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Re: Subtext and themes

I know he was a Milkman at one Point.

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

77

Re: Subtext and themes

Correct Connery used to French polish coffins, even sleping in them sometimes.  ajb007/biggrin

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

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Re: Subtext and themes

Goldeneye is similar to Skyfall in that both films are a re-evaluation of the series. Goldeneye is the first post-Cold War Bond; M telling Bond that she thinks he is a 'relic of the Cold War' represents the opinion that the Bond films were of a certain era that has now gone. There's a few other metafictional references as well; when Alec mockingly says to Bond "I might as well ask you if all those vodka martinis ever silence the screams of all the men you've killed", it's a kind of acknowledgement of the moral ambiguity of Bond being suave and witty despite having killed so many people. Goldeneye acknowledges the moral ambiguities of Bond and the Bond franchise but does so in a way that doesn't destroy the fun.

Skyfall represents a similar shift. Other people will be able to point out the references to earlier films but there are many, including Silva as a disillusioned agent not dissimilar to Alec. The question of whether MI6 protected him reflects Alec's doubts of whether Bond did enough; Bond is a fallible man in a fallible organisation. M's speech about how MI6 is still relevant but must change to battle 'in the shadows' where the threat lies repositions the villain. It answers the question of why current politics doesn't play much of a role in the modern films whereas the cold war frequently cropped up in older films, making Craig's films seem politically relevant even though modern politics doesn't really feature.

Ironically though, Skyfall has a retro feel with the allusions to earlier films and in its villain, which I think is a mistep (I'm not sure whether any of the Craig films have had a good villain). Silva is flamboyant and cartoonish with the go to signs of evil for old film villains (foreign and camp/homosexual). I remember at the time people were up in arms about Bond's quippy response to Silva's advances but it clearly establishes Bond as heterosexual, unflustered by the sexual threat and thus defusing Silva's power.

79

Re: Subtext and themes

One theme which runs throughout the movies is one preservation and resistance toward change. 

With a ministry of defense and a secret agent sworn to protect Britain, there's an emphasis on keeping things the way they are.  Industrialists who use technology with a vision dramatically change the world are the villains.  Noble intentions (like solar power, sea/space exploration, satellite systems) are shown to be more corruptible than the tried and true.  With the Cold War, missions have become more clandestine but the goal remains the same for MI6.  James Bond, despite all the technology and cultural/socio-economic changes, is still James Bond.

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James Bond is a symbol of individuality within the system. That we can work it better if we try hard enough, and make sacrifices.
Though clearly flawed, he is the definition of 'hero'.

Dalton & Connery rule. Brozz was cool. Craig is too.
#1.TLD/LTK 2.TND 3.QOS 4.DN 5.GF/GE 6.SP 7.FRWL 8.TB/TMWTGG 9.TWINE 10.YOLT

81

Re: Subtext and themes

Like nearly all great stories, Casino Royale dealt strongly with the question "Who Am I?"

At the start of the film, Bond establishes himself as 007, but as the story progresses he begins to question this identity. The scene on the train with Vesper really deals heavily with this scene as she describes Bond as a man pretending to be something he's not, saying that he wears his suit with disdain. Vesper is ultimately the one who breaks Bond down, or as Bond himself puts it "strips him of his armor." The line in particular is telling because it suggests that Vesper has led Bond to abandon his "persona" (classic Jungian archetype), the person that he presents himself as to others. That persona is the cold-hearted yet superficially charming womanizer that Vesper pointed out on the train. So Bond becomes a new man and resigns from MI6 to spend his life with Vesper. Ultimately though, this cannot last, as Vesper ends up betraying him and he is forced to return to his job as 007. For better or worse, that is his identity.

The final scene of the movie brings this theme full circle, and is one of the most powerful scenes in the entire series for that reason. Our hero emphatically answers the central question of the entire story by stating that he is simply "Bond, James Bond."

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Re: Subtext and themes

Absolutely_Cart wrote:

One theme which runs throughout the movies is one preservation and resistance toward change. 

With a ministry of defense and a secret agent sworn to protect Britain, there's an emphasis on keeping things the way they are.  Industrialists who use technology with a vision dramatically change the world are the villains.  Noble intentions (like solar power, sea/space exploration, satellite systems) are shown to be more corruptible than the tried and true.  With the Cold War, missions have become more clandestine but the goal remains the same for MI6.  James Bond, despite all the technology and cultural/socio-economic changes, is still James Bond.

Agreed. The Cold War has ended but despite the political atmosphere changing, Bond has not really acknowledged the change.

83

Re: Subtext and themes

One theme in the books, ( not so much in the movies) was how many times
Bond depended on his own reserves of strength, Intelligence and guile.
  Many times Bond is issued with a gadget or special equipment, which later in
The story. Is removed from him, leaving him vulnerable, so he must dig into those
Reserves, to win through.
  I guess Fleming had worked with many agents and soldiers who had had to do the
Same thing during the war.

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

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Re: Subtext and themes

And one of his most important Abilities is remembering Numbers, Names and Faces from the the Filling Cabinet of his Mind.

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 have also used his trick of seeing a time in your head, to get up
in the morning, and it works !   ajb007/smile

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

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Re: Subtext and themes

It never works for me  ajb007/lol

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

87

Re: Subtext and themes

I see a theme of loyalty in From Russia With Love. Both struggles to stay loyal and demonstrations of loyalty. Kerim Bey is a big believer in family and is loyal to his sons that he employs. Tania is chosen for her strict loyalty to mother Russia and struggles with that when she falls in love with Bond. Klebb's loyalty to get the job done after Kronsteens death, perhaps in fear. Spectres loyalty to avenge the death of Dr No. Bond's failure to stay loyal with Sylvia Trench always leaving her for the mission and another girl. Vavra's undying loyalty to Bond after the gypsy camp fight and to Kerim for allowing them to hide out in the camp. M perhaps being unloyal to his wife when him and Bond were in Tokyo, a scene we were robbed (saved?) of seeing!

I would love to see if anyone else can think of more examples that fit the theme in FRWL.

"Mango, banana and tangerine. Sugar and ackee and cocoa bean!"

88

Re: Subtext and themes

In many of the Craig Bonds ( Including  spectre ) seem to deal with the idea,
of old ways being obsolete,  The old mi6 building being replaced by a new high
tech building. Technology  being superior  to the human element.
In CR ans SP, similar statements are made about knowing when and when not
to kill.

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

89

Re: Subtext and themes

Thunderpussy wrote:

One theme in the books, ( not so much in the movies) was how many times
Bond depended on his own reserves of strength, Intelligence and guile.
  Many times Bond is issued with a gadget or special equipment, which later in
The story. Is removed from him, leaving him vulnerable, so he must dig into those
Reserves, to win through.
  I guess Fleming had worked with many agents and soldiers who had had to do the
Same thing during the war.

Bang on. It's a defining element of the 'hero' narrative that he must succeed by his own efforts, he can of course use tools, or even others, but he must ultimately be the source of his success.

Of that of which we cannot speak we must pass over in silence- Ludwig Wittgenstein.

90

Re: Subtext and themes

DR NO-ah wrote:

I see a theme of loyalty in From Russia With Love. Both struggles to stay loyal and demonstrations of loyalty. Kerim Bey is a big believer in family and is loyal to his sons that he employs. Tania is chosen for her strict loyalty to mother Russia and struggles with that when she falls in love with Bond. Klebb's loyalty to get the job done after Kronsteens death, perhaps in fear. Spectres loyalty to avenge the death of Dr No. Bond's failure to stay loyal with Sylvia Trench always leaving her for the mission and another girl. Vavra's undying loyalty to Bond after the gypsy camp fight and to Kerim for allowing them to hide out in the camp. M perhaps being unloyal to his wife when him and Bond were in Tokyo, a scene we were robbed (saved?) of seeing!

I would love to see if anyone else can think of more examples that fit the theme in FRWL.

Never considered this before, but like all powerful observations once encountered one will see it everywhere. Loyalty as a theme is so large in Bond, and never more so than in the Craig era.I can see it most clearly in FRWL and YOLT. It includes loyalty to his own values as in TLD 'I only kill professionals'

Of that of which we cannot speak we must pass over in silence- Ludwig Wittgenstein.

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Re: Subtext and themes

Thunderpussy wrote:

In many of the Craig Bonds ( Including  spectre ) seem to deal with the idea,
of old ways being obsolete,  The old mi6 building being replaced by a new high
tech building. Technology  being superior  to the human element.
In CR ans SP, similar statements are made about knowing when and when not
to kill.

I think you have it backwards. There's a lot of the old ways being better in Craig's films too. The old MI6 office at Vauxhall Cross is actually moved to a much older office on Whitehall. The Centre for National Security doesn't replace the old building M operates from. And there were points in SF and SP that the human element is superior to technology, not the other way around.

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Re: Subtext and themes

Once again I stand corrected.  ajb007/crap

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

93

Re: Subtext and themes

Thunderpussy wrote:

Once again I stand corrected.  ajb007/crap

I don't think it's either or, in the recent films there is a tension between old and new continually being negotiated, played and re-played. So you are both looking at the same Mountain from different vantage points. Omm. (I too shall get me coat)

Of that of which we cannot speak we must pass over in silence- Ludwig Wittgenstein.

94

Re: Subtext and themes

zaphod99 wrote:
Thunderpussy wrote:

Once again I stand corrected.  ajb007/crap

I don't think it's either or, in the recent films there is a tension between old and new continually being negotiated, played and re-played. So you are both looking at the same Mountain from different vantage points. Omm. (I too shall get me coat)

There has indeed been a lot from both sides, but Bond's side is the old side, which has won against the new side. C tries to replace the 00 section with technology, and the old-fashioned method wins.

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Re: Subtext and themes

I'm  not getting involved ajb007/biggrin  not only will I get my coat, but  I'll race you to the taxi.  ajb007/wink

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

96

Re: Subtext and themes

Matt S wrote:
zaphod99 wrote:
Thunderpussy wrote:

Once again I stand corrected.  ajb007/crap

I don't think it's either or, in the recent films there is a tension between old and new continually being negotiated, played and re-played. So you are both looking at the same Mountain from different vantage points. Omm. (I too shall get me coat)

There has indeed been a lot from both sides, but Bond's side is the old side, which has won against the new side. C tries to replace the 00 section with technology, and the old-fashioned method wins.

So... in a nutshell, Bond doesn't like to be beside the C side?

97

Re: Subtext and themes

L'american is a respectable, happy villa, but inside it hides a dark secret. A room
filled with the memories of torture and  death.
In many ways mirroring  Mr White himself. I'm sure his cover to the outside world
was a respectable  businessman  and father, but he too had a secret inside. With him
being a professional  assassin.  ajb007/wink

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

98

Re: Subtext and themes

Definite themes run through the better Bond films.  For instance:

On Her Majesty's Secret Service: Time.  The whole movie is organized around it, from the impending doom foretold in the opening sequence, to John Barry's instrumental score that sounds like a clock ticking down, to the credits sequence with a clock that never shows up in the film/scenes from previous films, to Bond wanting more time to chase down Blofeld, to the notion that crests and titles somehow beat the inevitability of time and allow a family to live on, to the officious Gebruder Gumbold and his obsession with time, to Louis Armstrong's song, to the countdown at Blofeld's lair, to the last line of the film.  Time is repeated again and again.

Casino Royale is the bookend to this film.  Here, Bond is not consumed by time because he is young and still, in his own way, hopeful.  But he has to learn about trust.  That echoes all through the film (and book).  So we find Bond constantly being tested -- not trusting Carter to do his job right, trusting in his own abilities so much Bond puts himself at great physical risk and even breaks into homes and embassies, trusting Vesper and Mathis and finding himself betrayed by at least one of them, asking Vesper to trust that he can beat LeChiffre, playing poker (which is a game all about trust -- trusting your own instincts and whether to believe the other person is bluffing or not), M injecting Bond with the tracer because she doesn't trust him on his own, M telling him at the end literally he's learned his lesson not to trust others so easily.   But like many modern films, the theme isn't as elegantly woven into the texture of the film -- certainly not as well as time shows up in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. 

Many of the best Bond films are adaptations or allusions to other things, bringing with them thematic elements.  Dr. No is St. George and the Dragon (if one thinks of the "oriental" No as a dragon, something that is alluded to with the tank and so forth).  Goldfinger is King Midas.  Fleming's stories resonate better than most of the independently penned ones because he drew from well-established western lore in creating his characters and situations but disguised them enough that people generally don't see.

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Re: Subtext and themes

Barbel wrote:

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

What fascinating to me about this point is that Fleming based the characters in his stories on real people and events from WWII.  The Q character may be the "wizard" figure - but he was based on actual people who worked as weapons researchers for the SOE as was Q Branch being based on the SOE department responsible for special weapons development.  Bond was based on the commandos and agents (like his brother) and M based on Fleming's boss Rear Admiral John Godfrey.  It is what makes his novels so unique using basic mythological themes yet grounding them in the reality of the cold war using real life people and institutions from the hot war that came before it.