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James Bond: A contemporary saga

Posted on October 6, 2021

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By Alexander Massas.

The famous British secret agent is back Dying can wait.(He has no time to die) at the beginning of October (6th in France). Originally scheduled for April 8, 2020, the film has been postponed several times due to the pandemic.

Daniel Craig reprises his role as James Bond, aka Agent 007, for the last time in the longest running film in the cinematic saga. The latter started in 1962 James Bond from Doctor Whohas passed through the ages to this day.

This is an opportunity to rewind the cinematographic event.

English work

Before he became a big screen hero, James Bond was a character in Ian Fleming’s novels. Before becoming a writer, the father of Agent 007… was a British secret agent during World War II, Marine Intelligence. It was in 1952 that Ian Fleming gave birth to the James Bond character from his home in Jamaica, Goldeneye (which would become the title of the film). The English author He would write more than ten 007 adventures until his death in 1964.

So the first James Bond movies (all from the Sean Connery era and some from Roger Moore) were adaptations of Ian Fleming’s books. However, very few original scripts were created for the films.

No less than 6 actors have played James Bond: Scottish Sir Sean Connery, Australian George Lazenby, English Sir Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton, Irish Pierce Brosnan and finally English Daniel Craig. A cast covering a very large part of Great Britain.

James Bond Situations: Indicators of the Political Context of Their Times

One of the strengths of the saga is its adaptability to the context in which the films are released. In fact, each of the actors had different styles that were based on the political climate of the time.

The Sean Connery/Georges Lazenby era: Great Britain

Movies with Sean Connery are among the most popular. And for good reason, in addition to being an actor, they take place at a time when the United Kingdom has some influence. Thus, the secret agent appreciates a great class, all in the context of the Cold War (A kiss from Russia) with SPECTRE, a pseudo-criminal organization that is Bond’s nemesis who seeks to attack superpowers.Operation ThunderAnd You only live twice ).

George Lazenby’s film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service(On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) is part of this atmosphere. This often forgotten film explores James Bond’s romance with his one true love, Teresa Di Vicenzo (played by Diana Riggs). It is one of the few Bond films with a sad ending. This theme will be used again after several decades Royal CasinoIn 2006

The era of Roger Moore or (deliberately) the “kitsch” period

If Connery’s time is more serious, Roger Moore’s is more relaxed and exhibits a kitsch atmosphere. The bad ones are like sharks (especially in moonraker ) and simple conditions.

Since these films were released in the 1970s and early 1980s, it’s easy to see in them a reflection of the post-Vietnam War atmosphere, but an era of relaxed entertainment.

The Age of Timothy Dalton: The Return of Anxiety

Timothy Dalton would appear in only two films in the second half of the 1980s. even if, License to kill(License to killIn the year In 1989, he is one of the most powerful James Bonds in the saga, who does not deal with a megalomaniacal enemy who wants to conquer the world, but with the leader of the drug trade.

On the contrary, Killing is not playing.(Living daylights) will be more memorable. And above all, the political manifesto has aged badly for the country’s evolution and future with the Taliban taking over. The action takes place in part during the war in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation. And Bond is associating himself with the Mujahideen.

The Age of Pierce Brosnan: The Post-Cold War Uncertainty

Pierce Brosnan’s films released in the 1990s and early 2000s were set in a post-Cold War context, which was evident in his first film. Golden eyeIn the year It depicts Yeltsin’s post-Soviet Russia in 1995.

This period deals with new themes such as the role of the media He will not die tomorrow. (He will not die tomorrow. ).

The films of this period are themselves marked by this uncertainty. Brosnan’s last film was as James Bond. Another day to die(Die another day ) and received more than a mixed reception. The film turns to science fiction, opting for bias based on new technologies.

The Age of Daniel Craig: A New Contemporary Threat

Films with Daniel Craig include Awakening. The framework developed by these films is a Reboot A saga that can free itself from previous films. But above all, the atmosphere is much darker and more realistic. Royal CasinoThe adaptation of Fleming’s first book on James Bond is a success.

But above all, current themes are current, in which he sees networks of influence Solas Quantum terrorism by Sky Fall or mass surveillance by Spectrum.

James Bond girls and enemies: two key aspects of the saga

The James Bond girls and Bond antagonists are key characters in the franchise who have contributed to the saga’s success.

James Bond girls are often seen as Bond’s love interests. However, it is interesting to see that they take place quickly when examined closely.

First of all, women with a strong character and the ability to resist James Bond will have an advantage. We’ve already mentioned Diana Riggs’ character. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Who will be Mrs Bond. Her character is one of the first Bond girls to confront Bond.
Others follow, such as Major Anya Amasova (played by Barbara Bach). The spy who loved me Or Melina Havelock (played by Carole Bouquet) at For your eyes only .

But the most interesting example of a woman with a strong personality would be the character of M, played by Dame Judi Dench. If she is not a James Bond girl, strictly speaking, her role in it Sky FallMany fans have contributed to seeing him as the main Bond boy in the film. It should be noted that Judi Dench’s M (who wears flesh from her). Golden eyeas if Sky Fall) has more space in the movies than Ms. from past seasons.

But there’s another kind of James Bond girl: the Bond haters. This guy quickly confronts the girls who try to trick him into destroying him. Thus, during Connery’s time, Fiona Volpe (played by Luciana Paluzzi), several female SPECTER agents confronted Bond. Operation ThunderOr Helga Brandt (played by Karin Dorr) b We only live twice.He follows Mayday (played by Grace Jones). Dangerously yoursXenia Onatopp (played by Famke Janssen) in Golden eyeOr Elektra King (played by Sophie Marceau) by The world is not enough.

Therefore, the role of the James Bond girl has grown rapidly over the years.

Blofeld and SPECTRE: The evolution of political issues

Bond’s enemies have also changed over time. They always alternate between megalomaniacs who want to rule the world and those who want to enrich themselves.Gold fingerBeing the best example).

The character of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, however, is the most famous and emblematic of the saga. He is played by several actors in his films: Donald Plains, Telly Savalas, Charles Gray and Christoph Walt are the main interpreters. But it’s the Plains face that’s most associated with Blofeld, which he showed so clearly as the first.

However, it is interesting to compare Blofeld’s original intentions. You only live twiceFrom 1967 to SPECTER from 2015.

In fact, SPECTRE, the company he leads is different and refers to the time of the films. The original SPECTER was more interested in exploits and the great power conflict of the Cold War.
For 2015 SPECTRE, the cold war is no more and the threat of nuclear war is no more. As a result, it is data control that interests Blofeld. The goal is to launch attacks to encourage government agencies to set up mass surveillance systems secretly controlled by SPECTRE.

So, nuclear war is over and welcome to mass control.

In conclusion, a saga that started 60 years ago has managed to adapt to the times while maintaining its qualities and strengths. The themes change, but the spirit of James Bond remains. Moreover, if Agent 007 is British, the films are international. Many actors come from European countries such as France or Italy. That’s why we hope that the James Bond movies will continue.

Originally published September 20, 2021.

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