Bond, James Bond. That simple and legendary line has only been uttered by six men on screen and is possibly the greatest one liner in cinematic history. James Bond is the iconic British secret agent and is the epitome of cool. James Bond is the one guy that all women want to be with and all men want to be. He is smart, witty, tough, adventurous, slick, well spoken and always gets the girl and the bad guy in the end. No wonder why it’s the most successful franchise in the history of Hollywood. The six men who have played Bond are part of a legendary fraternity that will last forever. However, Mr. Bond has taken on lots of changes in the past several installments and I believe for the worst. Now I hear that the current Bond, 43 year old Daniel Craig, is in negotiations to sign on for another five Bond films after the current film wraps. This is a mistake.
Sean Connery, Roger Moore, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig are the only official men to play 007. There have been a few non official Bond movies made as well but these six are the Bond men. Sean Connery was the original king of cool. Watching those Bond movies even some 50 years later, you’re still in awe of how cool Bond was. Roger Moore was much the same although toward the end of his Bond days, he was looking a little long in the tooth but he kept the witty Bond-isms flowing nicely after the iconic Connery. George Lazenby only played Bond in one film, which happens to be one of the best ever, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and he did a pretty good job. Timothy Dalton came in for two movies and did a reasonably good job with two marginal films. Then it starts to get hairy.
After a long six year break from Bond films, the franchise restarted with Pierce Brosnan as the new Bond. I remember thinking originally that it was a great choice but his four films were marred by the new Hollywood. Those movies were walking advertisements for many different products from Smirnoff vodka to BMW’s. They were also high energy, action flicks, which is pretty different than the typical Bond model of smart wit and clever anecdotes. Brosnan was also not helped that each of his movies were worse than the other.
Goldeneye was OK at best. Tomorrow Never Dies was perhaps the best of the four Brosnan movies but again not that good. Then came the two worst Bond movies ever up to that point, The World is Not Enough and Die Another Day. These movies were awful and not worthy of Bond or even a bad Hollywood blockbuster. But then came the worst move the Bond franchise ever made.
With the popularity of action packed blunt object movies like the new Jason Bourne series, Bond producers decided to make Bond more like Bourne and hired a controversial new Bond, Daniel Craig. He is a blonde British man who has questionable acting skills. He is appealing to women because he has a nice physique but to men, especially men who love the character of James Bond, he is by far the worst James Bond and is in the worst Bond movies. I say this because the latest Bond movies are not Bond movies. They have become Bourne movies and they have lost their focus on what made James Bond the most valuable franchise in Hollywood.
Craig’s two films, Casino Royale and hands down the worst Bond movie ever-Quantum of Solace, were simply action flicks; nothing more. Casino Royale was an advertisement that tried to make Bond a tough guy as opposed to the cool dude that everyone wanted to be like. His blunt personality was almost identical to what Jason Bourne has done. It wasn’t James Bond, it wasn’t cool. These films lack the classic Bond wit. They aren’t smart. The women aren’t as intriguing. And for the life of me, I don’t understand why they installed Judy Dench as M and gave her a big role in the last several films.
M had been a widely irrelevant character who was the head of MI6 and gave Bond his missions in the old films. His assistant Moneypenny always had a cutesy relationship with Bond and Q was his gadget guy. These don’t exist as they originally did. I understand things change but those relationships were small but poignant parts of the film. Now M, Judy Dench, is an integral part of the film and in my view takes away from the film significantly.
Daniel Craig doesn’t act. He just kind of beats people up and blows things up. He is cool only in theory. He’s not cool in reality. He is a bad actor and the new movies have been awful. Not to blame him but I wish the producers would remember the things that made Bond what he is today. If I want Bourne, I will watch Bourne. I want Bond to make me want to be Bond. I want classic one liners; I want classic Bond girls; I want exotic locales with cool bad guys trying to take over the world; I want Aston Martins; I want shaken not stirred. I don’t want Heineken, Apple, Smirnoff, BMW and I most certainly don’t want Jason Bourne or Daniel Craig. I hope the producers reconsider and hire someone else after they finish the new film, Skyfall. I hope they preserve the last great Hollywood franchise.
Bond, (Not) James Bond
December 21, 2011 by 5 Comments