Bond films and the Roger Moore humor controversy
An earlier post on Bond Actors and Humor drew more comment than any other post I’ve ever made. For that reason, I thought it was worth revisiting.
Fans were sharply divided in comments. There were the pros:
Roger Moore’s the best
Carton of Milk
(i personally WANT my bond films to have half-corny half-clever quips).
Roger Moore is king!
Sergio M. Says:
I can’t believe what I’m reading. Roger Moore was the best Bond by far. And the best thing about it is the fact that he didn’t take the role serioulsy. Guys, get real. The character is a beautiful over the top charade. A representation of each man’s fantasies… luxury, lust, danger, sex, cars, guns, casinos, more beautiful women, saving the world…and license to kill. If you got it all, well…go with a smile. And Roger did it.
And the cons:
Roger Moore is the reason I quit watching Bond films…he never seemed to be worried that he could die (I think that the “Tango and Cash” characters acted the same way). That takes away from the suspense; and in a film where you KNOW the main character is going to live – you need some suspense.
I truly believe Roger Moore is the weakest of all the Bond actors. His tongue-in-cheek take on the character did not appeal to me at all and his movies left me yawning.
Some of this is age-based. I’ve done extensive fan surveys (my book publishes the results), and it’s pretty clear that the Bond you grew up with shaped your experience of who the character should be. If you’re a child of the 70s or 80s, you probably prefer the light-hearted approach.
Now, I grew up in the 70s, but my dad took me to second-run theaters and I saw all the Connery movies, which he preferred. I like my light-hearted with a healthy dose of sex and danger. And like most women, I tend to prefer the whiff of danger to the well-manicured gentleman (which is undoubtedly why Daniel Craig is causing such major swoonage among female audiences). I think too much humor takes something essential away from the character of 007.
But this controversy will never really go away. Some Bond fans are fans of funny movies starring James Bond, and some Bond fans are fans of espionage movies starring James Bond, and rarely if ever do the twain meet. I think Roger Moore will continue to be the touchstone for this controversy for years to come.