James Bond Is An A-hole
In "The Mark Of Batman," his great introduction to the trade paperback edition of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, Alan Moore talks about how changing times have forced the audience to view classic pulp heroes in a new light:
The fictional heroes of the past, while still retaining all of their charm and power and magic, have had some of their credibility stripped away forever as a result of the new sophistication in their audience. With the benefit of hindsight and a greater understanding of anthropoid behavior patterns, science fiction author Philip Jose Farmer was able to demonstrate quite credibly that the young Tarzan would almost certainly have indulged in sexual experimentation with chimpanzees and that he would just surely have had none of the aversion to eating human flesh that Edgar Rice Burroughs attributed to him. As our political and social consciousness continues to evolve, Alan Quartermain stands revealed as just another white imperialist out to exploit the natives and we begin to see that the overriding factor in James Bond's psychological makeup is his utter hatred and contempt for women. Whether most of us would prefer to enjoy the above-mentioned gentlemen's adventures without spoiling things by considering the social implications is beside the point. The fact remains that we have changed, along with our society, and that were such characters created today they would be subject to the most extreme suspicion and criticism.
He's right of course, and for better or worse, that last sentiment pretty much covers where we are as a culture in relation to our classic pop heroes. We can't just enjoy Batman as fantasy anymore; we have to know what drives him psychologically, and we have to know EXACTLY HOW AND WHERE he gets every last wonderful toy. But that "extreme suspicion and skepticism" Moore mentions needn't only take the form of literal-minded fanboyism and fun-draining exposition; one can take the piss out of these hoary old archetypes while still having fun.
In the spirit of that fun, I present to you a video by Rummy & Korners (pointed out to me by friend of BMD Dan Whitehead), which nails a proper 21st century perspective toward my favorite movie hero, James Bond: Gentleman Spy and World-Class Asshole.
Speaking of assholes, Fox/MGM announced a new Blu-ray box set at CES yesterday, which fans are tripping over themselves to pre-order, despite having no clear idea what the new features will cover (one friend on Facebook excitedly proclaimed the set will contain 130 hours of bonus features, and "six discs of whothefuckknowswhat").
If you need to own every Bond film, and abstained from the absolutely stellar Blu-rays that were released a couple years ago, the set is a steal at $200 on Amazon. But I can't help but feel it's preying on the completionist mentality, and the "complete" set will be rendered obsolete within months (if not weeks) due to the release of Skyfall. Needing all your Blu-ray boxes to be all matchy-matchy and perfect is a fool's errand, and in the case of the Bond franchise is never going to happen.