Me and the Boys

My name is Bond. James Bond. That line always gives me a thrill. The first 007 I ever saw on the big screen was Moonraker – at a dive-in with my 17-year-old aunt who was supposed to take me to something far more age appropriate. In retrospect, it was hardly the best introduction to the franchise, but outer space and a huge, metal-mouthed villain named Jaws and I was in a 9-year-old’s idea of heaven.

Over the next few years I saw Bond films mostly on TV and mainly starring Roger Moore. For the longest time I thought he was the only actor to have ever portrayed the suave secret agent. As a kid, my favourite was Live and Let Die, featuring the fat southern sheriff, J. W. Pepper. Thinking about it now, that might have been because I also loved The Dukes of Hazzard (Boss Hogg) and Smokey and the Bandit (Sheriff Buford T. Justice). It wasn’t until years later that I heard of the word blaxploitation and saw how campy and full of ‘70s kitsch the film was.

Eventually I was introduced to oeuvre of Sean Connery – he was a harder man, more willing to lay a beating on anyone, including woman. Such was the time I suppose. Still I found myself drawn to Diamonds are Forever, one of his last runs at the character. Nowadays I give high praise to From Russia With Love and Goldfinger, which are the true origins of the Bond and Austin Powers film franchises. It was those movies that introduced gadgets to 007, including the Aston Martin and gadget man Q.

At the end of Grade 9, my graduation gift was a movie – and I chose to go and see The Living Daylights. It was Moore’s last portrayal of the role of Commander Bond and he had become increasingly creaky. The film itself was a pastiche of ‘80s pop culture, with a Duran Duran theme song, a villain played by Christopher Walken and Grace Jones as a Bond girl May Day. Again, not much of a film to speak of.

When Moore retired (and it was about time) the producers installed Timothy Dalton, whose characterization in The Living Daylights was darker and more serious than the light-hearted jokiness of Moore’s performance. I wasn’t a fan, which is ironic as that’s what I’ve been hoping for in the new Bond.

When Dalton was replaced after two films with Pierce Brosnan (who I had enjoyed in Remington Steele), it was like a return to a young Roger Moore. I liked what he brought to the role, but by the end of his run it was the stories that had gotten out of control. Invisible cars and a diamond-encrusted villain were too much and even showing Bond being held prisoner and tortured didn’t do enough to ground the spy in reality.

So tomorrow we are going to go and see Casino Royale (and our first time away from Tristan) and I’ll get a look at the new face of Bond. Can Daniel Craig take 007 into the new century or is he a spy out of time? I’ll find out soon.

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  1. BTW, The Living Daylights was with Timothy Dalton (his first of two films portraying Bond)

  2. (slaps forehead)...perhaps I should read the full post before posting a correction...

  3. how did you figure out how to let comments work? mine doesn't...

  4. Hope you liked Craig's Bond .. I certainly did, and I think he's now lined up well to play 007 for a long time to come

  5. Sadly, I didn't get to see my first Bond movie in the theatre. I saw my first Bond movie on TV, back when ABC was first showing them once a month. Of course, that was Dr. No, a good way to start watching the Bond movies. I guess it's for that reason that Sean Connery has always been my favourite 007.

  6. Oh I did like Craig's Bond. Very, very much - see the above post.

    spiro - I will try and send you a piece of code that may help later today.

    mercurie - I know wonder what Bond I will introduce my son to when he's old enough. Start at the beginning or maybe something new and let him backtrack. Who knows, we could have an entirely new Bond by then as well.