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November 09, 2012

Important Information: James Bond Isn't Gay

By the way, if you're Prime member, all of the James Bond books are free to borrow right now.

Which isn't super-awesome. I don't know how good they actually are. I just read The Man With The Golden Gun for the first time. It was Ian Fleming's last, and I think it was published posthhumously, before he got done editing it. I'm pretty sure the book contains four pages of a scene, and then four rewritten pages of the same scene, with just minor differences. It was kind of weird to read the same basic thing twice.

Plus, it has nothing. No plot. It begins in a bang-up way. Bond, following the events of You Only Live Twice, has been missing for a year, presumed dead. He shows up one day in London saying it's crucial he meets with M; the Service suspects he's been turned, or brainwashed, and might be a Russian mole. I won't say if he is or not, because this is the only point of interest in the whole (very short, but very padded) book.

(I think the new Bond movie cribs this whole opening scenario.)

Anyway, after a very interesting beginning, he's sent down to Jamaica (again) on a completely unrelated mission, just to see if he's up to snuff. All he has to do is kill Scaramanga. For some reason he insinuates himself into Scaramanga's trust (instead of just blowing his brains out, which he has several chances to do) and hangs out at Scaramanga's half-finished casino-hotel for the whole book, meeting Scaramanga's investors in the property. Eavesdropping and stuff. And passing notes to Felix Leiter. And hearing about plans for a legitimate hotel-casino. Super-exciting stuff like that.

But none of the eavesdropping is important, because that's not his mission. He just has to plug the guy. No one asked him to eavesdrop, and he doesn't learn anything important (except maybe "M's right, I should plug this guy").

Let me just say the gripping conclusion takes place on a Disney-like miniature train. A miniature train shoot-out.

I guess that's where they got the idea for the movie version Funhouse Shootout. But a Funhouse Shootout is several degrees more interesting than a miniature train shootout. A Funhouse Shootout is even less silly than a miniature train shootout.

The story never revisits that very interesting set-up. Nope, Scaramanga was not involved in any of the opening stuff, so don't expect a revelation about that. Bond does not later discover that his current target turns out, coincidentally, to have been the guy who caused him such problems at the beginning of the book. The whole beginning of the book is just quickly dispensed with in a few pages, as if Fleming decided that maybe the whole "Is Bond a brainwashed mole?" story wasn't that interesting. (If so, he was wrong-- it was. Kind of the most compelling and unexpected premise I've ever seen in a Bond book, or movie.)

This really isn't a novel. It's a padded-out short story about a very simple mission, merely an assassination with no real investigation or espionage required, no twists, no turns. Just hangin' out at an unfinished hotel-casino. And shooting a guy. Who's kind of boring and not nearly as awesome as Christopher Lee.

Anyway, what the hell was I talking about? Oh right, the studio has sent Daniel Craig to insist that Bond isn't gay even though I hear they kind of insinuate he's had gay relationships in the new movie.

The scene in question sees a flirtatious Raoul caress Bond's legs and chest as the spy sits tied up in a chair, with 007 ending the scene by asking his foe: 'What makes you think this is my first time?'

However, asked if he could ever imagine a gay James Bond, Craig replied: 'No'.

Asked to explain why not, the 44-year-old actor told E! Online: 'Because he's not gay. And I don't think Javier's character is either - I think he'd f**k anything.'

But Craig's co-star Naomie Harris, who plays Bond girl Eve in the new movie, is more open to the idea of a homosexual Bond.

She said: 'I think everything is open. Everything is open. Who knows?!'

The screenwriter is also now saying Bond's not gay, but also says there's been a lot of "homoerotic subtext," as with Scaramanga (hey, I just mentioned him!) or Goldfinger.

Um... I think we've got a different idea of what "erotic" is.

Speaking of Scaramanga: "Come, come Mr. Bond" in the real movie, and then the awesome scene from The Trip where they work on their Scaramanga/Roger Moore impressions.


Later they do a call-back to this:


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posted by Ace at 05:12 PM

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