Thanks to ITV I have managed to catch a couple of Bond films within the last month and I am pleased to say they were a great couple of hours of pure escapism. This raised the age old question in my head; 'Who is the best Bond?' Now there are few issues as divisive in the world. Indeed the Connery Vs Moore debate is up there with Ali-Frasier, North-South and Leg-Breast (Chicken you dirty sod) in terms of fanboyism.
In my humble opinion, ALL the bonds offer something unique that may be a product of their times. Connery, the trend setter was (and still is) the epitome of cool. No Bond since has carried off the calm, yet ruthless demeanour in such a powerful way. The Aston Martin DB5 seemed to personify the 'cool' that was the swinging sixties (or so im told, I wasnt there!). Roger Moore added a sense of campness and tongue in cheek wit that was a world away from Connery. However it seemed to work? Whilst this Bond wasnt the calm, collected killer that the previous one was, he was more defined by the era of the 70s. It was almost as if the studios or directors couldnt decide what to make of the franchise? Live and Let Die was only a caucasian lead from being a 'blaxplotation' film like Shaft. Moonraker was trying desperately to cash in on the Star Wars fever by putting Bond in space! Characters like JW Pepper didnt seem to fit the Bond set. HOWEVER for all this, they all seemed to work.
Moving on to Dalton, he seemed to recapture some of the ruthlessness of Connery. However this was at the expense of the humour that Moore brought. I really enjoyed both of the films but again they were a product of what was popular at the time. With heroes like Arnie and Stallone to compete with Bond became a clone of the action film. The Living Daylights and License to Kill had some tremendous action sequences that previous Bonds hadnt primarily focused on. Was this because Dalton was more two dimensional that Moore and Connery or was it because that is just the way the films were made? Maybe a little of both? Either/or, both are really good films and I think it was a loss to the franchise that Dalton didnt make more!
Considering the format of this musing appears to be chronological I must follow with Pierce Brosnan. This Bond is the one that I held out the greatest hope for, yet was the most disappointed with. This is not to say that I didnt enjoy his films, I really did (mostly) – I just thought that there was so much more potential with Brosnan to reboot the franchise. Whether or not this is the fault of him or the studios isnt the point of this article. Brosnan appeared to merge all of the aforementioned traits seamlessly. He was funny, ruthless, cool and a really good actor! Goldeneye was such a good film, it hinted at a new direction in the series with a well thought out plot, a bit of backstory and some action sequences Roland Emmerich would be proud of. Subsequent films left a lot to be desired. Tomorrow Never Dies took an interesting plot idea and took it too far, World is Not Enough took an interesting plot idea and didnt do enough with it and Die Another Day needs to be consigned to the dustbin of history alongside Dansani and the N-Gage.
Finally I will come to the end of my Bondathon by mentioning Daniel Craig. He started with a stumble with his unveiling on the Thames surrounded by health and safety equipment in case he fell off the boat – I imagine Fleming spinning in his grave! However he really turned it around! Both Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace are superb, gritty, dark, engaging and full of cool stuff. Also seems to fit with the theory that Bond films reflect the time as Craig's Bond starts at the beginning, almost like a Prequel! It would appear that Star Wars, Star Trek, Batman and X-Men are all jumping on this bandwagon too. Maybe this is a deeper psychological issue that modern society has with looking at where it came from? Or maybe its another way to squeeze money out of cinema goers! Whichever way it is – its cool in my opinion, especially with Bond!
Therefore in summary, I love all the Bonds. I think they all have attributes I like, they all have traits I dont but overall they all entertain me! I know I didnt mention Lazenby (sorry) but I will round off with the best Bond tribute ever: