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Reply #14: Good stuff. I'll keep mine a little shorter. First, I think you misread Craig just a little bit. [View All]

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jobycom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-22-09 11:59 AM
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14. Good stuff. I'll keep mine a little shorter. First, I think you misread Craig just a little bit.
You say he's a cold-hearted sociopath, but I think you miss a subtle element. Exactly as in the book, he pretends to be a cold-hearted sociopath, but as his relationships have shown, he's not cold hearted, and as his subtle acting demonstrates at times, the killing does bother him. That's why Craig may be the best Bond so far--his acting adds a dimension most others miss. You can see him steeling himself for the kill, you can see the moment of hesitation before he answers questions like "It doesn't bother you?" or "I would ask you to remove your emotions from the equation, but that doesn't seem to be your problem, does it?"

Also, I think Judi Dench is the closest to the M in the books. In the books, M is a father figure--both coldly professional and personally concerned. There is a professional distance, but M also gives subtle lectures on Bond's personal life or mental health. None of the other Ms captured that.

Quick Bond summary--I agree on Connery. He was good, but overrated. In some ways, though, all the other Bonds have reacted to his portrayal, so he sets the standard. Craig and Dalton, for instance, didn't incorporate Moore's Bond into theirs, but they did incorporate Connery's. Interestingly, Flemming didn't want Connery--called him a puffed-up stunt man--but warmed to him. Flemming wanted Moore from the beginning, and had to settle for Connery twice, and Lazenby once, before getting Moore.

Connery played the cavalier stoic Bond well, fitting the era of Cary Grant and John Kennedy. Moore was more dashing, suave, 70s Bond--lethal, yet with a sensitive side. He was all-knowing and clever, a womanizer without being degrading (remember, Connery raped a woman in "Goldfinger"). By the 80s he was a dinosaur. Moore also suffered from the collapse of the premise behind the Bond novels. Technology made the novel Bond obsolete, and our relationship with Russia changed to the point where the novel plots would be offensive. The horrible Moonraker had nothing in common with the novel, since the novel involved Nazis and sub-atmospheric rockets that seemed silly by the 80s.

Dalton is the most underrated. Maybe the best actor to play Bond, he had the Connery lethality and the Moore sensitivity and intelligence, and a unique edge all his own. His two films are two of my favorites, even though License to Kill peters off at the end. There's a trend that when scriptwriters cling to the books, they do their best work, and when they create their own material, it comes out as a typical Hollywood B movie car chase and fight sequence. In "License to Kill," the parts about Felix getting fed to the sharks and having his wife murdered came from the novels (Live and Let Die, especially), but the Wayne Newton stuff was original. Dalton would have done better, but licensing disputes killed the franchise for a while, and Dalton moved on.

Brosnan was strong as a playful Bond who buried his pain in a prankster attitude. The scripts for him tanked after Goldeneye, but he still did his best. The scene of him walking across the Hong Kong hotel lobby in his pajama bottoms in "Die Another Day" was a classic display of the Bond confidence and poise under all circumstances.

Craig is brilliant, but he's got the best scripts so far. Casino Royale was a perfect and faithful adaptation of the movie. Influenced by Bourne (though not as much as some claim) and by modern film techniques, Craig's Bond is less gimmicky, more real, and more brutal. And true to the Bond mentality, his movies traverse the world lesser known to American audiences. Instead of the glamor of Paris or the Caribbean, which have been overdone by now, he takes us to the dirty fight-pits of Africa and the small villages of South America, as well as the opera halls of Vienna.

Quantum of Solace. To me it's above and beyond every other Bond film. The plot is deliciously intricate and delicately balanced, the script is well-written, the personal relationships are earned and touching, and the fight and chase scenes are more integral to the plot and flow of the films, instead of being musical-style showstoppers that interrupt the flow of the movie. The entire movie moves quickly, and dialog at times is so efficient it leaves some in the audience behind, and I think that's why the film turned some off. Too fast, too smart, for many American movie-goers. The scenes in South America reminded me of "Motorcycle Diaries" at times. Dench is at her best, the scene of Mathis in the dumpster was the most touching I've ever seen in a Bond film, and did you notice he doesn't sleep with the heroine in the end? It would have destroyed the credibility if he had.

I'd write more but I'm at work, and anyone reading this is bored by now. :)
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