Finally, an enemy James Bond can’t escape
- It’s time to retire the spy’s dodgy values and dodgier exploding stationery
Aug 29, 2018-
The new James Bond film is in trouble, again. First there was Daniel Craig’s diva-ish remark that he’d “rather slash [his] wrists” than play Bond again (before for some reason being dragged miserably back to the franchise), and now Oscar winner and director Danny Boyle has quit, owing to “creative differences” with the rest of the team.
I’m not surprised. Can you imagine trying to make a Bond film work in 2018? A film where your hero is a casually sexist, violent government employee who is oddly fussy about his suits and his cocktails? At this, the moment of #MeToo, the sharing economy, charity shops and recycling? You simply can’t -- there’s just nothing to work with. In fact I’d go so far as to say there hasn’t been a time more hostile to James Bond since the first film came out.
A new film just has too many things to do. First, it must prevent Bond coming across as an ageing baby boomer trying disastrously to chat up millennials (“Would you like a spin in my car? I have a very important job you know”), who can surely find someone better to shag. It must somehow shift his image away from one of those people on Instagram who are always taking selfies in business-class lounges at airports. And it must avoid portraying him as an emblem of state-sponsored violence every time he drives dramatically through a market (his body count must be in the thousands in grocers alone).
The trouble is the films are deeply rooted in the ideals of the 1950s: the era of imperial pride, owning a Jaeger-LeCoultre watch and sleeping with your secretary. In the decades that followed, Britishness, materialism and sex with employees have all lapsed in and out of fashion. Right now all three could not be more definitely out.
Could the franchise be rescued by casting a woman as Bond? No--I’m afraid we’ve already missed that moment. The female James Bond--materialistic, campy, disdainful, having as much casual sex as possible--is of course a woman of the 1990s, the natural counterpart of the 1950s male. In fact, we’ve had a female James Bond already, we just didn’t notice. The female James Bond was Samantha Jones from Sex and the City: she had the corresponding priorities (“clothes, compliments and cocks”), the approach to formal introductions (“Hello, my name is Fabulous”), and even the terrible puns (“I’m a try-sexual, I’ll try anything once”).
But we’ve moved on from that now--there’s no group that aspires to James’s dodgy values and dodgier exploding stationery. He just doesn’t fit anywhere any more. After all those narrow escapes, it is finally time for James Bond to die.
Published: 29-08-2018 07:42