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Lance Mannion

Ok, here it is, my idea for what the title of the next Bond should be. Don't say I didn't warn you.

"From Russia With Love."

actor212

Pierce Brosnan suffered from auto-expectations. He had been touted as THE next Bond for so long (all the way back to his TV show) that by the time he played Bond, the bar was impossibly high.

He wasn't bad. He suffered from really bad scripts and a lack of athleticism.

See, Craig, in my opinion, is the second-best Bond because he can do the stunts, or at least looks like he can. He's believable jumping up a fire escape.

Brosnan suffered from the toning down of the "love 'em and leave 'em" aspect of the character...and really, Pierce, you could have gone there. Women would forgive you...but had nothing to make up the difference.

Connery had great scripts because he could be misogynist and no one blinked an eye (at the time). He was true to the books, true to the character and had the sophistication to cover up his ruggedness. It was a really nice mix

Linkmeister

The other thing about the Connery Bonds was that they had the original books to work with and from. When the producers needed new scripts with no original sources behind them the movies became caricatures of what they could have been.

Ken Houghton

Since I think of Connery from Zardoz and Moore as Simon Templar (one of those is half-joking), I prefer Craig's Bond even though I also grew up on Moore.

Dalton might be my preference--his turn as the leader of the Time Lords was good fun--but Licence to Kill makes Quantum of Solace look like Faust. (His films also suffer the most from the "restoration" that was done--The Living Daylights becomes tedious, though still not quite so bad as watching Remington Steele try to keep a straight face with the script that was rejected for the Kilmer/Shue blue-screen-of-death-reboot of Charteris's above-referenced hero in Sophie Marceau is Not Enough.

Btw, if you compare Brosnan's actresses--Michelle Yeoh, Sophie Marceau, Famke Janssen, Hallie Berry--with Moore's--Maud Adams (twice!), Lois Chiles, Carol Bouquet, Barbara Bach, Tanya Roberts(!)--Moore's efforts look a lot better.

chachabowl

Minor spoiler alert - So when Bond retrieved his old car out of storage, are we to assume in the Craig Bond timeline, he's already dealt with the man with the Midas touch? By the way, BIG cheers at the screening when the car made its appearance. Needless to say, I can't wait for the jet pack from Thunderball to be referenced in the next movie.

El Jefe

Not much time this late evening to comment properly but a couple of things jumped out at me in this delightful review and thread and I wanted to get to them before parenting Alzheimer's wipes the slate(each successive child has destroyed more of my short-term memory....)

Ken,

Pairing the Rassilon reference (who, for us Old!Who fans was, like Cardinal Borusa, always just one regeneration away from a galloping psychopath anyway and Dalton brought him all the glorious way down the road) with the License comparison was beautiful. Just a thing of beauty. Yes, License is a significant problem with the "serious angle" in Dalton's bonds (I do think that's what he and his directors aimed at) because when Wayne Newton takes up that much screentime in your film being orange, a period of self-questioning should follow.

Lance,

Thanks for the reminder not only that Brosnan but Dalton (fresh off Lion in Winter and Mary Queen of Scots might have started much earlier. Wrt Le Carre, I've always considered that through his early books he was far more literally wrestling with the presence of Fleming in the literature than even reviewers' cliches would suggest. Jim and Ricky are both aspects of Bond separated, more believably, into different people, and a reckoning with reality: Jim the true Queen-and-Country man, a cloak-and-dagger commando's cloak-and-dagger commando, cruelly used and ultimately destroyed by how his business uses his capacity both to do his job and to believe in things; Ricky truly the jumped-up thug just as you said.

Also, I love the "in this universe" suggestion that perhaps the multiple cinematic bonds are a Crisis-on-Infinite-Earths kind of project, with Bernard Lee and Judi Dench ported in from Marvel as Watchers ....

Nate

I'm one of those fans who didn't really care for the previous Bonds, but I didn't realize that until half way through the parkour chase.

I think you're wrong about how the new fans will dislike this more deliberative Bond.

What I loved most about CR was the near absence of gadgetry. There was no scene with Q showing off gadgets which we just knew Bond would use at just the right moment to save the day. In fact we did not see any impossible spy tech until after the scene where the plane blew up (other than a fancy looking PC).

What I now dislike most about a lot of the pre-Craig Bond movies is the hackneyed stories which were written just so some cool gadget could save the day at least twice. It got old.

So long as this new deliberative Bond avoids the gadgets I will like him.

Nate

"I’m a Pierce Brosnan fan and enjoyed his Bond, but except for GoldenEye and the first third of Die Another Day, his series of movies were kind of dull. And he always seemed to be Pierce Brosnan doing Bond. "

That is certainly the feeling I got about Brosnan, especially right after I saw a non-Brosnan Bond movie. He played the character but was not the character, if that makes any sense.

Laura

I've been thinking about this a lot since I saw Skyfall last Sunday (blog post with lots of spoilers: The Infusion: Skyfall ***There Will Be Spoilers***). I think one of the things that hit me hard is that M conveys something so many women in authority have to deal with: "I am not your mother." In GoldenEye, she begins her very first meeting with Bond saying, (roughly) "I will have no problem sending you to your death." And she never veers from that.

The conflict in Skyfall, for me, was between a man who saw M as "bad mommy," and a man who saw her as "ma'am," in her actual role as leader and boss.

And so I've got to say, I was hugely disappointed when M leaves the inner office and the highly competent Moneypenny steps into the outer office. There's an implicit message (I feel anyway) that "some of us are not cut out for field work" applies to both M and to Moneypenny, but that if a woman is not in the field, well, then, she ought to be supporting those who are.

It left me rather jangled, Skyfall did, though I loved most of it, and adored M/Judi Dench. I am, I must admit, devastated to see her go.

weboy

Brilliant review, Lance. I tend to agree on pretty much all points (I even wrote it), right down to the influence f growing up (as you say) in Moore, rather than Connery. That said, I do have the reverence now for Goldfinger and Thunderball and such, but The Spy Who Loved Me is what taught me Bond.

I will have to watch the Johnny English references. I found Bardems fey-ness off-putting, and too easily categorized as a familiar "gay is weird and creepy and worthy of being destroyed" to be casually accepted. And, fr the life of me, I dn't get the Cult of Bardem (as opposed to the Worship of Dame Judi Dench, which I do, or the Concept of Craig, which I share). I also wonder where this goes from here ("From Russia With Love"? I doubt it), but I've been wondering that since Casino Royale. And each iteration does give a pretty satisfactory "let's stop here, but there's still a ways to go". And for that, I think I'm less dismissive of Quatum than you are. I think routine Craig Bond is notches above the others. For all those reasons on which we agree.

PS I tend to agree with your Brosnan thinking, and the "reboot" trajectory of the producers (Barbara Broccoli sounds like this in her interviews), but I think we don't give Brosnan enough props for truly "being" Bond. I think it tends to underestimate how much he brought to the part, that whole Remington Steele,"he was born to play Bond" thing that suggests somehow he did that all too easily. I think that's the point of being an especially good actor... if you really do it right... the seams never show.
http://nycweboy.typepad.com/my_weblog/2012/11/skyfall-jb-hooker.html

El Jefe

Just a few more thoughts tacked on:

- I have to return, for just a moment, to the personal aesthetic pleasure I take from the fact that, after twenty-five-or-so years of faffing around, English tailoring is back in order. It actually eased my spirit to see Craig and his cronies dressed like, well, Establishment Brits.
- One of the best touches of realism (besides the fact it's the same shoulder as Jim Prideaux) is that this is one of the only marquee movies to take shoulder injuries (especially those caused by hot metal) as seriously as they should be. My childhood best friend's grandfather never fully got range of motion back from a German .30-cal round at the Bulge, and this was a welcome bit of reality for a character to cope with.
- You forgot to mention LA Confidential (film version) in your laundry list: the setup of the final showdown is totally the Victory Motel done Bond-style, with Kevin Spacey allowed to survive and show up.
- I also applaud the arrival of Rafe Fiennes (every inch the Establishment Brit now in his Horse Guards-blue dress shirt and suspenders; after all he's a cousin of Ranulph Fiennes, who's a baronet, ex-SAS officer, and Burtonesque (the 19th-century original) explorer in the old tradition.)

THIS NEXT REMARK MAY CARRY THE WHIFF OF SPOILERS SO THOSE CONCERNED SHOULD KEEP WALKING
- I also thought the final shots, in that locale (did they save the set or lovingly reconstruct it?), with the painting of Vauxhall Cross up on the road, was a marvelous reboot-of-the-reboot, taking the long arc of Judy Dench's "Bond in the modern day" career as M from Brosnan on (that first scene she has in Goldeneye is a classic, and that film one of the most underrated Bonds) and coming back around to a new era that has, actually, more in common with the old than one might expect. The whole "in the shadows" trope is surely a reference to SPECTRE, yes? You're on with that next title, Lance ...
- I love that they let Judy Dench (now a Companion of Honour I see, that's a "gong" that actually means something, there are only a few dozen allowed at any given time and these days that's the likes of David Hockney, Ian McKellen, David Attenborough, James Lovelock, and Stephen Hawking) make reference to her late husband's love of poetry -- a tip of the hat clearly to the actual love of her life, the late great Michael Williams, who was indeed a huge poetry fan. A genuinely nice touch for the gal who's clearly now the great (living) lady of the British stage and screen (pace Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith, who Dench has now surprisingly but impressively outpaced.)

El Jefe

*Smacks forehead* of course the Prideaux similarity really does mean that the Circus' strong right arm is permanently disfigured (naturally he's the Fisher King with no Parzifal in sight either, but that's what you get from an author who immersed himself in German culture as a kid), and since Bill Haydon is then probably the left arm you get classical images of treachery ("sinister"), modern political divisions (left-v-right), and "left-hander" is a low-key homophobic slur in the Queen's English to this day, so why did I get degrees in history again ... ? :P

Rosiepowell2000

I didn't like "SKYFALL" at all. Not one bit. The movie was plagued with plot holes. It's portrayal of the female characters were insulting. Are we really supposed to believe that "M" came off as an impressive female figure in this film? I certainly didn't think so. And Daniel Craig spent most of this movie posing in front of the camera. There were times I thought I was watching a photo shoot for "GQ" magazine. Moneypenny goes from field agent to secretary . . . really? Especially after the movie failed to convince me that she was an incompetent field agent? I don't think so.

I had bought all of the claptrap about this being one of the best James Bond movies in years. Looking back, I now realize that Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson had overreacted to some of the negative press over "QUANTUM OF SOLACE", which I actually enjoyed despite its flaws. The fans could not deal with a dark and grim follow-up to "CASINO ROYALE", and the two producers reacted by delivering a movie that could not make up its mind on whether it was a grim espionage tale or a typical Bond fantasy adventure. It tried to be both and failed in the end . . . at least for me.

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