Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Licensed to Thrill

In 1953, Ian Fleming, a former assistant to the director of the British Department of Naval Intelligence, published a novel. The subject matter was drawn from his days in the DNI.

Its title: Casino Royale.

Its main character: Bond. James Bond.

In 1964, I saw my first Bond movie. I was 13 years old and in the throes of puberty. The movie was Goldfinger. Sean Connery portrayed James Bond. And I fell in love with a tall, dark and handsome man who drove an Aston Martin, drank vodka martinis shaken, not stirred and had a license to kill.

I was not the only one in love with this man. Miss Moneypenny, his boss's secretary, was completely smitten with Bond, but despite her longing gazes and dreams of smoldering kisses, she never got her man.

Through the years I kept up with James's film escapades and followed him all around the world as he chased the bad guys while armed with gadgets provided by the Q division of MI6, the British Secret Intelligence Service. Through the years I also bemoaned the changing face of James Bond -- literally. When Sean Connery left the role, I swore I could never love another Bond. When George Lazenby appeared on screen in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, I knew my fears had come true. A male model from Australia does not a 007 make -- not even when he wears a kilt. The powers that be agreed with me (and a bazillion other fans worldwide), gave George the boot and found another Bond.

This time it was Roger Moore who had also played Simon Templar AKA The Saint. Moore brought back the joie de vivre of James Bond and began the move toward a more campy style of movie. He was suave and debonair, handled the ladies with finesse and always, always defeated the villain and won the girl in the end.

Then Roger Moore retired and my heart leapt when Pierce Brosnan was announced as the new Bond. I'd loved him as Remington Steele, but alas, he had to turn down the job because of his contract with the TV folks. Timothy Dalton was brought in and because his debut as Bond coincided with the age of AIDS, it was felt that Bond should be a little less anamored of the ladies, shall we say. So the Bond of my dreams who bedded every woman he met became a "safe sex" Bond and safe sex notwithstanding, I quite frankly wasn't very impressed with Dalton's portrayal of my favorite spy.

Then happy, happy, joy, joy! Dalton called it quits and TPTB offered the role to Brosnan again. Oh dear Lord, I was in heaven. After six long years, James Bond was back on the screen and in GoldenEye, the first Bond film made after the collapse of the Soviet Union, we had yet another casting change.

In a brilliant stroke of casting, Dame Judi Dench was signed to portray "M," the head of MI6. "M" makes no bones about the fact that she despises Bond and called him a "sexist, myogynist dinosaur, a relic of the Cold War." Yep. That's my 007.

I thought Pierce and I would go to the grave with him playing Bond and me watching him on the silver screen, but alas, those darned powers that be had other ideas. They decided he was too old to play James Bond. Ahem! He's younger than me and I'm not old. Despite protests from Pierce's fans worldwide, they let him go and began the search for a new James Bond.

When Daniel Craig was presented as the new 007, my first response was, "Huh?" Who was he? A quick search pulled up a... blond man??? But... but... James Bond isn't blond. How dare they mess with my James?

They might cast this tow-headed boy as 007 but that didn't mean I had to see the movie. Boycott! That's what I'd do. Yep, that was my plan until I started hearing from trusted friends who'd seen the movie and were raving about not only the film but the new 007. So last Sunday the DH and I went to see Casino Royale, which is an unusual occurrence in itself. The DH hated Bond movies. I mean H-A-T-E-D them. But a male co-worker had told him the movie was great so he agreed to go with me.

I settled into the theater seat, determined to dislike the blond Bond. But when the last scene ended and the credits began to roll, I turned to my husband, grinned and said "Bond is back! Yesssss!"

Make sure you click on this photo and look at this man's beautiful blue eyes. Who cares if he's a little blond when he has eyes like this??? Oops! I'm drooling on my keyboard again. Forgive my total fangrrl moment, will ya? It's just that he SO fills out a pair of pants.

When I was 13 I saw Goldfinger and fell in love with a tall, dark and handsome man who drove an Aston Martin, drank vodka martinis shaken, not stirred and had a license to kill. When I was 55 I saw Casino Royale and fell in love all over again with a man who has a license to thrill.

As an interesting aside, two years ago the DH's company was acquired by a British firm called Qinetiq (pronounced like the word kinetic). Qinetiq came into being when the British Ministry of Defense research labs were privatized so they could bid on US government contracts. Those research labs were the basis of the "Q" division in the Bond novels and movies -- the folks who dreamed up all those neat-o gizmos Bond used.

So that begs the following question: If my DH works for Q, does that make me "M?"

Are you a Bond fan? If not, who's y our favorite movie hero? And what makes him heroic for you?


Pat said...

When I was younger, I would go to see all the Bond movies, but now I dont.

My favorite Bond is Pierce Brosnan. I think he is the handsomeest if that is a word.

Problem Child said...

I'm not a big Bond fan. DG is, but I just can't get into any of the plots. I guess I'm just not a spy-thriller kind of girl.

I think Sean Connery is good-looking now, but not so much in his Bond days. If I had to pick a Bond, it would probably be Pierce.

Word verif: lgewxulq
Are you kidding me? Can they make them any harder?

Playground Monitor said...

Plots? Plots???

You just look at the cute guy, take in the scenery (this one was in Montenegro and the Bahamas), look at the cute guy, marvel at the gadgets, look at the cute guy, eat some popcorn and look at the cute guy.

You're trying to put way too much into a Bond movie, PC. :grin:


Anonymous said...

I like the new Bond too. He's yummy.

I also like Indiana Jones. You think he's just this college professor and then he gets all macho and hunts treasures and fights off bad guys. I loved the one where Sean Connery played his father.


Jen said...

I LOVE Casino Royale. Have seen it twice and plan to own the dvd as soon as it's available. Let me preface with I don't particularly care for blond men, but Daniel Craig. Oh my. Hands down best bond since Connery. Might even like him more. I quit watching the Bond films when they were so terribly over the top and imo ridiculous. This however is an interesting plot line without all the strange gadgetry and such.

As an aside, I so fell in love with Craig and this movie, I ran down to B&N and bought Fleming's Casino Royale. Uh...don't. Defintiely one of few cases where the movie is far suprerior to the book.

Smarty Pants said...

I'm not much of a Bond fan. The explosions and car chases make me too nervous to focus on the eye candy. I'm not big on action-adventure flicks. Pierce will always be my favorite though.

Gotta agree with Lainee, though. Indiana Jones was great. Jack from Romancing the Stone was nice too.

Instigator said...

Pierce. Sigh. I loved him in The Thomas Crowne Affair. I also love Sean but have to admit that I've never seen any of his Bond films.

I'm not usually a Bond girl but I've heard raves about this movie from several sources so I'll definitely be checking it out on DVD.


Beth said...

I love James Bond my 15 year old son and I watch them we both like them and I'm with you there just isn't anyone like Sean, but Pierce was cute too. I haven't seen the new movie yet but I will

Meljprincess said...

I'm a HUGE Bond fan. I think Sean Connery was the best Bond...James Bond. Yum. Though I've heard SC is a wife beater. Not yum.

Jennifer Y. said...

I have only seen a couple of Bond films.

Angel said...

I loved both Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan as Bond. Not too thrilled with having a blond one.

I'm sure I'll end up watching the DVD when my husband rents it.


Anonymous said...

Oh my!! I LOVE Sean Connery and I love all things Bond. I had the extreme pleasure of getting to meet him in Los Angeles about 10 yrs ago and ladies that man has IT!! The whole time he was talking to me with that wonderful voice, all i could think of was wanting to take off his shirt!! Seriously, but I did ask him to say he'd like it shaken and not stirred!! I think I had a hot flash! :-)

Carol said...

I'm not a big Bond fan either and I don't really have any one favorite movie hero. I did like Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones movies.

Playground Monitor said...

I completely forgot about Jack T. Colton in Romancing the Stone.



Lois said...

Oh, love Bond. Well, the later ones. I liked the movies from Timothy Dalton on (minus the new one, haven't seen it yet). I love Sean Connery, I love his movies from the 1990s on, but I really disliked his Bond ones, as I did the Roger Moore ones. I like the later ones because they are more serious, more realistic, so to speak. The earlier you go, the sillier the get. Which I'm sure was the point, but still. LOL But I looooove Pierce Brosnan as Bond. Still don't know about the new dude. LOL :) But hey, I'm a guy movie type of gal. LOL :)


Kathy said...

Oh, PM!!! I told you Daniel Craig was THE BEST. And the most wonderful thing happened at the end of the credits in the movie. It says.... James Bond will be back! Oh the memories. Mom and Dad taking us to the movies to see the newest Bond movie. The music, the imagery during the credits...wishing I could find someone like James. Wanted to name our son, James, so he could say,.. the name is Bone, James Bone. But no, the DH wouldn't let me due to the fact that I had a brother named James who died as an infant. Oh shucks! One of my sons better name their son, James!

Anyway. Yes! Yes! Yes! Craig was soooo good in the movie. So much so that I wanted to see all his movies. Hint: He's in Elizabeth as a crazed Monk killer. Laura Croft Tomb Raider. Yeah, I noticed him in that movie and said, who is that guy? Well, he's James Bond. Muscular, witty, sexy, vengeful, and yet, vulnerable. He's a whole lot of man. And boy does he get me in the heart when he tries to revive himself in the car after being poisoned.

Definitely proved all the nay sayers wrong. Long live, Bond! Arms wave. Crowd shouts. Ladies faint.


catslady said...

Sean is the number one Bond for me with Pierce a close second. I haven't seen the new one yet so I'll hold judgement on that one.

Lee Morrison said...

Hubby has seen every Bond movie ever made and now that Daniel Craig is Bond, you can bet I'll be the same way, lol!

LOVE Daniel Craig as Bond!

I semi-agree with PM. Look at the cute guy, take in the scenery, look at the cute guy, marvel at the gadgets, look at the cute guy... The only place you lost me was the popcorn. Who had time for popcorn?? I was too busy drooling.


Roxanne St. Claire said...

I could take or leave a Bond flick over the years. The day this one came out, I happened to be Christmas shopping with a girlfriend and we finished early and decided to be spontaneous and go see the movie. OMG. We literally gasped outloud and held hands at the first shot of him from behind. The front doesn't hurt anyone's eyes either. But, more than anything, as a writer of fearless men with deep, hidden vulnerabilities under all their alpha-ism, I thought this Bond was the richest, most complex character. He made mistakes. He had second thoughts. He fell in love. And so did I...with him. Great blog today!

Rocki...who is going to be *forced* to take my 13 year old son to see it over the holidays.