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) 72%


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.


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!”


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

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