James Bond: Blond on Blond
As recently as 1999, I quietly advocated for the euthanasia of James Bond. When The World is Not Enough was released, I thought as long as the Brits were sweeping obsolete institutions like the House of Lords into the dustbin of history that it was time to recommend the broom for the Bond franchise, then represented by the enervated Pierce Brosnan.
Much to my surprise, I was delighted by Bond’s resurrection in Casino Royale starring Daniel Craig. And found Sam Mendes’ Skyfall, the movie that no doubt will be dubbed Blond on Blond for the face-off between Daniel Craig’s 007 and Javier Bardem’s peroxided Silva, quite the kick.
I like Skyfall for much the same reason as I liked Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony at London Olympics (which, not coincidentally, featured Daniel Craig and QE2 in a segment advancing the movie). Both the Olympics opening ceremony and Skyfall celebrate the history of British literature and movies. As if to say, nobody does it better.
For not only does Skyfall, with its nemesis ensconced on his own private island, pay tribute to classic Bond books and films, it also pays homage to the Daphne du Maurier/Alfred Hitchcock Rebecca, to Hogwarts of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books and movie adaptations and even, framing Judi Dench’s M as a cunning spymaster, to John Le Carre’s George Smiley novels. The implication that M is a mother figure who recruits orphans as spies, all the better to manipulate their loyalties, is chilling. Dench is splendid.
Before Skyfall, I would have said that my favorite Bond girl was Diana Rigg in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Now I’d say Dench, Judi Dench.
Your favorite Bond girl? Nemesis? Theme song?