Wednesday, June 26, 2013

James Bond's pants and the nature of suffering

I feel less bad for my inadvertent shoe hoard when I discover things like a blog devoted to James Bond's clothing. Which James Bond? Well, all of them of course. Including "Literary Bond". Ah, the Internet. Something for everybody.

Now, I'm not a huge James Bond fan. I of the Pierce Brosnan ones. I don't even know which one. There was a brunette, and a red car I think. I watched some of the Sean Connery ones when they were on TV in the summer while I was in high school, but I don't remember which ones. In all honesty, I probably just had the TV on while I was busy writing my tremendously bad fantasy novel.

I do like the Daniel Craig Bond films. I haven't seen Skyfall yet (NO SPOILERS) but I watched the others on DVD in the comfort of my home. I think I even own Quantum of Solace for some reason. I haven't read any of the Bond novels yet, though I did read Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which was by Ian Fleming as well. The movie's casting has a bit of an in-joke, actually, as three James Bond movie actors were in it as well, confirmed by IMDB: Desmond Llwelyn, who played Q, Gert Fröbe who was Goldfinger, and Anna Quayle who was in the original Casino Royale.

The Bond stories are fairly compelling, though. Suave hero guy gets the girl (mostly), kicks some ass, and solves......well, whatever it is he's solving. My main detraction for the Craig ones is that there are. So. Many. Chase. Scenes. In cars. On Goddamn boats. On foot. People are fleeing James Bond, and he is after them, like one of the Queen's hunting hounds. I mean, I assume she has hounds, in addition to Corgis that bark all the time. Coincidentally, our across the street neighbors sometimes have a Corgi that barks all the time, causing Elka to bark as well. It's a grand time.

I will that that the foot chase at the beginning of Quantum of Solace with its parkour was pretty neat, and I had the added bonus of Bear Grylls telling me, while I was watching Man vs. Wild that British Special Forces uses it, prior to him running across a bunch of rocks and stuff. Bear Grylls makes me think of James Bond sometimes, given that they're both British, and also seem to have a stoic need to suffer. Bear Grylls' suffering is poignant, typically enacted when he's eating something horrible for the benefit of the camera. James Bond's is a bit more...visceral (that scene at the end of Casino Royale with the chair and the rope, anyone?)

Now, even though I haven't watched much Bond, as a child, I watched Danger Mouse. Religiously. I even remember the marathon that Nickelodeon had when it was going off the air. I remember watching episodes with my dad, and he didn't watch children's programming just to humor me, he definitely had to be able to stand it. It contains many of the same elements (it's supposed to), and I in fact got the complete collection on DVD from Woot! at some point last year. I haven't rewatched them yet; I'm not sure if they've stood the test of time for me (I know Dinosaurs sure hasn't, boy howdy).

What is it about suffering that makes characters more compelling for us? Fiction is rife with orphaned children, damaged war veterans, rape victims, and widows. So is real life, granted, but even when these things haven't happened to you personally, they seem to perform some strange function wherein they gain the audience's attention and relax the tight grip which we hold on our sympathies. Suffering and what a character does to overcome it seems to make them all the more real to us, evne if they're tux wearing sociopaths in Her Majesty's Service.


  1. So did you ever see Skyfall? I loved it. My husband found the villain disturbing, though, so we haven't bought it yet. I'm still hoping to persuade him. :-)

    1. No, can you believe it? I still haven't seen Skyfall!

      I've really liked the new Bond movies, and it takes some doing for me to be actually disturbed or creeped out. So that just sounds encouraging ;)