Bond Again

I really agree with all of Geoff's points on the Connery vs. Moore JamesBonds, but disagree with his conclusion.

First, there has never been a great James Bond film. Period. There have been humorous ones, enjoyable ones, etc. But no great art. With that off the table, what is one left with? A comic book. And the best comic books are not those from the 1950s, where Batman and Robin were seen as proxy lovers, nor the modern Frank Miller Darkness Reigns Over All models. The best comic books blend both, with camp and self-awareness.

The Moore Bond films were self-aware, through and through. Not only Moore, but the villains. The Connery Bonds had self-awareness, but it was reserved for Connery. I agree he's more 'manly.' Gary Cooper was more manly than Jimmy Stewart, but could Cooper have pulled off some of Stewart's everyman roles? Could John Wayne, to extend the analogy to its absurd conclusions?

As I stated with my arguing against Heath Ledger's Joker, in The Dark Knight, vs. Jack Nicholson's Joker in the original 1989 film Batman, Nicholson reigns because he brings malice and humor to the role. Ledger is one note- all malice. Why is he even called The Joker?

Moore embodies Ian Fleming's character, as written, more than Connery did, despite whatever nonsense was said in PR film campaigns. His Bond was far closer to Patrick McGoohan's No. 6 (another reason the character was called such was the closeness to 007, numerically, by the way) in that he was a goofier McGoohan, whereas No. 6 was generally a Bondian character, as portrayed by Connery. But, the world of Bond was never as existential nor angst-ridden as No. 6's The Village.

Geoff wrote: 'One never got the sense with Moore as one did with Connery that he enjoyed tweaking both his superiors at MI6 and the villains.' I disagree strongly. Moore's Bond is always faulted for NEVER taking things as seriously as Connery's character. I just think this is a strength, not a flaw. After all, and especially in the post-9/11 world, don't cartoon characters with razor derbies seem kind of laughable?

'Moore always seemed a bit confused and bland, lacking the grace and charm of his predecessor. One never doubts for a minute Connery’s ability to get women of all stripes into bed. One does wonder why all these increasingly gorgeous women have the hots for Roger Moore. To add fuel to the fire, Moore’s Bond never ordered a martini, and Connery looked better in a tuxedo than Moore did.' I think this is all just Geoff's bias because diegetically speaking, the two Bonds had remarkable ease with women, and Moore, while closer to Robert Redford than Marlon Brando, was still a great looking guy.

As for their acting? I agree Connery was the better actor, but he imbued too much into a role that was written as a lark. Moore fundamentally got this. His work in The Saint, as Simon Templar, on television, was more Connerian in origin, so he deliberately had more fun with the goofier Bond.

This is what makes comic book level writing fun. And, while the 1970s Bonds may not have had as inventive villains and plots as the early ones, this is not Moore's fault, as he just did the best with the material he got. Compare even the worst Moore film with Connery's laughably bad return as Bond in 1983's Never Say Never Again. This gives a fair comparison of what the two men could do with similar material.

In short, the best James Bond was Roger Moore, just as the best Joker was Jack Nicholson. And the reasons are very similar. Moore's Bond could easily fill a role in the Batman universe, Connery's could not. That says alot about a comic book character.