Bond, James Bond

As the world rushes out to luxuriate in the warm, churning waters Casino Royale ($40 million gross, almost enough to beat the dancing penguins), I find myself feeling like a Jew at Christmas.  There is a celebration going on all around and I can’t quite figure out what it has to do with me.

For some reason I’ve never “gotten” James Bond.  I’ve tried, I really have.

Maybe I’m the wrong age.  I remember seeing Goldfinger on TV when I was a kid, and enjoying it because my brothers and father liked it, and I liked the assassin with the killer hat and the fact that the bomb that Bond is chained to is shut off at 007 seconds.  But the first one I saw in the theaters was Moonraker when I was 17, and that put me off Bond until Goldeneye.  Bond just always seemed to be part of someone else’s mythology.

(Sensing a lack in my understanding of my cultural heritage, a few years ago I sat down to watch all of them, including the ridiculous ’67 Casino Royale and ’83’s Never Say Never Again.  I also started in on the books, but got through only three of them before giving up.)

Even from a young age, I could see that the Bond pictures are not dramas or even thrillers; they are pageants, as predictable and unchanging as the Passion Play.  Bond is an unflappable guy who dresses well, drives cool cars, kills men, sleeps with women, blows stuff up and moves on.  There is nothing at stake, no emotional involvement, no chance of development.  The movies aren’t about character and they’re not even really about politics or the nature of espionage.  Bond doesn’t love, hate or care about anything but, apparently, appearances.  No one can ever remember the plot of a Bond movie because the plot is the least important aspect of it. 

(In Goldfinger, the best-loved movie of the series, Bond wanders through the whole movie without having an iota of impact on the plot.  He sneaks around, witnesses things and puts together a puzzle, stands around and watches things happen.  He instigates no course of action and can’t even defuse an atom bomb when he’s chained to one — that job falls to a CIA guy who happens by at the right moment.  He doesn’t even kill Oddjob; Oddjob kills himself.  He can barely even take credit for offing Goldfinger himself; a stray bullet takes care of that.)

What’s important in the Bond movies is style.  What does he wear, what kind of car does he drive, who are the women he sleeps with, how does he kill men and chase people and destroy property, what deformity or perversion does the bad guy have, and is it all carried off with panache?

I think Bond is purposefully not a character at all but rather a deliberately empty suit, a model in the fashion sense, designed only to wear things,  to be an attractive cipher, to better sell us things.  Specifically, he is designed to sell men an idea of how they are supposed to behave.  In spite of most of us never having the chance or opportunity to legally kill men, sleep with superficially gorgeous women without consequence, blow stuff up or drive our cars over the speed limit, we are expected to turn to James Bond for lessons in, in, in something, I’m not sure what.  Self-reliance?  Charisma?  Brutality?  Grace under pressure?

There is, of course, an important capitalist element to the Bond pictures, and it’s not just about his brand of watch.  (Woman in the new Casino Royale: Nice watch.  Rolex?  Bond: Omega.  Woman: Beautiful.)  Bond is a brand unto himself, and “the new Bond” is always a kind of barometer of western culture.  If we can put together a better Bond, it seems, no matter how the political winds of the world are blowing, the capitalist machine is still operating well enough.  We parade the new Bond as proudly as the Russians once paraded their rows of ICBMs on Mayday.  They were advertising their militaristic might, we were (and still are) advertising our easy living, loose morals and conspicuous consumption.

There is a kind of world-wide anxiety about Bond.  Every time a new actor is announced, people everywhere get very concerned about the health of the franchise.  Is Bond going to be okay?  Why isn’t the studio making more Bond pictures?  Are they going to keep on making them?  Is he still relevant?  Was he ever?  Is he tough enough, too tough, too funny, too male, too emasculated, too brutal, too ironic?  Too blond?  He seems to be really important to people, to men anyway.  (Thinking of the capitalist perogative, maybe one of the reasons Bond has been so successful for so long is because the West needs to celebrate, above all, its power to be superficial, stupid and wasteful.  They’re like capitalist pornography.)

In any case, each time a new one comes along I find myself getting swept up in it because I’m in the business and I keep thinking maybe there’s something there.  With the new one, for instance, it has been mentioned that Bond has been reinvented in order to compete with Jason Bourne at the cineplex.  I love love love the Bourne movies and so does my wife (Me: You want to leave me and marry Matt Damon, don’t you?  Wife: No, not Matt Damon, Jason Bourne), so the prospect of Bond being toughened up in the Bourne sense sounded like a good idea to me.

Perhaps that’s where the seed of my disappointment in the new movie lies.  This Bond is still dressed in a tux, still plays games of leisure in the playgrounds of the wealthy, still lives the high life, trading superficial quips while driving fancy cars with beautiful women, and still has a cheesy, eye-rollingly stupid title sequence.  (There is some commentary this time around about how this Bond is closer to Ian Fleming’s original conception of the character, as if that meant anything, as if we were discussing freaking Hamlet here instead of a coat hanger with a gun.)  We are told that this time the woman means something, but we know that’s not true, because if the woman meant something she would stick around for another movie and we know that’s not going to happen because that would be antithetical to the whole Bond thing.  Bond doesn’t change, Bond can’t change.  Bond doesn’t fall in love, Bond moves on, like a shark, leaving destruction and broken hearts in his path.  The Bond movies keep promising thrills but keep delivering only spectacle.

As the movie and series continues to prove itself wildly popular, I welcome education as to why this is so.


70 Responses to “Bond, James Bond”
  1. black13 says:

    I can’t educate you about the appeal of Bond. Bond is like Godzilla. You like the movies or you don’t.

    I’m a bit amused that you call him a shark. There’s a song about Bond, called Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (what the series is called in Japan) that has as part of the lyrics: “He’s tall and he’s dark / And like a shark, he looks for trouble.” So you’re not the first to make the comparison.

    Why the woman matters this time: I’ve read commentaries on the first novel that state that Bond really did fall in love in Casino Royale, and the way things developed are the reason why he’ll just “love ’em and leave ’em” in the future.

    Come to think of it, perhaps the emptiness of Bond that you perceive is precisely what makes the character so popular. Bond is a cypher, a blank, which means that everyone in the audience can project onto him just what they want to see. Supposedly, Bond was Fleming’s way of wish fulfillment. Fleming used to work for the British Secret Service in WW2, and he supposedly kept coming up with the most outlandish plans, which of course kept getting rejected. So, after he quit the service, Fleming created Bond to have all those ideas happen, and spectacularly.
    Meanwhile, if you want to look deeper (and I agree that there probably is no depth), Bond can be seen as a commentary of his times. The cold, calculating, brand-obsessed void of captialism, locked into eternal conflict with the heartless beast of communism. As such, he has to be all style over substance, because that is what the world has come to.

    • ghostgecko says:

      Wish fullfillment, exactly. It’s that masking effect, where a character has so little distinction because his function is a placeholder for the viewer. That’s why the hero is often the blandest, least interesting character in the movie in these kind of spectacle films.

    • Todd says:

      perhaps the emptiness of Bond that you perceive is precisely what makes the character so popular.

      It wouldn’t surprise me. “The Handsome Prince” in fairy tales is always non-descript so that the reader may project his own face onto him.

      Bond’s emptiness is part of his character; they talk about it in the new movie quite a lot. One character says “You don’t give a damn about killing people” or something and Bond says “I wouldn’t be very good at my job if I did, would I?”

      Now, as you suggest, that works as both a symbol of capitalist forces and also as a suggestion for proper male behavior — you are what you do, don’t let feelings get in the way, sleep with as many beautiful women as possible and don’t develop feelings for any of them, live a good life in luxurious style and above all appearances count for everything.

      • black13 says:

        “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.”

        It makes me think that Bond shares this same quality with superheroes. Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, Peter Parker: wimps and nerds by day, masked superpowered marvels when the situation requires them to be.

        • Todd says:

          But Bond is a suave ladykiller by day, too. He doesn’t have a dual personality or a mask to take off. Rather, he is a mask, masking an empty shell.

          • dougo says:

            He does have somewhat of a mask, in that he is a top secret spy. But his undercover life (let alone his civilian life) doesn’t take up much screen time.

            The main dual personality is that he is an almost effete connoisseur of fashion, food, alcohol, casinos, etc—the original metrosexual—but he’s also a ruthless killing machine. He’s both a feckless self-indulgent hedonistic playboy and a noble knight sworn to duty on her majesty’s secret service.

            The “empty shell” has a backstory, too: his parents died when he was 11, and his wife was killed on their wedding day (though this appears to be written out of the current Bond biography). This doesn’t explain why Fleming chose to make him an empty shell (or why that resonates with audiences as you insist) but it does seem to indicate it was at least somewhat intentional.

            • black13 says:

              “his wife was killed on their wedding day (though this appears to be written out of the current Bond biography).”

              That’s because Casino Royale is a complete reboot. None of the other movies have happened in this new continuity.

            • popebuck1 says:

              is correct – Bond’s would-be marriage doesn’t happen until “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”

      • mmcirvin says:

        Similarly, the covers of “chick lit” novels almost always show an attractive woman with her face obscured in some way, or cut off by the edge of the cover, so that the reader (or, I suppose, the customer in the bookstore) can project herself onto that woman.

  2. craigjclark says:

    Yes, the Bond films are about spectacle and always have been — but I’ll take this brand of spectacle over the dreariness of the Timothy Dalton Bonds, that’s for damn sure.

    I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of the series, but I grew up with it and have fond memories of watching For Your Eyes Only and Live and Let Die on television when I was very young. I eventually caught up with a few more Roger Moore outings, but the only Sean Connery entry I’ve seen is Diamonds Are Forever. The last one I really cared about, though, was A View to a Kill, which came out when I was 13 — a very telling age — and the most memorable thing about that one is the Duran Duran theme song and video.

    The only Brosnan Bond I ever saw was GoldenEye and that was when it showed up on television. Diverting as it was, it did not make me run out and catch T.W.I.N.E. or Die Another Day. I had an opportunity to see Casino Royale last night, though, so I took it — and if Daniel Craig returns as Bond, I’m sure I will, too.

    • Todd says:

      I understand that the Bond movies are spectacle, what eludes me is why they are popular spectacle. What does this character mean to people and why do they continue to rush to it.

      If the only Connery entry you’ve seen is Diamonds, I pity you. It’s probably my least favorite of them, with a sluggish plot, a pair of sniggering gay assassins and a ridiculous moon-buggy chase.

      A View to a Kill I remember chiefly as being The One With Chris Walken, where he can’t think of an evil plot of his own so he borrows Goldfinger’s.

      • craigjclark says:

        Yeah, I know. I should see more of the Connery Bonds, but I always seem to miss them whenever they’re shown on television. And, as I said, I’m not a huge fan of the series, so I’ve never made a point of methodically seeking them out the way I’ve done with, say, the films of Hitchcock, Bunuel, Kubrick or a dozen other filmmakers I could name.

        All I can tell you is that whenever MGM took the Bond series out of print (as it was for the past year or so), I always got at least one person a week asking me where it was — and they were almost invariably male, caucasian and in their 40s/50s.

      • dougo says:

        Bond fans don’t care about character, or meaning. It’s just a spectacle. Why is that hard to understand? Sometimes a razor-brimmed hat is just a razor-brimmed hat.

        My personal fave is From Russia With Love. It has style without (much) camp. And a great soundtrack.

        • Todd says:

          I think Bond fans do care about character and meaning. The Bond character is quite precise to them and the meaning of the movies quite specific. That’s why any deviation is not tolerated, it’s why Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino have all been turned down for the job of directing one, it’s why the actor playing the role is so disposable. Bond is the star of these movies, and people fiercely identify with him. He represents something extremely important to a lot of people. I’m trying to figure out what that is.

          • dougo says:

            Honestly, I think the tradition of what his character is (and what adventures he has) is more important than the substance of it. Perhaps the substance was important in 1963 (showing that a libertine loner/rebel could also be a loyal and efficient public servant), but for the most part it’s about nostalgia despite his anachronistic character. People just want Bond to stay the same as he’s always been, like the Ramones or the Simpsons.

            • Todd says:

              This is great. Here I am wondering why an infallible hedonist assassin should be such a turn-on and what I’m learning is that, in spite of all his anti-social tendencies, he is a bond between men, between parents and children, and a symbol of tradition, an unchanging pole star of values. That, I think, is an important aspect of the series.

              • dougo says:

                I’m not sure he’s an unchanging pole star of values so much as aesthetics. In fact his values are one of the things that has changed: Wikipedia says “The cinematic Bond did not begin to show unease about killing until Brosnan’s tenure”. See also his changing attitudes towards women, like M and Wai Lin.

              • mmcirvin says:

                I think that for all the repellent qualities of the character and the series, which might not be considered wholesome for children, it’s actually very easy for children to appreciate James Bond movies because of the ritual, what you called the pageant. The Roger Moore ones especially–they follow an established formula exactly to the letter, with a dozen or so elements that always pop up in exactly the same way, and there’s a ritual pleasure in waiting for those things to pop up and then recognizing them when they do. I remember seeing, I think, From Russia with Love on TV and being kind of disturbed that not all of the obligatory Bond litany I knew from movies like For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy was there yet. I had imprinted on the formula.

      • ghostgecko says:

        Diamonds is pretty damn stupid, agreed, but I actually rather liked the gay assassins. It’s a nice change of pace (especially for the time it was made) to have gay characters who aren’t mincing, lisping, flirting, wearing hot pink ruffled shirts and walking toy poodles . . . actually, that goes for now, too. Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd are reassuringly average and nonswish, and they’re apparently in a lasting relationship. Compare them to any of the vile man-harpies of “The Boys in the Band”, they’ll come out favorably.

        Maybe it’s just I don’t see good gay characters in hardly anything, so I’m biased.

  3. Anonymous says:

    How can you claim that Odd Job killed himself?
    It’s not like the cage was electrically charged before Bond put a wire on.

  4. eronanke says:

    As a young woman, I love Bond (in most forms- books, movies, etc), but I think it has to do with my father and I watching Dr. No together when I was little- after our family went to Jamaica, I felt like *I* was a sort of Bond- albeit a younger, less mission-driven Bond. He always enjoyed his landscapes, (whether environmental or female), in every movie, and embraced local culture- he was always so worldly!
    So, soon enough, I started collecting locales like him. (I’ve even been to the castle where they filmed the training sequences in “You Only Live Twice”!)
    It wasn’t the seduction, or the gadgets, or the cars, or the violence- it was a well-dressed man who could order the right champagne (Taittinger!), who could speak the local language and charm the natives (French! German! Japanese! Russian!), and always be suave under pressure…
    *le sigh*
    That being said, Bond is a very fixed image for me, which is why I can’t see the new one; I am not in the least attracted to Daniel Craig physically, so it ain’t gonna work. πŸ™

    Also: What is up with the Dalton hating? I loved him, and destested Moore, who always seemed to make everything a smarmy joke… πŸ™

    • craigjclark says:

      It’s not that I hate Dalton. I just didn’t think the stories they slotted him into were as entertaining as the best ones Moore got to take part in (Live and Let Die and For Your Eyes Only chief among them).

      • eronanke says:

        Lord, I hated both of those, actually. πŸ™‚
        I LOVED Living Daylights, but I hated License to Kill just because of the plot.

        Still love the Dalt.

        If you ever have questions of his acting ability – rent Sextette. In that movie he has to pretend he is sexually attracted to an 80 year old woman.

        • craigjclark says:

          Different stokes for different folks — and different Bonds, too.

          I was nine when For Your Eyes Only first showed up on Prism, my local pay cable channel. I thought it was the coolest movie ever, even if I didn’t know what was going on a lot of the time. (It seemed like the height of sophistication to me.) The next year I saw a behind-the-scenes thing on Octopussy and similarly ate it up when that showed up on the channel.

          As for Live and Let Die, well, it has that Paul McCartney theme song, you know?

          • eronanke says:

            A strike against it, if you ask me. πŸ™‚
            I’m much more a Duran Duran girl.
            (PS- I have the James Bond: 30th Anniversary CD with all the pre-Brosnan theme songs… SO GOOD. Could be better if it had waited for “GoldenEye”, tho.)

            • Todd says:

              One day I will embarrass myself with a lengthy post defending the work of Paul McCartney. Until then, let me just say that any Bond song that you can actually remember the tune to counts as a good Bond song to me. I can probably think of about five if I really push it. The Chris Cornell thing at the top of the new one I found sluggish, tuneless and boring.

              • eronanke says:

                To be honest, I can probably remember every single theme.
                And I don’t really think that’s nerdy – but I could be wrong.

                • Todd says:

                  To this day, when a Matt Monro song comes on in a record store, I’ll be like “Oh, Matt Monro” and my wife will be like “What? How do you know that?” And I’ll be like “Matt Monro, the British Frank Sinatra. What? He did the song for From Russia With Love, what’s the matter with you?” And then she’ll walk away shaking her head.

                  I kid. My wife doesn’t go into record stores with me any more.

                  I have the Best of Bond CD on my iTunes. It goes up to TWINE. I like the Garbage song. As they come up in rotation I make decisions on whether or not I ever want to hear them again. So far, Shirley Bassey — yes, Tom Jones — yes, Sheryl Crow — sure. Duran Duran — no (sorry, I’m 45 years old), a-ha — big no.

                  Hey wait a minute, they had Grace Jones in the movie and they got Duran Duran to do the theme song?! Oh well, at least they’re not Sheena Easton.

                  • black13 says:

                    You’ll want to check out the kd lang song from “Tomorrow Never Dies,” which was retitled “Surrender.” Word is that kd lang was supposed to do that song as the intro song, but the producers nixed it because Sheryl Crow was easier on the eyes than kd lang, and kd lang is an out-of-the-closet lesbian. She’s the far better artist, though, and “Surrender” is the far better song.

                  • Todd says:

                    Full disclosure: I bought the Best of Bond CD because I was thinking of writing a one-act play about Bond, where he tries to make sense of his life by trying to reconcile his many adventures with the realities of ordinary life and the laws of physics.

                    In the play, he’s a middle-aged man being debriefed by Moneypenny, who has always supported him, and he’s sifting through all the ridiculous plot-points and contrivances and it’s driving him insane. Moneypenny calms him down and soothingly pets his trembling hand and looks in his eyes and asks him to think back to a time when his life made sense. She says “When you were young, and your heart was an open book…”

                    And then the rest of the play was going to consist solely of lines from Bond songs. But I never got further than that first line.

    • Todd says:

      Well, now this is fascinating, the idea that a woman would have a fondness for the Bond of her youth because it reminds her of her relationship with her father.

      It’s nice there is an inter-generational aspect to these movies. Fathers will take their children (well, their older children) to the movies as they would once take them out for their first drink, to allow them entry into the world of adults, to show them how a “real man” is expected to act. That a father would do this for his daughter is no less charming.

      You say it wasn’t his seduction of the ladies that affected you, but clearly Bond was seducing someone while you were watching these movies. And I think that’s why he’s so important to western civilization — he’s our emissary out into the god-fearing (I almost said godless, but that’s exactly the problem) world, seducing them all into the pleasures of the west. We don’t need tanks and airplanes and missiles, we need more Bond movies.

      I think the problem with Timothy Dalton was that he had the bad luck to inherit the part at the height of the AIDS crisis (in the US, anyway). His Bond had to be polite, careful and practically celibate. Is that any way for a fantasy figure to act? It’s like Superman toning down the “flying” thing so as not to embarrass the flightless.

      • eronanke says:

        My father is, indeed, a very sweet man. Being an entrepreneur, the little time he had at home was spent well. He successfully introduced me to Bond, Star Trek (the original series), the Kentucky Derby (and the rest of the Triple Crown), vodka, and the Batman that was Adam West.
        He was less successful with: bass fishing, action movies, business, and investing.

        I also like Bond as the British version of the American Dream. From what we know of him, (from the books), he didn’t come from an especially well-placed or wealthy background, but his father was a serviceman (correct me if I’m recalling this wrong), and he did well enough in school to go to Oxford and then be drafted into the Service because of his high intelligence and aptitude for languages. Because of all this work, he has been rewarded not with material wealth, (as I remember, his apartment in London was very spartan), but with the privilege of a job which allows to to access luxury goods in the service of Queen and country.

        All in all, in my opinion, it is very much like the American Dream of being rewarded for hard work- but in this case, loyalty and service to the state is paramount, rather than the actual acquisition of luxury items.

        Then again, I could be wrong.

        • Todd says:

          Bond is hugely important in Britain and they definitely have a lot of stake in who is playing him and what that says about their culture. It meant something that Connery was Scottish, it meant something that Brosnan was Irish, it meant something that Dalton was classically trained and it means something that Craig is blond.

          Long story short, Casino Royale shattered records in the UK over the weekend, topping the last Bond by something like a 50% margin. So the Brits must be feeling quite good about themselves these days. Maybe in the same way that the Democrats have allowed themselves a few weeks of feeling good about the US.

      • black13 says:

        I think that’s it. As I said above, Bond’s a blank canvas, on which we can project whatever it is we want to see.

        People like us (okay, me) can live through Bond. I’ll never drive a fast sportscar, I’ll never be the dream of every woman I meet (even if, my wife would quickly put a stop to that), I’ll never get to wear a smoking and play high stakes games at an exclusive casino for the fate of the free world, and I’ll never have the adrenaline rush of Risking It All for the Good of the Free World. I’ll never live as vicariously as Bond. Anyone who says they do are probably lying.

        But for all those of us who dream of that, we can live that by proxy through Bond. And he’s enough of a blank that we can project ourselves into him.

        That, plus the chicks, the cars and the explosions, are what makes the movies so attractive.

        (Then again, the last Bond movie I saw was “Tomorrow Never Dies,” and that one was dumb enough to make me swear off the movies — I’d only watched that one because I got to watch them shoot some of the scenes here in Hamburg.)

      • gazblow says:

        Just want to throw my hat into the Bond-bonding thing. The first non-G-rated movie my parents took me to see was The Man With The Golden Gun when I was in fourth grade. One of my favorite toys as a kid was James Bond’s Aston Martin with ejection seat, tire rippers, bulletproof shield, machine guns and rotating license plates. First Bond movie I saw on TV was at my father’s suggestion (and my eager agreement) and was Thunderball. Bond’s been with me since I was a young kid and was one of the few things my dad and I could agree on. And, as I got older, one of the few things we could talk about (“Have you seen the latest Bond movie?”) without getting into an argument.

        I haven’t really been that interested in Bond movies since my father died but never thought there was a connection. I just thought it was because I grew out of it. Plus, the endless product placement started to make me mad.

        • Todd says:

          You must have had a very strong relationship with your relationship for it to be sustained through two of the weakest, most sluggish entries in the series.

          In Thunderball, an underwater speargun fight sounds thrilling until you actually see it and realize that it’s long, slow and cumbersome.

          The only thing I can remember about Golden Gun is that the title character had an oven in his house that looked like the one in my house. Now that’s fimmaking!

  5. serizawa3000 says:

    Goldfinger was the first Bond movie I ever saw, too. I was seven. But I’d never really heard of James Bond until that point (though Moonraker had been in theaters that summer). I was thinking of Get Smart, funnily enough.

    After a while, I think Bond began to grate on me a bit. He always seemed prepared for anything. There was no worry that he wouldn’t get out of whatever scrape he was in (except for maybe Goldfinger, considering it was an early entry in the series).

    Something that’s stuck with me over the years is a bit from Alan Moore’s introduction to Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, wherein while discussing Batman, he brings up other iconic fictional characters: “the overriding factor in James Bond’s psychological makeup is his utter contempt and hatred of women.”

    I had heard tell that Rupert Everett wanted to do a James Bond series where 007 would be gay…

    And, perhaps fittingly, in Kim Newman’s Judgement of Tears (the third book in the Anno Dracula series), Bond is a vampire agent. He became a vampire courtesy of a Sgt. Dravot… and over the course of the story, he undergoes a transformation replete with subtle references to Connery and Moore…

  6. craigjclark says:

    This is a little off your point, I know, but I’m curious as to what you think of Paul Haggis being one of the credited screenwriters on this entry. To me, it’s akin to the time Spielberg hired Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor to work on the script for Jurassic Park III. Sure, they’re all professional screenwriters, but the work doesn’t seem like their kind of sensibility.

    • Todd says:

      The Haggis credit stuck out weird to me too. I half suspected Bond to feel guilty of beating up Africans or ending up paralysed, both of which almost happen in the new movie. I would be entertained to find out what his contributions to the new movie are.

  7. ajsnavely says:

    I didn’t really get Bond either until my senior year of college (Second Annual Senior Year actually) when TBS did their 15 days of 007, and my roommates and I sat around one weekend and watched all of the Connery ones.

    I don’t know why I fell in love with the movies then, but I did. I actually think it was Bond himself I fell in love with. It is just his raw sexual magnetism that keeps drawing me the movies. That and the great one liners. I don’t expect great story telling anymore, just lots of blowin stuff up. And I am ok with that.

    • Todd says:

      Like others posting here, it seems the movies were first a bonding experience (no pun intended) for you. It’s not that the movies were well-crafted, it’s that they were teaching you something about male behavior. Bond, it seems, for many is merely a projection of adolescent fantasies of male behavior, story be damned.

      One thing that’s interesting to me is that, like with music, most people identify with the Bond they knew as an adolescent and can’t get the newer ones, hate them actually, the way people hate Jar Jar Binks. It’s interesting to me because the first ones I connected with was the Pierce Brosnan ones, the first of which came out when I was the ripe old age of 35.

      • ajsnavely says:

        I would agree that it was the bonding experience. I also don’t think it was a coincidence that this happened at the same time I was finally coming to terms with my sexuality and personally accepting that I was gay. James Bond was not only the man I wanted to be, but also the man I wanted to be with. He was just cool and sexy, and everything I thought I wanted.

        Now I have grown past that particular ideal, but still part of me seeks that dominant figure in my life. Sometimes I still want that confident man in the tux to sweep me off my feet. Even if it will only lead to pain and suffering in the end. And possibly almost being blown up in a Russian sub.

        • Todd says:

          Wow. That’s great. Do you know, perchance, if Bond is a gay icon in other households?

          Just for the record, you know, if you were Bond’s boyfriend you would run little risk of being blown up in a Russian sub. His lovers are always dispatched in a more personal, intimate one-on-one fashion.

          • ajsnavely says:

            I am sure he has a large gay fan base, but I have never met another fan, that I know of at least.

            As long as I was with Bond at the end of the movie. The early ones always meet the untimely end. Who knows, maybe being covered in gold paint is a worthy price to pay for a night with James Bond.

      • dougo says:

        My first Bond experience (not counting The Man Called Flintstone) was also Moonraker, but I was 8 (thankfully PG-13 didn’t come around until I was 13). My first Connery experience was Never Say Never Again, and at the time I preferred the younger (and campier) Roger Moore, but nowadays after having seen them all in college I vastly prefer the original six Connery films to anything since. But I’m not sure it’s about the actor so much as the overall quality of the film-making (and my general ’60s fetish); I like Moore just fine in “The Saint”.

        • Todd says:

          You realize, of course, that Moore is actually two years older than Connery, a fact that never fails to amuse me.

          • dougo says:

            Ha, I didn’t actually know that. But Connery looked old in Never Say Never Again (didn’t they even refer to it in the movie?) whereas Moore looked believably spry even as late as Octopussy.

            • craigjclark says:

              Yes, believably spry in Octopussy — ready to get his ass handed to him by Grace Jones in A View to a Kill.

              • Todd says:

                I remember there was a scene in View where I felt so bad watching Moore hobble around with his sagging wattle and his marionette lines that I wanted to take him round back and shoot him to put him out of his misery. I don’t require my action heroes to be thirty years old but that was stretching it too thin.

        • black13 says:

          I’ve seen all the Bonds (except Craig, so far), and although Moore was my first Bond, I vastly prefer Connery.

          That said, I’ve come to the conclusion that the producers tailor the scripts not only to the taste of the times, but also to the lead’s acting ability.

      • popebuck1 says:

        Actually, the “you always come back to the one you met first, or when you were an adolescent” rule applies to Doctor Who, not James Bond. That OTHER British chameleon character, with infinite casting possibilities inherent in the concept…

        • mmcirvin says:

          I was on the verge of writing my own essay about that, actually…

          Doctor Who is odd for me, in that I came to be a fan of the show in adulthood, partly through marriage to a fan from childhood, so there’s no Doctor who is really “my Doctor”, though I’ve decided that Patrick Troughton’s the only one I’d really want to travel with.

          There are many parallels, even though the Doctor is almost the opposite of James Bond in many ways. (Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor is often compared to Bond, but he’s really not all that similar except for a dandyish streak and a fondness for fancy cars; the Third Doctor is really more Bernard Quatermass–contemptuous of nationalism and fiercely moral to the point of stodginess.) As with Bond, the tradition seems to have kept some people watching even in times when the stories were weak and the production values ramshackle, and there’s always concern for the tradition when the lead actor changes. The new series upset some elements of the formula in much the manner of the Daniel Craig Bond, and got a lot of attention for that.

  8. divalea says:

    I care not a whit for Bond, except for one thing and one thing only: the hungry look on Sean Connery’s face when he is sexing some woman up.
    That is H-A-W-T hot.

    My perfect James Bond movie would be Sean Connery at that age, fabulous clothes that look great being taken off, women who were sleek and not starved, and would be porn all the way, the end.

    If I want the ‘splode, there’s You Tube and the search term “demolition.”

  9. kornleaf says:

    two words;

    Remo Williams

  10. Anonymous says:

    Oh, I was completely stunned when he said that.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Re: Just a curious patron linked over from Urbaniak….

    Depends on who’s doing it. When I first moved to New York, graffiti was all over the place, large and small, gorgeous and ugly. A train would roll into the station looking like a traveling mural. Those days are gone.

    I’m a big fan of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Now THAT’S an action scene! Bravo to Sam!

  13. Anonymous says:

    I have it to a smaller degree. I routinely confuse Harold Peary and Franklin Pangborn.