No Such Nonsense

A little of this, that and... what was I talking about again? It's TV, sports, pop culture and politics - all the stuff that really matters in life.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Things I Just Don't Get: James Bond Edition

I really don't get it.

All summer, I've been reading about the uproar surrounding Daniel Craig's casting as James Bond in the soon-too-be-released film Casino Royale. Too blond, too short say some. Too indie serious, say others. Not Pierce Brosnan, say another astute lot. Some enterprising fans with an internet connection and a lot of time on their hands have even started a petition and boycott.

Now, I have no strong feelings about Daniel Craig. I hear we was good in Layer Cake. I hear he helped Sienna Miller exact a measure of revenge on her nanny-bedding fiance Jude Law (thank you, US Weekly). It's not the casting of Craig that has me befuddled. It is how and why anyone could possible care.

I simply do not get James Bond.

I'm the first to admit that the trappings are cool. What man doesn't look his best in a killer tux, a killer car and genuinely killer smile. The ladies, the martinis, the attitude and the gadgets - I can see how it should add up to something special. The problem is, they all-too-often add up to something absurd. The movies, from what I can see, just plain suck. Overblown action set-pieces in lieu of actual plot. Stuff blowing up. Villains who cook up over-elaborate but easily escapable ways to kill Bond. Chicks with lurid double-entendre names, lounging in bikinis or cavorting in Bond's bed. The whole series is steeped in an 1960s ethos of spy as playboy, girl as Madonna or whore, enemy as evil-guy-with-an-accent.

The movies started in the 60s, so it's easy to understand where the mentality came from. The problem is, it never stopped. Audiences grew more sophisticated, society changed and Bond just kept right on drinking, smoking, shagging and blowing stuff up. It's not just that it's all so dumb, it's that the films and the filmmakers seem determinedly unaware of their own ridiculousness. The seriousness with which people have debated the Bond casting provides a clue to the source of the problem. There is a whole group of fans who demand spectacle and style, and who clearly don't give a damn about substance. These fans refuse to let Bond change or grow or just go away. As long as stuff blows up real good.

I have nothing against things blowing up. I just want a story to go along with it. And with Bond, it seems unlikely I'll ever get it.


Post a Comment

<< Home