinterprets what Bond is about to say and then cuts off the relationship with him rather abruptly....good stuff. And even though the role is essentially arm candy for the villain, she feels much more centered in the story than, say, Christmas or Madeline, who seem to run out of relevance to the storyline in the third act.

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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:19 pm

Elliott Carver is underrepresented in a lot of these lists. Frankly, he has some of the best dialogue in the series and is very well played by Jonathan Pryce. Problem for me is that I've always just wanted someone else in that role...like Anthony Hopkins. And yet I can't really point to any flaw in his performance.

I think quite honestly that Brosnan had the best 4-film run of villains anyone in the series enjoyed, with Craig having the absolute worst. But the thing about pre-Craig Bond films were that they didn't take themselves too seriously, so they were allowed to have fun with the villains. Now it's all morose and self-pity; even the Bond Girls in the last film were washed-up alcoholics. Where's the fun?
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Mon Nov 13, 2017 4:58 pm

It's funny cause I also agree with you on the Brosnan era having the best villains. It also had a good run of Bond girls as well. It amazes me how so many fans nowadays say that that era is the worst one.

I don't think Craig's is the worst villains and though, or at least I like two of them (Le Chiffre and Silva).
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:03 pm

It became suddenly fashionable to shit on the Brosnan era when Craig's tenure commenced. Brosnan was Eastasia, Craig was Eurasia etc. In reality, on pure entertainment value alone, Brosnan's efforts bury at least half of the Craigian dirge we've braved. There were flaws, to be sure, but you could have an effortlessly fun time watching the 90's Bonds. Could you really say the same of SPRECTUM?
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:38 pm

Well out of the Craig ones, I like two of them, and out of the Brosnan's I like all four.
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PostSubject: Re: How would one choose the best Bond girl and villain?   Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:54 pm

For me it's a 75% (more or less) #Like rating for Brosnan (the odd one out being Dirge Another Dirge - though even that one warrants a revaluation following the last pseudo-gritty pap smear of a film) whilst Craig has a 50% success rate.
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