Quantum of Nostalgia

Roger Ebert didn’t fancy the latest Bond movie, Quantum of Solace:

OK, I’ll say it. Never again. Don’t ever let this happen again to James Bond. "Quantum of Solace" is his 22nd film and he will survive it, but for the 23rd it is necessary to go back to the drawing board and redesign from the ground up. Please understand: James Bond is not an action hero! He is too good for that. He is an attitude. Violence for him is an annoyance. He exists for the foreplay and the cigarette. He rarely encounters a truly evil villain. More often a comic opera buffoon with hired goons in matching jump suits.

Read his review here

You know, I understand how Ebert feels. After watching it with Goy last night, I was a bit miffed that there was no Q (John Cleese), no cool gadgets apart from a Sony Ericsson handphone and a huge table inspired by Minority Report and Microsoft Surface computing, no sexual chemistry between Bond and anyone, and not enough hot cars.

But still, I really did enjoy the movie and the sheer presence of Daniel Craig. It may not have been right to reboot Bond as a modern action hero, but also realise that this is 2008, and Bond has been spoofed thrice by Austin Powers already. Many young audiences today probably don’t appreciate the humor behind Austin Powers and Zoolander as much as they should, because they lack the cultural knowledge of the baby boomers. The old Bond, as personified by Connery and Moore, has become as obsolete as a Sega Megadrive and beehive hairdos.

This begs the question – how much should a fictional character retain what made it popular in another era? I appreciate the old Bond movies because they represented the zeitgeist of the 1960s and 70s (and I really hated the Timothy Dalton era because it represented nothing). Alot of the innocence of that era has long dissolved in today’s cynical and electronic culture, and people are just less likely to embrace an outlandish character like Goldfinger.

Batman was rebooted in the 1970s by DC Comics to become a real vigilante and dark kinda character. That hasn’t really changed as that Batman remains relevant today as it did then. Hence the success of the Dark Knight Returns comics in the late 80s and the recent Dark Knight movie. So in Bruce Wayne’s case, there wasn’t much need for a character revision in today’s scenario.

On the other extreme are characters like Rambo and Rocky. Man, Stallone really shouldn’t have revived them in the past few years. They represented their era so solidly, they became a joke when transplanted to the 21st century.

It’ll be interesting to see Craig’s third Bond movie. Will he be more Bourne, or more old Bond?  

One Reply to “Quantum of Nostalgia”

  1. For me, QoS was more Bourne than Bond. Even Casino Royale, which people said revived the franchise, didn’t quite do it for me. Besides the Honey Ryder emerging-from-sea scene, and the reprise of the classic DB5 (the quintissential Bond car, second only to the Submarine Lotus Esprit), there was not much else in it that was classic bond. Granted, Royale and QoS had their fair share of corny one-liners, but that’s where the similarities end.

    I grew up watching Roger Moore, and he remains my favourite bond (Connery is brilliant, don’t get me wrong, but he was before my time). Moore as Bond was campy, dapper, smooth up to the point of being sleazy, and could take on the bad guys with nothing bigger than a Walther PPK. And Ian, I don’t just miss Q, I miss Moneypenny too!

    Oh well, we move with the times.

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