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

VICE Family Hulu joker children's TV comic witnail FX Vudu comic books Comedy historical drama mutant technology Netflix adaptation superhero Television Academy Chilling Adventures of Sabrina blaxploitation Television Critics Association WGN asian-american true crime PlayStation Ellie Kemper independent popular ratings Anna Paquin Showtime hollywood richard e. Grant theme song book adaptation deadpool LGBT Pet Sematary spain USA Tomatazos Summer mission: impossible rt labs critics edition First Look Hallmark Rock green book zombies BBC America Trailer Endgame Awards USA Network streaming Comic Book TruTV Biopics Schedule IFC australia black Epix E! Esquire kaiju Apple TV+ critic resources debate TV One Academy Awards TV renewals movies rotten cartoon Rocketman foreign RT21 President vs. classics Marathons Podcast YA japan harry potter WarnerMedia werewolf OWN action-comedy golden globe awards New York Comic Con natural history Cosplay Sony Pictures A&E tv talk Super Bowl television E3 Spring TV Winter TV slashers king arthur RT History Fox Searchlight Infographic italian Apple composers The Academy nature Pirates Paramount Network cults Paramount Lionsgate reboot 20th Century Fox anthology Netflix Christmas movies AMC Plus Amazon Prime Video Marvel Studios See It Skip It CBS Sneak Peek Discovery Channel toronto satire blockbusters finale IFC Films GLAAD aliens ABC Family hidden camera TBS remakes CBS All Access Heroines GIFs 21st Century Fox Columbia Pictures hispanic heritage month films cooking Interview Year in Review sitcom Dark Horse Comics Premiere Dates Mudbound black comedy Tokyo Olympics Creative Arts Emmys Disney Plus TCM Superheroes ID singing competition Crackle romance free movies facebook sopranos Lifetime Christmas movies MSNBC Hear Us Out Chernobyl Film Festival cancelled television archives Britbox X-Men anime TCA 2017 cancelled Trophy Talk BBC The Arrangement fast and furious batman cops San Diego Comic-Con Warner Bros. child's play 2021 Image Comics biopic adenture Stephen King sports biography The CW Paramount Plus worst breaking bad series Syfy Christmas scary movies ViacomCBS diversity Calendar DC streaming service fresh Set visit mcc Turner Classic Movies suspense SXSW Star Wars Cannes Apple TV Plus scorecard Sci-Fi casting crime drama Pacific Islander jurassic park HBO laika game show Travel Channel canceled TV shows zombie APB First Reviews Music Avengers Universal Pop Nominations halloween tv king kong justice league women period drama Black History Month boxoffice Action Drama Valentine's Day Disney Channel parents Emmys news book universal monsters cars Opinion dexter DC Universe Fantasy sequel trailers 73rd Emmy Awards BET Awards YouTube Red football halloween Neflix Baby Yoda TNT slasher japanese rt archives canceled Shondaland documentaries Freeform 007 know your critic Disney streaming service TIFF stoner Acorn TV HBO Max Sundance TV transformers BET wonder woman cancelled TV series indie Amazon Prime MCU war dramedy venice supernatural Captain marvel VOD GoT Instagram Live TCA Awards 99% TCA Winter 2020 TV Land twilight Disney Crunchyroll 4/20 Food Network SDCC Martial Arts Reality FXX DC Comics spanish CMT Animation Mary Tyler Moore 2015 Women's History Month Pop TV Best and Worst new star wars movies Comedy Central festivals reviews criterion Spike Writers Guild of America Certified Fresh Emmy Nominations FX on Hulu ITV south america Video Games OneApp Sundance a nightmare on elm street comiccon heist movie Reality Competition Pixar NBA Elton John CW Seed Funimation Shudder Legendary The Walt Disney Company doctor who disaster Star Trek mockumentary Black Mirror VH1 mob concert 71st Emmy Awards political drama sequels psychological thriller renewed TV shows Oscars police drama saw marvel cinematic universe unscripted rotten movies we love DirecTV Marvel crossover best Teen screenings Film blockbuster Peacock Watching Series 24 frames superman nbcuniversal gangster Horror dragons Ghostbusters james bond thriller 93rd Oscars 45 festival documentary 2020 The Walking Dead scary ghosts PBS legend teaser latino name the review scene in color BAFTA all-time Starz docuseries NYCC 2016 FOX kids Extras kong TV space IMDb TV Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt royal family psycho robots Holiday Red Carpet travel spanish language live action olympics Amazon indiana jones YouTube serial killer spy thriller worst movies Exclusive Video Toys Box Office Fox News BBC One Trivia romantic comedy comic book movies Wes Anderson Amazon Studios miniseries PaleyFest SundanceTV MTV Quiz dark high school YouTube Premium 2018 dogs Disney+ Disney Plus AMC hist posters ABC Signature new york A24 discovery monster movies Broadway rom-coms Bravo Sundance Now docudrama emmy awards American Society of Cinematographers jamie lee curtis Photos Walt Disney Pictures die hard strong female leads LGBTQ lord of the rings cinemax quibi critics directors young adult Polls and Games Character Guide CNN Musicals Ovation elevated horror christmas movies binge franchise The Witch hispanic 90s versus spinoff History vampires Musical 72 Emmy Awards stop motion Universal Pictures Comic-Con@Home 2021 Election Lifetime Mary Poppins Returns Mary poppins award winner streaming movies screen actors guild golden globes feel good Winners science fiction Fall TV Countdown chucky Tumblr marvel comics Rocky obituary cancelled TV shows Rom-Com international genre new zealand comedies Hallmark Christmas movies Tarantino Classic Film spider-verse adventure Western Tubi Turner The Purge zero dark thirty TLC Binge Guide telelvision Thanksgiving dceu aapi DGA crime thriller basketball razzies rt labs Alien Mindy Kaling nfl cats prank based on movie Nat Geo Cartoon Network art house dc Spectrum Originals Adult Swim talk show Pride Month game of thrones ABC Logo boxing HBO Go politics 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Comics on TV Superheroe french Brie Larson Awards Tour TCA Nickelodeon movie Country Lucasfilm pirates of the caribbean toy story 2017 TV movies 2019 stand-up comedy what to watch comics video medical drama crime dreamworks ESPN video on demand target 1990s Marvel Television sag awards Mystery godzilla comic book movie spider-man revenge live event Grammys NBC National Geographic Song of Ice and Fire El Rey social media Kids & Family Masterpiece Holidays Arrowverse animated