Another Bond trailer is out.
It’s hardcore. “Some men are coming to kill us” Bond says. “We’re going to kill them first.”
People on the Internet are excited. I’ve seen the sentiment around that the old Bond films are back.
WHAT old Bond films? Roger Moore making crude jokes? Sean Connery playing Sean Connery in a film about Sean Connery kicking ass? Pierce Brosnan running around being handsome?
I’m sorry, I’ve never understood the Bond movies. So, really, I’m happy to accept them as one of these aspects of the modern cultural experience that just isn’t going to include me. This isn’t a “you like Bond, you must suck LOL” post. I’m an adult. People like stuff I don’t like. Crucially, I like stuff other people don’t like. I just… I just don’t get it. After all, isn’t unsolicited venting what blogs are all about?
I thought Casino Royale was astonishingly boring, not to mention vapid. Thing is… I really liked the trailer. Quantum of Solace looked great but I didn’t even bother going to watch it. The Bond films have taken on a much grittier veneer since they cast Daniel Craig as the lead, and it seems so cool. More sophisticated, darker plotlines and the potential for Cold War era-style intrigue and bad guys got me interested. Could this be it? Could this be the first time I actually start watching and liking Bond movies?
Then I see the movies. And it’s the same old drivel. Bond’s supposed burnt out cynicism is remarkably shallow. The love affair from Casino Royale that’s supposed to inform everything was rubbish. Two attractive adults who enjoyed a few shags suddenly just declared as the emotional context and motivation for a character for the next few motion pictures. It’s all about some weird kind of English proto-nationalism that fits American stereotypes of how English people view their country more than anything else, with amazing actors trudging through weak material.
I don’t know. What can I say? Bond movies leave me cold. It just makes no sense to me. A dude in a suit walking around shooting stuff and looking cool (something at which Daniel Craig is eminently qualified) screams awesomeness to me, despite the Union Jack being everywhere.* The “sex” is always incredibly cheesy. I’m always a little embarrassed by Bond movies. “Look! Pretty people are giving each other sexy eyes! Let’s WATCH.” I’ll be honest, sex on screen isn’t a big thing for me, but the weird Bond version of it is even more infuriating than usual. The sex he has is always so weird as well, so clean and reminiscent of a music video, more than anything else. Maybe that’s where the timeless aspect of the franchise’s appeal comes in. The sex must be a gift from heaven for the average thirteen year old, and if you see this film with your parents as an adult, when the sex scene you somehow forgot would be in there turns up on schedule, you can feel embarrassed, rediscovering that golden period of your youth when you constantly felt awkward as everyone in the room pretends they’re not there until Craig has stopped grunting his way through a fairly uninspired coupling. Can’t Bond NOT have sex, like, in one of these films?
*It’s a tired reference, but the Union Jack really does evoke a Pavlovian response within me. My concentration on any piece of film or television is rudely interrupted whenever it shows up.
To be fair, that’s part of the formula of course. Bond does have to have sex. And he has to say “Bond. James Bond.”* And he has to… well, do stuff that Bond does. This includes being smooth and tough at the same time. A murderer who drinks a martini. Actually, I’m confused. It seems in recent Bond films going back to License to Kill (and I confess, not being a big fan I am missing movies here and could well stand corrected) there’s been this idea that Bond is in some ways a monster but a monster on the right side, yes? Basically, he does horrible things but they need to be done. Is there commentary here on our society, on the price of freedom?
*The Bond, James Bond thing is cool. No argument there.
Well, I’m not sure, and to be frank if that’s an angle they’re pursuing, I don’t think they’re doing a particularly good job. “We’re going to kill them first.” Daniel Craig looks so cool when he says that, looking off to one side. Incidentally, try that some time, in real life. Just say something a little more slowly than usual and emphasize the more clipped sounds of your own particular accent. Everyone will be impressed. Daniel Craig does a great job with it. I just wish he was in some other movie. The Bond film will have trains/subway cars flying through walls and a trip to China because of the money being invested by Chinese people and a bad guy who will hopefully not be rubbish, but it will be… okay. Not once will there be a moment anywhere near as wonderful as five or six moments from the recent Avengers film, and I spent most of that film laughing. Bond films, to me, are more about how the fans process them. It’s like they fill in the gaps and assume there’s a better movie than there is. Maybe they work best as a bridge to your youth, or something. I didn’t like Bond films as a child and I don’t like them now. I could be missing out I suppose. Though I doubt it.
Such great trailers though. I would happily watch a full feature film of Michael Gambon as a spymaster who swears prodigiously.