Sunday, June 30, 2013

Roger Moore, The Man With The Golden Apology Needed

News this week came that Liam Neeson would be reprising his role as a man with a "particular set of skills" for a 3rd go-round in Taken 3.  When the film releases in 2014 or 2015, Neeson will be the ripe young age of 62 or 63 playing an action powerhouse badass.  Also this week, a trailer arrived for the new Sylvester Stallone/Arnold Swarzenegger team up Escape Plan.  Both also had solo adventures this past winter with The Last Stand (see it!!!) and Bullet To The Head (have some beers while you watch it!).
This is not without mentioning both Expendables films.  Both are days away from being 66 and 67 years old.  Bruce Willis also continues to keep trucking having a another Die Hard film come out this past February.  He's 58.  We push these guys to continue what they're doing.  While the one-man action film genre is becoming more of a niche product, there's still the demand and the acceptance to see these men do what they do.  And what's nobody complaining about?  Age.
When Roger Moore's final adventure as legendary spy James Bond (A View To A Kill) was released on May 24, 1985, Moore was 57 years of age.  This means he was likely 56 when filming began.  Most of the criticism that surrounds the film deals with Moore's age and playing 007.  Some of this criticism was starting to seep out during his previous adventure, Octopussy as well.  People said he should have hung it up.  It should have been over for him long before it got to A View To A Kill. Its now got to the point where Moore himself says he should have hung it up following For Your Eyes Only and that he feels a tad embarrassed looking back and seeing that he went for it those last two times.

You shouldn't feel that way, Roger.  Not at all.

Yes, his age was starting to show physically a bit in those last two films.  But, Roger Moore has aged quite well over the years.  I'd say better than that of most men.  Especially of his generation.  Roger Moore approaching 60 looked as good as men in their 40s approaching 50.  His charisma, charm and performance abilities were able to overcome any shortcomings in his biological age.   Sure, he couldn't perform all the stuntwork required, and effects of the day did not allow for a computer generated face to be placed on the stunt double, but that goes beyond Roger Moore.
We need to look back and not be so harsh on Roger Moore for these two films.  I'm not going to defend Octopussy (my least favorite Bond film), but its not a bad film because Roger's too old, that's for sure.  I do find A View To  A Kill to be underrated in the Bond cannon.  Its only ever praise comes for the film's title song.  And I don't think it'd been that way had Timothy Dalton or Pierce Brosnan made their debut with the film.  Roger Moore's Bond swan song was a far more graceful effort that the 3+ clubs other members Connery (Diamonds Are Forever) and Pierce Brosnan (Die Another Day).  Craig is yet to be seen as he has 2 more films left (contractually).

So why is it we keep pushing these well past their ages stars to continue kicking ass, but Roger was just too old to be in that club.  Heck, I think fans now would definitely take a 62 year old Daniel Craig taking on adventures as 007.  Its not like Roger Moore was a hated James Bond during his day either.  He was quite celebrated as Bond.  He was THE James Bond to his generation.  There was mass debate in the late 70s and early 80s as to whether Connery was your Bond or it was Roger.  I had a split in my household.  My mom was a Roger Moore fan and my dad a Connery guy.  So that can't be it.  Moore's final film also set him a record as having played Bond in the official cannon the most times (7).  A feat that will likely never be topped.
As fans and geeks, I think we tend to like to look up to our heroes and not see them as our equals.  Its hard to look up to and wanna be like that guy who's your same age.  So we are constantly pining for the older man or woman to land that iconic part.  We want it to be someone older, wiser and that could guide us through the challenges instead of our buddy.  Even if the age for said adventure deems them inappropriate.  Its some kind of nostalgia that keeps us from moving on and finding that new hero or accepting the new spin on things.  I'm guilty of that myself in the past.  Now, the part of Bond is to be a retired ex-naval officer, so we do need him to be a little older in order to get a genuine feel.  Can't really buy an 18-24 year old Bond.  But its coming a time, fellow geeks, where are superheros are going to need to be the same age or younger than us.  We need to accept that.  Also, we need it for the newer generation of fans to become accustomed to the heroes we pass from generation to generation.
So, Roger Moore, you're just fine.  You weren't too old for Bond.  They begged you back for Octopussy, there were no questions when you returned for A View To A Kill.  If this was the current generation, nobody would be batting an eye at you still kicking some ass.  You were a fine Bond and fine gentleman, Sir Roger Moore.  And one who was, apparently, ahead of his time.

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