|Skyfall - The Latest Bond|
Premieres 11/9/12 in USA
In an earlier post (Commander Bond in London, 2/23/12) I wrote that the James Bond "movies are, while more PC than the books, to the right of most Hollywood productions--a key to their long-standing success." Does Skyfall, the latest Bond movie, validate that thesis or contradict it?
The role of the intelligence services has, of course, become highly controversial in our own day and age. We all recall George Tenet's unfortunate assurance to President George W. Bush that finding WMD in Iraq would be a "slam dunk" and the disastrous and tragic consequences of poor intelligence ("Don't worry, it's a slam-dunk" according to Bob Woodward's book, Plan of Attack, (www.amzn.com/0743255488).
The Jason Bourne movies, which play off of cynicism aroused by real-life intelligence failures, are essentially "James Bond for liberals". The equivalent(s) of the "M" character in the Bourne films is/are clearly deranged. The intelligence chiefs in these movies have run amok. They are sinister forces who do not merely make mistakes, but have become malignant forces for evil in our midst. The Bourne films suggest that those in the highest levels of the Shadow world of intelligence are utterly corrupt betraying the interest of their nation for their own selfish ends.
|Rear Admiral John Godfrey, 1888 - 1970|
The Original "M"
|Judi Dench, "M" for Magnificent|
Judy Dench is superlative as "M" or the "Bond-mommy." Just as Admiral Godfrey was a surrogate father for Ian Fleming, she becomes the surrogate parents for the orphaned James Bond.
|Turner's Fighting Temeraire, 1838, National Gallery, London|
It is remarkable to note that Skyfall debuted in the UK the very same week that the President of the United States disparaged the use of "horses and bayonets" in modern warfare -- in spite of the fact that the US Marine Corps still trains with and uses bayonets in the field -- Semper Fi (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/10/23/bayonets-still-standard-issue-despite-obama-debate-jab/). The demise of Skyfall's villain, played brilliantly by Javier Bardem (the fortunate husband of Penelope Cruz), is a powerful argument for the continued relevance of "cold steel". The traditional, conservative message is clear -- "Old ways (gun, knife, radio) are often the best ways."
Ian Fleming famously said, "Everything I write has a precedent in Truth." Does Skyfall remain true to its Fleming heritage by having a "precedent in truth"? I believe that its gritty portrayals of the London Underground, its use of glossy settings in contemporary China (see earlier post, China Today, 9/11/12), its depiction of feckless politicians and even its use of the favorite weapon of the US Marine Corps allows us to answer happily in the affirmative. President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, acting on the best Western intelligence available at the time, "took the bloody shot" on Iraq; we live with the consequences.
Skyfall ultimately advances the traditional and, ultimately, Conservative notion that public service undertaken by our military and intelligence forces at great personal risk is 1) necessary in a dangerous world 2) highly honorable and, at times, even 3) heroic.
Commander Kelly says, "Three Cheers for Skyfall, sailing ships, MI6, the Royal Navy and cold steel!"
You can now purchase Commander Kelly's first book, America Invades here...www.americainvades.com or on Amazon...www.amzn.com/1940598427