right, so SKYFALL delivered. No Bond movie (or any movie, for that
matter) is perfect. But it definitely takes its place with FRWL,
Goldfinger, OHMSS, Spy Who Loved Me and Casino Royale as the best of a
remarkable series. The Bond movies have ranged from action-comedy to
near tragedy, like episodes of some mega-million dollar television
series. The Bond actors have ranged from pretty faces to thuggish
killing machines with broken hearts...and I've enjoyed them all. Just
want to pause to acknowledge that the Broccolis have done something
quite remarkable in keeping this going for 50 years. Pundits and
disgruntled fans have been predicting the death, and bemoaning the
"obsolescence" of 007 for forty of 'em. I've lost count of the number
of conversations I've had where I tried to get someone to explain
exactly how Bond is a misogynist. I always thought he was a
misanthrope, a barely leashed semi-sociopath who channels his rage into
being Her Majesty's biggest fist (and most explicitly in SKYFALL, the
teeth of the British Bulldog. Lovely.) He has no real friends, no
future, and has lost everything he ever loved--except England herself.
And that is where he takes his stand. All the chatty cocktail party
conversation, the insane courage, the fast cars, the easy sex and
gambling--these are the things guys cling to as wish fulfillment, but no
healthy person would actually want to BE Bond. You would never want
your own son to experience the pressures that make such a human being.
By dialing back the derring-do to a more human scale (it actually took
me almost a half hour to realize I was looking at Ian Fleming tempered
with Len Deighton, or John Le Carre) we finally grounded the icon in
something resembling understandable human emotion. By moving the dial
just a tick closer to 3-Dimensionality it was possible to glimpse the
tragedy of a man who cannot live for his own future, or any thoughts of
home and hearth. Not for him the sunshine. He was born, and will
die, in the shadows.
A killing machine who cons bad guys--and
apparently, fans around the world--into thinking he is a playboy in a
tailored tux. A "fop who can fight." No. He is the world's
deadliest commando. Roger Moore was the ideal "outer" Bond. Danial
Craig is the perfect "inner" Bond. Moore recently declared straight-up
that Craig was the best Bond ever, and the man who played 007 more than
anyone else has the right to an opinion. My thought: Craig shows us
the actual man. Connery was the actor they hired to play him in the
movie. I can imagine Craig's Bond slipping into a theater to watch
"Goldfinger" and smiling at Connery's sleek predator, then slipping out
before the lights come up. And being grimly amused as he sits in a
posh bar later, alone, deciding whether to pick up a blond for the
night, or gamble, or just go home and eat some more pain pills. I
seriously appreciate that the Broccolis created these three Craig films
(although QofS was pretty painful to watch). I'd love to be a fly on
the wall during family discussions on their bread and butter over the
years. But lacking that, I'm happy that this part of my childhood
continues to amuse, entertain and...occasionally...move me. All this
time later. Wow.
Happy 50th, 007. Nobody has ever, ever, done it better. An "A". For Bond fans like me, an A+.
For the last thirty years or so I’ve been a lecturer, coach, novelist and television writer. For the last forty years I’ve been involved variously in the martial arts, and for all my life I’ve studied and enjoyed yoga. Not that I worked at it as hard and honestly as I should have—I’d be a combination of BKS Iyengar and Bruce Lee if I had.
After publishing about three million words of science fiction (including the New York Times bestsellers The Legacy of Heorot and The Cestus Deception) and having about twenty hours of produced television shows (including The Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Andromeda, and Stargate, as well as four episodes of the immortal Baywatch), I’ve got opinions on the writing life.
After earning black belts in Judo and Karate, and practicing the Indonesian art of Pentjak Silat Serak for the last fifteen, well, I have some opinions there, as well. And having struggled to live consciously since childhood...well, those opinions are probably strongest of all.