Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Feature a Movie (2)

For a while, I’ve been wanting to start reviewing films, the occasional one, to try, so that’s what this is: each month, I’ll pick a film I watched and review it. It could’ve been the most memorable film, the strangest, the one that made me think or fear or- you guessed it- hope. You’ll just have to see.
This month (or last!) I'm featuring The James Bond Films.

So in May I had a moment of "what to watch" and there was nothing I felt like rewatching on my shelf. My mother and I, we gazed at the DVD cabinet- Hornblower? Rewatch (for the 5th time) Poirot? Then our eyes met (alright maybe they didn't but it's a dramatisation at this stage) over the James Bond box-set she had been given a year or so earlier.
We didn't take it seriously, the idea. Unwil we were watching Dr. No.

Throughout May we watched 16 of the Bond films, only skipping one (sharksss), and it became a project to record our thoughts. For me, it became a critical analysis of the sexism abundant in the franchise, which is even more pronounced and disgusting than I'd ever imagined or known before.
I don't plan on indivudually reviewing each film (though a sentence for each could be fun), rather I'll do an overall summary of my thoughts, irritations and feelings.

Favourite Film: For Your Eyes Only. Even though that end bit was, in my mind, slightly horrendous.
Favourite Bond: Brosnan, but who says I didn't already know this.
Favourite Female: Melina and Natalya.
Best/Most Believable Villain: Psychopath Walkin.
Favourite Moment: When Bond feels heartbreak and anything in which Jaws looked adorably ruffled. Seriously, he was so sweet!

And now, wh-hey! let's get onto the reasons I think James Bond is a git who needs more people to point this out to him.
He is sexist.
He is manipulative of women and uses them shamelessly, lying to get sex, making these women believe he'll stay with them, if that's what it takes.
He cheats.
He forces himself on women.
He hits them.
And he never gets painted badly for any of it. No stream of ex-lovers chase him, after revenge, he doesn't get anyone pregnant and have to shoulder responsibility. No women speak up (apart from Judi Dench as M), no men tell him to back down or stop being so bloody awful. Nup. Because he's James Bond, and- apparently- if he hits a woman and then presses himself onto her, even if she tries to fight him off, it's okay. Because he is a Hero.
Whereas to me it doesn't matter a for a damn moment that he's one of the best agents in Britain, because he is still perfectly villainous.

A point I made during Moonraker, my second favourite film because the villain actually realised he couldn't threaten to destroy a state or country and then run free with the ransom money (oh and because of Jaws), was that Dolly, the character who falls for aforementioned man of steel tooth, was never made to be a character Bond might have found desirable.
She wore sticky out plaits, glasses- she wasn't portrayed in all the ways the women he persues are- and she didn't give Bond a second glance. Is that all it takes for him to ignore a woman?
From experience, hardly.
She just wasn't his type and I would have found it so much sweeter if she had been. If she had rebked all his advances because she didn't care or she was too devoted to Jaws, and James had been left to feel rejection. But to get a happy ending he has to get the girl and he wouldn't have been getting her.

In The Man with the Golden Gun, Goodnight is forced to listen to James have sex with another woman from a cupboard, and then he wants to go onto her the next morning. She refuses, fed up with his promises and actions, and yet a half hour later- she is in his arms. No reasoning.

In at least half of the themesong-intros the dancing women are clearly naked, and amidst wincing as they leapt about in what could only have been painful ways, I noted that the men were not in such a state of undress. Why? No idea.

May Day had me terrified but cheering, for she was a women who used Bond as much as he used her (note I don't actually think that's good, the using, though the equal footing is) and remained staunchly on the "bad" side. She didn't turn or suddenly abandon her plans. She was a first, I believe, but- as drolly expected- she became good in the last five minutes of her screen time.
Is a woman not allowed to remain bad, despite James Bond using her and willing her to do otherwise?

Should I mention the fact few women were allowed to wear clothes that would be well suited to secret-agenting? Or do they all wear bikini's in real life?

In summary, was I impressed? No. I am interested, though. I do feel better informed, and like women are getting a better side as the films progress into newer ages. We even got a villain who was incredibly, bizarrely crazy and killed people with her thighs whilst yelling "yes", and a female who had an awful experience and became a kickass trauma heroine, Celaena Sardothian esq. I can only hope this trend progresses and eventually Bond gets some sense hurled into him.

10 comments:

  1. Ehgad. My dad was such a huge fan! I remember when he brought home a collection of James Bond movies in Betamax (yep. BETAMAX). Remember those? Lol. Sean Connery is my favourite one, but I will have to agree with you that none of his antics would sit well in the modern times. Lol.

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    1. Ahha, that's hilarious! I'm so glad you told me that. I actually didn't know what Betamax was, so I had to look it up- like video cassets?
      Yes, I did like the older Bond too (Connery was my mother's favourite), simply because of how it was old-style and not too techy, but overall he wasn't my favourite.
      Well I can only hope that once I get onto the Craig films, they'll have quit them! xx

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  2. How fun that you watched ALL the Bond films (except the one). Honestly I have only really seen them since Brosnan. I should do this.. it sounds like so much fun!

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    1. I've still got two Brosnan ones and all the Craig to go, but am taking a little break at the moment- TOO MUCH ACTION. But seeng as I watched, like, 16 in a month, I thought it would be fun to review them.
      Ooh, that could be so interesting! Be sure to share your thoughts on them with me, okay Angela? I want to know what you pick up on and if you're as irritated as me! xx

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  3. I've never deliberately sat down to watch a Bond movie, but have seen a few half films when they've been on TV and there's been nothing else on. And my goodness, I think Austin Powers had more charisma as an agent and even he wasn't that deplorable when it comes to women. The whole franchise is clearly created for men isn't it, bikini clad girls, meaningless sex with hot women and he has access to the latest gadgets, guns and cars. But even the more recent films, they need a kick ass woman in there who won't succumb to his charm. Where is she! And thank you for the pie <3 Awesome post Romi!

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    1. Quite possibly- I'd say he was generally the better man. I mean, he was known for being a "swinger", as it were, and he told his lovers if he slept with someone else, at least. Neither is faultless, but he's pretty great. I love how they pick at the sexism of the Bond films! (And they have brilliant dance sequences, which is a total plus.)
      Well I'm not sure about that, so much- possibly created for men in mind, but I can imagine a whole lot of women make up the fanbase. The fact that it is so sexist makes me wonder how many people got totally sick of it (not enough to stop the films being made, evidently), and it does tend to alienate women, at least in the earlier ones. Maybe with the more kick-ass heroines it grew more popular with both genders?
      Thank you so much for stopping by, Kelly! I'm very glad to hear you enjoyed this post. It's thereputic, getting out all my rage against Bond! xx

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  4. Heh, okay I haven't seen any of the early Bond movies, but I loved reading your commentary here. I guess it doesn't surprise me that the movies and Bond are sexist in a general way, but I am kind of disgustingly shocked at some of the details you mention here in which Bond is especially deplorable... I can't say I have any special interest in watching the early films (and to be honest, I'm not super into the new ones either), especially with what you've had to say here. It's good at least that as the time changes, sexism becomes less and less in movies/books/tv. Ditto with racism and homophobia, I find.

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    1. Oh, I'm so thrilled to hear you enjoyed this, Aylee! You do flatter me! I know. I suppose I knew a certain amount of what to expect, that's what they're known for, you know? But really getting into what was actually there, the extent it was taken- I mean, the whole Goodnight character scenes were despicable. He's a pretty horrible character, Bond.
      As they get newer, despite Brosnan, they're failing to win me as much as the new ones. The focus is so intently on death, killing, action, guns, ect. that even with the few strong women characters it's not really enough to make me enjoy them.
      xx

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  5. I've been wanting to rewatch some of the Bond films - I remember enjoying them when I was younger. Then I decided to read some of the books and just was amazed at how unlikable Bond can be. I have this feeling that Bond is more suave, charming and attractive in the films, but from your thoughts - I probably won't think so if I watch it again. I think my favorite film is Live and Let Die, and having watched it again a bit recently - like a few years back - I still enjoyed it, but I'm afraid to ruin my childhood enjoyment of the films by watching them again now!

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    1. Oh really? It transfers, that's so interesting. I'd always imagined he was different in th books, but it seems not.
      That's a difficult decision to make- I struggle with it a lot when I think about whether I want to watch a film or tv show inspired by a book I love, because what if it just ruins it? I'd love to hear your thoughts, though, if you do decide to watch some of the films! And welcome back, Charlene! Missed you. xx

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Have a beautiful day.x