Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sunday Burst of Weirdness

Well, there must be something in the water -- or in the vodka martinis. No sooner do I post about Dave's reviewing of all the Bond movies (see the next post down) than I go over to MeFi and find a thread devoted to a site called, whose purpose is to organize a boycott of the upcoming James Bond flick Casino Royale because Daniel Craig, the guy now playing Bond, is too much of a wimp or even gay or...something. It's all very stupid and a little creepy, so I don't take it at all seriously. It's not unlike the one site I found eons ago that venomously savaged the poor girl who played Cho Chang in the most recent Harry Potter movie.

Actors aren't the people they play, folks. Laurence Olivier sure played a mean Henry V, but I seriously doubt he'd have been much use on the fields at Agincourt.

(BTW, here's a pretty bizarre quote from that MeFi thread, in response to a mini-debate within the thread as to whether Bond films should be "realistic" or not. Steven Den Beste weighs in heavily on the "not" side, a position with which I agree, but here's the quote that stopped me in my tracks:

Vaguely more seriously, the James Bond films of the 60s through 80s were during the cold war, and it was believable. After the cold war things in the real world got more complicated and the writers had a hell of a time keeping up. It seemed all the plotlines post Roger Moore were not in keeping with the current events. The explosions and gorgeous bimbos were still there, but the backdrop which made Bond believable thirty or forty years ago just doesn't apply today. You have to place these films in another world entirely, and in that regard, Delmoi is absolutely correct. If you can't believe what you're seeing, you can't escape into it.

Huh? When the hell was Bond ever "believable", and when did the plots ever really deal with "current events"? Look, folks, I know that everybody thinks that the Bond movies were Cold-war espionage thrillers for the longest time, but that simply isn't true.

And then, farther downthread, someone says this:

Hell, up until Timothy Dalton's run, the best, most realistic hand to hand combat scene in a Bond film was when those Gypsy girls fought each other in The Spy Who Loved Me.

Sure, except that's the wrong friggin' movie, by fourteen years. The title you're looking for is From Russia With Love.

And now I'm remembering a Usenet argument I once got into with a person whose knowledge of the Bond movies was staggeringly bad, and yet, there he was, arguing away with the absolutely certainty that he knew what he was talking about, even though I and a couple others had to keep stopping the argument just to correct him on the facts of the series. We're talking about a person who thought that For Your Eyes Only, which came out in 1981 and starred Roger Moore as Bond, was one of the 60s Connery flicks. What is it about the Bond movies that makes people think they know everything about them?)


Anonymous said...

You don't think Bond is believable? I guess you aren't buying into the "Planet of the Apes" movies, either. ;)

Rick said...

I rather agree with the quote about Bond and the Cold War, or at least the idea lurking behind it.

Of course Bond was never realistic, and you're quite correct in your linked post that the Bond movies only occasionally dealt with the USSR or the Cold War as such. (I know nothing about the books.) But it seems to me that the whole idea of technologically sophisticated supervillains was rooted in the mythos of the Cold War - back in the days when the Soviets were beating us into space, nuclear-powered bombers were taken seriously, etc.

Bond fighting Latin drug lords never felt right - they belong in GangsterWorld, not SupervillainWorld. Even contemporary Muslim fundamentalists wouldn't quite work; 9/11 was fiendishly brilliant enough for a Bond villain, but done with box cutters, not beeping gizmos.

My own bias is that Bond doesn't really fit in the contemporary world; his natural home is c. 1960. (Which was the underlying premise of Austin Powers; but that doesn't invalidate the argument.) If I were doing a Bond movie, I'd do it as a period piece.

Jayme Lynn Blaschke said...

Man, that's sad on so many levels, not least of which is robbing Moore of his best outing as Bond, by far.