Alphabetical Movie – License to Kill
I liked Timothy Dalton as Bond.
There. I said it. I realize that I’m going to catch hell for it but a guy has to be honest. I think that Dalton got a bad rap as Bond.
I’m not talking about the movies he was in, by the way. While I like both of them and I think they are certainly better than the worst Bond films (almost all of which starred an aging Roger Moore), they are both mediocre at best.
Nor would I say Dalton is the best Bond. I’d give that distinction to either Connery or (depending on how the next movie turns out) Daniel Craig.
Right now, though, I ‘m just talking about how Timothy Dalton played Bond . I loved what he brought to the role.
James Bond is a guy who is paid to kill people. That is his job. He’s an assassin for the good guys.
You need an edge to do that job. Even in the best of his films, I never felt like Roger Moore is a guy who gets paid to kill people.
I felt more like he was a guy who got paid to get himself into really bad situations which would result in the need to kill people. He did it so often, the British Government gave him a license to kill. I would presume it was to cut down on paperwork.
Dalton seemed like a killer. He convinced me that he was adept at more than just having bad guys recognize who he was (worst “secret” agent ever). His biggest shortcoming was the fact that the screenwriters didn’t seem to recognize they weren’t writing for Roger Moore any longer. Dalton would try to deliver the Moore style quips but they didn’t mesh with the Dalton Bond.
Then they got Pierce Brosnan, who was perfectly capable of Roger Moore style Bond delivery. He was probably better at it than Roger Moore. Problem solved.
No – I don’t hate Pierce Brosnan. I hate Die Another Day but I don’t hate Pierce Brosnan.
Dalton did exactly what he should have done after so many years of Roger Moore. He tried to play James Bond his own way. He recognized that if he just tried to be Roger Moore all over again, he’d never make the role his own.
Given that he is widely considered to be the second worst Bond (sorry Mr. Lazenby), he didn’t really succeed.
But I appreciate that he tried. The Timothy Dalton Bond would never have worked in Live and Let Die or The Spy Who Loved Me but he also never would have been in Octopussy.
Also, if Dalton hadn’t made the character choice he did, I don’t think we’d be half as happy with Daniel Craig. I think Craig saw the darker edge Dalton was trying to bring to the character and he has worked to refine that.
Yes, he does it far better. That’s why the franchise is making more money than it ever has.
But he owes just a little bit to Timothy Dalton.
I’m not saying that Dalton should get a cut of Craig’s paycheck or anything. I’m just saying that if Craig deposes Connery as the best Bond of all time, he ought to mention Dalton in his acceptance speech.