Ask Dayton 68 – Ward, Dayton Ward
Dear Mr. Ward,
I’ve been recently watching some movies from the James Bond franchise. Do you like watching those movies? If so, who do you believe to be the best actor to portray the ever-famous role? Beyond that, who would you give the silver and bronze to for their performance?
Thank you, and all the best.
First, I suppose I should warn you that I typically avoid “what’s/who’s the best” discussions, about anything. If fandom’s taught me one thing, it’s that such debates ultimately are futile if not stupid, and the louder and more whiny somebody gets as the conversation devolves, the less I care (and I usually don’t care a whole lot to begin with). More often than not, I end up wanting to dropkick someone in the taint. Don’t be that guy.
On the other hand, I’m cool with offering up my personal favorites. Yes, people will disagree with my choices, but the beauty of being me is that I don’t give a fuck. Besides if we go with a “Best of” debate, some nerd is also going to want to give me shit because I don’t mention David Niven’s Bond in the 1967 version of Casino Royale. Well, here’s me mentioning it. That movie sucks a big bag of dicks. I’d rather watch the Star Wars Holiday Special. Twice.
So, with that out of the way, drop your cheesy corn and grab your chainsaws, and let’s do this.
Yep, I’m a James Bond fan, though I don’t go hog wild with 007 the same way I do something like Star Trek. I’d obviously heard of him here and there as a kid, but the first Bond movie I remember watching from start to finish was For Your Eyes Only. So, I suppose that makes Roger Moore my first Bond, and that’s still my favorite of the seven movies he did. Doesn’t make him my favorite Bond, though; not by a long shot.
Yes, there are the purists who say Sean Connery will always be the best Bond, because he did it first. I do loves me some Connery Bond action. To this day, From Russia with Love still ranks as one of my all-time 007 flicks. Because I’m a child of the 80s and remember with a large degree of perhaps undeserved fondness the numerous “Return of This” or “Reunion of That” movies featuring characters from bygone television series, I have a soft spot for Never Say Never Again, Connery’s one-time return to the Bond role after more than a decade. That’s not to say it’s a great movie. Nope. The film’s story was done way better the first time, when it was called Thunderball.
Critics seem to be all over the map so far as Timothy Dalton’s turn as 007. Personally, I think he’s always gotten a raw deal, much like George Lazenby, who did a very respectable job with his one go as Bond, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. For my money, Dalton’s also the one Bond actor who came closest in physicality and portrayal to the character Ian Fleming described in the original novels. His two Bond movies, The Living Daylights and License to Kill, are underrated, for whatever the hell my opinion’s worth, and the latter one definitely showcases a Bond more in line with what Fleming envisioned. A lot of studio and legal bullshit saw to it that even though he’d been negotiating a third movie, he finally threw up his hands and went to work doing other stuff. I think we got robbed on that deal.
As for Pierce Brosnan, I think he started strong out of the gate with GoldenEye, held pretty steady in Tomorrow Never Dies, and then things started to fall off with The World is Not Enough, and Die Another Day is just…well…we’ll go with “sub par.” That actually kind of bugged me at the time, because I’m a Brosnan fan, and I’ve loved a bunch of his other, non-Bond stuff (Remington Steele, The Thomas Crowne Affair, etc.). I think if he’d been cast as Bond the first time around, back when Roger Moore retired, we may well have gotten six or seven Brosnan 007 movies. Of course, then we wouldn’t have gotten Dalton. Such is life, I suppose.
Which brings us to Daniel Craig, the current incarnation of The Doctor James Bond.
I fucking love Daniel Craig as 007.
Casino Royale (2006, not the sucky David Niven one) was, to use a technical term, HOLY SHITBALLS AWESOME. Craig took everything about Bond to which we’d become accustomed and either turned it on its ear or jerked a knot in its ass. The darker personality, the edgier fighting style, the ruthless way in which he approaches his job, are all right out of the books and yet seem totally new and—to some people, anyway—completely out of place. Screw those people. Craig absolutely brought a fresh and much-needed new energy to the Bond flicks. Quantum of Solace may have been a bit of a misstep, but Skyfall? That movie fucking rocks balls. I think it’s Craig’s best Bond outing yet, and definitely in my top three favorite 007 movies.
That said, I’m sticking with Timothy Dalton as my all-time favorite Bond actor. I think he just nails the original, Fleming-envisioned version of 007 better than any of the others. Daniel Craig is a solid second favorite, and I’ll give the bronze to Sean Connery, because not only did he do good Bond, but we wouldn’t have any of the others if not for him.
So give that a shake. No stirring, damn it.
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He is the co-owner of Busy Little Beaver Productions and is the producer and co-host for G & T Show and Gates of Sto’vo’kor. He’s directed voice actors, and produced and edited audio podcasts and dramas because he doesn’t have the face for video. He plays well with others and is always on the look out for the next project, the next thing, the next next. If he wasn’t working on something with a half dozen other projects waiting in the wings, somebody please check to make sure he’s still breathing.
During the day, he’s a mild-mannered computer repair man who dabbles in web design in his small, rural, Central California community. He lives with his lovingly dysfunctional family and loyal canine companion and spends most of his time in the closet concocting some hair-brained scheme or another. He’s got an unhealthy obsession with Lego video games, Klingons, and Star Trek Online that borders on the neurotic.
Despite all this, he still finds the time to write the words. Find out what he's doing here.