The Best & Worst Bond Girls: Pussy Galore or Christmas Jones?+comment
Ever since Ursula Andress came out of the water, white bikini, stunning, carrying a knife on her belt, audiences expect a lot from the Bond girls in a James Bond film. Today Skyfall opens. It isn’t just the long-awaited, James Bond film; it is also the 50th anniversary of the film franchise. Ever since Sean Connery hit the screen in October of 1962, fans have been obsessed with the gadgets, the villains, the stirred not shaken martinis, and of course, the Bond girls.
The beautiful, exotic and always sexy Bond girls have become iconic. Part eye candy, part partner to Bond, sometimes villainous, sometimes mere sex toys, Bond girls aren’t exactly shining examples of feminism. Even the names, often oozing with sexual innuendo – Honey Ryder, Pussy Galore, Holly Goodhead – have become part of the Bond film package.
Personally, my first Bond memory is waiting in line with my sister and dad to see The Living Daylights. My dad loved them and my mom could always be talked into seeing anything Sean Connery, Roger Moore or Pierce Brosnan appeared in. The Living Daylights is hardly a shining example in the Bond franchise, but I do remember liking James Bond and thinking escaping on the main chick’s cello case was pretty cool.
I’m pretty psyched to see Skyfall. Not only is it getting great reviews, Skyfall highlights one of the best female actresses to join the Bond series, Dame Judi Dench as M. Especially since a recent review of the movie in the LA Times states, “In a ties-that-bind twist that casts M in an entirely new light, “Skyfall” takes a good deal of time digging into her motives and methods. The decision, a good one, keeps Dench front and center, and M tart and tested, until the bitter end.” Have I mentioned I’ve already pre-purchased my matinée tickets for this film?
I’ll be sure to check out the newest Bond girls played by Naomi Harris (the badass chick from 28 Days Later) and French newcomer, Bérénice Merlohe. They have big shoes to fill, well more likely, big slinky gowns and bikinis to fill. I imagine that’s not the hard part. Beauty alone is not enough to make a standout Bond girl. There have been plenty of hot women that have been horrible Bond girls (I’m looking at you Denise Richards).
But before I get too excited about the latest film, here is a look at the Best and Worst of the Bond Girls.
BEST BOND GIRLS
1. Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder: Dr. No (1962)
She set the standard. Andress wasn’t exactly the best actress, in fact due to her heavy Swiss accent; her voice was completely dubbed over for the film. However, the outfit, her portrayal of not only sex but strength, well, it’s not a list of Bond girls without her.
Vesper Lynd the very first Bond girl written in the first Ian Fleming novel. In the 2006 reboot of the series and first novel in the series, Eva Green’s Bond girl was smart – she actually seemed smart. Green had a sophistication and wit that made her a perfect verbal and bedroom sparring partner for Daniel Craig’s Bond.
When I asked my husband who his favorite Bond girl was, he said without hesitation, “Jill St. John in Diamonds are Forever.” Interesting. I shouldn’t be too surprised. Jill St. John had some banging curves and runs around in a 70’s/hippie purple bikini for a huge chunk of the film. I enjoy that Jill St. John was a fiery redhead who played a diamond smuggler named after Tiffany and Co.
I’ve had a crush on Famke Janssen ever since this film, and she is my personal favorite of the Bond girls. Xenia Onatopp (back with the sexual innuendo names) is not the main Bond girl, but one of the villains. She gets a shout out for being such an amazing femme fatale who orgasms while killing a man by crushing him with her legs – during sex. I’m just saying in a film franchise that sexually exploits women (okay, this is a ridiculous S&M fantasy scene); it’s kind of amazing.
Honorable mention: Michelle Yeoh in Tomorrow Never Dies and Diana Rigg in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
WORST BOND GIRLS:
A lot of actresses have pulled off being a Bond girl without being as distractingly bad as Denise Richards. Everything was wrong. Her name (Christmas Jones, really?), her outfit (military green booty shorts and a dirty tank top), not to mention her complete lack of believability as a nuclear physicist. For the majority of Bond films, as long as the woman looked alluring and ran alongside James Bond, that was enough. Not here. By far, she is the worst Bond girl. It’s uncomfortable watching her in this film – almost as uncomfortable as how obviously Pierce Brosnan feels about his co-star.
While there are several women in each Bond movie that constitute a Bond girl, there is always one that dies early. Thank goodness it was Strawberry Fields. Horrible name. While Gemma Atherton is a lovely English actress, everything about her role in this movie was bad. Her character serves no point, she’s badly styled, it looks as if she’s wearing an uncomfortable wig, and her death was predictable and frankly, a relief.
Maybe it was the zero chemistry she had with Roger Moore’s James Bond, or the fact that she was the silliest geologist ever. But probably the reason Roberts seems so utterly boring and lame in this film as the lead Bond girl is that Grace Jones is the villain’s (played by Christopher Walken) henchman. Jones is far more intriguing and striking, making it hard not to hope Roberts meet a murky death halfway through the film.
Honorable Mention: Lynn-Holly Johnson in For Your Eyes Only and Maryam d’Abo in The Living Daylights.
But check out the Skyfall trailer. I can’t wait!