Friday, August 30, 2013

James Bond Versus Zombies

With apologies to the Vancity Theatre - who are having festival of Bond films over the next while - James Bond is a taste I have never acquired.

Sure, the early Sean Connery Bonds are passably entertaining, and Casino Royale was pretty great - though I think that has more to do with the skill of the director, Martin Campbell, than its belonging to the Bond genre (Campbell had previously made the terrific thriller Criminal Law, with Gary Oldman and Kevin Bacon, and also directed the first Brosnan Bond, Goldeneye, unseen by me). Years after having grown out of Ayn Rand, I think her observations about Bond in The Romantic Manifesto are pretty apt. She observes, as I recall, that post-Dr. No, Bond movies became morally dishonest exercises in having a hero and sniggering at him at the same time.They're too cute, too knowing, too ironic for her. Further, while this is likely not a criticism she makes, being who she is, to me, they seem reactionary from the gitgo, an artefact of empire even despite the irony. Skyfall's villainization of Julian Assange left me wondering just how many Bond do-badders over the years have been caricatures of actual historical figures or movements, and how often the series might have been used to nefarious political ends, to sway mass opinion along certain lines...? I don't think, if one took the political subtexts of Bond films seriously, there would much for a (more-or-less) leftie like myself to appreciate... maybe the sniggering is actually a sly means of slipping past politically contemptible messages, an excuse of first recourse: "you don't mean you're actually taking any of this seriously...?"
Not being a Bond fan, then, probably the best story I can offer by way of plugging the fest is my oft-repeated zombiewalk anecdote, in which a group of us, during (I think) the second-ever Vancouver zombiewalk, were walking towards Robson in full, professionally-done zombie makeup, late for the parade and obliged to be "fast zombies" as a result - though I kept trying to throw some slow lurching action into our group's forced march, so I was one of the last two zombies in our line. Lo and behold, who should round the corner but Pierce Brosnan himself, talking on a cellphone. He passed zombie after zombie - there were maybe eight of us all told, stretched over half a block - and what was most delightful about it was that he didn't so much as GLANCE at us. He had no reaction whatsoever, just walked coolly (and quickly) on by. I guess when you've been James Bond it takes more than a few zombies to faze you.

By the by, it's entirely possible that Jen and Sylvia Soska were in that group that day; that was the year I walked with them, though they might not have been in our party by then.
(Photo by Dan Kibke, not to be reused without permission)

No comments: