The movie didn't say anything about Bond's age. Why not pretend that Roger Moore is playing a 57-year old James Bond?
Well, that's what I did, obviously. But it took a lot of pretending. The trouble with the 80s films (and again, keep in mind this is coming from a guy who counts Moore as his favorite Bond and hasn't enjoyed a Bond film tremendously since 1983) is that even as Moore was evolving into an older, wiser 007 (his acting got better as he aged), the films were becoming more and more a showcase for physically demanding stunts. Thanks to competition from Indiana Jones and other quarters, the emphasis was increasingly on things like hanging from aircraft, running along the tops of trains, etc whereas at the start of Moore's tenure, Bond was not a character who demanded the physical prowess of a circus acrobat, parkour practitioner or extreme sports athlete. Connery never had to do that kind of stuff, but by the time Brosnan showed up, the one-upmanship had progressed to the point where they had to cheat with CGI to pull off the superheroic stunts.
The idea that some "lazy" filmmakers would wander around the set not knowing what they are doing is just absurd. The intention with this film (and every other Bond movie...) must have been to make the best one yet.
"Lazy" isn't my word, so don't imply it with the quote marks. I know these guys were expert and talented technicians and they put forth their best efforts. The point is there comes a time when everyone's been at it too long without a break, and when that happens -- and yes, IMHO -- you get a film like AVTAK. Roger couldn't help getting older -- we all do, if we're lucky -- and he gave as much to AVTAK as he did to any film. But...and again I freely admit this is my opinion...for once his patented schtick felt past its sell-by date. Similarly, the script, the direction, the stunts, all of it felt to me like it had been done before and better, and so it lacked the energy for me that it had before. I will concede that I have seen many fans on this board for whom AVTAK was their first Bond, so they love it, since they didn't bring the baggage I did. So a lot of it's in the eye of beholder. But I really feel like the re-casting of the lead gave the whole team a creative shot in the arm with TLD.
For my taste, AVTAK mostly suffered from the timing of its release. It came after the two-Bonds-in-one-year-period (OP and NSNA) and after INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM drove action cinema to a new excess.
It always seemed to me that with the exception of OP, which got a lot of free press from a media looking to gin up a rivalry with NSNA, all the 80s Bonds were poorly marketed. I almost missed the TV campaign for FYEO entirely, and I looked at a lot of (too much, even) TV in 1981. AVTAK likewise was lost in the shuffle, and when TLD came out, the kid behind me in the theater kept asking his dad when each new face appeared, "Is THAT the new Bond?" so obviously the campaign to promote Dalton hadn't been too vigorous.
Oh, and Temple of Doom was another film that cast a wet blanket over AVTAK for me at the time. I know the mine sets were very well done, but when I saw them, all I could think was, "Gee, I wonder where they got THAT idea?"
So it became easy to pummel AVTAK for all its weaknesses and to ignore all its strengths. It was just time to call Bond out of touch with the zeitgeist, and after its incredibly long series of success it probably was overdue for that treatment.
I think history shows that if there's one thing people love more than putting heroes on a pedestal, it's knocking them off that pedestal into the dirt. I'm betting a lot of the same people who whined "get Connery back" for decades would've been among those saying, "this series is so tired out" if he had indeed stayed on for another four or five films. The key for the actors is knowing how to quit while they're ahead, and the key for the producers is, similarly, to know when it's time to change gears. And that's preferably before the rest of the world is telling you to do it. But not too soon before. I admit it's a hard line to walk. Generally, they get it right.
And again, for the record, I'm not an AVTAK hater, even if I think it's Roger's weakest entry. I'd still take it over anything that's come since, with the possible exceptions of TLD and CR.