Sunday, April 02, 2006

Mere points on a compass, each as stupid as the other!

Time for a matching quiz! Below is a list of witticisms uttered by James Bond, followed by a list of villains to whom Bond uttered them. (In some cases, he's uttering them at their dead bodies.) Match the Bond line to the villain!

1. "She's had her kicks."
2. "Oh, the old handgun in the back of peanuts. What will they think of next."
3. "Oh, luck? Well, I shall have to use players' privilege, and use your lucky dice."
4. "I never miss."
5. "Well, he certainly left with his tails between his legs."
6. "How about an earthquake?"
7. "It'll take more than cutting your earlobes off to make you a Count."
8. "We have a saying too, [name omitted] -- and you're full of it."
9. "Don't you want to know why?"
10. "He had no head for heights."


a. Mr Kidd, Diamonds are Foverever
b. Electra, The World Is Not Enough
c. Ernst Stavro Blofeld, On Her Majesty's Secret Service
d. Rosa Klebb, From Russia With Love
e. Emil Locque, For Your Eyes Only
f. Francisco Scaramanga, The Man With the Golden Gun
g. Franz Sanchez, Licence to Kill
h. Gyorgi Koskov, The Living Daylights
i. Kamal Khan, Octopussy
j. Kananga, Live and Let Die

And for bonus credit, name the villain who utters the line that is the title of this post.

This is all occasioned by the Indestructible Mr. Jones, who provides a bit of info about Casino Royale, the upcoming Bond film that essentially restarts the franchise. Restarting a franchise like Bond is nothing new -- look at Batman Begins, which did the trick with the Batman character. And, of course, the ultimate restarting of a franchise would have to be DC Comics's Crisis on Infinite Earths, which restarted the entirety of the DC Comics universe. (Interestingly, at the time, Crisis seemed like just a DC version of Marvel's Secret Wars, which had run a year or two previously -- but now, Crisis is widely noted as the better and more important comics event.)

It's probably time for Bond to be relaunched, anyway; it's just no longer plausible to assume that it's the same guy in each film having all those adventures, when the first film appeared in 1962. If there are going to be more Bond films, rebooting the character is really the only way to go. It'll be interesting to see how much of the "traditional" Bond mythos sticks around -- debonair stuff in tuxes, the wooing of ladies, the femme fatales, the nifty gadgets.

One thing that interests me is that the Bond character is often seen as a "relic of the Cold War"; in fact, in GoldenEye, Judi Dench as M uses exactly those words to describe Bond. Or, as Wayne and Garth put it on a Wayne's World bit back in the day on Saturday Night Live, in citing "boring spy stuff" as one reason they were "bummed the Soviet Union fell": "Who's James Bond gonna spy on now? The Guatemalans?"

But when you look at the movies, there is surprisingly little Cold War vibe for most of the series. All of the Connery films involve SPECTRE as villains, and the only ones that reference the Cold War at all are From Russia With Love (when Bond at first thinks he's up against the Russians, but turns out to be involved in a SPECTRE plot) and You Only Live Twice (in which SPECTRE's plot involves capitalizing on Cold War nuclear trigger-happiness on the part of the Americans and Russians).

We don't hear anything at all about the KGB in a Bond film after YOLT until The Spy Who Loved Me, in which Bond teams up with KBG agent Anya Amasova against a non-Cold War villain. It's not until 1981's For Your Eyes Only, the eleventh film in the series in nineteen years, that we saw Bond involved in genuine Cold War intrigue. The next film, Octopussy, also has a strong Cold War plot; but in 1985's A View to a Kill, Bond-versus-KGB again became a mere background thing. The Living Daylights returned to Cold War stuff, but in a muted way, and that was it for the Cold War in the Bond films. Licence to Kill in 1989 involved Central American drug trade, and then the series stalled until 1995, when GoldenEye depicted a distinctly post Cold War Bond.

Anyway, bring on the new Bond -- and I want to know who's writing the score! I'd vote for Howard Shore or James Newton Howard. None of that boring Media Ventures, cookie-cutter stuff for Bond, please.

Oh, and for more opinionation on All Things Bond, check out my old "Bond Redux" series of posts. These are linked in the sidebar at left, and were the first things of mine to get linkage in Blogistan at large. Almost four years ago those articles caused my daily traffic to jump from 12 hits per day to over 30!