The Best Bond

We may go see the new James Bond movie, Skyfall, this weekend.  I think Daniel Craig is an exceptionally good James Bond, but I still put Sean Connery at the top of the Bond l– James Bond — list.

When you think about it, playing Bond isn’t easy.  He’s supposed to be a handsome, charming rogue who is irresistible to the ladies.  He has to deliver droll lines with impeccable timing.  He must look dashing in a tuxedo, play expert baccarat, and order a drink with style.  He must seem intelligent, capable of acting as an independent spy, and able to respond effectively to the unexpected.  And, most fundamental of all, he must be believable as an unstoppable, cold-blooded killer.  The whole point of James Bond, of course, is that he has a license to kill and is perfectly comfortable with his role as assassin.

It’s the last point, I think, where most Bonds have fallen short.  The pretty boy Bonds — and I put Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan in that category — never seemed credible as the ruthless, single-minded killing juggernaut.  Connery always did.  His Bond was a big man, sharp as a razor, who looked like he actually could win a fight to the death with Odd Job or Robert Shaw’s unflappable Russian killer.  In the two finest Bond movies, From Russia With Love and Goldfinger, Connery managed to bring all of the Bond elements together in one stunning package.  You knew he meant it when he told some femme fatale that he had enjoyed her favors solely for king and country.  If I were a supervillain or a supervillain’s henchman, Connery’s Bond would be the one I feared the most.

After the Connery era ended, the Bond series has veered in various directions.  Many of the Roger Moore movies — and some of them were pretty good — focused more on over-the-top scenarios and humor, rather than the stone-hearted killer that is Bond’s core.  Other Bond movies have gone too far in the direction of gadgetry, or absurd conquer the world schemes, or “Bond girls.” All of those movies, I think, also lost some of the essence of Bond.

I’m glad that the two Daniel Craig efforts I’ve seen so far have moved Bond back into his role as flinty-eyed assassin who will complete his murderous mission without much reflection.  Craig, like Connery, also is believable as someone who would unthinkingly snap some stranger’s neck like a dry twig in order to complete his assignment.  At some point, Craig’s Bond might be a contender — but for now, Sean Connery’s Bond remains definitive.

Phenomenal Casting

This week the movie based on the Stieg Larsson book “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” opened and my friends Courtney and Janine invited me to go with them. We were somewhat surprised that there wasn’t more of a crowd at the theater, but it was a Tuesday night.

Both Janine and I had read all three books, however if you haven’t I would suggest that you do as my friend Courtney did, a little research prior to going so your not confused by the storyline. In the book Larsson takes his time developing the characters, however the movie starts from the point in time when Mikael Blomkvist played by Daniel Craig has lost a libel judgement and decides to take on a special investigative project.

While working on the project Craig decides her needs an experience investigator, enter Lisbeth Salander played by Rooney Mara whose performance drives the movie. Often when you read a book one is disappointed when a character does not look like what you pictured them to be in your mind. This was not the case with Lisbeth as the twenty five year old Rooney cut off a foot of her hair, dyed it black, bleached her eyebrows and got six piercings to play the part perfectly. In my humble opinion she deserves a nomination for an Oscar.

The movie was dark as was the book and the rape scene in the movie was very intense along with the scene where she pays back her perpetrator. Larsson who wrote the book witnessed a gang rape of a girl named Lisbeth when he was fifteen and he did not intervene. This experience haunted him for the rest of his life and in an effort to atone for this all of his books deal with the issue of women being abused by men.

I loved the movie, was entertained by it, would go see it again and would highly recommend it to all. Just as an aside – this was my 200th post on Webnerhouse – hard to believe.