Monday, November 20, 2006

The Holy Cow of Bond movies

I watched Casino Royale a few days ago. awesome movie, with a mesmerizing performance by Daniel Craig in his first Bond outing. There were a lot of dissenting voices when he was first chosen, but after this movie, I can't imagine anybody still objecting.

I have this long-overdue rant about Sean Connery as James Bond. Everyone talks about the actors who played Bond other than Connery, and the verdict, even at its most flattering, is that the guy was the best since Connery. Why is that?

Take Daniel Craig, for instance. The guy's delivered a brilliant performance as Bond in his first outing. he's given the role additional depth, and really made it his own. and yet, NOBODY ever
says, "He's the best Bond ever." Taste is subjective, and the guy definitely delivered a brilliant performance - there should've been at least a few who thought he was better than Sean Connery. But no, everybody tiptoes around that possibility, for fear of desecrating some superspy holy cow. I'll admit that Connery was damn good. I'll also admit that, despite my line about the subjectivity of taste, Roger Moore was godawful in A View to a Kill, no matter which yardstick you use to measure performance. But is Connery unbeatable by default?

Personally, even after a single outing, I prefer daniel craig over all the other Bonds *including* the venerable Connery. For me, the difference is this: Connery basically had to embody a particular personality, and you could see it evolving over time, movie after movie. Whereas with Daniel Craig, he's had to do a lot more heavy lifting in this outing - he has an actual character arc, an almost unheard of phenomenon with Bond movies. The guy has the looks, he has the talent, and he has the ability to convey the aspect of a predator.

Part of this is a matter of chance. Casino Royale was the first Bond novel - like a superhero origin story, it described how Bond came to be the Bond the world knew from then on - so it has a lot more focus on the character. But then, Connery had the advantage of being the first in the role (barring an ill-fated tv adaptation earlier to that), so it kinda evens out. Both Craig and Connery had their advantages, and they used it well. And at the end of the day, I think Craig did better. I don't expect that everyone will/should agree with me on this. But it's statistically
impossible that nobody does. that's what gets my goat.

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