Sunday 3 March 2013

Hurray for Bond!

Commander Bond (Daniel Craig)

My dad and I had two things in common, two things we both liked. He wasn’t much of a reader (unless it was Douglas Reeman) and my own forays into volunteer work pale to his. Indeed, my dad lived for volunteer work which he would enter, take over, organise and have marching about in stark efficiency within a year of his interest. It started with the local garden club, then the RNLI, and then life saving at swimming pools. He would raise huge sums or train endless new volunteers, he would commit his whole life to such endeavours and jolly good for him. He liked committees. The progress was inevitable in whichever next caught his fancy. He would attend, he would be treasurer, he would be chairman, he would install a monorail and make sure that every door would swish smoothly open and that people would be well supplied by guards in shiny helmets and orange jumpsuits. Probably because one of the two things we had in common was James Bond. The other was aircraft. Helicopters mostly, and he did a lot of work with helicopters. But for today, Bond.
            This is because I managed to watch Skyfall yesterday, and jolly good fun it was too. I’m not going to point out that that wasn’t the right sort of tube train for Temple, in a film where the immensely complicated series of coincidence and plot is solely so the villain can kill M the shape of an underground train is easily overlooked. I grew up finally being allowed to stay up to watch Goldfinger, seeing Timothy Dalton not long after leaving the parental abode, at first enjoying and then hanging on loyally as Brosnan ventured into invisible cars, but missing entirely the latest reboot when first it came out. Indeed, I saw Quantum before Casino – and the first on the way to my dad’s funeral as I had a four hour wait for a coach. It didn’t make much sense until I managed to catch up with Casino.
            I read the Bond books as a teenager, and even the oddities and strange opinions are a vital part of them. I read the John Gardner versions as they came out (a strange choice my friends and I thought, as Gardner’s Boysie Oakes books took the piss out of the genre – fine though they undoubtedly were). I played the rpg – albeit at the time all our agents were scruffy louts somewhere between Robert Plant and Bodie. Bond even produced one of the finest console games ever in Goldeneye. The current reboot was needed, and has been done well, and if you didn’t like Skyfall you probably don’t like Bond movies. This is perfectly acceptable. Your opinion is valid; just that in this case you are wrong.
              Not that Bond is the most successful of the 00 Branch.
            001 and 005 are never mentioned. They probably have very dull stories. The 00 branch being assassins (not spies) they doubtless get a briefing, shoot someone, and then go home to the family in Esther, Surrey. Or more likely push the odd person under a tube, probably at Temple station.
Even if the tube train itself is entirely of the wrong sort.


  1. I watched it last night. It's a good film but I don't think its as good as it has been lauded. Also it sort of felt a bit ..actually I don't know, just left me with an odd feeling. Like when you revisit somewhere you knew well to find it's been re-developed and yet you are being led to believe its always looked that way - Like a chain built Victorian pub. I dunno, I'm waffling.

  2. Managed to watch it last night.

    It got a yes from all of us!

  3. I felt it had come full circle, was a bit of oddness, but as you say that's part of the books, I liked it. The only time I grumbled into my tea was when Kincade started waving his torch about on the moor - I'm not doubting that grizzled ex Scots Guards have flashlights - but they're heavy and black and used for coshing lads in balaclavas when you're doing a spot of moonlighting as night security for Bejams. Not waving about like you're trying to find a rave. But it's a pretty small hole to pick.

  4. Good to see it ended up back in M's office. It'll be a nice change from M constantly looking like a news reader in front of massive tele-walls trying to be hip like the cool kids from the security service in Spooks.