|Valya - 120112|
I just read a friend's posted review of the newest installment in the James Bond series, Skyfall. After finishing her well written critique, I wanted to share my own. It is based on my own Bond history and how I feel about this movie.
I am forty-three years old. The James Bond movie franchise is fifty. There have always been Bond movies around me. I grew up with James as my fantasy uncle that I could live vicarious adventures through. I love the Bond movies. I love what he stands for and is. He is the alter ego I wish I had.
My mom is a huge Bond fan and while raising me, she made sure I was as well. I can't remember my first Bond movie, but I think it was one of Sean Connery's movies. My mom has a big crush on that guy, much like her crush on Leonard Bernstein. I know she enjoyed them both for more than their artistic talents.
My first Bond movies were all from watching TV. The ABC network would play them on a Sunday night and they would go 2.5 hours instead of the usual 2 that most movies would get. I had to get special dispensation from mom to stay up to 10:30 to see them. I watched them for the fantastic action, the exotic scenery, and to try and follow the story.
As I got old enough to watch the movies in the theater with my mom and brother, I saw them on the big screen. Even though Moonraker was my first in-theater Bond movie, the first one I remember and noticed something new was For Your Eyes Only. I noticed the women.
Almost every Bond movie has two important bits with women. The first is the opening title and theme song section where the women are usually naked and silhouetted. It was the first time I remember seeing a naked woman, or at the negative black field of her, on film. Seeing that may have been one of the little bits of my sexual experiences that made me appreciate the beauty of women in their natural state. The second were the Bond women themselves and their silly names. By my mid-teens, I was rolling my eyes at their horrible character names such as Pussy Galore and Octopussy.
During my young years, Roger Moore was my favorite Bond. I liked his casual and slightly snarky approach to the character. As I got older, I went back to liking Connery since he was more of a macho Bond. In college I watched the subtler Timothy Dalton's Bonds and felt the franchise had gone into a slump. It wasn't him, it was the stories and over-the-top lines and action sequences. I had to ask if Wayne Newton should have ever been in a Bond movie (License to Kill).
By the time Piece Brosnan took up the helm, I only watched the Bond movies by renting them on VHS. He was good, but each story felt like a retread. Brosnan's Bond was a unique mixture of Moore's snarkiness and a darker side that included hints at James' alcoholism. While he did well, I lost track and missed the last two or three of his performances.
In 2006*, Daniel Craig took on the Bond role in Casino Royale. According to a recent Vanity Fair article about him and the role, Brosnan gave him a bit of advice, "Don't fuck it up." Craig said he learned what that meant after his first movie came out and suddenly felt not only the weight of the role, but also the weight of the whole Bond universe was on him.
Bond's transgressive coming out of the water.
|Vesper Lynd from Casino Royale still.|
Casino Royale was the first Bond movie I went to see in a theater in over a decade. I really wanted to see it for many reasons all of which concerned the new Bond, Daniel Craig. First, he is barely a year older than me. he is the first Bond my age. That is important to me. I feel connected to him because of that. We were both in our upper 30's when that movie came out. Second, he is the first blond Bond. I am a blond too.
In that movie he broke so many Bond rules. First, he didn't have the sex with the usual three women in it. Second, he drove a Ford Focus as his first car. Third, instead of having a beauty like Ursula Andress or Halle Berry come out the water dripping wet in a swim suit, he came out buff and hot as ever. I think even every straight man had to feel his privates twitch at that scene. He represented masculinity and its raw beauty in that magic moment. Fourth, he was rough. In the famous parkour scene where he is chasing a villain through a building site, the baddy vaults over a half wall, Bond runs through it. As M says in that movie to him, "You are a blunt weapon". Fuck subtlety. Sometimes you have to break through to the other side. Fifth, Bond fell in love. Vesper (which inspired the invention of a great and butt-kicking drink) was played by the unbelievable beautiful Eva Green who becomes his love and his heartbreak loss as well. Her loss hardened his heart. You could feel this happen with him and understood why he went cold to love and emotion after that. This movie soon became my favorite Bond movie staring my favorite Bond movie.
A few years later, Craig's second Bond movie came out, Quantum of Solace. It sucked for so many reasons I wont go into. I was worried for the franchise after seeing it. The only saving bit was Jack White and Alicia Key's them song, Another Way to Die.
In my next post, I will finally write about Skyfall.
*I always wondered why they didn't wait to release the movie in 2007... as in 007 in 2007!