In anticipation of Casino Royale overtaking For Your Eyes Only as the gayest Bond movie ever, here's a chronological look at the evolution of the Bond Gunbarrel Opening. My notes below.
Seeing them in order, it occurs to me that the various Bonds all have very telling Bond Themes.
Connery's era is the most straight-ahead in terms of the delivery we have in our heads when we think of the theme - the huge horn opening and string section with the twang guitar lead and the loud gunblast. It was first messed with on You Only Live Twice, where they gave the theme a vaguely Eastern spin. George Lazenby's only theme is really wimpy - flutes and an Moog synthesizer; perhaps Jean-Jacques Perrey was in charge of the orchestration. Diamonds Are Forever goes back to the formula but does so in brassy, ballsy Hazlewood style.
Roger Moore's era is a travesty across the board. Live and Let Die leaves the twang guitar to compete with its successor: a flabby horn section, which here play comedy-style, almost like the Tijuana Brass. Plus Bond isn't wearing a hat! And he holds his gun in both hands! The Man With The Golden Gun sounds like James Last. The Spy Who Loved Me brings back the twang guitar at least but then has the crappest ending of them all. Moonraker sounds like background music from Hart to Hart. For Your Eyes Only is the only disco cowbell opening. Octopussy sounds like they had to slow things down to keep up with Moore as he walked across the screen. A View To A Kill has a fucking oboe playing lead.
Dalton's themes are bi-polar. The Living Daylights sticks to the symphonic Moore formula; if anything it's even more woodwind-reliant. And then comes License To Kill; the twang guitar must be here because it was already sitting in the kitchen sink.
Brosnan's intros are mostly in bad taste. Goldeneye is the most blatant reimagineering - pure mid-90's minimalist eurotrash synthwash. The only one that sticks to the classic Bond intro formula is the last one and even it has been drowned out by techno beats. The crap CGI bullet flying at you is the cherry on the cake.
How they start off Casino Royale will be interesting to see after watching this. And will Craig wear a hat?