The Irritations of Modern Life: 70. James Bond
Wednesday 10 November 1999
A Bond film is a thriller in which you know exactly what to expect. No part of the blueprint can be altered - except perhaps the very essence of the lead character. The 007 of The World Is Not Enough is a man who doesn't smoke, who respects women and who, as Brosnan keeps reminding us in interviews, has to wrestle with his personal demons. (Come on. Bond wrestles bikini-clad double agents and Aryan assassins.)
But the reason that every other element of the movies is so predictable is that they are banking on their nostalgic appeal. You're supposed to remember how fun they used to be - or rather, how fun they seemed.
The problem is that it's impossible to name a Bond film which gripped you all the way through. Yes, they all do the job when you have a glass of mulled wine in your hand, but what sticks in your mind afterwards? When pushed, you can choose the nastiest villain or the most quotable one-liner, but try to pick an entire Bond film that isn't dragged down by flabby plotting or am-dram fight scenes or wooden acting or laughable special effects or agonisingly blatant product placements. Not so easy, is it?
No; Bond films are best enjoyed in fragments. They're perfect fodder for pub conversations, quiz questions and lists in magazines of the coolest gadgets and the sauciest girls. There is no Bond film which is as exciting as a compilation of clips from the whole series. Mind you, that's pretty much what a Bond film is, anyway.
Watch the new House of Cards series three trailerTV
Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards
Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Man to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia after ripping up a Koran and hitting it with his shoe
- 3 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
Skrillex and Diplo's 24-hour DJ set shut down by police after 18 hours
Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl: First look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Drake matches The Beatles' record with 14 singles in top 100 chart at the same time
Aidan Turner interview: 'being a sex symbol is a little awkward'
Oscars 2015: Get a sneak peek inside this year's outrageous $125,000 goodie bags
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'