The Allure of Mr. Double 0 Seven

I love action films. And why not? They usually aren’t boring. Yes they tend to exaggerate scenes and special effects for their entertainment value, but most of us watch movies for pure indulgence and for the escapist fluff anyway. Don’t we wish at times to be able to get as far away from our mundane realities, even for a mere couple of hours? I am one of the gratefuls for the adrenaline rush action films provide. They enthrall me for sure. Albeit thumbs-up signal from me for a slam-bang movie would come easier if there were lesser bloodshed and fewer number of fatalities.

The movie currently making a killing at the box office is “Skyfall”, which also celebrates James Bond’s Golden Anniversary on the Big screen. After reading rave reviews from the critics a month ago, I got excited and headed to the theatres as soon as the film opened here. They were right. The movie wasn’t disappointing. [Neither is Mr. Craig’s, uhrm, Body. That’s right – with a capital B, baby.] Not disappointing at all.

My fellowmen here have always been in awe of this suave British hero. Since childhood, I’ve witnessed long lines in movie theaters whenever a James Bond movie gets shown. The long lines have gotten shorter in recent years, though, as Agent 007 has started to compete for moviegoers’ attention with the likes of Ethan Hunt, Jason Bourne, Sherlock Holmes, and even Austin Powers.

Back to Daniel Craig’s arresting physique, Oops, I mean, performance. Admittedly, he isn’t my favorite version of the most famous British spy. The man may look tough and square enough, ready to save the world from total upheaval, but I think he comes up short in height. Just like Pierce Brosnan is a little too lean. I like my James Bond tall, well-built, strong and very manly-looking. James Bond after all is supposed to be perfect, isn’t he?

My most favorite portrayal remains to be that of Sean Connery. The perfect aura he undeniably has got. He earned the nod from the creator himself, Ian Fleming; which could only mean the Original one must have been the real embodiment of the character in the author’s mind. Besides, I remember watching an impressive scene or two among Connery’s series displaying his familiar ways in charming the ladies with total ease. I am convinced.

Timothy Dalton might have been too serious, but I think he, too, did justice to the role, and I really liked him as an actor. Pierce Brosnan remains quite handsome up to this day – no doubt about it – although I wish he never got to play James Bond. He could have stayed more potent as TV’s Remington Steele forever. George Lazenby had only a single chance to be the superagent so I thought then perhaps he wasn’t effective. That was before I watched “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” I was surprised to see he was actually good in it – which resulted in the movie becoming one of my all-time favorite Bond films. Roger Moore is fine, of course. Fine as in Nice.

Both the character and the movie have gotten a bit more realistic and lifelike in recent years. Gone are the space mission plots, exploding pens, cars that can  turn into mini-submarines, apparatus attached to Bond that could make him fly like Robocop, etc.  I kind of miss them all now.

In “Skyfall”, some switches have taken place. It’s the end of the road for Judi Dench as “M”, that led to Ralph Fiennes taking her place as Bond’s new Superior. For that, it makes me more thrilled to look forward to the next installments of the franchise. Let’s face it. Fiennes looks hotter than Dench. The old lady really needed to retire. Another surprising delight is the new “Q” who looks like a nineteen-year-old darling nerd with lean baby-faced features. Also, Eve Moneypenney is now a pretty African American young lady who used to be Bond’s on-the-field sidekick.

Javier Bardem turns out to be one compelling actor. I used to wonder what Penelope Cruz (they got married and now have a baby) saw in the guy. Well, at least in “Skyfall”, I find the talented actor credible as Bond’s gay but powerful nemesis. The silhoutte-like physical fight scene between JB and a bad guy using neon lights of a tall building was also a delight to watch.

Sam Mendes, the director, certainly deserves the accolades.

Just gotta say one more thing. I also deem entertaining in these films the scenes when James Bond (and other action heroes for that matter) finds himself about to take his last breath in a dire circumstance; then voila, he suddenly pulls out of thin air the most brilliant solution to save or rescue himself. Fascinating. So the joke has long come around how James Bond and all those other super human guys got to have more than nine lives.

Speaking of which, when are they going to come up with a female James Bond? It’s about time. If Hollywood is on the lookout, somebody can inform the Broccoli clan I am very much available. Ehem.

I simply hope they won’t find out I’m a little short in height.