So Skyfall has just been released, coming in as the 25th James Bond movie and expecting to make, as is traditional, the official measurement of an ass-tonne of money. What’s your secret, people may ask the Bond directors as they look adoringly up at them, sitting on their Roman lounges fashioned entirely out of 100 dollar bills? The secret is the secret agent, who is in fact not so secretive, as his name doesn’t even need to be attached or emblazoned on any of the products for them to be devoured by the public.
People love a James Bond movie. Myself, I haven’t watched that many in their entirety: for me, 007 exists in prime time movies on commercial TV, glimpsed but never quite grabbing me. My parents, diligently overseeing my television experience and training me in the eloquent art of channel surfing and belittling department store ads, would always make note that it was a cultural phenomenon. I don’t remember much from these younger evenings, except a lot of swanky cars and pretty ladies, horror at the abject pointiness of 1960s swimsuits and bras, and a sense of unending confusion at how the lead character seemed to be played by a new man every time I looked.
The Bond movies have somehow struck the right chord in the hearts of the viewers to be able to get them to willingly suspend their disbelief far enough to accept that every few films James Bond gets a new face. The same logic as Doctor Who, though that makes much more sense in the context of the story. In any case, it’s worked magic on the series and is what has enabled it to go on for half a century. Continue reading