British broadcaster claims Bond is not a fantasy

Spoilers for No Time to Die.

Last month, British broadcaster Simon Mayo in a broadcast had a spoiler discussion with film critic Mark Kermode about No Time to Die. Mayo, as part of the chat, claimed that James Bond is not a fantasy.

MAYO: Batman’s fantasy, isn’t it?…Bond isn’t fantasy and Batman is fantasy.

Kermode attempted to talk Mayo down from that notion. “Daniel Craig in Casino Royale is not playing the same character that Sean Connery was playing in Dr. No.”

Of course, back in 2006, Eon Productions said it was starting the Bond series over with Daniel Craig. Most Bond fans got that and Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson of Eon made clear the series had begun all over.

Casino Royale’s “Bond begins” approach came a year after director Christopher Nolan helmed a Batman movie where the Dark Knight began again. By now, the approach is old hat for Batman.

Still, Mayo said that notion doesn’t apply for Bond.

Still, Bond isn’t fantasy?

A few examples:

–Casino Royale (novel): Bond smokes 70 cigarettes a day and consumes a lot of alcohol.

–Dr. No (novel): Bond kills the villain by burying him in bird guano.

–Goldfinger (novel): The villain actually intends to steal all the gold from Fort Knox. When the novel was turned into a movie, the plot became detonating an atomic bomb inside Fort Knox. That’s much more realistic, I guess.

–You Only Live Twice (novel): The villain constructs a “garden of death” to entice suicide-inclined Japanese to kill themselves.

–You Only Live Twice (film): A villain’s base inside a volcano and a giant magnet used by the Japanese Secret Service to whisk enemy cars away and drop them in the bay. Don’t forget the “intruder missile” that captures space capsules.

–Live And Let Die: Gas pellets that cause an opponent to expand and explode.

–The Spy Who Loved Me: A tanker that can capture submarines.

— Moonraker: A space station that can launch deadly globes that can wipe out millions of people.

But Bond, a fantasy? Of course not.

This all began when I put a few tweets referring to Mayo as Kermode’s “sidekick.” I stand corrected. But few, if any, who objected to my referring to Mayo as a sidekick defended his actual position. They mostly were upset about use of the term sidekick.

Anyway, the video of the Kermode-Mayo exchange is below. The “fantasy” debate starts after the 3:00 mark.


SPECTRE reviews: the weekend edition

SPECTRE promotional art

SPECTRE promotional art

A few more SPECTRE reviews were published this weekend, ahead of Monday’s premiere for the 24th James Bond film.

At the moment, the movie has an 83 percent “fresh” rating on the ROTTEN TOMATOES WEBSITE.

What follows are excerpts from some of the weekend SPECTRE reviews. We’re avoiding mentioning plot points, but the spoiler squemish should probably avoid.

MARK KERMODE, THE OBSERVER (VIA GUARDIAN.COM):  “After the high-water mark of Skyfall (my joint-favourite Bond movie with On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), there was a very real fear that director Sam Mendes’s second 007 adventure may go the misbegotten way of Quantum of Solace. Terrific to report, then, that while Spectre may not be the equal of its immediate predecessor, it’s still bang on target in delivering what an audience wants from this seemingly indestructible franchise.”

“But it’s not until the introduction of Léa Seydoux’s Madeleine Swann that the plot really starts to tick, Bond meeting his match in a woman who can strip a handgun and order ‘a vodka martini, dirty’ while he’s brushed off with a protein shake. Seydoux is the film’s secret weapon.”

HENRY FITZHERBERT, SUNDAY EXPRESS: “It’s everything you could possibly want from a James Bond film, a perfect blend of modern relevance with classic Bond humour, gadgets, girls and preposterousness levelled with terrific characterisation and in Daniel Craig’s 007 the most strongly realised Bond yet…. In other words, Craig goes the full Bond.”

“Spectre is a gloriously realised celebration of Bond’s cinematic heritage which explores his personality and past to the max. Go any deeper into his character and he’ll lose his mystique. It’s the best Bond ever.”

DAVID SEXTON, EVENING STANDARD: “What Spectre does, it turns out, is allude so comprehensively to past Bond adventures and iconography that it’s almost more of a resumé than a fresh adventure, gratifying to Bond freaks and film critics who get off on spotting sly references but underplotted in its own right.”

“The name is Bond, James Bond, and the certificate, when it is released on Monday, is going to be 12A — 12 being about the right age for it, that means.”