Should James Bond be a modern man?

13

Comments

  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,289
    At the end of the truck chase in LTK, Bond looked like hammered {fecal matter}, and THAT was pretty amazing to me. Too often, Bond is all neat & clean & nearly unscathed in the movies. If I want to see a movie about a superman, I'll throw in a Christopher Reeve DVD.
  • edited December 2012 Posts: 3,494
    I think that the original question tries to force a black or white view on something that can be more nuanced.

    But first a little background. When I first saw the Bond films (Connery's on TV) I was a 12 year old, scrawny, nerdy kid. I was picked on and every time that I tried to play sports (the easiest way to try to get "in" with other boys) I failed spectacularly. As someone mentioned in another thread as a 12 year old you feel powerless enough already, and that can be even more so depending on your place in the social hierarchy.

    So at that time of my life a hero that was completely infallible, was AWESOME at everything he did - even things he tried for the first time! - who knew everything about everything, who was always composed, and who could get any girl just by looking at her...well, that was the ultimate dream and wish fulfillment. Really, it was only one step away from Fonzie in Happy Days who would literally snap his fingers and every girl in the room would come running.

    But then I got older and gained life experience.

    I realized that trying to talk to girls like Bond did made them think I was a weird, creepy loser. I would get frustrated trying to do things that I didn't master the first time that I tried them. And I found that talking about things with a level of expertise made me sound pretentious and arrogant rather than cool and smart. So I felt a little "cheated" about these kind of role models in my life (Bond, Fonzie, Captain Kirk).

    So as I gained life experience I found that the key was effort. If you have to make a bit of effort at something then it's earned, which makes it more satisfying. I feel the same way about characters in films. If Moore raises an eyebrow at a girl and she falls into his arms it's meaningless. But if Bond has to flirt with her, earn her admiration, and ends up with her later then it's more meaningful. If Bond beats up a dozen henchmen effortlessly it's meaningless. If Bond is bruised and bloody (say, at the end of LTK or after the stairwell fight in CR) then it makes his victory even more impressive.

    Which doesn't negate the wish fulfillment aspect of Bond. Does anyone really think that the construction site chase in CR or the SF PTS tearing the train apart are too "real"? We're still seeing Bond do incredible feats, it's just that this is a Bond who draws upon inner resources, strength of will, training, and modern day military fitness to do these things. If he expresses a bit of doubt, or emotions, does that negate that he's exceptionally cool or manly? Of course not. Someone said in another thread that Craig's Bond isn't macho or manly because he shows emotions and has doubts. Seriously? To me it makes him even MORE manly because he pushes past those things to achieve his objectives. If someone thinks that Craig's Bond is "emo" and not a man then they have a radically different idea of "emo" than what it really is. And I dare them to meet Craig's Bond in a dark alley and tell them that he isn't macho and is a "Mother's boy" ;-)

    Look, I get that we all have bad times in our adult lives that make us like the idea of a super hero instead of a hero. But I feel that a hero can still be a human being and still be a wish fulfillment figure. In fact, even more so than a superhero.

    Just wanted to join the chorus and say this was wonderfully said.

    I've spoken of women here in the past and my observations of my journey regarding how I went from being a high school loser until my senior year, when I began to transform my looks and style, into that of a man who has since had Bondian moments with women who were hotter than some women who were actually in a Bond movie. It took a lot of time and effort for me to do that, although being a rock musician sure didn't hurt! Bond is Hollywood and real life seldom follows that path. Don't worry about being a superhero, just be yourself.

  • Zekidk wrote:
    Well, no ordinary fellow can both run, shoot, drive and ski to and "exceptionally high-level" ;-)

    In actual fact, there are many military-trained individuals in the (real) world who can run, drive and ski to an 'exceptionally high' level - my cousin (a former soldier/bodyguard) being one of them.

    But just because he can do these things well doesn't make him Usain Bolt, Sebastian Vettel or Franz Klammer - which I alluded to by stating that Bond is not the best in the world by any means in these disciplines.

    What is boils down to is this - I believe that Bond works best when he is depicted as an ordinary man who applies himself and as a result is able to accomplish extraordinary things, rather than the 'amazing', superheroic-style character you appear to prefer.

    Please don't take this as a criticism - far from it, the Bond universe would be a very dull place if we all loved exactly the same things about the character. At the end of the day, we all love Bond, whatever version we may prefer individually. :)
  • Posts: 3,063
    What is boils down to is this - I believe that Bond works best when he is depicted as an ordinary man who applies himself and as a result is able to accomplish extraordinary things, rather than the 'amazing', superheroic-style character you appear to prefer.
    That's pushing it. For me a superhero is 100% fantasy. I would like for Bond to be grounded part in fantasy, part in the real world.
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,289
    believe that Bond works best when he is depicted as an ordinary man who applies himself and as a result is able to accomplish extraordinary things
    It was all said in FRWL; was Bond as strong as Grant? No, but he employed more than just one attribute or skill to the situation to win.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,651
    Zekidk wrote:
    And I honestly don't care what "Fleming intended" in his more than 50 year old cold-war novels. I grew up on the movies.

    No respect for Daddy. >:P
  • I'm ready to see Bond killing terrorist from the Middle East.
  • Posts: 2,081
    Zekidk wrote:
    But again... there are also hints of the old. Bond sneaking into Severine's shower is something that borders sexual assault, much like Connery back in the days tackled Pussy Galore in the barn.

    WHAT? You actually see similarities in those scenes?

    What Bond does with Pussy Galore was disgusting. She had repeatedly said no verbally, and fought back as much as her strength allowed physically. That actually WAS sexual assault. He used zero charm or seduction, he just forced himself on her by superior physical force. And this was the big hero of the piece. Yuk.

    Severine was actually interested and basically invited Bond to come to her, and Bond did not use any physical force whatsoever. How the heck is THAT an assault?

    As for your question, well guess which one I prefer?
  • Posts: 2,081
    I think some people often talk about Bond being humanized as though it were synonymous with Bond becoming a "softer" character, which I don't see as being true at all.

    My thoughts exactly. He is not softer, and he's a killer alright - maybe even more than any of the previous Bonds - but he is human. Actions (his as well as other people's) have consequences for him. That makes him far more interesting as a character.
  • Posts: 2,081
    I think that the original question tries to force a black or white view on something that can be more nuanced.

    But first a little background. When I first saw the Bond films (Connery's on TV) I was a 12 year old, scrawny, nerdy kid. I was picked on and every time that I tried to play sports (the easiest way to try to get "in" with other boys) I failed spectacularly. As someone mentioned in another thread as a 12 year old you feel powerless enough already, and that can be even more so depending on your place in the social hierarchy.

    So at that time of my life a hero that was completely infallible, was AWESOME at everything he did - even things he tried for the first time! - who knew everything about everything, who was always composed, and who could get any girl just by looking at her...well, that was the ultimate dream and wish fulfillment. Really, it was only one step away from Fonzie in Happy Days who would literally snap his fingers and every girl in the room would come running.

    But then I got older and gained life experience.

    I realized that trying to talk to girls like Bond did made them think I was a weird, creepy loser. I would get frustrated trying to do things that I didn't master the first time that I tried them. And I found that talking about things with a level of expertise made me sound pretentious and arrogant rather than cool and smart. So I felt a little "cheated" about these kind of role models in my life (Bond, Fonzie, Captain Kirk).

    So as I gained life experience I found that the key was effort. If you have to make a bit of effort at something then it's earned, which makes it more satisfying. I feel the same way about characters in films. If Moore raises an eyebrow at a girl and she falls into his arms it's meaningless. But if Bond has to flirt with her, earn her admiration, and ends up with her later then it's more meaningful. If Bond beats up a dozen henchmen effortlessly it's meaningless. If Bond is bruised and bloody (say, at the end of LTK or after the stairwell fight in CR) then it makes his victory even more impressive.

    Which doesn't negate the wish fulfillment aspect of Bond. Does anyone really think that the construction site chase in CR or the SF PTS tearing the train apart are too "real"? We're still seeing Bond do incredible feats, it's just that this is a Bond who draws upon inner resources, strength of will, training, and modern day military fitness to do these things. If he expresses a bit of doubt, or emotions, does that negate that he's exceptionally cool or manly? Of course not. Someone said in another thread that Craig's Bond isn't macho or manly because he shows emotions and has doubts. Seriously? To me it makes him even MORE manly because he pushes past those things to achieve his objectives. If someone thinks that Craig's Bond is "emo" and not a man then they have a radically different idea of "emo" than what it really is. And I dare them to meet Craig's Bond in a dark alley and tell them that he isn't macho and is a "Mother's boy" ;-)

    Look, I get that we all have bad times in our adult lives that make us like the idea of a super hero instead of a hero. But I feel that a hero can still be a human being and still be a wish fulfillment figure. In fact, even more so than a superhero.

    That was just awesome. *applauds*

  • He has to appeal to the masses so he's at his best when a mix of Modern man and old school.
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,512
    Tuulia wrote:
    Severine was actually interested and basically invited Bond to come to her, and Bond did not use any physical force whatsoever. How the heck is THAT an assault?

    It's not assault but one could consider it slightly unsavoury. He's just determined she's effectively been a sex slave since she was 12 and is clearly emotionally and psychologically damaged. It doesn't sit well with some people. After all, if Bond is supposed to be this man of the 21st century, you can't just throw in moves like this and expect people to shrug it off as old school. I think it's what is known as trying to have your cake and eat it.
  • edited December 2012 Posts: 1,143
    RC7 wrote:
    Tuulia wrote:
    Severine was actually interested and basically invited Bond to come to her, and Bond did not use any physical force whatsoever. How the heck is THAT an assault?

    It's not assault but one could consider it slightly unsavoury. He's just determined she's effectively been a sex slave since she was 12 and is clearly emotionally and psychologically damaged. It doesn't sit well with some people. After all, if Bond is supposed to be this man of the 21st century, you can't just throw in moves like this and expect people to shrug it off as old school. I think it's what is known as trying to have your cake and eat it.

    Fair point but it is typical Bond behaviour. He's no doubt taken advantage of knowing her back story and sees the opportunity to be intimate with her for his own gains. He's on a mission and he is going to have sex with her as a means to an end.
  • Posts: 2,081

    I prefer a bit more depth of characterisation, and yes, an ability to identify with the hero. That doesn't mean I can do what he does - far from it, unfortuantely - but it means that I can relate to him and as a result care if he succeeds in his mission or not.

    I think that is the key. If one can't identify with or relate to a character in a movie then why would one care one bit what ultimately happens to him?

  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,512
    RC7 wrote:
    Tuulia wrote:
    Severine was actually interested and basically invited Bond to come to her, and Bond did not use any physical force whatsoever. How the heck is THAT an assault?

    It's not assault but one could consider it slightly unsavoury. He's just determined she's effectively been a sex slave since she was 12 and is clearly emotionally and psychologically damaged. It doesn't sit well with some people. After all, if Bond is supposed to be this man of the 21st century, you can't just throw in moves like this and expect people to shrug it off as old school. I think it's what is known as trying to have your cake and eat it.

    Fair point but it is typical Bond behaviour. He's no doubt taken advantage of knowing her back story and sees the opportunity to be intimate with her for his own gains. He's on a mission and he is going to have sex with her as a means to and end.

    I agree, it is in a Fleming book. But then Fleming books have moments of racism and casual homophobia. I laughed at this scene but it did seem at odds with the 'new' Bond and I can see why people would think it isn't very tasteful.

  • Posts: 2,081
    Zekidk wrote:
    I would like for Bond to be grounded part in fantasy, part in the real world.

    Well he obviusly is.

  • RC7 wrote:
    RC7 wrote:

    It's not assault but one could consider it slightly unsavoury. He's just determined she's effectively been a sex slave since she was 12 and is clearly emotionally and psychologically damaged. It doesn't sit well with some people. After all, if Bond is supposed to be this man of the 21st century, you can't just throw in moves like this and expect people to shrug it off as old school. I think it's what is known as trying to have your cake and eat it.

    Fair point but it is typical Bond behaviour. He's no doubt taken advantage of knowing her back story and sees the opportunity to be intimate with her for his own gains. He's on a mission and he is going to have sex with her as a means to and end.

    I agree, it is in a Fleming book. But then Fleming books have moments of racism and casual homophobia. I laughed at this scene but it did seem at odds with the 'new' Bond and I can see why people would think it isn't very tasteful.

    Yes, the novels were written back in not so enlightened times and attitudes were different back then, certainly in how they were expressed.

    Of course one can feel uncomfortable with certain elements but I feel the scene didn't make me uncomfortable as I expect Bond to make such choices as he is 007.
  • Posts: 2,081
    RC7 wrote:
    Tuulia wrote:
    Severine was actually interested and basically invited Bond to come to her, and Bond did not use any physical force whatsoever. How the heck is THAT an assault?

    It's not assault but one could consider it slightly unsavoury. He's just determined she's effectively been a sex slave since she was 12 and is clearly emotionally and psychologically damaged. It doesn't sit well with some people. After all, if Bond is supposed to be this man of the 21st century, you can't just throw in moves like this and expect people to shrug it off as old school. I think it's what is known as trying to have your cake and eat it.

    Fair point but it is typical Bond behaviour. He's no doubt taken advantage of knowing her back story and sees the opportunity to be intimate with her for his own gains. He's on a mission and he is going to have sex with her as a means to an end.

    "As a means to an end"? How come? He couldn't get to Silva's lair on Severine's boat without having sex with her? Anyway, Severine isn't only a victim, and I don't think Bond is taking advantage of her. She wants him, too. And since she does - rather obviously, IMO - I don't see how Bond is doing something morally wrong by having sex with her (unless one counts his promiscuity as morally wrong, of course).

  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,512
    Tuulia wrote:
    She wants him, too. And since she does - rather obviously, IMO - I don't see how Bond is doing something morally wrong by having sex with her (unless one counts his promiscuity as morally wrong, of course).

    Him knowing her background and potential state of mind makes it a moral choice. In reality how do you think she felt tied up waiting to be shot? She believed Bond may save her, instead he shagged her and then let her die. The final nail in the coffin of her frankly awful existence. I think it's fair to say Bond has few morals, particularly re. women or at least in SF. This ties in with moments in Fleming's Bond. Whether that is appropriate in 2012 is debatable.
  • edited December 2012 Posts: 2,081
    Potential state of mind? She didn't seem to be in a fragile state of mind (compare Vesper under the shower in CR) and had champagne and glasses ready. Yes, she thought Bond may save her. May. Not that it was certain at all. She took the risk. Not ideal that she died, obviously, but there you go... Sorta like with M, who also knew the risk, but thought it was worth taking. "Someone usually dies." As for the shagging, nothing wrong with that IMO, like I said. I honestly don't see the problem. There is no connection from that to her death, she would have died without it, too.
  • RC7RC7
    Posts: 10,512
    Tuulia wrote:
    Potential state of mind? She didn't seem to be in a fragile state of mind (compare Vesper under the shower in CR) and had champagne and glasses ready. Yes, she thought Bond may save her. May. Not that it was certain at all. She took the risk. Not ideal that she died, obviously, but there you go... Sorta like with M, who also knew the risk, but thought it was worth taking. "Someone usually dies." As for the shagging, nothing wrong with that IMO, like I said. I honestly don't see the problem. There is no connection from that to her death, she would have died without it, too.

    I don't think you can compare Vesper to Severine. They are poles apart. The Vesper relationship blossomed before it became physical. Severine and Bond had no relationship. For a woman whose body has been 'used' her entire her life I wouldn't think she'd appreciate her apparent knight in shining armour treating her in the same way. Like you say, this is the Bond of the books and as such it works on that level. In 2012 I'm unsure.

  • Tuulia wrote:
    Potential state of mind? She didn't seem to be in a fragile state of mind (compare Vesper under the shower in CR) and had champagne and glasses ready. Yes, she thought Bond may save her. May. Not that it was certain at all. She took the risk. Not ideal that she died, obviously, but there you go... Sorta like with M, who also knew the risk, but thought it was worth taking. "Someone usually dies." As for the shagging, nothing wrong with that IMO, like I said. I honestly don't see the problem. There is no connection from that to her death, she would have died without it, too.

    "She didn't seem to be in a fragile state of mind" did you not see her at the Casino physically shaking??
  • chrisisallchrisisall Brosnan Defender Of The Realm
    Posts: 17,289
    Brosnan's Bond would not have been so pushy, he would have charmed her.
  • Posts: 2,081
    RC7 wrote:
    Tuulia wrote:
    Potential state of mind? She didn't seem to be in a fragile state of mind (compare Vesper under the shower in CR) and had champagne and glasses ready. Yes, she thought Bond may save her. May. Not that it was certain at all. She took the risk. Not ideal that she died, obviously, but there you go... Sorta like with M, who also knew the risk, but thought it was worth taking. "Someone usually dies." As for the shagging, nothing wrong with that IMO, like I said. I honestly don't see the problem. There is no connection from that to her death, she would have died without it, too.

    I don't think you can compare Vesper to Severine. They are poles apart. The Vesper relationship blossomed before it became physical. Severine and Bond had no relationship. For a woman whose body has been 'used' her entire her life I wouldn't think she'd appreciate her apparent knight in shining armour treating her in the same way. Like you say, this is the Bond of the books and as such it works on that level. In 2012 I'm unsure.

    I'm not comparing the relationships, of course there's a huge difference.
    As for "treating her in the same way" I don't think that was the case, since to me he wasn't taking advantage of her sexually. I don't find it inconceivable that she wanted to have sex with him despite her past or current situation.

  • Posts: 2,081
    Tuulia wrote:
    Potential state of mind? She didn't seem to be in a fragile state of mind (compare Vesper under the shower in CR) and had champagne and glasses ready. Yes, she thought Bond may save her. May. Not that it was certain at all. She took the risk. Not ideal that she died, obviously, but there you go... Sorta like with M, who also knew the risk, but thought it was worth taking. "Someone usually dies." As for the shagging, nothing wrong with that IMO, like I said. I honestly don't see the problem. There is no connection from that to her death, she would have died without it, too.

    "She didn't seem to be in a fragile state of mind" did you not see her at the Casino physically shaking??

    It's not the same scene, though. Plus obviously it wasn't Bond she was scared of, either.

  • Tuulia wrote:
    Tuulia wrote:
    Potential state of mind? She didn't seem to be in a fragile state of mind (compare Vesper under the shower in CR) and had champagne and glasses ready. Yes, she thought Bond may save her. May. Not that it was certain at all. She took the risk. Not ideal that she died, obviously, but there you go... Sorta like with M, who also knew the risk, but thought it was worth taking. "Someone usually dies." As for the shagging, nothing wrong with that IMO, like I said. I honestly don't see the problem. There is no connection from that to her death, she would have died without it, too.

    "She didn't seem to be in a fragile state of mind" did you not see her at the Casino physically shaking??

    It's not the same scene, though. Plus obviously it wasn't Bond she was scared of, either.

    And Vesper was? I know it wasn't the same scene but it immediately followed. I have no issue with the sex scene which followed and Bond did not force himself on her but he knew following the previous scene her background and vunrability / fragile state of mind and took advantage. He knew she would not resist, she was preprogrammed to accept the advances of others. Also she may have believed he would be her knight in shining armour.

    For Bond, his intentions weren't simply to satisfy his sexual desire but was also to seal the deal so to speak - to get her on side. She may have helped aid him on the island if things had turned out differently and she'd not got shot!
  • edited December 2012 Posts: 2,081
    Tuulia wrote:
    Tuulia wrote:
    Potential state of mind? She didn't seem to be in a fragile state of mind (compare Vesper under the shower in CR) and had champagne and glasses ready. Yes, she thought Bond may save her. May. Not that it was certain at all. She took the risk. Not ideal that she died, obviously, but there you go... Sorta like with M, who also knew the risk, but thought it was worth taking. "Someone usually dies." As for the shagging, nothing wrong with that IMO, like I said. I honestly don't see the problem. There is no connection from that to her death, she would have died without it, too.

    "She didn't seem to be in a fragile state of mind" did you not see her at the Casino physically shaking??

    It's not the same scene, though. Plus obviously it wasn't Bond she was scared of, either.

    And Vesper was? I know it wasn't the same scene but it immediately followed. I have no issue with the sex scene which followed and Bond did not force himself on her but he knew following the previous scene her background and vunrability / fragile state of mind and took advantage. He knew she would not resist, she was preprogrammed to accept the advances of others. Also she may have believed he would be her knight in shining armour.

    For Bond, his intentions weren't simply to satisfy his sexual desire but was also to seal the deal so to speak - to get her on side. She may have helped aid him on the island if things had turned out differently and she'd not got shot!

    Of course Vesper wasn't afraid of Bond, either. Where did that question come from?

    Your interpretation of the scene with Severine does make sense to me, I just didn't see it the same way.

  • Zekidk wrote:
    In Goldfinger there's a scene where Bond says that drinking a Dom Perignon with the wrong temperature is like "listening to Beatles without earmuffs". This was at a time where the Beatles frenzy was at a high. James Bond didn't care, and therein laid his success: He didn't move with the times. He was classic and timeless. The self-assured character didn't really change for the next 40 years or so. His character was defined.

    Then came the reboots, and today the character James Bond has evovled into something else: More human and unstable with flaws. Just like many other heroes these days. In SF the audience even has to learn about his troubled childhood/past. Guess every hero nowadays has to have one. Bond also have to wear an earpiece. No more going at it alone on a mission. No, he takes direct orders from his metaphorical mother.

    But again... there are also hints of the old. Bond sneaking into Severine's shower is something that borders sexual assault, much like Connery back in the days tackled Pussy Galore in the barn.

    So my question is fairly simple: Should the filmmakers continue down this path for Bond 24? Making James Bond a "man of his times"? Or should they go back (actually continuing forward) by giving us the classic Bond who doesn't necessarily reflect our times?
    Try to read, listen or view comments made by Ian Flemming about the must have ingredients for a great spy novel. Then do the same with Cubby Brocolli because it seems you have lost the must have in a Bond film. Don't try to turn it into something other than it is. (Please do not use sexual assault and other "PC" crap. They don't belong here)
  • doubleoegodoubleoego #LightWork
    Posts: 11,135
    I don't see anything wrong with the Severin shower/sex scene at all.


    Bond charms Severin by getting a bit of banter going, some flirtation at the casino. She's aware Bond killed Patrice, so she already knows that he can handle himself and that he could possibly help her. She informs Bond where to find her if he makes it out of the casino alive (implying Bond to come over and "admire the view") and back on her boat, she has champagne ready for her and Bond ( I doubt she's merely looking to toast his victory abd escape frim those 3 Chinese goons) and she's dressed like she's ready to be undressed. She's a consenting adult irrespective of her past and current situation and not only does she consent but she wants to sleep with Bond. Wether Bond should or shouldn't have shagged her doesn't really come into it. Bond finds her attractive enough to get busy and does so without any fuss.
  • edited December 2012 Posts: 2,081
    doubleoego, you said it much better than me, thanks. :)
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