The new James Bond movie is out and I want to go see it. I don't generally go see movies in the theater; I really don't like them enough to justify spending the money. I'm usually am perfectly content to wait until a movie comes out on DVD and even then I tend not to see them until they have been out for a long time. I do, however, make exceptions for a few rare movies. If a movie has extraordinary cinematic qualities or spectacular action, I might go see it in the theater. If it is a movie that my son, Chuck, really wants to see as soon as it comes out I will sometimes go see it with him and his friends. And then there are Bond movies. Bond movies are my exception to everything.
I remember the very first Bond movie I ever saw when I was just a kid; it was Goldfinger and I recall thinking how utterly cool it was and much I wanted to read the books. My parents read all the books and allowed us to read them, although they were considered rather racy at the time since James Bond had a lot of romantic interludes with beautiful women. I don't remember being horribly shocked by them or anything, but maybe I wasn't paying a lot of attention to the interludes. I liked Bond and the action and the whole spy thing.
If you think about it, it is rather remarkable how Bond has endured and how long the Bond movies have been around. James Bond has stayed cool through huge cultural changes and numerous actors. He has lasted through the love generation, bell-bottoms, mini-skirts, disco, mullets, head bangers, Madonna wearing her underwear on the outside of her clothes, the technical revolution, Google, and numerous other fads and changes and still can beat up the bad guy, straighten his tuxedo, order a martini shaken, not stirred, get the most beautiful woman in the room, outsmart the evil genius, and drive away in the ultra-cool Aston Martin. And it just never gets old.
I introduced all my kids to Bond and they love him too. The current Bond is their favorite; he's a little less effete than Bonds that came before him, but he is still terribly elegant and smooth. I named my oldest son James partly because I thought that if it worked for Bond it might work for him. Someone suggested to me that Bond's appeal was the cars and the gadgets, but I don't think so. They are fun enough, but Bond has been the only spy who can wield them without appearing ridiculous doing it. Of course Bond has rockets mounted in the front of his car...why wouldn't he? He's Bond. I have occasionally found myself wishing that I had rockets hidden behind my headlights, and a passenger seat that ejects whoever is sitting there about 50 feet into the air, but I don't think I'd seem as cool using them. Particularly not when I was sitting in jail afterwards.
My daughter says that Bond endures because he is one of the coolest characters ever created in modern literature. I'm not entirely certain what she means by that or what it is that makes him so cool, but I'm pretty certain that his name should appear as a definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary. Bond is very much an Englishman, but he is loved by people of all cultures all around the world. Something about him crosses all cultural, language, gender, and age barriers. He is unique, like the car he drives and the martinis he drinks.
I have always had a terrible weakness for a cultured British accent, so much so, that I used to say that I didn't dare go to England until I was an old woman and couldn't get into as much trouble. I have always had a secret dream that a handsome, elegant, mysterious Englishman with a voice like warm velvet would come up to me, kiss my hand, and say, “My name is Bond, James Bond”. Is he the man that all women want to have and the man all men want to be? Maybe he is. All I know is, I would definitely not eject him out of my passenger seat.