Friday, December 08, 2006

Do men imitate James Bond or does James Bond imitate men?

You've got to wonder how much Ian Fleming's writing has sculpted modern man. To what extent do we aspire to animal magnetism, fast cars, gadgets and that "Peter Stuyvesant" lifestyle - ski-slopes, casinos, 6 star hotels - due to the iconic lifestyle of an improbable superspy?

I recognise it it in myself and some of my friends. Of course it's more acceptable as a twenty-something gung-ho student than a thirty-something married man with kids (not that I'm that!) The irony is that if the Bond lifestyle was achievable at all it would be in our thirties or forties.

So what does the change in the action-hero/spy-genre say about modern man? Casino Royale marks the rebirth of Bond in the form of Daniel Craig. We've had the suave in Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan. We've had the more masculine before in Sean Connery and Timothy Dalton. The previous return to a more realistic, gory action pic in the Living Daylights proved to heavy for most audiences. And people grimaced at the prospect of the more raw, less attractive Daniel Craig as the new Bond.

But since the Living Daylights we've had The Bourne Identity and Supremacy. Perhaps these more than other movies showed the potential for success of a good action / spy / thriller story.

Also, we've reached the second millenium. The date that prefixed many of the science fiction stories that gave glimpse to futuristic gadgets has come and gone and today's audiences are much less awed by fancy toys.

So Casino Royale redefines Bond and it is welcome and well pulled off. Daniel Craig is the new rugged.

What does this mean for us guys? We need to be able to fight. Not with guns or mamby-pamby shit like that, but in hand-to-hand combat like Matt Damon in the Bourne Identity or Supremacy (yeah dude, who needs a gun when you've got a rolled up magazine...). We need to work out - Matt Damon and Daniel Craig's physiques are part of their movies. We need an Aston Martin. Ok, that requirement hasn't realy changed in the Bond movies. We need to play poker. Right, that might be the worldwide Texas Hold-Em phenomenon influencing Bond rather than the other way around. Also, we only need to attract one super model (in Bond's case - just Franke Potente in Bourne's) per movie, rather than the multiple number of Connery's days. Perhaps that's a concession to to more modern day political correctness. Also, we need to show feelings. We actually need attachment!

Ah well, martial arts here I come...

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