Ike Martin 0000-00-00 00:00:00
Bond.James … Who? I’M ONE OF THE ORIGINAL JAMES BOND FANS. My generation discovered 007 in 1962 when the first Bond film, Dr. No, was released directly to the drive-in theaters, creating a stroke of luck for everyone involved in the success of a low-budget movie. The '60s teenage species migrated to either fast-food parking lots or drive-in theaters on weekends. Notice I didn’t say migrated to fast-food restaurants. That’s because teenagers only needed a place to assemble and get their groove on. If McKrystalBoy drive-ins had projected movies on the side of their restaurants, the teens of the '60s would have only needed one venue. Ten carloads of teenagers could fill a drive-in to capacity. The typical car held two couples visible to the ticket taker — one couple sitting in the front seat trying to look innocent, and the second couple sitting in the backseat, giggling. Beneath them, under an old blanket, lay 16 perfectly still teenagers. Usually there were another 45 or so in the trunk. We were immediately attracted to the anti-authority attitude of Bond. The fact that he was the quintessential cool dude didn’t hurt, either. His demeanor and savoir-faire were the goal of every male. We longed for the day when we could introduce ourselves at a cocktail party as, “Pickle. Billy Pickle,” then turn to the host and request, “Vodka. Shaken, not stirred, with a twist.” We overlooked the downside to being a “double-naught spy" — threats such as tarantulas in our beds or someone dangling a thread from the ceiling and dripping cyanide potassium into our open mouths while we slept. By the time the second 007 movie, From Russia With Love, was released, the James Bond phenomenon was well on its way, and although some of the stuff Bond did was a bit farfetched — who wouldn’t want a car with an ejection seat for bad blind dates — he was, for the most part, believable. Recently, I watched the latest Bond flick, Quantum of Solace, and to me, today's Bond exhibits a bit too much “stick-to-itiveness.” Teens don’t like that. Teens dig laid-back procrastination. In the opening scene, Bond is chasing a villain, and I counted 10 times in that one scene when any rational person would have said, “Oh, well! The villain got away this time.” When Bond was running through the underground passageways of an old castle and the dirt ceiling started to collapse on him: Let the villain go, James! You can try tomorrow! Or when 007 fell so far behind the villain that Bond used public transportation to get back in the chase? Come on, James! You’re chasing villains by bus? Fortunately for 007, the bus driver just happened to take the necessary left turn, conveniently delivering James to within a few feet of his adversary. Most of us would never have been so lucky. Our bus would have taken a right, and we would’ve ended up at a Starbucks ordering, “Vodka latte. Shaken, not stirred, with a twist.” The early James was laid-back. He could deliver a double entendre Schmooze to a beautiful young lady while skiing down a treacherous slope. He could insult Gold finger while launching a perfect drive to the middle of the fairway. And we saw him enjoy his leisure. He made being a double-naught spy seem fun. He'd play golf in the morning, snow ski in the afternoon, and break into Blofeld’s top-secret nuclear facility that evening after dinner. Not the new, resolute Bond. He can’t even go for a ride on a motorcycle without turning it into serious work. Speaking of which, along with being too resolute, today's 007 must also be incredibly intelligent. I'm talking an A-plus in physics, because in the span of seconds, Bond ascertains that the motorcycle he is riding at 80 miles an hour while ascending a dock that is angularly elevated six degrees will propel him precisely 30 yards, over two boats, and onto the deck of a large pleasure boat, where he'll then turn 90 degrees, jump to an adjacent boat, grab a damsel in distress — who is fortunately within lunging distance of his landing — and roll over to an adjacent fishing boat, which is conveniently already running and waiting to be of service to Mr. Bond. This new diligent James Bond may be more appealing to the moviegoing masses, but if he'd had this kind of energy in ’62, he never would have made it.
Published by Downtowner Magazine. View All Articles.
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