Sketch of James Bond commissioned by Ian Fleming. Via Wikipedia
Star Movies is showing a Bond marathon in anticipation of Casino Royale. I have been watching it because I feel like it gives some cumulative structure to my joblessness. The riffs each Bond actor has to play are very similar, and it’s an interesting template to compare them. My personal favorite might be a bit off, but it’s the one I grew up with, the rest being archival footage. I am sure of the worst bond, and the bottom two both totally suck IMHO. All in all, however, I think the Bond format is simple yet compelling and always entertaining. It’s not the modern darkness of Bourne Identity or 24, but something cleaner and lighter on the palate. It’s not inspiring film-making or anything, but it’s usually a good time.
Worst. Bond. Ever. He hits women, halfway pays for sex and – worst of all – falls in love, goes on long horse rides and gets married. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is hands down the worst Bond movie, and one of the worst movies I’ve seen. It takes all the twists of the book, which makes for an overcomplicated movie. Also, this Bond’s misogyny and violence are unleavened by humor, making him almost contemptible. What I will say is that Lazenby was the most athletic Bond and the best natural fighter.
I actually haven’t watched his Bond films all the way through cause they kinda bore me. What I remember was him being more dirty than most and being rescued by the Bond girl. The movies were very 80s to me, the teenage years of the century, an awkward outgrowth of the hip 60s and 70s that still hasn’t resolved itself. As such, the fashion is bad, the violence gratuitous, and the Bond neither strong nor charismatic enough to carry the films.
3. Roger Moore
I actually like Roger Moore because he’s funny. I’ve never seen The Saint so that never affected my perception. He seems a bit older (and blonder) than my mental Bond, but he was good with the wisecracks. He’s the longest running Bond (12 years) and has done more to take him from the character in the novel to its own entity. In fact, I think his movies were the first to not take titles or storylines from the books. Apparently Lazenby’s Majesty’s Service was the most faithful to the book, but I don’t think that’s a virtue in a movie.
2. Sean Connery
This is most people’s first, but I guess I’ve it late and it doesn’t have the same impact for me. He’s definitely the most handsome and agile of the Bond’s, and prolly dresses the best. He also mixes humor and confidence well without being a boor like Lazenby or nonchalant like Moore. However, I never felt that any of his films were fabulous, and I do find that technology has given a huge boost to my final pick,
This is sacrilege, but I think Brosnan acts and looks the part of Bond better than anyone, especially facially. Also, he has been greatly aided by state-of-the-art special effects and in-movie technology, delivered with sardonic wit. However, Die Another Day may actually be a worse movie that Her Majesty’s as it doesn’t even have kitsch value. The dialogue and plotting in that movie were unfathomably bad, but that still doesn’t take away from the best movie in the Bond series – Goldeneye. Goldeneye is a captivating story with a tank running through St. Petersburg and two compelling female co-stars. Well, maybe not the best, but it’s certainly the one that stands out as a movie and not just a Bond film, to me.
This is someone else’s suggestion (who I forgot) but I think Robbie Williams would be a great Bond. Or, a bit younger George Clooney (and Lazenby was Australian so I don’t see how being American matters. Some other picks would be Jude Law and, or course, Ranjan Ramanayake.
However, the producers have neglected the Sri Lankan Stallion and chosen Daniel Craig, who looks like a battered boxer to me, but he was a good actor in Munich. I dunno if he can pull it off, but he’s not a bad actor and Casino Royale looks like a cool backstory kinda movie. We shall see. I think it’s out in a couple weeks.