THE JAMES BOND ENCYCLOPEDIA (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, November 27, 2007
If I may wax nostalgic for a moment, I can still recall the very first James Bond movie that I sever saw…actually the first three Bond movies…it was sometime in the late 60’s or early 70’s and my mom took me and my brothers to the drive-in theater to see a triple feature of Goldfinger, Dr. No, and From Russia with Love…in that order. I know I never made it past the credits of From Russia with Love but man…I loved those first two films! I had never seen anything like Bond before with his cool gadgets and those nasty villains like Odd Job and that began a lifelong passion for James Bond. With Christmas approaching, I cannot think of a better gift for the Bond fan on your list than the James Bond Encyclopedia from DK Books.
I’ve read a lot of books from DK on popular films and while they are always very well done, they sometimes can be a bit light on material. No so with this book. This book contains over 300 pages filled with information that will test even the most knowledgeable of Bond fans. It is bountifully illustrated with over 2000 photographs and images and traces the Bond history right up to the most recent film, Casino Royale.
As the title suggests it is an encyclopedia but rather than just list its hundreds of entries in alphabetical order it lists them alphabetically by subject. The subjects include: The Bond Style, The Role of Bond, Bond Villains, Bond Women, Supporting Cast, Vehicles, Weapons & Equipment, and the Movies. A comprehensive index finishes things off.
The role of Bond covers the six actors who have portrayed Bond with two pages of biographical information on each actor and a list of the Bond films they starred in. Next up is the section on Bond Villains. This section covers Bond villains from the criminal masterminds Blofeld, Hugo Drax, and Goldfinger; crime lords like Frank Sanchez; muscled thugs Jaws, Odd Job, Mr. Kil, and Tee Hee; and dangerous females May Day, Elekta King, and Bambi & Thumper. The encyclopedia gives the film(s) they appeared in, their current status, characteristics, the actor who portrayed them, and a synopsis of their roles in the films.
No book on Bond would be complete without looking at the dozens of Bond Women played by some of the most beautiful actresses in the world: Terri Hatcher, Ursula Andress, Lana Wood, Eva Green, and Halle Berry. The section on supporting cast members covers all the other major and minor characters in the Bond films from Q to Miss Moneypenny. Each Aston Martin that Bond drove is featured in the section on vehicles along with some of the more extraordinary vehicles like the Bath-O-Sub from Diamonds are Forever and the Dragon Tank from Dr. No. And of course all of Bonds secret weapons and gadgets are detailed in the Weapons section.
The last fifty pages or so of the book covers each bond film in chronological order with a listing of cast and crew credits but rather than provide a synopsis of films you’ve probably seen numerous times the book instead provides anecdotes on the making of the films with all manner of interesting production notes.
This is a book that is perfect for the die-hard or casual James Bond fan.
Mania Grade: A
Authors: John Cork & Collin Stutz
Publisher: DK Books