RISE OF THE EMPIRE - Pierce Brosnan WAS James Bond

"Pierce Brosnan has perfected the role to become the best and most popular Bond since Sean Connery. With a mixture of suave arrogance, offhandedly jocular and unexpected brutality he remains endlessly watchable throughout."

On October 14, 2005, something changed in the world of James Bond, and it was Daniel Craig, who became the 6th James Bond. Controversially as we all know, he is the first blond actor to play the British superspy and Ian Fleming's James Bond is not blond. All these complaints led to some fans saying "give Craig a chance", and soon after the casting, more and more fickle fans suddenly started bashing Brosnan (although he had been popular in the role when he had it) not only as Bond but also as actor as well. These bashers are still doing it to this day not only on traditional James Bond forums but general movie forums as well. These bashings of the films and actors of Cubby's series made fans with contrary opinions about the new era stop posting on the forums and/or delete their accounts altogether. You see a lot of Brosnan bashing and Craig worshipping in these forums. These Craig worshippers opine that Brosnan is worst actor in the whole world, and one of them (from IMDB) thinks that he's even worse than both Vin Diesel and Steven Seagal! Unlike Batman and Star Trek, these fans don't seem to blame the problems on the studios or those who are in charge; instead, they blame it on the actor playing the lead.

When Brosnan got "fired" as Bond, fans quickly started to move on to other potential actors to take over the role. The numbers kept on growing as time passed by with many actors rumored to be taking the Bond role. Take Clive Owen for example. He was possibly the most popular candidate to replace Pierce so they bashed Brosnan when it looked like Clive was on the cusp of taking the part. When Owen didn't get the role, they bashed him! I didn't like the idea of Clive as Bond myself and would rather have had Brosnan stay to redeem his legacy as his Bond films - except GoldenEye, which was considered by many as one of the best of the series - suffered from banal scripts and storylines supplied by Eon. This may have stopped someone who helped save the franchise from the unfair retrospective criticism that followed his departure from a role he had put so much into.

Now let's move on to Daniel Craig and Casino Royale. When Craig was cast in 2005 as the new Bond, people bashed him because he was short, craggy and blond, and they thought Casino Royale was going to suck big time - possibly because of him. It seems that they underestimated his acting abilities to play James Bond even before filming started. It is true that certain movies do end up being a flop as widely expected, and one example is 2009's Dragonball Evolution. Everyone knew that it was going to be bad from the trailers. However, this is not always the case. Take Star Wars and Titanic, for example. People thought these films were going to be bad during production, but those films ended up as huge box office gold. As a Brosnan Bond fan myself, was I against Craig primarily because of his lack of classic Bond looks? The answer is yes although I do admit that he did a commendable job in terms of acting. I still didn't bother seeing Casino Royale though. 

Why? My reason for not going to see the movie goes beyond Daniel Craig's casting. It's all to do with the removal of Brosnan. Eon was supposed to give him a great Bond movie with a darker and gritty feel like he wanted and a good director but instead they wasted his time with weak and uninspiring scripts and storylines during his tenure. Rather than giving him a better Bond story, Eon gave it to Daniel Craig instead, leaving Pierce with nothing to be remembered as classics (with the exception of GoldenEye). It's pitiful that GoldenEye is the only classic Bond he had as he was available to be James Bond from 1994 to 2005. This annoying fact is why I didn't bother to see Casino Royale despite the reviews although with Quantum of Solace it seems that Eon have plucked defeat from the jaws of victory and I'm glad they did.

Craig's Bond films may not be bad (except for Quantum of Solace which I wanted to do worse than Casino Royale) but are certainly annoying. Bond is stylish, handsome, if sometimes gritty as written by Ian Fleming. If Fleming's concept of Bond is to be used, it needs be done correctly by casting the right actor. But Eon did the opposite by hiring Daniel Craig and had to boost him up with a gargantuan marketing campaign. Then you got all this media manipulation. All the talk about Daniel Craig as the "best Bond ever since Sean Connery" is exactly what they said about Brosnan and will probably say about the next Bond. I'm not a fan anymore. Those who believe Craig is the "Best Bond Ever Since Sean Connery" as well as a "Classic Bond" I disagree with.

If James Bond is going to be Daniel Craig for the foreseeable future we can hopefully always have other more inventive franchises to escape into. Indiana Jones, Batman, Star Trek, Iron Man, Jason Bourne, Harry Potter, Chronicles of name them. It's a good thing that there are a lot of alternative franchises out there. In these franchises there are no deep divisions amongst fans as there is with Bond now because of the reboot and the casting of Daniel Craig. Star Trek may have divided some fans with the recent movie but it patently needed a reboot much more than Bond. Though it divided some fans, Star Trek did the right thing Casino Royale didn't by casting younger actors to portray the early Enterprise crew. The Cubby/Harry template has been changed by people who don't even seem to like James Bond films very much. The James Bond of today is not James Bond.

Let's face it...Bond is dead but The Dark Knight lives on!

- by Dan


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