By Luis Monteagudo Jr.
It’s as much a part of Comic-Con as long lines and tired feet — arguments about who is the better superhero or which is the better movie or series.
Those kinds of arguments break out all the time at Comic-Con as friends and fans passionately talk, debate and argue about their favorites.
With a new Bond movie coming out this fall, the search for the best Bond movie became the focus of a debate at one panel, “The Geekspert’s Court 007: Bond vs. Bond.”
The panel is put on by a group of Comic-Con regulars who each year humorously and painstakingly debate which is the best spaceship in science fiction lore. This year, they also tackled a question that filled a room with Bond fans and pop culture lovers. The final vote came down to showdown between a classic, old-school Bond movie and a newer entry in the modern Bond canon.
Panelists and the crowd narrowed the more than two dozen Bond films to just 12, and then pitted them against each other March Madness style in brackets.
The first pairing matched “You Only Live Twice” against the very first Bond film, “Dr. No, with the winner being “Dr. No.”
The next match was the recent Daniel Craig version of “Casino Royale” vs. “From Russia With Love.” Although “Love” got a lot of love from the panel, “Casino Royale” won out, getting credit for re-energizing the franchise.
“From the minute Daniel Craig shows up, he nails the part,” said filmmaker Edward Gross.
The we had “Live and Let Die” against the recent, successful “Skyfall.”
“Skyfall” won, panelist Ashley Miller saying, “I love the dark spirit that that movie has.”
Next were two old classics, “Goldfinger” vs. “Thunderball.” Both were lauded for their songs, but “Goldfinger” won out not only for Shirley Bassey’s cover, but also for memorable villain Odd Job and great lines throughout the movie. The ocean adventure-based “Thunderball” was all wet, or, as panelist Marc Bernadin described it, “You know what is not exciting to watch? Thirty minutes of scuba diving.”
“On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” was pitted against “Diamonds Are Forever.” Diamonds, which was set in Las Vegas, was derided as goofy. Writer Steve Melching said, “Bond films become less interesting when he comes to the United States.”
The final first-round pairing put “The Spy Who Loved Me” up against “Moonraker,” with “Spy” winning.
That led to final elimination round that reduced the list to the final two, “Goldfinger,” a classic Bond movie of the Sean Connery era and “Casino Royale,” with Daniel Craig’s star-making performance introducing a new generation of fans to the franchise.
The winner? “Goldfinger.”
In addition to the previous arguments for the movie, one fan noted it had one of the greatest scene and lines in Bond movie history.
“Do you expect me to talk?” asked Bond, as Dr. Auric Goldfinger prepares to cut him in two with a laser.
Replied Goldfinger: “No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.”
Luis Monteagudo Jr. is a freelance writer and pop culture enthusiast who has attended Comic-Con for more than 20 years. He was written for the San Diego Union-Tribune, USA Today and numerous other publications.