Write in Reader #450: The Importance of the Bond

Write in Reader #450: The Importance of the Bond

by Madan Mohan

Am I really doing this? Am I really writing about No Time to Die? Yes I Now, I can hear the jokes of those of you who were on a Zoom call and heard what I had to say about this being Daniel Craig’s last Bond film. But it’s not really a review about the movie.

Instead it is a James Bond kind of film in general and about its role in society.

I don’t know about you, dear reader, but wife and I were on the streaming bandwagon long before the pandemic struck. I haven’t had a cable connection since at least the end of 2018.

And there is no doubt that it has many advantages, but the biggest disadvantage of streaming is No Designed to bring people together, although it can sometimes serve that purpose. On OTT it is so easy to find exactly what you want to watch – what you want to watch and the problem with that is that what you want to watch may not always be something that your close family members want to see. Let’s reiterate this – it can often happen that no one else at home wants to see what you want to see. And there’s nothing wrong with that – I am for my own sake, for myself, and for everyone else.

Write in Reader #450: The Importance of the Bond

But… when everyone is glued to a screen with a pair of earphones that shut out the ‘noise’, it doesn’t feel like being together at all, does it? It is not necessary that a vast The problem is as long as other family methods are followed and I am Considering the fact that there are too many big fish to fry in the world right now. But at times I wish that myriad OTT platforms could create something that we all want to watch together.

And so, who should come to our rescue but the honorable (retired) agent of HMSS James Bond? How have they not knighted him yet? Sunday’s TOI had a full page ad for No Time to Die, which is now streaming on Amazon Prime. Next, there’s the latest installment of the half-century-old film franchise advertised on the old medium of print for viewing on ultra-modern technology. This is James Bond in a microcosm, come to think of it, shiny gadgetry in service of a conceit that is decidedly old-fashioned and arguably out of date. But hey, wife loves Craig movies. And er, I could at least bear it, considering it’s Still James Bond, of sorts.

the fact that it’s a bond of a Kind The film is acknowledged many times through. First of all, Craig is seriously dead in this movie apart from notably a few dry jokes. Not only grim, it depicts the fatigue of a man carrying the weight of the James Bond world on his shoulders, not unlike Batman in the previous Nolan-Batman film. It’s like Bond is tired of taking out the incompetent MI6 over and over again. I mean, for a prisoner of MI6 to still be able to play his syndicate via remote and for M, played by naturally playful-eyed Ralph Fiennes, the Mumbai Police-D Company nexus Kind of sounds awful. So you can’t blame Bond for getting out. But the stakes are high. A bioweapon is about to be released that will kill millions of people (uh!).

Yes, No Time to Die is unfortunately supernatural in this regard. But it contains other, more deliberate nods to the question of where Bond really fits into the world we live in. A look at Logan and Bond reveals that intelligence is no longer central. In the climax, Q assisting Bond in a mission from the alleged security of a warship, he is suddenly disturbed by the presence of a Russian MIG. We then find Tanner telling M that the US, Japan, and Russia all want to know what on Earth a British warship is doing in turbulent waters. The sign of the times – even when ol’ blighty does mean the rarest of rare occasions, it’s still the interference of an unwanted guest at the big boys’ game.

The Bond films were, by then, already being made in the shadow of the long fall of the British Empire and, half a century later, they had decided that they could not directly address the ‘brilliant irrelevance’ they face anymore. If anything, Bond has to sacrifice himself to keep his soul and daughter alive, a noble gesture that also underscores the enormous burden carried by a spy who has to escape normal life in every sense of the word. Does matter. A license to kill also comes with a license to kill. The life of a detective isn’t all the fun and games that Bond movies once told you, after all.

Also, is the Bond movie ending? no at all! It grossed $700 million and Skyfall over a billion. And yet, there is a nod to the very burden of making a Bond film and the ‘adjustments’, concessions to the reality it entails today.

The time for which Bond films were made has passed. But something about the conceit keeps the franchise going and it’s notoriously hard to maintain a tentacle quality about it. It’s detective that isn’t too heavy on detail, romance that isn’t too steamy and just a pinch of humor without resorting to outright comedy. That is, it somehow becomes a film that is about everything and has something for everyone, a film that is now extremely rare, at least in Hollywood.

But watching Bond disintegrate as a poisonous island he saved the world from explosions had left me wondering how many times Bond could be revived for the benefit of the people. How long will Bond be able to force people to move out of their respective streaming silos and share the living room in the old-fashioned ‘family movie’? And if Bond dies at the box office, do we have a successor waiting? Or will we go too far down the path of customized offerings that we don’t even care?