James Bond is back. And those of us who remember his beginnings are glad of it.
Our favorite British assassin returns to the big screen as “Quantum of Solace” opens today across the country.
Everyone has his favorite Bond – though, of course, discriminating film fans will certainly understand why we older moviegoers tend to favor Sean Connery over the various other, uh, pretenders.
There are even those who – I’ve actually met a few – who think that Roger Moore deserves mention in any listing of the best Bonds.
But though I have my issues with “Casino Royale” – the 2006 film that introduced the current 007, the more-muscled-than-Jean -Claude-Van-Damme Daniel Craig – I have to admit that I was taken with Craig’s reinvention of the role.
So, yes, if anyone deserves to sit at the same Baccarat table as Connery, it’s certainly Craig.
When it comes to the Bond films, though, that’s all anyone ever wants to talk about: Which of the various actors who have played him was the best? Lost in all this argument over character is the source material, which were the 14 novels and several short stories written by Ian Fleming, a one-time real-life member of British Intelligence.
That’s likely because Hollywood, for the most part, has trivialized the material crafted by President John F. Kennedy’s once favorite author. To prove that, I’ve compiled a number of the worst lines even uttered in a Bond film.
•Bond (Connery) to Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman) in “Dr. No” (1962): “World domination. The same old dream. Our asylums are full of people who think they’re Napoleon. Or God.” Sometimes Hugh Hefner.
•Bond (Connery) in “From Russia with Love” (1963): “There’s a saying in England: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Not to mention a cliché or three.
•Bond (Connery) in “Goldfinger” (1964): “My dear girl, there are some things that just aren’t done, such as drinking Dom Pérignon ’53 above the temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s just as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs!” And get a haircut, Ringo!
•Bond (Connery), after killing a man with a spear gun in “Thunderball” (1965): “I think he got the point.” Never a dull boy, our Bond.
•Bond (George Lazenby), after forcing a man into a snowblower in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” (1969): “He had a lot of guts.” Served up with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.
•Harold Strutter (Lon Satton) to Bond (Roger Moore) as he tries to introduce himself in “Live and Let Die” (1973): “Names is for tombstones, baby! Y’all take this honky out and waste him now!” Pimps has all the fun, yo.
•Bond (Timothy Dalton) about a character who has just been crushed under a statue of the Duke of Wellington in “The Living Daylights” (1987): “He met his Waterloo.” Pas de commentaire.
•Bond (Pierce Brosnan) while making love to his language tutor in “Tomorrow Never Dies” (1997): “I always enjoyed learning a new tongue.” Always the cunning linguist, our boy Bond.
•Miranda Frost (Rosamund Pike) to Bond (Brosnan) in “Die Another Day” (2002): “I know all about you – sex for dinner, death for breakfast.” Taxes for lunch?
So far, so bad. But the absolute worst line ever uttered in a Bond film comes in Craig’s “Casino Royale.” It’s said by a besotted Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), to her man Bond:
“If the only thing left of you was your smile and your little finger,” she says, “you’d still be more of a man than anyone I’ve ever known.”
Oh, yes, James Bond is back. Pray, though, he leaves his pinkie in London.
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