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?
Posted by Playground Monitor at 12/13/2006 12:05:00 AM