Sheriff J.W. Pepper from Louisiana said it best, while spitting tobacco. Therein lies Bond’s biggest problem, of course – he’s the least secret agent of them all. He is in fact so well known, that we know ALL about him.
I was never a proponent of ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ – while the rest of the world kept on changing in radical fashion, I found it strangely alluring that Bond was always Bond, the materialist boozer, womanizer and killer.
Never you mind that women all over the world burned their bras and then turned feminist, Bond bedded them with a twist of the eyebrow. Never you mind that men turned into metrosexual sissies with feelings, Bond was still the ultimate playboy who killed and – hell yeah! – enjoyed it. Oh, if he’d only smoke a white-filtered afterwards…
The tallest hurdle the Bond-series faced was the end of the Cold War. For a short period of time, about 1990, it looked as though we had seen the end of history, and with it, the closing to the story of the secret agent. But niet. Real-politik kicked into action, and the profession is once again blossoming. These days they probably have to speak arabic, thou, and that’s not nearly as glamouros as the vodka and mink fur of the evil Russians. Well, that’s another story for another day, and for another movie. I’m sure Bond speaks Arabic, anyway, seeing as he was always a ‘cunning linguist.’
As far as double entendres and innuendos go, that one is wonderfully brave – perhaps even braver than Pussy Galore.
Not that Bond was ever staid, no, on the contrary. While the character was stuck to his character, so to say, the movies always tried to incorporate the burning issues of the day. Remember Moonraker – responding to Star Wars! And wasn’t Bond snowboarding in A View To Kill, a whole decade before I bought my first snowboard? Cutting edge. Just ask Q.
Eventually Bond had to change – but the first attempt went pear-shaped. Am I the only one who thinks that M should be a man, and not a bloody Judy? At least Bond had some difficulty in taking orders from a woman on top… which was a saving grace, but really, I miss the old M dearly. For the sake of stereotypical film – because Bond is above all a stereotype – men are the ones plotting the destructions and resurrections of worlds, dammit!
This is a minor detail, really, in comparison with the direction Bond was taken – straight to Hollywood, in other words, competing with fucking Bruckenheimers and Woos. I can only weep and ignore.
The second attempt at changing Bond seems to bear better fruit. I’m talking Casino Royale 2006, with hardman Daniel Craig in the black tux by the chemin de fer, and I’m also talking the ‘shaken, not stirred‘-line, once the very epitome of a man who knows what he wants, and gets it.
Now, I intend to watch the new movie later tonight, but I read and hear, so: When the bartender in in the neo-Casino Royale asks neo-Bond if he wants his vodka martini shaken or stirred, he replies – gasp! – “Do I look like I give a damn?”
Ruthless. I wasn’t sure if I liked it at first, having always enjoyed Bond’s fancy-pants approach to all things decadent, but the more I think about it, the more genius it strikes me. This must be Timothy Dalton times ten, people!
There were times when Bond went overboard with enthusiasm. Think about the amazing amazon Grace Jones coupling with a very old and frail-looking Roger Moore, and you see what I mean. Casting has been questionable at times, acting was rarely incredible, and once in a while it was too funny, too sloppy.
But it was always enjoyable, always accompanied by fantastic soundbites, always stirred my pants. The everyday-escape these movies provide is unequalled. The shot of male chauvinism – a rare vaccin against political correctness – is priceless, buzzing you with vitality. Bond movies scream “Let me entertain you!” I holler right back, “Go for it!”
Thanks for reading about my personal relationship with James Bond. I’m about to find out if it will continue.
Once again, I find myself staring down the barrel of the gun, into the curtain of blood.