A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Quandary of Bond

Attending a movie is now a religious experience for me. How else can I explain my sudden impulse to cry out JESUS H. CHRIST when the adolescent refreshment stand attendant informs us that the price of a nacho combo (a small dish of nachos, with perhaps a cup of melted cheese, and a medium drink) is $11.50! Or while digesting the first action scenes from the latest James Bond film, I find myself praying for a shot that lasts longer than .010 of a second so that my pre-MTV-editing brain can comprehend what the hell is going on. Unfortunately, my prayers went unanswered while I watched “Quantum of Solace”, nacho-less.

Okay, it’s no “Goldfinger”, but we have to realize that the current Bond is not the Bond our fathers enjoyed. Daniel Craig’s Bond is a shark — a killing machine -engaging villains and dispatching them before he can get any information out of them, much to his superiors chagrin. Someday, he’ll get the hang of this intelligence gathering thing, but in the meantime we’ll just have to use our pocket calculators to count all the bodies Bond leaves in his wake.

“Quantum” is not a great Bond movie, and at least one critic has complained that it’s not a great movie. True, but then again, I wasn’t expecting to see “Gone With The Wind”, “Casablanca”, “Citizen Kane”, or even “North By Northwest”, when I laid down my eight bucks for “Quantum”. I like to think that I kept my expectations in check with reality. On the other hand, the critics did raise some legitimate concerns. Now, it’s my turn to pile on my observations.

Critics have also noted that “Quantum” doesn’t have enough of the typical Bond girl. True, he beds one girl and we only get to see her bare back in one shot. Oh wow; even Beavis and Butthead would be disappointed. In keeping with Bond film tradition, she doesn’t live to see the closing credits — she ends up resembling some poor creature caught in the Exxon/Valdez oil spill (shades of “Goldfinger”)! Yecch!

Bond is obviously nursing a broken heart, and we are lucky enough to suffer through his journey to closure with him. The only other Bond woman in the film only rates a passionate kiss at the end when he drops her off at a Bolivian train station. That’s all she gets! No farewell tryst, no “let’s hide from the authorities who are waging a world-wide search for us while we make love,” no nothing. Honestly, I was expecting to see Robert Redford as the Sundance Kid emerge from the train depot and exclaim, “Bolivia! Ha!”

Then there is M (Judi Dench) who, unlike previous Bond superiors, seems to be micromanaging our favorite super secret agent. Okay, I get it that the most recent stories show Bond at the beginning of his 00 career, and that he might need a bit more hands-on supervision than the other agents. On the other hand, do I really need to know that M is getting updates on Bond even while she is drawing her bath water? In the old days we would see M once at the beginning, and then Bond would be on his own. Come on people, stop with the hand holding. Bond is a big boy now!

Another criticism focused on the Bond villain, in that he wasn’t “villainy enough”, whatever the hell that means. He definitely wasn’t sinister like Blofeld, or my all time favorite Bond nemesis, the gay hit man team of Mr. Kidd and Mr. Went from “:Diamonds are Forever”. He didn’t even have a physical anomaly like LeChiffre, who couldn’t cry with teardrops, but rather blood drops. Quantum’s villain only seemed as sinister as any other megalomaniac venture capitalist that doesn’t stop at mergers or hostile takeovers, but rather resorts to outright murder. Oh, maybe that is the message we are to take away from this, given the state of today’s global economy: beware of capitalism.

In reality, all this doesn’t matter to the undiscerning James Bond fan. Place our hero in a few chase sequences, throw in a nude or even semi-nude doll, round it out with an action-packed climax between Bond and the villain, and we’ll be satisfied that we got out money’s worth. Even if we are disappointed, we always know that we’ll be rewarded in a few years with a new adventure at the Church of Bond. That’s right, fans, because as the closing credits state:




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