conSTRUCTING JAMES BOND
James Bond 007 returns in SKYFALL later this year. The suave, sophisticated secret agent, possessing a license to kill and a Walther PPK from the British MI6 is making his 23rd movie appearance. He was created by Ian Fleming to be the perfect secret agent. Based on exploits of a real-life agent Fleming met during WWII. He took outrageous risks, romance beautiful women and tweaked the noses of Nazis while skating on the Death’s razor-edge.
Many of us have grown up more with the movies about the life and adventures of the Fleming 007 character. We know him inside and out; we expect him to find away when there seems no way out—and to look good doing it. That iconic agent is all but gone in the new Bond movies. After SKYFALL Bond will likely never be the same.
Wussification of Bond
Another common factor in all of the early Bond movies was the Bond Girls. Some of Hollywood’s and the world’s most beautiful actresses have made an appearance in bond movies. Their main role was to act as eye candy for the male audience and provide an element of romance for Bond. Some were helpless bimbos; others were razor-sharp foreign agents like Michelle Yeoh (Wai Lin in TOMORROW NEVER DIES).
Starting in the 90’s, perhaps earlier, the writers made an effort to make the female actresses more relevant – hence the Wai Lin character. More often than not they were fellow agents, competition and even villains to match wits against. More and more of 007’s traits were exported into the female character. His depth of knowledge in esoterica started coming from the women. Critical data came from the ladies when in the past he figured things out himself. They were the ones downloading the villain’s secrets while bond stood by holding his “pistol.”
Finally in the latest CASINO ROYALE Daniel Craig cannot even dress himself properly. Eva Green (as Vesper Lynd) not only holds the purse strings over Bond, she picks out his suit so he doesn’t look bad when he sits down at the high stakes poker table.
James Bond has certain clichés associated with him; the Walther PPK, the British-built Aston Martin cars, and his martinis – “shaken, not stirred.” Once before the studio tried to change a factor in his character (driving a BMW in GOLDENEYE) and the fans erupted. The Aston Martin returned in CASINO ROYALE. So far fans are tolerating the blond Daniel Craig (all previous Bond’s had brown hair or darker).
Another change appearing in the upcoming SKYFALL will have the cantankerous 007 hoisting a Heineken™ brew in place of the iconic martini. Already fans are reacting. The Facebook fan page is aflame with unfavorable responses. Time will tell if the studio will listen to the fan base or charge ahead with what is likely a marketing stunt. Generally, upsetting your target audience is a poor business strategy.
The Future for Bond
The producers have altered the Bond character significantly in the past decade. “M” is now a woman (heartless bitch that she is as played by Dame Judi Dench). Q is portrayed by the sarcastic British comedian John Cleese. Bond himself has lost most of his wit, all of his knowledge base and his smooth swagger. He has turned into a two-dimensional action figure fit only for car chases and shoot-outs.
The final betrayal of our childhood hero will come in this movie or no later than the next two. Look for James Bond to have a homosexual romantic interlude. No matter how it is rationalized as a necessary part of his cover, it will sound the death bell for 007. How do I know? Nothing definite yet, just Hollywood’s tendency to push the LBGT agenda in every avenue. It’s in most television shows, many movies and even in commercials. Disney, Nickelodeon and Sesame Street all have openly Gay characters in programs aimed at children. How long before James Bond, 007, curls up at the end of the movie with the first “Bond Boy?”