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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Best Bond Since: Moore?

Will Daniel Craig be a better James Bond than Roger Moore? This is a question that will likely take the passage of some time to answer fully. It isn’t fair to compare the two actors when Craig’s debut film has not even launched yet and Moore has seven contributions to the franchise.

That said, I don’t think the media will be likely to make the “Best Bond Since Moore” claim because Pierce Brosnan has been so widely loved in the role. I do think he may ultimately be a better Bond than Moore, though. Why? He’s young enough and rugged enough to look the part. Moore really wasn’t even with Live and Let Die in 1973, and it didn’t get any better as he grew older. I think Craig has the opportunity to operate in Sean Connery’s determined, sophisticated and clever shoes while still incorporating some of Brosnan’s not-as-goofy-as-Moore-but-still-clever wit.

Will any critics claim that Casino Royale is the Best Bond Since For Your Eyes Only? That’s not likely, even though I would argue that it is Moore’s best film by far, because FYEO is 25 years old at this point. Regardless, it may very well be true. Looking objectively at the series in recent decades, I think the best films, in chronological order, are: FYEO, The Living Daylights, Goldeneye and The World Is Not Enough. Octopussy might perhaps merit an honorable mention, but it pales in my mind with the rest of this class. So does Tomorrow Never Dies, even though it is a respectable entry. I fully suspect that Royale will be better, based on what I have seen, than Daylights and TWINE. It is likely to outclass Goldeneye, if you ask me, but that is a taller order.

I would have to say that FYEO and Goldeneye are the highlights of the James Bond film series since 1981. Royale should be safely in good company among those films and possibly even higher. We’ll see very soon.

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