Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The You Only Blog Twice Double-0 Rating System

You know what I love to do?  I love to make lists.

You know what else I love to do?  Give ratings to things.  Which is kinda like counting.

Speaking of which:

What's that got to do with James Bond?  Nothing at all; it just tickled me.

The actual reason for this post is not to make random Sesame Street references, but to talk a bit about the rating system I'm going to be using on this site to quantify the quality of each Bond movie.  Mainly this is so I can come up with a way of determining what my favorite Bond flick is.  If you're saying to yourself, "What a sad, lonely, pathetic (and ultimately useless) endeavor that is!", well, you'll get no argument from me.  And yet, nevertheless, I expect to enjoy doing it, and for me, that's all it's really about.

I will also say this: part of the charm of the Bond series lies in rubbing the films up against one another and seeing what the comparison brings.  I don't think it's a stretch of the imagination at all to suggest that a great many Bond fans just love to sit around with other Bond fans, hashing out once and for all who is the best Bond actor, or who is the best Bond girl, or who is the best Bond villain, or what is the best title song.  I know I've had those conversations many a time in the past.

With that in mind, trying to rank the Bond films based on the various factors that many people would identify as being the most important Bondian elements seems ... well, appropriate.  Also lame, but hey, what else would you expect from a fan blog?

The ranking system I've developed is simple: it's a Double-0 rating, with 007 being the finest in Bondian achievement and 000 being the bottom of the bloody barrel.  To compile that rating, I've keyed in on seven categories for judgment.  Within each of these categories, a maximum of 007 points is achievable, and the grand total is then divided by seven to obtain the composite Double-0 ranking.  Some categories have sub-categories, and in those cases, the score for the overall category is obtained by averaging the scores in the sub-categories.

The categories break down like this:

(1)  Bond ... James Bond
This denotes the quality of the actor playing 007.  Simple enough, right?  No need for sub-categories here; we're grading purely on the basis of how awesome the actor playing Bond, James Bond is in the movie.

The villains, of course.  Bond is only as good as his villains are bad, and that makes this a key category.  It is, when appropriate, divided into two sub-categories: one for the lead villain, and one for the henchmen.

(3)  The Bond Girls
First of all, yes, I am aware that the phrase "Bond girls" has a somewhat chauvenistic connotation.  We're gonna have to all just be cool with that; I'm not a sexist, but I damn sure do appreciate a beautiful woman, especially if she's smart, funny, sexy, tough, and independent.  And those are the qualities that I'll be looking at in this section, so I feel no compunctions about it.  Well, almost no compunctions.

Incidentally, as with the villains, I'll be breaking this into sub-categories when it seems appropriate: one for each major Bond Girl role, and another for the more minor Bond Girl roles.  It's also worth mentioning here that not all female characters are Bond Girls.  Moneypenny (arguably) isn't; Judi Dench's M certainly isn't.  Those roles will not factor into this category at all.

(4)  "Oh, James..."
The Bond movies, in many ways, have defined the action-film genre across the decades, and no Bond film is complete without great action scenes.  However, that's not the only standard we're going by here.  No, we're grading a more generalized notion of how exciting the movie is altogether, and that means we're also looking at the quality of the editing, as well as how aesthetically pleasing the film is in terms of its locations.  Sub-categories for action/stunts, editing, costumes/makeup, and locations.

(5)  Q Branch

There are a number of sub-categories that will factor into things here, including: Bond's allies; direction; cinematography; art direction; special effects; gadgets; and opening-title sequence.  The idea here is to assess the things -- both within the story and behind the scenes -- that help make Bond the effective agent that he is.  That's a bit on the amorphous side, I know; so sue me.

(6)  Mission Briefing
Here, we're concerned with the quality of the story.  The screenplay, the dialogue, the plot; is there actual artistry at work in the films as regards those elements?

(7)  The Music

Not just the theme songs; we here at You Only Blog Twice -- meaning me, of course -- are big score fans, too.  So, the song (songs, where there are more than one) and the score get their own subcategories.  I was also tempted to make the title sequence a part of this section, and at some point down the line, I might make that change.


Just to give you an idea of what the specific ratings mean:

007 = as good as it gets
006 = outstanding, but perhaps with some flaws
005 = a bit short of true excellence, but nevertheless VERY good
004 = good, solid work that is absolutely more good than bad
003 = fundamentally flawed, but also somewhat worthy of praise in one way or another
002 = not particularly good, but mostly inoffensive
001 = bad in every way
000 = incompetent or, possibly, just plain misguided in an offensive way

So, over the next twelve-plus months as I add film after film to this site, this is the system I'll be using to quantify the unquantifiable.  I'll be writing more than that, of course, and I don't really have a final format in mind for the site as a whole, so there's no telling what all I might end up rambling on about here.

See you soon!


  1. Hey Bryant- you’ve put together an awesome blog. I’m a bit of an excel geek and was wondering whether you have all the movies you’ve ranked in an excel sheet? ie all the categories that you can then filter/sort on etc.

    That way ppl could see in one snapshot how you’ve ranked it all. eg you could sort by best score, villian, bond girl etc.

    I’d be happy to do it if you like.

    1. I've never done that, no! I *think* I put it all into a Word document at one point, but that, obviously,p is not quite the same thing. I'd be happy to have it all in Excel format, but that seems like a lot of work -- I'd hate for anyone to have to do that!

      I'm looking forward to one day reworking the whole system and taking a crack at all the movies a second time. Not gonna be any time soon, though, sadly.