November 14, 2008

Life in the Era of JB (Bauer, Bourne, and Bond)

My mom once described James Bond movies as all about "killing people and throwing women in closets." In some sense every Bond movie up to "Casino Royale" was essentially about this. Bond was the smooth mack; a secret agent with the flyest gadgets, the right words with the ladies, and the deadly skills to dispatch enemies with gentle ease. Yet something happened: the world changed and James Bond changed with it.

The new Bond reflects the world of the 21st century. Villains are no longer simple dictators like they were in the cold war. The villains are corporate business men and small parts of organizations that span the globe. And with villains like these stalking the the seven continents, James Bond does not have time to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, drink martinis, or chase women.

"Die Another Day", the last Brosnan, and traditional Bond came out in 2002. This means it had been in development for at least a year. In 2001, "24" aired it's first season and in 2002 the first Bourne movie came out. It is no coincidence that the Bond ("Casino Royale") after these two spy franchises was completely different.

The new spy in the 21st century is one of constant engagement, a.k.a he doesn't get nap time. Just as the Bush Administration created the "axis of evil", the new super spy, is one that is constantly on edge, and always willing to engage threats. Consider the following similarities.

1. All of their initials are JB. I know this is obvious, but's it still interesting on a semantic level.
2. All of them have lost someone close to them. Bond it was Vespa, Bourne it was the girl from Run Lola Run, and Bauer it was his wife.
3. All of them have served their country and suffered from it. Bond lost the girl he loved, Bourne has some deep memory problems, and Bauer is just a killing machine who has lost the ability to love.
4. All of them fight evil organizations, no matter if they are internal threats (Bourne, Bauer) to external.
5. All of them don't have time to play around with women. And if they do, the girl will probably be slayed, and I mean that it killing way, not the other way.

All the reviews of the "Quantum" say it is just a epic action movie that features no gadget or no scenes Bond cruising chicks. He can't, how can you, when you compete with the other JB's out there.