You are being warned: Don’t cross me on this.
I love James Bond movies. I can see them a million times but won’t get tired of them. I can repeat the pithy dialogues – no long dialogues in James Bond movies, and that in itself is a plus point.
While I have said once before that Q drives the plot, now my focus in on the violence. The action scenes are believably unbelievable and violently nonviolent. Yes, there is gore, but it is never an extended scene. In Skyfall, if directed by any Indian director, the penultimate and also the last scenes would have been at least ten times longer. In Casino Royale, when the African dictator came for his money, the violence in the staircase is unbelievable, yet not much gore; the opening scene in Spectre, no different. It was the same all through the 26 movies of this highly successful franchise. Violence but not violent.
The next best thing is the egregious stereotyping! It is so bad, one has to conclude, it was deliberate, deliberately exaggerated to show the inanity of seeing people in terms of a stereo-typed whole, no individuality – Japanese behaviour, habits and wedding rituals (The Man with a Golden Gun), East Europeans, Romanian gypsies, Caribbean Voodoo, Indian snake charmers (Octopussy), Central Americans (Timothy Dalton’s first show as James Bond), South American dictators (Quantum of Solace), Soviet spies, tight lipped Brit (one on North Korea) and of course, the obnoxious American (Wade, in at least a couple of movies, including Golden Eye and of course, the Louisiana sheriff in Live and Let Die). If you noticed, James Bond is the only franchise that puts down Americans; sure the latter help Bond, but only as side-kicks. I can’t imagine how Trump’s America is putting up with this!
Now, there is a genius to James Bond plots in that a new plot line, with copious references to his childhood – that one word, ‘cuckoo’ from Ernst Stavros Blofeld was enough – is being constructed, starting with the organization SPECTRE, which sort of anchored Sean Connery’s Bonds. I am not sure George Lazenby’s Bond had any connection to Spectre. But, what I liked about Roger Moore’s Bonds and to some extent Pierce Brosnan’s is that the sentiment was merely, “I have to kill you before you kill me!” This focus on killing for the sake of killing – though the numbers of people meeting death is more now than before – appears to have been downgraded. Now, Bond’s movies follow a chronological trend, M ( a female at the top of MI6! Times have indeed changed) shown to die after four Daniel Craig’s appearances.
The signature music score has not changed, though it has come to occupy fewer and fewer frames. That is sad. I felt it was haunting and I still do. Duran Duran’s is the best. The production value scores on high on my mark sheet. Though when I said this to someone who is into movies of the arty kind, he just about choked on his fork. Different strokes for different folks.
Let me finish this where I started – Nobody does it better than James Bond.