BOND in TROUBLE—Is There a Dr. No in the House?
Perhaps it's a little fitting that MGM went belly-up a few years back just as their most important property was being treated like so much rubbish. I was actually at their offices a few weeks before the end (of the last chapter) and it was patently obvious that they had no clue how to handle nor manage their Intellectual Property.
As the story goes—a long time ago...on an island far far away...existed a series of movies (um, novels) about a British Secret Agent named James Bond. They were thrilling and ethereal experiences for all of us old enough to remember the theater back in the day when Hollywood still produced heroes. When Americans had a hunger for them as a reflection of the best within themselves. Of what life could, should and ought to be—as the song goes.
Somehow, the BOND formula was able to subsume and highlight all that was good about the heroic (dare I say European, nay, Scottish!) man—yes indeed, the hungry-for-haggis Alpha Male himself. In plaid. With a whisky and woman by his side. YES. This man was once loved and cherished, particularly if he spoke English properly (meaning, with a Scottish accent). And the political totalitarians of yesteryear were clearly the enemy, whether they be Nazis, Communists or 3rd world dictators. The Bond women were of course unknowns and mind-blowingly beautiful, classy and dignified. And a little slutty. In a good way (is there any other?). And more often than not, it was the velvet and translucent voice of Shirley Bassey—the goddess herself—that would welcome us into this world where a man's dreams were made real.
While Sean Connery WAS Bond, Moore brought a slick, sly and witty sensibility that also worked—adding to the mythos. And so the brand was established. Real men wore plaid, drank martinis and kindly softened the blow of death by sending the bad guys off to their end (pun intended) with intelligent sarcasm.
Then somewhere along the line, political correctness, nihilism, anti-Americanism, man-hatred, anti-capitalism, anti-British(ism?) mixed with a mindless worship of...mindlessness (violence and otherwise), took hold. Yes boys and girls, the Flying Spaghetti Marxists of Critical Theory ruined BOND. They turned our world and economies into a faint echo of their former selves. And they turned this unstoppable franchise from what young men aspired to be...to a long-running joke of a video game without a controller or stop button. And oh, yes, the movie posters sucked too.
Daniel Craig and Pierce Brosnan could have both been masterful Bonds. Brosnan demonstrated this when he actually played a "James Bond" character in The Thomas Crown Affair. Instead, the suspension of disbelief in flushed down the toilet and we end up with storylines where the evil-Western-Corporation-Media-Monster is once again going to get us all. Oh yes. Nike is the real enemy. Perhaps the Government will start checking us at the airport looking for American media terrorists or Running Shoe operatives to assist in the suspension of disbelief. I mean, really, who cares about the truth when you can sell people Anti-Western bullshit that they are hungry to buy. The customer is always right, especially when you created him. Rather, brainwashed him. But who's counting?
Maybe I'm wrong, but nothing would make me happier than seeing Daniel Craig light up a cigarette—a real one—drive while drinking a martini (as I used to), smack a girl's ass and kill one of those nasty Middle Eastern ISIS terrorists that would like to blow all of us up for having the audacity to state that 2 plus 2 is still bloody 4. Not 500 terrorists in 20 minutes, mind you. Something a little more...realistic. (20?)
Something is wrong with a world where you can't say "terrorist" on the BBC for fear of offending the um... terrorists. And something is even more wrong with a world that has James Bond dancing on the strings of mental infants that don't need, believe or understand his heroic spirit and what made us love (and want to be) HIM.
I await you, James Bond, to return to us. In the meantime, I have the man in the mirror. But sadly, he doesn't have the right accent. (yet)
Perhaps Sony will go "Ninkyo-Eiga" again, buy you up lock stock and Walther PPK, then hire Takao Saito to direct. After all, the Japanese aren't scared of heroes with bad (good) habits. In fact, they celebrate them. I suppose that's because they've figured out that you only live once.