The New James Bond Novel Is Like a George Lazenby Movie, Only Shorter.


Over at the Wall Street Journal, Reason Contributing Editor (and former staffer) Michael C. Moynihan chews up the new James Bond novel, written by Jeffery Deaver, light some sort of mutant Richard Keel villain:

Plenty of critics have charted the supposed slide of the cinema incarnation of James Bond into the politically correct (Judy Dench's M, his boss, calls Bond a "sexist, misogynist dinosaur" in the 1995 film "Goldeneye"), and they will doubtless note that in "Carte Blanche" Bond worries that an attractive female South African police office might construe a glance as sexist and is horrified to hear a fellow British agent using the word "coloured" to describe mixed-race South Africans. But the real problem with Mr. Deaver's Bond is that he's so devoid of personality, unmotivated by a consuming ideological passion (like Fleming's anticommunism, so frequently contrasted with John le Carré's supposedly more sophisticated Cold War moral equivalence) and unburdened by emotional complexity. One gets the feeling that, because most readers will be familiar with the broad strokes of Bond as imagined by Sean Connery or Roger Moore, Mr. Deaver slacks on developing his hero.

As George Orwell remarked about the novels of Jack London, certain books "are not well written, but are well told." Jeffery Deaver is a Fleming manqué, producing a serviceable Bond film script but not a particularly good Bond novel. To carry the torch of Ian Fleming, one must be capable of doing both.

More here.

Moynihan hangs his shingle now at Vice magazine. Check it out, why don't cha?

And just to get the thread going, let me say it loud and proud: There's never been a better Bond than goddamned Roger Moore.

Oh Lazenby, will you ever win?

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77 responses to “The New James Bond Novel Is Like a George Lazenby Movie, Only Shorter.

  1. Don’t be contrary just to be contrary. Sean Connery, shaken, not stirred.

    I’ve always thought that there’s room to do some of the Bond movies again, but set in the periods the books were set in. I know that makes things a bit more expensive, but a little nostalgia coupled with totally shocking political uncorrectness would be entertaining.

    1. The whole thing is a product of the times. The new ones can get away with…whatever….cause they’re NEW.

      The old ones? I can’t see “From Iran, With Love” working. And “From Russia, With Love” today really doesn’t make sense without a lot of mental gymnastics to make it relevant.

      So – gotta keep that whole cold-war, two-Germanies thing going for it to hold together. Therefore any remake = update and new wardrobe, but still must take place in the 60’s/70’s as appropriate.

      1. With hats! Bitchslaps! Cold War intrigue!

        That would be awesome.

    2. Sean Connery, shaken, not stirred.


      1. In the proper mood, I can impersonate his voice with some fair facility. Was better at it when I was younger, but it’s not entirely gone.

    3. “Sean Connery, shaken, not stirred.”

      No question, the best. And the orange hip boots were stunning.

    4. Connery, without any doubt. Although, I will tip my hat to the writers of Daniel Craig’s Bond in Casino Royale

      “Now the whole world’s gonna know that you died scratching my balls!”

      While I can’t ever imagine Connery uttering that line as Bond (tho’ in real life…), it was still a tremendous line and well deserving of the franchise.

      1. I, too, like that version, though it has to be understood as quite unconnected from the earlier ones.

        Too gritty, no camp and all.

        But at least the fights looked like fights.

  2. I like the new guy Daniel Craig just fine. Otherwise, Connery (duh).

    And, Michael C. – “manqu?”.

    Really? Really?

  3. Newsflash: The best Bond movies had nothing to do with their books.

    1. Yes. People need to understand how different the movies actually are, though Daniel Craig’s portrayal of Bond is much closer to the books than any of the others (except for possibly Lazenby).

      1. Like crazy different. Like not the same stories different.

        I always liked the Moonraker novel. Kinda sorta not the same planet as the movie. Though the movie had certain perks, I suppose.

        1. Honestly, the books and the movies should be considered entirely different lines of work, and shouldn’t be compared. It’s not like Fleming had anything to do with the movies.

          1. I’m fine with that.

  4. Craig’s okay. I liked the Moore movies well enough, though there were some really bad ones. Live and Let Die is one of my favorites (the best was Goldfinger).

    I also liked Timothy Dalton, which is a minority view, I’ll grant.

    1. “I also liked Timothy Dalton”

      Okay, that’s just wrong.

    2. Seconded re Timothy Dalton. His movies marked the point at which the ‘tardedness of Bond movies began to recede.

      1. He was violent. In a good way.

    3. See below my views on George Lazenby, which is decidedly a minority viewpoint. Probably of one. 🙂

    4. I also liked Timothy Dalton

      When he wasn’t looking like he was about to imminently vomit, he was OK.

      1. I liked his perpetual anger–what you refer to as his imminent vomitude.

  5. Deaver went from high school in suburban Chicago to studying journalism at the University of Missouri.

    Fleming an old Etonian.

  6. Say, that’s Mrs. Ringo Starr!

    1. And her boobs.

      1. Definitely the most successful Beatle.

        1. George didn’t do so badly before Clapton scammed her away.

          1. No, but come on–Ringo wins by like a billion. The Spy Who Loved Him.

    2. She was great on Dukes of Hazzard, huh?

  7. Though a fan of le Carr?’s Cold War era work, I never got the idea his work was somehow more sophisticated than Fleming’s. It isn’t. Diamonds Are Forever, for one, has one of the best takes on the inner workings of a smuggling operation you will find anywhere. Whereas, le Carr? in Honarable Able School Boy reveals some rather goofy ideas pertaining to the primordial, primitive sexual dynamism of black women in a scene describing an African dance number. It wasn’t even intended as comic shtick compared to a similar scene in Live and Let Die. Fleming had the more sophisticated mind.

    1. Thinking back, scenes were not very similar, but compared together they do show the difference between a sentimentalist liberal and a more cynical one.

  8. No votes for David Niven?

  9. (Giggles) Oh, Jaaames…

  10. James West, James Bond, or James Kirk.
    Who got more pussy?

    1. I assume you mean the Will Smith, Timothy Dalton, and Chris Pine versions?

    2. I’m Rick James, bitch!

      1. Charlie Murphy!

    3. > James West, James Bond, or James Kirk.
      > Who got more pussy?

      That James Kirk could get a woman with more than one pussy puts him the lead, even if the number of women gotten were equal.

  11. Gotta say it: Brosnan is a better Bond than Connery.

    1. Dalton, Brosnan are pretty boys. Bond should be rugged and manly, not pretty.

      1. I found Dalton an improvement over Moore who I always found incredibly prissy.

        1. You’re dead to me heller.

          1. I’ll give you that Die Another Day sucked and Tomorrow Never Dies was iffy, but GoldenEye and The World Is Not Enough created the modern Bond, instead of bad imitations of Connery.

            1. Die Another Day undid any good that Brosnan had ever performed, it was that wretched.

              GoldenEye was not too bad, but he peaked early with it.

            2. Goldeneye was decent. But that’s Sean Bean for you. Sean “I Need a Drink, I was Just Stabbed” Bean.

              Brosnan was a serviceable Bond.

        2. I found Dalton an improvement over Moore who I always found incredibly prissy.

          Moore was the first Bond I saw (as a kid), but looking back on the movies, this is sadly true.

          1. Moore was great as The Saint, though.

      2. I didn’t like Dalton at all. Brosnan’s GoldenEye reinvented Bond in a good way: more action, less cheese.

        1. What about Licence to Kill? That really brought back violent, no-frills Bond.

    2. What? Are you daft?

  12. Roger Moore: Also totally gay.*

    *Ask Horatio Sanz about Sir Roger’s endless arse-grabbing on the set of the unforgettable 2002 classic “Boat Trip.”

    1. Was the ass grabbing rough?


  13. They should’ve done a spin-off movie about an American agent in the 80’s, with Don Johnson as the star.

  14. It’s Richard Kiel, not Keel.


    1. I will KEEEEEEEEL you!

    1. No, Mr. Fist, I expect you to diet.

  15. Why would anyone want to read a James Bond book written by anyone other than Fleming? It’s like eating tofurkey with Chinese Cabernet.

  16. A few years ago I started watching the Bond films from the beginning. When I got to the ones from the mid to late 70s I found them simply horrible, to the point of only watching about ten minutes of The Man with the Golden Gun which I found totally incoherent. Moonraker was utterly ridiculous but was redeemed by at least being mostly harmless fun.

    Those films were also, coincidentally, the bulk of Roger Moore’s output. It wasn’t that I found Moore’s performances that bad but the vehicles themselves were incredibly bad. The films he did in the eighties were an improvement.

    Looking back, I have come to the the conclusion that the best Bond film that I have seen (and I’ve only missed the latest ones) was On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and I think the best Bond might have been George Lazenby if he had signed onto the franchise. I really don’t know how well Lazenby would’ve held up so he does lose some points.

    Of course, OHMSS benefitted greatly from the presence of Diana Rigg, possibly the most luscious morsel ever served up in a spy movie (see also The Avengers).

    Runner-up is From Russia with Love and Sean Connery.

    Dalton and Brosnan were decent enough but can’t hold a candle to Connery.

    It’s all subjective, of course. I thoroughly respect the views of those whose opinions differ from mine. Some may offer criticisms which will change my mind.

    1. I think it was all downhill after Dr. No.

      1. GoldenEye is a fucking classic.

        1. Well, it does have Sean Fucking Bean. (Who dies, of course.)

          1. You know what? He’d have made an awesome Bond. Really, Richard Sharpe is kind of a James Bond of the Napoleonic era.

            1. I like it.

          2. “i’m glad y’all amused, meanwhile my nigga Ned is headless!”



    2. I’d like to see Javier Bardem as the new Bond. Bond villains deserve more than just a bullet to the head. A pneumatic punch is much more fitting.

    3. I’ve never seen On Her Majesty’s Secret Service all the way through, but I’ve heard similar sentiments expressed.

    4. Though Roger Moore isn’t my favorite Bond, those mid-to-late 70’s movies are my favorites of the series, particularly LALD and TMWTGG. I’m unapologetic about my bad taste in this regard, and I wouldn’t expect anyone who didn’t watch them as a suburban adolescent male in the late ’70’s to agree. It was a heroic fantasy for a time that pretty much sucked.

      Also, the franchise lost most of its charm after Hollywood began to churn out vast quantities of CGI action. Back then those stunts were really spectacular, and good for a genuine laugh. While I think they should have put the whole thing to rest years ago, I did enjoy Casino Royale.

      And speaking of spy-babes, I ached for the young Jane Seymour in LALD.

      1. Agree with you on the stunts. For awhile there, it seemed every James Bond movie stunt was ending up in the Guinness Book. From longest boat jump (in Live and Let Die), to the spiral car jump in Golden Gun, to the parachute jump off a glacier to end the initial sequence in Spy who Loved Me: the stunts were just absolutely incredible.

        And I agree with you on the 21-22 year old Jane Seymour. My God.

    5. “Diana Rigg, possibly the most luscious morsel ever served up in a spy movie”


      1. Oh, my God, she’s a hundred.
        And she’s still kicking high.

  17. Roger Moore was a great Bond. As was Connery. They did their thing in a calm and easygoing fashion, which is the whole essence of Bond. Moore and Connery-era Bond flicks also had the best locales and vehicles, and the hottest skanks. The most memorable villians, henchmen, and sidekicks.

    Brosnan and Craig are fucking pathetic, screaming like little bitches as they jump off trucks. Overdramatic losers remind me of the Italian soccer team. And Craig (and Dalton), especially, just takes the whole franchise too seriously. Bond was created by Fleming, not Tom Clancy.

    At least we got a good game out of Goldeneye.

    1. That was when I learned first person shooters gave me instant headaches.

  18. Stop dumping on George Lazenby. The man did is own stunts. With fire.

  19. I was a kid in the 90s so I was partial to Brosnan… until the invisible Aston Martin Vanquish. That pissed me off even more than the horribly obvious fake snake from one of the first couple movies.

  20. I think Sean Connery as a more mature actor, clinched ‘Best Bond’ in Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Never Say Never Again (1983). I concede “Best” is very debatable for his complete Bond career.

  21. Poor sex technique, eats meat, and insists on throwing stones at his opponents. Of course given their lack of intelligence it is little wonder that whites are facinated by him.

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