The Sound of 007 (Mat Whitecross, 2022, USA)

The Sound of 007 is a documentary directed by Mat Whitecross, released on the Amazon Prime platform as an original. This documentary coincided with Amazon's acquisition of MGM and the Bond franchise. In some ways, it is promotional content for the launch of the Bond franchise on Amazon's platform. However, it is still greatly enjoyable for Bond fans. The film surveys Bond music throughout the years, with a notable emphasis on the legendary work of composer John Barry, who largely created the "James Bond sound." The film traces Bond music as it sought to adapt to new eras, including disco with Marvin Hamlisch's Spy Who Loved Me score, and electronica with Eric Serra's Goldeneye score.

The film portrays a rosy picture of the Bond franchise and focuses primarily on the best songs of the franchise. Some attention is given to Jack White's song for Quantum of Solace, acknowledging that the song was hated at the time by many and still is largely hated. Some songs are glossed over entirely, such as Madonna's title track for Die Another Day. Interestingly, the film does not explore the legal issue at the heart of James Bond - the debate over whether credit for the song should go to Monty Norman (whose melody was used) or John Barry (who turned the song into the recognizable form). 

The film relies heavily on archive footage, although there are several current interviews as well, including with the latest Bond artist Billie Eilish as well as the latest Bond, Daniel Craig. While the documentary offers a very flattering portrait of the franchise overall and does not dig into controversies, it is nevertheless interesting enough for Bond fans and casual viewers alike to merit a watch. Maybe someday we will get a documentary about Bond music controversies and gossip.



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