This may come as a total shock to some of my closest friends but I have been known to procrastinate a bit. In fact I will go ahead and confess that if they held a procrastination Olympics the smart money would certainly be on the fat guy from Del City. The bookmakers of London’s High Street would definitely put me down as a lock.
For quite some time I’ve been wanting to write a post about a certain aspect of pop culture that I have been intrigued with since I was a child. I’ve decided that if I were to write it as one single post it would be far too lengthy to keep most readers interested so I am going to borrow a page from Steven King and just as he did with “The Green Mile,” I am going to stretch this subject out over a series of posts. So every Friday for the next few weeks I am going to release a new post in my series, “The Best of Bond.”
I want to preface this first post by saying that I think the James Bond franchise is probably most popular with males in my particular demographic and age bracket. When I was a kid, I always looked forward to the release of the next Bond installment. And while I may not catch it in the theater, I still manage to see the latest Bond film as quickly as I can. I don’t think the franchise is quite as popular as it was back when it debuted in the 60’s, when it was at its pinnacle, but it still has a commercially successful following and the films try to adapt to insure that they remain contemporary with the date of their release.
I’ve decided to address the most often asked Bond question and that is, who is the best James Bond? Obviously this is a question that has no right or wrong answer because all of the answers are merely opinions. There is no scientific method for figuring out which actor best portrayed the role. One thing I do find interesting is that each time this question is asked, at least among my peers, it seems as though the only viable answers are Sean Connery and Roger Moore. It’s almost as though Lazenby, Dalton, Brosnan and Craig are disqualified. But I will stipulate that I usually only discuss Bond with other males in my age group. Perhaps if I were to ask a 17 year old girl she would have a different answer. But with the series declining in popularity over the years I’m not sure a 17 year old girl would even know who James Bond was, let alone Roger Moore.
I think that for most people their favorite Bond actor is the first one they see. Naturally that is the actor with whom they will usually associate the role. Obviously because of my age, the first Bond actor I saw was Sean Connery. Goldfinger was my first Bond film. I saw it on television of course and I was a really young kid but I liked the nerve gas scenes. That might get me and this blog put on all kinds of watch lists but it really impressed me the way that waves of soldiers would drop and die as the planes flew overhead. My thought was, “Wow that’s pretty cool.”
I’ve read that females usually prefer Sean Connery to Roger Moore because of his appearance and voice. Many people give Connery the nod just because they resent change and tend to support the original. I think that both Connery and Moore are really good. I also think they have a bit of advantage because they were able to star in better films. Don’t get me wrong, in my opinion there’s no such thing as a bad Bond film. But, "Casino Royale" with Daniel Craig really pushed me to the limits as to what I can accept as a Bond fan. It just didn’t seem to fit in with the other films of the franchise. I just didn’t feel like it was spectacular enough. And as long as I am bashing the film I will go ahead and say that the opening sequence with all of the free running was just too long. But I am getting away from the central point and that is which actor is the best Bond?
As I was saying earlier it seems that most people limit the “Best Bond” argument to Connery and Moore. I really don’t think that’s fair any longer. Most people never gave Timothy Dalton a chance because no one likes the new guy. Pierce Brosnan entered the race too late in life. Had he not been under contract for “Remington Steele” he would have assumed the role immediately after “A View to a Kill” which was Moore’s last film. I’m not sure how I feel about Daniel Craig. I really liked him in “Defiance” and yeah, he was good in “Cowboys and Aliens” but I’m not sure how he will carry on the Bond role. I just hope that he is allowed to carry out the role for at least a couple more pictures. They say all good things must end but I certainly hope that the Bond franchise doesn’t end while I’m still alive.
So now we come to the part where I have to put my cards on the table and tell who I think is the “Best Bond.” I am going to take a bit of blogger’s license and give you two answers. Bet you didn’t see that coming. So here is my personal opinion on two aspects of “Best Bond.”
I think that if I had to pick the best Bond I would choose Pierce Brosnan. The man was just born to play the part. He’s smooth, he’s articulate, he’s quintessentially British and I think he just looks the part. Right now my friends with whom I’ve discussed this in the past are probably surprised because I have always touted the merits of Roger Moore. So let me clarify this a bit. I think Pierce Brosnan is the best Bond but Roger Moore is my favorite Bond. As always…. Your mileage may vary. Tune in next Friday when I render my opinion on the best Bond vehicle.