POSTING BY JB MADDAWG
Something I’ve never touched on here at The ThrowDown is the fact that I’ve always been a big fan of the James Bond films. Flashy cars, crazy gadgets, gun fights and loose women. Let’s face it, there’s a reason the series has been around since the 60’s, almost everybody loves a good spy flick now and again. The problem is, when you have a run of movies that spans five or six decades, the actor that plays Bond is going to get a bit, uh, long in the tooth, eventually. As a producer of Bond films, one would have to always be on the lookout for the BBB. Bigger, better, Bond.
If you at home are keeping score, there have been a total of six actors to OFFICIALLY play James Bond (the original “Casino Royale” isn’t counted as part of the arc, so get over it.) So, if whether you’re new to the Bond flicks, or an old pro, I’ve decided to compile a list of all the Bonds, and rank them accordingly. If you disagree, that’s ok. You’re wrong. If you want to debate Bond movies with a guy that knows that supervillain, Blofeld once offered James Bond a “delicatessen in stainless steel”, in trade for his life, or the fact the boat jump in “Live and Let Die” was one of the longest in history, go right ahead. Yeah, I got creds.
So, without further prattle, here is THE list of James Bonds, starting for worst to best:
When you play Bond and only can make it happen one time, somethings terribly wrong. In 1969, United Artists offered Lazenby no less than a seven film deal, totaling around $28 million dollars. In case you didn’t read that right, go back and check it. That was a monster deal back in those days. So what happened? Lazenby and his agent found the contract so draconian, with all sorts of stipulations the actor would have to agree to, that they countered with $35 million. UA, balked, tried to resign Lazenby for a return in “Diamonds are Forever” and that also, fell through, leading to a one film return for Sean Connery. My question is, what the Hell did anyone see in this guy? He was disjointed in the film, and constantly seemed out-of-place. The true reason that Lazenby comes in last though is, there is only one film to judge him on. Fans will never know if he would have grown into the role, eventually.
You really have to wonder if a guy that had to be asked to play Bond four times is the right choice for the genre. Dalton would have occupied the last spot on my list, if Lazenby would have done more than one film. Dalton was a man who went back to reread the Ian Fleming novels for inspiration, and tried too hard to translate it to film. He was dark, edgy and always had an underlying anger attached to his role. His overacting didn’t help the fact the two films he was in (“The Living Daylights”, “License to Kill”) were spat out by the studios just to keep the series alive. Roger Moore had stepped down, and the studio was actually eyeing someone else for the role, who we will come to later. As for Dalton, he left two films that don’t seem to fit in the overall scheme.
The previous two Bonds have to be pretty bad, if I’m awarding the four spot to Daniel Craig. Although it may not be his fault entirely, the Bond films came to a screeching halt when Craig came aboard. He’s pocket fluff. Hired to look strapping in a mankini, blond-haired and pensive, Craig would have been better to be cast as a near retirement Jason Bourne or some other random field agent that gets into trouble. Not, James Bond. Die hard fans of the films will disagree, of course, but I’m a bit more subjective to someone the studio puts a Walther PPK and tux and calls “Bond”. Sorry, Daniel. Just like Dalton, you’re a transitional Bond. Spackling the cracks of super-spydom until we find a real Bond. And no, I don’t care if he’s critically acclaimed. So is the play “Cats”.
This is where I’m gonna catch Hell. Roger Moore played a snarky, humorous Bond and one that I always found charismatic. Moore had an appeal that none of the other actors seemed to be able to produce. If one wants to bash anything from the Moore days, it’s the scripts. There were many goofy and down right ridiculous moments in his run, but overall, it’s the “like” factor at play. Although his interpretation may make fans groan at times, there’s a reason Moore’s Bond brought in huge figures, he was a Bond that always had it under control, even when there was a seven-foot guy with metal teeth chasing him.
Sean Connery isn’t the number ONE Bond? WHAT?!? No. Get over it. Connery was the best Bond, until the new number one came along. Connery was gritty, a man that men wanted to be like, and women just plain wanted. He was the epitome of coolness, always ready to put his martini down on a napkin to take a shot at some thug. He was a white jacket Bond, able to pull off a look and feel that none of the other actors truly can. So, why then at number two? Because he looked like an IRS agent more than a spy. For some reason, he always had an old Bond feel to me, like someone who was a part-time agent, in between rounds of golf or getting dinner at 4 pm. This may enrage the Bond purists, and I hear the argument over and over that Connery was the first Bond. That makes him the best? Ford rolled out the Model T as the first automobile, also, and there have been a few improvements, since. I think Sir Connery was the best for his time, that’s all.
Honestly, he’s Bond’s Greatest Hits. Suave, nerves of steel, humorous and most importantly, the most comfortable appearing Bond. Call it his experience as “Remington Steele” on television, but Brosnan was a natural. So versatile, he could be plugged in as Bond in almost any of the Bond adventures, and look well-placed. Again, Connery and Brosnan battle it out for the best Bonds, but Connery never gave me the impression he could pull off Bond in any plot. I can see Brosnan portraying Bond in “Goldfinger”. I can’t say the same for Connery in “The World is Not Enough” or even “Goldeneye”. Brosnan’s reign would have come sooner, had it not been for his television contract…luckily, when those obligations ended, Brosnan was given the green light and brought the titles back to respect.
That’s it, Bond fans. That’s the list, and even though there have been several rough patches, here’s hoping the Bond films will continue. After all, no series has come close to running as long as the Bond films, and probably never will.
And the name is Maddawg. JB Maddawg.