[ Note : Lucky you in the Philippines, because of the much much bigger movie viewer market, I’m sure you’ve seen Skyfall ahead of NZ, is it as awesome as they say it is? ]
I SAW my first James Bond movie if memory serves at the Odeon sinehan corner of C.M. Recto and Rizal Ave, The Man With The Golden Gun, just to have gotten in with my folks was exhilarating enough, I actually remember seeing the bad guy with three nipples, yup, termed a “superfluous areola” in Wikipedia but certainly confirming my youthful reminiscing. I beheld for the first time the dazzling, futuristic weaponry, world-destroying brink-of-catastrophe scenarios and sumptuously gorgeous spies-disguised-as-lovers, classy sounding theme song and other essentials that make up a Bond movie. Taking it all in, not completely understanding, but mesmerized just the same.
Because of the mature theme, the bared skin and the gratuitous violence (albeit done elegantly), I was happy the ticketseller let me in, and I never regretted watching Her Majesty’s Secret Service Agent 007 since. He did everything with cool and pizzazz, from turning on the ignition of his Aston Martin, exchanging pre-mission dialog with his handler, doing reconnaissance of his arch-villain, and finally penetrating the defenses, dismantling the super-sophisticated planet-destroying devices and being retrieved while in the arms of a beautiful, perfectly sculpted sidekick : fans recognized and savored the Bond recipe early, and its creators tinkered little with the winning formula.
I never forgot the suaveness of Roger Moore, who even as he blew the baddies off the screen, never had a strand of slicked-back hair out of place, and Sheena Easton‘s For Your Eyes Only stood out as the most memorable Bond song for me.
It seemed that to be effective in the Bond role, an actor needed to be both pretty boy and ruthless, something that Pierce Brosnan did effectively, and, given his success both in the box office and in the admiring eyes of Bond fans everywhere, something that Daniel Craig has continued effortlessly.
And no self-respecting Bond movie would be complete without the chase scenes, the fight sequences and the pulsating breath-stopping moments where the Good Guy tries to defuse a bomb, get a death-ray/laser ray cannon out of the way before it pulverizes a major population center (it’s always a major population center teeming with millions of innocent lives that the arch-villains train their crosshairs on, the movie would be boring otherwise), or neutralizes a weapon just before it does a dirty deed of destroying a whole hemisphere, all in the name of preserving the free world.
And like hands fitting into a glove, would there be any singer more appropriate than Adele to do the theme song? Whew, just the first few lines and you know Adele was born to sing a Bond theme song!
So much so that besides the Queen and the Royal Family, especially Kate Middleton, I would think that the James Bond franchise is the most popular thing the United Kingdom / England is known for, and rightfully what Brits are most proud of. The exploits of Double Oh-Seven, who laid the groundwork for all spymasters who followed in his footsteps, fanciful as they may be, are as basic to popular culture and entertainment as the works of the Beatles, Cameron Mackintosh and J.K. Rowling, who incidentally are all products of Great Britain and the former British Empire.
To a Pinoy like me, with little if any connection to Queen Elizabeth and her loyal subjects, James Bond just represents an hour and a half of escapist entertainment, where vicariously I can battle with my wits and instincts the enemies of Freedom and Democracy, and look cool and sexy while doing so. I can’t wait for Skyfall!
Thanks for reading!
- Film: Primer: A guide to the James Bond films (avclub.com)
- Product placement in pictures: Skyfall (brandsandfilms.com)
- 5 James Bond Movie Gadgets That Became Everyday Realities (screenrant.com)
- The Best Bond (webnerhouse.com)
- James Bond Returns In Heart-Pounding “Skyfall” (detroit.cbslocal.com)
- Skyfall Isn’t The Only Bond Film With An Aston Martin DB5 – Here Are The Others (forbes.com)