Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
November 14, 2012
We like our Bond shaken, not stirred.
Kim Hollis: Let's be a bit freeform with this question. What are your thoughts on the James Bond franchise? Do you have a favorite/least favorite Bond movie? How would you rank the Bond actors?
Jason Barney: This is a great question. I actually have little exposure to the Bond franchise. My first awareness of the "universe" was as a kid, when the networks would run the films. Some people might cringe, but I never saw any of the older Bond films. Sean Connery is iconic, and in many ways he made the character, but I have never seen any of his Bond flicks. I guess you could consider me one of the new generation of Bond fans, as I have seen all of the most recent ones. The Pierce Brosnan entries were good, I made the decision in my 20s that I was going to see this product, and I enjoyed each of them. They were not classics, but I can remember thinking that Brosnan fit my imagination as what the character should look like. When Daniel Craig came on board I was okay with the switch, but I hated Quantum of Solace. I thought that was a prime example of stupid action. I will see Skyfall. I am looking forward to it.
Edwin Davies: Being British, I have of course seen every Bond film - they Ludovico Technique you at an early age to ensure you have the requisite level of Bond knowledge - and my opinions of the series as a whole are decidedly mixed. I think that Connery was great not merely because he was the first person to play the character, but also because he benefited from the most consistent run of films. The run he had from Dr. No to You Only Live Twice is pretty great, delivering back-to-back action adventure films that were thrilling and fun. Even On Her Majesty's Secret Service is phenomenal despite George Lazenby being a pretty poor replacement. Yet the series never regained that level of consistent quality again. Roger Moore's tenure was particularly awful as it leapt on whatever bandwagon was going to try to eke out an ounce relevance, be it blaxploitation (Live and Let Die) or Star Wars (Moonraker). Timothy Dalton's two outings were both darker and more violent, in some way presaging what Craig would do with the role, but not quite as successfully. Then again, Dalton got much less time to play Bond than most of the other actors, so who knows what might have been? Brosnan's films were bright and flashy, fun romps, but wildly inconsistent, with Goldeneye being the only one that I would consider watching again. I love Craig's interpretation of the character, but thought that Quantum of Solace was pretty awful, so it's nice that he's bounced back and will get at least two more films to further establish his legacy.
So, that's what I think of the franchise on a meta level. In terms of individual films, I think that either From Russia With Love or On Her Majesty's Secret Service are the best installments. The former because it distills everything great about the Connery films into a pure, undiluted form, and even has room for Robert Shaw to show up and be fantastic. The latter because it's such a great, fun action adventure - and has far and away the best ending of the series - that it overcomes Lazenby's central performance, which isn't so much wooden as it is oaken.