From the beginning of the first novels written by Ian Fleming, he is said to be one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century, because of his contribution to literature and film by creating great novels and creating on of the most well known names in films. The adventure began in the early fifties when Ian Lancaster Fleming created the story Casino Royale on his Jamaican property called Goldeneye. 1 Fleming transformed popular detective and spy/espionage from the dark, through the eye of secret agent 007.
James Bond films are about a lady’s man/spy that has dedicated his life to a British intelligence agency called MI6. By utilizing the most technologically advanced spy equipment and specially designed vehicles that can withstand the most torturous conditions, he has to foil the plot of the villain from taking over the world. By using his wit and charm with the ladies, he also discovers valuable information, keeping him one step ahead. In this paper, I will draw attention to a few of the numerous films within this sub-genre and examine the process of the entire James Bond series.
In a different view of this series, some diehard James Bond fans from a discussion board think to a certain extent that Bond films are spy spoofs and cannot be taken too seriously. James Bond films are a magnificent interpretation of the world of a spy. The creators of Bond aim to make the world of espionage appealing to the viewer instead of making it closer to reality, which would be more boring. Real spies don’t have invisible cars, do such extravagant stunts and put their lives in such danger. Real spies do most of their work sitting at a desk doing research.
James Bond films exaggerate all the life threatening duties that sometimes come with being a spy. “I would not really call them spoofs or parodies. More definable as just a bit over the top,” say Luke, an avid James Bond discussion board member. “It’s what is possible, but not plausible. Of course, there is not a spy in the world like James Bond. But people can still simulate in some ways. “2 Not that James Bond films are as far fetched as the comedy Austin Power: International Man of Mystery (1997), which is solely based on making fun of James Bond movies.
If James Bond was based more on being closer to reality, nobody would go watch them, because they would be too boring and never would be made into sequels. There were many other spy and espionage movies before the James Bond series was ever created, but Bond movies transformed the spy/espionage action/adventure films forever. Bond films were established for the most part in response to the film noir, World War II adventure films, Alfred Hitchcock films and psychological thrillers of the 1950’s. 3 The reaction of this sub-genre to the film noir is the way that early Bond films had a trend to look dark and black.
The greed, criminal and violence elements in film noir are a symptoms of society’s evil with a strong undercurrent of moral struggles. All of this is seen very clearly in the earlier 007 films. Actually, film noir is not a film genre, but instead the style, feel and mood of a film, which makes Bond movies what they are today. 4 The whole Bond sub-genre establishes the male protagonist, 007, to be stressed out and having a hard time, in some ways felt the uneasiness men perceived on returning from war adjusting to peace time and felt women’s increasing influence in society. In many of these films, the so-called “Bond women” have thought as being able to stand up for their selves and need to kind of assistance. Nevertheless, by the end of the film, the “Bond women” always end up in a situation where they need their life saved. From the seventies onward the James Bond series has taken influence from many popular high grossing movies including Star Wars (1977), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Die Hard (1988). 6. The first Ian Fleming novel that made it to the big screen was Dr. No (1962) and was made before all of preceding movies by at least fifteen years.
In this first film, agent James Bond finds himself taking over the job of an agent who vanished in Jamaica and Bond makes his way to Crab Key Island find the primary suspect, the evil scientist, Dr. No. 7 This first film introduced the famed James Bond and was a huge success with audiences everywhere. This began the phenomenon of one of the longest running movie series ever created. With twenty different movies spanning over a little more than four decades, the James Bond series of films might never die down. If people still enjoy watching them as much as they do know, there is no reason for them to quit being produced.
James Bonds films in general, are typically intended for teenagers and the younger adult crowd, nearly all of them being men. The main reason this generally male crowds go and watch James Bond films, are that they know that there is going to be blood, violent behavior, a variety of fine-looking women, an amazing array of high-tech gadgetry and fast expensive cars. We all know that by the end of the film, our hero, James Bond is going to make it out alive, win the girl and either kill or foil the villain’s evil scheme of taking over the world.
People go see these films, because they essentially want to feel the action and adventure that the fictional character James Bond is going through. The audience also wants the fulfillment of being happy and the relief of knowing that their hero is going to be okay and that the world is going to be saved. Most audiences go to movies always enjoy the feeling like they were a part in helping and watching the world being saved and always love happy ending. That is why most movies, except horror almost always have a happy ending.
In most films that we watch, there are always a protagonist, an antagonist and a problem that the main character has to overcome. In this series of movies, this is no exception. The protagonist in all twenty of the movies are always James Bond. The is also always a “Bond woman” that sometimes acts as James Bond’s sidekick, but also acts alone. There is also some kind of evil villain that is always trying to destroy or take over the world. The setting of all the Bond films is usually located on an eastern country or on an island.
The environment is frequently more tropical and always is close to the coast, near a beach or what on might call paradise. Over the past forty-one years that James Bond films have been made, there have been five different actors that have portrayed and have had the honor of being one of the greatest fictional spies ever. The first man that adorned the silver screen and won the hearts of millions with his steely, masculine quality and own unique charisma, Sean Connery, is thought of being the best Bond of them all. 8 Around 1969, the next James Bond appeared by the name of George Lazenby.
The only film that he ever appeared in was called On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). Some fans on the same discussion board said that George Lazenby seemed to lack some depth in the character of James Bond and the public did not really give George an opportunity he deserved, due to the high expectations of the era of Connery. 9 After seeing this movie myself, I really beg to differ with what they said about Lazenby. I thought he did a great job in following up Connery. Two years later, Connery came back to play Bond for one more time in the film Diamonds Are Forever (1971).
In 1973, a man named Roger Moore stepped into the picture and took over the lead role of playing Bond. He did not have that rugged side to him that Connery had, but rather had more of a sense of humor, sarcasm, sexual suggestion and wit. 10 Timothy Dalton took over playing Bond in the late 1980’s. Dalton depiction of James Bond of James Bond is truly very controversial. His portrayal of 007 was in every way different from what the public had ever seen before. While fans of Moore had got used to his facetious laid-back manner, Dalton launched a hard-edged, serious Bond. 11 The last and most recent person to play 007 is Pierce Brosnan.
He was actually considered to play the part of James Bond for The Living Daylights (1987), but was tied into a contract to play Remington Steele. Brosnan is considered to be on of the best Bonds of all, even matched up with Sean Connery. 12 Some of the best 007 movies were most of the first ones that ever came out. Some of these include Goldfinger (1964), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), Diamonds Are Forever (1971) and Moonraker (1979). Most of the reviews, old and recent, of these films and any other Bond films were of good praises and was always crowd pleasing. The future of James Bond series is a very easy one to predict.
The series is headed on making more and more movies and will not stop until the viewers stop being interested in this kind of movie. I foresee this sub-genre becoming bigger and more massive than it already is and will continue to expand. The only real way I could see the James Bond series dying off would be if they changed the actor to someone that the audience did not like. Suddenly nobody would want to watch them anymore, but doubt anything like that would ever happen. James Bond will continue to save the world from evil villains and make the give the viewers that happy ending that they all love.