Saturday, April 04, 2009

In defense of ‘Old Bond’

The other morning Sunny and I were sitting in the living room looking for something to watch on TV when I spotted 'Moonraker', a Roger Moore era Bond movie.

Sunny didn't even bother to verbalize her displeasure. She just made a strangled grunting noise and reached for her laptop.

Here's the thing. People who don't like the older bond movies always quote one thing: That the older Bond movies are stupidly unrealistic and are all about over the top gadgets.

Now, don't get me wrong, I loved Casino Royale, but to me it was just a really good action movie. It wasn't a Bond film. As a kid growing up in England in the 80's a Bond film means four things: Gadgets, cheesy one-liners, enough vodka martinis to float a cruise ship and Bond having sex with women he only met three seconds ago. It's okay that Bond movies are unrealistic and over the top…because they're Bond movies.

Today, however, I had an interesting thought.

It was only really the last two Pierce Brosnan movies where people started to get sick of the gadgets and I think I've figured out why.

The funny thing is that a lot of the gadgets from the 60's era Bond are actually real today. For example, I remember Sean Connery pressing a button on the dash of his Aston Martin, exposing a screen that had a map with a moving red spot on it representing the bad guy. In 2009, you can get a more sophisticated GPS system on a mobile phone.

Now, here's my point. In 1962 the idea of an in car GPS tracking system was absolutely unthinkable. At that time even something as simple as a pocket calculator was still a decade away.

So here's the thing. Even though an in-car GPS system was totally implausible for 1960's era technology, it still didn't seem all that over the top because all the audience was really seeing was a screen in a car. In the 60's, GPS was science fiction, but it didn't seem sci-fi, even to the audiences at the time.

However, if you want to show some futuristic gadgetry in 2009 you have to go really over the top otherwise you'd simply be showing Bond running around with an iPhone. That's why we ended up with things like Bond's infamous invisible car in 'Die Another Day'.

Now, the funny thing is, Bond's invisible car is actually based on research that's going on right now. Given that in the last fifty years we went from typewriters to laptops, who can say that active camouflage that we can make work in a lab today won't be standard-issue military equipment in 2059?

Basically, in 1962 you could show something in a Bond movie that was science-fiction for the time, but it could still appear plausible. In 2009, it's pretty hard to show a futuristic gadget without wandering into Star Trek territory.

What do you think?


Kelly said...

I'm a huge Bond fan, and I liked every movie except the one with George Lazenby (he just didn't do it for me) but I am inclined to agree with you about the newer ones. I think Daniel Craig makes a good Bond but he's just not as smooth as the others. Perhaps that's because he's meant to be the unrefinded earlier version of the Bond we'd grown to love?

Either way, i'll keep watching them while they keep making them.

Sunny said...

It wasnt so much the un-realism of Moonraker I was displeased was Roger moore as Bond......

he was the most unconvincing Bond of them all and I refuse to even recognize him as a true 007.

donna said...