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By Kate Smith
10th November 2015

The Bond movies are a rare thing. From a (once trashy) book series to one of the most successful film franchises of all time, Bond has managed to appeal to generations of moviegoers. It defined the spy genre, and launched many careers while overshadowing a few. It’s a worldwide phenomenon – you would be hard pressed to find a single person in the developed world who doesn’t know who Jamesh* Bond is. It is also the occasional generator of controversy, featuring as it does a well-off white bloke with a gun, who more than once appears to be a blatant misogynist. Somehow though, any negative aspects always fail to detract from the sheer fun of a good Bond movie.

Which are your favourites? Let me know in the comments.

Unlike other books-turned-films, (*cough* ‘Twilight’ *cough*) the Bond source material is actually quite a good read. The first Bond novel I read was ‘Casino Royale’, and while I wasn’t surprised that it very clearly was aimed at a particular audience, it was still enjoyable. Interestingly, there are rather a few films made about the author himself, Ian Fleming. One stars ‘Game of Thrones’ Charles Dance, while recently a TV series called simply ‘Fleming’ starred Dominic Cooper and Lara Pulver.

Now we notice there are Bond-verse books hitting the shelves written by other authors. It wasn’t until I started researching this article that I realised just how many post-Fleming Bond novels have been published. Run a Wikipedia search and you might be a little shocked. Sure, I’d seen one or two recently on bookstore shelves (remember those? bookstores?), but there are literally dozens. There’s most definitely still a market for the written spy-thriller, and perhaps assisted by the mainstreaming of fan fiction, authors are understanding that a familiar character holds a large attraction for audiences. Most of these newer novels are set in the Fleming era of the 50s to 60s, but some are more modern like the latest set of films. This brings me neatly to my next topic...


The Challenges of Staying Relevant

Created in the first half of the 21st century, and first published in 1953, 007 was borne of an era of gin-swilling suit-clad old boys, who expected their women sexy and stupid (mostly), believed there was no such thing as a lesbian, and that villains weren’t "like them". With all the fuss about one of ‘Spectre’s' Bond Girls, Monica Bellucci, being of a comparable age with Daniel Craig (finally!), I’m not gonna harp on that here. God knows I could; but we’ve all heard a bit about that already. My point is, times have changed. Bond can no longer get away with the things he used to. Movies are now more easily accessible to wider audiences than in the 50s and 60s, and some of the biggest demographics are those that would not have traditionally been targeted by Cubby Broccoli back then. Bond has to evolve to meet the growing demand of these audiences, continue to appeal... and, make money. Reports claim that ‘Spectre’ has to make US$910 million just to break even. It’s a lot to invest in a film starring an actor who has expressed a growing fatigue with the character.

Speaking of, Craig is reportedly contracted for a fifth outing as the MI6 martini-guzzler but rumours have been floating around for a couple years now as to who should replace him. Potential Bonds include Tom Hiddleston (currently receiving my vote, because, Tom Hiddleston), Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy, Hugh Jackman, Damien Lewis, and Idris Elba. A couple of these actors could play anything they wanted, and not just because of their sheer star power. Hardy and Elba have so much raw talent, I’d believe them as Queen Elizabeth (...probably). Whoever dons the suit next has big shoes to fill. Daniel Craig has unquestionably brought Bond into the modern era, standing on the shoulders of Brosnan’s more sensitive 007 of the 90s to produce an appealing, troubled, and above all interesting character. While Connery will always be the classic Bond and will continue to inspire tributes all over the place (as any ‘NCIS’ fan will know), it’s Craig who’s allowed Bond to break into those above-mentioned demographics. Women like Bond now. Sure, he’s always been sexy (except Roger Moore - ewwww), but he was always a bit of an arse. Craig’s Bond is still a bit of an arse, but a forgivable one. So while you’re commenting about your favourite Bond film, why not tell me about which Bond you think is the best. I have a soft spot for Brosnan (he was the least a-holey), but am now pretty sure that Craig is number one.

007 was borne of an era of gin-swilling suit-clad old boys, who expected their women sexy and stupid (mostly), believed there was no such thing as a lesbian, and that villains weren’t "like them".

Bond has inspired innumerable tributes – films which take advantage of the love of the spy genre Bond launched and redefine it as their own. Countless articles could be written about the trademark opening sequences and songs, the universally recognisable scores, the gadgets, the lines ("Shaken, not stirred"^), the recurring characters, and one of my favourites: the cars. Because I do love cars, I’ll make a quick mention here.

Bond originally drove an Aston Martin DB5. It’s still gorgeous, and there’s at least one that does the rounds in Bond exhibitions and still looks fantastic. Aston Martin, possibly assisted by its partnership with the super spy, is now recognised as the coolest brand on Earth. Thankfully, after a slight dalliance with BMW and some other makes, Bond has returned to his trusty steed. Modern 007 may have minimised his use of impossible gadgets, but the agent's car embraces the true meaning of Bond. It’s stunning, classy, masculine, and the epitome of beautiful engineering. So much so that for ‘Spectre’ Aston Martin custom built a new model, the DB10. Google it, you’ll have a cargasm. Only 10 of these DB10s have been (or ever will be) made, and they’re built for beauty. To me, to have one of the world’s premiere vehicle manufacturers make a car just for a fictional character... well, says it all really.

‘Spectre,’ is the 24th Bond film, and opens nationally this Thursday. Click here to read our review of 'Spectre'.

* That was my Sean Connery impression #sorrynotsorry
^ He's actually asking for a weak martini, as the shaken ice melts a little and dilutes the gin.

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