For some reason or another, I have been on a big Bond kick - and not just the movies, either. I've been diving into the books. After Ian Fleming passed away in the mid 1960s, there were a few other authors that eventually tried to fill his shoes, resulting in more Bond novelsto enjoy.
I admit, when I read Casino Royale, I was disappointed. I wasn't a fan of Fleming's writing. But now that I've read some of the other authors who have tackled Bond, I am willing to give Fleming another chance. I plan to start From Russia with Love soon. That is one of my favorite Bond movies, so I'm excited to see how it compares to the book.
I think what is hampering me a bit in reading the original novels, however, is that I saw all the movies before I ever read the books and I have put the actors into the character's role. I usually see Sean Connery in the role, but when I read the latest Bond novel by Sebastian Faulks, I definitely pictured Daniel Craig.
It's fascinating to read how each author has approached the character. Faulks' character was much more introspective than Fleming's. I would also say the same for John Gardner, another author who has penned several Bond novels. Fleming's character is harder, while Faulks' portrayal is a bit softer.
But the character of Bond is incredibly unique. He started as a literary figure and was transformed into a larger-than-life movie character that the entire world knows and loves. When a new actor is selected to fill the Bond shoes, he is subjected to intense scrutiny. In fact, Daniel Craig was roundly criticized by many who thought that there was no way we could have a blonde Bond. I'm glad to say he made a believer out of many (including me) and I think he has brought new life to the Bond mystique.
Here's my point (I realize I'm rambling a bit...I'm distracted by those pictures I guess). Lots and lots of people now feel like they own the character of Bond. People feel a connection to Bond on some level. This literary character turned Hollywood movie star has created a mega-sensational fan base. It is hard to compare it to any other type of literary character. I would say Jane Austen comes close with Mr. Darcy, but it's not on the same scale.
I wonder what Fleming would think. He witnessed the early success of Sean Connery's Bond, but would he believe that a character he created all those years ago would still drive legions of people to the movie theaters and bookstores? And it's a multi-generational thing. My dad loved Bond. I love Bond. And even my daughter knows who James Bond is!
I find the whole thing absolutely fascinating. Will any of the characters of today hold the same magic for years and decades to come? Harry Potter? Twilight?
What do you think?