A New Bond for a New Millennium: The changes with Daniel Craig’s 007

It has now been 51 years since the first silver-screen appearance of the secret agent known as James Bond (code name 007) in Dr. No (1962). Since then, there have been twenty-three films, and six actors who have donned the Bond tuxedo. From Sean Connery to Pierce Brosnan (in the first twenty films), there have been many ‘staples’ of the Bond world that viewers have come to expect and appreciate over the years: girls, gadgets, M, Q, Felix Leiter, Moneypenny, fancy cars, poker, dry shaken martinis… all to do with a rather dapper and somewhat fantastic lifestyle. All men wanted to be Bond, and all women wanted to be his girl; for his world is, in a sense, the ultimate escapist experience. With the new millennium came an opportunity to reboot the franchise, as Christopher Nolan did with the Batman franchise, and with Daniel Craig’s Bond we discover Bond’s origins (which will no doubt re-launch the suave, debonair 007 we’ve all come to know and love in the next film). So, out with the old, in with the new, and with the new Bond, some of those beloved staples change to reflect the 21st century. These changes include: how females are represented in the films, the casting of key characters (M, Q, Felix, Moneypenny), and all the technology utilized by Bond.

Let’s first look at female representation in the Bond films. I say ‘females’ because there is a distinction to be made: in the early Bond films, these females are Bond girls, and in the later Bond films (especially with Craig), these females are women. Indeed the difference is that in the early Bond films, especially with Sean Connery, Bond is very domineering and misogynistic. It seems that to him, these girls are “disposable pleasures” (Vesper Lynd, Casino Royale) that are means to various ends, whether it be sexual gratification or even just getting into his opponent’s hotel room. In fact, often times, “Bond proves the villain’s impotence by seducing the villain’s girl, thus symbolically castrating him” (Woodward, 181). The girls symbolically represent, of course, the stakes of the ‘game’ between Bond and the bad guy. In the more recent Bond films, however, the women are more equal to Bond; he also respects them more. Equally, he seems more affected by the consequences the women he sleeps with suffer (because of their association with him); to him, they are no longer mere playthings, they do mean something. Another aspect of female representation in the Bond movies is how women are portrayed in the opening title sequences: in the first twenty films, these sequences predominantly feature naked (or semi-naked) women. In the last three films (Craig’s incarnation), women are either completely absent or mere background elements kept in homage to Ken Adam’s original concept. With the more respectable and one may say ‘politically correct’ approach to the women, it seems natural that the key characters surrounding Bond are likewise more ‘politically correct’ and reflective of the 21st century as well.

Another important change in the movies is the casting of the key secondary characters M, Q, Felix and Moneypenny. The M character is of particular importance here: when Pierce Brosnan became 007 in Goldeneye (1995), Judi Dench had been cast as M to reflect the fact that a woman had been newly appointed to head MI5 (Cork 249). One could have expected that M would be re-cast as a man, once again, when Daniel Craig became Bond in Casino Royale (2006). However, in a surprising twist, the film producers decided to keep Judi Dench as M in the franchise reboot. This seems to fundamentally change Bond’s character: M is, in a way, the mother he no longer had, and Bond is much more respectful of women than in previous incarnations. Having this as part of the origin story creates a new Bond for the new millennium. By the end of Skyfall (2012), however, Judi Dench’s M dies, and Gareth Mallory (played by Ralph Fiennes) becomes the new M; we can therefore presumably expect a return to the more classic Bond in following films. Moving on to Q the Quartermaster: this character is absent in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace (2008), but is re-introduced to the series in Skyfall. Q was only ever played by two actors in the entire series before the latest film (by Desmond Llewelyn and John Cleese), and they were both older men. The new incarnation of Q (portrayed by Ben Whishaw) is a bespectacled nerd, which is how we as a society perceive our technological experts these days. As for the CIA’s Felix Leiter, this character is traditionally played by an older Caucasian actor; however in Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, he is played by young African-American actor Jeffrey Wright. Last but not least, Moneypenny, like Q, is only re-introduced in Skyfall. Like Felix, she was traditionally portrayed by Caucasian actresses, but is now played by Naomie Harris, who is black. The new millennium called for an evolution in casting, but also a continuing evolution in the technologies that are available to and utilized by Bond.

Last, but not least, the technology that is available to Bond. In the first twenty movies, the gadgets were futuristic and fantastic, contributing to the ultimate escapist fantasy that was Ian Fleming’s 007; these gadgets were therefore often subject to ridicule in many Bond spoof movies and TV shows. For example, in Johnny English (2003), the titular secret agent (played by Rowan Atkinson) accidentally injures a woman with a gadget laser pen. The latest Bond film Skyfall itself even poked fun at the previous films’ gadgets with Q saying (as he hands Bond the most basic of equipment, a radio transmitter and a gun), “What did you expect, an exploding pen? We don’t really go in for that anymore” (Skyfall). The reason for the poke is that with the new Bond came a new, more realistic technology. In all three of the latest Bond films, there are no flashy gadgets. In Casino Royale, 007 got a gun as well as a high-tech defibrillator, and, in Quantum of Solace, though the technology used by MI6 is high-tech and cutting-edge, Bond only uses a cell-phone and a gun. In Skyfall, Bond gets a high-tech custom-fitted gun and a locator beacon, or ‘radio’ (as it is coyly referred to by Bond). “Not exactly Christmas” as Bond points out; however, this can be perceived as an homage to the original inspiration for the best known British spy. Back in the 1960s (i.e., during the Cold War), “human intelligence” (Skyfall) was used more than fancy technology. This hands-on intelligence work is more Craig’s Bond, contrasting him with the technology-driven Silva (played by Javier Bardem) in Skyfall (this will be an interesting point to develop further at a later time). Also of note with the last three movies is that cars are not as present as they were in the previous installments. Astin Martins were very prevalent in the early Bond years; even when Fords were eventually introduced, they were still very important gadgets for Bond (e.g., the car that could become invisible in Die Another Day [2002]). In the last three films, however, the Astin Martins are more like an homage to the previous films and the Fords merely transportation to get from point A to point B. We can therefore say that the change in technology is in tune with Daniel Craig’s incarnation of Bond.

In conclusion, a new millennium called for a reboot of the iconic James Bond franchise, and with that reboot came many changes to several staples. These changes include the epitomizing of women in the motion pictures, the more representational casting, and the reduced reliance on technology utilized by Bond. It has been a very turbulent and somewhat metamorphosing fifty plus years for the shaken-not-stirred martini drinker, but one thing that will most likely never change is that most iconic of introductions: “Bond, James Bond”.

C. F. Pelletier © 2013

WORKS CITED AND CONSULTED

CITED:

Cork, John and Bruce Scivally, James Bond: The Legacy, England: Harry N.

Abrams, 2002. Print.

Skyfall. Dir. Sam Mendes. Perf. Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem,

Naomie Harris, Ralph Fiennes. Eon Productions, 2012. Film.

Woodward, Steven. “The Arch Archenemies of James Bond”. Bad: Infamy,

Darkness, Evil, and Slime on Screen. New York: State University of New

York Press, 2004. Print.

CONSULTED:

Goldeneye. Dir. Martin Campbell. Perf. Pierce Brosnan, Judi Dench, Sean Bean,

Izabella Scorupco, Famke Janssen. Eon Production and al., 1995. Film.

Die Another Day. Dir. Lee Tamahori. Perf. Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Judi

Dench, Rosamund Pike. Eon Productions and al., 2002. Film.

Johnny English. Dir. Peter Howitt. Perf. Rowan Atkinson, John Malkovich.

Universal Pictures and al., 2003. Film.

Casino Royale. Dir. Martin Campbell. Perf. Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Eva Green,

Mads Mikkelsen. Columbia Pictures and al., 2006. Film.

Quantum of Solace. Dir. Marc Forster. Perf. Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Olga

Kurylenko, Mathieu Almaric. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and al., 2008. Film.

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE HONOURABLE PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU REGARDING MINIMUM WAGE AND THE FINANCIAL PROTECTION OF CANADIAN WORKERS

June 1st, 2016

Monsieur le Premier ministre,

Thank you for taking the time to read this, if and when you do. I’d like to begin by saying that I greatly admire what you have done for Canada so far, and I hope this is the beginning of a great turnaround for our great country. It is refreshing to see a new era for a 21st century Canada.

A SURPRISING TURN

The one place, however, where I have found disappointment in your policies is your approach to minimum wage. In an interview at the CBC earlier this year, you shared some doubts in raising the minimum wage and seemed to give a politician’s response. What do I mean by this? You barely gave an answer at all, you instead made vague promises that it may or may not be thought of or looked at or… whatever.

I understand, to some extent: you are, as Prime Minister, first and foremost a politician. Admittedly, you’re more earnest and grounded than most politicians we see these days, which is why I was confused by your position concerning minimum wage. You seem to get so many other things, like feminism, and the embracing of other cultures without discrimination. So why not this?

As Prime Minister, you are in a very unusual position: you are an employee with millions of bosses, and we are not the ones who decide your paycheck. You do, however, affect ours, as you hold the purse strings. And as your employer, I am sure that many of us would like to ask you to help us get our just compensation. By this, I mean a livable wage, a minimum wage that is livable.

A PROMISE TO CANADIANS

In defending your budget this year, you said that “The promise [you] made [to Canadians] was to invest in the future of this country. That’s what Canadians told [you] we needed and [you] were going to do it responsibly and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”[1] However, are you truly doing so?

CANADIANS ARE NOT PROTECTED

The truth of the matter is that “there are any number of practices that are depressing wages such as employee misclassification, outsourcing work, the use of temporary workers, and union-busting.”[2] So, not only is the minimum wage not livable, but companies, especially non-Canadian ones, are making sure that the hard-working Canadians that they do hire are not entitled to a steady, livable wage.

This has to stop, Mr. Prime Minister. If you truly want to “invest in the future of this country” – and by this, I am assuming you don’t only mean through infrastructures but by the daily well-being of Canadians – then you must do more. You are in charge now, Mr. Prime Minister; the gloves can come off. This is not a cordial boxing match that you’re participating in, Sir. This is an all-out wrestling match for the millions of Canadians that you have sworn to invest in, to serve and protect.

A PROMISE TO BE KEPT?

It’s time to get tough, and to own the “promise” that you made. How to do so? Simple in idea, though I’m sure tough in execution. Please keep in mind, I am neither lawyer nor economist. Here are few points:

  1. A LIVABLE MINIMUM WAGE

According to an article posted on PressProgress.ca in regard to current minimum wages not being livable, “in Toronto, [you’d] need to earn $18.52 per hour to earn enough to live on. Across the country, [a livable] wage varies between $20.68/hr in Vancouver$18.15/hr in Calgary$16.46/hr in Regina$14.07/hr in Winnipeg$14.15/hr in Windsor, or $20.10/hr in Halifax, to offer a few examples.”[3]

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 8.21.20 PM

Graphic from the PressProgress.ca

Canadians are struggling to not only pay rent (which are getting more and more expensive due to real estate market bubbles), food (which is getting more and more expensive for various reasons) and other monthly necessities, but also to pay their debts, whether they be student or personal. Those of us working at a minimum wage, we can barely keep things level, and are living paycheck to paycheck.

An overall, Canada-wide federal minimum wage that is livable would be $15.00/hour would be a great first step. It would thereafter be up to the provinces to ensure to meet the differences as needed, if they so choose. And it doesn’t have to be all at once; it could be done gradually over a period of a few years to help companies adjust.

  1. KEEP PRICES FROM INFLATING

Some companies may want to adjust their retail prices to adjust for the raising of the minimum wage.

However, adjusting minimum wages is to allow for people to finally have a salary that is proportionate to the cost of living.

I do not know if a government has anything to say for prices, but incentives to keep this from happening would be a wonderful compromise.

  1. PREVENT COMPANIES FROM DEPRESSING WAGES

Many companies, especially non-Canadian ones, prefer to use in legal gray zones and loopholes to prevent from having to pay Canadians a just, livable wage in a consistent way.

Canadians deserve better protection from these corporate practices.

IN CONCLUSION

In conclusion, Monsieur le Premier ministre, I know that this will not be easy. It will not be simple to help raise minimum wages to livable ones; you yourself have argued against it as recently as last year.

However, saying that you’re scared that companies will flee if we raise the minimum wage, among other things, is not good enough anymore.

If you truly believe in Canadians, in investing in Canada’s future, then let those companies leave! It may be a bit extreme to say so, however, Canadians are resilient, and they are creative. Whatever companies leave because they do not want to pay their employees decent wages, Canadians will likely more than make up the difference.

If many companies do leave, then why not create a program that helps fund Canadian start-ups (if this does not exist already)? Jobs may leave, but Canadians will simply step up, and make new ones.

It is time for Canada to be given back into its own hands. It is time to allow Canadians to live the life that they deserve. It is time to trust and empower every and all Canadians.

If you want to fulfill your promises to Canadians, Monsieur le Premier ministre, then you need to make this actionable. It’s finally time to invest in Canadians.

Sincerely,

Catherine Pelletier

Private citizen

 

[1] http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/federal-budget-2016-justin-trudeau-ottawa-morning-1.3502144, consulted May 30th 2016.

[2] http://www.youthandwork.ca/2015/08/justin-trudeau-truthiness-and-1500hour.html, consulted May 30th 2016.

[3] http://www.pressprogress.ca/justin_trudeau_told_a_struggling_worker_he_not_sure_about_raising_the_minimum_wage, consulted May 30th 2016.

Watch this video. It’s worth it.

“I was so young. I don’t even remember how old I was the first time I called someone gay. But I had to have been in elementary school. One day, my dad was picking me up and right before we pulled out of the parking lot, a girl waved at us with a smile like a vine. Even though she was the orchard that everyone picked on, she was still sweet and loved to be alive.

When my dad asked me why I didn’t wave back, I told him it was because she was gay. He looked at me with one of those religious stares, and every bit of Buddhism in his brow raised the question, “What does that even mean?” ” Find out what happened next below:

http://www.upworthy.com/a-little-girl-waved-at-him-he-didnt-wave-back-because-shes-gay-his-dad-responded-appropriately

Ode to Kévin

You are the rock that keeps me in an easier place,

You are the calm within my storm.

You are the joy of my days,

And the warmth in my nights.

Whenever I see your face,

It seems I can only smile. Love takes many a form,

But with you, it’s clear. You love has put me in a daze,

And at the thought of you, my heart takes flight.

This is an ode to Kévin,

The one with whom I’m livin’,

The one who is the light of my days,

The one whose love at time blinds me in rays.

C. F. Pelletier © 2014

Writer’s comment: Feminism, Sexism and Freedom of expression (Emma Watson and her nude-photo-leak threat)

In the U.S., it is often loudly proclaimed that every citizen has his or her right to Freedom of Expression. However, it seems to me that you only have that right if you say what people want to hear.

This week, Emma Watson gave a “game-changing” and “powerful” speech about feminism; how feminism* is not about hating men (quite the contrary), but about promoting women to a status equal to those of men. She even invited men to become feminists themselves, seeing as gender equality is an issue that affects both men and women.

nfqDUUD

Yesterday, the same hackers who leaked nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence and other female celebrities (and I think a few male celebrities as well), announced that because of her speech, Watson’s nude photos will be leaked in (now) 3 days. Allegedly, this is to show that “[t]hat feminist bitch Emma is going to show the world she is as much of a whore as any woman”.

Watson is not the only one to be threatened with control of her body** these past few months for speaking up about feminism. Feminist video game critic Anita Sarkeesian was threatened with rape, bombs, and murder (they threatened to murder her and her family) after she (correctly) pointed out that many of the more popular video games (e.g. Grand Theft Auto V, Assassin’s Creed II, God of War, Bioshock Infinite, etc.) depict women in a sexist and demeaning way.

Anita Sarkeesian speaking at Media Evolutions The Conference 2013.
Anita Sarkeesian speaking at Media Evolutions The Conference 2013.

These hackers and trolls are actually proving the feminist movement right by trying to control women through threats of violence and control. If these perpetrators are ever caught, I am willing to bet some will claim freedom of expression. However, you cannot be doing that if you are, in the process, trying to suppress someone else’s thoughts, someone else’s freedom of expression.

So, what are your thoughts? Is feminist ideology to dangerous to express? Should these women shut up and submit, or soldier on and prove these misogynists wrong? Also, is freedom of expression even possible anymore with all these Internet trolls*** around?

Emma’s speech has opened up a multi-branched discussion on communication, expression, and terminology, as you have rightly pointed out.

There are two reasons why I think feminism is viewed in a pejorative light: for one, like any other ideological movement, there are extremists who distort the original message of the movement.

Secondly, as we are in a patriarchal, heterosexual-white-male-controled society, oftentimes the only view shown to us about this movement is the negative ones (just like when the U.S. said that all muslims were out to kill us****).

This may seem a bit over-the-top, but “the Man” strives to keep everyone below his level; anyone who is not white, male  and straight. And the Man does his best to force his views and thoughts on everyone else until they agree with him*****.

That is why feminism is viewed in a negative light. Or, at least, it is my belief that that is why.

On a related topic, there has equally been a lot of discussion of late of the NFL and how they deal (badly) with situations of domestic abuse.

Now, the NFL and other associations like it are the symptoms of a deeper sociological problem: patriarchy and misoginy. These are deeply rooted in our collective psyche. For a very long time, women were treated as second class citizens, even commodities. It still happens today, in other countries around the world. Nobody blinked, not really, even just a few years ago when other NFL players were killing their wives or beating them. This year, the drop (Rice) made the vase overflow… Which is a good thing, even if a little late for a lot of other women. (I know I sound like one of those stereotyped “man-hating feminists” right now, but let me be clear: I am a feminist. That does automatically mean that I hate men; actually, I love them. When they’re nice to women and children).

As for Petterson, well… Usually people react when something happens to a child (Sandy Hook, however, a different story).

We only seem to want to act when we see it happen. Otherwise, if we don’t see it, it doesn’t exist (except perhaps deities). That’s why we as a society only started really reacting when we saw the Rice video, and the NFL only really reacted when the second one came out. It was just too bad a press situation for them not to react.

CEOs and whatnots worship their all-mighty dollar more than they value human life. You want to know what their moral compass is? It’s made of paper, and when wet, it dissolves, leaving them with nothing to stand behind when things get tough.

It is out responsibility to tell them how to behave, just like it’s our responsibility to tell our elected politicians to behave, because we are social animals. Biologically and from an evolutionary stand point, we have to correct the members of our society who behaving in a way contrary to the beliefs of said society. We are having a social awakening now of some of the last remnants of oppression that still exist in our society. Some don’t like the change, so they either regress or put their fingers in their ears and hum. However, if it threatens their profit margins (meaning they would no longer be able to wash themselves with Champagne instead of regular old water like the rest of us), they stop and are forced to comply with societal pressure.

Be the change you want to see. We can’t all stay in our corners and expect every one to behave properly. Human nature by itself is not perfect; it tends to get corrupt. When you have nothing (or not as much) to loose, you have the power. You can force people to clean up their own dirt.

As Watson says, feminism is not just for women, it’s for men, too. If they didn’t feel the need to be all “manly” and dominate & control their women through violence, these things wouldn’t happen. Same thing for the children.

Sorry for the long rant. I feel better now. 😉

*Feminism is defined as: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of sexes.”

**In Watson’s case, I mean control of whether or not her body is exposed to the public. In the video game critic’s case, I mean control over her body through physical violence.

***A term I bet is not in the Oxford dictionary yet, but soon will be.

****If they really were, we’d all be dead. After all, there are over 1 billion muslims in the world.

*****Let me be clear: I am feminist, and I love men. I just don’t approve of how some treat women.

LIFE IS NOT A CABLE

When you’re young
Life’s thread seems an unbreakable cable,
And we don’t handle problems more than what we’re able.
Many a hero has gone unsung.
Struggle, conflict shapes humans,
More than we’d like to admit.
Yet, thankfully, we celebrate when these same humans
Help each other with humane genuine generosity. It
Keeps faith in our race alive,
Gives us something for which to strive.
Life is not an unbreakable
Cable.
Tread carefully,
But live fully.

C. F. Pelletier © 2014