Monday, November 19, 2012

A Guilty Secret

We all have our entertainment 'guilty secrets'. Things we love even though everything about them says we shouldn't. Or things we don't want to admit to loving because of society's stereotypes and ideals (when was the last time you heard a straight man admit to reading traditional romance novels?).

Well. Mine is...Bond, James Bond.

Because, really, should a progressive, feminist and definitely female science fiction author go for a testosterone-fest like that? Besides, the movies are all the same and run together. They're one trope after another.

When you watch a Bond movie and see a walkway over a pit or a tank containing some kind of carnivorous animal, you know that at least one minion of the villain is going to be eaten by said animal...be it a crocodile, a shark, a shoal of piranahs...

When Bond meets a young, attractive woman who is either A. The girlfriend and essentially the property of the supervillain, B. An agent of another country or C. Out for revenge against the supervillain because he killed her father...Bond will sleep with her at the first opportunity.

Oh, and Bond never gets any older. Or he does, and it's forgotten...along with most of the rest of continuity...next movie. No continuity, no realism. Strict rules, yes, but not ones that make sense in the real world.

So, what is it that makes this woman incapable of resisting the appeal? Maybe it's because I was watching them before I was old enough to get the bad pickup lines and sexual puns ('I thought Christmas only came once per year' stands out the most). Maybe it's because you really do always know what to expect. Maybe it's even because Bond is a British institution.

I personally think there's something purely addictive about a more or less mindless thriller that does stick to its own rules, as strange and quirky as they are.

And if you have been a Bond fan since your father's knee (literally, I remember watching them when I still fit on his lap), and you haven't watched Skyfall yet...get to the nearest theater.

I'm not going to say any more because judging by the crowds, there are still crowd-dodgers who haven't seen it. (I almost wish I'd waited another week myself). But Skyfall manages to both tug at the heartstrings of long-term fans and set everything up beautifully for new ones.

And judging by its $518.6 million worldwide haul since it opened in late October (US opening weekend was $87.8 million, the highest for any Bond movie), the old dog still has plenty of new tricks in him.