Cathy Hamilton: Stirred by Bond gadgets
November 20, 2008
Craig — Why are men so gaga over James Bond movies?
I’m sorry. I just don’t get it.
Oh, I understand the whole 007 mystique. I comprehend the appeal of the quintessentially cool, modern Renaissance man. A suave and sophisticated chap who can fend off five would-be assailants then, seconds later, mix two perfect martinis (shaken, not stirred), and bed a gorgeous woman before she can fish the olive out of the glass.
I get that part. It’s a guy thing.
I can see the charm of a chase scene, too, although I prefer the good old days when high-speed pursuits were confined to the road, in classic Aston-Martins. When they start scurrying around in helicopters, tanks, moon buggies and wacky watercraft – not to mention invisible cars – my eyes start to roll and my interest wanes.
(Besides, I’m always horrified to see all those perfectly good vehicles destroyed in fiery crashes, just for the sake of a few oohs and ahhs. Doesn’t Hollywood know the economy is crashing and our planet is in peril? Those cars, tanks and moon buggies could serve a much higher purpose in the carpool lanes of Los Angeles, don’t you think?)
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I guess chase scenes are a guy thing, too.
What I love about Bond movies, believe it or not, are the gadgets. Contrary to popular belief, cool gizmos aren’t exclusively a man’s domain.
Think about it. What woman wouldn’t give her eyeteeth for a dagger shoe? Date not going well? Mr. Wrong won’t take “no” for an answer at the door? Simply pop that handy-dandy poisoned blade out from the toe of your Manolo’s, aim high, and – voila! – problem solved.
And what about those oh-so-practical homing beacons? Dying to know where your teen is really going at night? Slip a microscopic transmitter under the cover plate of his cell phone, and let the surveillance fun begin!
Imagine all the creative uses crafty gals could find for ejection seats, revolving license plates, perfume flame throwers, voice changers, pen guns or those groovy wristwatches that emit laser beams, darts or strangling wire. The possibilities are endless!
You see, I do have a certain appreciation for Bond, James Bond, and his action-packed, cinematic world. But I still don’t get it. And by “it,” I mean the convoluted plots.
From the time I was dragged to “You Only Live Twice” by my Sean Connery-obsessed neighbor in 1967, I’ve been scratching my head like a dumbfounded simian. From “Moonraker” to “Octopussy,” “License to Kill” to “Die Another Day,” I’ve been inextricably lost in ridiculous, complex story lines – the hallmark of 007 films.
Try as I might, I can never tell friend from foe, ally from enemy, henchman from hero.
You know the expression, “You can’t tell the players without a program?” That’s me. Just once, on my way into a spy flick, I’d like to be handed a playbill with head shots, names and code names of all characters and their back stories, a general synopsis, and scene-by-scene summaries of who is doing what to whom on screen and why.
In the meantime, my long-suffering husband has to bear the brunt of my terminal cluelessness:
“Is that a bad guy or a good guy?” I’ll ask, under my breath.
“Bad guy,” he’ll say. “Just watch.”
“So, who’s M? Is that short for Miss Moneypenny?,” I’ll press on.
“No,” he’ll snap. “Moneypenny was M’s assistant. Just watch.”
“Then, who the heck is Q? And why don’t they just use full names, for heaven’s sake?”
“Because they’re spies, and that’s what spies do,” he’ll answer, like an exasperated parent.
“So, the bad guy wants world domination, right?,” I’ll whisper.
“No. He just wants his girlfriend out of Bond’s bed.”
“The one with the olive?”
It’s not that I lack the smarts to follow complicated story lines. Back in the day, I followed “All My Children,” “One Life to Live” and “General Hospital,” and never missed a trick. I could tell you the full names of every character, how many marriages, illegitimate children and/or evil twins they had, and the total number of affairs going on at any given time in town. It was a gift.
So why can’t I apply the same brain power to “Quantum of Solace,” the new Bond movie that reportedly has one of the most bewildering plots of all time?
I don’t know. I just don’t get it. I guess it’s a girl thing.