In the novels by Ian Fleming, James Bond smokes like a trooper, shags like a rabbit, drinks like a fish. He's handy with a knife and has enough spunk to carry a ladies handbag gun. He is supposed to be what every man would like to be, and what every woman wants between the sheets. In short, James Bond 007 is a tedious masturbatory fantasy suitable for members of either sex.
The pussification of James Bond?
But am I the only one to notice the filmic pussification of James Bond? It began in 1995 with Goldeneye and the reboot of the franchise after a six-year hiatus. Blow dried girly-man Pierce Brosnan got pussy-whipped in all four of his movies by M (played by Judi Dench) and the new stable of bolshie Bond Girls.
Case in point, The World Is Not Enough (1999). 007 falls into a love triangle and gets played. Say what? Women don't sucker punch 007. James Bond is a weapon of mass seduction. That shouldn't happen. This character mutation did not go unnoticed by fans who blamed political correctness and the influence of producer Barbara Broccoli.
007 downs six vodka martinis on the plane in Quantum of Solace
Then came the rebrand, revamp and casting of Daniel Craig as 007 in 2006. Less whipped than Brosnan, he's still a bit of a sap with the ladies. In Casino Royale, lovesick Bond gets played by his sidekick; in the bizarrely titled Quantum of Solace, he's handbag carrier to the bad guy's avenging moll; in Skyfall, the most successful Bond film of all time, he's a damaged child caught up in the paradoxical nature of the spy trade. But I suppose this is a way of keeping Bond in tune with changing times whilst still maintaining the essence of the character.
007 and Pussy Galore in Goldfinger (1964)
This is Bond... James Bond for crying out loud, where's the tits and caviar sandwich? I'm not asking for the casual jock misogyny of Sean Connery, just some fleeting trysts and a soupcon of effete sexism like Roger Moore in the good old days. The real essence of Bond's character is louche cool. James Bond is a lad but a gent with it. So there must be ultra-violence, heavy drinking and casual sex at every turn.
George Lazenby as 007 in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
But this is the 21st Century and things change. Bond Girls are now Bond Women. And, as usual, they will be running rings around 007. This is because Bond Women are no longer one-dimensional female characters. They are alpha females who mix feminine manners with masculine confidence.
Bellucci: 007 minutes on screen
The latest, 51 year old Monica Bellucci, created a media storm as the oldest Bond Girl ever and was chosen because it was seen as important "for an adult woman to seduce Bond for the first time". A woman with the wiles to seduce and outsmart James Bond? It's disinformation. Bellucci is only on screen for 007 minutes in Spectre and Bond leaves her in the bedroom gagging for more.
Miss Moneypenny 2.0
However there's no respite from modern day ball busting back at VX in London. MI6 is an equal opportunities employer and 007 has a new type of Miss Moneypenny. Traditionally, she was an attractive spinster with whom Bond flirts outrageously. No longer will she be wasting her time on typing CX dispatches for M. Or putting up with the sexist patter of 007. Naomie Harris, the new Miss Moneypenny, says her character is an equal and adviser to James Bond. So there.
With high speed car chases in sports cars, explosive watches, iconic locations and the return of arch villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Spectre is bigger, louder and more ridiculous than Skyfall. But it has to be. James Bond is a billion dollar victim of his own success. And, like Spectre, the Bond franchise is a secret and powerful organization with a commercial duty to itself to outdo its predecessor. Show business is big business and you have to give the punters what they want and get a return on the investment. No wonder Daniel Craig is too shagged out to continue in the role.
You Only Live Twice (1967)
Should the next James Bond be black, gay or even female? Idris Elba has been self promoting his own chances for the last few years in interviews with the Press. And Daniel Craig thinks Bond mincing in from the cold is no big deal. The late historian A.J.P. Taylor once said that Britain's best spies were homosexual and it would be quite easy to re-imagine prep school educated Bond as a gay secret agent. But "Janine Bond" a female 007... I think I hear the faint whir of Ian Fleming turning in his grave.
Beer + Babe = Bond on form