Okay, so you know how I feel about James Bond. (You don’t? This should bring you up to speed. And maybe this, if you’re up for it.) You’ll be relieved to know that I saw the new Bond flick, and that I have opinions about it. You should also know that I will probably like any Bond flick that’s better than, say, License to Kill or Moonraker, which is probably like saying I like all ice cream that doesn’t taste like brake fluid or have pineapple on it.
First of all, I don’t know what all the hoo-ha about the new Bond being blond is about. Pierce Brosnan was too pretty and prancy to be a proper Bond, although he was coming along, and at least no longer resembled a show pony. Roger Moore, by the end, there, was more fossilized than your average trilobite. Nobody said boo about any of that. What’s the big deal about Daniel Craig being blond? He’s not that blond, and I thought he looked like a buff Steve McQueen. Plus, his face got cut up a lot, so he wasn’t in that same too-pretty range with his predecessor.
Overall, good flick: lots of explosions! Good cars, good fight scenes, good exotic locales, good suspenseful card playing, and since we finally have a Bond one might actually like to see naked, we get a taste of that too. Okay, it’s a torture scene and he’s tied to a chair, bleeding some and getting his unmentionables martinized, but even the villian notices he’s nicely put together (although it might have been funnier if he prefaced it with, “I’m not gay, but…”). Also, I think it’s official: Judi Densch is the best M ever!, and the new Felix Leiter may very well be my favorite thus far.
I think there were several things, though, that were a bit lacking. There was no Moneypenny, which, eh, I didn’t really miss. Bond was pretty monogamous and even got sappy there for a bit, which was weird, but tolerable, given that this situation was supposed to explain why he became 00-Slamhound. There was no Q (or John Cleese’s delightfully cranky R), though, and I did miss that. A lot. I mean, the introduction of the gadgets is a huge deal! I’m sorry to report that this absence led to a much more glaring omission: the dearth of good gadgets. I was horrified: No Q, and then Bond opens the glovebox of his groovy MI6-mobile, and you know what’s in there? A gun (duh), and, I kid you not, a portable defibrillator. In a day and age when most of us have defibrillators down the hall in our places of business, how is that anywhere near exciting enough for Bond?! What’s next? Is he going to have a Mr. Coffee in there in case he needs an emergency cup o’ joe? Maybe he’s a little sleepy one morning and needs to shake it off? Heyyy, maybe it comes with a cigarette lighter plug for a little joe on the go! Or perhaps he flings some piping hot coffee on the villain in the absence of something useful like rockets, or bullets, or even some nasty-looking push pins. Take THAT! C’mon, people. Where are the frickin’ gadgets?! Not cool! Now, Bond does wax a bad guy with a nail gun to the eyeball, and that’s not without its charm, but opportunistic weaponry is not the same as gadgetry. A good Bond flick should have both. Instead, a good hunk of the plot was driven by cell phones. Cell phones! Feh!
The only other thing that bothered me was, I think, something that only bothers me. It didn’t bother any of my companions, and by their responses to my continuing to harp on it, I’m apparently insane for being annoyed about this, but here it is: Bond ran a lot. He chased cars like a crazed Weimeraner. It was very Forrest Gump (”…aftah that, everywheah Ah went, Ah was running!”). Bond is supposed to be smooth, you know? The only track and field event he should be participating in is the 100-meter martini guzzle, or perhaps Extreme Baccarat (with the half-pipe). He should swipe a Segway and go after the bad guy on that before actually running after him like a doofus. It was the first time in a Bond movie where I swear I almost heard banjo music.
So no Q, no cool gadgets, and Bond runs like a broken toilet. Beyond that, though, great! I would see it again on the big screen, maybe even tomorrow.