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Licence to Kill - An Ian Fleming Film: A Rebuttal

By Slyke Zero
June 16, 2004


In response to the editorial about how Dalton's performance in License to Kill is closer to Fleming's characterization of Bond, I have to say that this fact does not redeem the film. Fleming's Bond is cold and charmless, with hardly a trace of humour, in Fleming's own words, "a cardboard booby." Did Timothy Dalton, who's only research for the part seemed to be the review of the novels, know that Bond's own creator wasn't all that impressed with the literary Bond? And what about the novels? Let's ask Fleming again: "I can't believe I wrote such piffle." But Dalton pretty much wrecked his career over it and, had it not been for EON's rift with MGM/UA, may well have done considerable damage to the universal appeal of a worldwide cultural phenomenon by his reckless, selfcentered and pretentious handling of the role.

The primary responsibility of anyone who plays Bond is to put the cinema audience's interests first. And the Bond that made Bond what he still is today in spite of Dalton and Brosnan is the one molded by Terence Young, Richard Maibaum and Sean Connery. Maibaum gave him the classic one liners, Young gave him the style and Connery executed flawlessly. No actor has the right to change the bloody character for the sake their own ego. If you want to play Bond, you defer to Bond not the other way around.

You are nothing, Bond is everything!

Incidentally, I think we can overlook Roger Moore's occasional indiscretions because like a consummate professional, he only sought to enhance those qualities of Bond to which the audience warmed to most. The difference is a question of accidental versus deliberate tampering.

As for Brosnan, he tries hard, but he doesn't have a clue. He just lacks the ruthless edge and shows appalling judgment when approving of quips like "She's Onatopp of things!" (Ironically, he found his niche playing Thomas Crown, who has some of Bond's elitist, world-weary charm about him.)

And Lazenby, you have no one to blame but yourself, so stop complaining about how "this never happened the other fella!"

Fleming's writing, ignorant, over-rated and dull as it is, may show the authentic Bond, but that Bond could never have even been the subject of one hit film let alone a series that has lasted over 40 years.

What EON should do instead of wasting millions on unconvincing CGI is to use the cash to fund research on the new technology by which they could clone Sean Connery. A clone? I must be joking 007? But would it be any easier to find just one established actor who could put the character and the audience who loves him before themselves?

Sources used;

Bond and beyond : the political career of a popular hero / by Tony Bennett
and Janet Woollacott. London : Macmillan, 1987

Ian Fleming / by Bruce A. Rosenberg, Ann Harleman Stewart.
Boston : Twayne Publishers, c1989

Article written by Slyke Zero

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