Who Was the Best James Bond?

11/09/2012 11:35 AM |


Lazenby: The franchise’s famous one-and-done has become both underrated (for appearing once, flanked by Connery on either side) and overrated (because now everyone talks about how secretly amazing On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is). Indeed, Lazenby’s rep as the Bond That Got Away got me into MoMA to watch Secret Service on the big screen, and like Diamonds Are Forever after it, it’s a bizarre mélange of a movie, perhaps moreso for including actual emotional content that sandwiches a truly tedious section of the movie where Lazenby’s posher, more boyish 007 holes up at some kind of experimental spa treatment facility (I’ve forgotten already), forgets the romantic subplot that begins and ends the movie, beds a bunch of ladies, and generally sneaks around. When SPECTRE brings the thunder down on this snowy mountaintop facility, the movie kicks back into gear in a big way; I see how much of this movie’s climax Nolan borrowed for Inception, at least in terms of visual scheme. Also, I always used to make fun of how 70s Bond spends so much damn time skiing, but the ski action in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is top-notch! A dude gets owned by a snowblower! Then the movie goes into this melancholy bordering on devastating finale, and you get one of the most ambitious but also vaguely self-hating James Bond movies in the series. Lazenby gets both a boost from the material and a demerit for playing out that material with less charisma than Connery would have.

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