Within fiction there are certain codes, ingrained enough in our collective psyche that, hypothetically, if we were to end up stranded in a made-up world, we, as geeks and fiction aficionados, would sort of know what to do to stay alive.
Trying too hard to be a hero, for example, is a sure way to get killed off, so that kind of behaviour is something you as a mortality-conscious protagonist can be careful to avoid. However, there are other deadly conventions that are far more difficult to run from, such as the one in question today, which seems to be a target strapped to the character in question since birth.
While the heroes are running around being heroic, doubtless somewhere in the background there’s an innocent bystander unfortunate enough to have two X chromosomes. She is unassuming and sweet-natured, maybe she’s a love interest or a little sister or a friend. Either way, she’s top of the hit-list.
Especially, apparently, if she has anything to do with romance and superheroes.
Someone’s got to add a more relatable element to the sci-fi struggle between good and evil, and who better than a doting love interest? Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Romance plotlines are not bad by default, and the women and men who lead them are not always unnecessary or obnoxious. That isn’t what we’re talking about here, anyway. We’re talking about how, whether they’re relevant beyond fan service and warm fuzzies or not, they seem to have a startling mortality rate. Continue reading →
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 →