Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, famed originator of the James Bond films, took famed author Ian Fleming’s fictional British Secret Service agent to iconic status. Some 67 years after 007 first appeared, the recent delay, again, of the premier of the 25th video installment of the series – ‘No Time to Die’ – made international headlines. Some entertainment industry experts hold that the movie’s postponement led to the closing of the national Regal chain of theaters. While some might decry the formulaic and predictable nature of the franchise, millions find comfort in the standard. The bad guy loses, the good guy wins, and the world is saved once more.
Black Nehru jacket, check. Beautiful companion and unusual, if not freak-of-nature security guard, check. Sinister but cool look in the eye, check. Signet ring or small tattoo to confirm their allegiance to the cause, check and double check. We could discern the evil megalomaniac from our virtuous protagonist even without the swanky orchestral movement that would usher him in. Of the many actors who have undertaken the Bond role, each wore a tailored suit, a cheeky attitude and a Walther PPK. In remarkable, if human, form, Bond would overcome evil by relying on his own capacity, with a bit of help from the ingenious Q.
As kids, we’d cheer as the corrupt political leader, obsessive media mogul, mentally deranged heiress or wily foreign power would be cleverly corralled into their final collapse at the hands of our champion. Good, all is as it should be. But today, can we tell the difference between the heroes and villains? Wearing the same safe blue suit and hospital mask, they all look alike. No music announces their intention, and no distinguishing scar marks their countenance. It is up to us to choose the winner. Are we up for it?