Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fans' Opinions' on Sean Connery as Bond


“No post-Connery Bond in his debut performance has shrugged off comparisons to his predecessors as successfully as Craig does in Casino Royale: before the movie is even halfway through his Bond is far more his own man than those of Lazenby, Moore, Dalton, and Brosnan were by the end of their first Bond films.”

“A splendid casting choice, Craig has a physicality that only Sean Connery and perhaps George Lazenby could approach.”

“I don't think he (Daniel Craig) can overtake Connery as Bond for me, but he's already running a damned close.”

I do not understand this. Are all James Bond fans in love Sean Connery? Are we all expected to accept the idea of him as the best James Bond as a matter of fact? I hope not. Because it is an opinion I have never shared during my thirty-four years of watching Bond movies.

While watching a commercial for the recent Bond movie, “CASINO ROYALE”, the announcer declared Daniel Craig as the best Bond. A relative of mine nearly jumped out of his seat and cried, “Sean Connery is the best Bond!” as if it were a matter of fact. I could only look away in amusement.

One reason why I have never accepted Connery as the best Bond is the fact that he was not the first actor I had seen in the role. And if I had, I still doubt I would have accepted him as the best Bond. Although Roger Moore was my first Bond (I first saw him in “LIVE AND LET DIE”), very little time had passed before I saw Connery as Bond television for the first time. From what I had seen of Moore on the movie screen and Connery on television, both seemed to be very effective as James Bond. But only different. To this day, I have never been able to decide between the two who was my favorite Bond. And when movies like “ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE”, “THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS” and “GOLDENEYE” became popular with me, I found it increasingly difficult to choose any actor as the best Bond.

I am not saying that Sean Connery was a lousy James Bond. He obviously made a very good Bond. But after watching most of the Bond films over the past six months, I simply found it hard to accept the idea that he was the best actor to portray Bond. Quite frankly, I found myself equally impressed with those that followed – George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig. For years, I have never had a “favorite Bond”, so to speak, until Daniel Craig’s debut in the role. Do I believe that Craig was the best Bond? No. But he has quickly become my favorite.

As for Connery, I was especially impressed by his performances in “FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE” and “THUNDERBALL”. He seemed to be at his most human in those two roles. And in 1971’s “DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER”, he seemed to be at his funniest. But honestly . . . I have never viewed him as the best James Bond. I certainly do not believe that his debut as Bond was the best. And I do not think I ever will. In fact, his debut (in “DR. NO”) is my least favorite Bond debut. His performance seemed . . . mixed. Uneven. In some scenes, his performance seemed very smooth and professional. At other times – especially in Jack Lord’s company – he seemed wooden.

He never really came close to the literary Bond penned by Ian Fleming. Both Dalton and Craig deserve that honor. Not that being close to the literary Bond mean much to me. Frankly, I could not care less how an actor portrays the 00 agent, as long as he gives a good performance, deal adequately with the action sequences and create his own style as Bond. Connery had created his own style – a mixture of rugged machismo and a touch of sophistication. But machismo seemed to dominate Connery’s Bond.

I don’t know. Perhaps many Bond fans – which seemed to be dominated by men – feel that machismo is the ultimate expression of a man. Personally, I do not agree. But we are all allowed our opinions. In adopting a machismo persona, Connery immediately created his own style of how to portray Bond. But the reason why I cannot give him credit as the ultimate Bond is that the other actors have managed to create their own style, as well. Why should Connery be given credit for something the other five actors have also managed to achieve?

But why do fans insist upon declaring Connery as the best Bond, as if it were a matter of fact? Some might point out that most Bond fans prefer Connery. I admit that it does seem to be the case that Connery is the most popular Bond actor. But I am the type of person who does not believe in the old term – ‘majority rules’. Especially in regard to art or entertainment. Hell, most Americans in the mid-19th century believed there was nothing wrong with enslaving African-Americans. But just because most accepted this opinion as fact, does not mean they were right. And I must say the same about Connery’s performances as Bond. Even if most fans accept him as the best James Bond, does not mean they are right. In the end, it is subjective. I only wish that many of these film critics and fans stop declaring Connery as the best Bond . . . as if it were a matter of fact. Would it really kill for them to add – “in my opinion”?

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