James Bond is 50. And he doesn’t look it. On the cover of Vanity Fair, a fair-haired Daniel gazes at us, over the headline: “Daniel Craig is stirred, not shaken.” More than just a clever reference, the headline is telling. What is it that makes Bond so eternally memetic? What are the ingredients of the Bond cocktail? Let’s taste, consider and discuss…
First, there is the element of Danger. He is, after all, a spy. He is in constant danger, always putting himself into impossible situations. It’s sexy though, because underneath a taste for Danger – is Courage. What we don’t talk about, but we feel implicitly in a Bond film, is the outrageous, unflappable courage of this man. He is afraid of nothing. And no one. One of my favourite Bond moments, for example:
“Do you expect me to talk?” – Bond
“Why no, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!” – Goldfinger
Poor Goldfinger is only met with a smirk.
But Courage is a harsh drink, unless it’s sweetened by Style. Bond embodies Style. He pretty much reeks it. Watch the new trailer for Skyfall, and you’ll see a quintessential Bond moment. Bond is flung from an exploding train car that is detaching from its train on an impossibly high bridge, and you see him land on the other car, stand up straight, and, quite inappropriately, straighten the cuffs on his Savile Row suit and dust himself off – just as the rest of the train hurtles into the abyss. Not a wrinkle in the wool, nor a furrow in his brow. Stirred, but never shaken.
What does all this Danger, Courage and Style get the man? Well, not fame exactly, being a spy and within the confines of the movie, he’s largely undercover and unsung to the masses. He gets Sex. Lots of it. Spectacularly beautiful women throwing themselves at him as they undo their various undergarments. Without Sex, Bond is just Jason Bourne in a suit. The overt references to sex, juxtaposed with the profound British-ness of his demeanour, make him the most alluring paradox in cinematic history.
And now for the shameless client plug: This month is the Bond Marathon on Hollywood Suite, the movie channel destination, who has the MGM channel and therefore exclusive rights to a dozen iconic Bond flicks. Yes, I urge you to go to hollywoodsuite.ca to check it out. Experience for yourself the flavours and ingredients of Bond. I guarantee, the archetype is so powerful you’ll find yourself driving faster, dressing better and maybe even getting more action.
Happy birthday 007.