I am quite positive that more than a few of us are James Bond fans. We probably just don't want to admit to it publicly. Perhaps its because many of us don't wish to admit to enjoying action movies, or spy thrillers at that. Perhaps its because so many of the James Bond films were schmaltzy, kitsch, glitzy or just plain dumb.
The current commercially-induced James Bond fever, sparked not insignificantly by the recent release of the latest in the Bond film franchise (which will remain unnamed in my vain attempt to thwart Google's page ranking search mechanisms), offers a great excuse for closet Bond fans to come out in the open and share what they love about the 00 agent from M16.
Sure, I'll admit it. I enjoy James Bond movies. With some of the best gimmicks and devices that have been the stock-in-trade of spy films, fancy cars, hammed-up bad guys, amazing futuristic sets for the bad guys' lairs (especially in those films made in the 60s and 70s), some pretty out-there stunts, and a chance to see the Bahamas, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Alps, Africa, or even glimpses behind the Iron Curtain (that were not) on the silver screen, plus a dozen episodes of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous rolled into one movie, I was more than happy to wallow in whichever film in the franchise was on television or at the cinema at the time.
Absolutely, I share many of the criticisms and apprehensions of this big-budget, money-spinning, action movie film franchise that has over the years demonstrated a great deal of misogyny, Cold War hyperbole, and extreme violence and bad sex on the big screen.
But I just can't help but reflect on the extent to which the last quarter century of James Bond movies has permeated popular culture and imbued itself in my childhood. They became part of my childhood play, imagination, and cultural patois.
The Bond films have become entrenched in popular culture, to the extent that the various cultural references to the films have become so clichéd that others refer to them in self-referentially clichéd ways – sometimes to good effect (the Austin Powers franchise). And for all their pop-schmaltziness, the makers of the Bond movies would usually try to fit in some political comment on issues of the time, however tokenistic or shallow the effort was.
So here goes. To assist those closet Bond fans come out, I'm framing the rest of this post in terms of some Trivia questions. Please feel free to join in.
Favourite Bond song
I'm tossing up between 'Goldfinger' by Shirley Bassey (from Goldfinger) and 'Live and Let Die' by Paul McCartney (Live and Let Die)
Favourite Bond bad-guy
Hmmm. Probably Dr No. But I haven't made up my mind, really.
Favourite Bond bad-guy's henchman
Originally, I couldn't decide between Jaws from Moonraker and the butler who decapitated people with his bowler hat (name and movie forgotten), but now I'm leaning toward Robby Coltrane as the ex-KGB spy turned Russian gangster who started appearing in GoldenEye.
Favourite Bond gadget
The gondola that turns into a hovercraft. Can't remember which film though, but that scene is set in Venice, of course.
Favourite Bond female lead
Natalya Simonova, played by Izabella Scorupco, the Russian computer programmer who helps defeat the geeky bad guy in GoldenEye.
Favourite Bond M16 hack
I really can't decide between John Clease as Q and Dame Judi Dench as M. I'm leaning for Judi Dench.
Least favourite Bond film
I'd have to think very hard about this, because while there are many scenes, plot-lines and characters I dislike in many of the films, I'm not enough of a fan to know them thoroughly to work out which one I hate the most.
Favourite actor playing James Bond
Without a doubt, Sean Connery.
What about you? And what Bond trivia questions would you add?
Cross-posted at Sarsaparilla.