ANDY FISH is a comic book artist

Friday, March 22, 2013

Bond. James Bond. He's fifty.

Sean Connery as the movies first James Bond

Growing up my buddies and I would go to the Galleria Cinema's and watch James Bond movies, we'd also have sleep overs when Bond would show on TV (such was the day before VCRs).  Hands down, our favorite Bond was Roger Moore.

We knew Sean Connery, but we didn't like him as much as we did Moore.

In High School I read all the Bond books after meeting a fellow Bond fan, and they were certainly different than the movies, but Connery was more Bond-like if you were looking for someone to adapt the books to film, so I gained an appreciation for Connery.

I've never liked the womanizing aspect of Bond-- didn't notice it as a kid, likely I ran out to get popcorn during the boring love scenes and as an adult they just make me uncomfortable and distract from the story.

I've always loved the location filming- most times authentic-- taking you to all corners of the globe, and the Stunts, which almost always were real.  Not much use of models and of course no CGI back then.

For you Bond Novices, here's my rundown of the Bond films and the actors who've played him.

Sean Connery (1962-1971)
Doctor No
From Russia With Love
You Only Live Twice
Diamonds Are Forever
Never Say Never Again

Connery was dark and rugged, ruthless when he had to be.  The early Connery's were straight action and he was impressive.   The best of the bunch is hard to pick, but I'd go with GOLDFINGER or THUNDERBALL.  I like my Bond with a slight twist of humor and plenty of gadgets, but I don't like when they get too silly.

YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE has Bond in Japan, which is a win, but he tries wearing a Japanese disguise which just comes across as ridiculous.
NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN doesn't count-- it was done by an independent company and Connery was much too old looking for the part.
Interesting because Connery could have been a great Bond if you cast him with grey hair and a beard like THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER but trying to have dyed black thinning hair just didn't work.

George Lazenby doing his best Connery impression
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Between You Only Live Twice and Diamonds are Forever slipped in George Lazenby as James Bond.  Connery had said he didn't want to do it anymore so they replaced him with Lazenby.
The movie is regarded by many as the best in the series, story wise, and I would whole heartedly disagree.  While it does benefit from having Diana Rigg hot off The Avengers, the story is a little meandering and the dubbing of Lazenby when he's playing the British Intellectual is just silly.

Roger Moore and Barbara Bach
ROGER MOORE (1973-1985)
Live and Let Die
The Man With The Golden Gun
The Spy Who Loved Me
For Your Eyes Only
A View To A Kill

Moore was rumored to be the #1 Choice for Bond when Connery stepped down, but other engagements prevented it.  Real Life movie tough guy Lee Marvin once got the stuffing beat out of him by Moore, who he said was built like Granite-- so don't let his dapper looks fool you, Moore was a Bond who could take it.

He's also the actor who holds the record for number of films as Bond-- Connery also has 7 but one of them doesn't count.

Many hardcore fans resent the humor Moore brought to the role, and I agree it does go to far on more than one occasion and unlike the Connery films I've not seen all of the Moore ones.  I'd lost interest in Bond by the time For Your Eyes Only came along, and I saw enough of it to know it wasn't for me-- the Bond girl in it was particularly obnoxious in that one.

Picking a favorite is hard, because I've not seen all of them-- and I plan on rectifying that.  But right now I'd go with THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN because it's got the greatest villain in the form of Christopher Lee as a hitman with a midget assistant firing golden bullets at his assignments. THE SPY WHO LOVED ME is a close second, and I love the scenes in Egypt in that film.

Timothy Dalton
TIMOTHY DALTON (1987-1989)
The Living Daylights
Licence To Kill
If you are a fan of the books Timothy Dalton is your Bond.  He is the only actor to date who actually looks the way creator Ian Fleming described Bond-- sort of a handsome Hoagy Charmichael.  And his steely demeanor made him the most serious and lethal of the Bonds.
Licence to Kill was not a great movie, and that likely sank him as Bond.
THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS is great though, give that one a watch.

Cross Roger Moore with Tim Dalton and you get Pierce Brosnan
PIERCE BROSNAN (1995-2002)
Tomorrow Never Dies
The World Is Not Enough
Die Another Day

Brosnan combined Moore's pretty boy image with Dalton's steely indifference and made a pretty good Bond.  I think he was just getting good in the role when they replaced him, because the biggest complaint I had about him was he was too boyish at times.
GOLDENEYE is probably the best one, but all of his are pretty entertaining.

Cross Steve McQueen with Dr. Zira and you get Daniel Craig
DANIEL CRAIG (2006-present)
Casino Royale
Quantum of Solace

I don't know if it's because he looks like a shaved ape-- a shaved ape in absolutely fantastic condition I'll grant you, or if its the blond hair but I'm just not a convert of Craig's portrayal of Agent 007.  CASINO ROYALE is certainly a good movie, but they've added just a bit too much grit-- giving ol' Bond the Dark Knight treatment-- but I'm going to go with the numbers here, his movies are successful and better minds then mine like them, so I've bought the DVDs and will eventually get around to watching them.