Shaken not Stirred

by Clare Langley-Hawthorne

I’m chomping at the bit to see the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall, and hoping that through the fog of moving preparations and children illnesses I’ll get a chance to see it before it goes to DVD (sadly I only get to see most movies after this fact!).  

Although I remember being taken to  the Roger Moore movies as a child, I really didn’t fall in love with James Bond until I read the original Ian Fleming books. These were true Cold War classics – taut and tightly plotted – they were vastly different to the slightly-camp, bloated movies that peppered the 1980s. 

That was when I went back and watched the Sean Connery Bond movies which were closer to the feel of the books. Now, with the emergence of Daniel Craig as Bond I feel the tone is returning to the original Fleming ideal (though I’m sure some of you will disagree:)) and I have the urge to re-read the books. My only fear is that they will suffer from ‘re-reading fatigue’ (you know, when you read something you loved and realize it’s not as lovable second time round – I had a severe case of this with John Fowles’ The Magus…)

So who amongst you have read the Ian Fleming books? What do you think – should I risk picking them back up? Will they seem merely dated and dull, given the current calibre of thrillers and spy mysteries out there? 

In the Bondian spirit of things, I have to confess Daniel Craig is my favorite Bond, followed closely by Sean Connery. Timothy Dalton was probably the most akin to the Bond of Ian Fleming’s books but it didn’t seem to resonate on film as it should have. My least favorite Bond was Roger Moore  (And boy was Moonraker a dud!). The best movie for me is Daniel Craig’s version of Casino Royale followed by Dr No

So what about you? What’s your favorite Bond actor and movie?Also what about villains? ( I have to confess the ‘Jaws’ guy is mine – just for sheer novelty value!) Why do we think after so many decades, James Bond can still pull a crowd (not to mention the girl)?

14 thoughts on “Shaken not Stirred

  1. I can’t wait to see Skyfall too. Daniel Craig has brought me back to Bond movies. Him and the way the Bond franchise got back to basics with Casino Royal.

    Before Craig, I was a die hard Connery fan. No one else filled his shoes until Daniel Craig’s brutish early Bond reinvented the character for me.

    Nice post, Clare.

  2. Clare, don’t forget the great George Lazenby. Wait, who? Lazenby played Bond in ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE. Even though the performance was lame and forgettable, he can always claim to be James Bond.

    Until Daniel Craig, I always felt that Connery was THE James Bond. Craig changed all that for me. He is Bond.

  3. It’s hard to beat Sean. He had it all. A big part of it was the humor. And nobody, I mean nobody, could say, “Bond. James Bond” like Sean.

    I enjoy Daniel Craig, too, and the renovation of Bond for the current crop of films. I just cannot picture him playing golf with Goldfinger.

    Roger Moore I could only take in small doses. Early on, he was fine. And it’s hard to pinpoint why Timothy Dalton didn’t quite make it. He’s a fine actor, but the character could have lightened up a bit.

  4. I’m also anxious to see the new release. Usually I’m not a thrill-movie viewer (I know, I’m at the wrong site for that declaration). But I love a good Bond movie and it’s one of the few genres my husband and I can both agree on.

    Sean Connery, hands-down. I’m a woman and he has that “it” factor. Think I’ll leave it there.

  5. What about Pearce Brosnan?

    I, too, always thought of Sean Connery as the real Bond. But Skyfall is an amazing film. I didn’t see the first Craig Bond films, so I was interested in how he portrayed Bond. He was great. But the real reason to see Skyfall is Judi Dench. Her best performance yet.

  6. Sean Connery in From Russia with Love with Robert Shaw as the archetype villain’s henchman. Also Daniela Bianchi, my favorite Bond Girl.

    Joe: George Lazenby portrayed a grittier hard-edged Bond with limited success, whereas Daniel Craig delivers.

    Julie: That “it” factor applies to the whole James Bond concept as well.

  7. I thought Pierce Brosnon did a great job and could’ve held the role for quite a while had he desired it to continue.

    Otherwise Daniels rocks the role pretty amazingly.

    On a side note, before Craig I was actually contacted to audition for the part of Bond. I gladly accepted the invite, but came up short when someone made a point of saying, “He’s fat. And he’s not British.” Thus ended my shot at fame as a Bond.

    …Basil Bond, aka Fawlty.

  8. Ah, George Lazenby – how could I possibly forget (especially as he’s an Aussie I think…) but hmm, Basil as Bond…that would have stirred things up:)! I only wish there was a cool female version of Bond…not a female playing James Bond, just a female spy that was as suave and cool:)

  9. As a long time Bond fan myself (30+ years and still going strong) let me urge everyone to see Skyfall and see a lot of classic Blond elements mixed with a modern theme.

    The end is jaw-dropping. Sad yet understandable with a splash of vindication.

  10. Like you, I was taken to see Moore’s flicks as a child. For Your Eyes Only being the first. The second film I watched was Moonraker. I Must confess it looked awesome to the then-10 year old.
    During the 80’s they made this James Bond festival and I was able to enjoy all of them in a movie theater. Best way to get introduced to Bond!

    I didn’t read Flemming’s books until the last decade and was surprised to see some of the novels shared nothing with their movie counterpart. The Spy Who Loved Me, for instance. Did you know in the original book because it is from a woman’s POV, the spy is actually Bond?

    Read the books again, even if you find disenchanted with one, I’m sure you’d rediscover another and think: why didn’t I like this one best before?

  11. I’ve seen almost all of the movies (not Skyfall and not the original Casino) and loved just about all of them. I didn’t care for the alternate Thunderball or the often aired cut version of Moonraker – the full movie has some great scenes – but I’ve enjoyed them all otherwise. I do wish Pierce Brosnan had continued in the role but all his films after GoldenEye had strange plots and I didn’t care for the last, Die Another Day. George Lazenby was too inactive a hero for my tastes, but I’ve grown more fond of Timothy Dalton’s portrayal in reruns.

    My favorite movies are From Russia With Love and GoldenEye. Loved the total package in each: the concept, the villain, the whole movie. So far I’m enjoying Daniel Craig and the reboot of the cast. At least the strange plots from Brosnan’s movies have been replaced by more traditional stories and I like that aspect.

    But I confess I’ve never read a single book. They are definitely on my to-read list now. I think my father had a few paperback copies…

  12. I saw Skyfall last week. Normally, my adult son and I go to stuff like this. Bonding and stuff.

    But I could not wait. This was the 50th. The BEST BOND EVER. It even had a Kiwi Chick tie-in (Gin Wigmore singing in the 007 Heineken commercial.


    So I went, filled with expectation.

    And, as I know, but forgot, expectation is a bitch.

    I HATED Skyfall.

    Really, hated it. Hated everything about it, except for the Adele tune and the accompanying sequence.

    Hated all the rest. And, in fact, I was SO pissed off, and let down, I had to watch a Bourne DVD to get the bad taste out of my brain.

    A couple of days later I went to see Skyfall again, with my son.


    And to see if it really did suck.

    On second thought, it did not suck. It was OK. But, compared to Casino Royal (2006), and after all the hype, it was flacid.

    Not a good look for James, especially when Bond is trying to be all Bourne.

    Not even.

    Still, I enjoyed watching the Bourne movie for the seventh time.

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