There have been a lot of books written about the James Bond films and phenomenon; I should know because I’ve read them all! That’s why I feel uniquely qualified and very confident in saying that this latest book, James Bond: The Legacy (written by the two gentlemen who produced the special edition James Bond DVDs) is without a doubt THE best book yet written about the James Bond films! If you’re baffled as to which book to add to you movie library, look no further because here you will find information and photos that you will not find anywhere else.
What makes this book so good? Well, first off, it’s HUGE in size! A great coffee table book to be sure. The graphic layout is extremely well done and all the films are given equal time (not the case with some of the other books which tend to fixate on the Connery era). Also, for the first time in any official publication, we have coverage of the two “unofficial” James Bond films: Never Say Never Again and Casino Royale. Up until now these two “rogue” films have been missing from all official publications for legal reasons. James Bond: The Legacy is the first book to be published after MGM took ownership of these films, so now we are able to learn the fascinating stories of how they came to be made and, most interestingly, how they impacted and influenced the official series. Great stuff!
But what I like most about James Bond: The Legacy is how the authors look at each film within the historical context of when it was made. They focus not only on what was going on with the Bond producers at the time, but also what was going on in the world; what socio-political and even cinematic trends the Bond films were keying into. This really brings a new understanding to each film and helps explain why James Bond has endured while other “pop culture spies” (Matt Helm, Derek Flint, xXx) failed to connect beyond their time and have long since disappeared. Most people think James Bond films are “all the same”, but you will discover here that they are not. In this book I learned how throughout its amazing 20-year history the Bond filmmakers made subtle–and sometimes very bold–changes in the tone of the series and to the character of James Bond himself. This is much more than a simple look at the production and plot of each film, this is a major work on one of the most famous fictional characters of the 20th century. Oh, and the book also gives a detailed look at the new Bond movie, Die Another Day, with some pictures that lead me to believe this could be the best Bond movie of them all! This alone makes it stand above the rest as definitive.
James Bond: The Legacy is a must buy for all James Bond fans and anyone interested in 20th century popular culture. Again, if you buy just one book about James Bond, make it this one.