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James Bond Back on Her Majesty’s Secret Service
LONDON (Reuters) – Queen Elizabeth went to the movies on Monday to see her most famous secret agent James Bond celebrate 40 years as the silver screen’s top spy.
She attended the glittering premiere of “Die Another Day” starring Pierce Brosnan as the debonair secret agent with enough guns, gadgets and girls to thwart any villain plotting world domination.
More than half the world’s population has seen a James Bond film. It is the most successful franchise in cinema history — and still retains its magic after taking more than $8 billion at the box office over four decades.
For Brosnan, playing one of the great movie icons is “like slipping on a comfy pair of old slippers.”
“I am very proud of Bond and very proud to have completed four films,” said the suave Irishman, greeted by a barrage of adoring fans outside London’s Royal Albert Hall. “This was the best one,” he boasted.
Madonna, who sings the theme song for the latest Bond movie, was accompanied to the premiere by her film director husband Guy Ritchie.
The 20th Bond movie takes fans down memory lane from the moment Halle Berry emerges from the waves in a nostalgic echo of Ursula Andress’ spectacular entrance in the 1962 classic “Dr No.”
Fresh from her Oscar-winning triumph in “Monster’s Ball,” Berry revelled in playing the feisty Jinx, who is more than a match for the elegant spy.
She loves the way the Bond girls have evolved. “Year after year, they have gotten a little stronger, a little smarter,” she said of the role. “Now they are Bond’s intellectual equals and physical rivals.”
Bikini-clad starlets have launched a million male fantasies and Berry should leave fans both shaken and stirred in the latest Bond saga, which opens in Britain on November 20 and in the United States on November 22.
“Die Another Day” has been dubbed “Buy Another Day” for its string of product placements from martinis to cars. Anti-smoking groups are outraged that Bond is seen smoking a cigar.
Bond now faces a real Christmas box office battle with the two other festive blockbusters — the latest “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” sagas.
And once more debate rages as to who is the best Bond — Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton or Pierce Brosnan.
Both Moore and Dalton attended Monday’s premiere. For Dalton it was a night for happy memories. He recalled: “It was wonderful. I had great fun. I enjoyed every minute of it.”
Producer Barbara Broccoli, whose father “Cubby” was the mastermind behind the silver screen saga, refuses to be drawn on who is the best Bond.
“It is like asking someone who their favorite sibling is. Each one has meant a lot to me growing up and I have been lucky to be friends with them,” she said.
“People always ask me who the next Bond is. That is like asking a bride walking down the aisle who her next husband is going to be,” she said.