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The Six Faces of 007: Daniel Craig

To celebrate James Bond’s 50th birthday on screen (and the release of Skyfall), we’re going to take a look at the character and his films. We’ve already reviewed all the classic movies, so we’ll be looking at his iconic baddies, and even at the character himself.

The Daniel Craig iteration of James Bond is the first time that a change of actor has been explicitly confirmed as a new character, rather than a continuation of the same character. (Unless you count Lazenby’s ad-libbed “this never happened to the other fella” bit.) Going back to the first of Fleming’s novels for his first film, Casino Royale, there was a conscious effort to bring the character back to basics, but also an effort to humanise him considerably. The result has been somewhat contentious, but I think Craig has managed to put his own stamp on the role and to define it in his own terms that are respectful to his five predecessors, but also define the character as his own.

All-time high?

Note: As a look at Daniel Craig’s take on the iconic character, this article contains spoilers for Skyfall. Consider yourself warned.

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The Six Faces of 007: Pierce Brosnan

To celebrate James Bond’s 50th birthday on screen (and the release of Skyfall), we’re going to take a look at the character and his films. We’ve already reviewed all the classic movies, so we’ll be looking at his iconic baddies, and even at the character himself.

I have a great deal of affection for Pierce Brosnan’s term as James Bond. I think the actor easily portrayed the most rounded James Bond since Connery, capable of being an angel or a killer as the script demanded it. His run got off to a solid start with (for my money) the most consistent two-fer in the franchise’s history. (Taken together, I’d argue that GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies are the perfect revision and update of the Bond mythos.) While the last two films of his tenure were awkward and uneven efforts, Brosnan never gave the role less than his all. He has gone on record as being disappointed that his term as James Bond didn’t last longer than four films and, despite the mess of Die Another Day, I can’t help but agree with him.

I was quite shaken by his departure…

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The Six Faces of 007: Timothy Dalton

To celebrate James Bond’s 50th birthday on screen (and the release of Skyfall), we’re going to take a look at the character and his films. We’ve already reviewed all the classic movies, so we’ll be looking at his iconic baddies, and even at the character himself.

Timothy Dalton’s tenure as Bond is almost as divisive as that of George Lazenby, the only actor to serve a shorter term in the iconic role. However, in the years since Dalton departed the franchise, I’ll admit that I’ve grown quite fond of his interpretation of the British secret agent. Between The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill, I think that Dalton portrayed the most human and most tangible of the character’s screen personas, and I think that he suffers from being cast twenty years too early in the part. Certainly, one can see a lot of Daniel Craig’s whittled-down take on the character in Dalton’s two outings as 007.

Dalton’s taken quite a beating…

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The Six Faces of 007: George Lazenby

To celebrate James Bond’s 50th birthday on screen (and the release of Skyfall), we’re going to take a look at the character and his films. We’ve already reviewed all the classic movies, so we’ll be looking at his iconic baddies, and even at the character himself.

George Lazenby stands out as perhaps the strangest on-screen Bond. He only appeared in a single film before retiring from the role, shortly before the premiere, causing such a crisis that the studio paying a huge amount of money to re-hire Sean Connery for Diamonds Are Forever. His one film, however, stands out as one of the very few movies in the series to give the character Bond a logical character arc, and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service remains one of the most polarising films in the series. I actually think that Lazenby’s tenure is perhaps the one that lends itself best to the “multiple Bonds” theory, as he plays the version of the character harder to reconcile with the other portrayals.

And not just because of that awkward line that closes the opening sequence. There’s a lot here that never happened to the other fellas.

Washed up?

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James Bond January in Review

It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these, and I’m not sure I should bring them back – but, hey, it might be nice to have an index of all the James Bond January shenanigans I got up to this January. Let’s start with the reviews  of the 22 films – all of them:

I also did some James Bond related posts in the month. I wondered about the “James Bond is just a codename” theory, pondered what Bond 23 might have in store for the franchise and wondered if Bond gets away with so much because we dismiss a lot of its British nationalism as “quaint”.

Apart from all that, I wondered if the film 300 was actually racist, and dared to suggest it wasn’t. I took a look at Matthew Vaughn’s upcoming X-Men: First Class and superhero nostalgia. I also pondered what Christopher Nolan’s Bane might look like. It was a fun month, and I hope that next month will be just as exciting.

Thanks again to Paragraph Films for throwing the whole “James Bond January” thing together. It was a joy to take part.

Non-Review Review: Octopussy

This post is part of James Bond January, being organised by the wonderful Paragraph Films. I will have reviews of all twenty-two official Bond films going on-line over the next month, and a treat or two every once in a while.

Despite having quite possibly the most awkwardly unfortunate name in the history of the English language, the most enduring image from Octopussy is Roger Moore, flailing wildly and trying to be taken seriously, while dressed as a clown. Oddly appropriate, eh?

Moore, Moore, Mo- Too Much!

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Non-Review Review: For Your Eyes Only

This post is part of James Bond January, being organised by the wonderful Paragraph Films. I will have reviews of all twenty-two official Bond films going on-line over the next month, and a treat or two every once in a while.

The Bond film also known as “the one that even people who dislike Roger Moore Bond films enjoy.”

Bond plays “Eye, Spy”…

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Non-Review Review: Diamonds Are Forever

This post is part of James Bond January, being organised by the wonderful Paragraph Films. I will have reviews of all twenty-two official Bond films going on-line over the next month, and a treat or two every once in a while.

When George Lazenby refused to come back to do a follow-up to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the producers were left with a bit of a problem. Three actors playing Bond in three films would perhaps be a little bit too much for audiences to grapple with, so an emergency appeal was made to Sean Connery to return to the role which made him iconic. Charging a then-astronomical fee, which he donated entirely to charity, Connery donned the tuxedo once again. Reteaming with Guy Hamilton, the man who directed Goldfinger, once would assume that we were pretty much assured a winner – a return to the good old days. What we got was something of a flash-forward. If I didn’t know better, I would suspect that somebody had pulled a “George Lucas” on us, using wondrous new technology to digitally superimpose Sean Connery into a Roger Moore film.

Adam West was considered to play James Bond in this film. I think that tells us everything we need to know.

Sean Connery's Bond was never afraid of wetwork...

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Non-Review Review: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

This post is part of James Bond January, being organised by the wonderful Paragraph Films. I will have reviews of all twenty-two official Bond films going on-line over the next month, and a treat or two every once in a while.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is a relatively low-key Bond adventure. The action set pieces aren’t spectacular, it’s mostly confined to one geographical locale and it features a genuinely moving love story. Coupled with the fact that George Lazenby is replacing Sean Connery, you’d be forgiven for assuming that you’d accidentally been given the wrong video at the video store. It’s not that the changes are necessarily bad (though, to be frank, some of them are), just that it doesn’t exactly feel like the smoothest possible transition.

… And I thought Bond was only married to his job….

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Who is Bond?

This post is part of James Bond January, being organised by the wonderful Paragraph Films. I will have reviews of all twenty-two official Bond films going on-line over the next month, and a treat or two every once in a while.

If you only count official EON productions, there have been six actors to play the role of suave British Secret Service agent James Bond, 007. However, the continuity of it all gets kind of tangled. Is Roger Moore’s clownish spy the same person as Daniel Craig’s cold-hearted assassin? Has the same agent been in operation since Dr. No (clearly taking place in the 1960s) through to Quantum of Solace (featuring all the technology of now)? There’s a popular fan theory that “James Bond” is just a cover identity, passed down from agent to agent as easily as the number “007” – so each iteration of the character is a different agent given the rank. It actually holds up surprisingly well when you watch the twenty-films in the official series.

What’s on the cards?

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