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Moore: The PPK-Toting Comedian

Apr 18, 2003
By: Steve Brown

Mention Roger Moore as James Bond and you're bound to have mixed reactions. Some would say that he was the worst thing that could have ever happened to the Bond character, while others insist that was the best to play the role. Whichever side one takes, one must look at the obvious positive aspects Moore brought to the role.

I'm not the biggest Moore fan. In fact, I'll be the first to say that he greatly distorted Fleming's version of the character. Moore came into the role with his idea of what Bond should be, and was afraid of being compared to Connery. To make his mark on the character, he changed many aspects of the character. For instance, Moore would not say "shaken, not stirred," because he felt that it would make him look too much like Connery. The more obvious trait that Moore brought to the character of James Bond was the lighthearted, suave manner in which he presented himself. Moore's Bond could seldom be seen as the grim and serious agent of Connery. Moore's one-liners and quips are often memorable, but many would say this destroyed the serious nature of the series. However much this may be true, I disagree with the fact that Moore's acting ruined the series for a few reasons.

When Moore hit the scene in 1973 with Live and Let Die, he introduced a new face to a character that looked like it was standing on its last leg. Many wondered if the series, now over a decade old, could hold up to a new generation of young people. George Lazenby had been rejected by fans- or perhaps he just wasn't Sean Connery- and now Moore was attempting to revitalize a series that looked as if it was failing. To me, Moore succeeded in attracting a new generation of Bond fans. The younger generation of the 1960's did not want a serious; often emotionless killer, they wanted someone that was different, perhaps more lighthearted. The 1960's were a time of cold war problems where spying and super-weapons were a reality. With the 1970's came a new breed of problems, and the cold war was no longer such a danger with 'détente' between Russia and the United States.

Moore should not be overly criticized for his role as James Bond. He brought humor and his own breed of sophistication to the character. He wasn't Connery, that's for sure, but he kept the series alive and brought a new generation to love 007. Moore wasn't the best Bond in my opinion by any means, but I respect his work and his contribution to the series. Without him, I highly doubt there would ever have been a Timothy Dalton or Pierce Brosnan. So, even though Moonraker and A View to A Kill might be a little over the top on the slap-stick comedy, puns and one-liners, at least they captivated a new audience and kept Bond alive.