Introspective: I have a slightly-more-serious subject that I’m working on today, but in when I started it it I seemed to have deviated towards lighter tangents. I’m in the process of fleshing the other one out, so today I’m going to post light while I manage the heavy.
It escaped me that James Bond was recently in the news again, with the release of Spectre, (2015 Daniel Craig). Interestingly, I was enchanted by the Daniel Craig modernization of James Bond in Casino Royale (2006) as a Bourne-Identity-era unilateral on loose leash. Cold-war era ficticious super-spies like Bond were typically off leash, peaking around the Roger Moore era of James Bond. Such singletons appeared to operate outside of the agency heirarchy, only reporting in when they felt like it. They were international versions of our hero-lawmen of the same era: reckless loose cannons who too busy saving the world from evil overlords and criminal masterminds to bother with regulations and protocol. It’s a good thing the bad-guys are obviously evil.
I also liked how Casino Royale was respectful of the book.
Full disclosure: In Casino Royale I was particularly taken by the relationship between Craig’s Bond and Judi Dench’s M. It was clearly intimate, even if the notion of a physical relationship was remote and could only be inferred. A tryst certainly wouldn’t be professional, and both Bond and M were ardent professionals. On the other hand, the notion that they would betray that part of themselves, and risk their lives and careers for love just makes the pairing that much more exciting. Also, though, I’d swoon over Dame Dench sharing afternoon tea with me, let alone a tour of her boudoir. So that said, I might be a bit hagiographic regarding the Craig / Dench vehicle that was Casino Royale.
Also: I haven’t seen any of the bond films since then. Yet.
Since Casino Royale, the format of James Bond has changed a bit from the traditional Bond movie format. Quantum of Solace (2008) was a direct continuation of the Casino Royale story. Skyfall started out as a third chapter, though through editing and reformatting became more standalone, but still featuring the Quantum group. In Spectre, the syndicate Quantum is revealed to be a subsidiary of the classic cabal SPECTRE, now rebooted and modernized, featuring a new Blofeld (Christoph Waltz, renowned for one of the best villains ever, SS-Standartenführer Hans Landa). I’m curious what is going to happen next, since Craig is looking to exit the role. Is Idris Elba going to face off against Blofeld?
So far, however, I’m seeing a conspicuous absence of Blofeld’s hallmark Persian cat.* And that is arguably an unpardonable offense.
* It also bothers me that Wikipedia doesn’t acknowledge that with the many supervillain tropes inspired by Blofeld that Felonius Gru‘s design was inspired somewhat by Donald Pleasence’s Blofeld in You Only Live Twice.
Also, incidentally: Not only does Blofeld’s cat not have a name, but no-one ever acknowledges the cat (other than Blofeld’s hand absentmindedly petting him / her). Not one coo from Earnst to Ms. Fluffywiddlekins. No secretarial interruptions to make sure Snugglescrunchywhiskers hasn’t missed feeding time. Not even a threat that certain things make Mr. Bigglesworth upset and when Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset, people die. Nothing. This may be the strongest argument that, in fact the cat is the mastermind behind Blofeld and Spectre.