Friday, October 05, 2012

James Bond OO7 into 50th year (the movie bugger I mean): Some thoughts.

Ian Fleiming's impression of how James Bond should look. Your guess is not as good as mine.

It’s one of the most successful film franchises ever(take that Star Trek!). It has some of the most iconic movie moments, dialogues, glamourous, beautiful, sexy girls (take that Star Trek), great exotic locations (take that National Geographic), great action sequences (take that Die Hard),great villains and henchmen (take that Take That) and a bunch of actors playing the same character heroically, with the first one actually getting away in six (seven) films with a wig. And he’s the best.

You know the name, and you know the number, but you can never figure out how the heck did the James Bond film series reached 50 years with billions of revenue, millions of fan, thousands of rip-offs, hundreds of wannabes, ten of those who haven’t watched any of them and all that would not have happened if not for one man that created James Bond.

Well, two, if you consider the fact that the character James Bond was named after an author of a book on West Indies Birds, because Ian Fleming wanted a dull name for his hero for that espionage thriller story he was going to write.

You see. Fleming was trying to recover from the shock that he was suddenly married at the age of forty with someone (else’s wife first, who later divorced her hubby) when he was a happy go lucky, ex-Navy commander, journalist, car enthusiast, chain-smoking alcoholic trying to carve a name for himself and try to overcome his jealousy of that goddam brother of his, Peter, who was a lot more famous figure in the literature circle as awesome travel writer of that time.

Aside: Two, owing to the fact that the owner of that dull name had mom and dad, remember? You got to give credit where it’s due. For the benefit of twitter readers: James Bond nmd aftr some birdguy.Fleming mst thx his parents. Lol: N-of-asside.

It would be difficult for the present day folks, those who are, well, not even born in 1953, much less those who were born couple years later, to understand the phenomena of James Bond books. Okay, considering that most of the readers of this blog are Asians, I think it would be safe to say that it was not until somewhere in the later part of 1960s onwards when Bond started permeating Asia. And I don’t mean it in dirty way.

As usual, Japan was one of the first to catch up…so much so that in 1967 the producers decided that You Only Live Twice should be shot in Japan because the Novel it is based on is based in Japan. Hah! Fabulous decision, eh?

Well, Fleming fans knows this. And we say it in most sincere manner, “Fuck you, producers…"wait, where are all those asterisks. Okay, “F*** you producers, You Only Live Twice novel takes place after On Her Majesties’ Secret Service novel where Bond’s wife dies????”. I exaggerated. Back in 60s they used fewer exclamation marks. It hurts the typewriter (they existed as a job function)’s little finger.

Anyway, it was so phenomenal that we Asians actually managed to, with some difficulty, to spell, “Phenomenal”. The 70s upped the ante with more action oriented, humour laced Bond films that so much so, in Asia, any action films were labelled “James Bond styled action films” unless martial arts were involved (India and Turkey especially will understand what I am talking about).  

This writer is confused as to remembering which was the first Bond film he saw. Was it Octopussy bootleg video he watched in a relatives house during a festive season. Or was it You Only Live Twice open air screening we (he, his brothers and dad) watched in their plantation (we had to sit on straw mat, till dad has to force us to walk back to our home to bed, I, 8 or 9 years old, cried).

It was after this that I (this writer, who were you thinking) started to wonder who the heck James Bond was. I believe many of the non-European and American kids were figuring out too at that time. And in 1986, they decided to get another guy as Bond and that was the time when the name Ian Fleming was bandied about broadly.

This, is because the actor who was chosen at that time insisted that the character should go back to the book. I was intrigued. I borrowed books of the author from the school library. In fact, I stole three of them.
I kept up with the paper clippings at that time. The new guy is serious following Ian Fleming’s work. This was the time when reboot means you kick your brother again with your boot. And the producers and this actor just did that, brought back Bond to what Fleming was thinking about.

Also, at that time, they started screening the older Bond movies on TV and I was hooked as fanatic Bond fan for life, unitl 1995, of course, where I declared that I am an ex-Bond fan.

The point is. At some point in someone’s life, James Bond OO7 (not 007) has impacted some or other useless buggers’ life, including mine. Even if I hated the 1995-2002 version, and feel the 2006-present version got the right guy and everything else wrong; I still wait in bated breath for the next installation. 50 fucking years, I mean, 50  f****** years. That’s one badass achievement. Tonight, wife requested for us to start indoctrinating my son. Dr. No, here we come.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I always appreciate a great article or piece of writing. Thanks for the contribution.