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We grew up watching Bond. He's grown up too. He still has a weakness for women and martinis but now fights for a cause and against his own demons.
The James Bond you like best is usually the one you grew up watching, or so goes the theory. It does not factor in two things. One is that a generation grew up watching two Bonds simultaneously, with a third adding brief variety. In the early '80s, when the video cassette created a craze that the DVD has never matched, every Bond film made till then came to us in a single glut. My friends and I grew up with Sean Connery, the first Bond, with George Lazenby, Connery's stand-in for one film, and with Roger Moore, the then current Bond. There goes any theory about fans always identifying with a single Bond.
The other factor is that the newest Bond appeals to older Bondophiles too, not just to those who are in the process of growing up with him. Because of the way he is, his appeal ought to stretch to the Pierce Brosnan generation, and even to the Timothy Dalton generation if you assume that two films are enough to create a generation. Skyfall, here we come, even though your Daniel Craig has destroyed much of what our beloved character used to be.
My, how the boy has grown! He has not totally given up womanising but is now capable of falling in love, something that last happened in 1969 (he married Tracy in On Her Majesty's Secret Service but she died). There was a time when he wouldn't let anything ruffle him and would treat even death as a joke, but today he is disturbed, fighting his own demons. And he is no longer in the job for the fun of it but is carrying out his mission for reasons that his older fans will identify with, having grown up before he did.
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