Welcome to Bond Month! (Important sidenote, I have decided that March is Bond Month). The idea is that I’m going to post every day [I realize now that this is an absurdly overoptimistic goal, but hey] about something Bond related. I thought that today (and because I only have about half an hour to write and post this until it’s actually tomorrow and then I’ll have missed the first day of this thing) I would do something kinda simple: a list! I have ideas for at least two more lists and then I figure the rest can be a mix of movie reviews and actor reviews (I have a lot of opinions). Today’s list is: top 5 bond actors!
You may be asking, “but Pat you’ve never shown any special interest in the extended James Bond lore ever. Isn’t this a little odd?”. And the answer is twofold: one, how dare you claim to know me. I’ve never met you. Everyone in the world is a simulation except me. Two, yes you are right, simulation. Your algorithm which was designed to mimic the human brain has correctly identified an oddity. Congratulations. I feel like I get very into things for a while, and right now the thing that I’m super into is James Bond. I don’t know why, I’m just going with it as a conduit to hopefully form a more regular writing habit. The truth is, I haven’t been happy with anything I’ve written in god knows how long. I have an idea which seems good at the time and then before I’ve even reached the halfway point I delete the word document. Control-delete. Empty trash. Rinse and repeat. Maybe this will change that. Probably not. Well, I suppose that’s enough of a look behind the curtain, I can already feel the façade returning. I hope you’re ready for a fun filled blog post about James Bond.
Five- Pierce Brosnan
Look, I honestly was hesitant to even place Brosnan on this list, but then I watched The World is Not Enough. It’s pretty good. Not incredible, I mean come on one of the main characters is really named “Christmas Jones”. But it was entertaining, and included a Stockholm-syndrome double twist that fun and kept me guessing. So sue me, I enjoyed it. That’s really all I have to say about Brosnan, except this: one time in high school science class I had to watch a terrible movie about a volcano which starred Pierce Brosnan as a geologist I think. Anyway, the notable part of this movie was when the grandmother character decided to get out of a PERFECTLY SERVICEABLE boat and walk through some acid and literally burned her legs off. It was really funny but it wasn’t meant to be.
Four- Roger Moore
This one’s simple. Roger Moore Bond movies are either incredible or the actual worst things ever. Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun are both excellent, although I suspect a large part of the latter’s success has to do with the fact that the late Christopher Lee stars as the eponymous Man with the Golden Gun. His character also has three nipples. I know that sounds like I’ve made that up as a joke, but I have not. Then you’ve got the other end of the spectrum: Moonraker, despite having probably the best Bond poster in history, is an objectively terrible movie. So is A View to a Kill, and so is For Your Eyes Only. Octopussy is fun, but it has the notable drawback of being the only Bond title that I think it would be illegal for me to say in public. Sorry Roger, you certainly tried to be the best, and you almost were.
Three- Daniel Craig
Admittedly, these last three were all really close. Like, if I had some sort of objective rating system (which I don’t), they would be within a point of each other. But, order must be maintained. So Daniel, the current Bond, gets #3. Of the four movies Craig has starred in (go fuck yourself grammar nerds), two are pretty mediocre, and two are quite possibly the greatest Bond movies ever made. In case you were wondering, Casino Royale and Skyfall are the excellent ones. Quantum of Solace holds the dubious honor of being the worst Bond title of all time (what does it even mean? I don’t know). Spectre was just… fine. I think if It had come somewhere else in the series (give it to Dalton maybe, or Moore), this one would have performed better. It just happened to directly follow the best Bond movie in twenty years. Bad luck.
Two- Sean Connery
Cue gasps from the audience. Let me explain. Did Sean Connery define the role of Bond, imbuing it with the trademark wit and sex drive that carry through to this very day? Yes. But also, was there any alternative? I mean, as the first (and in his mind, only) actor to portray Bond, didn’t Connery necessarily create the role? And sure, Goldfinger is the best Bond movie that was ever made (exhaustive list coming later this month), but Thunderball was kinda meh. You Only Live Twice was WAY too long. Diamonds are Forever was… good, I guess. In conclusion, Connery was great but not as great as…
One- Timothy Dalton
Oh Timothy Dalton. Is there anything he can’t do? Yes, be bad at acting. It’s no secret that I love Timothy Dalton, but I think that his scant two outings as Bond would hold up under a more unbiased examination. Let’s go through these movies. First up, The Living Daylights. This movie sees Bond at the heart of a complex web of double and triple crosses between the Soviets, the British, and the Americans. It’s full of mystery, drama, and intrigue, and it keeps you on your toes trying to remember who’s playing for whom. At the heart of the conflict are some diamonds, but that doesn’t actually matter all that much. What matters is that Dalton proves that he can play Bond as calm cool and collected as Connery, but where’s the fun in that? He takes Bond to emotional places that would simply have been unreachable by other actors playing the part. This is top notch Bond. Then we have License to Kill, the Bond movie where Dalton shows us that Bond can be dark, but he also shows us the human toll that that attitude takes on a man. He at once deifies and humanizes the Bond character, and makes us realize that this could never be real, one man could never be this death-defying. At some point, death has to catch up and when it does, it won’t be pretty.
Honorable mention- George Lazenby
Join me tomorrow (probably), when we’ll be reviewing “The Living Daylights”. Or maybe doing something else. I’m not quite sure how to structure this yet.