I'm a Pierce Brosnan girl. I know you're not supposed to say that, you're supposed to say Sean Connery was the best Bond. I know, my mother had a real Thing for Sean Connery; I think it may even be a tiny part of the reason I have a Scottish dad. But Stuart got me From Russia With Love on DVD, and I lost any interest in Sean when he was on the train and smacked that chick across the face. Nope, the Bond I know doesn't need to hit chicks, that's an earlier era and it doesn't translate for me.
What I liked about Pierce Brosnan was that he knew the whole thing had a stupid plot and I got the feeling we were doing the joke together. "C'mon, Sarah, let's go pretend we're secret agents and wreak havoc! And get laid a few times, yes, that, too. Perks of the job." I think he has great comic timing, unlike Roger Moore. I can't even watch Roger. When he delivers a sassy line, it just makes him sound like a dirty old man. Blegh. But when Pierce says something very flirty and un-politically correct, I gasp happily at his witty audacity. How does he get away with it?
Hey, what ever happened in Skyfall to that poor lady in Shanghai, the one who was married to the baddie and helped out Bond? She goes through hell, and gets a Bond shagging, but we never even find out what happens. I hope she woke up in a comfy hospital bed with a nice cup of tea laid next to her by sympathetic nurses.
**Edit: The more I think about this part of the film, the less I like it. Boo. Here, read Giles Coran's article, he gets it spot on. No wonder Skyfall makes me feel so uneasy.
Edit 2: Ah, and another good article about the role of Severine by Grummelmaedchen.**
Why don't I like Daniel Craig's Skyfall and Casino Royale? I guess his appearance put me off slightly. He looks exactly like the New Russian mafia types I saw everywhere when I lived in Moscow. Those guys were often buffoon-like, but very seldom funny. Dan's tough and brawny and you can actually imagine him beating up people. I guess that's the thing I don't like. People actually get beat up. And die. But it feels like the film makers haven't earned the right to do this to me. Why should I have to feel real sorrow for fellow Londoners who get shot to pieces and blown up when it's all in the name of a bit of light entertainment? Those bits in Skyfall, where the tube train gets derailed and policemen get shot up on Whitehall: that reminded me very much of the day when Stuart was working in that same building and I couldn't get through to him on the phone after I saw on the Internet that there'd been bomb attacks in central London. That was a horribly unsettling day, I don't think it will ever make me laugh. In The World is Not Enough, Pierce causes a lot of damage on the riverfront, and comes crashing out of MI6, but it's all a lark; I think only a few people get blown aside in an oil explosion, it's not really about pain and death and dying.
Just to add, I sometimes like films about pain and death and dying, but I think I appreciate them when they make me feel it's part of a larger reflection about life and meaning and, oh, I don't know, just not a shoot-'em-up-bang-bang film. I think that's why I didn't like Pierce's last Bond film, Die Another Day. It was the opening title sequence; I didn't like watching Bond get tortured as a decorative effect. Torture isn't pretty, it isn't funny, it didn't even really help along the plot. It made me feel antagonistic for the rest of the film.
But, oh, going back to that river chase scene in The World is Not Enough, I LOVED being able to recognise all the landscape in that. Actually, that's one of the highlights of Bond, seeing familiar places turned into dramatic settings. Stuart and I both did a squee in Skyfall when we saw M being driven down New Cross Road (exactly the same place you see outside the car windows in Last Orders, funnily enough). But in in The World is Not Enough river chase scene, none of it makes actual sense; most of those waterways don't link up in real life. But that's partly what makes it fantastic, it's London as a sort of palette, to pick and choose from to make something happen that's exciting, funny, and so obviously fictional.
Oh, and I should point out, that stunt where Dan and that blond hacker dude in Skyfall go sliding down that middle bit of the Underground escalators? Well, VERN AND LETTUCE DID IT FIRST. Ha ha. I've even been reworking a cover for the paperback version of Vern and Lettuce that features this scene, but I only just realised that now it's going to look like a quotation from Skyfall. Nope. But well, why not? That's the fun of Vern and Lettuce, letting them run around London and wreak havoc. I guess there might be a bit of Bond in that.
And now I can't get the Skyfall song out of my head. Thanks, Adele...