Strong Bonds – 007 from DR. NO to SKYFALL

British singer Adele has yet again proven herself to be a family friendly version of Amy Winehouse by recording a theme to a James Bond film, by (unlike the late Ms. Winehouse) actually getting the song recorded. And yeah, the song Skyfall (from the new James Bond film, the name of which I’m drawing a blank on…) sounds like the same kind of bland crap that normally gets made for these films. Just when I thought they’d maybe turned a corner with the Jack White-performed theme song from Quantum of Solace (perhaps the theme songs are inversely correlated with the quality of the films), which was so catchy that I could actually slap the meat curtains to it, as the common phrase goes.

Although, as everyone knows, no song will ever topple A-ha’s theme from The Living Daylights – not just as a Bond theme, but as a song. Having been crowned the “King of Songs” by the music wizards, A-ha’s ditty is now technically classified a sovereign nation (I’m not surprised if readers in the USA haven’t heard of this – it’s a Commonwealth thing).

I even went through my “James Bond is the best thing ever” phase as a kid, followed by my “fuck this James Bond shit, I like porno now” pretentious stage as an adolescent, and now, after dulling my senses with drugs, have realised the simple joys in a regressive representation of masculinity asserting his will upon the world through violence and some charming, old-fashioned bigotry.

Anyway, I suppose being from Australia, I probably have a strong affection for Bond than maybe a lot of people from the States do, as we’re pretty much inundated with both British and American media from a young age here. In regards to James Bond, the films are actually synthesised into a fine, concentrated slurry and our newborns are marinated in it until they are tender and extra delicious.

As a kid, my dad, noting my lack of testosterone, or as he delicately termed it, my “poof face,” loaded me up on all sorts of Bond. Which was easy, as they are pretty much screened non-stop on TV, I even remember going along to see Goldeneye at the cinema with my family, only to have my Mum decide ten minutes in that it was too violent for me (I was 38), and getting the ticket woman to swap my ticket for one to see Father of the Bride Part II. That was a dark day, and is generally accepted as the origin of my “performance anxiety.” Excuse me while I call my therapist.

[Two hours of ebullient weeping later]

That was wonderful. Sometimes it’s braver to just cry. Growing up, I didn’t have any affection for any particular actor playing James Bond, as I experienced them all together at once, rather than really having one guy who I thought of. Which is probably why the King of England has appointed me the final authority to determine which James Bond actor is the greatest, and holy shit – I guess I should do this now, because James Bond in film is like 50 years old or some shit! Astaga! I’ll be measuring this on a complex scale that records performance, believability, charm, charisma and how much they make my boner tremble.

First up, we have the big guy SEAN CONNERY. Connery is considered by most people to be the quintessential James Bond, and is also the reference point I use when trying to convince people that my copious body hair is actually attractive.

Connery just manned that shit. He has that awesome smirk that makes you know that he lost the last of his fucks in the cushions of his couch. He was suave and just generally pretty rad. He also starred in From Russia With Love, which, for my money, is the best film in the series. The Connery flicks have a bunch of gems in them, the first four flicks in particular are all pretty rad. Starring in seven films from the series from Dr. No to the Bizzarro Bond film Never Say Never Again, Connery gave the performance that established the character and everyone else would be forever compared to.

Then there was GEORGE LAZENBY, that guy who you probably remember best as Jarod’s father from everyone’s favourite ‘90s TV show, and objectively speaking, the greatest entertainment of our age, The Pretender. He was in one film, then decided his skills were better suited to making the Greatest Entertainment of All-Time by starring in The Man From Hong Kong.

Next came ROGER MOORE. Apparently after having watched Connery in the role be the epitome of “boss,” executives decided “cool, but what if Bond was ineffective and fey?” and hired camp-fuelled goof-robot Roger Moore. Moore brought the series to goofy over-the-top antics that were popular at the time, due to the fact that the world had apparently gone insane during the ‘70s. He’s also probably the reason why Bond has never been as popular in America, as Moore was actually designed as a form of warfare, and his facial geometry is carefully correlated to trigger seizures in all non-Commonwealth citizens.

Then there was the underrated TIMOTHY DALTON in The Living Daylights and License to Kill. Apparently someone sane was put in charge of making Bond films again, and got the no-nonsense Timothy Dalton to play the spy in a rough, tough and no-frills manner that disregarded all the campy bullshit of the Moore-years. With all this lucid decision making, the films, of course, tanked.

The Dalton films perhaps took the dark edge too far for audiences at the time, who were still just, like, super into ALF, and basically wanted James Bond to be ALF, but a British spy.

After that, producers had to recoup, and took the risky move of employing PIERCE BROSNAN’s shit-eating grin as James Bond, with a supporting role played by the rest of his body. Goldeneye was actually pretty rad (although, I am forbidden from ever seeing it by my Mum. Steve Martin is in it, yeah?), but was followed by Brosnan doing his serviceable best in the midst of awful, awful films.

Sensing the need for another reboot after consulting their divining orbs, the ageless Bond producers cast sentient conglomerate of McNuggets, Daniel Craig. Craig basically did what Dalton did, but doesn’t seem so uncomfortable with women. After wowing people in the overhyped Casino Royale, Craig still put in an awesome performance in the shitty Quantum of Solace. He’s probably the best performer of the bunch, and rivals Connery for rough-hewn charisma.

And fuck, y’know, Skyfall actually looks pretty rad. It has some nice cinematography, Sam Mendes is a pretty great director. And I don’t know whether it’s the Cialis or the awesomeness of the trailer, but this thing has got me pumping.

So, in the end, there can only be one, true James Bond, and thinking about it, that choice is pretty obvious. It would have to be GEORGE LAZENBY. Embodying on screen, and in real life, my favourite qualities – like “not giving a fuck”, being surly, half-arseing it, not thinking things through, and being generally confused, Lazenby made little impression in the role before disappearing into obscurity. Also, The Pretender was the shit. My hero.

Liam José is the name given to a highly sophisticated system of
pullies and levers that edits and designs Crime Factory. Upgrades have
included a random text generator, the output of which has appeared in
places like A Twist of Noir, Powder Burn Flash, Flash Fiction
Offensive, and as one of the winning entries of the 2010 WGI at
Drowning Pool. It is serviced irregularly in Melbourne, Australia.