Was SPECTRE Daniel Craig’s “Roger Moore Bond Movie”?

AA1623BB-5D6B-4DA5-B990-E17CB1270A1D.jpeg

Roger Moore and Daniel Craig will never be confused for each other. About the only thing these two Bond actors have in common is that they’re the only two British Bonds. Moore’s style was tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek, while Craig has just had a bloody cheek. I mean this literally! A rough day for Moore’s Bond was getting his hair out of place. If Craig’s Bond isn’t bruised and bloody, well then he hasn’t been doing his job.

The most glaring difference in their performances has to be in the sense of humor department. Roger Moore was Roger Moore as James Bond and the audiences of the 70s and 80s ate up the camp. Daniel Craig is Ian Fleming’s James Bond and has been the gritty Bond we need for this current dangerous world. The only other actor who is closer to Fleming’s interpretation of the character is Timothy Dalton.

With Craig’s 5th and final turn as 007 coming in November 2019 (he will pass Moore as the longest serving Bond in years, sometime in 2018), it begs the question… was his most recent movie, SPECTRE, as Moore-ish as Craig will get? Allow me to go all Jim Garrison – JFK investigation on this.

CASE STUDY #1

The Couch Gag

After Bond blows up a building in Mexico City, it rapidly becomes an escape from his own collapsing structure. After sliding down falling debris in his beautiful Tom Ford suit, Bond lands perfectly on a couch. I’ve read other theories on this scene that believe a more appropriate landing spot for Craig’s Bond would have been on his ass right next to the couch. Nothing ever comes easy for this Bond. Yet, the screenwriters and director Sam Mendes pulled the full-Roger for this one. The only thing Craig missed doing was the accustomed straightening of the tie and cuff links.

CASE STUDY #2

Ridiculous Car Chase

Bond’s gadgets don’t work. He accidentally starts playing “New York, New York”. He bumper-nudges an old Italian man driving a tiny car, that is blasting opera of course. He also has time to call Moneypenny and inquire about her social life. Not quite as campy as the car chases from The Spy Who Loved Me or For Your Eyes Only, but not too far off. And perhaps the greatest sin of all is that the Bond vs Hinx vehicular combat is boring.

CASE STUDY #3

THE ONE-LINERS

Daniel Craig’s 007 isn’t known for his pithy comebacks, while Roger Moore’s jokes came out of left field…and right field, and center. But SPECTRE did give Craig some one-liner opportunities. The best one being a laxative joke. Pay attention to Craig’s humor in his four films. It is there, in the shadows, and it is very snarky.

CASE STUDY #4

CRAIG GIVES THE “MOORE NOD” A TRY

The Roger Moore Bond tilt of the head is a classic move. It says “yes, I’m in danger, but this is also fun”.

Craig does his own “salute” when chasing Hinx’s jeep with his plane. Check out 00:40-00:55 of the video. It’s not quite as playful, but it still says “yes, I’m in danger, but this is also fun…oh and I’m slightly insane.”

Image result for roger moore daniel craig

Could you swap any of the seven Moore Bond movies for Craig’s four films? It’s highly doubtful. Being British and the two longest serving 007s are the only thing these two Bond greats have in common.

Image result for roger moore daniel craig nobody does it better

Three Is The Magic Number

9C067DDB-7813-4520-9BDC-2B95D74A7E0A

For this article I’m going to need Mr. Lazenby and Mr. Dalton to leave the room. Sorry gentlemen, but this is a club for only Bond actors who have played the role at least three times.

Why at least three times? That’s because there is a case to be made that a James Bond actor doesn’t hit his prime until his third turn at the role. There are three 007 actors that can claim that their best, or most popular, Bond movie took place on their third try. The other Bond actor left, not so much.

Sean Connery’s third Bond movie was Goldfinger. Even if you have never seen a Bond flick before, you know about Goldfinger. In 1964, it was THE movie to see in the theater. It was well before my time, but I think I came out of my mother’s womb knowing the classic scenes and humming the theme song. It’s the most iconic Bond movie there is. Even though I like it more than I love it, I completely understand why most critics and fans have it down as their number one 007 film. Connery is probably more lethal and excellent in Dr. No and From Russia With Love, but by the time that pre-credit title sequence comes on, you know he has made the role of James Bond his own.

By the time the summer of 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me hit theaters, there was a chance that the Bond franchise was done for. Live And Let Die and The Man With The Golden Gun were underwhelming in the eyes of many Bond viewers in the early 70s. Roger Moore just wasn’t Sean Connery. Well, in his third movie he learned he didn’t have to be. By the time James Bond skies off a mountain, and opens up a Union Jack parachute, audiences could just feel Roger Moore hitting his Bond prime. The humor, the raised eyebrow, the suave-over-dangerous manner. This wasn’t Roger Moore as James Bond. This was James Bond as Roger Moore.

Some 007 movies have it all. Just like Goldfinger and The Spy Who Loved Me, Skyfall is the modern equivalent. Take a memorable villain, add an all-time great theme song, and you have Daniel Craig’s third go-around becoming the highest grossing Bond film of all-time, and even considered for a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars!

383FA406-3198-4F8F-ACD8-7EBB451A1A80

Let’s rewind a bit. Before we had Craig defining what it means to be James Bond, we had Pierce Brosnan. A man who looks like he was born to play the role. Brosnan’s best Bond movie is his first. Most critics and fans agree about this when it comes to Goldeneye. His third movie, The World Is Not Enough, does not stand with the other three, third-times-the-charm, Bond pics as a great one. Although, a case can be made that Brosnan does his best acting in this one. Let’s be honest, it couldn’t have been easy for him to act along side Denise Richards (the second worst Bond girl ever). It’s interesting that in Goldeneye, Brosnan looks as smooth and cool as Connery/Goldfinger, Moore/Spy, and Craig/Skyfall, but come around to his number three and he has to force a solid performance just to keep the movie somewhat interesting.

Seven might be a lucky number, but for most 007s, the number three hits the jackpot.

What’s Next, Mr. Bond?

64C41308-D414-40F9-8876-A8AAD5BAED48

At the end of Spectre, Daniel Craig’s James Bond drives off into the sunset with Madeline Swann. A woman who has fallen in love with him in a matter of a few days. She’s no Vesper!

This ending meant two things:

1) Craig will NOT return as 007 for a 5th movie, so this is a nice send-off for one of the best Bond actors.

2) This sets up a rebooted On Her Majesty’s Secret Service flick, where Craig as Bond and Madeline get married or engaged early in the next movie…and Blofeld finds a way to murder her and Bond goes all Liam Neeson-Taken on Blofeld and SPECRTE.

But what about neither of these being the correct choice? As we know now, after months and months and months of either playing coy or truly being torn, Daniel Craig is returning for his 5th and final turn as the world’s most famous secret agent. This 25th official 007 movie comes out in less than two years and we still don’t know much about it.

Here’s what we do know:

– Daniel Craig is signed up for only one more. He said he wants to “go out on a high note.”

– Christoph Waltz will not return as Blofeld. Although that doesn’t mean another actor won’t take up the role. It’s been a Bond movie tradition.

– Directors Christopher Nolan and Denis Villeneuve are very interested in directing a Bond movie… just not this upcoming one.

This isn’t much to go on. We don’t have shooting locations, or a plot description, or rumored title, etc.

This is where I step in. Craig has been in two all-time Bond classics (Casino Royale, Skyfall) and two good Bond movies (Quantum Of Solace, Spectre) that have the disadvantage of not being Casino Royale and Skyfall. How should Craig go out as Bond? What kind of a movie should he do? The idea of re-imagining On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is very tempting and I have no doubt Craig would knock it right out of the park. But if I creating this 25th Bond movie (and for the purpose of this article I am), I’m not sure I want to see Craig do another somber, rogue, unofficial mission flick.

27F2BE6B-DA90-4B42-96CF-98E83A33972B

There is this inaccurate claim that Daniel Craig can’t do comedy. He’s hosted SNL, he and Stephen Colbert have great comedic chemistry, and while I wasn’t blown away by Logan Lucky, he proved he can be funny and isn’t afraid to make a fool of himself.

My Bond 25 movie has Craig almost going the full-Roger Moore. So maybe it’s more of a Brosnan type of Bond movie. Who can direct this kind of Bond movie? My sleeper pick is Tom Ford. If you watch Nocturnal Animals, you will see he has style to spare. Not sure how he could pull off some lighter moments, but I think it’s worth a shot. Plus, he already designs Bond’s wardrobe. Hitting two Bond jobs with one stone.

For the pre-title action sequence, I want to see Bond during a mission that has nothing to do with the main plot. Think the opening of Goldfinger or Octopussy. Something spectacular that gets the audience going and never has to come up again. This is a good way to say “Hey! Remember Spectre? And how all those four movies were tied together for some odd reason? Well, forget it!”

The name of this movie is called Devil May Care. The title comes from a Bond novel written by Sebastian Faulks. It just sounds Bond-ish and will fit the tone of the movie. Who sings the opening theme? Rumors of Adele returning, and Beyoncé interested, are floating around. Both are great choices and improvements over “Writing’s On The Wall”. Sorry Sam Smith. But once again, I’m going with a real sleeper. A musical choice no one will see coming. My choice to sing “Devil May Care” is Miley Cyrus. If I had said this three or four years ago, I would have been locked up in a mental institution. Now Miley is all grown up and she is starting to make a career singing ballads. Think Adele’s “Skyfall” meets Sheena Easton’s “For Your Eyes Only”. Hell, you can even put Miley’s face during the title sequence just like Sheena’s in FYEO.

Let’s talk the villain’s plot. Who is the villain? I’m not bringing back Blofeld or anyone connected to SPECTRE. I’d like the villain and his plan to be of the times. I’m thinking a Zuckerberg-type played by Adam Driver. But the one I’m choosing for my Bond villain is another off-the-wall choice. I want to see America’s favorite son, Tom Hanks as a Bond villain. I want him for the role of an Elon Musk-type of space-obsessed madman. The real-life Musk is already rumored to be helping producers build something for the movie. Watch Bond drive a Tesla soon. This movie plot could be a less ridiculous mix of Moonraker, Diamonds Are Forever, Die Another Day.

We need to have two Bond girls. One good and one bad. It’s simple Bond mathematics. I like the idea of picking actresses that aren’t that well-known and have an international flair to them. My choices are Pom Klementieff (Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2) and Stephanie Corneliusse (Mr. Robot).

Location, location, location. Bond has done enough in Italy, Turkey and the Caribbean. I want to see James head to countries he’s never been to before. I’d like a location in any of the Scandinavian nations. A major city like Oslo or Copenhagen. Bond producers have never filmed in South Africa, so that’s my other spot. We need one more exotic location and the producers might be ahead of me on this one. There are rumors of Croatia being used. You put a Scandavian country, along with South Africa and Croatia, and you have an interesting Bond movie.

Some final touches on Devil May Care:

I want to see him scuba dive and ski. Need a henchperson with a physical abnormality. Bring back Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter. Need a top notch car chase, and to have Bond hang from a plane or a train or a building. This sounds like a classic Bond flick.

The final scene needs to have some way to say goodbye to Daniel Craig’s James Bond. We don’t want it to be too cheesy, but just a classy way to symbolize that “nobody does it better.”

A3E91C58-1D50-4CD0-B789-8419449446D8

 

I Wish I Was James Bond, Just For The Day

I hate to nick (as the Brits may say) the song from Scouting For Girls, but for this first post it was just too bloody easy. Everyone is a nerd for something. Star Wars, Batman, Indiana Jones, etc. While I love all three of those examples, nothing compares to my fanaticism for James Bond 007.

My first ever in-the-movies Bond experience was Octopussy in the summer of 1983. I was only 5 years-old, but I was just beginning to get hooked on Bond movies. As a child growing up in NYC, while the other kids were watching Sesame Street, I was watching James Bond seduce a woman for the possession of a Fabergé egg. I caught the lifelong 007 fever from my parents (my mom claims to have named me after Sean Connery). While I grew up watching Connery as Bond on rather expensive VHS tapes, my boyhood idol was Roger Moore as James Bond. His death this past May was brutal. As ridiculous as it sounds, it was like losing a father figure. Sure, he was 89 years-old, but to me he will always be the 50ish-something (looking 40ish-something) suave secret agent.

My love for the Bond movies, and everything associated with Ian Fleming’s iconic creation, has never wavered. From my childhood years of catching up on Connery’s impressive start to the franchise, and then transitioning to Moore’s campy style, with the odd single turn of George Lazenby right smack in the middle, to the short run of Timothy Dalton’s brooding Bond, followed up by the urbane Pierce Brosnan and the current terrific 007 Daniel Craig…

Well, to quote Craig’s final line in Quantum of Solace: “I never left.”

I consider myself a 10 out of 10 when it comes to Bond knowledge, but you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy this site. Just be warned that on this site names of important figures in the history of Bond will pop up. Cubby Broccoli, Ken Adam, Maurice Binder, John Barry, Shirley Bassey and so on.

Like I said up top, everyone is a nerd for something. Mine happens to be for Bond, James Bond. Whether it’s collecting the movies, books, memorabilia, or every New Year’s Eve dressing up as him, with one of my “Bond girls” for a 007 party at this very cool theater/bar where I live in Orlando, FL… Bond is my life.

007

From Orlando, With Love,

Sean M.

 

The Website Is Not Enough