BONDAGE: BROSNAN, PIERCE BROSNAN

by Jake on April 24, 2013

Pierce BrosnanAfter six years of downtime, Bond was back! You can’t keep a good man down, apparently.

When Timothy Dalton got the role, he was not, in fact, the first choice. That would have been Pierce Brosnan, a handsome Irishman best known for playing Remington Steele. However, due to that TV series being renewed, Brosnan was out and Dalton was in.

I mentioned previously that Dalton’s Bond just didn’t go over well. I still maintain that he was ahead of his time, but whatever the reason, after two movies and a long dry spell, when the next James Bond movie was finally greenlit, a lot of changes were made.

Now, Bond was finally portrayed by Pierce Brosnan, with a new, female M portrayed by Judi Dench. But it was still the same James Bond.

Which one?

ALL OF THEM.

See, the Brosnan Bond movies decided to mix and match every version of 007. You had the deadly rough and tumble of Connery, the suavity and wit of Moore and the dark realism of Dalton, plus some nice nods back to Ian Fleming’s original notion of the character. Although the idea of continuity was finally tossed out the window…

See, up until Brosnan, each Bond was still technically the same Bond. Certainly, he didn’t age appropriately, but everything that had happened to, say, Sean Connery’s character had also happened to Lazenby, Moore and Dalton – and vice-versa.

So when Lazenby Bond lost the love of his life, for example, Connery went on a rampage of vengeance, culminating in Moore finally dispatching the guilty party, while the whole tragedy was mentioned in reference to Dalton. See? They all played the same character during many different adventures, but all happening to one man.

Now, it’s POSSIBLE that the 007 Brosnan brought to life was still the same character, but if so, it was decided that his previous exploits were no longer worthy of mention, so that no direct references to any of his former exploits are ever actually made in these films.

Desmond LlewelynAlthough, Desmond Llewellyn still played ‘Q’ for the first three, up until his death, so maybe…

Anyhoo, ‘Goldeneye‘ was the first wholly original Bond movie, in that it was not adapted from Fleming. Technically, ‘Licence to Kill‘ was new, but it did borrow elements from several Fleming stories, so now, we were completely on new ground.

While Bond was still the same basic character, the way others perceived him had changed. Bond was seen as a dinosaur, a Cold War relic with an outdated, chauvinistic mentality that didn’t fit in with the brave new world of the late 20th Century.

Of course, that didn’t mean he was useless! In fact, the new M soon learned that Bond was needed more than ever.

Meanwhile, this postmodern take on the character had everyone commenting on Bond’s attitudes toward women, the loneliness of his lifestyle, his drinking, et cetera. It was cute, but it was really stating the obvious at times.

Nevertheless, the Brosnan films were great fun (well, at least the first three). They had the gadgets, the improbably named women, the humor, but with a dark undercurrent of violence and danger. In other words, a perfect blend.

And while ‘Goldeneye‘ and ‘Tomorrow Never Dies‘ were great, things got really interesting with ‘The World is Not Enough‘. This phrase is the Bond family motto, mentioned in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service‘, and this is probably the best one of the four Bond films in this cycle. Not only is there some intrigue and a few interesting plot twists, but the movie somehow manages to be over the top while remaining grounded; you can accept the crazy stuff like a villain who feels no pain, the bubble jacket and whatnot because the characters are played straight and the story works.

If they had stopped there, then all would be well.

Unfortunately, the next entry went from the sublime to the ridiculous.

The best thing one can say about ‘Die Another Day‘ is that it ends. Sure, Brosnan does his job well, and the opening sequence is great.
But then that AWFUL Madonna song kicks in and the whole thing turns into a steaming pile of manure.

Frankie and AnnetteWhere to begin? The gene replacement therapy plotline, with evil Koreans turned into evil white guys? The invisible car? Halle Berry? Even the title seems like a lame ripoff of earlier Bond stories.

Did I mention the part where Bond parasurfs a tsunami? The special effects on that are about as convincing as the surfing movies of the 1960′s! I kept expecting Frankie and Annette to pop up, hanging ten and making jokes.

The whole thing was like a parody of a James Bond film.

And that, sadly, was the last hurrah for Pierce Brosnan as 007. Another few years hiatus was in order before Bond would return – and the new movie would bring us full circle to where it all began…

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