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Brosnan and Moore were able to suggest that, while they didn't have a problem with the killing, they thought more highly of themselves for pulling off a job without pulling out their gun, because that meant they'd been really clever.

I suppose this would be true of Tomorrow Never Dies, but you'd have to overlook Brosnan's Rambo moment in the middle of Goldeneye where he guns down half the Russian Army.

Ken Houghton

Do NOT confuse Licence to Kill with Dalton's abilities as Bond or The Living Daylights (a middling effort in the canon, but rather piquant even [or especially] now).

Dalton is severely underappreciated in large part because _LtK_ is the worst of all Bond screenplays, including _Sophie Marceau is not Enough_ and the competing efforts of _Never Say Maud Adams Again_. (Any cred Denise Richards established in Wild Things was p*ss*d away long before "I thought Christmas only came once a year" was uttered.)

If you have a competent actor (say, Val Kilmer or George Clooney) but an inept director (say, Joel Schumacher) and a lousy script (BM Forever, B&R), I don't care how many nipples you have on your costume; you'll look like a clown.

It's why the best Bond film since _The Living Daylights_ is the late John Frankenheimer's Ronin.


As a long-time Bond fan (with Connery as The James Bond) I was quite taken with the movie. A bit long, and the slower romantic scenes were a bit dull, but on a whole I thought it was very good. I was sceptical of the "Blonde Bond"-thing, and jaded after Die Another Day (which you wrote a fine piece on), but was pleasantly surprised. The last image of Craig with a machine-gun in his hand and wearing a tuxedo was iconic, I thought. Poster-fodder.

I was hoping you would mention Lazenby as well. He's got a bad rep, but he was the most fit and physical of all previous Bonds. A so-so Bond actor, but I think he could've become a good Bond with a few more movies under his belt. His one movie is one of the best, I think (some would say despite him, but I wouldn't necessarily.)

I would like if the follow-up to CR were Live and Let Die, the second book in the series. Why waste good books on poor movies, Moonraker was a good Fleming-book, but an awful movie. LALD is a charming film, but not a very good Bond. It's The Saint gone tropo. I'm just talking about the duffs, not remaking the good ones (which in my mind are often the ones closest to the books, like Russia and Majesty's Secret Service.) Live and Let Die in 1973 should've been more like its contemporary, The Day Of The Jackal with future unoffical M, Edward Fox.


The basic problem with Timothy Dalton's Bond is that he had read the books before taking the part.

And if Dalton's films had had anything in common with the books, his Bond might have worked. But instead he got The Living Daylights: Generic Bond Script 15a, and then Licence to Kill, of which no more need be said.


I'm with Shakes on this and thought Craig was a great Bond and, except for a drawn out end, really liked Casino Royale. I think the points about how this was not the movie of Bond becoming Bond were really valid though and, I agree - they should've done that because nothin's more entertaining than an origin story.

But, gotta say, for the first time after seeing a Bond movie, I want to go back and re-read the book (I think re-read - I don't remember if I ever did). It also makes me want to see some other Bond movies over....should I do them in order or just see the best?


My suggestion would be to watch the really good ones, and read the books of the poorer adaptions.

Kevin Wolf

Much as I love this type of Mannion post, I do believe Bond is better if not so intently scrutinized.

I was happy with Casino Royale and with Craig, despite some quibbles. I, too, look forward to the next one.


My take on Casino Royale can be read here. I loved it. But then, I'm a guy who thinks that Licence to Kill is criminally underrated -- I love that movie. In fact, I put it in the top five of the whole series. (Incidentally, the first thing I did on my blog that ever gained any notice was when I went through and posted about all of the Bond films, in sequence. Those posts are linked in my sidebar on the main page of my blog, if anyone's interested. I also think that Goldfinger is terribly, terribly overrated.)

Ken Houghton

Goldfinger is terribly overrated, but it was groundbreaking.

Licence to Kill has some glorious gore (David Hedison getting HALF-eaten by a shark; Anthony Zerbe in the decompression chamber) but very few Bondian death-scenes (closest is Robert Davi's killing of the Yuppie). It stopped dead every time Wayne Newton hits the screen, stalls for Bond to rationalize choosing Carey Lowell over Talisa Soto, and has the worst Bond action denouement ever ("Don't you want to know why?").

The freeing of Sanchez is done better in that boring Jack-Ryan-defeats-the-IRA movie (where Anne Archer's Defensive Driving effort is the only moment of tension in the film).

If it were 40 minutes shorter, and better written, it would be a classic.


Sorry, it's slightly less crappy than the first "Casino Royale," but it's a great example of why I, as a screenwriter, never go to movies on Friday night anymore like I used to up to about 10 years ago when the studios all became minor profit centers of major multinationals and started producing "widgets." If I went to the movies to see what is new like I used to since back when more than a few of my fellow readers here were wearing plastic pants, I wouldn't be able to sit down and work anymore.

Unfortunately, I am old enough to remember being a very young sailor on the old USS Rustbucket, and sitting there one night on the hangar deck as some movie none of us had ever heard of started playing: "Dr. No". Wow! It was freakin' great! Unlike anything any of us had ever seen before. Go back and look at it nowadays, and the fact it was made low budget (for even then) is obvious, and it's still better than any James Bond movie since Sean Connery left the series.

They'd have done themselves a favor if they had killed the series after the embarassments of the 70s.

James Bond movies are like contemporary rock 'n' roll - if the corporations weren't trying to lock in what they know, no matter how bad it is, something good and worthwhile would have come along and sent rock'n'roll to the graveyard it should have been buried in 30 years ago (if you look at the history of American popular music, no genre has ever survived for 52 years before).

Further proof that the best thing that could happen to Good Stuff would be the discovery of more pinstriped corporate pimps found face down in dark alleys, bleeding out from large-caliber exit wounds.


Not on topic or relevant, but

wasn't "Licensed to Ill"

a brilliant album title?

Henry Holland

sent rock'n'roll to the graveyard it should have been buried in 30 years ago

Well, no less of an authority than Homer Simpson claims that it's a scientific fact that rock music was perfected in 1974, so you might have a point. :-) Though, I wouldn't want to miss the English post-punk scene of ca. 1979-83 and the American indie thing of ca. 1980-1985.

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