ANALYSIS | Best and worst of James Bond now that “No Time to Die” marks Daniel Craig’s departure from 007’s character – KESQ

Alexandra Ferguson

(CNN) – Some 007 math: 60 years, 25 movies (with a little asterisk) and six James Bond. For a Cold War creation, Ian Fleming’s nice spy has certainly turned around, but despite the different countenances in the tux and the occasional scuba gear, when it comes to making a Bond ranking, he really doesn’t. There should be a lot of discussion as to who did it better.

“No Time to Die” is Daniel Craig’s fifth and final film since he inherited the “license to kill” 15 years ago, a period that was slightly extended as the film’s release was delayed 18 months due to COVID-19 Well, MGM held out until it was viable to show it in movie theaters.

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This makes Craig the longest-lived Bond chronologically speaking (again, with an asterisk), but not the best, although his runner-up status seems pretty assured.

The late Sean Connery, who died last year, defined the role, and practically all the tics associated with the character, from his cunning after dispatching an enemy (Saying “shocking,” after electrocuting someone) to his physique and his conquests. sexual, product of a different time.

Connery played Bond five times, from 1962 (“Dr. No”) to 1967 (“You Only Live Twice”), with the two best films, “From Russia with Love” and “Goldfinger”, in between, before withdraw due to a contractual dispute with producers.

A scene from the James Bond movie “Thunderball” with Sean Connery, Claudine Auger, as Domino Derval, and Adolfo Celi playing Emilio Largo.

Naively, Eon Productions cast Australian model George Lazenby, whose only appearance on “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” wasn’t terrible (at least there was Diana Rigg, plus a great ski chase sequence and Telly Savalas as the villain Blofeld), but it was weak enough that Connery was hired again – at a significantly higher salary – for “Diamonds Are Forever,” making Lazenby the only Bond to play the role only once during that period.

In “Diamonds Are Forever” the hype factor had already been increased, a quality that the producers maintained when Roger Moore took the lead, starring in seven films over a dozen years, until he clearly got a little old for so much action. .

Connery reverted to Bond in the unauthorized film “Never Say Never Again” in 1983, a kind of remake of “Thunderball” made possible by a legal battle between the film’s producer / co-writer, Kevin McClory, and Eon Productions and Bond creator Ian Fleming. It was nice to see Connery again, but the movie wasn’t worth his talents.

Moore takes the palms for a (very far) third place on the Bond scale, especially since those films, with a few exceptions, were generally entertaining, though not on the level of Connery’s vehicles or Craig’s resurgence.

“No Time to Die” puts an end to Daniel Craig’s service with a slightly exaggerated James Bond film

Part of that had to do with what felt like an identity crisis, which explains how Bond ended up in outer space in “Moonraker” in 1979, or why someone thought it was a good idea to title a movie “Octopussy.” .

Roger Moore filming his first James Bond movie, “Live and Let Die,” in 1973. (Credit: Keystone / Getty Images)

Pierce Brosnan, who rose to television stardom on “Remington Steele,” had been chosen to replace Moore, but his television contract delayed his promotion. So the Walther PPK pistol went to Timothy Dalton, who had the grit and determination the role required, but unfortunately ended up starring in two especially lazy movies with mediocre villains, “The Living Daylights” and “License to Kill”.

Brosnan finally got his chance, starring in four Bond films, which may have kept the commercial banner but did not lift the franchise from its creative malaise.

Then came Craig, whose magnetic presence revitalized Bond and brought back the sense of physical threat that Connery embodied. He began in 2006 with what remains his best adventure, “Casino Royale,” which had actually been adapted twice previously: first for television in 1954, and as a comedy starring David Niven in 1967.

For those of you keeping track, Bond’s unofficial rankings are as follows in descending order, along with the number of movies they’ve starred in:

Connery (6, más “Never Say Never Again”). Craig (5). Moore (7). Brosnan (4). Dalton (2). Lazenby (1).

Who will be next? Everyone seems to have an opinion, but Eon producer Barbara Broccoli has said they won’t make any casting decisions until 2022.

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