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May 03, 2006

James Bond Update: It Is A Reboot, Like Batman Begins

Ummm, okay, that's... semi-interesting. The timeline has now gotten so ridiculous that at some point they sort of had to do this.

But if a reboot, why bring back Judi Densch, for crying out loud? What a terrific opportunity to bring in a new support cast and make it more old-school.

I'm always incredibly annoyed at Judi Densch; she doesn't have the gravity or heft of any of the previous M's. Well, okay, the physical heft, but not the heft of authority. She seems to be precisely what she is -- a somewhat absurd nod to political correctness and an attempt to "update" Bond by bringing him into the 21st 22nd century, when it's a bit more plausible that a woman would have accumulated the military and covert-action experience to head up the 00-section.

There was always an interesting dynamic between Bond and the male M's; it was somewhat of a father-son or dean-student relationship, but with the occasional furious dressing-downs and more rare expressions of approval for Bond's successes. In a series with so little genuine human interaction, the M-Bond relationship was at least a nod to something approaching an interesting and realistic dynamic.

Densch doesn't bring that. Her relationship with Bond is... what? Motherly? Great aunt-once-removed-ly? Who knows. It doesn't work, whatever it's supposed to be.

And now that the series is in reboot, it's even sillier. So Densch is the first and last of Bond's superiors?

Ehhh. Even when they try to do something vaguely interesting, they half-ass it and cannot really rouse the courage to do it without familiar faces. It's supposed to break with previous Bond continuity, but there's that frumpy Miss Marple-ish M, providing continuity after all.

Thanks to CT.

Message: "I Care" Update: It just occurred to me why I so object to Densch's annoying "You're a thug, a blunt instrument" lines.

They're trying to convey through clumsy dialogue what is never evident through performance or story.

The Connery Bond was always being called, in praise, a bit thuggish, a bit nasty, a bit amoral, a bit sadistic... by critics. The "educated, smooth thug" element of Bond came through in Connery's performance, as well as in the not-very-nice things he did in some movies. Like slapping women, or strangling them with their bikini straps, and so forth. (Stuff he did convincingly in the movies, because, as it turns out, Sir Sean was also doing similar stuff in real life.)

In all these later Bonds, from Dalton on, they keep trying to insist through dialogue and clumsy exposition that "This is the Connery style Bond you all want!," and yet... he's not. He's an overemotional dorkwad (Dalton) or a walking mannquin prettyboy who always seems to be posing or voguing like he's on the catwalk (Brosnan) or... Daniel Craig, whatever he is.

Hey, how about a little "show, don't tell"? If this Bond is really bad-ass and tough and sadistic and a bit of a bastard, shouldn't we be able to see that in the actor's performance and character's actions?

Nope. Because he's not going to really be a thug. He's going to be a generic action-hero, and one with a somewhat effeminate personality at that, but we'll just keep having M say over and over what a thug he is.

Anyway. I can't believe I used to like these movies.

Thanks to MatthewM for the Connery-hits-women link, which I didn't really want to post, because I like Sean Connery, but, hey, it's news, and it seems to be true. He's said such things himself, though he later claims he was "misquoted."

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posted by Ace at 01:50 PM

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