Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sorry- to me, you'll always be the guy riding the CGI wave in "Die Another Day"

In 1986, Roger Moore (mercifully) retired as the third man to play James Bond on the big screen.  People my age remember that Moore stayed in the role longer than any other actor- 12 years and 7 films- and probably walked away at least two films and six years too late.  He was fifty-eight years old when the god-awful A View To A Kill was released in 1985, and man did he look it.

See that sunset, Mr. Moore?  Have a nice ride into it.  Better late than never.  Take Tanya Roberts with you.

In 1994, Timothy Dalton- an actual, Royal Shakespeare Theater-trained actor, got sick of waiting around for United Artists to get it's financial house in order and decided to give up the role of James Bond after only two films.  Anyone who has ever talked film with me knows that I consider Dalton the very best actor to ever play the Bond role, and believe that his two contributions to the Bond library were real highlights in the series.   Dalton brought a darker, edgier, more realistic portrayal to Fleming's iconic character, and his scripts were down-to-Earth spy stories which were a welcome change after a dozen years of Mad Billionaires Who Want To Kill Everyone On Earth Being Thwarted As Soon As Roger Moore Can Be Bothered To Stop Having Sex With Everyone schlock.
But Dalton is also one of the most criminally underappreciated actors ever, so American audiences didn't exactly react with a collective moan at the news that Dalton would not be returning for a third film.

Pierce Brosnan played James Bond in four films which were released in the years 1995-2002.  The first one was ok.  The second one was a ripoff of You Only Live Twice AND The Spy Who Loved Me.  The third one featured Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist.  The fourth one was dominated by Halle Berry, CGI, and the worst title song in the entire series until it was beaten out by "Another Way To Die" in 2008.  Moore's reign as Bond featured one car chase after another- Brosnan's was a wall of noise created by endless machine gun fire and explosions- action set pieces in which Waiter In a Tux Brosnan might as well have been just another stuntman.  Oh, and he couldn't act his way out of a paper bag.

In 2005, Brosnan became the very first Bond actor to actually be fired from the role.  He didn't handle it very well, tossing out whiny, peevish, bitter and juvenile snark at his former benefactors.  Daniel Craig has done very well with the job (except for Quantum of Solace,) pretty much silencing the critics who thought that he couldn't follow Pierce.

Last year, Brosnan attempted an action hero comeback in The November Man.  Oh, you missed it?  So did pretty much everyone else.

See that sunset, Mr. Brosnan?  Have a nice ride into it.  Here's a crappy car you can use.  Take Halle Berry and the ice palace and CGI tidal wave and Madonna with you.   And good luck with that November Man sequel.  I'll try not to blink and miss it like I did the original.

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