Thoughts on James Bond

Roger Moore, famous for playing Simon Templar in The Saint and James Bond from 1973 to 1985, passed away from cancer last week. I was a James Bond fan years ago. I’m not one any more.
The character of James Bond was created by Ian Fleming and named after an ornithologist. The first book was Casino Royale, published in 1953. Fleming died in 1964 and the novel The Man with the Golden Gun and the short story compendium Octopussy and the Living Daylights were published posthumously.
In 1962, Dr No became the first official Bond film (there had been others). The actor chosen to play Bond was a relative unknown named Sean Connery. Connery played Bond for five films in a row. After You only live twice another unknown actor, Australian George Lazenby, was chosen for the role. He made only one appearance as Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Connery came back for Diamonds are Forever. He would also play Bond in the mediocre 1980’s remake of Thunderball, Never say Never Again.
In 1973 Live and Let Die, the first film with Roger Moore as Bond, was released. The Producers had considered him earlier, but he was under contract to play Simon Templar and was thus unavailable. Moore played Bond seven times, ending in 1985 with A View to a Kill. He was 58 at the time, the oldest actor to play Bond.
Timothy Dalton was the next Bond. Sadly, he was very ill-served by the scripts and played Bond only twice in The Living Daylights (1987) and Licence to Kill (1989). After the latter, the series took a hiatus.
In 1995, Pierce Brosnan appeared as Bond in Goldeneye. As with Moore, the producers had wanted him earlier but he was under contract to play Remington Steele and couldn’t appear as Bond. Brosnan played Bond in four films and lent his likeness and voice to Bond videogames. Daniel Craig was the last Bond and also played him in four films and several videogames.
I used to think James Bond was awesome. He had genius combat skills, brilliant gadgets, and great success with women. Now I view him very differently.
There have been numerous criticisms of the character of James Bond. Sean Connery in particular despised the way Bond treated women. This is unsurprising. In the films Goldfinger and Thunderball Bond sexually assaults (if not rapes) two women.
In both the books and the films, Bond is a murderous psychopath. He is also sloppy, reckless and indiscreet, and in reality a terrible secret agent. Some people calculated the amount of alcohol Bond is depicted as drinking in the novels, and concluded that Bond is an alcoholic. That is one of the last things a spy should be.
Licence to Kill is a particularly bad film. At the start, Bond and Felix Leiter (a CIA member and Bond’s friend) capture a druglord named Sanchez. Sanchez escapes and has Leiter fed to a shark (a scene that originally appeared in the book Live and Let Die) and his wife raped and murdered. Furious and determined to take revenge, Bond disobeys orders and pursues Sanchez.
Q gets some weaponry to Bond. Bond finds Sanchez and sets an explosive charge to blow out a huge window so he can shoot him. He blows out the window, but just as he is about to fire, he is attacked by two Hong Kong Narcotics Bureau officers, who have been observing Sanchez and are enraged that Bond almost ruined things. An MI6 agent comes to take Bond back to England. Then Sanchez’s men rescue him and kill the officers, believing them to be the would be assassins. Once inside Sanchez’s inner circle, Bond proceeds to bring him down.
The film is a revenge fantasy, and not a particularly good one at that. Bond’s interfering makes everything worse. M orders Bond off the mission because he knows Bond can’t be objective. Bond’s attempt to murder Sanchez winds up costing several agents their lives. Finally, it is unlikely that Bond captured/killed everybody. If Bond had stayed away, Sanchez would have been recaptured and his entire operation shut down. Instead, any survivors will regroup and start where Sanchez left off.
The last Bond film I saw was “Die another Day”. Even if the series reboots, I don’t think I will buy a ticket.


About autismjungle

I am a Software Test Analyst. Shortly before I turned 21 I was officially diagnosed, although I had long suspected I was autistic. Welcome to my blog
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