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bond_and_fields.jpgI saw the latest Bond film, Quantum of Solace, last night.  I felt Daniel Craig like it was me on the screen.  Verdict: Bitchin'!

Now before you go hatin' on me for such brazen language, allow me to recount to you over the course of twelve pages the entire plot of the film...

The film begins with short, tight shots of sleek British engineering in extreme close-up roaring over a blur of Italian asphalt.  Music swells as the first bullets fly, perforating the back of the priceless Aston Martin we've been visually making love to...

J/k y'all!  I won't put you through all that here.  You can always go to to get the full play by play.

What really did strike me about this and the previous installment of the 007 Franchise was: first, how much better they are than the Pierce Brosnan Bond films, second, how cinematically efficient the Marc Forester directed Bond films are, and third (and foremost), how strongly I find myself identifying with Daniel Craig's James Bond.  I can't get into point one too much but please examine exhibit A versus exhibit B (spoiler alert on exhibit B).  Whilst Brosnan prances about from hovercraft to tank to flaming train, Craig gives us a glimpse into the emotional background that gave birth to the archetypal super spy.  'Nuff said.  In fact, I'll let the second argument rest on these same exhibits, they're such a great contrast of these two most recent Bond dynasties.

As for the third, why am I so damn drawn into Daniel Craig as James Bond?  I'm talking about being tickled pink every time he utters a clever quip.  Each cunning instance where Bond thinks outside the box to save his skin sent me into fits of giggles, right there in the theater.  That is how caught up I was with Daniel Craig as James Bond.  I think this may be the beginning of another Guys We're Gay For article; one the rest of the Steve's Word crew may find themselves a little uncomfortable being a part of.  But I digress.

Bond has always had an appeal, which I'm sure stems in part from the stylish dress, cool gadgets, unparalleled jams which Bond can always escape victoriously, and of course the women he woos.  But there are other male protagonists that do these things, in fact just about every single one of them fits the bill to some extent.  In fact, if this was the case, I should identify equally with every Bond from Connery to Craig.  Yet this is not the case.

craig_running.jpgDaniel Craig works for me because he does a better job of being the "virile adventurer," the omnipotent drifter than his predecessors.  Why is that?  I don't have a good answer.  Why not?  Stop asking that.  Why? ... He's cold but not calculated.  He's Steve McQueen meets Anthony Hopkins meets a fucking panther.  He's wild but not out of control.

I suppose it's possible that instead of him being more of a man, it's possible that I want and need that more than I did when I was younger.  When Golden-Eye came out I was just learning to drive and hitting puberty.  Somewhere in my head James Bond was a possibility on the horizon of my life.  He was older than I, and surely when I became spy-age, I'd be recruited by British Secret Service right out of my Western Colorado home.  As the years passed, I grew up and realized that all that spy stuff was totally lame.  Austin Powers played an important role in getting my spy fantasy's played out and being done with it (or so I thought).  For most of my junior year and some of my senior year of high school it was okay to say stuff like, "groovy, baby!" and have friends think you were pretty cool.  I drove fast and dangerously in my dad's old puke green Saab, and I had girls ask me to Prom.  I was pretty hot shit.  Super-spydom was just around the corner.

As college came and went I developed a healthy respect for reality.  "Groovy Baby" had already become the lamest thing you could possibly say, even as Austin Powers II was hitting theaters.  Getting too drunk to remember why the girl on the other floor of my dorm was so mad at me, almost failing my math class and of course my indoctrination into the film school.  All these experiences made me realize that I may not be super-spy material anyway.  Getting out of college without Hollywood beating down my door and gaining about twenty pounds didn't help either.  My post college life has had its good times and it's bad times but it's also made me realize that when the going gets tough, this guy has a migraine and pukes on the curb.  I currently wonder if I'll get canned at work and if I'm addicted to the internet and if either of these things matter in the long run.  In other words, I realize that I am not nor will I ever be James Bond.

So now that this new incarnation of the ultimate vision of sophisticated, uber-cool, masculinity exists its not so much that Craig's better than previous versions of Bond, but that I want to be a super spy even more than I did before.  It's the longing for a possibility that once was.  I wouldn't go so far as to say that I regret not pursuing my inner Bond.  I think I always knew that I was not destined for that kind of life.  My childhood (and indeed my adult life) has been too happy to breed the kind of personality or reflexes to be an Agent on Her Majesty's Service.  Ultimately I don't know if I even would trade my life for his right now seeing as how he seems to have some real issues of vengeance and loss that I think we could all do without.

And lets not get ahead of ourselves here.  I will admit for as cool as I think this film is, I still don't understand what a "quantum of solace" is supposed to be.  There are some mysteries that can't be solved.


  • 1

    here's what "quantum of solace" is supposed to mean: it's a play on the word quantum. first, quantum is the name of the larger body that domenick greene and mr. white work for, the group that is funding greene's organization and is, in theory, responsible for his death (sorry for the spoiler). also, a quantum is a unit of measure, mostly meaning a small amount, i.e., exactly how much relief bond gains through his actions during the film. so, besides being a reference to the larger criminal network that will undoubtedly be the focus on the next installment, it is also a reference to bond's emotional state, obtuse though it may be.

  • 2

    I'm an obtuse man, so I'll try to be oblique...

  • 3

    I love how time has mellowed you, Jeff, like a fine cask of Ribera del Duero red (thanks, Google!). What five or six years ago would've been "eyefucking" has now become the more august and urbane "visually making love to."

    Hats off, gentle sir.

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