Thoughts & Essays

The Big James Bond Post

We started watching the old James Bond movies this weekend. I don’t really remember them, but I know I watched a lot of these growing up. Watching them now it’s like jeez. These things are so ridiculous. I mean, ridiculous in sort of a big, loud, dumb action movie way that’s a lot of fun, but still ridiculous. Also, holy shit racist and misogynist. Like, I expected them to be super sexist and at least a little racist, but damn, man.

Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice

The first four were about as bad as I was expecting them to be, but You Only Live Twice was damn near unwatchable. Like, there are several scenes with Bond in yellowface. I feel like You Only Live Twice was kind of egregious in the racism and sexism departments even for the time it was made in?

Entirely aside from all that, did no else notice at the time that Bond was terrible at his job? All this guy does is get laid and stumble accidentally into secret lairs that he just blows up.

(Also, he commits sexual assault at least once per film, so far.)

But I mean, there’s no secrecy here, no cover story, no secret identities. There’s gadgets and Bond drinking, gambling, and sexing his way through the plot while using his actual name. Which I guess was sort of the point. James Bond is so awesome he doesn’t have to bother with that sort of thing, or whatever. He’s an Action Hero, he can just blunder through everything. But watching them now, almost 60 years later, the effect is kind of hilarious.

My boyfriend and I decided that, based on these movies, Bond’s dad is in the Lords or something, and got his useless kid this job, and MI6 is making the best of it by sending him on missions where they want things blown up out loud. After the first couple of movies, I was like, “I thought Archer was supposed to be a parody of Bond movies, not a shot-for-shot remake.”

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Ok, we just finished On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and it was both completely ridiculous and actually better than the previous movies in some weird ways, while, at the same time, not being a good movie? But, good news, this time Bond managed to go a whole movie without sexually assaulting anyone! Although he did manage to sleep with absolutely everything that held still long enough, all on the same night. So… Props? I guess? Also maybe he should get some hydration in.

And he did actual spy things. He had a (terrible) cover identity. He sneaked around doing stealthy things.

As to George Lazenby… not terrible. Not amazing. Much better at the action stuff than Sean Connery. Nowhere near as good at the charming rogue stuff. I guess folks didn’t care for Lazenby as Bond? He was okay. I didn’t hate him.

Apparently Sean Connery does the next one, then we’re on to Roger Moore, whom I don’t remember in the role at all. I remember Connery and I have vague memories of Timothy Dalton. I never saw any of the Pierce Brosnan movies. I’ve seen several of the Daniel Craig movies.