Friday, November 14, 2008

James Bond reviews: an introduction

The Tanuki is and always has been an unapologetic James Bond fan. Unapologetic, but not unreflecting: I realize they're silly, misogynist, often reactionary movies that are also, not infrequently, fairly badly made. At the same time, I think they're just plain awesome, dude. I think, at their best, they represent a certain almost mythical ideal of manliness, one that's unattainable, one that I wouldn't really even want to attain in my own life, but one that still, on some level, I find incredibly comforting. I could never be Bond, and wouldn't want to be even if I could, but I still like to know Bond's out there, gettin' it done.

The Bond reviews I'll be posting here are something I've been working on for about a decade, I'm embarrassed to admit. Every few years I go through the series again (usually start to finish, which means I can claim the sad distinction of having watched License to Kill at least four or five times), and when I do I make a few notes on each film. Now, with Quantum of Solace opening today, I figured I might as well start posting these on this here blog. Now that I do I find that about a third of my reviews have somehow disappeared from my hard drive, so I'll have to do them from scratch. Hmm.

A caveat. The idea of rating them on a 001 to 007 scale, as well as the idea of dividing the reviews into subtitled sections, came from a very early version of this fine 007 fansite, called Universal Exports. The comments and opinions are all my own, though (no matter how hackneyed they may be); in fact, I completely lost track of the Universal Exports site until about five minutes ago. Thought it had gone offline; in reality, I'd just forgotten what it was called. (I know, they have these things called bookmarks...) So, tip of the fedora (before it goes out of style) to Universal Exports, but I have to take the blame for what's to follow. I think you'll find I'm concerned with slightly different issues from UnivEx.

A further caveat. These reviews assume you've seen the films. There are spoilers, but more importantly they just won't make any sense unless you're already familiar with the films. And they might not make sense then.

A final caveat. When I began writing these, I hadn't yet read Ian Fleming's Bond books. I finally read them, just before Casino Royale came out, but I've elected not to think about the books in the reviews. In the end I decided Bond on the page and Bond on the screen are best considered separate entities, not to be compared. Maybe someday I'll write about the books.

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