Monday, November 10, 2008

The Name is Bond, James Bond. Or is it??

He no longer knows who he is, and neither do we.

The charming, suave, gadget-loving, cynical, not-one-to-hold-out-for-love, lady-killer British Secret Service Superspy is no more. He has been replaced by an agent who is mournful, bitten by love, trigger-happy & hardly exudes the charm that had all kinds of exotic women eating out of his hands. His jaw-dropping gadgets have been replaced by a GPRS-enabled Sony Ericsson cell phone, and he’s even forgotten how to say his name right (The name’s Bond, James Bond)!!!!!


So what is missing in Bond’s latest outing, ‘Quantum of Solace’?

For one, Bond himself. Apart from that, pretty much everything that made James Bond what he is.

He never asks for his ‘Shaken, Not Stirred’ martini. There’s a passing reference to it by the bar-tender serving him in one of the scenes, but it’s a different thing altogether to hear Bond himself say it with his trademark attitude. In Casino Royale, he replied “Do I Look Like I Care a Damn?” when asked how he’d like his martini prepared. That should’ve been a sign to understand that Bond was not going to be himself anymore.

Then there was no Moneypenny, the woman who is so consumed by Bond’s charm that she makes no secret of her desire for him.

There’s no Q either, the man who was the supplier of out-of-this-world gadgets (one of the main reasons people go to watch James Bond movies, well guys at least). I missed how he’d always tell Bond to take care of the gadget and bring it back, a joke of course because the gadget would get destroyed in the process of foiling the villain’s plans.

There was no unveiling of the James Bond cars – the Aston Martins, the Bentley, the Jaguar, the BMW, the Ford Mustang Convertible, the Carrerra etc. Instead we have a chase sequence between Bond in his Aston Martin & the villain in his Alfa Romeo, and by the end of the sequence, either cars aren’t recognizable anymore!

Bond doesn’t take orders from M in this movie. Instead he’s a ruthless rebel who will stop at nothing short of revenge for the death of Vesper Lynd, his love from Casino Royale. And in this quest of his, he will kill anything & everything that comes between him & the baddie. It seems he could kill with his bare hands, by sheer brute force. A far cry from the Bond we know, who would be suave even in his killings. Who would kill only when required, and when he did it, he’d do it in style.

The Bond movies would mostly end with the Bond Girl in his arms and M interrupting, which too didn’t happen in this movie. And of course, the cheesy female names were missing from the movie. The Honey, Kissy, Plenty, Alotta Fagina, Felicity Shagwell etc. were replaced by a Miss Fields whose first name (Strawberry) we don’t know until the credits roll at the end of the movie.

The half-Russian-half Columbian Bond-girl (Olga Kurylenko) & Bond, in spite of their crackling chemistry, hardly share anything physical except an isolated kiss, something that I think is a first for a Bond movie. I guess that could be explained by the fact that he’s not completely over his love for Vesper, but if I had to look at it from a guy’s point of view, I’d say “Really, what a waste!” But since I’m a girl, I’ll say “What a waste of Daniel Craig!!”

Finally, there’s nothing James Bond-ish about ‘Quantum of Solace’. It’s like any ordinary action movie where Bond could have been just an ordinary spy. The director, Mark Forster, seems to have forgotten completely that that’s what Bond is not – an ordinary spy. He’s James Bond, for Chrissakes! The Majesty’s Special Secret Service Agent. You can’t weigh him down with love & emotions. He’s the one with all the world’s charisma, cars, gadgets & girls. I don’t understand why anyone would hire the director of movies such as ‘Finding Neverland’ & ‘The Kite Runner’ to make a Bond film. These movies are as far removed from the genre of action movies as possible. Either Columbia Pictures had a momentary lapse of reason or Mark Forster did some damn good PR.

There are glimpses of the cheeky Bond though, like in the scene where he refuses to check into a modest hotel & heads instead to the poshest one in town. Or when he “casts his spell” on the woman officer who was sent to deport him back to England, thereby erasing all thoughts of deportation from her mind. Or the scene where Bond refers to M as “a friend who likes to believe she’s his mother”.

I hope that with this movie, all the James-Bond-in-love bullshit is done with, and Bond goes back to being his suave, charismatic self with a little help from a director who understands what the James Bond franchise is all about & why Bond fans go back to the theaters to watch his movies again & again & again.


Moonshine said...

I loved that scene.. where they check into the 5 star and he says.. "we are teachers on a sabbatical.. we just won teh lottery"

But everything said and done.. daniel craig is hot.. he is fantastic.. but yeah you do feel sad at the end.. why is Mr Bond a mere ordinary human being now!!!

Nirav said...

It is actually a first for a Bond movie, where Bond doesn't sleep with the Bond girl.

The movie was quite disappointing. Esp the action scenes, which were quite jarring.

And all said, Daniel Craig as Bond is much better than the pansy Pierce Brosnan

The knife said...

I am quite worried about what I have heard baout the film. I am a big fan of Bond films and books. I'll probably see it in any case (couldn't get tickets over the weekend). No wonder they are showing it in India first. After these reactions they will probably air some other version in the US.
I thought that Casino Royale had got back the physicality of Connery and the books which had sort of gone away with Moore and Brosnan. But then again there are action films and there are Bond films

Scarlett said...

@ Moonshine - Daniel Craig works for me too. He makes a good Bond. I like the steeliness in his eyes. But I'm so done with the James-Bond-is-in-love bullshit now. I was okay with it is Casino Royale (thought it was for a change) but they should've buried it with that movie itself.

@Nirav - Yes, he didn't sleep with the Bond girl. Probably understandable..they probably wanted to show that he's not over Vesper yet. Which was consistent with the story b/c had he gotten over her, he wouldn't be steaming for revenge. The action scenes were disappointing...they could've been from any other action movie. Most of them were blast scenes, which is not what Bond action is about. Bond action is about chases, athleticism etc. Remember the opening chase in 'Casino Royale'? Now, that was what Bond action is about!!

@ The Knife - If you're a Bond fan, see it anyway. Whenever I've gone to watch a Bond movie, I've always come across men (middle-aged & old) who've come to watch the movie alone. Hardcore Bond fans whose wives don't share their enthusiams, I assume. This time too we came across a couple of such men. We sold our extra tickets to them but by interval, one of them had walked out!! Haven't seen that happening in a Bond movie yet.

The knife said...

hmmm...middle age? old?

Serendipity said...

copy cat :P
U and Moksh discussed the posts wat? :D

Scarlett said...

@The Knife - LOL. No offense!!

Scarlett said...

@Serendipity - No, I discussed the movie with someone who watched the movie with him. Guess they had discussed it between themselves too! Didn't read Moksh's post till now.