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Being Bond

I’ve mentioned previously that I grew up in a James Bond house – I’ve seen most of them several times over.  So I thought it was time to size up the men that have played Bond over the years.  But first – a quick review of the most recent film.

Quantum of Solace

The previous film, Casino Royale, was a return to classic Bond with dialed up action sequence.  This one has a lot more action and a lot less seduction of the ladies; it’s a revenge movie.  Bond?  He is pissed.  And so is the mysterious Camille that he teams up with in Bolivia.

Photo courtesy of MGM

Photo courtesy of MGM

The plot is pretty good, opening up the possibility for future plots, as we’re introduced to a new secret evil organization, Quantum.  The best sequence features the group “meeting” in a most unorthodox manner.  It’s devilishly clever.

As before, Daniel Craig is all dark and brooding but his sex appeal shines through.  He’ll leave you breathless as he gets smashed and bashed all over the world.  Judi Dench is also a commanding presence in her recurring role as M – she’s the only one that believes her agent can truly deliver, and she’s rewarded for her faith.

Overall I thought this movie was most enjoyable, and far better than the critics would have you believe.  Go have a good time!  I give it an A-.

Anywho, onto the Bonds.

The first Bond is of course the classic, just like the vodka martini he’s always drinking – Sean Connery.  Back in the day he was the sexiest man alive but he could kick some butt at the same time.  Most Bond fans agree that his unique combination of looks, wit and physicality have never been repeated.  See him at his best, seducing Honor Blackman in Goldfinger.

In 1969, the series took a short break to let George Lazenby give it a whirl.  Because he only did the one film, many have written him off, but I actually loved him in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.  He charms the ladies, he wears a kilt, and he (spoiler!) marries Diana Rigg.  I think if he’d been able to continue on as Bond, he would have become iconic.

Connery returned for a couple other films along the way, but the next man to pick up the mantle was Roger Moore.  He presented a very different James – with pale brown hair and a smooth chest, he put a greater emphasis on charm and loved those head-slapping puns.  For me he’s a nostalgic favorite, as his movies were coming out in the years I was growing up.  He was at his best in The Man with the Golden Gun.  Just please don’t watch Moonraker.  Seriously.

James Bond Connery Lazenby Moore Dalton Brosnan Craig

Timothy Dalton took up the mantle a couple of years later in the under-rated The Living Daylights.  Watch it again and you’ll see what I mean – he had a certain rakish charm, yet was upping the ante on action sequences as audiences of the 80s demanded.  Perhaps he’d still be Bond had he not agreed to the horrifically bad script that was License to Kill (one of the few I refuse to see ever again).

A logical choice was to hand the franchise over to Pierce Brosnan, who had proven for years that he was a fit and funny stud.  Once again, we had a guy who started strong (in Goldeneye) but agreed to idiotic scripts that ended in the tragedy known as Die Another Day.

So it was a great relief to Bond fans everywhere when an out of left field (and highly controversial) pick turned out so well.  Daniel Craig really stepped up to the plate and redefined Bond as younger, fitter and grittier.  Here’s hoping he’s got the legs to last for many more films.

All right folks, time to turn it over to you – who was the best Bond?  The worst?  Have you never (*gasp*) seen one at all?

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