Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bond Primer

I wrote this for a friend of mine who will be in some improvised Bond shows at BATS:

Mandatory for a bond film (some I’m sure you’ve covered):

• Pre-title action sequence that generally has nothing to do with the plot of the rest of the movie.
• Bizarre dancing to pop music opening-title sequence
• Bond gets called into the office to find out about the mission from M and get gadgets from Q.
• Bond travels to several exotic locations on his mission.
• Bond seduces several women including one who is the main “Bond girl” of the film.
• Said “Bond girl” will have a sexually suggestive name (Pussy Galore, Dr. Goodhead, Octopussy)
• Bond will be asked his name at some point and say “Bond, James Bond”.
• The phrase “Vodka Martini, Shaken not stirred” will be said.
• Bond will make lots of witty quips after killing people or knocking them out.

“Bond Films” do not fall in just one genre. They take on the conventions of the popular action genre of their time.

• 60’s: Slower paced. Villain is related to S.P.E.C.T.E.R. (Goldfinger being the one exception) which is ultimately run by Bloefeld, whose face is not seen in the early films (just his arms stroking the white cat). (The villain is S.P.E.C.T.E.R. to allow the movies to be indirectly about the cold war as being directly about the cold war would’ve been too intense.) Connery’s Bond is a “man’s man” chauvinist. He spends all of Goldfinger drunk and incompetent. If he didn’t sex Pussy Galore into turning “good”, Goldfinger would’ve won. Lazanby was the “sensitive man’s Bond”. He’ll listen to your problems and then fuck you.
• 70’s: Exploitation Bond. Think Cannon Ball Run meets Shaft meets Kung Fu. They’re campy. The villain is no longer S.P.E.C.T.E.R. Instead, the villain is usually some egomaniacal super-fiend who’s going to take over the world, leaving Bond having to work with the Russians somehow. Or the Russians aren’t in it at all. Roger Moore was the “gentleman’s Bond”. Think a proper British Hugh Hefner.
• 80’s – Moore: Similar to 70’s only with 80’s songs and hair. As Moore was the same age as Connery, Bond is getting really old. His love interests are scarily younger than him and will say “Oh James” breathlessly many times.
• 80’s – Dalton: Think Miami Vice and political correctness. With AIDS running wild, Dalton’s Bond sleeps with all of 4 women in 2 films. (Lazanby managed more than that in one montage sequence.) Dalton’s Bond is the “brooding over-dramatic” bond. Dalton was an Actor with a capital A. One film dealt with the Russian War in Afghanistan (the good film), his other was about drug dealers (the really bad film).
• 90’s-00’s – Brosnon: Big budget Hollywood action films packed with cameos from major stars. These movies are also constantly apologizing for themselves (we know we’re being chauvinistic but we’re doing it anyway). Think backlash against political correctness. Brosnon was the “Remington Steele Bond.” He was good at the comedy and the drama, but always seemed to be smirking and really playing Remington Steele.
• 00’s – Craig: Bourne Identity meets Bond. Craig’s the “real man’s Bond”. How we would actually expect someone to react in these situations.

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