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Brosnan on Bond


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#31 sharpshooter

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 08:36 AM

For a 'prissy' incarnation of Bond, Brosnan sure had a high body count.

Sure, he liked to use machine guns, but he could go toe to toe with the bad guys if required. This is best demonstrated during the DAD sword fight, which I think is one of the most underrated scenes in the franchise. Brosnan's Bond was also brutal when required, such as smashing a goon over the head with a glass tray, coldly shooting Kaufman in the face, killing Elektra in cold blood and punching a goon into a printing press.

That's down and dirty stuff any way you slice it. And of course he was brooding on the beach in Goldeneye, and in his hotel room in Tomorrow Never Dies - while downing shot after shot. That's pure Fleming. Brosnan may have wanted to go darker, but it's not like his version of Bond was a shrinking violet.

Edited by sharpshooter, 03 May 2017 - 08:46 AM.


#32 Odd Jobbies

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 08:40 AM

Quite so.

 

One must be fair, however, and admit that the personal angle was absolutely en vogue during the last decade - and it´s no surprise that EON okayed it.  Also, after 20 Bond films it was probably the only way to add something new to the character and the films, something that could entice a character actor to take on Bond.  Now, however, it has yielded diminishing returns very quickly.  So, time to lose that angle, please.

Fair enough, everyone was at it.

 

I think it's now evident from the reactions in these threads that they jumped the shark with step-bro Blofeld.



#33 SecretAgentFan

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 10:42 AM

For a 'prissy' incarnation of Bond, Brosnan sure had a high body count.

Sure, he liked to use machine guns, but he could go toe to toe with the bad guys if required. This is best demonstrated during the DAD sword fight, which I think is one of the most underrated scenes in the franchise. Brosnan's Bond was also brutal when required, such as smashing a goon over the head with a glass tray, coldly shooting Kaufman in the face, killing Elektra in cold blood and punching a goon into a printing press.

That's down and dirty stuff any way you slice it. And of course he was brooding on the beach in Goldeneye, and in his hotel room in Tomorrow Never Dies - while downing shot after shot. That's pure Fleming. Brosnan may have wanted to go darker, but it's not like his version of Bond was a shrinking violet.

 

You´re absolutely right.  It is too often overlooked that Brosnan´s Bond did all those things and re-introduced a cruel streak that got celebrated only when Craig arrived.



#34 David_M

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 12:31 PM

I agree the "it keeps me alive" line on the beach came out of left field, and I also agree it worked anyway.  Historically, these little moments were ones to savor, like Anya touching a nerve with the "dead wife" remark and Bond's sad smile when Della tosses him the garter in LTK.  

 

But they work *because* they're rare.  Less is more when you're working with a character like Bond who for decades remained largely mysterious, having arrived as an already more or less fully defined adult in Dr No to a generation that didn't need any "origin story" handholding to embrace a character.  For years, it was enough to know Bond was cool and accomplished and tough, and if some of us wanted to study brief lines of dialog or moments of body language or facial expressions for deeper meaning, we could.  With the 90s (and arguably starting with LTK and the birth of the "this time it's personal" schtick), we suddenly had to know what was going on under the surface, what made  him tick, how many layers the onion has.  But I would argue that the deeper you dig with Bond, the LESS interesting he becomes.  And the more nuanced and complex you try to make him, the greater the cognitive dissonance when he para-surfs a tidal wave.  This guy doesn't live in anything close to the real world.

 

One of the great disconnects for me in the Brosnan era is that you've got arguably one of the best-looking actors to ever play the role, living in a world more glamorous than anything real and playing out some of the most over-the-top plots of the series, and yet except for a few moments (like the car chase with Xenia, or the "backseat driver" bit in TND), he's a mopey sad sack whose internal life is a total train wreck.  Betrayed by his best friend, haunted by a lost love (whom he then gets killed), betrayed by a girlfriend, captured by the enemy and abandoned by MI-6, etc etc.  There's a certain degree of wish-fulfillment that's central to Classic Bond, but it's hard for all us Walter Mittys to envy a guy who's life is actually much worse than our own.  You can pull off this "character" stuff -- sort of -- if you go whole hog like the Craig films and throw out the glitz and glamour entirely to make Bond no longer a handsome cipher onto which we transfer our daydreams of adventure, but a character to be studied and explored, but kept at arm's length.  But when Bond looks like a cologne model and stars in what's essentially a bright, shiny, live-action comic book, it's hard to understand why the guy at the center of this OTT fantasy is so darn miserable.

 

Anyway, for every GE beach scene there's a line like TND's "That's what comes from never growing up at all."  Which is about as complete and utter a misread of the Bond character as can be imagined.  Once you start mucking around in "who is he, really" territory, there's a a lot of room to go terribly wrong.



#35 Dustin

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 01:21 PM

Very well said. Only now that you point it out I realise how Brosnan's Bond is actually very far from enjoying himself most of the time.

#36 sharpshooter

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 01:23 PM

Anyway, for every GE beach scene there's a line like TND's "That's what comes from never growing up at all."  Which is about as complete and utter a misread of the Bond character as can be imagined.  Once you start mucking around in "who is he, really" territory, there's a a lot of room to go terribly wrong.

I pondered this. His serious profession demands he be an alert grown up, but in some ways, I still think this quote is consistent with Bond's character. Bond has been taking risks, challenging authority and breaking the rules since he was a young boy. He's still doing it. Riding a motorbike, which he was referencing with that quote, is a boyish/rebellious thing to do. I may be too lenient here, but I'm in a pro Brosnan mood right now.   ;)



#37 SecretAgentFan

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 04:09 PM

I believe the beach scene sticks out a little bit like a sore thumb because Bond´s grief seems to come up so suddenly.  If there had been a major death of an ally before, it would have felt justified.

 

But I agree - while having lots of fun as well BrosnanBond has a tendency to mope, mainly in TWINE, in which his obsession with Elektra again feels faked instead of earned. Feeling guilty for the death of her father is not enough - she is a grown-up woman who seems not even very sad about what happened.  Maybe the assassination on her father should have involved her, too, getting hurt and panicking so that Bond could really have blamed himself.

 

The most unfortunate aspect of this, for me, is the error so many actors make: it´s only great acting if you mope and cry and rage.  If you pull off suave, charismatic, ironic and light-hearted, it does not seem to be that much ACTING.

 

Well, I have two words for those people: CARY GRANT.

 

And also two more: ROGER MOORE.



#38 David_M

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 04:58 PM

 

 

Only now that you point it out I realise how Brosnan's Bond is actually very far from enjoying himself most of the time. 

 

This struck me hardest with TWINE.  I remember leaving the theater thinking, "When they decide to make Bond an 'emo' character?"

 

 

 

I pondered this. His serious profession demands he be an alert grown up, but in some ways, I still think this quote is consistent with Bond's character. Bond has been taking risks, challenging authority and breaking the rules since he was a young boy. He's still doing it. Riding a motorbike, which he was referencing with that quote, is a boyish/rebellious thing to do. I may be too lenient here, but I'm in a pro Brosnan mood right now.    ;)

 

I don't blame Brosnan for the line -- I have no idea who contributes what in the "art by committee" atmosphere of a Bond production -- but even allowing for the moment that Bond has a demonstrated anti-authority streak (despite being society's ultimate defender of the status quo) and shows a lot of immaturity in some of his personal habits and sense of humor, it's a big leap to have him recognize and acknowledge these things in such a direct manner.  "Why do you treat women so cavalierly, Bond?" "I'm compensating for the loss of my mother."  "Why do you drink so much?"  "I have a death wish."  "What was up with that bit on the motorcycle?"  "I have a streak of immaturity."  Bond doesn't really seem the type for self-reflection and self-analysis, and even if he did spend time dwelling on such issues, it's doubtful he'd just blurt out his diagnoses to a relative stranger.

 

Or put another way, anyone who says, "I'm a rebel" probably isn't.  Posing as one, maybe, but not a real one.

 

 

 

But I agree - while having lots of fun as well BrosnanBond has a tendency to mope, mainly in TWINE, in which his obsession with Elektra again feels faked instead of earned. Feeling guilty for the death of her father is not enough - she is a grown-up woman who seems not even very sad about what happened.  Maybe the assassination on her father should have involved her, too, getting hurt and panicking so that Bond could really have blamed himself.

Interestingly, this is one of the few cases where Brosnan-Bond's schtick works for me.  When he's reading Elektra's backstory and seems to be trying to brush away the tears from her computer-screen image, it's an unguarded moment and an unconscious gesture that fits, for me, with Fleming's Bond, who Sir James Molony tells is is a sucker for "a bird with a wing down" and who more than once sticks his neck out to "save" some damsel.  Indeed, this seems to be the closest to romantic love Bond is really capable of; this sympathy for the victimized woman that leads him to swoop in as her champion and protector, only to have it all quickly fizzle and peter out should she actually stick around after the saving's done.  He can't handle a real relationship, but he feels very deeply during that "damsel saving" phase. (Even Tracy fits this mold, and if she looms large in his memory, its partly because she died at the apex of the "rescue" and not after she'd been around for a couple months of routine matrimony). It made perfect sense to me for Elektra to exploit this chink in Bond's armor and in the hands of better writers it might have made for a really great story.

 

 

Well, I have two words for those people: CARY GRANT.

 

And also two more: ROGER MOORE.

 

But unless you count Grant's honorary statue, neither of those guys ever won an Oscar.  And that's what they're all shooting for now.  It's not enough to be popular and beloved with audiences, you need a room full of other popular and beloved narcissists to say they love you, too.

 

In the long run, it's probably better to just concentrate on entertaining folks and not "ACTING" so hard.  "Great actors" get accolades while they live, but great entertainers live on forever.  I mean, hats off to Olivier for being the greatest actor of his generation, but given the choice, I'll watch an Errol Flynn movie instead, every time.



#39 glidrose

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Posted 06 May 2017 - 08:51 PM

Anyway, for every GE beach scene there's a line like TND's "That's what comes from never growing up at all."  Which is about as complete and utter a misread of the Bond character as can be imagined.

I pondered this. His serious profession demands he be an alert grown up, but in some ways, I still think this quote is consistent with Bond's character. Bond has been taking risks, challenging authority and breaking the rules since he was a young boy. He's still doing it. Riding a motorbike, which he was referencing with that quote, is a boyish/rebellious thing to do. I may be too lenient here, but I'm in a pro Brosnan mood right now.   ;)



Daniel Peter Jr. wrote that bit. Bruce Feirstein strenuously objected to the line. Feirstein explained in an interview that if anything Bond is grown up and had to grow up at a very early age, being an orphan and all. Feirstein (or perhaps somebody else made the following astute comment) explained that people who are forced through life's tragic circumstances to grow up at an unconscionably early age often retain certain strange child-like traits throughout their lives.

#40 Pussfeller

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 11:14 AM

I don't know why Feirstein would object to that line. It's just a glib remark, like the time Connery-Bond talked about having an inferiority complex. If it has any character significance at all, it's just to show that Bond is capable of playful self-deprecation. 



#41 sharpshooter

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 12:21 PM

I don't know why Feirstein would object to that line. It's just a glib remark, like the time Connery-Bond talked about having an inferiority complex. If it has any character significance at all, it's just to show that Bond is capable of playful self-deprecation.

I agree with that reading of the line too. It's flippant.

#42 SecretAgentFan

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 01:27 PM

Well, no writer likes to be rewritten...






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