First of all, any assemblage that calls itself the “Jedi Council” is hard to take seriously in the first place, and I might as well start there.
There was, once upon a time, a superpower possessed by fans and actors alike, and that was the ability to not take themselves too seriously. In those dark ages, we were allowed to have fun with the more ridiculous aspects of various concepts and franchises with no harm done. Thus my generation grew up with Adam West’s Batman, Roger Moore’s James Bond, rubber ears and tinfoil bikinis on “Star Trek” and yes, a fun little distraction of a film called “Star Wars.”
At some point, evolution caused the skins of fans to thin dramatically and their sense of humor to be supplanted by grim earnestness, righteous indignation, hyper-sensitivity and smug superiority. And so we got things like Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, Daniel Craig’s James Bond, Star Trek: The Next Generation and the horror that was the Star Wars prequels.
All of which is not to say that those things can’t bring pleasure, but the insistence of some fans to take with utter seriousness concepts which remain at heart as patently ridiculous as they were at their more naive, goofy genesis is a sad by-product of the rise of Geek Culture.
As pretty much the Patron Saint of Taking the Piss Out of Things, it’s only natural this crowd would regard Roger Moore with disdain, derision, confusion and, frankly, fear. They don’t “get” him so he must be bad.
Having said all that (and waiting for the flood of angry PMs), Roger was, to many of us kids of the 70s, the epitome of cool composure in the face of peril; the best-dressed, best-coiffed, handsomest bloke in any room, with a pithy bon-mot for any occasion and absolute, unshakable confidence no matter the situation. When you’re an insecure kid who’s the opposite of all those things, that’s a pretty powerful draw. Yes, all those traits were taken to insanely exaggerated lengths with Roger, but that was the whole point. Roger knew that the Bond mystique is equal parts cool and nonsensical, and he wasn’t afraid to ramp both sides of it up to 11. And yet, for those of us willing to look deeper than the surface, there was always more going on beneath that cocky veneer; his entries are full of little moments where fear, doubt, sorrow and fury bubble nearly to the surface, only to be tamped down under the facade of imperturbable invulnerability. Roger’s Bond knew that the key to unnerving and ultimately defeating the enemy was to never, ever let them know they’d gotten to you.
But mostly, he was just cool. No actor has really captured Fleming’s Bond – no, not even ONE of them – so as long as they’re all recreating Bond in their own image, we each of us get to pick which impersonation we like best. Roger’s was no less valid than any of them, and for some – like me – it was the favorite.