Carl the Critic: Talks about James Bond

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Introduction

Once there was a man named Ian Fleming (1908-1964). Many know of him as being an author and journalist (and the creator of "James Bond" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"), but few knew that before he wrote spy novels, he was a spy himself... Well, sort of. He was a "Naval Intelligence Officer" during World War II, which is where he got his inspiration for his "James Bond" novels.

I actually have all of the original James Bond novels, and after reading the novels I had come to realize something... They're dull. I have no idea how anyone could have read these books, and thought "You know what? This seems like it would make a great movie!" You would think that the James Bond you see in the movies would have some resemblance to the James Bond in the novels, but the only resemblance I found, were that James Bond was a lady's man, and that some of the characters are in the films as well. But after reading "Casino Royal" and "Dr. No" I was a bit disappointed that my childhood icon came from the most dullest of literary characters. Apparently, Ian Fleming did want James Bond "...to be an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened;" (Fleming, The New Yorker), well I guess that makes it alright then. I did read "Live and Let Die" recently and that was actually much better than I remembered, but it was still a little dull.

What really get's me is how the books are ordered, as opposed to how the films are ordered.

Order
Novels
Films
1
Casino Royal
Dr. No
2
Live and Let Die
From Russia with Love
3
Moonranker
Goldfinger
4
Diamonds are Forever
Thunderball
5
From Russia with Love
You Only Live Twice
6
Dr. No
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
7
Goldfinger
Diamond are Forever
8
For Your Eyes Only
Live and Let Die
9
Thunderball
The Man with the Golden Gun
10
The Spy who Loved Me
The Spy who Loved me
11
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
Moonranker
12
You Only Live Twice
For Your Eyes Only
13
The Man with the Golden Gun
Octopussy
14
Octopussy
A View to a Kill
15
Living Daylights
Living Daylights
Note that only two of the novels and two of the movies actually match

It's kind of weird, isn't it?

Here is some interesting trivia, James Bond is named after an American Ornithologist.

I can actually picture him saying, "Bond. James Bond."
I can actually picture him saying, "Bond. James Bond." | Source

Film Bonds

So for 50 years we have seen 6 James Bonds. Have you ever wondered how a man can start his adventures from 1962 to 2012 and not age a bit (but his hair, some how changed color)? Well believe it or not, but the film directors of the movies say that "James Bond" isn't a person at all. James Bond is simply the code name of someone who works for MI6 and has a license to kill. Interesting theory, but I guess you have to do what ever it takes to cover up that plot hole.

James Bond in the films is a completely different character from the James Bond in the books. For one thing, Albert R. Broccoli made James Bond ten times more horny than he was in the books, and the film James Bond was actually more interesting. Even the bad Bonds (yes George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton, I'm looking at you two) had at least some characteristics that made them relate to the audience.

But now let's look at the 6 James Bonds.

Sean Connery

After learning that hiring Anthony Perkins to be James Bond was a terrible idea, Albert R Broccoli saw "Darby O'Gill and the Little People" (where it turns out Sean Connery had the singing voice of a million angels) and decided "That's who I want to be James Bond!" Fleming wasn't sure at first if having this man play James Bond was a good idea, but he accepted him. After proving that he was a successful Bond, Connery then returned in "From Russia with Love" which received mixed reviews but still audiences loved it.

By far my favorite James Bond film was the third one "Goldfinger". I don't know why, maybe because it was the first Bond film to have a unique opening, but I just love this one more than any other Bond film (it's also Steven Spielberg's favorite). "Goldfinger" is also the first Bond film to recieve an Oscar® for Best Sound Design.

After doing 5 movies Connery then decided to move on to bigger and better projects... That is until he was called back after George Lazenby screwed things up, and then he finally stopped... Until someone remade "Thunderball" but called it "Never Say Never Again" at the time Sean Connery was getting old AND THEN! He finally moved on to other projects.

George Lazenby

After learning that Timothy Dalton was too young to play the role, this Australian actor accepted the role of James Bond. "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is Lazenby's first and only James Bond film, (though he in fact has played many satirical Bond characters in his career, including for the TV show "Alfred Hitchcock Present"). Long story short, when he first appeared as Bond he was bashed by critics, for his horrible acting.

But was he really that bad? Yes, but "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" is actually one of the better made James Bond movies. It's the only one to end tragically, and most memberably (without wishing to spoil anything... It's awesome!). I always had a place in my heart for this film, but it really hasn't lived up to the test of time, and George Lazenby would turn the role back to Sean Connery for one and a half more James Bond films.

But who could properly fill the shoes of the great Scottish actor? Let's try an English man!

Roger Moore

Out of all the James Bonds, Roger Moore was the one who played him the latest in life (he was 45 years old when he did the film, "Live and Let Die").

Roger is best known for being the James Bond who was more of a ladies man. It's common knowledge that James Bond's weakness is women, and if there was ever a Bond who was guilty of falling into this temptation over and over again, it would be Roger. Although he isn't a favorite of mine, he was a great actor, and his energy that he brings to each film was always exceeding expectations. Another thing about Roger's Bond films, you may or may not notice, is that they constantly steal from other film genres (including "Blaxploitation" films, "Martial Arts" films, "Science Fiction" films, etc.) This was to make his films seem contemporary, and dealt with important issues of the day.
If I had to choose a favorite Bond film of his, it would be "The Man with Golden Gun". This was the film where Christopher Lee played the main bad guy (Fun Fact: Christopher Lee is a cousin of Ian Fleming), and also starred two Swedish actresses Britt Ekland, and Maud Adams (the two sexiest Bond girls ever!) It took mainly from the "Martial Arts" genre, and has one fight scene that has no purpose being in the film (the fight between Bond and Chula). I guess the real selling point for me, was Harvé Villechaize (a.k.a. Tattoo from "Fantasy Island"), he made such a great henchman, and continues to be one of my favorites out of all of them.

In 1985, Moore had made 6 Bond films and had enough, so now it's time to meet up with old friends from the past.

Timothy Dalton

Arguably the worst James Bond, Welsh born Timothy Dalton thought that 41 would be the best age to play James Bond. He was in two films, "Living Daylights" and "License to Kill". "Living Daylights" was a huge success and Dalton received critical praise for the role (but I for one thought the movie was okay not great). "License to Kill" premiered in 1989, and barely broke even (this, in my opinion, was less about Dalton, and more about the fact that at the same time "Indianan Jones and the Last Crusade", and Tim Burton's "Batman" came out the same time). Dalton was contracted for 3 Bond films but before he could be in "The Property of a Lady", Dalton announced that he would not be returning as 007. Why? Well MGM got involved with a five year lawsuit involving Dalton's third Bond Film. It turns out "The Property of a Lady" wasn't the property of MGM at the time, it was property of EON.

So for five years (1989-1994) Bond films were at a halt. Until an Irish man came into the picture.

Pierce Brosnan

"Golden Eye" continues to be my favorite Pierce Brosnan Bond film. First off, everything about this Bond film was perfect, right down to Bond's introduction in a bathroom while a guy was taking a dump. Brosnan was all about the one liners, the same way Moore was all about the women, (even though Bond always was famous for them, Brosnan's Bond mastered the art of one liners). "Golden Eye", like "License to Kill", had a revenge story, but this one was was where the villain, played by Sean Bean, was seeking revenge on Bond for not doing what he asked. The film was well paced and well shot and is my second favorite Bond film, right after "Goldfinger".

Brosnan later stared in "Tomorrow Never Dies" (a film that I own a copy of the script of), "The World is Not Enough", and "Die Another Day" before handing the role to Daniel Craig, but how do these films hold up? They get progressively worse! "Tomorrow Never Dies" was okay, but it takes forever to get to the end, it's slow moving, there are pointless characters in it, and Sheryl Crow's voice for the opening title sequence was just God awful! "The World is Not Enough" was even slower, duller, made no sense (how can someone get shot in the brain, not die, and continue to GET STRONGER!), and the song was even worse (it was from a band called "Garbage", so I guess it makes some sense). In addition to all of this, Brosnan's acting was beginning to change, he was getting older, and less energetic. "Die Another Day" was his last film and THANK GOD! The story was dull, the characters were dull, the song was cliché, and the gadgets were dull. The only good part about the film was a scene near the end involving Moneypenny, but I'm not going to spoil or else you won't enjoy it as much.

Brosnan is considered by many to be the best Bond, but in my opinion he's not as good as Connery. I think the main reason people say "Brosnan is the best James Bond" is because when ever you think of James Bond, Brosnan is one of the first faces you see in your minds eye. Tall, slim, black hair- Well, that is until we get Daniel Craig.

Daniel Craig

The second English man to play James Bond, Craig was a very controversial choice. (A Blond Bond? That's preposterous!) But after seeing "Casino Royal", all of the people who hated the idea of a blond Bond just simply shut up, and saw that Craig was in deed a great actor. I have mixed feelings about the guy, but his role as James Bond was actually pretty good. If I had to describe him, it would be like what Christian Bale did to the Batman character; rebooted, and redefined who the character is. He might not be the best, but he certainly is great. And he is said to return in the Bond film currently called "Skyfall" (...I guess it's just a working title until they come up with something clever.) Craig is signed on to be in 5 more Bond films (breaking Roger Moore's record for being in most Bond films, unless another Timothy Dalton happens), and I hope he plays the part well (and not pull a Pierce Brosnan and get to be a weaker actor which I don't think will happen anytime soon).

Overall

In brief here is how I rank the James Bond actors:

  1. Sean Connery (The BEST)
  2. Pierce Brosnan
  3. Daniel Craig
  4. Roger Moore
  5. Timothy Dalton
  6. George Lazenby (The Worst)

If you haven't seen the James Bond films, I highly recommend checking some of them out. Sure they are all basically the same, but that's part of the fun. Fans of the franchise are never disappointed because each film has everything that they want. Cool gadgets, hot women, colorful henchmen, over the top bad guys, the title sequences with silhouettes of possible naked women, the one liners, and many more. This isn't a good thing, because some of the James Bond films are half assed, except the older ones with Sean Connery, you can tell that all of them had some effort was put into them.

What about you?

Whose your favorite James Bond?

See results without voting

Carl the Critic © 2012 HubPages.com

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Comments 12 comments

tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

What an entertaining hub! Well done! I don't ever watch James Bond movies unless Sean Connery is in them. Pierce Bronson is ok.. A Bond Girl hub would be cute too!


CarltheCritic1291 profile image

CarltheCritic1291 4 years ago Author

LOL I can make a "Top Ten Bond Girls". It's now on my to do list :) Thanks for commenting tammyswallow, great to hear from you.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Any self-respecting Bond Girls hub would have to start with Pussy Galore -- don't you think? Even if only for the name. PS -- your Ian Fleming photograph looks suspiciously like Geoffrey Rush.... ?


giocatore profile image

giocatore 4 years ago

Very interesting ... the early films were so exotic and dazzling to me, as I was in junior high at the time. Later I lost interest as the films seem to parody themselves.

As an aside, a few years ago I watched one of the Matt Helm films, which I enjoyed immensely years ago, but it no longer held my attention. I was amused by the attitude toward drinking then, as Helm helped himself to a drink from his in-car bar while driving.

Well done, cheers.


CarltheCritic1291 profile image

CarltheCritic1291 4 years ago Author

@Immartin: [Fun Fact: The originally Bond's introduction line to Pussy Galore went like this;

Bond: Who are you?

Pussy Galore: My Name is Pussy Galore!

Bond: I know you are, but what's your name?

but apparently it was deemed "too suggestive"... Can't imagine why...]

If I do a "Top 10 Bond Girls" in the future I'll be sure to include Miss Galore somewhere on the list.

As for that picture of Ian Fleming, I got that from wikipedia, (and as we all know wikipedia is always right... sometimes). But now that you mentioned it, it actually kinda does look like Geoffrey Rush :)

@giocatore: The early Bond films were dazzling, I agree. But there are a few modern day ones like "Golden Eye", "Tomorrow Never Dies", or "Casino Royal", which are also really awesome. I am slightly familiar with Matt Helm, but I never read the books, watched the T.V show, or the films, but the way you described it I might just look into it and learn more. Thanks for your insight.

@ALL: Thanks for all of your comments I look forward to reading your work and I always enjoy your insight :)


giocatore profile image

giocatore 4 years ago

I confess to have not watched a Bond film in many years, and in that sense I spoke from ignorance.

The Helm books were more serious than the films, in which Dean Martin basically had a good time with a bit of a story sandwiched in.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida

And then there's:

"Your name?"

"Plenty, Plenty O'Toole."

"Named for your father I assume."


CarltheCritic1291 profile image

CarltheCritic1291 4 years ago Author

@giocatore: It's okay, I'll definitely check out the Helm films when I can.

@Immartin: LOL That was a brilliant moment in Bond history. James Bond always had the great one liners such as that one.

@ ALL: Thank you both again very much for coming back :)


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

Hi Carl; Excellent hub. I've seen all the Bond films many times over, (although I've never read a single bond book by Flemming) and I absolutely agree that Connery is the ultimate Bond. It's not even close in my opinion.

While I liked Craig in "Casino Royal" I found him rather bland in "Quantum of Solace" and I'm hoping he won't continue to have a Bronsan-like freefall.

I liked Dalton more than you did and I think he's under-rated but he only made two films so he more of a Bondian footnote, like Lazenby. (Dalton appeared in one of my all-time favorite films "the Lion in Winter'.)

I'd heard that, at one point, the studio wanted Cary Grant to play Bond but he turned them down because he doesn't like to be in franchise roles. Ian Flemming apparantly wanted David Niven but the studio considered him too old at the time.

"Goldfinger" has got to be the best of the Bond films.

I know that the comedy film "Casino Royal" (Where Niven did play Bond) gave us the concept of Bond being a handed-down alias, but I didn't know it was canonical.

My favorite Bond girl was Michelle Yoeh. I'm a fan of her Hong Kong action films.

Fun, informative hub,

voted up,

Rob


CarltheCritic1291 profile image

CarltheCritic1291 4 years ago Author

Hey Rob,

I'm glad you agree, and I understand what you mean about Dalton as James Bond, but I don't know I guess he wasn't as bad as Lazenby, (I might change that). He is little underrated, but Idk I found him to be bland, but at least he was trying. Dalton's acting in general is underrated, seeing how he is in some good films (like "Hot Fuzz" and "Toys Story 3).

I've been meaning to see "Quantum of Solace", all I know is that one of the stunt men actually died in that movie, but I have heard as you pointed out that his acting wasn't as good in that film, but we'll see.

Yes a lot of men were considered for the role for James Bond, and even Alfred Hitchcock was initially asked to direct, but he turned it down (but can you imagine what that would have been like? ... AWESOME!)

There was a comedy film "Casino Royal" which was indeed with David Niven, and Peter Sellers... I hate that film, it's really dated and not as funny as I thought it was going to be. The film had 5 known directors, and there were many production issues. It's not good in my opinion but it's alright.

Michelle Yoeh is also definitely gonna be on my "Top Ten Bond Girls", she was very good.

Thanks for stopping by giving your comment and insight, it's always good to hear from you :)

Carl


Genna East profile image

Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Interesting hub. Sean has always been my favorite Bond; followed by Daniel Craig, and then Pierce Brosnan. As people often say about Craig, “the best Bond since Sean.” In Casino Royale, we saw a more vulnerable side to this legendary character, and Craig pulled this off quite well. Here’s hoping for more successes in the future.


CarltheCritic1291 profile image

CarltheCritic1291 4 years ago Author

Hmm... Well I guess you do have a point there, but I feel that I don't know Craig enough to put him at the #2 spot just yet. I will reconsider him to be at #2 if "Skyfall" proves to be good. Thanks for your comment Genna East, great to hear from you :)

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