Thursday, April 30, 2009

On Bond

All right. Enough with the down-in-the dumps posts. I realized that I had way too many of them in the past few weeks and I am bumming myself out with them, so today's post will be full of light and joy!

Ah...that's better. Joy! Light! Daniel Craig!

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?

19 comments:

  1. I'd wager to say Potter could, but on such a different level. Don't you think?

    *ponders way to nab Craig, wrap and ship him to Melissa*

    Boy, what a surprise that would be, huh?

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  2. Yummeh! Glad blue skies are prevailing. You deserve as many as you can get.

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  3. Janna, I would be eternally grateful for such a package. ;-)

    Angie - Here's hoping!

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  4. Darth Vader comes to mind. The Star Wars universe is huge. If you visit the bookstore's sci fi section, you can't help but marvel at the amount of books written in that particular world.

    He's done the opposite of Bond, he's jumped from the movies to books, continuing to make himself a part of pop culture.

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  5. Good point, Rene. I think Star Wars and even Star Trek might be on the same level as Bond, though they started as movies instead of books.

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  6. I'm with Rene - definitely Darth Vader, more than HP.

    And yes, I think Fleming would likely be surprised by just HOW enduring Bond has become. He was an interesting man (Fleming). Sean has read a bio of him.

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  7. Tess, I watched a documentary on Fleming when I was at my friend's house (hi, Diane!) in England. He was definitely an interesting guy. I really wanted to go to the Ian Fleming/Bond exhibit when I was in London, but we all know how well THAT turned out!

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  8. Yum! Love those pics.

    Hmm. You've sent my brain to mush now. I can't think of anyone likely to last like Bond has. HP might, but in a very different way.

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  9. Oh, but that first picture of Daniel Craig is lovely. *dreams*

    How about Sherlock Holmes? He started as a literary figure and moved on to cinema, tv, books written by other authors, and is still a famous character today.

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  10. Shirley - Yeah, I think HP might be the closest one to match Bond's popularity. Guess we shall see...

    DK - I love that first picture, too! And great point about Sherlock Holmes.

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  11. ...umm...are there words?...

    Oops! The pictures distracted me! Thanks for the eye candy! Ha! Ha!

    (I enjoyed the book Casino Royale. I'll have to read a few more.)
    Take care!

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  12. I think you're right, Bond IS unique. HP is huge, and the books/movies will be enjoyed by generations, but nobody will take those characters and continue with them the way they have with Bond. (And I bet JKR will have something to say about it, if they try!) ;)

    Sherlock Holmes is enduring, but the closest thing to a recent resurrection of his character is House, M.D.--just not the same.

    And Star Trek is bigger than any one character...it's that world, that possible future, that people love.

    I dunno--I can't come up with anything to rival the Bond phenom! Great post, Melissa (and GREAT pics. Craig leaning against the wall...be still my heart!)

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  13. Jill - I really wanted to enjoy Casino Royale, but maybe I didn't as much because I saw the movie first?

    Christine - Yeah, I think you're right - Bond may have the monopoly on enduring popularity. Not that I mind. :-) And yes...the pictures are QUITE nice!

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  14. Good question. How nice for a writer to have their character go on and on, isn't it? Oh to write that way:)
    When I was younger, I saw a few Bond movies at the theater and do not like them. Too over the top for me. But gotta agree about the pictures. ;)

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  15. Terri - Yeah, I recognize that Bond isn't for everyone - there are several that say he is cold and a woman-hater, but I guess I disagree on the whole woman thing. He loves women - he just can't commit. ;-)

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  16. Okay, I tried to concentrate on the literary discussion about the Bond books. But if you're going to post the porn pictures, my eyes are going to glaze over, my mouth is going to hang open, and drool is going to trickle down my chin. I'll be checking back frequently young lady to see if you come up with any more of that sort of thing. Because if you don't, I'll just have to Google.

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  17. Ooh, thanks for the delicious pics of the divine Daniel Craig.

    I loved Sebastian Faulks' book too.

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  18. I'm not sure if anything we have today has that staying power. My sons love Bond!

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  19. Amy, good thing I wasn't drinking anything when I read that!

    Debs - I thought you had read the Faulks novel, too. Glad we both agree that it's a great book!

    Debbie - Bond does indeed have staying power!

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