CRESTVIEW — As an enthusiast of England's super smart, oh-so-debonair secret agent, James Bond, I'm often asked what I find appealing about him.
With his birthday coming up Monday —according to John Pearson's "007: The Authorized Biography of James Bond" — now's an excellent time to reflect on the character.
Why do I like James Bond? Unlike a Jason Bourne superhero, in author Ian Fleming's original Bond, there's always something with which any reader can identify. I may not know how to do a racing change in an Aston-Martin DB5, as a teetotaler I don't tipple martinis, nor can I afford a Rolex Oyster Perpetual, but I can certainly appreciate Sea Island Cotton polo shirts and scrambled eggs, as does Bond.
Favorite Bond film: Also my favorite book, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service." Bond is human and vulnerable in a film that adheres most closely to its book; and the books were written much better than the films.
Favorite Bond: George Lazenby. To get in character, he'd read the corresponding scenes in Fleming's novel. Thus, Fleming's Bond was at last on the big screen.
The worst film: None of Roger Moore's less memorable outings such as "Moonraker" can compare to that hideous 2008 "Quantum of Solace." A stellar title was squandered on a plot-less, noisy exercise in jerky camera work and washed-out color that lacked anything remotely Bondian.
Best title song: John Barry's exquisite music, Leslie Bricusse's poetic lyrics and Nancy Sinatra's silky-smooth vocals make "You Only Live Twice" the most elegant of the Bond film themes. Coupled with main title designer Maurice Binder's gorgeous graphics, the song and title sequence has yet to be equaled in the 53-year-old film series.
Worst title song: That blather Madonna wrote for "Die Another Day" is closely followed by "Another Way to Die." It only contributed to making "Quantum" so deplorable.
Best Bond girl: So many to choose from, but it must be Tracy, the Contessa di Vicenzo, played by Dame Diana Rigg. Bond women are strong, liberated, independent and resourceful, or at least they should be, which is why Tanya Roberts' portrayal in "A View to a Kill" was a disaster.
As we honor our veterans Monday, I'll quietly add my thanks to Commander Ian Fleming, RN, for giving us Commander James Bond. Oh, how we need our heroes, even those that seem — but aren't quite — real.
Contact News Bulletin Arts & Entertainment Editor Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.