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 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.