I just went to see the new Bond flick, “Casino Royale.” I won’t be talking about the movie at this time since it is really awkward to write while keeping the ‘no spoilers’ rule. Too complicated. However, as a new actor takes over the James Bond role, it is a good time to ponder what has come before. In honor of the new movie, I have gathered a few choice moments from the 007 pantheon and included them below. If you have better alternative film moments (and given my faulty memory, it is inevitable), please send them to me and I’ll include them in the main piece below. With due attribution of course.
Most cruel moment: James Bond was written with a streak of cruelty in his personality. Or perhaps Sean Connery was just working out his kinks onscreen. For whatever reason, 007 was given a really ultra-cool, nasty disposition early on.
Connery: In “Dr. No” Bond breaks away from his game of solitaire just long enough to kill the good doctor that’s just pumped 6 bullets into an unfortunate pillow standing in for our hero in bed. Bond dryly remarks “you’ve had your 6” and then shoots the doctor with his Walther PPK.
Moore: Roger Moore was such a nice guy that it is hard to believe he would fit this category. But check out the “For Your Eyes Only” moment in which he kicks the villain’s car off a cliff. He really meant it that time: there was no funny quip following this action.
Brosnan: I don’t have an entry here. Any help??
Dalton: The entire “License Renewed” showed 007 in a mad rage to get personal revenge. I am sure there is a pivotal moment in this movie that showed his cruelty. I just can’t think of one.
Most amazing human special effect: In the era of CGI and fly-by-wire, it is good to see James almost break his body in order to give us an amazing moment.
Connery: 007 crawls thru a network of ducts in “Dr. No” and has to battle heat and ocean waves. He cleverly uses his pants’ pockets as gloves to protect himself from the heat. He looks really uncomfortable and miserable, which qualifies him for this category.
Lazenby: Can you believe that George Lazenby actually made a category?? He uses the same trick and rips out his pants’ pockets to climb out of an icy grave in “In Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” His hand-over-hand crawl out of a cable car house in sub-zero weather was amazing and ingenuous.
Moore: 007 uses his upper body strength and a pair of shoe laces to survive a vertiginous drop from a cliff in “For Your Eyes Only.” He is able to climb up his rope and dispense with a villain avoiding being knocked off the mountain top monastery.
Most painful torture moment:� Our hero is often imperiled and threatened with death by various villains and various villanous methods.� But he has to be in real pain to make this category.
Connery: 007 is strapped to a mechanical back-stretcher and left to die in “Thunderball.” There was no villain present to witness his death, making the moment even more disturbing in its pain and indifference.
Moore: in “Moonraker,” 007 is put on a centrifuge and left to die (sound familiar?). He is saved by a wrist-fired exploding dart and the ministrations of the beautiful Dr. Hollly Goodhead (Lois Chiles). We have a nice human moment here as she pulls 007 out of the centrifuge just moments before he tosses his cookies.
Brosnan: In “Die Another Day” Pierce Brosnan gets pummeled big time , during the credits yet !! It is very realistic (for a Bond movie) and quite effective. And don’t tell me that you didn’t wish pretty boy Brosnan getting something like this on the screen. It is a very good choice and starts the movie with the right tone.
Moment of real intimacy:
Sorry, these are James Bond films. Even 007’s wedding looked a little forced in “In Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” If you can think of a real intimate moment in which 007 was not already making plans to exit while bedding down the girl, let me know.