Last night I sat down to watch the new James Bond movie, “Skyfall,” with my son and husband — a man who can (and will) not only name all the previous Bond movies, but tell you which of the various actors played our fearless hero in each, which version of “M” is in each (male, female, actor’s name), the name of each villain, the famous chase scenes in each, who sang the theme songs…and probably who wrote the theme songs. I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot whole more of what he knows. But that’s him.
Personally, all the Bond movies lump into four categories for me: Those starring Sean Connery, those starring Roger Moore, those starring Pierce Brosnan, and all the others. I’ll go on the record right here and say that my all-time favorite Bond is the original, Sean Connery, even though (according to the aforementioned Bond-phile I married), Roger Moore was Ian Fleming’s first choice. The Connery version of Bond is not only handsome, but he’s got a fun and lighthearted personality, and that super-sexy Scottish accent.
I know, I know, you’re probably saying the same for Roger Moore, right? Uh…well, wrong, for me. He never had the same fun-appeal for me as Connery’s Bond, and his accent is that veddy, veddy British accent. Interestingly, though, Moore’s Bond movies are some of my favorites, plot-wise. I loved the Solitaire character played by a very young Jane Seymour in “Live and Let Die.” I loved the goofy outer-space love scene in “Moonraker.” And I loved the theme song by Carly Simon in”The Spy Who Loved Me.”
But I’m focusing on James himself, the charming playboy-slash-lethal killer-slash-patriot who saved the world in Fleming’s 14 novels and short stories and the 23 movies they inspired (or 24, if you count “Never Say Never Again” with Sean Connery, which I don’t). And my number two favorite is Pierce Brosnan, mostly because he’s one of my favorite actors. He’s got all fun quotient of Connery, plus all the rest, except maybe his accent is more Irish than Scottish. (Honestly, I’m just guessing here. I don’t really know. I just know they’re both fun to listen to.)
Then came George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton. I don’t recall much about their movies, so let’s move on to the final and current Bond — Daniel Craig.
Let me start off by saying Daniel Craig is a perfectly fine actor, and a fine-looking man. I’m sure he’s kind to animals and old ladies and an all-around great guy. But he’s not James Bond.
For starters, he’s blond, or close to it. James Bond is has black hair. Not just dark, black. Don’t believe me? Check out Ian Fleming’s own Bond description. Now, I know that Roger Moore’s hair isn’t that dark, but it was close enough. At least it wasn’t blond!
And besides, that’s not the big reason why I can’t accept Daniel Craig as James Bond. Or maybe it’s not even Daniel Craig. Maybe it’s just the way the director is directing him.
The main gripe I have with the Daniel Craig version is that he’s no fun! He barely cracks a smile. James Bond is witty…or he used to be. With the ladies, Bond’s celebrated sexual prowess is on full display, but without the charm of the old James Bond. There’s barely any sign of humanity — it’s more, slam, bang, thank you, ma’am…or actually, forget the thank you! This verson of Bond is just downright machine-like! In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this version of James Bond starring as the next Terminator!
Some have said the owners/producers of the franchise wanted to take the character in a new direction. Well, they have, and I don’t like it.
I miss the old James Bond. I want him back.
Am I alone in this? What about you?