In the light of not having seen the new Bond movie Skyfall I thought I’d blog about it! Well, it’s never stopped me being highly opinionated before… I have heard many good things about it, and certainly do want to see it. You may not be a Bond fan at all, so apologies if so, but just to be self-indulgent for a moment I thought I’d mention my favourite Bond movies. I love the atmosphere of the 60’s Bonds, and as creaky as it is now, I still really like Dr No, the first ever Bond outing on the big screen. Goldfinger too has great style.
The problem for any spy movies now is that they can never really recapture the spirit of the times that Ian Fleming was writing about. I loved Casino Royale Daniel Craig’s first stab – there’s a sense of danger and edge to it, which, if you liked Roger Moore and his unique eye-brow raising Bond, may have come as a bit of a shock. Roger Moore raked in the fans and the cash throughout much of the 70’s and 80’s and still holds the record for playing the suave, gun-toting, girl-getting hero a staggering 7 times over 13 years.(Connery made 6 over 10 years.) It’s worth a mention that Adele has taken Skyfall’s theme to no 2, the highest chart position since Duran Duran’s 1985 View to a Kill (I’ll take my anorak off now.)
Craig’s Casino Royale was more in keeping with the serious tone of the books. As was the much-maligned OHMSS (too much effort to type the full title, sorry) and Tim Dalton’s two outings Living Daylights and License to Kill. I didn’t mind either of these, though License was beginning to take the Bond franchise into dark 15-rated waters.
All that said my favourite Bond movie has to be Goldeneye. Pierce Brosnan bringing 007 back from the dead after 6 years of no superspy on the big screen. For me it perfectly blends the action, the style, a good story and witty humour. The jokes are actually funny! Not just nudge-nudge-wink-wink-cheesy, as can sometimes be the case. Still makes me laugh now. I went to see it three times at the cinema, I was that hooked. So now the new Skyfall comes shrouded in secrecy as to the plot development, something unusual for a Bond film. Whatever it holds I hope there is a sense of reality to it. Obviously things will explode and bad guys will strut around making quips, and Bond won’t die (or will he?) – but I like my action movies to have a good story and something genuine I can relate to. All great movies, whatever the genre, connect with an audience if they spring in some way from real life. Sci fi, fantasy, action adventure, horror, they only really grip us if we can somehow see ourselves in them. Recent comic book movies have explored this – especially the Batman trilogy. Flawed heroes and broken supermen make for more fascinating stories. I think anyway.
Which is what takes me back to the Bible time and again. I find the same kind of flawed heroes and broken superstars. People aspiring to change the world but discovering that they get wounded and distracted along the way. Instead of flying they limp, instead of fast- talking they stutter. And as I get older, (not that much older, obviously), the thing I love most about Jesus of Nazareth is that he lived a difficult, normal life. As fuel bills rise and the economy lugs along under the stranglehold of recession, I find a Messiah who grew up under high taxation, oppressive, corrupt leadership and the challenges of running his own business. James and Jesus are worlds apart. Very different kinds of men. But you could say both are out to save the world. Bond never seems to have money troubles, (that would make for an interesting plot twist, 007 in the job centre) but he does have plenty of other snags. Let’s see what he encounters as the sky threatens to tumble on his head.
P.S. Got a favourite spy movie?
I love some of the Bond movies, but I love Harry Palmer even better! Funeral in Berlin is such a good movie IMHO! Palmer is the antithesis of Bond; Bond is rather Upper Middle class in affectation whereas Palmer is a criminal Cockney; Bond is always flashing the cash, whereas Palmer seems perenially skint; Bond is flown to wonderful places whereas Palmer tends to end up in rundown places in big dirty cities! But Palmer remains my hero!
Thanks Tim – Harry Palmer was created by the Bond people! For exactly the reasons you mention, they wanted a spy who was down at heel, the antithesis of 007. I think they ultimately made 5 HP movies – I need to sit down and give them a proper viewing I think… thanks for the tip there…