Bonding with Bond, Day 17: The Living Daylights

One intrepid RT editor is watching all of the James Bond films in order.

by | November 6, 2008 | Comments

Today we come to the fourth actor to play 007, Timothy Dalton. I found his portrayal to be very different from those of his predecessors, and I liked him in the role.


The Living Daylights (1987) 74%

LivingDaylights1

With the Roger Moore era now at a close, I was eager to see what Timothy Dalton would do with 007. I believe my childhood perception of James Bond’s image came from Dalton’s portrayal of Bond, even though I never watched either of his films; The Living Daylights is the first Bond movie I personally recall opening in theaters, and his look was immediately recognizable to me. Plus, after Moore’s elderly antics in A View to a Kill, I was ready for a fresh face.

I knew, of course, that Dalton was the next Bond, so his first appearance on screen wasn’t the big dramatic reveal it could have been. What did surprise me was that, despite my expectations, the opening scenes of The Living Daylights were pretty standard fare. Another impressive skydiving sequence begins the festivities, and then it jumps right into the action. After the mysterious killer Bond is pursuing drives an exploding jeep off a ramp and into the ocean, we find Bond climbing aboard a yacht, where a scantily clad woman on a cell phone is telling someone how she wishes for a “real man.”

But as the movie went on, I began to see the stark difference between Dalton and Moore. In fact Dalton was very different from Connery, too. Moore was obviously a more jolly Bond, if smug, dropping one liners left and right and prancing about more so than strutting; Connery was a smooth-talker, arrogant and commanding, but honestly kind of a jerk. Dalton, however, is stoic, with an ideal face for scowling, and he seems less flippant, less coy. With Dalton’s Bond, what you see is what you get, and I liked that. Whatever it may imply about my own personality, I felt that, of all the Bonds so far, Dalton is the one I’d probably get along with the best. Because, you know, I regularly pal around with British spies.

LivingDaylights2

With the end of the Moore Era also came the end of Lois Maxwell as Ms. Moneypenny, so I want to say something about her. I really liked her as Moneypenny. Throughout the series, I believed that her interactions with 007, as brief and sporadic as they were, reflected a unique chemistry that was seldom found in the Bond girls he went to bed with. In fact, very early on I determined that Moneypenny would have made the perfect wife for Bond, if he ever settled down. Of course, Tracy Di Vicenzo changed all that, and I actually sympathized with the melancholy Moneypenny at their wedding. But Lois Maxwell has been replaced by Caroline Bliss, and she doesn’t quite achieve the same rapport with Bond. I shall reserve final judgment on her until I see more of her.

While Dalton himself was a more serious, heart-on-his-sleeve 007, The Living Daylights wasn’t without its measure of camp. The chase sequence in his new Aston Martin (the most beautiful Bond car since his DB5, in my opinion) includes an enemy car getting sliced in half by a laser, as well as Bond dragging a cabin across a frozen lake before gunning it and bursting through its doors. The end of that scene, to top it off, has Bond and his female companion, Maryam D’Abo’s Kara Milovy, escaping down a snowy slope on a cello case. But there are only a few such scenes, and Dalton never winks at the audience, so to speak, like Moore did; his demeanor seems to say, “I know this looks ridiculous, but I have a mission to complete!”

LivingDaylights3

Overall, I really enjoyed The Living Daylights. Perhaps some of you were right in guessing that after 7 Moore films, I’d find Dalton to be refreshingly somber. But aside from his personality, I also felt that Dalton’s Bond acted more like a spy here, squeezing information out of Kara Milovy and utilizing misdirection as effectively as his exploding key fob. You could also sense palpable frustration and anger at times, which made Bond a bit less godlike and helped ground the film. Overall, I would say I’d rank this in the upper tier of Bond films so far, and I’m looking forward to Licence to Kill.

Favorite Line: “Stuff my orders!… Tell M what you want. If he fires me, I’ll thank him for it.” — Bond says this to his partner when he’s questioned about deliberately missing a sniper shot at Kara Milovy. This happens near the beginning of the movie, and it was the first indication to me that Dalton would be a different kind of Bond.

Favorite scene: Towards the end, as Bond is attempting to steer a rogue plane down a runway, Kara comes running up from behind and hugs him, grasping his head and muffling his face. Bond is visibly annoyed and you can hear him say “Kara!” in a tone that implies “Get the hell off of me! Can’t you see I’m trying to fly a plane here?”


Other Articles:

Tag Cloud

crime drama 007 casting Television Critics Association Marathons Chilling Adventures of Sabrina MSNBC Holidays Pride Month book 2021 cinemax Cosplay Universal GIFs tv talk APB Marvel Television spy thriller anthology TV One canceled cooking El Rey worst james bond Oscars Amazon Studios spider-man Lifetime Christmas movies comedies Pop TV Netflix police drama Toys Exclusive Video LGBT french YouTube Premium prank 72 Emmy Awards Pirates remakes Holiday Christmas dc DC Universe USA Cartoon Network Infographic GoT Turner Classic Movies dragons miniseries thriller strong female leads series political drama docudrama First Look news adaptation MTV trailers game of thrones Summer Amazon Prime Video scorecard criterion dogs Photos 2016 foreign Awards rom-coms Best and Worst superhero Red Carpet Rocky VICE Pop binge video on demand crime thriller Black Mirror OWN christmas movies 45 SundanceTV Teen Logo HBO Go Lucasfilm Turner Shondaland reviews green book TLC Box Office Rom-Com Set visit Apple TV Plus OneApp zombies BBC Black History Month venice Awards Tour A24 BAFTA italian period drama true crime cancelled Film Academy Awards 2019 RT21 zombie BBC One Fall TV travel Calendar spanish Netflix Christmas movies sitcom teaser documentary hist FOX Tarantino Arrowverse Chernobyl free movies Music nbcuniversal biography critics Comics on TV Emmys YouTube Red Winners docuseries Nominations Comedy 2018 science fiction Kids & Family Apple TruTV spain Alien kids The Witch boxing hidden camera DC streaming service Baby Yoda crime Epix SXSW comics die hard Western First Reviews what to watch concert Winter TV RT History Crunchyroll Action Horror zero dark thirty Discovery Channel National Geographic 2020 Fantasy CNN Animation independent Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt anime golden globe awards dramedy cults Tumblr Starz WarnerMedia BET Awards Superheroe History Fox News FX on Hulu archives YA franchise finale politics The Purge X-Men AMC laika ID reboot nature Podcast Fox Searchlight crossover harry potter TCM technology football spinoff all-time IFC Films Syfy Travel Channel Character Guide documentaries DirecTV diversity Sci-Fi facebook hollywood joker composers Reality Competition obituary stoner vampires adventure sequels Nickelodeon elevated horror Superheroes comiccon Crackle Year in Review australia E3 Disney Channel Disney streaming service 2017 canceled TV shows YouTube 4/20 Martial Arts 20th Century Fox mockumentary festivals Disney+ Disney Plus comic Walt Disney Pictures NBC mutant TV Family Dark Horse Comics Adult Swim Amazon Prime women directors versus Writers Guild of America ABC Signature indiana jones halloween tv kong children's TV cancelled TV shows Mystery Trivia telelvision godzilla serial killer cartoon A&E disaster FXX Mary poppins 24 frames WGN kaiju Song of Ice and Fire Premiere Dates universal monsters war Polls and Games Biopics toronto Women's History Month Trophy Talk Pet Sematary Spike Mindy Kaling Extras classics TCA festival Paramount Plus CMT TV Land Video Games chucky Valentine's Day Endgame cancelled TV series supernatural renewed TV shows boxoffice CBS All Access asian-american Cannes black robots Sony Pictures game show Elton John ViacomCBS medical drama spanish language streaming worst movies Star Wars rt archives Columbia Pictures psychological thriller New York Comic Con superman Certified Fresh richard e. Grant talk show psycho theme song werewolf rotten The CW TV renewals E! Acorn TV DC Comics Quiz Musical Television Academy Marvel Studios romantic comedy social media Sundance TV Pixar 21st Century Fox Masterpiece monster movies golden globes satire Film Festival Rocketman Stephen King Thanksgiving Freeform Marvel hispanic child's play natural history Country discovery Star Trek BET MCU comic books 99% sag awards sports cats cancelled television Comedy Central jurassic park American Society of Cinematographers best batman Paramount 2015 transformers Spectrum Originals historical drama San Diego Comic-Con Funimation President ratings TCA Awards stand-up comedy Creative Arts Emmys jamie lee curtis rotten movies we love slashers name the review nfl cops TBS Heroines PBS aliens The Walt Disney Company Lifetime movie Sneak Peek Opinion movies based on movie Watching Series Anna Paquin sequel Interview HBO Max SDCC Hallmark toy story Vudu ITV PlayStation ghosts television witnail blockbusters ESPN Hallmark Christmas movies blockbuster scary movies Britbox emmy awards razzies Mary Tyler Moore Nat Geo breaking bad The Academy romance singing competition TIFF Musicals Drama ABC NYCC latino Lionsgate Disney Plus See It Skip It Ghostbusters unscripted Hulu The Arrangement popular indie Classic Film Mary Poppins Returns CW Seed FX cars Trailer The Walking Dead VOD HBO parents LGBTQ Sundance Binge Guide Countdown Disney award winner deadpool south america TNT Sundance Now Emmy Nominations USA Network Tomatazos Paramount Network TCA 2017 screenings dark screen actors guild stop motion a nightmare on elm street video Spring TV justice league fast and furious quibi Peacock CBS 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Broadway blaxploitation GLAAD Comic Book animated Brie Larson mission: impossible Shudder TCA Winter 2020 Captain marvel revenge Tubi DGA Reality PaleyFest Ellie Kemper king kong films 71st Emmy Awards Mudbound IFC Schedule BBC America fresh Hear Us Out twilight doctor who Legendary pirates of the caribbean VH1 Rock Avengers space Apple TV+ Amazon Election Super Bowl dceu Grammys Bravo Showtime japanese Warner Bros. Ovation Esquire Food Network halloween ABC Family