March 22, 2007

Tired Bond?

WHEN DID MOVIE HUMANS -- at least action movie humans -- cease to be human? A long time ago, I suspect. I remember when I first became conscious of it -- seeing the ridiculous fight scenes in the remake of the Mummy, and thinking at the time that horror is impossible if your hero can be hurled 25 feet across a room into a stone wall, and bounce up with less ill effect than a Warner Bros. cartoon character would suffer from a similar pratfall.

I recently tried to watch Casino Royale, but was so disappointed by the first action sequence -- climbing jumbo construction cranes without a hint of anxiety over heights, then leaping from one crane to another to a building and then down -- that the human scale is lost. Sean Connery's Bond threw up after smashing a tarantula with a shoe; I think most people would want to throw up or hold on for dear life on a construction crane. But our heroes are no longer human.

My wife didn't mind the action sequence. She objected to the scene in which Bond seduces the villain's mistress, a cliche so predictable (and done with all the set up one normally expects of a porn movie) that the word that came to mind was joyless.

Fleming was never so predictable. The salvation of the series lies in mining the untapped brilliance of its originator.

Posted by Ideofact at March 22, 2007 01:59 AM