Monday, November 9, 2015

Has James Bond Bombed?

James Bond is an odd British institution which, like the Queen, seems to have been knocking around forever.

Growing up, we were exposed to Bond in the most pervasive of ways. Goldfinger always seemed to be on the tele in the 1970s, the seductive voice of Sean Connery mixing up a powerful cocktail with the deep strains of Shirley Bassey.

Daniel Craig as Bond


Then Roger Moore came along. My parents made disparaging comparisons with the great Sean and the plots became as flimsy as Bond's one liners which still worked for him on getting women into bed.

James Bond was an odd concept. He was a spy who killed lots of people in a non-gruesome way. He was a Brit who was clinical and ruthless in what he did, a particularly un-British characteristic in itself.

It's odd to find Bond still making headlines in a very different era, but you have to wonder for how much longer. Daniel Craig is arguably the most effective Bond since Connery but he's admitted to being bored with the role. While Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace and Skyfall were critically acclaimed, the new offering Spectre is described as a bit of a dog's dinner, even if it's served from a classy plate.

Connery was a hard act to follow

Although it may be unpatriotic to say so, Bond movies have always left me a bit cold, although I liked to watch some of the exotic locations. However, the fast cars and the death-defying antics, always seemed to unreal and formulaic to me and there never seemed to be any reason why Bond was doing what he was doing apart from giving movie goers an adrenalin rush. Other action franchises such as Mission Impossible seemed to do it better. In his recent incarnation, Craig has been given more of a past and themes have been carrie across the episodes. It may not be enough to save James Bond, although I have been proved wrong before, recalling how Doctor Who became mired in low budget anonymity amidst ropey doctors like Colin Baker in the 1990s, only to gain a new lease of life in the modern era.

Bond has never been as quirky and imaginative as the Doctor, which gives him less room to get out of a tight spot in the modern era of reinvented superheroes. Nor can he fall back on the work of Ian Fleming which was exhausted rather a long time ago. The other problem is Craig will be a hard act to follow when he decides to do some real acting again, You have to wonder if it's time to give the character a golden gun to the head.

Pointless Bond Trivia

James Bond was the name of the author of a book called Birds of the West Indies. Fleming was rather taken with it as he was a keen ornithologist (otherwise known as twitcher). He thought James Bond would be a great short and unromantic name for a spy. Of course it was rather act as Bond certainly has a thing for the birds.


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