Joy confined then, at the news that Daniel Craig has summoned the resolve to interpret for a fifth time the role of smooth international justice brand/ psychotic jerkhole James Bond.
His “fans”, worried to death about the great thespian’s emotional appetite for the challenge, especially when he not long ago declared a preference for slashing his wrists than going through the Bondian motions again, can finally let the tears of relief and gratitude flow. The work currently known as “Bond 25” will appear… eventually.
Hats off to Craig for taking the money. As Geoffrey Boycott said of cricketers collecting suitcases full of cash in the IPL, “it would be mean-spirited of anyone to begrudge it them.”
And likewise polite applause to the Bond machine, which has got the cash gushing from the franchise in higher denomination notes than ever. Why on earth would they opt for a gentler flow?
The real fault line in the future prosperity of Bond Corp is Bond himself – a character whose trademark “confrontational” style could become a bit of an embarrassment before long. Will the guardians of the franchise start wondering soon whether some of the other “Double O” agents might not be a bit more du jour?
In these times of social media’s infinite “liking” networks, Bond has no friends and no one likes him. Worse, no one’s feelings are ever taken into account as he goes about his business. One suspects, were he to ever take a fatal bullet, there would be a lot of empty seats at his funeral.
He is also supposedly a secret agent, theoretically going about his business unobserved and undetected, yet few people in movie history have been more easily provoked into a fight, or a chase in search of a fight, and he never wraps a movie without leaving a trail of blazing wreckage, smouldering buildings and corpses. So while his job description calls for discretion, his behaviour screams “look at me”. Connected to an emotional maturity detector he’d probably register the profile of a difficult seven-year old boy.
And while unable to tolerate any challenge to his own self-esteem, his attitude to the suffering of others? Utter indifference.
He has no culture – nothing that takes place on a stage or a pitch, no books, no music – even the construction of the fabled wardrobe is something that happens off screen, as if enabled by servants. Neither does he have a sense of culture, and as for his chat, where on earth would one go if forced to make small talk with him? Given his never missing an opportunity to display his handling of anything motorised, then perhaps a little light banter about Top Gear, but failing that, the search for excuses to abort the mission would be pressurised.
Indeed, he doesn’t appear to derive pleasure from anything. The luxuries he surrounds himself with leave him cold, and his relationships with women are entered into with only one thing on his mind – plot development.
The era of “men admire him, women desire him”, then may be drawing to a close, as both genders are starting to share the opinion that he might actually be a colossal tool.
Why then, is his ability to fill a cinema still so formidable? It may in part be due to a marketing engine so supercharged as to make the fabled Aston Martin closer to Fred Flintstone’s footmobile in awesomeness. Expect normally solemn broadsheets to start garlanding Bond 25 with five star reviews with slavish obedience.
But more importantly, the cinema has long met society’s appetite for individuals with magic weaponry to comfortingly re-establish calm and stability, and someone should investigate whether the more ludicrous the hero, the more desperate the hour. If that link can be established, then the straits the world is in are dire indeed.