Six actors. One British Secret Agent. Who stands out as the best 007?
Odds are that you or any James Bond fan you know prefers one actor over another. And, really, there is nothing wrong with that. We all have our opinions, but voicing one's love or hate for a James Bond actor is different from bashing a Bond for the sake of bashing. All too often I have heard stale arguments that Connery is the best Bond because he was the first, or Lazenby the worst because of his sole outing as the secret agent.
I could argue for days over who is the best James Bond actor in my eyes (I prefer Sean Connery), but really, this argument is one that can never be won or lost. The fact of the matter is that although each actor may have his own flaws and shining points, the culmination of each actor's portrayal has affected the perception of the James Bond character since its cinematic birth in 1962's Dr. No.
Phew. Before I go any further in this serious discussion on the Bonds, let's take a break and see what one YouTube user thought would be a fun way to find out the best 007.
The author of the following video utilizes some great editing techniques to blend six in-movie casino sequences (one from each Bond) to portray the completed scene as a poker game between the six James Bond's.
If anything the author should be commended for his editing abilities, however I think the clip sheds light on some interesting ideas regarding the evolution of the James Bond character. More on this after the video...
Pretty neat, huh? Although it may end comically, the clip shows a serious outlook on how each Bond is personified. As a side note, I love the awesomely suave On Her Majesty's Secret Service tune "Try" that occupies the background.
Anyways, each actor's contributions to the character lend a certain sterotype to his portrayal of 007: Connery the suave, Lazenby the lonesome, Moore the funny, Dalton the serious, Brosnan the witty and Craig the gritty. What these stereotypes actually are is irrelevant - each fan can have their own stereotype of the actor (these are loosely based on my own). The important aspect of these stereotypes is that they have altered the James Bond character (some actors more so than others) into how he is perceived today.
James Bond's current cinematic DNA (yes, it's that unique) is 40+ years in the making - with thousands upon thousands of people contributing to the series from each line that Bond speaks to each set element we see on screen. Think about it. What if Connery and Goldfinger never exchanged the famous "No, Mr. Bond I expect you to die!" quote? How much would Dalton's Bond differ if he never smoked?
This is a main reason why the James Bond movies have been, and will forever be so popular. Although there are many constant variables in the movies, both the subtle and extreme changes from movie to movie allow for different "flavors" of the character, essentially supporting the franchise in their own unique ways.
It may sound like I have stated the obvious to some, however, in writing this I hope to give newly found Bond fans a reason to embrace the older movies, and veteran Bond fans the courage to give the new movies a chance.
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