For fans, the James Bond action continues off-screen

Posted 6:36pm on Tuesday, Nov. 06, 2012

Her Majesty's most famous secret agent, James Bond, celebrates his 50th birthday this year, but the presents are strictly for the fans.

Apart from the raved-about new film, the Sam Mendes-directed Skyfall, there's a trove of new products hitting stores.

As every good Bond fan knows, there are immortal theme songs ... and those that don't quite live up to the franchise's storied history. Fortunately, Adele's contribution to the canon is a stirring ballad in the proud tradition of Shirley Bassey (who has three Bond themes to her credit). Skyfall, written by Adele and producer Paul Epworth, is a grand, sweeping piece of work that showcases the Grammy winner's nicely maturing, increasingly husky voice. The track, released separately from composer Thomas Newman's orchestral soundtrack, is available for download on iTunes ($1.29).

The new, two-disc compilation Best of Bond ... James Bond: 50 Years, 50 Tracks ($18.22 on Amazon) rounds up the theme songs from all of James Bond's cinematic adventures, from 1962's Dr. No through to 2008's Quantum of Solace (but not Skyfall). The second disc features a wealth of orchestral cues from several films, as well as a handful of alternate takes or forgotten gems -- if you've been dying to hear electronic artist Moby's take on the James Bond Theme, look no further.

Need to bone up on Bond before settling in for Skyfall? Dig into the lavish new 23-disc Blu-ray set Bond 50: Celebrating Five Decades of Bond ($299), which features every film in the series (nine movies make their high-def debut), and even leaves a slot for Skyfall (which will be released on Blu-ray and DVD next year). Apart from the films, the set also contains a staggering 120 hours of bonus content, including interviews with all six actors who have played the iconic role.

If the immersion in Bond's world has you feeling an urge to gun down bad guys, fire up 007 Legends for XBox, PlayStation or Wii ($59.99). The first-person shooter's story line pulls from several Bond films (including Skyfall) and allows players to assume the guise of Daniel Craig's Bond, even as the setpieces evoke earlier eras. Play with gadgets galore, take down memorable villains and celebrate 50 years of keeping Britain -- and the world -- safe from evil. You'll be shaken -- and stirred.


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