Apr 7, 2003
By: Christian C.L. Brown
I'm a relative newcomer to the Bond world. I saw Die Another Day in January 2003 and over the course of two months saw every Bond movie. I'm a fanatic now, but one thing bothered me about the series. This thing is continuity.
Over the course of forty years, Bond has changed accents, eye colors, hair, humor levels, and actors five times. Scotsman Connery, Aussie Lazenby, English Moore, Welsh Dalton, and Irish Brosnan have all had distinctive characters apart from each other. For example, it is difficult for one to imagine Roger Moore on vendetta against Sanchez in License to Kill or Brosnan in Goldfinger. Bond's character changed over the course of the movies, from deadly and funny, to killing machine, to comedian with a PPK. Each movie was written for the presentation of each. But what about transition? Can one imagine Bond in his mission with 006, and then the adventures of The Living Daylights and License to Kill, to be followed with Goldeneye? The point is, when an actor plays multiple movies in a row, it is easier to feel that he had just had the past events happen to him. Using this concept, we can state that some weak points in believability happen in the You Only Live Twice-OHMSS-Diamonds Are Forever-Live And Let Die. Perhaps that is why many people are critical of these films. When audiences saw Lazenby, did they believe he had just experienced the events of You Only Live Twice? Most likely not, because of acting and visual differences. When the actor changes, it puts a small indentation on the surface of the movies. Maybe that's why Roger stayed until eternity, which is my next point.
Bond's age has upped and downed throughout the series from 32-37 to 30 to 41 to 46-58 to 41-43 to 42-50. This is inevitable because once a Bond is too old, he will be replaced with a younger one. In Connery's case, in my opinion, he kept very well as he did Bond again in Never Say Never Again, and if he wanted to do another movie, I would buy two tickets. Lazenby bugged out of the series because people told him the new hippy generation wouldn't buy clean cut secret servicemen. No wonder he's mad at Brosnan. Roger Moore gets points because he was three years older than Sean and took his place. However, he aged drastically, and more visually than Sean because of his hair. Lucky for Sean he wore a wig. Along came Timmy, making it harder to believe that Bond had changed eyes, face, hair, and age in the course of two years. Of course, it could always be worse. Rumors abound that the plan was that Connery-Bond would get surgery to become Lazenby-Bond, making it make since. Wow. Don't even get me started on Blofeld and how the Las Vegas air made him magically grow hair.
Finally, probably the worst, is culture change. As a lead off, Connery's Bond hated the Beatles, but in this day, when the current Bond was ten during Beatlemania...the movie gives itself away, but of course they didn't think they were making twenty. Another example is the evolution of the definition of a luxury car. In the sixties, the DB5 was the thing, but today, it is more of a vintage car show car. However, probably the worst car to fare culture shock is the Lotus. The boxy white sub-car was the epitome of Moore and the 70s in all their reeking glory. Brosnan's BMW's fare better. Probably a bigger point is Q Branch. Many of the things in Q's toy box that aren't impossible are available (even obsolete) today. Think of the different combination crackers throughout the series. Think about car phones and pagers, copy machines, and digital watches. Today no one is caught dead with a pager or digital ("except mine, cause mine's cool", I say as my Ironman dangles from the loosest notch from my right wrist). Think of the terrifying laser Goldfinger has and then, magically, it is put into Bond's watch. Remember Connery and Moore in their pants that come up to their navels? Remember the Bond girls who actually wore clothes? With that, it's hard to imagine one man doing undercover/under the covers work from 1962 to 2002 and beyond.
In conclusion, the only continuous things are the PPK (well not anymore) and Blofeld's cat. In summary, James Bond Will Return, Just Not Like Before.