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Re: Subtext and themes

ajb007/lol  Very interesting thread though  ajb007/martini , I'll be watching these films
more closely the next time.  ajb007/smile

“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realised I never had one.”

27

Re: Subtext and themes

Yes, me too  ajb007/martini

1.On Her Majesties Secret Service 2.The Living Daylights 3.license To Kill 4.The Spy Who Loved Me 5.Goldfinger

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Re: Subtext and themes

James Bond adventures can be boiled down to a simple phrase- "St George slays the dragon and rescues the beautiful princess". This view is not an original one- both Kingsley Amis* and Ann S. Boyd (see above) have alluded to it. Perhaps DN is most explicit in its interpretation of the legend: Bond really does fight a dragon (albeit a mechanical one), and in the novel a giant squid, which is about as close as nature provides.
Perhaps surprisingly, a fairly recent Bond film has elements of the myth buried within.

THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH

Often dismissed by Bond aficionadoes, although in my view unfairly, this film has rich and glorious subtext. I'm not even going into the Elektra complex, but feel free to bring it up. Please do, it's there as well.

It's a standard theme of Bond adventures that he "saves" the beautiful girl from death/a fate worse than death (eg marriage or concubinage to the villain)/etc. She is metaphorically the princess in the St George story. In TWINE the beautiful girl is the daughter of a "king", Sir Robert King to be exact, and what is the daughter of a king but a princess? James Bond feels strongly compelled to protect her- look at his delicate movements when he sees her discussing her captivity on his computer- and goes out of his way to do just that. He is certainly attracted to her, but restrains himself... at first, anyway.

Renard is the dragon, as much as modern audiences will accept (and in movie tropes, that is exactly what he is- the tough, invincible henchman/protector/right hand man to the real villain). Naturally he does not breathe fire, but his introduction amongst the flaming rocks (which he is impervious to, unlike ordinary men such as Davidov) is symbolic enough. The dragon has kidnapped the beautiful princess, and St George must save her- Renard did kidnap Elektra, and her "freedom" is false.

Determining the actual locale of myths is notoriously full of problems- a good example is Robin Hood, who has been claimed by various locations in England. At least one location of the traditional St George/dragon/princess tale is Trebizond (nowadays Trabzon) on the Black Sea.... which is the main location for TWINE.

The film cleverly subverts the myth by having Elektra turn out to be the true antagonist of the story, and this is one part which gives it real depth. Bond has genuinely fallen for her, and will suffer internally for having to shoot her (despite his cold "I never miss" claim).

I therefore propose that in no other film (with the arguable exception of OHMSS- please argue with me about that) is James Bond more clearly a knight, a Byronic hero, and closer to Fleming's conception than any film not directly based on his work (which OHMSS most definitely is, of course).

It doesn't hurt that TWINE features Pierce Brosnan's most carefully thought-out interpretation of his role. It's my opinion that here he comes closest to embodying Ian Fleming's character.


* "The James Bond Dossier" (Jonathan Cape, 1965)

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Re: Subtext and themes

Not so much on sub text etc but I remember my wife once saying that
She didn't think the Bond films were really suitable for our girls to be
Watching.
  I pointed out that in many ways ( as Barbel has already alluded to )  ajb007/martini
Bond is a fairy tale. He's the knight,  the lady is the damsel in distress
The villain is the dragon that has to be slain and even Q is like the Wizard
Who provides the knight with his "magic" sword or shield.  ajb007/biggrin
  So if she didn't want the Bond films on, she'd have to throw away all their
Story books and DVD of fairy tales etc.
One of the few arguments I've ever won   ajb007/lol  although I did pay the price
No "special hugs" that night !  ajb007/lol

“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realised I never had one.”

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Re: Subtext and themes

... as long as you kept the shaggin ......  ajb007/biggrin

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.
-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------
FIRST TO DISCOVER substantial evidence that Chew Mee is in fact not totally nude in the TMWTGG pool scenes!

31

Re: Subtext and themes

Who's the Bond fan
That's a sex machine to all the chicks?
( Thunders)
You're damn right
Who is the man
That would risk his neck for his brother man?
(Thunders)
Can ya dig it?
Who's the cat that won't cop out
When there's danger all about
(Thunders!)
Right on
You see this cat Thunderpussy is a bad mother
(Shut your month)
But I'm talkin' about Thunderpussy
(Then we can dig it)
He's a complicated man
But no one understands him but his woman
( Thunderpussy !).    ajb007/lol

“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realised I never had one.”

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Re: Subtext and themes

I'll be background Vocals  ajb007/lol

1.On Her Majesties Secret Service 2.The Living Daylights 3.license To Kill 4.The Spy Who Loved Me 5.Goldfinger

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Re: Subtext and themes

I suppose that's what I get for trying to add a little culture....   ajb007/frown

Nevertheless, TP has managed to make a good point. Q is the Wise Old Man figure found in many myths, stories, and franchises. Just as Obi-Wan gives Luke his lightsaber, or Merlin gives Arthur his sword, Q gives James a gadget-packed Aston Martin.
It's all part of the monomyth which I wil be going into later. At great length.   ajb007/biggrin

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Re: Subtext and themes

Bloody Hell, I've accidently made a good Point.  ajb007/cheers   ajb007/lol
  ( Please don't end a passage with, " ... Great Length !".  ajb007/crap
  Do you know how Badly I want to do a bad taste joke about ..... )  ajb007/lol

“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realised I never had one.”

35

Re: Subtext and themes

Barbel wrote:

I suppose that's what I get for trying to add a little culture.... :-(

Nevertheless, TP has managed to make a good point. Q is the Wise Old Man figure found in many myths, stories, and franchises. Just as Obi-Wan gives Luke his lightsaber, or Merlin gives Arthur his sword, Q gives James a gadget-packed Aston Martin.
It's all part of the monomyth which I wil be going into later. At great length. :-)

As soon as I read the word monomyth the recesses of my memory shifted to my high school English class and the archetypal event, the Hero's Journey...

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Re: Subtext and themes

Thunderpussy wrote:

Who's the Bond fan
That's a sex machine to all the chicks?
( Thunders)
You're damn right
Who is the man
That would risk his neck for his brother man?
(Thunders)
Can ya dig it?
Who's the cat that won't cop out
When there's danger all about
(Thunders!)
Right on
You see this cat Thunderpussy is a bad mother
(Shut your month)
But I'm talkin' about Thunderpussy
(Then we can dig it)
He's a complicated man
But no one understands him but his woman
( Thunderpussy !).    ajb007/lol

ThunderShaft! ajb007/lol

"Felix Leiter, a brother from Langley."

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Re: Subtext and themes

That's it exactly, thank you Samurai! I don't suppose you'd feel like elaborating on that? We know you enjoy writing and do it well.

(Also I'm sitting in a little country bar in the middle of nowhere, between gigs and typing on my phone!)

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Re: Subtext and themes

I think it was Michael G Wilson who also said Bond also fills the "Unknown Stranger"  Character
In that we know ( Until recently ) very little about him or his past. He arrives at a time of trouble
Helps resolve the situation and Moves on.
  This basic premise is the foundation of Hundreds of westerns and Thrillers. A stranger arrives,
Sorts out the trouble, then rides off in the sunset.  or In Bond's case, a life raft or such.  ajb007/biggrin

“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realised I never had one.”

39

Re: Subtext and themes

Barbel wrote:

That's it exactly, thank you Samurai! I don't suppose you'd feel like elaborating on that? We know you enjoy writing and do it well.

(Also I'm sitting in a little country bar in the middle of nowhere, between gigs and typing on my phone!)

I could try Barbel. But I definitely am seeing what you're trying to bring up in this thread, because in my own experience, (especially last year) I began to really start and look in depth, studying with careful analysis of short stories and Julius Caesar in my English class. And one of the main points my teacher tried to make us pay attention to in short stories, but in any film series as well, was the monomyth. The archetypal event, and the Hero's Journey and it is was used in popular culture. Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, Rocky,are all examples. But they all draw back on more serious examples such as Jesus Christ and religious figures of that ilk. This English class also began a lot of philosophical discussion with existentialism and hedonism and stoics and epicureans and all that jazz...

James Bond is a character that fits the mould of monomyth to a certain extent. In the eyes of many he is the biggest action hero in cinema, but to get the true actualization of the character, you must turn to the novels. In the novels, you could probably see two full rotations of his bigger battles. This being Spectre, and SMERSH. He had the love of his life (twice) die. He is a man who enjoys the vices in life and temptations of women, alcohol, cigarettes. But sometimes, there wasn't a great award for the work he did. While other heroes have some sort of boon at the end of the quest, for Bond that often doesn't happen. Besides the lady friend he most often meets of course, there isn't a major financial gain or life reward for doing the quest. It isn't destiny so to speak that he must do these jobs. The biggest event in the series of the Bond novels has to be the atonement and revenge that Bond gets when killing Blofeld and that truly was the the sort of end of journey for the character. Is this what you were going to discuss Barbel?

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Re: Subtext and themes

Thanks, Samurai, that covers it. I'm glad we're literally on the same page here!

As Samurai says above, James Bond fits the classic hero role in most ways, although with modifications. I'm not going to go into every stage of the Hero's Journey (if anyone wants to, please go ahead) but here's one as an example.

The hero 's parents died before the story began, often in tragic/mysterious circumstances, obliging him (sometimes her) to be raised by aunt/uncle.

The amount of times this particular element occurs in well-known series or franchise characters is staggering. There are slight variations, inevitably, but here's a partial list:

Luke Skywalker
Harry Potter
Frodo Baggins
Superman (perhaps Clark Kent would be more accurate)
Tarzan
The X-Men (partially)
Eragon
etc etc

Central figures in massive money-making multi-media franchises. And Eragon, as well. As we all know, Bond's parents died in a climbing accident and he was raised by his aunt. The main variation is that we don't get to see any of this since we meet him at age ?37 ie a grown man in media res. Most if not all of the other characters mentioned above are introduced to us at a much younger age- usually this is 17 or so, to allow the hero to begin the story as a boy and end it as a man. Luke Skywalker is a good example of this- he's referred to as "boy" in Ep 4 by most people, while by the end of Ep 6 he's completed his rites of passage.
Bond's childhood was only filled in sketchily by Fleming but other writers (John Pearson, Charlie Higson) have been filling in details within that framework. The films ignored his background at first- we learn more about it in SF than in all the previous films put together.

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Re: Subtext and themes

You mentioned Skyfall's subtext a bit there Barbel. There was definitely some not so subtle attempt at homoerotism when Silva unbuttons Bond's shirt and Bond delivering the line..."What makes you think I haven't done this before." That was weird.

But maybe it's just like any villain interrogation scene. Red Grant wants Bond to kiss his foot, (and you mentioned earlier that that film is filled with sexual themes. Some of Grant's dialogue almost gives you the sense that he could rape Bond or something, anyway...) Maybe Bond just doesn't want to give Silva the satisfaction of feeling like he's putting Bond in an uncomfortable situation, or that Silva has the upper hand...

I need to watch all the films again and look for subtext  ajb007/lol.

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Re: Subtext and themes

The homosexual scene in SF to me is more a psychological battle:
Silva tries to dominate him by something that makes him uncomfortable because that never happened to him.
Bond strikes back by totally surprising Silva and more than evens the battle.

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.
-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------
FIRST TO DISCOVER substantial evidence that Chew Mee is in fact not totally nude in the TMWTGG pool scenes!

43

Re: Subtext and themes

I have always loved OHMSS Mutual Defeat Theme  ajb007/martini

1.On Her Majesties Secret Service 2.The Living Daylights 3.license To Kill 4.The Spy Who Loved Me 5.Goldfinger

44

Re: Subtext and themes

On first watching it made me feel a little uncomfortable, but having watched
It many times. I think it's a great scene. Silva is obviously trying to get Bond
Off his guard ( trying to get him to be uncomfortable ) but like a game of chess.
  Bond " counters" his move  ajb007/martini

“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realised I never had one.”

45

Re: Subtext and themes

Although, we did have a school P.E. teacher who regularly tried the same thing!  ajb007/lol

“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realised I never had one.”

46

Re: Subtext and themes

Yikes!  ajb007/lol

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Re: Subtext and themes

Higgins is actually right (must tell Sir Miles about that! He'll be surprised), the scene where Silva and Bond first meet is a psychological battle which Bond wins. Naturally.
I wouldn't say that Silva "seducing" Bond is a theme of the film, though, not in the same way that Palpatine's seduction of Anakin in "Star Wars" quite definitely is. SF has quite a bit of subtext, some of which was mentioned here and elsewhere on its release- would anyone like to open on any of its themes?

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Re: Subtext and themes

Barbel wrote:

Higgins is actually right

ajb007/cheers  you may have a slow learning curve but you are starting to understand  ajb007/tongue
(preparing Barbel's application paperwork for the Misty Eyes Fan Club  ajb007/biggrin  )

Silva may have become aware, that even hitting Bonds balls with a knotted rope did not really bother Bond - so he tried to embarrass Bond with a different approach.

Straight men often suffer an instinct fear of having a homosexual side* - it may have worked.

*I know that ASP9mm and TP embrace theirs  ajb007/lol

President of the 'Misty Eyes Club'.
-------Dalton - the weak and weepy Bond!------
FIRST TO DISCOVER substantial evidence that Chew Mee is in fact not totally nude in the TMWTGG pool scenes!

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Re: Subtext and themes

The love that dare not speak its name,  People who can't appreciate Dalton !  ajb007/lol

“I didn’t lose a friend, I just realised I never had one.”

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Re: Subtext and themes

It's just the law of averages, Higgins. You have to be right sooner or later! ajb007/lol