Southern Scotch

Southern Scotch

Sunday, June 12, 2016

James Bond and the Jaws of Age

Imagine a man in his thirties, who discovered James Bond in the form of Daniel Craig, 38 at the time of his tenure--and now pushing 50 as he prepares to drop out.

Daniel Craig Picture

Craig has done four Bonds, with 2-4 years between. And many fans feel that the first was the best, quality sinking thereafter. Our imaginary fan agrees and yearns for the same sense of freshness he'd found in Casino Royale, when he was a senior in college.

Now, after Spectre, he may have to wait a few years for the next film in the franchise--by which time he'll be in his mid-thirties. More alarming, he now learns that Craig might just possibly come back to a fifth film when he's free. Why is this alarming? Because even if the film is great, we'd now have a Bond in his fifties. If Craig went on to do a sixth, by then he'd be in his mid-fifties, too old--as Roger Moore and Sean Connery had become at the end of their own Bond stints.



Never Say Never Again Poster





Equally alarming: if Craig didn't return for a sixth, new casting would begin...and the entire usual time span would pass: two to three years, at least, once again. And now imagine this: if our fan cannot stand the Bond chosen, the math will devour the last of his youth. More than likely, the new Bond will do 3-5 films, with two to three years between them. And our once young fan will find himself a disgruntled older man who's spent, by that time, decades waiting for the real Bond to return.

The Bond epochs come at us in huge blocks of time. And almost all of those great blocks have only a few shining moments. One or two great films at best.

Connery's fans grew older, then old, as they waited for a worthy heir to bring back the glory of From Russia with Love and Goldfinger. Lazenby gave us one great film, then split. Moore, Dalton, Brosnan, Craig...The math goes grimly on and on as we wait and we pray for real magic again.

Will we get it? Fingers crossed. Even if we do, though, we need to learn to wait less
intensely while we live. Or we'll end up thinking of the past in terms of which Bond ruled: e.g., I did that when Con was king...and that when Rog wore Spandex...

After all, we can add to the list of life's sure things: the films in any Bond epoch decline in quality till the Bond either quits or is put to pasture. We'd damned well better do our living before we're put to pasture too.

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